The Holy Ghost
Personage of Spirit
The Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit. Unlike the other two
personages of the Godhead, he does not occupy a glorified physical
body; however, he can manifest himself in various ways, including
appearing in the form of a dove (Luke 3:21-22). The Holy Ghost
communicates directly, spirit-to-spirit, with the spirits of men and
women according to their worthiness and his divine will (Acts 13:2
and Acts 15:28).
Spirit of Many Names
There are many names or titles given to the Holy Ghost in the Bible.
They range from the simple, “the Spirit,” to the complex, “the
Spirit of Knowledge and of the Fear of the Lord.” Many of the names
associated with the Holy Ghost incorporate the names of God the
Father and/or Jesus Christ. This naming reflects the divine unity of
the individual members of the Godhead.
The name of a thing can tell much about its character and uses. So
it is with the Holy Ghost.
John 14:26—The Comforter
Romans 8:16—The Spirit
Luke 11:13—The Holy Spirit
Acts 5:9—The Spirit of the Lord
Genesis 1:2—The Spirit of God
John 14:17—The Spirit of Truth
Isaiah 11:2—The Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, the Spirit of
Counsel and Might, and the Spirit of Knowledge and of the Fear of
Isaiah 4:4—The Spirit of Judgment and the Spirit of Burning
Hebrews 10:29—The Spirit of Grace
Ephesians 1:13—The Holy Spirit of Promise
Romans 1:4—The Spirit of Holiness
Romans 8:2—The Spirit of Life
Hebrews 1:9—The Spirit of the Oil of Gladness
Hebrews 9:14—The Eternal Spirit
1 Peter 4:14—The Spirit of Glory and of God
Matthew 10:20—The Spirit of Your Father
Galatians 4:6—The Spirit of His Son
Isaiah 61:1—The Spirit of the Lord God
Romans 8:9—The Spirit of Christ
Before Jesus ascended to his Father, he assured the apostles that
the Holy Ghost (the Spirit of truth) would be sent to them and would
testify of him (John 15:26). The Holy Ghost, who proceeds from the
Father, gave Peter his testimony of Jesus being the Christ (Matthew
16:16-17). While the children of God can witness under the influence
of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ, it is the Holy Ghost
alone that testifies of the divinity of Jesus Christ to the hearts
of men (1 Corinthians 13:3, 11).
The Divine Communicator
The Holy Ghost is the primary channel from which divine
communication flows. The Holy Ghost is the great teacher (John
14:16, 26, Luke 12:12); he reminds men and women of spiritual truths
they have been given (John 14:16); he is the revealer of God’s most
sacred truths (1 Corinthians 2:9-14, Luke 2:25-26); he is the
provider of spiritual power (1 Thessalonians 1:5-6); he witnesses on
behalf of the Father (Hebrews 10:15); he is the provider of the law
(Acts 1:2); and he is the guide and director of the disciples of
Christ (Acts 13:4 and Acts 16:6).
Gift of the Holy Ghost
The Holy Ghost is given to the faithful by those who hold the
priesthood authority to do so (Acts 8:18-20) by the laying on of
hands (Acts 8:15-17). Although the Holy Ghost is given, he must also
be received in faith (Acts 2:38)—even bestowed (or poured) upon
those who are desirous to receive him (Acts 10:45). The gift of the
Holy Ghost manifests its greatest influence when it is a constant
companion to those who allow the Holy Ghost to dwell within them (1
Corinthians 6:19-20) as they live worthily so their body can be a
holy temple for the Holy Ghost (2 Timothy 1:14).
Gifts of the Spirit
With the Holy Ghost as a constant companion, a man or woman can
develop and manifest unique gifts of the Spirit. There are spiritual
gifts without number which include wisdom, knowledge, faith,
healing, the working of miracles, prophecy, discernment, and the
speaking in and interpretation of tongues (1 Corinthians 12:4-10).
Because Satan is the great deceiver, he offers counterfeit gifts of
the spirit that may seem divine in nature, but arise from the powers
of darkness to fool and entrap the children of God to their
destruction (Exodus 7:11-12, 20-22).
The Unforgiveable Sin
Insulting deity, showing a lack of reverence for sacred things, or
falsely claiming to posses the attributes of deity is blasphemy.
Jesus said those who blaspheme against him will be forgiven, but
those who blaspheme against the Holy Ghost will not be forgiven for
all eternity (Matthew 12:31-32). Paul warned that those who know the
truth (are partakers of the Holy Ghost) but rebel against it cannot
be “renew[ed] …again.” (Hebrews 6:4-6).
Personage of the Godhead
The Holy Ghost is one of the three personages (Father, Son, and Holy
Ghost) who constitute the Godhead. He is referred to variously as
the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, the Spirit of the
Lord, or simply the Spirit.
The Holy Ghost is a member of the Godhead (1 John 5:7). He is a
spirit that has the form and likeness of a man. He can be in only
one place at a time, but his influence can be everywhere at the same
time. The Holy Ghost is our Heavenly Father’s messenger and is a
special gift to us. The mission of the Holy Ghost is to bear witness
of the Father and the Son and of the truth of all things (Gospel
Principles [Salt Lake City: Intellectual Reserve, 2009], 32).
Before his departure from the earth, Jesus promised that the Holy
Ghost would come as a comforter to the faithful. The Holy Ghost
testifies of all truth. He gives instruction, divine revelation, and
loving support. He whispers comfort and gives the power to
discernment. He teaches according to the will of Heavenly Father and
guides men and women according to the plan of salvation.
Gift of the Holy Ghost
The Holy Ghost may give guidance and comfort to any man or woman he
chooses; however, the gift of the Holy Ghost, his constant
companionship, is available only to those who have been baptized and
confirmed in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, by the
authority of the priesthood of God. To enjoy the benefits of this
companionship, men and women must exercise faith, live worthily,
maintain a sincere desire to receive guidance, and learn to feel and
heed the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
In the ordinance of confirmation, the gift of the Holy Ghost is
given through the laying on of hands by men who hold the Melchizedek
Priesthood. Confirmation can take place immediately following
baptism, later the same day, or a few days after. The gift of the
Holy Ghost brings peace to the souls of all who accept it. By this
gift, men and women may be granted a new understanding of the deep
things of God and the ability to use the gifts of the Spirit.
Gifts of the Spirit
The Gifts of the Spirit include: The Gift of Tongues; The Gift of
Interpretation of Tongues; The Gift of Translation; The Gift of
Wisdom; The Gift of Knowledge; The Gift of Teaching Wisdom and
Knowledge; The Gift of Knowing That Jesus Christ Is the Son of God;
The Gift of Believing the Testimony of Others; The Gift of Prophecy;
The Gift of Healing; The Gift of Working Miracles; and The Gift of
Faith (Gospel Principles [Salt Lake City: Intellectual
Reserve, 2009], 125-130).
Every man and woman on earth has one or more of these gifts of the
Spirit. It is the duty of human beings to recognize, develop, and
use these gifts while in mortality. Satan has his own imitations of
these gifts, usually exaggerations, and hopes to use these
imitations to deceive the children of God.
See chapter6 in The Biblical Roots of
Mormonism for a more comprehensive explanation, scriptural
references and commentary on the Holy Ghost
See the Sword SeriesTM paper The Holy Ghost for a summary