Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Holy Ghost vs. The Holy Spirit

I was asked this question:
Can you comment on the Holy Ghost vs. The Holy Spirit and who Jesus is and who the Father is, etc...  Also, is it possible that Jesus is the same Spirit as the Holy Ghost? Moses 5:9
This is fraught with debatable language in the scriptures.  There are those who will absolutely disagree with what I have to say.  I can explain how I have sorted it out to my understanding, but you should recognize that there are others who would take a different view of the scriptures and of the definition of these roles of the Godhead.
First the clarification:  
The Holy Ghost is a personage.  It is an individual.  It is a Spirit that will dwell inside you.  (D&C 130: 22.)
The Holy Spirit is the power of God which fills the immensity of space.  (D&C 88: 12-13.)
Now the problem:
Sometimes the Holy Spirit is called the "Light of Christ" rather than the Holy Spirit.  (D&C 88: 7-11.)
Sometimes the Holy Ghost is called the Holy Spirit. (Luke 11: 13.)
Whether you are reading something about the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost is something that must be determined by the context, not the language used.
The relationship between the Holy Spirit or Light of Christ and every living thing, whether a planet, plant, animal, human or ecosystem is direct, immediate and continual.  They are all borrowing power from the Holy Spirit to live, move breath, remain organized, and do according to their own wills.  (Mosiah 2: 21-25.)  This is the means by which the Holy Ghost, which resides inside of you, receives intelligence from Christ.
The Holy Ghost is the "record of heaven" which lives inside you and that you have lost contact with because of the veil.  It is a personage of spirit who resides inside you, and you must "receive" it after baptism by finally listening to that inner "truth of all things" or "record of the Father and the Son."  (Moses 6: 61, 66.)
The Holy Ghost bears record of the Son.  When the Son speaks to you through the Holy Ghost you hear the words in the first-person.  Hence the Holy Ghost speaking that it "is the Son" in Moses 5: 9.
I'm keeping this short because the more I explain the more questions will arise.  So clarity on this topic is almost invariably related to brevity.


  1. Out of 1 Nephi 11, Here's a phrase I don't understand fully: I was caught away in the Spirit of the Lord. Why did Nephi use the word "in" instead of "by"?

    And then:

    I spake unto him as a man speaketh; for I beheld that he was in the form of a man; yet nevertheless, I knew that it was the Spirit of the Lord; and he spake unto me as a man speaketh with another.

    Who is this talking with Nephi? It seems like he is saying he looked like the form of a man, yet he knew it was something different (a God instead? or was it the "Spirit" of the Lord, and not his form, like a sci-fi hologram projection from outer space?).

    Does this shed light on the topic in this post any about the Holy Ghost?

  2. Being "caught away in the Spirit" is referring to the experience of being moved to another location but going only as a spirit. The event can seem so physical that you are not sure if you have been physically or only spiritually caught away. But you are moved to another location for what you are then shown.

    The personage Nephi saw was Christ, but before His incarnation, when He appeared as a spirit-being. His body was composed of spirit, but looked as the body of a man. This was the same manner in which He appeared to the Brother of Jared when he saw the hand come from behind the veil to touch the stones. The description as a "form of a man" is describing the fact that Jesus Christ was a person, yet God, and appears to the senses as a man in form.

    There are those who have speculated this personage was the Holy Ghost. That is incorrect. It was Jesus Christ.

  3. It appears that there are three preeminent earthly ordinances: baptism, the washing and anointing, and celestial marriage, and that the washing associated with each of these ordinances becomes progressively more refined or precise. The first of these ordinances, baptism, is apparently ratified by the Holy Ghost at the time that one receives the baptism by fire. This suggests to my mind that the next two ordinances can be/should be similarly ratified by a member of the Godhead. One might call the ratification of the washing and anointing the 2nd anointing, and the ratification of celestial marriage the coronation. Should I look for these grand signs of heaven's approbation as I strive to become a son of God- or have I misunderstood the process? Whether you answer this or not I want you to know how grateful I am for your books, this blog, and your startling and wonderful message.

  4. Thanks. How is your body preserved when your spirit is gone? Does the Holy Spirit as described above keep it alive, or is it painful when you return to it? Is it always of necessity a near-death experience? Or is it a more mature and faith-developed understanding/appreciation of dreaming?

  5. So does that apply to Mary being "caught away in the spirit"? (Same wording.) Her physical body was left behind?

  6. The expression in that context is talking about another matter. She was also said to be "overshadowed" by the Holy Ghost, etc. These are various expressions to communicate that the Child she conceived came from God, and not by normal processes involving an earthly father.

    There is also the example of Philip, who was physically moved by the Holy Spirit to another location. This expression involved the direction to move and minister elsewhere, as a result of which he left the eunuch and went elsewhere. There is also the example of Adam's baptism, in which his baptism was done by the "Holy Ghost" carrying him away to the water, putting him under the water, and bringing him back from the water. In that instance Adam's movement was physical, involved submersion into the water beside which the incident took place, and was inspired by the Holy Spirit and direction give him by the Lord.

