As I listened to the talks today on baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost, I was thinking that I had never heard two talks that were the same. The topics are the exact same every time, and really, I haven't ever heard two talks that were the same. Really. Ever. And I have never heard a bad one. They are all inspired.
Nearly a year ago, my youngest child was baptized, and I was lucky enough to be assigned to prepare and present the talk about the Holy Ghost (an assignment which I gave myself because I love this topic, and I write about the Holy Ghost a lot in my Stripling Warrior novels for teens).
Well, I started asking the Google how to write a talk about the Holy Ghost. I read through a few that people had posted online, but nothing seemed right. Hmph. So I thought about it and I prayed about it, and I said to myself, "Misty, you're a writer. Why don't you write one?" So I opened up a blank Word document and started writing down what I new about the Holy Ghost. Almost nothing came from talks I had heard or books I had read or even the words of the prophets. I learned everything I know about the Holy Ghost in quiet moments alone, sitting in church listening to a talk or lesson about something else, during prayer, during difficulties I thought I would never get through.
I'm going to post the talk (I think I might have already posted it back when I gave it...Ruh Roh!), so if you've assigned yourself the talk on the Holy Ghost, you're in luck. You can snitch some ideas. If you've got to give the talk about baptism, you're out of luck. (Just kidding. Start with the Fourth Article of Faith for that one).
I guess you’ve heard that baptism is a covenant. Do you know what a covenant is? It’s a two-way promise. When you get baptized, you promise to be a witness of Christ and take his name upon you. That means to keep his commandments and always remember him.
Well, when you make this promise to Heavenly Father, he promises something back. He promises to give you the gift of the Holy Ghost.
I know that you have already felt the Holy Ghost in your life. I know that when you hear a beautiful primary song, you have a good feeling in your heart. That’s the Holy Ghost. I know that when you do something you know you shouldn’t, such as disobey your parents or fight with a friend or take something that isn’t yours, you have a bad feeling in your heart, and that is the Holy Ghost too. That’s funny, huh? That the Holy Ghost can give you a good feeling or a bad feeling.
The Holy Ghost can do many different things. He can tell you when something is right. He can tell you when something is wrong. He can warn you of a dangerous situation. He can make you feel okay when you’ve been feeling sad. He can help you make the right choices.
But how can he do these things? You can’t see him or touch him or talk to him, and even though we say he speaks with the still small voice, unless it is a very special situation, you can’t really hear him with your ears either. The Holy Ghost has many different ways of communicating with us, and as you grow up and learn and have experiences, you will learn to recognize the ways the Holy Ghost speaks to you.
For example, if I wanted to tell you I love you but I couldn’t use my words, what do you think I might do? I might give you a hug. I might tickle your back or kiss your cheek. I might draw you a picture. I might pull your covers up while you’re sleeping. I might pack your lunchbox with an extra treat or a note. I might take you to church where you can learn about Jesus and the gospel. And all those things would be good and helpful and you would know I love you.
So just like there are many ways I can communicate with you, there are many ways the Holy Ghost can communicate with you too. And the Holy Ghost will have a reason to speak to you. I’ll tell you some of the things the Holy Ghost does.
He comforts us when we are sad or scared. If you are ever sad or scared, you can pray and ask Heavenly Father to send the Holy Ghost to help you. Some people describe this feeling as warmth in the chest or like a big soft blanket around them.
He warns us of danger. This might be a yucky feeling when you aren’t choosing the right. This can be a bad feeling or a feeling of being confused. If you get one of these feelings, you should stop what you’re doing and choose a new path.
He guides us. Sometimes you might have a feeling that you should do something, and if you do, you should do it! As you grow up, you will experience this many times. The more you do what the Holy Ghost tells you, the better you will get at hearing the promptings. And it can take practice to hear him, so don’t be frustrated if you don’t think you do right away.
The Holy Ghost sanctifies us so we can be worthy to return to the presence of the Lord.
And the Holy Ghost helps us to have and build our testimony.
There is one final thing I want to tell you about this special new gift you have. You can take it everywhere with you. Sometimes in your life you will feel alone, but you will not be alone. The Holy Ghost will be with you, and if you are righteous and keep the commandments, if you keep your part of the covenant you’re making today, you will be worthy to have his guidance, and his warnings, and his comfort.