My Farewell Talk
For those who may be unfamiliar with the holy ghost, we believe that he is the third member of the godhead next to and separate from Jesus Christ and God, our heavenly father. He is a spirit who can reside with us at all times and in all things.
Now, I love this topic for my farewell address because the influence of the holy ghost in my life is exactly how I am here standing in front of you all getting ready to ship out to Korea. If I’ve learned anything in my 20 years of life, it's to quit guessing the way that my life will pan out. I’m always wrong. Let me tell you, Asia was never a place I had put on my list of places to go. And I told myself many many years ago that I could never learn an Asian language. Not only that I WOULD not learn an asian language by my own free will but that I COULD not. I open up my korean book of mormon and it is a picture book of dashes and circles. There are no words yet.
With that said, I am testifying to you all today that the holy ghost will confirm and show to you the workings of God’s hand in your life …My assignment to serve in Korea is a divine calling. I am also testifying that the holy ghost will teach your spirit what is true, will warn you against what is not, warn you against potential danger, he will guide you in making decisions— big or small— , and he will comfort you when life gets too hard bear.
In the scriptures, we are taught by the prophets and by Jesus Christ that we can experience the “influence” or “power” of the holy ghost simply by being mortals on this earth…The inspired thoughts that pop into our heads, the words that fill our mouth when we can’t think of anything to say, and the little warning that comes suddenly which saves us from an accident for example. BUT under proper authority and after baptism we can be given the “gift” of the holy ghost by the laying on of hands as found in Acts chapter 8. — That’s why I’m going on a mission. I want people to have the opportunity to receive the greatest gift from God- a constant companion and protector because I know how confusing this world is becoming and how hard life can get. I know! And I’ve made it through to this point because when I was 8 years old, I chose to be baptized in Christ’s name and accepted that gift. I live everyday in an attempt to remain worthy of that influence and power.
I was kind of at a loss of what to talk about today concerning the holy ghost since we have heard about him each week of this month by other people. I would hate to stand up here and bore you all to death but as I pondered and searched for some inspiration, I ran across a General Conference talk given in October of 2012.
It is titled “An Unspeakable gift from God” by Craig C Christensen.
I was skimming it, kind of expecting to hear the same old things we know about the holy ghost and to read a nice story or something but what struck me was HOW Elder Christensen talked about the holy ghost. He says, “The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead, and, as such, like God the Father and Jesus Christ, He knows our thoughts and the intents of our hearts.3 The Holy Ghost loves us and wants us to be happy.”
The holy ghost is the spirit just like the one inside me and you. He wants us to be happy. What I am imagining is that he has a personality and maybe a nice spirit haircut. He’s a friend who knows what we like to eat or what our hobbies are. He has only the best interest in mind for us. ** I suppose this really jumped out at me because I thought of the holy ghost as on a different playing field than Jesus and Heavenly Father in terms of how real they are to my mind.
I attended a few firesides (events) at BYU where the speaker would really dive into the scriptures and show us what Jesus’ personality traits were. He was a patient man who liked to take his time and be thorough. He ministers “one by one” as is repeated in the scriptures over and over again. He teaches in parables, a wonderful storyteller. And obviously he is filled from head to toe with love for the sinner (which is actually us all).
Well, if Jesus Christ can have all these characteristics as a member of the Godhead, why wouldn’t the holy ghost?
I know he has got to be a patient man because when I receive a prompting to do something one day, heaven knows I’ll need to get it a handful more times before I listen. **Let it be known, I am nowhere near perfect** . Elder Christensen goes on to say that The holy ghost As a spirit being, has the unique responsibility of being an agent through which personal revelation is received. He works in perfect unity with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, fulfilling many important roles and distinct responsibilities. .. Clearly this shows us that the holy ghost is a good listener and one who has mastered exact obedience. When the Lord wants us to know something, He uses the holy spirit to touch our hearts and connect with our soul in order to deliver an undeniable confirmation of truth.
Elder Christensen says, “The primary purpose of the Holy Ghost is to bear witness of God the Father and of His Son, Jesus Christ,7 and to teach us the truth of all things.8 A sure witness from the Holy Ghost carries far more certainty than a witness from any other source.” What I got from this is that the holy ghost is the most loyal companion, and the most devout missionary out there. I am going on a mission so that I can help teach people the full and restored gospel of Jesus christ because I know how it has helped my life but I won’t really be the one teaching the people in Korea. I may be delivering information to their minds but I will simply be a vessel in which the holy spirit can enter the scene and teach the truth to their very hearts.
