Last Saturday, I attended “Best of Especially for Youth” at the Orem Institute with the youth of our ward. One of the speakers was Candis Shupe who is on the BYU Continuing Education faculty. Her talk was on ” Is That the Spirit or Me? Christ is our light, and if we follow Him, we will find the promised land.” These are some notes I took from that talk, which was excellent.
She first asked, “Who is the Spirit?” and then answered that the Spirit or Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit and a member of the Godhead. She quoted D&C 130:22:
The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us.
She also said that the Holy Ghost knows all things: “The Comforter, the Holy Ghost…knoweth all things” (D&C 35:19).Then she quoted Elder William R. Bradford who said:
The light of the Spirit is organized as a communication system to transmit concepts of truth into the minds of the children of God. The Holy Ghost, by way of the Spirit, will enlighten our minds and give us clarity of understanding of concepts of truth if we obey the laws which govern the use of the Spirit. This is the way that our Father in Heaven teaches us right from wrong. If we are willing to learn His ways and follow them, we will never have to guess, but we will always know for sure the difference between right and wrong. (Ensign, November 1999, 85–86.)
In other words, if we follow the Spirit, we can know the answers to our questions and we won’t have to guess, when it comes to knowing the difference between right and wrong.
She advised us the that one of the first steps we can take to learn what the Spirit feels like is to ask Heavenly Father in prayer, “Do you love me?” and then wait for the answer. Then she told of a young woman who had not prayed in four years who, after she heard this counsel from Sister Shupe, went into a stall in the bathroom to find some privacy, asked this question and got her answer right then and there!
Another question she asked was, “Will you begin studying the scriptures every day and ask specific questions?” She went on to tell of taking a graduate-level statistics class where she felt way in over her head. She prayed, “Heavenly Father, why did you invent statistics?” She applied these two scriptures to get her answers to her questions about statistics:
There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated. (D&C 130:20,21.)
I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise. (D&C 82:10.)
And she got such a good grade in the class that the professor asked her not to take the final so that the other students in the class could get a passing a grade. The professor also asked her to proofread the statistics final for him!
She also explored this passage about searching our minds and hearts:
Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me. But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right. But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong; therefore, you cannot write that which is sacred save it be given you from me. (D&C 9:7–9.)
And then said, “Heavenly Father wants to know your opinion!” in reference to verse 8.
She quoted Richard G. Scott in reference to verse 9 who said:
The Lord clarifies, “But if [what you propose] be not right you … shall have a stupor of thought.” That, for me, is an unsettling, discomforting feeling. (Ensign, May 2007, 8–11.)
One other quote that really stuck for me was this from Ezra Taft Benson said, “The great test of life is obedience to God” (Ensign, May 1988, 4–6).
I haven’t shared all my notes from what Sister Shupe said, but these are some of the most important highlights to me. What I learned is that I can take my questions to the Lord with a lot more faith than I have in the past, and that I can get specific answers. I really need that help. It was a wonderful talk!