Gospel Principles Lesson #7: The Holy Ghost
–When I began student teaching, I was atrocious at classroom management. Fortunately, my supervising teacher would sit at her desk, which happened to be behind the overhead screen, and whisper suggestions to me. It helped dramatically to have real-time, specific, experienced wisdom and I improved a lot.
–We can have that kind of help in all aspects of our lives if we choose to be sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, which is our topic today.
The Holy Ghost Came to Adam and Eve
–Read Moses 5:1-12.
–For our purposes today of focusing on the Holy Spirit, let’s take v9 as a turning point, since that is when “the Holy Ghost fell upon Adam.”
–What happened _before_ the Spirit fell upon Adam? (Discuss major points in v1-8, emphasizing praying, following commandments, and especially obedience even when the reason for the obedience is not known. Make connections to how we need to also do those things to be prepared to have the Spirit in our lives.)
–Point out that in v9 the immediate effect of the Spirit is an increased testimony of the Savior.
–What happened _after_ the Spirit fell upon Adam? (Discuss major points in v10-12, emphasizing prophesying, reflecting on past experiences, pondering, worship, and teaching. Make connections to how we do these things when we have the Spirit in our lives.)
–Others thoughts on this passage?
Attributes of the Holy Ghost
–President Packer said, “We do not have the words–even the scriptures do not have the words–which perfectly describe the Spirit.” (New Era, 2/10, p3.) I like this because deep theological reflection normally gives me headaches. We know that the Spirit is part of the Godhead, can influence us, and does not have a body. But there is a lot we don’t know.
The Mission of the Holy Ghost
–“The convincing power of the Holy Ghost is so great that there can be no doubt that what He reveals to us is true.” Really? Because of the 100s of times when I think I have been inspired, I can only say that there is absolutely no doubt for a handful of those times. Does that mean the rest were not inspiration?
–Larger issue of what we do when we are not sure if something is inspiration (or is it just me that has that problem?). Discuss.
–From introduction: “As they came to earth, the memory of their heavenly home was taken from them. But our Father did not shut them away from His influence. He sent the Holy Ghost to comfort and help and guide all of His spirit children.” This is interesting to me because the function of the Spirit is often to help us remember (our mortal experiences). Read John 14:26. Thoughts about the role of the Spirit in helping us remember? (Point out that this puts an obligation on us to _learn_ and _experience_ things that we can later remember.)
–What experiences with the Holy Spirit have you had _that are appropriate to share_ that have helped you understand the mission of the Spirit?
–“As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we should make ourselves worthy to receive this special messenger and witness of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.” Thoughts on how we teach new members, children, etc. about how the Spirit can work in their lives?
–D & C 8 is a revelation in response to Oliver Cowdery’s desire to translate. Read v2-3.
–NB heart and mind–be suspicious of just one . . . we are perhaps right to worry that people might do crazy things because they think they are inspired . . . how might we guard against this?
–Elder Holland: “Why would the Lord use example of crossing the Red Sea as the classic example of “the spirit of revelation”?” Discuss.
His answer: revelation “almost always comes in response to a question.” Then “fear almost always plays a destructive, sometimes paralyzing role.” Third: God will provide the means.
Note that I borrowed from Robert Couch’s excellent discussion of this lesson, which you can read here.
 Personally, I don’t think that statement in the manual is completely accurate. I’ve noticed a tendency in this manual to have sentences that serve to summarize a quotation by way of introducing it; this might not be a problematic practice in itself, but there are some cases when the introductory summary goes far beyond what the quotation says, and I think this is one of those cases. But despite its overreaching (or, perhaps, because of it) I think this is a useful statement for discussion. Or maybe I’ve just misunderstood the statement, but I can’t think of any other way to read it that isn’t just a tautology.