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Spencer W. Kimball 1978

2 Nephi 31: 16

“And now, my beloved brethren, I know by this that unless a man shall endure to the end, in following the example of the Son of the living God, he cannot be saved.”
What does it mean to “endure to the end?” It is to put up with all the difficulties of mortality? Are we simply supposed to overcome boredom, irritation, trials of our patience, and the offenses caused by others? Is that what it means to “endure?”
What about “endure to the end in following the example of the Son of the living God?” Is that something different?

What if you see errors and mistakes all around you? Is it “enduring” to keep your mouth shut?  Do you need to speak up?

What about the changes that have been made or are being made which alarm you? Is it “enduring” to stay silent in the face of things that suggest this is harmful?
When I first went through the Temple, it was the understood and longstanding practice of the Saints to hold prayer circles in their homes, invoking the “True Order of Prayer” as taught in the Temple. President Kimball sent a letter to the Stake Presidents terminating that practice. I have a copy of that letter. It said that prayer circles were no longer to be practiced outside the Temple – by anyone in the church.

Then in 1990 the True Order of Prayer was altered again, with the elimination of penalties. Thereafter the name changed to the “Order of Prayer,” rather than the “True Order of Prayer.”

Those who went through the Temple before 1990 would know about how to conduct a prayer circle involving the True Order of Prayer. But they were instructed not to do so outside the Temple. Those who went through after 1990 would not know how to conduct a True Order of Prayer circle, because they were not instructed in the Temple in anything other than the Order of Prayer.

It was still possible for those who knew the pre-1990 form to communicate the process in the Temple to others. However, recently there has begun a practice of hushing any discussions  seen taking place inside the Celestial Rooms of the Temples.

It is as if those who are in control are opposed to keeping the earlier information, and working to keep it from being preserved by others. Is it “enduring to the end” to watch these changes and say nothing? Or is it “enduring” to actually endure, to preserve, to persevere against opposition and to keep as an enduring feature of the faith, information you received if you went through the Temple before 1990? Does a person who, in all sincerity before God, believes that Isaiah’s prophecy warned against this (Isa. 24: 5), “endure” if he remains silent? Or must he speak up? If so, how and to who? Which is enduring? Which is enduring to the end in following the example of the Son of the Living God? What example did Christ set in relation to this kind of a conflict? Did Christ submit, or resist authority? If He did both, how does one endure while appropriately weighing those things they will submit to, and those things they will resist?

What about Nephi’s warning that you “cannot be saved” if you fail to do the right kind of “enduring” to the end? If salvation itself hinges upon solving this riddle, then how carefully must you weigh what you resist and what you submit to?

It is for this reason we work out our salvation before God as Nephi has explained, acting no hypocrisy, with real intent, having faith in God, but also with fear and trembling. (Mormon 9: 27, also Philip. 2: 12.)

Indeed, God has given us a test worthy of a God. And only those worthy of becoming among the gods will be able to solve the riddle.  Because only they will humble themselves, come with a contrite spirit and broken heart to offer upon the altar a sacrifice worthy of being accepted. Others will proceed in ignorance and arrogance to proudly proclaim: “I know my culture is true!” “I know all is well in Zion!” “I follow a broad and safe mainstream into a great and spacious building where there is peace, pride, success, prosperity and assurance that I am saved while all around me there are those who will be cast down to hell!” Or similar such nonsense… Warmed over Evangelical gibberish, with a vague Mormonesque vocabulary applied to it. Having a form of godliness, but without power. This new form of ungodliness will not be lacking in body, parts and passions, for the image of the idol raised will be the very image of the person looking in the mirror. They will think themselves destined to rule and reign over principalities, dominions, heights, depths and others. They are their own idols! What irony it all invokes! It must make the devil look up to heaven and laugh still. (Moses 7: 26.) Perhaps we ought to see some humor in it as well.  …Or, since we’re speaking of the loss of men’s souls, maybe it can never be humorous.  Only tragedy. Only disappointment. Only foolishness.
Where is the hope? Is there none? Yes, in repentance! Changing our course! Remembering God again! Restoring what has been lost! Returning and repenting! That’s right! And Nephi has invited us to do just that.
So “enduring to the end in following the example of the Son of the living God” is not easy. Even understanding the meaning of these words is challenging. Thank you Nephi. You have proven yet again how prayerful we all must be. Let us, therefore, repent!

