Thursday, July 31, 2014

So you think you don't feel the Holy Ghost


My family and I visited an LDS church service in Oregon during our summer vacation. I learned a really interesting opinion about the Holy Ghost there that I can't stop thinking about. 


First, some Mormon lingo:

The "Holy Ghost" is the third member of the Godhead, which also includes God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. We believe them to be single in purpose, but not a sole person. Sometimes the Holy Ghost is called the "Holy Spirit" or simply "the Spirit". He is God's messenger and deliverer of comfort, guidance, warning, and confirmation of truth.

When baptized, each member receives a spiritual gift called " the Gift of the Holy Ghost". This means He is your constant companion throughout your life. Every person in the world, regardless of baptism of any religion (or none at all), can feel the presence of the Holy Ghost. The difference is that spiritual gift enables you to turn to Him and feel His presence constantly, rather than Him occasionally popping in to share a message.

If what I just said didn't make a lick of sense, read THIS :)

In that church meeting in Oregon, the teacher presented this scenario: You're at church and the meeting comes to a close. Your friend turns to you and enthusiastically says "Wow, the Spirit was so strong! Could you feel that?" You're surprised at her joy, because although you did pay attention and liked the message, you haven't been blown over with spiritual manifestation like your friend.

So does that mean you didn't feel the Spirit? 
Does that say anything about your spiritual well-being?
OR could it mean that the Spirit was there, but you didn't need a major spiritual confirmation at that time?

It could mean something about your spiritual well-being. To keep the Spirit around, we know we need to be living a righteous life. Maybe you haven't been as focused on your testimony lately as you feel like you should be. Maybe you weren't paying a lot of attention to the lesson. 
As another option, I also believe that although what you were taught was true, you didn't need an entire spiritual experience confirming the truthfulness. Sometimes you know it, believe it, live it, and that's enough.

I compare this idea to discussing theft at church. Your teacher is talking about God's commandments and asks the class why stealing is wrong. Voices in the room share their opinions and experiences. You agree that stealing is wrong, and feel pretty good about your belief. You leave feeling fine. What you don't realize is that the person next to you was being taught lessons in his heart that go deeper than the discussion of the day. When the Spirit teaches, you hear or feel messages that aren't spoken aloud. The Spirit was helping him to personally understand he was breaking a commandment when he illegally downloaded files off the internet. Before today's lesson, he didn't think it was that bad. Now he's feeling a little different. He was receiving some personal revelation. And perhaps it didn't necessarily apply to you as much that day.

I think most of us want to have those spiritual manifestations as often as we can. We want to be as close to God as possible. That's a great, wonderful, and stupendous idea. Keep that desire. Work for it. We should be diligent to building up our spirituality as much as we can.

I also want you to know that I believe it's okay to have your off-days. It's okay when you don't burn up with a fiery passion about not stealing music of the internet. (Unless you do have that passion, then by all means, burn away babe).

If you feel like those off-days are turning into weeks, months, and maybe even longer, then I advise you this.
"Don't give up. Don't you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead - a lot of it - 30 years of it now, and still counting. You keep your chin up. It will be all right in the end. Trust God and believe in good things to come."
-LDS Apostle Jeffrey R. Holland
"An High Priest of Good Things to Come"
the entire talk is here 
Keep pushing forward, my friend. I have faith in you. I really do. Heavenly Father has faith in you. Lots and lots of it. Be at peace that everything will be okay.

Luv 'n' stuff,
Chaun

14 comments:

  1. This was helpful to learn, thanks!

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  2. I think your take on the way varying people experience the Holy Ghost is spot-on. There are times I feel it and frankly less-noticeable events where perhaps I didn't need a dramatic manifestation to learn or confirm truths in ways that are tailored to each my needs. I think it's sufficient to say that God instructs each person in the right time and right way for that person.

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    1. Although I can't take credit for the idea behind this post, I agree! He knows our hearts so well. Thanks for sharing! :)

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  3. This is a really good article, or post. I know that people that sometimes have a difficult time feeling the spirit have some form of psychological problem and are placed on meds that make it hard for people to hear and heed the prompting.

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    1. There are so many different type of limitations, and all of them are hard and personal trials for us to work through. Thanks for the reminder to be mindful of others!

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  4. This post is a standard doctrine that I feel many are taught from a young age, but yet as we grow older we forget. It's definitely a reminder that I needed recently!

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  5. This post is a standard doctrine that I feel many are taught from a young age, but yet as we grow older we forget. It's definitely a reminder that I needed recently!

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    1. That's neat you learned this at a young age! Although it would have been helpful to know earlier, it sure made an impact when I heard it that summer. It makes the gospel easier to me :)

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  6. great article! So we might not be inspired 24/7, but the important thing is to be prepared when that inspiration comes! (then by all means, burn away!)

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    1. You're right, preparation is so important! Especially if we fall out of habit of following the little promptings, we might miss them when they come by. Thanks for sharing Arthur!

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  7. I share the the belief of Elder Bednar regarding promptings of the Spirit and light. He compared the Spirit speaking to us at different times like turning on a light at home vs the sunset which is gradual (it being the norm for us, not the exception). The Lord will speak to us through the Holy Ghost in ways we can recognize. It is up top is to be ready for revelation when we seek it.

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    1. I love this sunset & light switch comparison! Another great example of how someone might receive inspiration from the Holy Ghost. I feel like I am often a sunset person... which forces me to be a patient person :) Thanks for sharing Matt!

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  8. I also enjoyed your take on this. Until recently I have had a hard time recognizing the spirit or his promptings. I have noticed that the more I pray and the environment I put myself in has really affected my spiritual communication.

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    1. I'm the same. Sometimes I slip away into a busy environment and forget to be on the watch to listen to promptings. I'm glad things seem to be on the outlook for you though. You're an important person! Thanks for sharing Dave!

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