In Whisperings of the Spirit (Deseret, 2008), Nancy writes:
. . . “Who is the Holy Ghost? There is much on this subject we do not know. There is, however, much we do know about the Holy Ghost, and we can assume it is sufficient. The critical issue is not that we have every answer and satisfy every curiosity but simply that learn to his voice, seek his influence, and earn the right to his sanctifying presence in our lives. The specific details given us concerning him are limited to those that will help us accomplish this task” (17, my emphasis).
In what I have emphasized in this quote, what does Nancy mean by this? And would LDS accept the Holy Spirit as another Advocate?
On page 19, Nancy teaches,
The Holy Ghost is a personage, not merely an abstract thought or figurative idea. He exists as surely as you and I do. Because he has a spirit body, in contrast to a physical body, we sometimes forget he has a body at all. President Joseph Fielding Smith taught: “As a spirit personage the Holy Ghost has size and dimensions. He does not fill the immensity of space, and cannot be everywhere present in the person at the same time” (Doctrines, 1:38).
It is the power of the Holy Ghost–not the personage–that can touch us all simultaneously and inspire many hearts at once. We do not know just how he accomplishes such a task, but therein lies the manifestation of his godhood.
We see evidence in the world today that Satan has distorted the important truth concerning the Spirit’s ability to dwell within us and by so doing has created doubt concerning God himself. He has given credence to the thought that God the Father can dwell in many places and many hearts at once, feeding the mistaken idea that God exists without form and shares no similarity with man. With his usual methods of deception, Satan attempts to depersonalize God and cause confusion about His nature by suggesting that He is an abstract essence of some sort, an incomprehensible being that can be everywhere at once to fill the vast universe and yet dwell in a single heart. Making Him appear as unlike man as possible (no body), Satan has attempted to remove from us any inkling of our spiritual genealogy, hoping to convince us that we never had and never could have a personal relationship with God. Unfortunately, many in the world believe Satan’s lie and, as a result, forfeit the opportunity to know their Father in Heaven. They have forgotten him. Blind to the blessings of their divine parentage and the importance of that heavenly parent-mortal child relationship, many wander through life completely unaware of what they have given up (19-20).
Do most LDS believe that the personage of the Holy Spirit is not omnipresent?
The LDS scriptures carry the English translation, Comforter, for the Paraclete. Interesting . . . from Wycliffe to Tyndale to the KJV, and maintained to this day.
LDS friends, how do you unpack the word, Comforter, in today’s English for a description of the third Person of the Trinity?
My assumption growing up in Church was always that the Holy Ghost was not omnipresent in form, but rather omnipresent in influence. The analogy I always had given to me was that of the sun. It’s located in one place, but it’s warmth can be felt everywhere.
I also heard my own spiritual state compared to a window. The cleaner the window, the more sunlight could enter in. But I could allow the window to become obscured, or even close the blinds entirely if I so chose.
Take that for whatever it’s worth.
Todd, when I taught the NT in Sunday School two years ago, I taught the class the word “Paraclete,” and we stuck to that word every time it was used in the original manuscripts—including when it clearly applies to Jesus.