2 Nephi 31: 15

“And I heard a voice from the Father, saying: Yea, the words of my Beloved are true and faithful. He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved.”

The dialogue continues. It is clear the conversation being reported by Nephi is one where both the Son and the Father spoke to Nephi, and contributed to the dialogue. A question was posed about whether Nephi heard this in connection with his vision of Christ’s mortal baptism by John the Baptist. He certainly beheld that event. (1 Nephi 11: 27.) However, the testimony and teaching of both the Father and Son regarding baptism, as reported by Nephi in this final sermon, are separate from that event. They are an independent revelation and explanation to Nephi, where both the Father and Son taught the importance of baptism.

We also have the important condition set out of “enduring to the end” as a requisite for salvation. A while ago there was a question about the concept of “enduring to the end” and the Second Comforter. They are directly linked. You cannot have a great season of concentrated effort, followed by abandonment of purpose. If it is in you to abandon the journey, then you will never qualify to receive these blessings. The Lord knows the intent of the heart. The preceding verses describe how the Lord measures the heart. You cannot deceive Him.

The Lord also knows whether it is in you to “endure to the end.” Whether the end has come is irrelevant to Him. He beholds all things, past, present and future. (D&C 130: 7.)  Therefore, He knows if you are willing to “endure to the end” before your life has been lived.

Enduring to the end, or the fixed purpose to always serve God so that you may always have His spirit to be with you, is essential to salvation. You claim this is your determination every time you take the sacrament. (D&C 20: 76-79.) Whether you take this commitment seriously or not determines whether you are destined for salvation or not. It also determines if you are qualified to receive His personal ministry and comfort.
The Father declares: “Yea, the words of my Beloved are true and faithful.” The reason Christ is the Father’s “Beloved” is directly related to His words being “true and faithful.” That is, Christ only does and says what He knows represents the Father’s will. He has done this “from the beginning.” (3 Nephi 11: 11.) He represents the “Word” of the Father because you can find in Christ’s words and deeds the very word of the Father. (D&C 93: 8.)

It is this that qualified Christ to be the Redeemer. His words are faithful and true. So are Nephi’s. The words are the Lord’s though they were delivered by a man.

Nephi, having been true and faithful in all things, was able to converse with the Father and the Son through the veil and receive from them further instruction, counsel, warning, and comfort because of the things he learned. This is the pattern for all of us.  This is the culminating message of the Gospel of Christ.

2 Nephi 31: 14

“But, behold, my beloved brethren, thus came the voice of the Son unto me, saying: After ye have repented of your sins, and witnessed unto the Father that ye are willing to keep my commandments, by the baptism of water, and have received the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, and can speak with a new tongue, yea, even with the tongue of angels, and after this should deny me, it would have been better for you that ye had not known me.”

Nephi first gave us his personal testimony and witness of the principles. Having done so, now he adds the testimony and promise of Christ.  Christ’s promise and covenant are slightly different than Nephi’s formula. But the two are nevertheless in complete harmony.

The “voice of the Son” declares to Nephi, and Nephi testifies to us, that “after ye have repented of you sins” and you have “witnessed unto the Father that ye are willing to keep [Christ’s] commandments” by receiving “baptism of water” and then have received “baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost” you will speak with “a new tongue.”
How can a man speak with a “new tongue?” What does “a new tongue” mean?
Think of Isaiah’s meeting with the Lord in the Temple. He confessed how unworthy his speech had been, and how much regret he felt at having been a man of “unclean lips.” (Isa. 6: 5.) His lips were unclean because of the low, mean, vulgar and unworthy things that occupied daily conversation. Or, as Joseph put it: “How vain and trifling have been our spirits, our conferences, our councils, our meetings, our private as well as public conversations—too low, too mean, too vulgar, too condescending for the dignified characters of the called and chosen of God, according to the purposes of His will, from before the foundation of the world!” (Letter from Liberty Jail.)
To speak with a new tongue is to speak worthily of sacred things. It is to correctly weigh the truth of a matter, know by the power of the Spirit that what is said is true and in conformity with God’s will and then to speak it. It is to render sacred the vessel by the things it holds.
To speak with a new tongue is to be able to speak with the tongue of an angel because you have become an angel; or a companion of angels anyway. It is to elevate your thoughts, and then what proceeds forth from your mouth, because of what is in your thoughts. It is to reveal truth by the things you are authorized or commissioned to speak. It is to have a right to speak in the name of the Lord by His consent, His authority, His will. It is to “know, nothing doubting” that He is your Lord. (Ether 3: 19.) It is to say, without hypocrisy, without guile, without hesitation and in truth, that the power of salvation is found in Christ and that you are His. That He has entrusted to you words of life, and that salvation can be found only in Him and His words. It is to have the Word of God within you.

