Upon Christ’s appearance to the Nephites in 3 Nephi 11, the faithful believers in Christ shouted (in verse 17), “Hosanna! Blessed be the name of the Most High God!” The exclamation was a request for salvation. The word “Hosanna” comes from the Latin word “osanna” which likely comes from the Hebrew word “hoshi’ah-nna”. Hoshi’ah-nna literally means, save, we pray. The Savior’s near immediate response to this petition was to give the baptismal authority to Nephi. Verses 21 and 22 read:
21 And the Lord said unto him: I give unto you power that ye shall baptize this people when I am again ascended into heaven.
22 And again the Lord called others, and said unto them likewise; and he gave unto them power to baptize. And he said unto them: On this wise shall ye baptize; and there shall be no disputations among you.
Christ continues in verses 24-27:
25 Having authority given me of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
26 And then shall ye immerse them in the water, and come forth again out of the water.
27 And after this manner shall ye baptize in my name; for behold, verily I say unto you, that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one; and I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one.
This is the clear doctrine of Christ–repentance and baptism. Noticeably, the baptism should be in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost who are one. While not taught by Christ at this point, but as later taught in 3 Nephi 27:20, baptism is accompanied by the “reception” of the Holy Ghost.
So what is the role of the Holy Ghost for members of God’s one, true church? I believe that Moroni expounds upon this topic quite nicely at the end of the Book of Mormon. Moroni teaches in Moroni 10 regarding the “Gifts of the Spirit,” as stated:
8 And again, I exhort you, my brethren, that ye deny not the gifts of God, for they are many; and they come from the same God. And there are different ways that these gifts are administered; but it is the same God who worketh all in all; and they are given by the manifestations of the Spirit of God unto men, to profit them.
9 For behold, to one is given by the Spirit of God, that he may teach the word of wisdom;
10 And to another, that he may teach the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
11 And to another, exceedingly great faith; and to another, the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
12 And again, to another, that he may work mighty miracles;
13 And again, to another, that he may prophesy concerning all things;
14 And again, to another, the beholding of angels and ministering spirits;
15 And again, to another, all kinds of tongues;
16 And again, to another, the interpretation of languages and of divers kinds of tongues.
17 And all these gifts come by the Spirit of Christ; and they come unto every man severally, according as he will.
18 And I would exhort you, my beloved brethren, that ye remember that every good gift cometh of Christ.
Without directly stating as much, it is implied that the reception of the Holy Ghost, is the pathway to receiving one or multiple gifts of the spirit. In fact what I find particularly interesting is how we see that the Apostle Paul of the New Testament and Moroni were teaching similar doctrines. The Apostle Paul’s teaching provides a 2nd scriptural witness of this doctrine. In 1 Corinthians 12 we read:
4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
We believe that one of the primary roles of the Holy Ghost is to testify of truth. Ultimately we receive that testimony through how we feel. While everyone’s exact feelings may differ, this provides us with our own personal experience. The gifts of the spirit spoken by both Paul and Moroni are another manifestation of this experience. I do wonder why the language is so similar? If Moroni is speaking to a future generation, why would he need to repeat doctrine already provided by the Apostle Paul? Is it merely to provide a second witness to these gifts? Is there enough different between the two summaries to merit the time and effort that must have been required to write these gifts out in golden plates? Again my questions challenge me, and I’m drawn to the comfort that I’ve seen these gifts in my own life, irrespective of who’s teaching about them.