Nov 26, 2010
This week’s lesson was on God’s greatest gift mankind, the Gift of the Holy Ghost (Chapter 21 in the Gospel Principles book for those who are following along). To be honest this one was a little tough for me, not a lot of stuff to go over in this chapter. The lesson is pretty straight forward and mundane.
I started out by asking brother EQ 1st Counselor if he had been baptized? He answered “yes”. Have you been given the gift of the Holy Ghost? Again he answered “yes”. I then asked him if he ever desired to do evil? Again he answered “yes, I does from time to time”. But why is that so, because the book here tells us that “The Holy Ghost purifies our hearts so we no longer have the desire to do evil.” There was not really any answer so I just went on. So what came first, holiness or the spirit? Let’s step through this:
1. If I am not Mormon and not doing good, I will not be able to feel the HG
2. If I am not Mormon and doing good, I will be able to feel the HG
3. If I am Mormon and not doing good, I will not be able to feel the HG
4. If I am Mormon and doing good, I will be able to feel the HG
This raises the question, what good is it to be Mormon and have the gift of the HG, because all that it takes for me to feel the influence of the HG is to be doing good things.
I then taught the whole lesson manual except the last section and looked at my watch and saw that I had 30 minutes left to fill. I did have a little skeptical question that I was going to throw out there but didn’t want it to dominate the majority of the time, so I asked if the quorum had anything that they wanted to add. I was amazed at how much these guys like to hear themselves speak.
My skeptical question came to me because of this coming Christmas Season. My wife and I are starting to decide what gifts we are going to give to our children. While preparing for this lesson I came upon the title of the last section “One of God’s Greatest Gifts”. This got me thinking, one of the main reasons I don’t give my children everything that they want is due to cost. I asked one member of the EQ who has a teenager that just got her license what she wanted for Christmas and she wanted a car. I asked another what his kids wanted and he said a large Lego set that costs several hundred dollars. I then asked whether or not they would be giving it to them and they said because of cost. I then asked individuals one of the EQ members the following questions:
Does God love Mormons? yes. Does God love Catholics? yes, …Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Arabs, Muslims, the terrorist plotting to kill you next week, the 14 Pakistanis that the US decided needed to die in air strikes late last month, Baptists, and Pentecostals. Each Elder answered yes to each of the groups. One Elder even blurted out “He even loves Atheists and Agnostics!” That one warmed the cockles of my heart, and I got a little teary eyed (not really my eyes nearly burned up from rolling so hard and fast). I then asked how much does it cost God to give the Gift of the Holy Ghost to all his children and not just to Mormons? Why would God withhold one of his greatest gifts from the entire world, especially if it did what the lesson manuals says and “purifies our hearts so we no longer have the desire to do evil” God could eliminate terrorism with one swift world-wide day of Pentecost as he did in Acts (Note that God is still not removing free will, just as brother 1st councilor stated that he still has his desire). It costs God nothing additional (marginal cost, for those financially minded) to give out an additional unit of Holy Ghost which would do so much good in the world.
Bottom line is, I am having trouble seeing the evidence of HG in my life. I have felt what people claim if the HG. I have pondered and prayed and received genuine answers to questions like “is the BoM true” and “is JS a prophet of God”. But looking back I can see how I can also talk myself into believing in what I am feeling is genuine, because I want it to be true. There is no objective measure for the existence of the HG, just like Mr. Sagan’s invisible dragon in the garage.
-Defiantly wearing a non-white shirt
PS, I have a calling update. There is some good news and some bad news. The good news is that with the recent update to the handbook of instructions my job of activities chairperson is being eliminated. The bad news is that they are not going to release me until after the Christmas party.