Can an angel fall from grace? Only by being  cast out of heaven. (2 Nephi 2: 17.) When an angel falls he becomes a devil. For these it would be better if they had never known Christ, for they have decided to crucify Him anew. Because after having had the Holy Spirit make great things known unto them they have turned  against the Lord by their knowing rebellion against Him. (D&C 76: 35.) They are sons of perdition, and the heavens weep over them. (D&C 76: 26, 31-32.) These are they who know the battle is and always has been the Lord’s, and they either align themselves with Him or against Him.

You cannot speak with the tongue of angels without having knowledge of certain things given you. The clarity with which you can declare truth is distinct from what others say or claim to know. Light and truth, which is intelligence or the glory of God (D&C 93: 36), is not a mystery but an understood and appreciated experience where darkness has fled and God’s own glory has been upon you. (Moses 1: 11.)
This is what the Gospel of Christ was intended to confer. Not just belief, or faith, but knowledge and understanding. The journey back to God’s presence was always the outcome intended by the Gospel. The Gospel message is and always has been that you should receive further light and knowledge by conversing with the Lord through the veil. Not through an intermediary, but in your own behalf, face to face.
The entirety of the process may be reduced to just a few words: You are intended to receive baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, which purges you from all sin. After being made clean, every whit, which is suggested by “fire” then through the instrumentality of the “Holy Ghost” which dwells within you you may be brought into remembrance of all things.
These then are the words of both Nephi and Christ. They agree. They are the two witnesses of this doctrine and truth. Therefore, it is so.

2 Nephi 31: 13

“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall  follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism—yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel.” 

Now we get the explanation of what it means to “follow Christ.” It is not merely the act itself, but the underlying intent of the act.  To follow Him requires:

-Full purpose of heart. What does that imply or require?

-Acting no hypocrisy. How so?
-No deception before God. Can a man deceive God?
-Real intent. What does “real intent” include?
-Repenting of your sins. How does one repent of their sins?
-Witnessing unto the Father: How do you witness to Him?
-Willing to take upon you the name of Christ. How?

The only way I can think to touch upon Nephi’s meaning is to get personal about this process. It is by how I have lived that I have come to understand Nephi’s meaning.

I remember as the missionaries were teaching me that I came to the conviction that the restoration of the Gospel had indeed happened. It was not a happy thought. I did NOT want to become a Mormon. It seemed like a terrible change to attempt to make, in what was an otherwise content life at the time. As a lifestyle some of it seemed to have merit.  Not drinking, smoking and living a higher moral standard certainly made some sense to me. But the association with Mormons had no appeal to me at the time. I thought them shallow and artificial in many ways, and did not want to become immersed in a society that seemed to be either a pretense, or if not, then living a standard I could never attain.

I reluctantly accepted baptism, not because I wanted to become Mormon, but because I truly believed it was the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. However humiliating it may be to associate with a social group I had practically nothing in common, it was the right thing to do before God. I told God that I was doing this because of Him, and that I doubted I could live these standards, doubted I could be happy among these odd people, that I did not know if they were really sincere, but that I was. I intended to try to leave such sins behind as I understood I was committing, and to attempt to become part of the artificial life-form known as “Mormon.” But I doubted my capacity to continue on to the end. In all this I was absolutely sincere, but completely hopeless about what it would result in over the long run.

I was, in fact, willing to take upon me these obligations as a matter between me and God.  However badly it may turn out between me and other Mormons, I expected that as between me and God it would be better than alright. I thought it would please Him.

So I was baptized.

