Wednesday, February 3, 2016

John Taylor on the blessings of the Holy Ghost in our lives

President John Taylor (1808–1887) was born in England and immigrated to Canada where he and his wife were converted after hearing Parley P. Pratt preach.  He was ordained an apostle in 1838, and became the third president of the Church in 1880, serving until his death in 1887 at age 78.
"Joseph Smith, upwards of forty years ago, said to me: 'Brother Taylor, you have received the Holy Ghost. Now follow the influence of that Spirit, and it will lead you into all truth, until by and by, it will become in you a principle of revelation.' Then he told me never to arise in the morning without bowing before the Lord, and dedicating myself to him during that day.
"Some people treat these things lightly. I do not, because I know that we derive our food, our raiment, and all earthly as well as spiritual blessings from the goodness of God our Heavenly Father.... I have no ideas only as God gives them to me; neither should you. Some people are very persistent in having their own way in carrying out their own peculiar theories. I have no thoughts of that kind, but I have a desire, when anything comes along, to learn the will of God, and then to do it, and to teach my brethren to do it, that we may all grow up unto Christ our living head, that we may be acquainted with correct principles and govern ourselves accordingly."
- John Taylor, October 19, 1881; see JD 22:314, or The Gospel Kingdom, 43-44
Click here to read the full talk

This counsel from Joseph Smith, as reported by President Taylor, is helpful to ponder. He describes a process of spiritual growth. The first step is to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. But that is only the beginning. We must then follow its ongoing influence as it guides us to truth, and eventually becomes "a principle of revelation" in our lives. And perhaps one of the keys to that step-by-step ascent is the counsel he mentions next: start each day with a humble prayer of self-dedication to the Lord.

The second part of the quote helps point out the many blessings that come as we turn to God for help and blessings.  "Learn the will of God, and then... do it." What a clear and simple declaration of faith and commitment!

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