The Whisperings of the Spirit

In Chapter 7, The Whisperings of the Spirit, Gordon B. Hinckley teaches, “There is no greater blessing that can come into our lives than the gift of the Holy Ghost.”  While the Holy Ghost can bless and teach anyone, the gift of the Holy Ghost “can come only after proper and authorized baptism and is conferred by the laying on of hands. The gift of the Holy Ghost is the right to have, whenever one is worthy, the companionship of the Holy Ghost.”1  

In the lesson, President Hinckley lists some of the blessings that come from the companionship of the Holy Ghost.  He tells us that the Holy Ghost testifies of truth, guides us, protects us, blesses us, leads us in paths of righteousness and truth, buoys us up, teaches us, comforts us and sustains us. “To obtain this companionship,” he tells us, “we need to ask for it, to live for it, to be loyal to the Lord.” 

Several years ago, David A. Bednar spoke of “the importance of striving in our daily lives to actually receive the Holy Ghost.”2  As we were confirmed members of the Church, the words “Receive the Holy Ghost” were spoken.  Elder Bednar reminds us that those four words “are not a passive pronouncement; rather, they constitute a priesthood injunction – an authoritative admonition to act. … The Holy Ghost does not become operative in our lives merely because hands are placed upon our heads and those four important words are spoken.  As we receive this ordinance, each of us accepts a sacred and ongoing responsibility to desire, to seek, to work and to so live that we indeed ‘receive the Holy Ghost’ and its attendant spiritual gifts.”2  

Henry B. Eyring taught something very similar.  He wants us to “increase [our] desire and [our] determination to claim the gift promised to each of us after we were baptized.  During our confirmation we heard these words: ‘Receive the Holy Ghost.’  From that moment our lives changed forever.  We can, if we live worth of it, have the blessings of the Spirit to be with us not only now and then, but always. … The most valuable inspiration will be for you to know what God would have you do. … Whatever it is, do it.  … As you obey, the impressions of the Spirit will come more frequently, becoming closer and closer to constant companionship.”3

Marion G. Romney once heard President David O. McKay say, “Never fail to respond to the whisperings of the Spirit.  Live so you can receive it, and then have the courage to do as it instructs.”4  The story at the beginning of Chapter 7 is a wonderful example of the responding to the whisperings of the Spirit and shows the blessings that flow from acting on those promptings.  In July of 1992, Gordon B. Hinckley and a few other Church leaders were in Hong Kong looking for a place to build a temple.  With that decision weighing on his mind, President Hinckley went to bed.  In the middle of the night, he had a very sweet experience with the whisperings of the Spirit.  In his journal he recorded, “Something very interesting came to my mind.  I did not hear a voice with my natural ears.  But into my mind there came the voice of the Spirit.  It said, ‘Why are you worried about this?  You have a wonderful piece of property where the mission home and the small chapel stand.  They are in the very heart of Kowloon, in the location with the best transportation.  Build a building of several stories.  It can include a chapel and classrooms on the first two floors and a temple on the top two or three floors.’”  The Hong Kong China Temple was announced a few months later in October 1992 General Conference.

President Hinckley reminds us, “The things of God are understood by the Spirit of God.  That Spirit is real.  I urge each of us to continue to cultivate a heart in tune with the Spirit.  If we do so, our lives will be enriched.  We will feel a kinship with God our Eternal Father.  We will taste a sweetness of joy that can be had in no other way.”

Nearly thirty years ago, James E. Faust taught, “There is a greater need for divine oversight in our lives today than ever before.”  I think it safe to say that the need has increased even more today.  He continued, “By the power and gift of the Holy Ghost, we can know what to do and what not to do to bring happiness and peace in our lives.  …  The gift of the Holy Ghost is available as a sure guide, as the voice of conscience, and as a moral compass.  This guiding compass is personal to each of us.  It is unerring.  It is unfailing.”   He then made this profound statement, “The Holy Ghost is the greatest guarantor of inward peace in our unstable world.”5

President Hinckley said, “How great a blessing it is to have the ministering influence of a member of the Godhead.”  I hope we can each take some time to reflect upon the many blessings that have come into our lives because of the gift of the Holy Ghost.  May we strive daily, as Elder Bednar encouraged, “to actually receive the Holy Ghost.” 


1.  Bible Dictionary

2.  Receive the Holy Ghost – David A. Bednar

3.  The Holy Ghost as Your Companion – Henry B. Eyring

4.  We Need Men of Courage – Marion G. Romney

5.  The Gift of the Holy Ghost – A Sure Compass – James E. Faust

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