The Trump The Newsletter for the Michigan Detroit Mission
January, 2012 through February, 2012 Edition
Elders and Sisters, it is such a great blessing to be united with you in inviting and helping others come unto Christ. As we focus on building “faith unto repentance” (Alma 34: 15-16) and helping individuals and families enter the covenant of baptism, it is important that we recognize the purpose of these steps is for them to receive the Holy Ghost and truly be born again. The Prophet Joseph Smith said:
“You might as well baptize a bag of sand as a man, if not done in view of the remission of sins and getting of the Holy Ghost. Baptism by water is but half a baptism, and is good for nothing without the other half—that is, the baptism of the Holy Ghost.”
It is faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance and baptism that bring us to the point that we can begin to receive the supernal gift of the Holy Ghost.
“For the gate by which you should enter is repentance and baptism by water and then cometh the remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.” (2Ne 31:17, see also D&C 33:11).
To Be Born Again
It is important that we remember the ultimate purpose of the gospel is to change our hearts, to be born again. (see: Mosiah 27:24-27; 5:2-3,7; Alma 5:7,10-14; Helaman 15:7-8; Ezekiel 11:19-20).
President Benson related the following from President David O McKay: “After falling asleep, President McKay beheld in vision something infinitely sublime. He saw a beautiful city, a great concourse of people dressed in white, and the Savior. 'The city, I understood, was his. It was the City Eternal; and the people following him were to abide there in peace and eternal happiness. But who were they? As if the Savior read my thoughts, he answered by pointing to a semicircle that then appeared above them, and on which were written in gold the words: These Are They Who Have Over-come the World-Who Have Truly Been Born Again! When I awoke, it was breaking day.'" President Benson added: "When we awake and are born of God, a new day will break and Zion will be redeemed" (A Witness and A Warning, 65-66).
“Being born again, unlike our physical birth, is more a process than an event. And engaging in that process is the central purpose of mortality” (Elder Christofferson, Ensign, May 2008, emphasis added).
“The purpose of the gospel is . . . to make bad men good and good men better, and to change human nature” (David O McKay, as cited by Elder Bednar; In the Strength of the Lord).
“Our great personal challenge in mortality is to become “a saint through the atonement of Christ” (Elder Kent Richards, April 2011).
The Holy Ghost is the greatest gift we can receive in this life
It is the Holy Ghost that administers the baptism of fire whereby we are truly born again. As we focus on the baptism of water we often fail to recognize (Continued on page 2)
President Holmes’ Message
Being Born Again - Mosiah 27:24-26
and understand the power and blessings of being born of the Spirit. The baptism of water is to bring us to the state that we can receive the baptism of fire, the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost then becomes the vehicle by which we receive every good thing in our lives, including a new heart. This is why the Holy Ghost is the greatest gift we can receive in this life.
“Speaking from the perspective of eternity, eternal life is the greatest of all the gifts of God. But narrowing the perspective to this life only, the gift of the Holy Ghost is the greatest gift a mortal can enjoy” (Bruce R McConkie).
“Nothing in this life is of greater worth than the supernal gift of the Holy Ghost. It is the source of joy, peace, knowledge, strength, love, and every other good thing. With the Atonement, it is the power by which we may be changed and made strong where we are weak. With the priesthood, it is the power by which marriages and families are sealed together eternally. It is the power by which the Lord makes Himself manifest unto those who believe in Him. Every good thing depends on getting and keeping the power of the Holy Ghost in our lives. Everything depends on that” (Elder Lawrence Corbridge: The Way, October 2008).
The Mission of the Holy Ghost
The Holy Ghost is a comforter, a guide, and a sanctifier. A loving Heavenly Father, knowing we were going into a lone and dreary world, would not leave us comfortless but has provided the Holy Ghost to bring peace to our hearts and our homes. He also knew we would need a guide to lead us through “a dark and dreary wilderness”. The Holy Ghost is that guide. (John 14:26; 2 Nephi 32:5)
While we often speak of the Holy Ghost as a guide and comforter, we speak less often of His sanctifying mission and transformative power as He imparts the Holy Spirit. While repentance brings a remission of sins or justification; the Holy Ghost, the baptism of fire, sanctifies us, or purifies us from the effects of sin. (See: 2 Nephi 31:13; John 3:11; 3 Nephi 9:20;11:35; 12:1)
“The Holy Ghost is a Revelator: he is a Sanctifier; he reveals truth, and he cleanses human souls. He is the Spirit of Truth, and his baptism is one of fire; he burns dross and evil out of repentant souls as though by fire” (Bruce R McConkie).
