No Vacuum In Our Spiritual Lives

As we pursue our quest of Eternal Life, we are not alone. The Lord has given us spiritual influences to assist and protect us.

The Light of Christ

The Apostle John recorded in his Gospel that every person is born into mortality with an accompanying influence from Jesus Christ.

That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. (John 1:9)

We refer to this influence as our conscience, an intuitive recognition of right and wrong. It is significant that our Heavenly Father, realizing that we would be going to a world of wickedness, gave us protection and strength in the form of a spiritual influence, an influence known among Latter-day Saints as the Light of Christ.

The Holy Ghost

Even though we were given the Light of Christ at our birth, Heavenly Father also gave us an additional spiritual influence, the companionship of the Holy Ghost. We became eligible to receive the Holy Ghost when we were confirmed members of the Church; the statement was made that we might “receive the Holy Ghost”.

In addition to our confirmation, we receive each week as we partake of the Sacrament, an indication that we may receive the Holy Ghost. The Priests pray that the bread and water will be blessed for the souls of those partaking of it. They end both prayers with an assertion that we may have the Spirit of the Lord with us. The sacredness of the Sacrament implies the importance of having the Spirit with us.

The Influence of Satan

In addition to the Light of Christ and the Holy Ghost, there is another influence that may be with us. This influence doesn’t come from God. Instead, it comes from Satan. We all have had times when Satan has influenced our thoughts, attitudes, and actions.

Good and Evil Influences Can Not Coexist

The Lord taught Adam that people who are unclean can not be in the presence of God.

Wherefore teach it unto your children, that all men, everywhere, must repent, or they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God, for no unclean thing can dwell there, or dwell in his presence…. (Moses 6:57)

This scripture implies that Satan can not dwell with God, for Satan is the author of unclean things. This scripture also implies that influences from Satan can not coexist with influences from God.

There Is No Vacuum

If we disobey God and do not repent, he withdraws his Spirit from us. This withdrawal would leave us in a spiritual vacuum. However, there is, I believe, no such spiritual vacuum. I believe that as the Spirit removes itself from us, Satan fills the void with his spirit. That is, to the degree we lose the Spirit of the Lord, to that degree we gain the spirit of the devil. This means that we will flip back and forth between the two spiritual influences, a condition that is unstable and will lead to further eroding of our spiritual relationship with our Father in Heaven.

Removing Temptations of Satan

I think all of us try to remove temptations of Satan from our lives. We try to stay away from places and situations that would allow us to be tempted. We try to avoid the use of bad language and pornographic material. We try to avoid friends who would “lead us astray”. The problem with doing these things is that they, by themselves, don’t work very well. Notice that every example I gave of removing temptations is negative: we avoid… This world is becoming so wicked that it is difficult, nearly impossible, to avoid all situations that would allow us to be tempted.

Am I saying that we should stop trying to avoid influences from Satan? No of course not. We must continue trying to avoid him. What I am saying is that we must recognize that this avoidance is not enough. We must do more than that.

Filling Our Lives With The Spirit

The Lord told us to follow him, to truly become his disciples. He told us to keep his commandments and to repent when we commit sin. He promised us that as we keep his commandments and come unto him, he will bless us with his Spirit. He also told us, through the scriptures, that the spirit of Satan can not coexist with his Spirit. So, guess what? As we gain the Spirit of the Lord, we lose the spirit of Satan.

The Positive Way To Change Our Behavior

In addition to avoiding wickedness, we must do positive things to bring the Spirit of the Lord into our lives. Both the scriptures and our modern Prophets have taught us to do these positive things: become truly converted and committed to Jesus Christ; read the scriptures; pray regularly; attend church; attend the Temple; pay our tithing; give service to others; etc.

Because there is no vacuum in our spiritual lives, to the degree that we obtain the Spirit of the Lord, to that degree we lose the spirit of Satan. Let us focus on increasing our companionship of the Spirit.

4 Responses to No Vacuum In Our Spiritual Lives

  1. Taylor says:

    Could you clarify why you think the Lord removes the Holy Spirit from sinners. My understanding is that we’re all sinners, but that we can be humble about it, acknowledging our sin, or we can say we have no sin. Is the Spirit removed when we stop accepting we are sinners?

    Also, what is the difference between the guidance of the “light of Christ” and the guidance of the Holy Spirit? Is it a matter of degrees of intensity?

    Another question is, I don’t remember being taught to believe non-LDS don’t have the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Just that they don’t have the “gift” of the Holy Ghost. I’m trying to remember what I’ve always been taught the difference is. If I remember right, with the mere guidance of the Holy Spirit, there’s no committment from God to guide those who seek Him. He may choose to guide with the Holy Spirit, but He may just as well decide not to give this guidance. Is this correct? Whereas the gift of the Holy Spirit the LDS believe they alone have is the constant companionship God is obligated to give those who have been given the gift, as long as they maintain their righteousness.

    And again, is the LDS idea of “righteousness” based on the idea of a humble sinner (repentant), or is it based on an actual perceived performance-based sinlessness?

    (Again, I appreciate your consideration of my questions. I hope I’m not coming across as argumentative, because I know that’s against your criteria for this website. I’m hoping your website is targeting people like me. I’m working to make sure my idea of what LDS people think (and why they think it) is based in what LDS people actually think, and not just my projections of their thoughts and beliefs)

    • Allen says:

      Hi Taylor,

      It’s true that we all commit sins because we’re human and make mistakes. I think that as long as we’re trying to be more like Christ and are repenting from our sins, we’ll have the spirit with us. The Lord removes his spirit from those who sin and don’t repent. In a sense, when we decide to repent or not, when we recognize that we’re sinning or not, we’re making a decision to follow Jesus Christ or to follow Lucifer. Not to follow Lucifer completely (only the Sons of Perdition do that) but to follow Lucifer to the degree we choose to not repent. Those who choose to follow Lucifer lose the spirit.

      The Light of Christ is an influence of some kind that is with everyone who is born into the world. We don’t know the type of influence or how it is administered. The Holy Ghost is a personage of Spirit (that is, he has never had a mortal body and does not have a resurrected body). His main purpose is to communicate with us concerning the will of the Father, and to testify of Christ. So, when we are prompted by the Holy Ghost, we are being guided by a member of the Godhead. When we follow our conscience and our basic knowledge of what is right or wrong, we are following the guidance of the Spirit of Christ, an influence but not a personage.

      You are right that non-LDS don’t have the “gift of the Holy Ghost”. They may have temporary guidance from the Holy Ghost, and we all can receive guidance from the Light of Christ. The gift of the Holy Ghost is the promise that we can have the companionship of the Holy Ghost each day, if we are righteous. Being righteous does not imply that we are living the commandments perfectly. It means that we are trying to live them, we recognize when we don’t live them, and we repent and try to do better, realizing of course that we can never live the commandments perfectly. I guess I can summarize it this way. All people can be inspired by the Holy Ghost, but only LDS who are righteous can have the promise of the Holy Ghost being our “constant companion”. Righteous having the meaning I gave above. A humble person repents, seeks and follows the guidance of the spirit and becomes more “righteous”, that is more like Christ. In so doing, the person has a better performance-based life, that is, a life more like Christ.

  2. Taylor says:

    It’s interesting to read this as a non-LDS person. Obviously, I disagree about the LDS having the monopoly on the gift of the Holy Spirit. But I completely understand the mindset. Thanks for your clarification.

  3. Allen says:

    Taylor, I appreciate your questions. They aren’t asked in a contentious way, and they’re helping me and hopefully other LDS to look at the church from a different viewpoint.

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