"The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead. He is a personage of spirit, without a body of flesh and bones (see D&C 130:22)," (True to the Faith, p. 81). Futhermore, LDS theology understands the Holy Ghost as a,
- "Spirit Man, or a Spirit Entity. He can be in only one place at one time, and he does not and cannot transform himself into any other form or image than that of the Man whom he is, though his power and influence can be manifest at one and the same time through all immensity... His mission is to perform all of the functions appertaining to the various name-titles which he bears" (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed., p. 359).
- "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that the Holy Ghost is a spirit man, a spirit son of God the Father. It is fundamental Church doctrine that God is the Father of the spirits of all men and women, that Jesus is literally God's Son both in the spirit and in the flesh, and that the Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit separate and distinct from both the Father and the Son. The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Eternal Godhead, and is identified also as the Holy Spirit, Spirit of God, Spirit of the Lord, and the comforter." (Encyclopedia of Mormonism 2:649).
Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit?
LDS typically refer to the third person of the Godhead as the Holy Ghost. Confusion has arised as to whether or not the Holy Ghost and the Holy Spirit are the same thing. Contemporary Mormon theologian Robert Millet does not distinguish the two. While speaking on the third member of the Godhead he simply states, "the Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit is a personage of spirit, a spirit man," (The Mormon Faith, p. 32). Moreover, McConkie also states that the Holy Ghost is to be understood as the "Holy Spirit" (Mormon Doctrine, p. 359). Elsehwere he writes that "Spirit of the Lord" is a synonym for the Holy Ghost as well (p. 752).
The confusion appears to be from the KJV translation of the same Greek word hagios pneuma. The KJV uses both terms in different places, however, again, both are translated from the same Greek word. Althought the LDS religion prefers the term Holy Ghost over Holy Spirit there seems to be nothing in their official proclamations or standard works to suggest that they are not one in the same person (or being).
Attributes and roles
President Joseph F. Smith taught that, "the Holy Ghost as a personage of Spirit can no more be omnipresent in person than can the Father or the Son, but by intelligence, his knowledge, his power and influence, over and through the laws of nature, he is and can be omnipresent throughout all the works of God, (Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed., pp. 61-62).
Furthermore, Mormonism believes the Holy Ghost to be a revelator. "Without the Holy Ghost, we could not know that Jesus is the Christ," (Gospel Principles).
- "I loved it when investigators would say, 'Whenever you elders come over, there's such a different feeling here. And it seems that when you leave, the feeling leaves too.' We heard that often, and we always responded, 'That feeling is the Holy Ghost, and he's telling you that the things we're teaching are good, and right, and true. Would you like to have that feeling all the time? It's called the gift of the Holy Ghost....' When I learned this important principle, that the Spirit converts, I made it my main goal to be worthy so that the Spirit could accompany our teaching. When we were finished with the discussion, we would close with prayer and quickly excuse ourselves. If we stayed too long, and mingled and joked around, the Spirit would slowly leave. I wanted the Spirit to leave at the same time we did, so our investigators would notice the sudden contrast." -John Bytheway, What I Wish I'd Known Before My Mission, pp. 72-73 (ISBN 1573452076)
- "Met with Theological Class Committee and [First] Presidency in lecture work. The subject of 'The Holy Ghost' formed the topic. Pres. [George Q.] Cannon in commenting on the ambiguity existing in our printed works concerning the nature or character of the Holy Ghost expressed his opinion that the Holy Ghost was in reality a person, in the image of the other members of the Godhead,—a man in form and figure: and that what we often speak of as the Holy Ghost is in reality but the power or influence of the Spirit. However the Presidency deemed it wise to say as little as possible on this or other disputed subjects." - James Talmage
- "One of the questions referred to the First Presidency by the Committee was as to the advisability of reprinting the lecture entitled 'The Holy Ghost' which appeared in the 'Juvenile Instructor' soon after its delivery in the theology class of the Church University. I remember that considerable discussion attended the reading of the lecture before the former committee prior to its delivery ... The question hung upon the expediency and wisdom of expressing views as definite as those presented in the lecture regarding the personality of the Holy Ghost when marked ambiguity and differences of opinion appeared in the published writings of our Church authorities on the subject. The lecture was approved as it appeared in the 'Instructor.' I have incorporated it in the prospective book in practically an unaltered form. President [Lorenzo] Snow took the article under advisement today. In conversation Pres. Geo. Q. Cannon supported the view of the distinct personality of the Holy Ghost and stated that he had [here the word "actually" is crossed out] heard the voice of the third member of the Godhead, actually talking to him." - James Talmage, 13 January 1899
Companionship of the Holy Ghost
- "When we are confirmed, we are given the right to the companionship of the Holy Ghost, but it is a right that we must continue to earn through obedience and worthiness." - Joseph B. Wirthlin, “The Unspeakable Gift,” Liahona, May 2003, 26–29
- "The Holy Ghost can be their constant companion only after they have been faithful and after they have received the ordinances of baptism and the laying on of hands by those with proper authority." - Henry B. Eyring, “A Legacy of Testimony,” Ensign, May 1996, 62
- "Our families can be given a gift to know what God would have them do and to learn it in a way that will encourage them to do it. God has provided such a guide. It is the Holy Ghost. We cannot give that to our family members as a companion, but they can earn it. The Holy Ghost can be their constant companion only after they have been faithful and after they have received the ordinances of baptism and the laying on of hands by those with proper authority." - Henry B. Eyring, To Draw Closer to God
- "There is no greater gift that a person can earn and enjoy for himself, in mortality, than the gift of the Holy Ghost, which gift is the right to the constant companionship of that member of the Godhead, and which gift is actually enjoyed only on condition of individual righteousness." - Bruce McConkie, Conference Report, April 1953
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- ↑ http://gospelink.com/next/doc?doc_id=212937&highlight_p=1
- ↑ http://gospelink.com/next/doc?doc_id=221180&highlight_p=1
- True to the Faith, published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2004
- Bruce McConkie, Mormon Doctrine (Bookcraft, 1966)
- Teachings About The Holy Ghost - a list of articles.