In the last chapter we talked about prayer and in Gordon B. Hinckley Chapter 7: The Whisperings of the Spirit we get to discuss how we receive the answers to our prayers- through the power of the Holy Ghost. I am so thankful that we can receive comfort, revelation, testimony, and so much more because we have access to the gift of the Holy Ghost.
I rely heavily on the promptings from the Holy Ghost in my daily life- especially here on the blog. If my children are fighting I can not continue working no matter how hard I try (my husband is obviously dealing with the situation). The spirit is gone and I can NOT work without the Spirit. I've tried and it's been disastrous. Instead I have to quickly do things that will bring the Spirit back into my and my family's lives- pray, read scriptures, repent, listen to hymns, etc. It has been amazing to me how much easier it is to work when I have the Spirit with me. It has certainly taught me to be better about having it in my life all the time- not just at work. What examples can you think of where there is that stark contrast to when you have the Spirit and when you definitely don't?
Questions to Ponder
Some of these questions are from the manual, others are ones that I thought of- use them in your preparation, lesson, or to help you think of your own.
- Why do you need the Holy Ghost?
- How do you feel the Holy Ghost?
- When have you felt the Holy Ghost teach and guide you? What have you learned from those experiences?
- What can you learn from President Hinckley's example of how revelation comes to the prophet?
- Why is it important to understand that the Holy Ghost communicates in a "still, small voice" most of the time?
- What have you learned about recognizing communications from the Holy Ghost?
- How can the teachings in section 4 help you recognize the influence of the Spirit?
- What are you the dangers of believing that "intellect is... the only source of knowledge"?
- What experiences have you had with gaining spiritual knowledge?
- How have you been blessed by the Holy Ghost?
- What are some other names we give to the Holy Ghost? Which names resonates with you the most?
- What are your feelings as you ponder President Hinckley's teachings in section 5 about the the companionship of the Holy Ghost?
- How does your listening to the promptings of the Holy Ghost effect others?
- How have you been strengthened because someone else listened to a prompting?
- How has the Holy Ghost been a pillar of light and strength for you?
Here are some articles and other things to study as you continue to prepare for your lesson. They should NOT replace the manual but rather help answer questions and strengthen your own testimony so that it is easy to teach with confidence and answer questions that arise during your lesson.
"The Spirit of Revelation" by Elder David A. Bednar
"That We May Always Have His Spirit to Be with Us" by Elder David A. Bednar
"Receive the Holy Ghost" by Elder David A. Bednar
"Guided by the Holy Spirit" by President Boyd K. Packer
"The Holy Ghost as Your Companion" by President Henry B. Eyring
"The Holy Ghost" by Elder Robert D. Hales
"What Lack I Yet" By Elder Larry R. Lawrence
Having the Holy Ghost (about 3 minutes)- Ways to invite the Spirit into your life.
Receiving Revelation (about 4 1/2 minutes)- How we can receive revelation
Feeling the Holy Ghost (about 3 1/2 minutes)- What the Spirit might feel like
Elder and Sister Bednar- There are two videos on this page from them- one about the Gift of Discernment and one about Recognizing the Spirit.
Patterns of Light: Discerning Light (about 2 minutes)- How to discern and act on the light from God
Voice of the Spirit (about 4 minutes)- President James E. Faust invites us to listen to the voice of the Spirit
These are my ideas. My hope is that reading my thoughts will be a springboard to finding the right plans for your class.
- Be like President Dieter F. Uchtdorf and use an airplane analogy. In the first quote of this chapter (right under the title), it says, "I make a plea that we constantly seek the inspiration of the Lord and the companionship of His Holy Spirit to bless us in keeping our efforts on a high spiritual plane." On the whiteboard, draw an airplane in the sky and ask what does the pilot needs to do in order to keep the plane in the air. You don't have to get too technical but point out if the pilot decides to skip an hour of doing what he needs, the plane would crash. If we skip a day of trying to live with the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, we fall as well. It's a constant effort. Fortunately, unlike the plane, we can fly again after we repent but how much better would our lives be if our planes were always in the air.
- Use my "Sweet are the fruits of the Spirit" tags for a sweet treat in your class. There are two types- one that will fold in half to be stapled on a ziploc bag (sandwich size) and one that you can punch a hole in and attach to something. Anything from oranges to chocolate raisins would be a great addition. This tag goes along with section 4 where it talks about how to know the promptings you are receiving are from the Spirit.
