You Were the Holy Ghost All Along

John Dehlin Understanding Mormonism 5 Comments

Perhaps the hardest transition for post-Mormons to make is in granting themselves permission to be their own “prophet,” their own “seer,” and their own “revelator.” Their own “bishop.” Their own “President.” Their own “apostle.” Their own “patriarch.” Their own “holy ghost.”

After decades of relying on an external source of authority, it’s surprisingly difficult for so many post-Mormons to feel comfortable placing trust and confidence in themselves — in their own conscience, their own instincts, their own intellect, their own decision-making capabilities, and in their own “inner-guide.”

So many of us feel most comfortable relying on someone or something external. And we come by it honestly. Most of us have been conditioned to act this way since birth. And it wasn’t really even insidious. Our parents and leaders were honestly trying to help us – in the best way they knew how.

This is not just a Mormon phenomenon. This is a human phenomenon.

But make no mistake. This is the greatest gift of a religious faith transition….if you can gain the confidence to claim it.

Even Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is within.” I like to think that this is what he meant.

Finally, once you’ve taken your authority back from a high-demand religion, or from any relationship for that matter, PLEASE DO NOT give it away to another person or organization.

If you do, then you may as well go back to church.

You were the “Holy Ghost” all along.

“There is a voice inside of you that whispers all day long, ‘I feel that this is right for me, I know that this is wrong.’ No teacher, preacher, parent, friend or wise man can decide what’s right for you – just listen to the voice that speaks inside.”

– Shel Silverstein

Comments 5

  1. This was a really compassionately delivered concept that many people need to hear. Taking one’s independence of thought is a courageous step when for so long one has simply chosen to default to the opinion of authorities.

    Ironically Mormon cosmology also suggests that this is an incredibly important part of one’s personal development. After all, Eve of the Latter-Day Saint interpretation of Genesis did not follow obediently or do what she was told. She went against orders when she partook of the fruit. She made a conscious decision to be herself and to listen to her inner voice when presented with two choices. One of the really beautiful parts of the LDS tradition is that rather than demonizing Eve for her independence, she is celebrated for it. Without her choice to break the rules the divine plan would have failed and free agency would have been illusory rather than real. Adam also made the same choice but only after Eve had carved the path.

    Listening to ones intuition is important. Often our best judgements are made with more of our brain than just our frontal lobe. LDS covenants are often good guideposts (if interpreted liberally)one can use to guide one’s decisions in life. However, it’s also important to think for ones self and to not simply give into authority.

    Thank you for reaffirming the idea that people both inside and outside of the Church have a right to their own opinions, their own decisions, and their own thought process. People often don’t realize the power that they hold to carve their own destinies. It’s good to occasionally receive a positive reminder.

  2. So true! When I initially had to admit to myself that I didn’t believe in what the church had taught me all those years there was a tremendous sense of loss. Realizing there is no good reason to believe that you are going to progress forever and eventually become a god of your own planet is a lot to let go of for sure. Realizing that everything we know about what lies beyond the grave would not fill a thimble was also a stark comeuppance. My sense of loss, however, began to fade when I realized that I hadn’t actually lost anything of value but gained something of immeasurable value. That being, the here and now, and my own authority over how to proceed in life. I wouldn’t trade that power for a hundred good fairy tales but it wasn’t something I came by without an emotional struggle.

  3. My experience was after reading Lectures of Faith several times and the King Follett discourse many times from its original sources, I realized the word “Holy” is really an adjective describing the noun “Ghost” or Spirit. When put into context of Lectures of Faith and the King Follett discourse, our “Spirit” or “Ghost” must “put on” or immerse itself into the “attributes of godliness” and that is how we are made “Holy…” purified and sacrificed and made “one” with Father and Christ! Everyone has this “authority” and that is how the promises of God are made available to all the seed of mankind. It is not about what religion we do or don’t belong to but what we choose to “become” in character that really matters. The ultimate sacrifice (symbolic of Christs atonement) is letting go of our fallen (false beliefs)and carnal nature!

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