When I was really thinking about the holy ghost’s identity, this analogy came into my head and helped me imagine him a little better.
— In a large classroom, we fill the desks as students learning to navigate life. You might consider yourself a front row kind of student, or maybe someone who likes to blend into the middle. I’m sure there are some back row students out here stirring up trouble :) In our classroom, The scriptures are our textbooks. We can read them, parouse them, skim over the chapters; they are words printed on a page there for us to learn.
But God, our loving Heavenly father is the author of those texts. we know that we should study them but On our own, it is difficult to understand the scriptures fully and just reading them when we have some free time is not enough. So in school, Jesus Christ is our teacher. He loves us and assigns us homework (or gives us a commandment) to read from the scriptures each day. HE knows that it will benefit us to feast upon the words and he teaches in a way that can make sense to even the most troubled student. We can raise our hand and ask any question we want at any point during class and Jesus Christ will always answer in the way that he sees fit. He is in charge of the schedule and the future curriculum. He knows when the tests are coming and what the questions will be. He’s not one of those teachers that finds joy in watching his students crumble under the pressure of a pop quiz that is laced with trick questions. Not. At. All. He is a teacher that knows our greatest potential and believes that we can achieve it. The tests he gives can all be answered with simple acts of faith and will be refining to us as individuals.
He takes role every morning and calls out each of our names. But even so, he gives us the freedom to choose whether or not we will answer him and say “present”. He never misses a name. Even if that student hasn’t responded for 15 years, Christ will always remember them and yearn for them.
Well since christ is the teacher, then who could the holy ghost be? He is the personal tutor that sits next to us in class everyday and who goes home with us after school. When we sit down in our desk and are handed a test that seems too difficult to pass, he’s in the desk next to ours with a hand on our shoulder and a tissue at the ready. When we don’t quite understand a concept being taught, we can turn to him and he will let us know what we are missing. He assures us that what we read in the scriptures is true and that Jesus Christ is really our savior. Over the course of the day, he will be whispering to us what we should do or say, when to raise our hand or who to invite to sit with us at lunch. He can tell us who may have gotten made fun of a recess and is in need of a friend. He may even warn you when the class bully is looking to target you that day. He knows what you need and, like Elder Christensen said, he wants us to be happy. He knows our strengths and weaknesses and works with Jesus Christ, our ultimate teacher, to help us develop.
That’s how I imagine the holy ghost working in unity with Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father. I know that there is no way I could continue on in life without my constant companion helping me along the way. It is a leap of faith for me going to Korea and while I am not totally confident in my language learning abilities, because I have felt the confirmation of my assignment through the holy ghost and because I know that this gospel is the greatest message to be delivered on earth, I will go and I will do.
As we spend our time in holy places, we will be worthy of the spirit and his influences. I just went through the temple and received my endowments a few days ago and I can know number the holy temple as a holy place to seek refuge. I urge you all to attend the temple as often as you can and to turn your homes into a holy place.
I will close with a quote by Brigham Young concerning the power of the holy ghost.
“If all the talent, tact, wisdom, and refinement of the world had been combined in one individual, and that person had been sent to me with the Book of Mormon, and had declared in the most exalted of earthly eloquence, the truth of it, undertaking to prove it by his learning and worldly wisdom, it would have been to me like the smoke which arises only to vanish. But when I saw a man without eloquence, or talents for public speaking, who could only just say, ‘I know by the power of the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is true, that Joseph Smith is a prophet of the Lord.’ The Holy Ghost proceeding from that individual illuminates my understanding, and light, glory, and immortality is before me; I am encircled by it, filled with it, and know for myself that the testimony of the man is true.” 2
This gives me comfort because I know I will be that missionary without eloquence and with very simple proficiency in Korean but I will be taking the power of the holy ghost with me. The people I will be sent to teach will know the truth of my message through him and that is all I ask.
I am very excited to become a representative of Jesus Christ and I am very thankful for the support and testimonies that I have heard and witnessed from you all in this past month. On fast sunday a few weeks ago, one of you men stood up and said, “ I am grateful for an institution that allows me to do hard things. And teaches me that when I feel strongly about something, to take action.” That struck me. I am grateful to have the opportunity to conquer my goliath (otherwise known as the Korean language) and to take my strong feelings of gratitude to the Lord and to serve others.