- Discuss the different names of the Holy Ghost- the Comforter, Testifier of Truth, etc. Write them on the board during your lesson or do it as a pre-opener activity by passing out markers to people before class starts. What do these names help us learn about the Holy Ghost? What name resonates the most with you? Why?
- Take the above activity a step further and involve more people in your pre-lesson opener. Send an email or post on your ward's Facebook group challenging people to come up with as many names for the Holy Ghost as they can (or you can ask for roles of the Holy Ghost). This simple act involves those that can't attend your lesson on Sunday and if you offer it as challenge, it'll inspire some to really get into it (tell them how many you thought of and see if they can do the same or better). The real goal is to take all the names your ward thought of and put them in a chart- one name per square. Leave enough room to write a few notes in each square. On Sunday, pass it out and challenge your class to write examples down of when they have felt that name for the Holy Ghost to be appropriate in their lives. For example, for Comforter I would write about a time when I was deep in trials but felt peace and comfort even though I didn't have all the answers. Some will be able to fill it all out, others only some. The goal is to think of the Holy Ghost beyond one role, one name. He does so much more. You can pass out the chart with the challenge to those that can't attend your class as well- Primary, Nursery, Young Men/Women's, those that are sick, etc.
- More ideas in my video above. The Hank Smith talk I referenced can be found as a bonus track in the Build Your House Upon a Rock. I listen to Hank Smith and tons of other talks with Deseret Bookshelf PLUS. It's a subscription service that gives you access to a TON of LDS books- ebook or audio. My whole family uses and loves it. I highly recommend it. You can try it for 30 days free then I recommend buying the year and platinum membership (buying both is cheaper than any other option including without the platinum).
- Remember as you teach, to point out when you are feeling the Holy Ghost strongly. It's important to share those feelings and help others recognize what they are feeling as well.
- Elder Neil L. Andersen reminded us in his talk, "Joseph Smith" (October 2014) that "Spiritual questions deserve spiritual answers." President Hinckley said, "The things of God are understood by the Spirit of God." Elder Andersen reminded us that the internet doesn't have a truth filter. Discuss the truthfulness of his and President Hinckley's statement and what means to your class. Where will you turn for truth?
- Elder Quentin L. Cook gave a talk in April 2012 called, "In Tune with the Music of Faith." It's a beautiful analogy to be in tune with the music. It requires work on our part to listen to the music that is already there. You could also demonstrate this theme with the radio object lesson.
- While this Tootsie Roll handout is intended for Primary ages, you could do a fun spin on it for adult classes or at least toss out tootsie rolls for those who read for you (or use tootsie rolls with my handout tags).
- Take the typical baptismal talk on the gift of the Holy Ghost and make it work for your class. Instead of explaining what each object means, give an object to each group or various people and ask them to draw a parallel between the object and the Holy Ghost. Then have them share a personal example. The Red Headed Hostess also shares this version of the talk which focuses more specifically on how the Holy Ghost helps us learn.
- I always loved this object lesson about how the Holy Ghost protects us (pepper and dish soap).
- Use this free handout from Apples 4 Bookworms to talk more about the roles of the Holy Ghost and get a video presentation idea.
- Give a few minutes for the people in your class to share their testimonies based on how they feel prompted to do so. It could be a great way to end your lesson- by allowing others to act on the principles. Then close with your testimony.
- Challenge your class to write down and act upon on impressions received throughout the week- either the week before your lesson so you can discuss the results together or after your lesson.
- Begin by presenting a gift. People can go ahead and guess what it is, you giving hints along the way such as "It is the greatest gift." Then open it to reveal a photo of Jesus Christ. After Christ was gone from the earth, we were given a different gift. Pull out another much smaller box (still, small voice). Again, describe it using some of the roles of the Holy Ghost then open to reveal a word strip with Holy Ghost on it. Christ can not walk with us in person every step of the way but God did provide a way where we would not have to walk alone.
- Have two people come to the front as you begin to discuss Section 2. Show each person the block design you wish them to build- make it complicated but still doable within 5 minutes. Then blindfold one person and give the other person detailed instructions to reference. Tell them they have x minutes to build it then compare. When we have guidance from the Holy Ghost, our success rate is much greater and can be done in a lot less time. You can take this one step further by only giving one page of instructions to the person who can see at a time. If they ask for more help, give them another page but only if they ask. We need to ask if we want help.