Companionship of the Holy Ghost

Companionship of the Holy Ghost

Asia Area Leader Message

Elder Fook Chuen Zeno Chow Of the Seventy

It has been almost forty years since I attended my first meeting in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: a baptismal service in which a classmate of mine would be performing a baptism.

It was a cold winter night and a long walk to the Kam Tong Hall from Central in Hong Kong.  I still remember vividly the white ceiling, the wooden wall, and the warm greetings from missionaries standing in the hallway.

I was early and my classmate escorted me down to the basement, where the baptismal font was located and a preparation meeting was being held.

At the end of the preparation meeting, a young elder who conducted the meeting, bore his testimony.  He testified that 'The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true church upon the face of the earth.”

At that very moment, I had a special peaceful feeling enter into my heart.  However, I quickly brushed aside that funny feeling and replaced it with a thought: 'How dare you to say that yours is the only true church when thousands of churches are out there?!'

Shortly after, I was invited to have discussions with the missionaries.  When I arrived at the small meetinghouse in Causeway Bay for my first missionary discussion, I felt like I was returning home even though it was the very first time I had ever set foot in that building.

When I was presented with the hard-to-believe experience of Joseph Smith seeing God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ, a comfortable feeling came over me and I felt that the Joseph Smith story was credible.

I have since always been grateful that my heart was softened as I was investigating the Church and that I was receptive to the Gospel truths.

It wasn’t until years later that I came across the Lord's counsel to Oliver Cowdery, saying:

'Verily, verily, I say unto you, if you desire a further witness, cast your mind upon the night that you cried unto me in your heart, that you might know concerning the truth of these things.  Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?” (D&C 6:22-23)

I finally realized that the peaceful feeling I first felt by the baptismal font, the feeling of coming home when I arrived at the Church building, and the comfort I felt while learning the Joseph Smith story all came from the Holy Ghost who testified to me of the truthfulness of the Gospel.

We all have had the privilege of being touched by the Holy Ghost when searching for truths.  We might not have recognized it immediately, but His power has changed each of our lives.

Near the end of the Lord’s mortal ministry and before His departure to the Garden of Gethsemane, the Lord was concerned regarding the Disciples’ readiness to face the upcoming trials. He assured his disciples that:

“…I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you” (John 14:16-18).

“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. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:26-27).

which is

“…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. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:7-8).

The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead.  Unlike our Heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who have bodies of flesh and bone, the Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit that is able to dwell within us, to lead and guide us in our daily actions.

President Henry B. Eyring reminded us that the Holy Ghost can:

  1. protect us from temptations by making good works “more attractive and temptation less compelling”,
  2. give us power to discern truth from falsehood,
  3. enlighten us with inspiration and personal revelations,
  4. comfort us and give us strength to endure our trials,
  5. help us to “see people and events as God sees them”, and
  6. purify us as we follow His promptings.[1]

Every individual, who has repented of his/her sins and is baptized by an authorized minister of the Lord, will receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost, which gives the remarkable privilege of enjoying the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost.  During this sacred ordinance of confirmation, we are instructed to “receive the Holy Ghost”.

Receiving the Holy Ghost requires active engagement on our part.  As suggested by Elder David A. Bednar, in order to have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, we must have a sincere desire, then live our lives in a way that would invite the Holy Ghost to abide with us, and finally, act according to the impressions from the Holy Ghost.[2]

Our strong desire to have the companionship of the Holy Ghost will motivate us to examine our thoughts, our words, and our habits to see whether there is anything that would be offensive to the Holy Ghost. One of the most appropriate times to examine ourselves is when we prepare to partake of the sacrament each week.  As we partake the sacrament, we promise our Heavenly Father that we “are willing to take upon [us] the name of [Jesus Christ], and always remember him and keep his commandments” (D&C 20:77), which then qualifies us to have the Holy Ghost to always be with us.

Furthermore, we need to make time in our busy schedule to study the scriptures, to pray, to mediate, and to ponder.  These activities will better prepare us to hear the whispering of the Holy Ghost, allowing Him to speak to us in our hearts and in our minds (see D&C 8:2).

As we feel the impressions from the Holy Ghost, we should act on them.  Our compliance with His guidance will bring us even closer to the Holy Ghost.  President Eyring advised us that:

“You can treat those moments of inspiration like the seed of faith that Alma described (see Alma 32:28). Plant each one. You can do that by acting on the prompting you felt. The most valuable inspiration will be for you to know what God would have you do. If it is to pay tithing or to visit a grieving friend, you should do it. Whatever it is, do it. When you demonstrate your willingness to obey, the Spirit will send you more impressions of what God would have you do for Him.”[3]

Elder Bednar assured us that “the Holy Ghost can tarry with us much, if not most, of the time—and certainly the Spirit can be with us more than it is not with us.”[4]

In our seeking and following the impressions of the Holy Ghost, we will gradually become the persons our Heavenly Father wants to us to be.

Although we need to be worthy to have the Holy Ghost as our constant companion, we do not need to be perfect before we can receive His guidance and comfort.  His companionship is a gift of love from our Heavenly Father, let us all receive Him with gladness and a grateful heart.

I testify that God lives, Jesus is the Christ, and the Holy Ghost is our best companion on the journey back to our heavenly home.  In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.  ■

Caption: Elder Fook Chuen Zeno Chow

[1] See Henry B. Eyring, “The Holy Ghost as Your Companion”, Ensign, November 2015, 104-07.

[2] See David A. Bednar, “Receive the Holy Ghost,” Ensign, November 2010, 95-7.

[3] See Henry B. Eyring, “The Holy Ghost as Your Companion,” Ensign, November 2015, 105.

[4] See David A. Bednar, “That We May Always Have His Spirit to Be with Us,” Ensign, May 2006, 30.