Oddly, upon baptism things changed. A great deal, in fact. What seemed unlikely for me to be able to do under my own capacity, became almost second-nature. These people who I feared I could never fit in with became my brothers and sisters. It took a surprisingly short time and I found that what I feared most was the lightest of burdens to carry. Associating with other Mormons was delightful. I found that I loved the Mormons and I loved being one of them. It ceased to be “them” and “me” but turned into “us” and “we.”

And, by damn, we are a peculiar lot. We’re the oddest people on the planet. Peculiar doesn’t even begin to capture our quirkiness, phobias, longings, hopes, aspirations, misunderstandings, convictions, genius mixed with stupidity, juxtapositions of truth and error, traditions and deep doctrines. We’re a cacophony, really. But underlying it all is a hope that we are on the right track and a conviction that we’re going to please God even if it requires us to offend Him.

I appreciate the faith restored through Joseph at a whole different level than the one which brought me into the fold. It IS true.  Abidingly and without any failing, the faith restored through Joseph is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The sad truth is, however, that faith has not been preserved as Joseph brought it back.  Even from the time I was baptized in the waning four months of President Lee’s administration until today, the faith has undergone a radical revisionism. Today it isn’t even what President Kimball presided over. It is becoming increasingly altered, bureaucratized, regimented and turning into a religious product managed by an increasingly menacing middle-management which prefers rules and regulations to the Spirit and truth. They manage it as if it is another Fortune 500 company whose product line is religion and religious paraphernalia. The Spirit increasingly withdraws from our councils, our conferences, our private as well as public conversations, because it is grieved, and not many people seem to notice as it does so.

The faith I joined still exists. But it is covered by layers of sediment making it progressively more difficult to breathe life into it. That original faith, the one that attracted me, was always meant to connect the believer to Christ. Directly, and without intermediaries. Each Saint was to be a prophet, because the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy, according to John the Beloved. 

But I began this process “acting no hypocrisy” and I will finish it remaining so. My “real intent” is before God, and the resistance, opposition and criticism of men will not alter that. Indeed, it cannot. As soon as I respect the opinions of men more than the “full purpose of heart” required of me, I cease to be “willing to take upon me the name of Christ.”

I understand Nephi’s words. I live them. I cannot do otherwise at this point. It is for that reason, therefore, that I have been privileged to receive “the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost;” which has permitted me from time to time to “speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel.”  It has not been easy. It is certainly not what I wanted when missionaries interrupted a content life, and introduced this inconvenient faith to a reluctant 19-year old. It was not what I expected when the journey began before baptism, nor what I thought would then follow immediately after I was baptized. I find now, as I survey the altered and altering faith practiced by the Church I belong to, there are increasingly more troubles in living and acting with:

-Full purpose of heart

-Acting no hypocrisy
-No deception before God
-Real intent
-Repenting of my sins
-Witnessing unto the Father
-Willing to take upon me the name of Christ

But that will always remain a matter between the Father, the Lord and myself. Nephi lived these things, too. It was for that reason he understood them and was able to set them out with clarity in writing. Light and truth, which is intelligence, only come as a consequence of living it.

I will never stop being Mormon, nor forsake the faith I have accepted. I love associating with the Saints. I’m also glad to not be a part of leadership. I wouldn’t want the condemnation that accompanies leading these people in the course that we are currently set. It is better to practice the faith as I understand it, explain it to those who care to listen, support those who try to keep my ward family at peace with one another, and raise my children to respect the light and truth.

I am content. More than content, I am filled with joy and hope for what lies ahead for myself and all those who have the testimony of Jesus.

2 Nephi 31: 12

“And also, the voice of the Son came unto me, saying: He that is baptized in my name, to him will the Father give the Holy Ghost, like unto me; wherefore, follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do.”
Notice that immediately following the quote from the Father, Nephi adds a quote from the Son. Here Nephi makes it clear that the Father said to Nephi what is quoted in verse 11, because he adds, “And also, the voice of the Son came unto me, saying…” As soon as the Father stopped speaking, the Son added the comment he now quotes.

This contradicts what is an often referred to Mormon legend. Our legend is that the Father does nothing other than introduce the Son. This comes from a misreading of the Joseph Smith Translation of John 1: 18. This verse is rendered in the JKV as follows: No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”  In the JST is is changed to read: No man hath seen God at any time except he hath borne record of the Son; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”  This is the basis for asserting the Father doesn’t ever speak, apart from introducing and bearing testimony of the Son. It is clearly a false notion, however, as the Father has many quoted words in the Book of Mormon. The fact the myth exists is, once again, evidence of how little we have as a people studied the Book of Mormon.

