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Friday, July 12, 2013

02. Are You Living Far Beneath Your Privileges?

Note: This is one of a series of posts devoted to the study of D&C 93:1, and the second examining the phrase "calleth on my name".

If you truly want to know God, you need the active assistance of the Holy Ghost to do it the right way.

"We believe that the Holy Ghost, and that holy men in these days speak by the same principle; we believe in its being a comforter and a witness bearer, that it brings things past to our remembrance, leads us into all truth, and shows us of things to come; we believe that 'no man can know that Jesus is the Christ, but by the Holy Ghost.'" (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.243).
Why is the Holy Ghost's influence so critical?  Because the Gift of the Holy Ghost:
"…quickens all the intellectual faculties, increases, enlarges, expands and purifies all the natural passions and affections; and adapts them, by the gift of wisdom, to their lawful use. It inspires, develops, cultivates and matures all the fine-toned sympathies, joys, tastes, kindred feelings, and affections of our nature. It inspires virtue, kindness, goodness, tenderness, gentleness, and charity. It develops beauty of person, form and features. It tends to health, vigor, animation, and social feeling. It invigorates all the faculties of the physical and intellectual man. It strengthens, and gives tone to the nerves. In short, it is, as it were, marrow to the bone, joy to the heart, light to the eyes, music to the ears, and life to the whole being." (Parley P. Pratt, Key to the Science of Theology, 9th ed. [1965], p. 101)
Indeed, the Holy Ghost takes you beyond the superficial:
"The Holy Ghost will teach us, providing perspective about 'things as they really are, and . . . things as they really will be' (Jacob 4:13; D&C 39:6; 75:10). This sense of proportion is needed daily! Not only does He reach mortals in their many niches, but the Holy Spirit 'searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God,' and this must be so because the 'things of the Spirit of God . . . are spiritually discerned' (1 Corinthians 2:10, 14). The Holy Spirit is thus ready, if we are, to take us well beyond being superficial so that we can learn the things of most worth." (Neal A. Maxwell, The Promise of Discipleship, p. 95)
By the power of the Holy Ghost, you may know the truth of all things (Moroni 10:5) -- including being brought back into the presence of God:
"I further testify that I would rather have every person enjoy the Spirit of the Holy Ghost than any other association, for they will be led by that Spirit to light and truth and pure intelligence, which can carry them back into the presence of God." (James E. Faust, "The Gift of the Holy Ghost--A Sure Compass,"Ensign, Apr. 1996, p. 6)

The Sobering Truth

I believe many of us tend to be satisfied, at one point or another, with our relationship with the Holy Ghost.

That's unfortunate, because -- truth be told -- most members live beneath their privileges with regards to the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Brigham Young made a significant statement about our capacity to receive revelation versus the actuality of it happening in our lives. He said,
"There is no doubt, if a person lives according to the revelations given to God's people, he may have the Spirit of God to signify to him His will, and to guide him and direct him in the discharge of his duties, in his temporal as well as his spiritual exercises. I am satisfied however, that in this respect, we live far beneath our privileges" (Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 75). 
In other words, we are all entitled to revelation.  Unfortunately, in most cases, we live far beneath our potential.

I don't think Brother Brigham was just talking about the early saints. Here's a modern-day apostle's update on how many of us are doing:
"The gift of the Holy Ghost truly is one of the greatest blessings available to members of the Church. Actually, many gifts can come from the Holy Ghost. These are needed in every age and dispensation but certainly no less in the commotion-filled last days of the last dispensation. They are likewise needed at every stage and in every situation of life. ... Yet, for different reasons, many of us live far below, or are unaware of, our privileges!" (Neal A. Maxwell, The Promise of Discipleship, pp. 92-93).
In fact, for some -- even those who are members of the Lord's church -- the Gift of the Holy Ghost lies dormant.
"The overall gift of the Holy Ghost truly is one of the greatest blessings available to members of the Church. We all need to stress-for ourselves and for those whom we teach-the vital connection with the gifts of the Holy Ghost. These gifts are vital at every stage of an individual's life and in every situation of life. Members of the Church have received the gift of the Holy Ghost, but in many it lies dormant-somewhat like the ancients who had received the gift but knew it not (see 3 Ne. 9:20)." (Neal A. Maxwell, "The Holy Ghost: Glorifying Christ," Ensign, July 2002, p. 56).
Are you one of those who lives below their privileges with respect to taking full advantage of the Holy Ghost's influence?

If so, what can you do about it?

We'll dive into that one in my next post.

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