As a result of the cleansing or sanctifying effects of this baptism of fire we are able to receive a greater endowment of the Holy Spirit. That Spirit/light/matter brings with it the attributes of Christ, the divine nature, the fruits of the Spirit. Being thus transformed, we become increasingly like Christ as we receive more and more of the Spirit. (see: Alma 13:28-29; Mosiah 3:19; 5:2-3; Galatians 5:22)
“An intelligent being, in the image of God, possesses every organ, attribute, sense, sympathy, affection, of will, wisdom, love, power and gift, which is possessed by God himself. But these are possessed by man, in his rudimental state, in a subordinate sense of the word. Or, in other words, these attributes are in embryo; and are to be gradually developed. They resemble a bud -- a germ, which gradually develops into bloom, and then, by progress, produces the mature fruit, after its own kind. The gift of the Holy Spirit adapts itself to all these organs or attributes. It 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 develops and invigorates all the faculties of the physical and intellectual man. It strengthens, invigo-rates, 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 (Continued from page 1)
(Continued on page 3)
life to the whole being.” (Parely P. Pratt, Key to the Science of Theology pp. 100-101)
How do we receive the Holy Ghost more abundantly in our lives?
The Gospel or Doctrine of Christ is a repeating process, an eternal round of increasing faith in and knowledge of Jesus Christ, which leads us to recognize our sins and motivates continuing repentance. We then witness that repentance initially in the covenant of baptism and subsequently in the sacrament, and as a result of these ordinances receive a greater endowment of the Spirit (see D&C 84:20-21). Enduring to the end is simply continuing this process of receiving light until the perfect day (D&C 50:24).
This redemptive and exalting process is fueled by continually increasing our faith in Jesus Christ; nothing is more effective at increasing our faith than feasting on the words of Christ. As we feast on the word and our faith increases, our knowledge of God and consequent desire to be one with him grows. This always and naturally leads us to repent; to change our ways, to conform or yield our hearts to him. As we repent we yield our hearts to God, this yielding, entitles us to a greater endowment of the Spirit. The Spirit that is imparted enables us to walk in the more righteous path we just committed to. Thus, we receive grace for grace and grow from grace to grace. This is how we access the grace of Christ or his enabling power that comes to us through the Holy Ghost.
Repentance is the process by which we grow closer and closer to God. Repentance is motivated by knowing more about God and the subsequent desire to be more like him.
The Sacrament is the most frequently repeated ordinance in our gospel lives because it is central to this process. Each week as we renew our covenants in the sacrament, we do so “that [we] may have his Spirit to be with [us].” Or as Christ, talking of the sacrament, promises, He will dwell in us and we in him (John 6:56, see also John 15:1-8).
As the ordinances of the sacrament suggests we need to be patient as we engage in the process of being born again. It is in our daily feasting and daily obedience to the light we receive that we gradually weave a Christ like life. President Benson taught this powerfully when he said:
“We must be careful, as we seek to become more and more godlike, that we do not be-come discouraged and lose hope. Becoming Christ like is a lifetime pursuit and very often involves growth and change that is slow, almost imperceptible. The scriptures record remarkable accounts of men whose lives changed dramatically, in an instant, as it were… But we must be cautious as we discuss these remarkable examples. Though they are real and powerful, they are the exception more than the rule. For every Paul, for every [Alma], and for every King Lamoni, there are hundreds and thousands of people who find the process of repentance much more subtle, much more imperceptible. Day by day they move closer to the Lord, little realizing they are building a godlike life. They live quiet lives of goodness, service, and commitment. They are like the Lamanites, who the Lord said "were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not" (3 Nephi 9:20;Ezra Taft Benson, October 1989).
After Christ had taught His gospel to those in ancient America and his ordained apostles re-taught them, “nothing varying from the words Jesus had spoken,” the greatest desire of their heart was “that the Holy Ghost should be given unto them” (3Nephi 19:6-9). Being taught by the perfect teacher, they had a clear vision of things as they really were and wanted more than anything to have the Holy Ghost. This should set a pattern in our lives, that above all things we desire and seek for the Holy Ghost. As Elder McConkie testified:
“As starving men crave a crust of bread, as choking men thirst for water, so do the righteous yearn for the Holy Ghost.
“There is no price to high…no sacrifice too great, if out of it all we… enjoy the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Bruce McConkie, New Witness for the Articles of Faith).