Hey, guys! You all remember Hannah, right? Hannah was one of my young women friends who wrote for me about The Family Proclamation back in September. (You can re-read her post here.)
Well, Hannah was baptized Saturday night, and we got to be there to celebrate and witness her great covenant-making evening! She looked radiant and full of joy and the Holy Ghost (which also happens to be the topic she asked me to speak on at her baptism.)
Hannah and Me by the font.
Hannah & her "foster" Mama Donnelly
Hannah & Scarlett
The elders who gave her lessons (although Hannah has been in YW for two years now and really knows her stuff!)
Here are some of the things that I shared with Hannah that night...more of a few suggestions and counsel than a talk. We all love this girl so much...she is so talented. She'll leave for college this summer and be off to start her new life as a young adult!
Hannah, you have just been baptized, which means that you have chosen to take the name of Jesus Christ upon you and to serve Him and obey His commandments until the end of your life and beyond.
In return, He is prepared to offer you a gift, which you will choose each day to accept! It is the greatest gift and greatest companion that you can have in this lifetime. It is the gift of the Holy Ghost.
By now, you have felt the influence of the Holy Ghost, haven’t you? You felt it that day outside of the temple when you were helping a friend find his way to Christ. You have felt it as you have born your testimony. You have felt it as you’ve prayed and felt answers to your prayers. You have felt it just a few minutes ago as you entered the waters of baptism, and I’m going to guess that you are feeling it now.
In contrast, you (and most of us) have felt what it feels like to not feel the Holy Ghost. It is easy to feel alone in this world. It is easy to get bad advice in this world. It is hard sometimes to know who to trust and who will point you in the right direction.
That is why, now that you have entered the waters of baptism and covenanted with God, He wants so much to give you this great gift…a gift which can guarantee that you will never again walk alone in this life, no matter what you face.
Hannah, He loves you THAT MUCH!
The Holy Ghost is a member of the Godhead. So when you invite Him into your life, you are inviting a very powerful person to aid you.
Here are some things that the Holy Ghost will do for you, if you let him:
He will guide and direct you.
He will comfort you.
He will remind you of things you already know.
He will teach you.
He will reveal things to you that you need to know.
He will keep you safe.
He will lead you to Christ.
He will warm and speak peace to your heart.
He will multiply your talents and help you use them wisely.
He will help you know where and who to serve.
He will help you understand things about Heavenly Father.
He will help you to understand how much Heavenly Father loves you and knows you.
He will help you to know when you need to repent and when you have been forgiven.
He will help you make the changes we all need to make to enter back into the presence of our Heavenly Father.
He will lead you to the temple.
He will help you to find an eternal companion.
He will always be there for you…
Recognizing the Influence of the Holy Ghost
The Holy Ghost usually communicates with us quietly. His influence is often referred to as a “still small voice”. President Boyd K. Packer explained: “The Holy Ghost speaks with a voice that you more than you … " Each of us needs to practice feeling that voice and feel our way back to our Heavenly Father.
This is a big day. I hope that you will remember it always, but if there are things that you forget, don’t worry, you will soon have the Holy Ghost as your companion always. Develop a relationship with Him and he will remind you of the special testimony that you carry when you need to be reminded most.
Hannah, I know that the Holy Ghost is real. He is a real person. He isn’t just a wishful thought. He is a real person with real power. I know this because I have felt his presence in a way that is so real I thought I might reach out and touch Him. I testify that He will lead you back to Christ and to your Heavenly Home!
Here are a few ways that I’d suggest to you Hannah to build that testimony of and relationship with the Holy Ghost and in turn to build your relationship with Jesus Christ:
1. Write down the way you feel today and record, re-read and ponder special experiences you have and special promptings you receive through the Holy Ghost. Write them down. Keep them close to your heart. PONDER them often. Don’t get distracted by the world and neglect to do these things.
2. Read your scriptures with a hunger and a need to know and understand and you will feel Him close to you.
3. Pray with that same hunger so that He knows that you are serious about communicating with our Heavenly Father. Listen for answers. Pray all of the time in your heart and He will answer you.
4. Take the sacrament every week without fail.
5. Listen to the Prophets and what they teach and align your life with their teachings. If you do this, you will always be happy.
6. Obey quickly, fearlessly, and joyfully and know that as a disciple of Jesus Christ, great blessings await you every day.
7. Go to the temple. Make every choice you make from here on out a choice that will lead you to the temple sooner than later.
8. Listen to good music and partake of good media and activities that will only increase the influence of the Holy Ghost in your life. And use your voice (Hannah is a great singer) to testify to others of Christ.
9. Keep practicing. Learning to listen to the Holy Ghost can take time and patience and persistence, but it is wonderful and it is worth it.
This is how you accept this precious gift which Heavenly Father wants to now bestow upon you. Hannah, He has already blessed you with so many beautiful talents. He is gathering you in today as His choice daughter. He loves you and all of us here love you and will always be here for you!
In the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
There were a few personal messages that I sort of ad-libbed in the moment, like how getting the Gift of the Holy Ghost will be the best gift she got this season and how she can open it anew each day. I also said that in this church there is always a "next thing". We are always progressing and receiving the Holy Ghost is her next thing...then going to the temple.
Anywho, I'm sharing this more for Hannah, in case she ever needs to look back on bits of her special day some day. Love you, Hannah! Thanks for letting me be there to participate in your wonderful night! My children really enjoyed it as well!