The beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are contained in the Articles of Faith. The first article, the core of our beliefs, states, “We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.”
The Holy Ghost is a member of the Godhead, also known as the Comforter. Unlike Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost does not have a body of flesh and bones, but is a “personage of Spirit” (D&C 130:22). The Holy Ghost being a personage therefore cannot be in different places at the same time. When people say that they have felt the Holy Ghost or the Holy Ghost fell upon them, it is not the person that they felt but the Holy Ghost’s influence, power or gifts.
The Holy Ghost witnesses of Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and the truth in all things (1 Corinthians 12:3, Moroni 10:5). When Jesus told His disciples of His death and resurrection, he also told them that when He ascended into heaven, the Holy Ghost would be their guide.
“… It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” (John 16:7)
“… when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
“He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” (John 16:13–14)
This promise from the Lord still stands to this day because the Holy Ghost not only guides prophets or apostles, but also all those who have received the gift of the Holy Ghost upon confirmation as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
A revelation from the Holy Ghost “leaves an indelible impression on [a man’s] soul, one that is not easily erased. It is Spirit speaking to spirit, and it comes with convincing force” (Answers to Gospel Questions, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., 5 vols. [1957–66], 2:151). An impression from the Holy Ghost can be so profound that a man cannot mistake it for anything else.
The prophet Moroni also explains that if we pray, the Holy Ghost can manifest unto us the gospel truths contained in the Book of Mormon, saying, “… when ye shall read these things… I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things” (Moroni 10:3-5).
The constant companionship of the Holy Ghost depends on our righteousness, obedience and sincere invitation. Elder David Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught, “Our invitations for the companionship of the Holy Ghost occur in many ways: through the making and keeping of covenants; by praying sincerely as individuals and families; by searching the scriptures diligently; through strengthening appropriate relationships with family members and friends; by seeking after virtuous thoughts, actions, and language; and by worshipping in our homes, in the holy temple, and at church. Conversely, casualness about or the breaking of covenants and commitments, failing to pray and study the scriptures, and inappropriate thoughts, actions, and language cause the Spirit to withdraw from or to avoid us altogether.”
It is important to note that the Spirit can “withdraw from us” or “avoid us.” This statement is supported by the verse we read in the Book of Genesis where the Lord says, “My spirit shall not always strive with man.” Elder Kevin W. Pearson, a General Authority of the Church, further warned, “If you lose the Spirit, you are lost.”
As we strive to have the companionship of the Holy Ghost in our lives, we will have the power to resist evil and the power to discern truth from deception; we will not wander in a mist of darkness and our desire to live righteously will be increased.