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M. Catherine Thomas
Friday, July 08 2011

The Light in the Wilderness: Explorations in the Spiritual Life
Chapter 3, Part 1

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11 It is, in fact, the Holy Ghost who administers this holy spirit in Man’s behalf. The use in this chapter of holy spirit, Light of Christ, and even Holy Ghost will sometimes overlap, as they seem to do in scripture also, since they are in essence the same power.

Gifts of Holy Spirit

Manifesting itself in many grades and forms, from high to low, this omnipresent spirit may be compared to a spectrum of light where, as:

  • • as sunlight, it quickens life in the plant kingdom
  • • as the light of instinct, it quickens and governs life among animals, birds, and fish
  • • as the light of Man’s physical functions, it operates to enable respiration, circulation, reproduction, etc.
  • • as the light of human reason, it quickens Man’s intellect, giving him reason and analytical power, judgment, recognition of truth, and a conscience (see 2 Nephi 2:5).

Higher up the scale, holy spirit, as administered by the Holy Ghost, develops godly attributes and powers in Man.12 The gift of the Holy Ghost is a greater quantity of holy spirit, perhaps even a higher form, than could be enjoyed without the laying on of hands for that gift. Conferred through the covenant process, the power of the Holy Ghost opens access to the fullness of Truth. Its functions also include not only the faith to bring things to pass, but also the power by which they are realized; it provides true understanding of scripture, as well as revelations and visions from the eternal world; it bestows myriad gifts of the Spirit; it is the power which enables Priesthood; 13 its enabling power is also known as “grace,” as in Moroni 10:32, which perfecting power flows from the Atonement. This Spirit is that which provides life “more abundantly,” as the Savior promised His disciples (see John 10:10). It is described in scripture both as fire and as water: as a flaming fire, it fills the heart with “that joy which is unspeakable and full of glory” (Helaman 5:44); as living water it fills the Seeker with the mysteries of the kingdom.14

In addition to its activity on the spectrum of life, holy spirit exists throughout the Cosmos as a sort of network and is used by the Holy Ghost “to order things according to the perfect will of God.”15 Through this network God enjoys unimpeded communion with all particles and entities of the infinite micro and macrocosm and sustains the most intimate communication with all Creation. The Psalmist senses the omnipresence of the Great Creator and exclaims with admiration and wonder, “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?” (Psalm 139:7).

Through this spiritual network that connects all the Heavens and Earth, God comprehends and embraces all things; it is the means by which “all things are before him” and “round about him; and he is above all things, and in all things, and is through all things, and is round about all things;” and the way in which “all things are by him, and of him” (D&C 88:41). As a result, He has a perfect knowledge “of things as they are, and as they were,and as they are to come” (D&C 93:24); His perceptions of past, present, and future converge in “one eternal ‘now.’”16

Therefore, one definition of a God might be: One who has obtained full control over all holy spirit, wherever it may be, byvirtue of His perfect obedience to eternal law. Holy spirit composes the very matrix of the Lord’s own being and radiates from Him as the Light of Christ. By this Light or Spirit the Lord sheds His love abroad throughout the spiritual network (see 1 Nephi 11:22; Romans 5:5), consciously extending Himself into all Creation, even moment to moment, to uphold it—and not only into Creation, but into us: “I am the true light that is in you, and you are in me; otherwise ye could not abound” (D&C 88:50).

Yet, He is little perceived. Man walks about in the midst of heavenly forces unaware; he does not know that his ability to move or think or breathe comes to him through the Spirit of Jesus Christ, that “God … has created you, and has kept and preserved you, … and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another” (Mosiah 2:20–21). Man’s life, wholly beyond his power to create, is sustained moment to moment by the Heavens through the free gift of the Love and Light of Christ.

It becomes apparent that all Man’s functions are gifts of the living Light of Christ: reasoning, language, reading, invention, bright ideas, creativity, musical talent, even athletic ability. We may think that we perform these rational feats by our own prowess; but it can humble us and open our eyes to realize that all these are present-moment, revelatory gifts of the Light of Christ.

Indeed, this Spirit may have a primarily revelatory action; just by its very presence in the life around us, small and great truths can leak through from the other world. Truth shines, says the scripture (see d&c 88:7), radiating knowledge of things-asthey-really-are into Man’s mind and environment. Therefore, we would not be surprised to know that through the history of the world many have picked up these signals and thus might know even years in advance of the coming restoration of the gospel, might even perceive the true origin and destiny of Man, might  experience healings and great revelations. Even without the gift of the Holy Ghost, many have sought diligently in the Light of Christ to obtain the truth of unseen spiritual realities. We might expect to see marvels and miracles come from any quarter on this earth, since miracles are characteristic not only of the true

Church, but also of the activity of holy spirit as it circulates in all life. Human experience abounds with occurrences in which the other world seems to penetrate this one with its Light. Often their divine origin is not perceived.

A simple example: I happened recently onto a conversation between two people talking about “ah-ha!” moments. The first person had been reading a popular book on the new physics. He said, “As I read, I had something of a conceptual breakthrough. I suddenly felt as if I understood in a holistic way what quantum mechanics and virtual particles and so on were all about.” He then got interrupted, had to leave his reading, and wasn’t able to return to his book until later. As he went back to his reading, he began to think about his revelation, but he couldn’t for the life of him remember what it was. “I read the section I had been reading again and again, but I just could not recapture whatever insight it was I thought I had. I’ve never been able to.” His friend said in response: “Yes! Sometimes I experience the same thing! I could be reading a book,  eating, or in a conversation when suddenly my mind feels uplifted, and I feel happy, and then this feeling is followed by me making some great connection about the secrets of space and time.


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