I have just prepared and taught lesson eight, “The Holy Ghost”. I found it to both instructive and inspiring. Particularly, gaining an understanding how Peter could have denied the knowing of the Saviour and the apostles losing heart following the Saviour’s death. However one question was asked which could not be answered and I was hoping you might help. Was the gift of the Holy Ghost first bestowed following the Saviour’s resurrection or during the early days of the Old Testament/Book of Mormon. In other words, who do we know was the first mortal to be bestowed with the gift of the Holy Ghost?
Anthony, from England
The ordinance of baptism, practiced since the days of Adam, is inseparably connected with the gift of the Holy Ghost. Orson Pratt said the following:
“Let me . . . say, that if we have repented of and been baptized for the remission of our sins, if we do not seek after the birth of the spirit also, our baptism will avail us nothing; they must go hand in hand–the birth of the water first and then the birth of the spirit” (Journal of Discourses, Vol.17, p.150 – p.151).
That Adam received the Holy Ghost is evidenced by the following scriptures:
And in that day the Holy Ghost fell upon Adam, which beareth record of the Father and the Son, saying: I am the Only Begotten of the Father from the beginning, henceforth and forever, that as thou hast fallen thou mayest be redeemed, and all mankind, even as many as will (Moses 5:9).
And Adam stood up in the midst of the congregation; and, notwithstanding he was bowed down with age, being full of the Holy Ghost, predicted whatsoever should befall his posterity unto the latest generation (D&C 107:56).
We have record that the Holy Ghost was bestowed on those that were baptized in the time of Nephi in the Book of Mormon.
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism–yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost (2 Nephi 31:13).
When the Savior was on the earth during his mortal ministry, those who were received into the Kingdom by baptism did not immediately receive the Holy Ghost. Since one of the principle functions of the Holy Ghost is to testify of the Savior, there was no need for that witness while the Savior was living among men. He was his own witness.
It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me (John 8:17-18).
These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you (John 14:25-26).
However, when the resurrected Savior appeared among the Nephites, he taught them the gospel, instructed them to be baptized and to receive the gift of Holy Ghost.
Now Christ spake these words unto them at the time of his first appearing; and the multitude heard it not, but the disciples heard it; and on as many as they laid their hands, fell the Holy Ghost (Moroni 2:3).