    There are other examples, but the phrase is descriptive of the inspired movement to a new scene or location in which a revelation or event takes place while the person is "in the spirit." These things seem so physical as to make it impossible to say they are spirit-only events. Paul said repeatedly he did not know if he was in or out of his body when caught up to the third heaven. This was because all feeling, senses, smell, touch, sight, etc. are as if in the body.

    Read Joseph Smith's first vision in the PofGP again, and you will note that "when he came to, he found himself lying on his back." Meaning that he was having an experience with the Father and Son, which took place while "caught away" in the Spirit.

  7. To add to what you have said Denver I think Packer has a fantastic talk which shed a lot of understanding for me when I worked out this topic. It is called "The light of Christ" it appeared in April 2005 church publication. Here is the link

  8. I can't imagine in my wildest dreams that this comment could possibly make it to getting posted, but here goes!

    First of all, I love this blog, your books, and what they put me through. I truly appreciate what you are being asked to do by the Lord and are willing to do. I also appreciate the incredible amount of time Stephanie is taking to run this blog and support your doing it. Thank you both so much.

    (Just an insert into my comment: you mentioned recently in your post called "Awake and Arise" that you had mentioned earlier some profound doctrine about Joseph Smith receiving the sealing power directly from God but that "No one noticed this when I put it up, and no one has asked any questions about this. Therefore it is apparent that none of you have been prepared to receive what this is talking about." I think your thought that "no one noticed" it because no one asked any questions isn't necessarily true. I noticed it, but the truth is -- to me -- receivng the level of power you are talking about with Joseph Smith to have the actual POWER and not just authority to seal, or the power to move mountains and rivers, and the power to receive whatever we ask the Lord for, is part of the same journey as getting through the veil to receive the Second Comforter, having our Callings and Elections made sure, and all other things that are part of that process. (And I did notice that it comes directly from God and not through men or human ordinations.) But what's the point of asking more questions about it? You've written 6 books about it and have this blog, and from what I can tell, your point is more to help us come to the questions than to even try to give us answers. You occasionally answer questions. I mean, this blog is big. But for the most part, realistically, you don't answer them, but rather are -- I believe -- glad we have them, and know that now we can seek the answers from the Lord. Consequently, not asking you questions is not necessarily a sign of missing what you've said.) Having said that, here's my comment about "Holy Ghost vs. The Holy Spirit".

    I'm a CranioSacral therapist, which, among a lot of other things, is a form of energy work. People who work in the energy-work field are exposed to an array of experiences and spiritual phenomenon that are way outside of the "box" of what most Westernized people consider normal and even farther outside of what most Mormons are willing to know about.

    One example of this is that when people are being "worked on", they can go into one of many altered states of consciousness (which they also do under hypnosis), and in such a state they can sometimes make contact with a part of themselves which is often referred to as their "higher self" (it has many names) and which seems to know the answers to all things. In such a state, people can ask questions of this "part of themselves" and find out what is wrong their bodies, for example, and what they need to do to help heal it.

    Your post about the Holy Ghost makes me wonder if it's the Holy Ghost that they are contacting, and maybe even if the Holy Ghost is really our own spirit or the part of our spirit that is connected directly to God. All people seem to have this "higher self" part of themselves, whether they've been baptized and received the Gift of the Holy Ghost or not. Maybe that "gift", however, is the gift of an ability to have a more direct and constant connection with our own spirit that is typically only found in altered states of consciousness.

    I'd love to have you address this, but as I said above, I doubt that you'll feel OK about posting this. Thanks for everything, though.

  9. What questions are we supposed to ask about this topic? I feel so battered with "we are never supposed to know in this life" mentalities. Who is the Holy Ghost? Every idea that feels it is going in the right direction seems to be completely opposite of other ideas that feel right, too. Is that normal? There is never a full satisfaction with the pieces of the puzzle I seem to have and the pieces seem like they belong to different puzzle sets all together. Am I right in assuming this knowledge is an important prize to win, or else it wouldn't be so hard to win the confirmation of it? How can I help others receive it if I don't know what it is fully?

  10. ML1321 has left a new comment on your post "Holy Ghost vs. The Holy Spirit":

    This is perhaps a question for a different post, but your comments regarding the Holy Ghost have pricked my interest. You're aware the Prophet said the following:

    "Everlasting covenant was made between three personages before the organization of this earth, and relates to their dispensation of things to men on the earth; these personages, according to Abraham's record, are called God the first, the Creator; God the second, the Redeemer; and God the third, the witness or Testator." (TPJS, p. 190)

    I don't think this makes a lot of sense given an orthodox view of the Godhead, but it might begin to if you adhere to Brigham's teachings on Adam. I don't see another way around this statement. Thoughts you'd be willing to share?

    (edited and posted by CM)


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