Helping those who don’t understand the Holy Ghost (Joseph Fielding Smith manual, Lesson 14)


I get to teach the lesson on the Holy Ghost this Sunday in our ward Relief Society. I’m really looking forward to this chance to teach. I learned from last month to narrow in on a specific part of the lesson early on, and also that handouts with the quotations really help to keep everyone involved. So my plan is to focus on just sections 4 and 5, with a little of 6 put in between.

The focus of these parts is how to receive light and truth from the Holy Ghost, and why it is that many, many members do not receive light and truth. And, from what I gather, he sees many members not realizing that they are not receiving understanding from the Spirit. And, further, these members are the ones who become weak and easily deceived out of the Church. What he describes is what I think we see going on right now in the Church: there are many people who are leaving not because they have committed great sin, but because they don’t have the understanding they should have. I am hoping we can have a very nice discussion about that and what we can do to help others see the potential they have and are missing out on to receive light and truth.

Here is an example:

It is my judgment that there are many members of this Church who have been baptized for the remission of their sins, and who have had hands laid upon their heads for the gift of the Holy Ghost, but who have never received that gift—that is, the manifestations of it. Why? Because they have never put themselves in order to receive these manifestations. They have never humbled themselves. They have never taken the steps that would prepare them for the companionship of the Holy Ghost. Therefore, they go through life without that knowledge; they are lacking in understanding. When those who are cunning and crafty in their deceit come to them criticizing the authorities of the Church and the doctrines of the Church, these weak members do not have understanding enough, information enough, and enough of the guidance of the Spirit of the Lord to resist false doctrines and teachings. They listen and think that perhaps they have made a mistake, and the first thing you know they find their way out of the Church, because they do not have understanding.

What I’m gathering is that it’s almost not their fault that they leave the Church. They do not have understanding to realize what they are doing. And that’s what I’m seeing often around me. There are many who can’t seem to see what they are doing. They have reasons and seem to think they are following a moral, ethical path, but they seem to missing so much understanding of the gospel, scriptures, the Church, etc. It’s hard to know how to help them because there is so much that they are missing. But if I were to say that, I would just offend them. The problem and the solution are not coming here at the moment of leaving the Church, but they began way back at the beginning, when this person was baptized.

So, the question: how do we receive spiritual wisdom, understanding, light and truth? And how do we encourage others to want to receive it, too?

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