Well, returning to this verse, we find that the promise of the Holy Ghost is made by the Father! That is, Christ is saying when the Holy Ghost is sent, it is a gift from “the Father.” Indeed it is! The Father of our spirits (Heb. 12: 9) has given us all that spirit which dwells within us. (D&C 130: 22.)
First the Father tells us to be baptized and follow Christ. Then Christ adds to it the plea: If you do that you will receive the Holy Ghost as a gift from the Father. So “follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do.”
How seamless the will of the Father is with the desire of His Son!
How eager are both the Father and the Son for us to come to them!
How consistent is the message we receive from both the Father and the Son!
There is no other record in all scripture that puts together the promises of the Father and the plea of the Son like Nephi has done here!
How great a prophet was Nephi! How trusted and familiar must he have been with both the Father and the Son to be able to deliver this message to us!
Let it sink in. Let it be understood. Then, realize Nephi was a man just like you and I. He suffered, toiled, was rejected, fled and worked in obscurity to follow God against the active opposition of his own brothers. His knowledge and experiences are open to all. If you have not realized before, now you should realize why Nephi forms the bedrock example in The Second Comforter to lay out the process of returning to God’s presence.  Among prophets, Nephi was a pillar of light, whose understanding reached into heaven itself.

Perhaps we should have been giving him more attention for the last 180 years. Well, it’s not too late for you to begin to do so now.

2 Nephi 31: 10-11

2 Nephi 31: 10-11:

“And he said unto the children of men: Follow thou me. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, can we follow Jesus save we shall be willing to keep the commandments of the Father? And the Father said: Repent ye, repent ye, and be baptized in the name of my Beloved Son.”

Notice the “prophetic-perfect” tense, where Nephi speaks of the Lord’s future conduct as if it were in the past. This is what happens when a prophet speaks in prophecy. To the prophet, the events are in the past because he was shown it before writing it.  Although the event has not occurred yet, the prophet remembers it in his mind and to him it is a past event.


This “remembering” the future makes the mind of the prophet akin to the mind of God.


Nephi again addresses his “beloved brethren” in this plea. Can we “follow Jesus” and not keep commandments? Is “be willing to keep the commandments” the same as “keeping the commandments?” Are all commandments to be kept? What about those that create conflict?  How did Christ resolve the conflict between the commandment to do good and honor God on the Sabbath, with the commandment to do no work on the Sabbath? Are some commandments objective and without conflict (like baptism) while others may conflict with each other? Can you keep them all? Do you think you even know them all? How do you resolve conflicts? How do you make up for the wrongs you do in ignorance? (Mosiah 3: 11.)

Notice the quote Nephi reports from “the Father.” Again, Nephi is telling us something about his associations. He says the Father has stated: “Repent ye, repent ye, and be baptized in the name of my Beloved Son.” You can search all the scriptures and you will find this quote appears in this one place. Nephi is quoting the Father. Where did Nephi get the quote from if it does not otherwise appear in scripture?


What does that tell you about Nephi? What does it tell you about the Father’s view of baptism? What does it tell you about the actions of Christ and the will of the Father? Why does the Father refer to Christ as “my Beloved Son” while speaking of baptism?


With what emotion does the Father express Himself about Christ?  Does that emotion attach to any of those who do as Christ did?  Does it please the Father when we are baptized? Why?


What is God’s work? (Moses 1: 39.) How does baptism relate to this work? How do we “follow Christ” without seeking to do everything He did? Can we do all He did? Why did Joseph say we must go from one exaltation to another? What does Joseph refer to when he explained: “you have got to learn how to be gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all gods have done before you, namely, by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you attain to the resurrection of the dead, and are able to dwell in everlasting burnings, and to sit in glory, as do those who sit enthroned in everlasting power.”  (King Follett Discourse.) This was long after Joseph received the Vision of the Three Degrees of Glory found in Section 76. Section 76 was received February 16, 1832 while the King Follett Discourse was given April 7, 1844. Remember that all of what was seen in the vision was not recorded by Joseph: “But great and marvelous are the works of the Lord, and the mysteries of his kingdom which he showed unto us, which surpass all understanding in glory, and in might, and in dominion;  Which he commanded us we should not write while we were yet in the Spirit, and are not lawful forman to utter.” (D&C 76: 114-115.) Why would some things be known to a prophet but “not lawful” for him to reveal to others?

