The Holy Ghost (2 Nephi 32)
After encouraging the people to consider baptism in chapter 31, Nephi begins 2 Nephi 32 by asking them to consider what comes next after baptism. If you’re a member of The Church of Jesus Christ, then you know that the very next step after baptism is to receive the Holy Ghost. Whereas the words of Nephi make it sound like the reception of the Holy Ghost may have been a decision to be considered separately at that time, the church today bestows it on you automatically shortly after you are baptized.
Although the Holy Ghost is not considered to be a separate “personage” (such as God the Father and God the Son), it is a portion of the entity known as “God.” Baptisms are performed “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,” so clearly the Holy Ghost is a part of God. Unlike the personages of the Father and the Son, the Holy Ghost is our own personal portion of God that resides within us and influences us to be servants of God.
Just as with baptism, Jesus set the example regarding the Holy Ghost. Right after He was baptized, the Holy Ghost descended in the form of a dove and landed upon Him. Being then filled with the Holy Ghost, Jesus was prepared to go into the wilderness and stand up to the temptations of the devil. When the disciples were concerned about Jesus departing from them, He assured them that another “comforter” would be sent to abide 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
Is the Holy Ghost necessary for us to serve God? Consider the case of Peter, one of the disciples of Jesus. Prior to receiving the Holy Ghost (even after spending three years with Jesus Christ):
- Peter denied knowing Jesus three times, even using foul language the third time to emphasize his claim.
- After Jesus resurrected and ascended to heaven, Peter went right back to what he was doing before he met the Lord (fishing).
After receiving the Holy Ghost on the Day of Pentecost:
- Peter immediately preached a sermon that resulted in the conversion of 3,000 people.
- Peter devoted his life to the gospel of Jesus Christ, leading the early church and eventually giving his life for the Lord.
The only difference between the first version of Peter and the second version of Peter described above is the addition of the Holy Ghost. How much of a difference can it make in our lives? Imagine:
- Receiving direct instruction from God about what to do in a difficult situation
- Being warned by God to steer clear of a potentially dangerous situation
- Speaking the words of the Lord (whether in public or in a private conversation)
- Understanding the Word of God and how it can be applied to everyday life
All of this (and more) is available to us as a result of having the Holy Ghost within us. The Holy Ghost is one of the greatest benefits (in this life) of being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ. Be sure to take advantage of your own personal portion of God — The Holy Ghost!
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.