Gift of the Holy Ghost is a covenant blessing

Focusing his message on the "baptism of the Spirit and the blessings that flow from the companionship of the Holy Ghost," Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve addressed the Saturday afternoon session.

"As each of us was baptized, we entered into a solemn covenant with our Heavenly Father," Elder Bednar said, adding, "We witnessed that we were willing to take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ, that we would always remember Him, and that we would keep His commandments. The promised blessing for honoring this covenant is that we may always have His Spirit to be with us. In order words, baptism by water leads to the authorized opportunity for the constant companionship of the third member of the Godhead."

In individual and classroom study, Elder Bednar explained, the importance of "recognizing the inspiration and promptings we receive from the Spirit of the Lord" is emphasized. "However an important aspect of baptism by the Spirit may frequently be overlooked in our spiritual development.

"We should also endeavor to discern when we 'withdraw (ourselves) from the Spirit of the Lord, that it may have no place in (us) to guide (us) in wisdom's paths that (we) may be blessed, prospered and preserved' (Mosiah 2:36). . . . The standard is clear. If something we think, see, hear, or do distances us from the Holy Ghost, then we should stop thinking, seeing, hearing or doing that thing."

Recognizing that one does not have the presence of the Holy Ghost "every minute of every hour of every day," Elder Bednar emphasized that the "Holy Ghost can tarry with us much, if not most of the time."

Speaking of the importance of the Holy Spirit in an "increasingly wicked world," he described the purposes and principles of the Liahona used by Lehi and his family in their journey in the wilderness. Calling the Liahona a "type and a shadow for our day," Elder Bednar declared: "As we strive to align our attitudes and actions with righteousness, then the Holy Ghost becomes for us today what the Liahona was for Lehi and his family in their day. The very factors that caused the Liahona to work for Lehi will likewise invite the Holy Ghost into our lives. And the very factors that caused the Liahona not to work anciently will likewise cause us to withdraw ourselves from the Holy Ghost today."

Continuing, he explained the compass or director of the Liahona also provided instruction to Lehi and his family. "Just as Lehi was blessed in ancient times, each of us in this day has been given a spiritual compass that can direct and instruct us during our mortal journey. The Holy Ghost was conferred upon you and me as we came out of the world and into the Savior's Church through baptism and confirmation."

Listing some of the ways to invite the Holy Ghost into one's life, including personal and family prayer, feasting upon the words of Christ, obedience and honoring covenants, and virtue, humility and service, Elder Bednar urged members to worthily partake of the sacrament. "We are reminded on a weekly basis of the promise that we may always have His Spirit to be with us," he said.