What does the idea of “following Christ” imply, if it were taken to its fullest extent? Why would that require someone to go “from one small degree to another?” What would be involved for someone to pass “from exaltation to exaltation,” as Joseph mentions in this discourse in April, 1844? How fully must we follow Christ?


If it is God’s work to bring to pass immortality and eternal life for His children, then must God work out salvation for His children to confer upon them immortality and eternal life? If another becomes “like God” will they undertake the same work?  Will it require the same price to be paid? Is there another way?

Discoveries in Chiasmus

2 Nephi 31: 8-9

2 Nephi 31: 8-9:

“Wherefore, after he was baptized with water the Holy Ghost descended upon him in the form of a dove.  And again, it showeth unto the children of men the straitness of the path, and the narrowness of the gate, by which they should enter, he having set the example before them.”
 
This is an interesting cause-and-effect. Once Christ was baptized, “the Holy Ghost descended upon Him” as a result of the baptism. Now, true enough an ordinance was instituted by which hands are laid upon a person, post-baptism, where the “gift of the Holy Ghost” is bestowed. This practice was instituted by Christ. (Acts 8: 14-17.) However, in the case of Christ’s own baptism, no hands were put upon Him. He was baptized. The Holy Ghost descended upon Him.

It is clear that baptism is a gate through which all must pass.  Immediately after the ordinance, the Holy Ghost must become the companion of those who are redeemed.

Christ set the example. We are obligated to follow the example.

Receiving baptism without also receiving the Spirit renders the event incomplete. Nephi will explain the essential nature of the Holy Ghost in the redemption process in a few more verses. It is clear that the Holy Ghost is the instrumentality by which redemption itself comes. The Spirit is the guide which will lead back to the Lord’s presence. Without the guide, the doctrine of Christ is incomplete.

The water is something that we must pass through to keep the law.  It is the companionship of the Spirit which makes you justified, by leading you to do what is right. It is the resulting application of Christ’s blood on your behalf that will sanctify you. (Moses 6: 60.) You cannot receive sanctification without first receiving baptism and then also the Holy Ghost.

 
 If there is no other way, and all must comply, then the way is both “strait” and “narrow.”

Christ’s example is the only one for us to follow to obtain hope for our own salvation. He is the “prototype of the saved man” (Lecture 7, Lectures on Faith, paragraph 9). If it was necessary for Him, it is the more necessary for us.

Baptism is one thing, accepting the Holy Ghost is another. The one is objective, and openly visible when the act happens. The other is internal, involving welcoming a member of the Godhead into your life.

I remember kneeling on an Atlantic beach in the cool sand at the setting of the sun on the day of my baptism. The Atlantic is cold in September, and I was chilled from the ordinance, still wet while kneeling, and shivering as the elders began the ordinance.  When, however, they said: “receive the Holy Ghost” I remember becoming warm, beginning at my scalp and flowing downward until my entire body was warm and calm. It was palpable. It was physical. To me the experience was no less dramatic than the descent of the Holy Ghost “in the form of a dove” on the day of Christ’s baptism. It was every bit as objective, as physical and as memorable as any other distinct event in my life.

More importantly, I began to experience the fruits of that event immediately. What followed for me, within the hour of my baptism, was akin to what Joseph and Oliver experienced. (JS-H 1: 73.)  Within days I found also that the scriptures began to have far more distinct and clear meaning than ever before, again just as Joseph and Oliver found. (JS-H 1: 74.)

It was clear to me that the Holy Ghost imparts something altogether more significant than what I alone could do, understand, or accomplish. It expanded capacity, enlightened and informed the mind, and led to understanding things which were unknown and unknowable before.

This process is not just mandatory. It is a far superior way to experience life than to live alone, without God in the world.  (Alma 41: 11.) It is a blessing, a gift. The “gift of the Holy Ghost” is, without question, the great “gift” coming from God to aid us in our return to Him.