What is the Holy Ghost? For me, at least, this has been one of the most elusive mysteries of doctrinal religion; even of mystical religion and spirituality.
At various times, in various traditions and through various interpretations, I have heard the Holy Ghost described as:
- A divine being without a body, enabling it to be manifest in all places at all times
- A member of the trinity, one with the Godhead, but somehow separate.
- A source of inspiration, truth, guidance, and correction accessible to all, but more easily accessible to those who have received it’s gift through the LDS ordinance of confirmation.
- Synonymous with the “Holy Spirit”, the communicative manifestation of the mind of God.
- The Spirit of Truth
- The Holy Spirit of Promise
There are certainly other definitions and understandings from different traditions, mostly variations of these general beliefs, but I make no claim to have covered them all, and that is not the point of the post.
Similarly, I make no claim to have exclusively or uniquely discovered the truth of the nature of the Holy Ghost. However, a friend asked me today what my thoughts were, and I found that, over the last year or so, I had developed an understanding that makes sense to me, and that I would like to offer for your consideration.
In this understanding, I perceive:
- Truth exists; truth of things as they were, as they are, and as they shall be.
- This truth could be described as the mind of God. I personally do define truth as the Mind of God.
- This truth, then…this mind of God, is the Holy Ghost.
- This truth is accessible to all of us, at all times, in all places.
- Since we are creations of the mind of God, and thus manifestations of the mind of God; since we are each a component of truth; of things as they were, as they are, and as they shall be; then we are part of the mind of God, and He part of us. Thus, the Holy Ghost is, in a sense, our higher self…our divine self; even the “perfect” self that Christ counseled us to become when He said, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as I am”.
So, this Holy Ghost, this Spirit of Truth, is accessible to us all, all the time, and is equivalent to the mind of God. Therefore, we each have access to the mind of God. There are no conditions on its availability to us.
However, there are aspects of our existence that prevent us from accessing this truth – the mind of God…the Holy Ghost. I have spoken of these multiple times before. When we indulge in the following, we are blocked from accessing this Spirit of Truth, this Holy Ghost, this Mind of God:
- The 4 C’s of the fall – Comparison, Competition; Contention, Control
- Jealousies and Fears
- Judgment and guilt
- Belief in hierarchies of value, worthiness, and righteousness.
- Trust in the arm of flesh
Interestingly, there are characteristics of how we experience the Holy Ghost that lend themselves to some of these traditional beliefs about its accessibility:
Our access to the Holy Ghost is rare, but not impossible, when we are fully immersed in our fallen condition. The veil is thick. We don’t even recognize that it is there. We think our reality is just that…reality. Our desire for truth is dormant.
However, when we begin seeking truth with greater desire and resolve, and thus begin to shed some of the burdensome characteristics mentioned above, our access to this Spirit of Truth becomes easier and more frequent. The veil of our reliance upon the Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil becomes a little thinner. This desire could be, and often is, symbolized by the ordinance of baptism.
As we further distance ourselves from these trappings of the fall, the veil – and our separation from the Mind of God becomes gradually thinner and thinner, and we gain greater and great access to the Spirit of Truth – the Holy Ghost. Revelation comes easier. A sense of peace with who we are, and with the decisions that we make increases. We begin to recognize inspiration that comes more and more freely throughout our daily lives. This stage of our ascension is often, but not exclusively, equated with the Baptism of Fire and (ironically) the Holy Ghost.
Ultimately, the time may come when we are “redeemed” from the fall. We have stripped ourselves of jealousies and fears. We no longer carry the burden of the spirit of contention, or the desire to control others. Judgment and guilt lose their place in our thought processes. The veil has become extremely thin, and our will is essentially aligned with the will of God; our mind virtually one with the mind of God.
Joseph Smith defined this state quite beautifully in His great revelation from Liberty Jail:
Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.
The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.
So, in summary, my perception of the Holy Ghost is as follows:
- The Holy Ghost is you and me. It is also God, and thus a member of “the Godhead”. It is creation. It is truth and light.
- The Holy Ghost exists. It simply is. It is its own I AM.
- The Holy Ghost is, of itself, passive. There is no need for it to be otherwise, since it is as eternal and as infinite as all truth.
- The Holy Ghost is the entirety of truth, the entirety of creation. There is no truth, no existence, that exists independent of the Holy Ghost, or the Spirit of Truth. It encompasses, and is encompassed by, all things.
- The Holy Ghost is available to us all. All the time. Completely.
- We, and we alone, are responsible for the perception that the Holy Ghost is elusive, or only available to some, under some circumstances; or that its availability is somehow tied to our “worthiness”.
- We, and we alone, control the veil of separation that separates us from truth; from light; from the Holy Ghost; from God.
The Holy Ghost (as the spirit of truth and the mind of God), God Himself, Jesus the Christ – this great Godhead – awaits us with infinite love and infinite patience. It would be against their nature to do otherwise. When we heal the separation by first recognizing and then abandoning the trappings of the fall; when we discover our true nature, the nature of our creation and of all creation; the mystery the Holy Ghost will no longer be a mystery. We will be one with it, and it with us. It will simply be truth…and light…and love.