The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead, along with God the Father and the Son, Jesus Christ. Mormons believe the Holy Ghost is a spirit-man, a spirit son of God the Father. Mormons believe that, before this life on earth, all people lived in heaven with our Heavenly Father as spirits He created. We received bodies when we came to earth. The Holy Ghost is a child of God who has yet to receive a body. The Holy Ghost performs an important and necessary role as a member of the Godhead. His role is the confirmer of truth, a conveyor of revelation, and a warning conscience for men.
In Mormonism we believe the Holy Ghost is a separate and distinct member of the Godhead. The three members of the Godhead are united perfectly in purpose. Joseph Smith made a statement that the Godhead is made of three “personages . . . God the first, the Creator; God the second, the Redeemer; and God the third, the witness or Testator” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 190). The Prophet Joseph Smith also taught the nature of the Godhead, which knowledge he obtained through revelation and vision. He said, “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us” (Doctrine and Covenants 130:22).
Mormons believe the Holy Ghost dwells, in a figurative way, in the hearts of righteous disciples of Jesus Christ who are baptized members of the Mormon Church. As long as they remain worthy, the Holy Ghost is their constant companion.
When Jesus Christ came to the earth, He testified of himself. When He left, He reminded his followers that He would send the Holy Ghost to them to comfort and to testify to them.
Mormons follow the counsel to seek for truth and righteousness, and they know that it is through the Holy Ghost that one learns truth. In the New Testament it is recorded, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5). Moroni 10:5 states, “And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.”
Gift of the Holy Ghost
When someone joins the Mormon Church, he is baptized by immersion. Following this baptism he receives the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. This ordinance is performed by a person with priesthood authority. Providing that this person lives a worthy life, the Holy Ghost will be his or her constant companion. Mormons believe the Holy Ghost will not remain with an unworthy person. As a companion, the Holy Ghost performs four functions:
Sanctifier: Because no unclean thing can dwell in a divine presence (1 Nephi 10:21), it is necessary for a person to be cleansed and purified. This is possible through the presence of the Holy Ghost, which allows each person to become new in Christ, and allows his spirit to be reborn. This sanctification is conditioned upon obedience to the commandments of God and a desire to become like Christ.
Revelator: Mormons believe in the spirit of revelation, which is the companionship of the Holy Ghost. The Lord speaks to His children through this spirit. The knowledge one receives by listening to the promptings of the Holy Ghost are necessary to gain salvation. Mormons believe that those who prayerfully seek the Lord and try sincerely to obey His teachings will receive the knowledge they seek. This principle is made clear in 1 Nephi 10:19, which states, “For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost.”
Teacher: Mormons believe spiritual things can only be truly understood when taught by the Spirit. For this reason, members of the Mormon Church try to conduct themselves in such a way that the Spirit will accompany any lessons they teach. The divine duty to teach the truths of salvation belongs to the Holy Ghost. The New Testament records that Jesus was filled with the power of the Holy Ghost (Luke 4:1), and Mormons believe that angels also speak through the power of the Holy Ghost. The importance of this principle is recorded in the Book of Mormon, as the prophet Nephi states, “Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.”
Comforter: Mormons believe the truths of salvation bring comfort and peace. It is the duty of the Holy Ghost to teach these truths, and as one learns and believes, the Holy Ghost will lift burdens, give courage and consolation, strengthen faith and hope, and reveal whatever is needed to those who are blessed with his His companionship (Moses 6:61).
The Holy Ghost is an uplifting source of power for faithful members of the Mormon Church. Mormons reverence this gift and try sincerely to be worthy of the companionship of the Holy Ghost.