Definition & Mission of the Holy Ghost
Have class search scriptures (Topical Guide, Gospel Topics, Bible Dictionary) for a definition and mission of the Holy Ghost.
Some key scriptures:
- v. 7 "it is expedient for you that I [Jesus Christ] go away" (prescribed)
- especially v. 13-17
- fruits / feelings of vice & virtue
"counselor" - John 16:8
guides us, tells us to do the things of God; helps us pray - Romans 8
The Holy Ghost won't tell us to do anything contrary to the commandments or will of God. We know when we are feeling the Holy Ghost by the good fruits (see Galatians).
Spend some time discussing various examples.
- Nephi & Laban
- President Monson and other promptings to visit people
- Mission experience to establish area in Belize (Kekchi speaking people)
"Once I had an experience that caused me immense anxiety. It had nothing to do with disobedience or transgression but with a vitally important human relationship. For some time I poured my heart out in urgent prayer. Yet try as I might, I could find no solution, no settling of the powerful stirring within me. I pled for help from that Eternal Father I have come to know and trust completely. I could see no path that would provide the calm that is my blessing generally to enjoy. Sleep overcame me. When I awoke, I was totally at peace. Again I knelt in solemn prayer and asked, “Lord, how is it done?” In my heart, I knew the answer was His love and His concern for me. Such is the power of sincere prayer to a compassionate Father." https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2007/04/using-the-supernal-gift-of-prayer?lang=eng
From the same talk:
"This guidance about prayer given to Oliver Cowdery can also aid you: “Behold, … you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me.
“… You must study it out in your mind; then … ask me if it be right, and if it is right … your bosom shall burn … ; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.”8
Then the answer comes as a feeling with an accompanying conviction. The Savior defines two separate ways: “I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost.”9
Answers to the mind and heart are messages from the Holy Ghost to our spirits. For me, response to the mind is very specific, like dictated words, while response to the heart is generalized, like a feeling to pray more.10
Then the Lord clarifies, “But if [what you propose] be not right you … shall have a stupor of thought.”11 That, for me, is an unsettling, discomforting feeling.
Oliver Cowdery was taught another way in which positive answers come: “Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter?”12 The feeling of peace is the most common confirming witness that I personally experience. When I have been very concerned about an important matter, struggling to resolve it without success, I continued those efforts in faith. Later, an all-pervading peace has come, settling my concerns, as He has promised.
Some misunderstandings about prayer can be clarified by realizing that the scriptures define principles for effective prayer, but they do not assure when a response will be given. Actually, He will reply in one of three ways. First, you can feel the peace, comfort, and assurance that confirm that your decision is right. Or second, you can sense that unsettled feeling, the stupor of thought, indicating that your choice is wrong. Or third—and this is the difficult one—you can feel no response.
What do you do when you have prepared carefully, have prayed fervently, waited a reasonable time for a response, and still do not feel an answer? You may want to express thanks when that occurs, for it is an evidence of His trust. When you are living worthily and your choice is consistent with the Savior’s teachings and you need to act, proceed with trust. As you are sensitive to the promptings of the Spirit, one of two things will certainly occur at the appropriate time: either the stupor of thought will come, indicating an improper choice, or the peace or the burning in the bosom will be felt, confirming that your choice was correct. When you are living righteously and are acting with trust, God will not let you proceed too far without a warning impression if you have made the wrong decision."