In an effort to “practice what I preach,” I’m writing on a subject that I felt strongly prompted to review. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes as stated in our Articles of Faith—“We believe in God the Eternal Father, in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.” From latter-day revelation we understand that the Godhead is comprised of three distinct and separate beings: Our Father in Heaven; His only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ; and the Holy Ghost. We know from that revelation that the Father “has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit.”
The Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit, as a separate member of the Godhead, is distinctly tasked with testifying of the divine nature of the work of the Father and the Son and to prompt us individually for good. Once members of the LDS faith are baptized, they are then confirmed members through an ordinance that involves the “laying on of hands” by those having priesthood authority. The confirmation ordinance includes the bestowing of the gift of the Holy Ghost/Spirit that provides the potential for having the kind of spiritual guidance and support that only a member of the Godhead can provide.
We believe that the Holy Ghost binds us to the Lord. By divine assignment, He inspires, testifies, teaches, and prompts us “to walk in the light of the Lord.”
In LDS weekly Sacrament Services, we partake of the holy sacrament and renew covenants made at the time of baptism to “always remember Him,” the Lord Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice. When we keep this sacred covenant, the promise is given that we “may always have his Spirit to be with us.”
The application of this doctrine has special meaning to me based on a number of personal sacred experiences, but most recently, while on a trip to London, I responded to a prompting that has significantly reinforced my belief that heavenly guidance is available to us and that we should respond immediately and with faith when such promptings occur. Here is my recent story:
Near the border of Wales in the town of Ledbury, early church missionaries had incredible success and baptized an entire congregation (including the preachers) of the United Brethren Church. I have always wanted to visit that location, but couldn’t find anything on the map or other direct guidance regarding the specific location in Ledbury. Entirely out of character with my often too-well-organized personality, and without clarity as to how to get to Ledbury (three-hour train ride from London) or what I might find when I arrived, I nonetheless felt strongly prompted to go, so I did. Through a series of remarkable coincidences (I think not), I found the pond where 1,200 people were baptized in 1840, the oldest standing and operating chapel in the church, and several locations where these missionaries taught nearly 180 years ago.
My experiences in Ledbury were quite incredible and beyond what I can express in this statement, but I know I was guided by the Spirit to have such uplifting and illuminating opportunities to feel these important moments of history in the early days of the LDS church.
I believe the Holy Ghost is available to us all and can help guide our lives and bring us closer to the Lord, Jesus Christ, by helping us position ourselves to do good and to be of important service to others.