Thursday, December 9, 2021

Elder LeGrand Richards on the sacred gift of the Holy Ghost

Elder LeGrand Richards (1886-1983) served as the Presiding Bishop of the Church from 1938-1952, when he was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles.  He died in 1983 at age 96.
"I humbly pray that the Spirit of the Lord will sustain me while I address you here this afternoon and discuss with you a statement of the Prophet Joseph Smith when he visited President [Martin] Van Buren, president of the United States. The President asked the Prophet what difference there was between the Prophet’s church and the other churches of the world. The Prophet answered: 'We have the correct mode of baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands.' Then he said: 'We considered that all other considerations were contained in the gift of the Holy Ghost'” (see History of the Church, 4:42).
"I would just like to mention a few things that occurred to me that we have by virtue of the Holy Ghost, which each of us, as members of the Church, receives by the laying on of hands by one who has the authority to thus administer that gift.
"To me, the gift of the Holy Ghost is as important to man as sunshine and water are to the plants. You take them away, and the plants would die. You take the Holy Ghost out of this Church, and this Church would not be any different than any other church. And it is manifest in so many ways in the lives and the devotion of the members of the Church."
- LeGrand Richards, "The Gift of the Holy Ghost," General Conference October 1979
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

Understanding the role and function of the Holy Ghost, and having the Priesthood keys to confer that gift on worthy members, is truly a distinguishing feature of Latter-day Saint doctrine. Elder Richards shares his witness of the sacred nature of that gift and its importance to our spiritual progress:

Perhaps we take for granted how important that gift is for us, and how critical it is for our growth and progress in this life. Elder Richards expresses that there is no life without it. And all you have to do is look at "the lives and devotion of the members of the Church" to understand how vitalizing and motivating it is.

We truly need to carefully cultivate the gift of the Holy Ghost in our personal lives, providing the water and sunlight that will sustain growth. Those things represent, of course, the spiritual nourishment that must be a part of our daily lives. It doesn't do to water a plant once in a while, or to provide sunlight on occasion; true growth requires steady, ongoing supplies.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2021)
February 7, 2018

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