Over the course of a few days, an inexperienced Relief Society president felt saddened as she learned about situations in the lives of women in her ward. One member of the ward had lost her mother unexpectedly; another lost a baby after years of trying to conceive a child. One sister was in the process of separating from her husband and another was facing challenges as a result of mental illness. An older single sister was lonely and facing health problems alone.
While praying to know what she could do to help the women in her ward, a distinct impression came:
“You can’t solve their problems, but you can help them find the Savior. He knows how to help each one of them individually. He does this through the Holy Ghost.”
The words of the Primary song, “The Holy Ghost” ran through her mind.
“When Christ was on the earth, He promised He would send The Holy Ghost to comfort us, Our true, eternal friend. The Holy Spirit whispers, With a still small voice. He testifies of God and Christ and makes our hearts rejoice” (Children’s Songbook, pg. 105).
The gift of receiving the Holy Ghost — given by the laying on of hands through priesthood authority — is one way Heavenly Father reaches out to His children in love.
“Our Father in Heaven knew that in mortality we would face challenges, tribulation and turmoil; He knew we would wrestle with questions, disappointments, temptations and weaknesses,” Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught during general conference this April. “To give us mortal strength and divine guidance, He provided the Holy Spirit, another name for the Holy Ghost.”
The Holy Ghost’s mission is to assist Heavenly Father and the Savior in helping all of God’s children return to live with Them.
“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26).
Whether it be a time of sadness, a time of learning, a time of making decisions or a time of service, the Holy Ghost will direct anyone who is willing — and worthy — to listen. He is a comforter, a voice of warning, a teacher, a testifier, a friend.
“The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead, and, as such, like God the Father and Jesus Christ, He knows our thoughts and the intents of our hearts,” Elder Craig C. Christensen of the Presidency of the Seventy taught during his 2012 general conference address. “The Holy Ghost loves us and wants us to be happy. Since He knows the challenges we will face, He can guide us and teach us all things we must do to return and live with our Heavenly Father once again.”
Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said during general conference this April: “Many scriptures teach that His mission is to testify of the Father and the Son. The Savior promised that the Comforter will teach us all things, bring all things to our remembrance, and guide us into all truth. Thus, the Holy Ghost helps us discern between truth and falsehood, guides us in our major decisions, and helps us through the challenges of mortality. He is also the means by which we are sanctified, that is, cleansed and purified from sin.”
Not only does the Holy Ghost offer comfort and guidance, He acts as a spiritual guide, teaching a person what is right.
“The companionship of the Holy Ghost makes what is good more attractive and temptation less compelling,” President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency said during the October 2015 general conference. “That alone should be enough to make us determined to qualify for the Spirit to be with us always.
“Just as the Holy Ghost strengthens us against evil, He also gives us the power to discern truth from falsehood. The truth that matters most is verified only by revelation from God. Our human reason and the use of our physical senses will not be enough. We live in a time when even the wisest will be hard-pressed to distinguish truth from clever deception.”
But, in order to recognize the promptings of the Holy Ghost, individuals must learn to understand the language of the Spirit.
“The language of the Spirit is gentle, quiet, uplifting to the heart and soothing to the soul,” said President Thomas S. Monson in his April 1985 general conference address. The language of the Spirit “is not learned from textbooks written by men of letters, nor is it acquired through reading and memorization. The language of the Spirit comes to him who seeks with all his heart to know God and to keep His divine commandments. Proficiency in this language permits one to breach barriers, overcome obstacles, and touch the human heart.”
Learning to understand the language of the Spirit takes work, dedication and a willingness to follow the commandments. As a person learns to do those things, they are protected, taught and on the path back to their Heavenly Father.
Every Sunday, millions of Church members gather around the world to worship and partake of the sacrament. In the sacramental prayers, Heavenly Father promises His children, “That they may always have his Spirit to be with them” (Doctrine and Covenants 20:77) as they take upon themselves the name of Christ.
“As we pursue the journey of life, let us learn the language of the Spirit,” President Monson said in the 1985 address. “May we remember and respond to the Master’s gentle invitation: ‘Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him.’ This is the language of the Spirit. He spoke it. He taught it. He lived it. May each of us do likewise.”