Baptism as we know, when performed by one holding authority, washes away sin. We are buried in the depths of water as if dead and come out alive and new. At the very moment we emerge, we are clean every whit, we are new, and as children of our loving Heavenly Father, the goal is to stay as new as possible, even perfect, from that moment on, and throughout our mortal lives.
We know, however, that this is not possible, for we are human and not perfect. We do ere in our ways, but as the loving Heavenly Father that He is, He has prepared help, and never leaves us comfortless, or in need. There is always a way provided for us to do our very best and to achieve our desired goals.
To help us Father has given us a specific gift. This is not a gift just anyone can receive, this is a gift direct from God and is so special, that it can only be received like baptism, from those with the authority to give it. A worthy priesthood holder must be the one who not only performs baptism, but will also use the laying on of hands that we might receive this gift, as a token of our decision to come unto Christ and accept baptism and make covenants with Father in Heaven.
The gift is the gift of the Holy Ghost, who is a personage, or a spirit, that has been called of God to the specific calling of helping His children. He is a real spirit being that is with us always, in our minds, in our hearts, and in our lives. Its what the world might call our conscience, but as a gift from God he is even stronger and more powerful, and again, he is real.
It's a gift to not take lightly, for it is one of the greatest of all and will be lifesaving in our journeys, providing us with spiritual strength and inspiration, as well as helping us to recognize and understand the truth of all things. He will comfort us in difficult times and guide our decisions large and small as we work to bring ourselves and our families through the trenches of earth’s life to arrive safely back in the arms of God.
This gift is so powerful and so strong, and so real, that it will bring us the feeling of God’s love and we will recognize it and know beyond a doubt that He knows each of us by name, He and His Son Jesus Christ; and this will influence our daily lives in ways we can only begin to imagine.
John 14:26 teaches specifically of this truth stating: “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.”
However, though this is a gift and given freely to everyone upon baptism into His true church, it is conditional. Our ability to enjoy this divine gift depends on our obedience to Gods’ commandments.
The Holy Ghost is just that, holy, and cannot remain with those who do not live according to God’s teachings. If we drift or choose to continue in sin we lose the privilege of his guidance and inspiration. Therefore, it is extremely important from the moment we emerge from the waters of baptism, that we remain clean and pure and always strive to be worthy of his companionship.
Now let me stress the phrase ALWAYS STRIVE. If you are always striving to do our best and to live the gospel, he will never leave us and we WILL be lead. Do we have to be perfect, NO, we cannot. We only must be doing your sincere best and as we grow in the teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ, as we gain knowledge, we will become stronger and stronger and the straight and narrow way laid before us will be a relief to travel and we will find the peace that comes with this gift.
Striving to keep the spirit with us can sometimes be overwhelming and confusing, but remember, we are never left without direction or comfortless. In our desire to keep the Holly Ghost with us, and to live the commandments to the best of our ability, the Sacrament has been provided as a reminder of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The bread is His body and the water is His blood, and as we partake repenting of transgressions, we are promised to have the Holy Ghost continually with us. When we honestly and sincerely partake of the Sacrament each week, repenting daily in our prayers with a focus on the Atonement, we recommit ourselves to Jesus Christ in the same way that we do at baptism and we are then able to move forward in our progression.
As you, my friend, upon your baptism today, or your baptism in the past, are honest and sincere before God, covenanting before Him, I know that you will feel the gift of the Holy Ghost as it is given unto you, and your life will be, not perfect, but will change and your heart will be strengthened.
I testify of the truth of these things, that God our Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ are real, that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is His true church upon the earth today, and that He indeed, knows each of us by name and will never leave us alone. The gift of the Holy Ghost is real, enjoy his company as you come unto the fold and continue life as a child of God.
Author Note: Talk written for Baptism August 2020 adapted for blog audience
References: Gospel Principles