Jodi Stoddard - The Lord's Higher Blessings a Series: #2 Baptism of Fire
Updated: Oct 28, 2020
Hello and welcome!
This is the second presentation in Sister Stoddard's new series called, "The Lord's Higher Blessings."
Is "the Spirit" different from "the Holy Ghost?" What is the difference between "the Spirit of Christ" and "the Light of Christ?" How about "the Holy Ghost" and "the Gift of the Holy Ghost?" "The Holy Ghost" and "the Baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost?"
The answer to these deeper doctrine, and more, are unraveled by Sister Stoddard.
Enjoy the presentation.
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The Lord’s Higher Blessings Series –#2 Baptism of Fire
By Jodi Stoddard
…. from the perspective of a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
While the primary content of this presentation consist of scriptures and quotes from the Prophets and Apostles, my additional commentary is my own and in no way represents an official position of the Church.
I admonish everyone to pray for the power of discernment in ALL things, including this presentation, and seek to be taught by the Spirit, the Holy Ghost, and/or the Lord.
SLIDE: The Lord’s Higher Blessings series: #2 The Baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost
SLIDE: Jodi Stoddard
SLIDE: The Spirit verses the Holy Ghost
SLIDE: Elder Joseph Feilding Smith taught:
“The Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit and a member of the Godhead. Elder Joseph Fielding Smith taught that “the Holy Ghost should not be confused with the Spirit [the Light of Christ] which fills the immensity of space and which is everywhere present. This other Spirit is impersonal and has no size, nor dimensions; it proceeds forth from the presence of the Father and the Son and is in all things. We should speak of the Holy Ghost as a personage as ‘he’ and this other Spirit as ‘it,’ although when we speak of the power or gift of the Holy Ghost we may properly say ‘it.'"
SLIDE: “Spirit of Christ” and the “Light of Christ”
“There is a spirit—the Spirit of the Lord, the Spirit of Christ, the light of truth, the light of Christ—that defies description and is beyond mortal comprehension. It is in us and in all things; it is around us and around all things; it fills the earth and the heavens and the universe. It is everywhere, in all immensity, without exception; it is an indwelling, immanent, ever-present, never-absent spirit. It has neither shape nor form nor personality. It is not an entity nor a person nor a personage. It has no agency, does not act independently, and exists not to act but to be acted upon.” (McConkie)
SLIDE: “The Spirit of Christ (or Light of Christ) is the agency through which the Holy Ghost operates”
“The Light of Christ is the agency of God’s power; it is the means and way whereby ‘he comprehendeth all things,’ so that ‘all things are before him, and all things are round about him.’ It is the way whereby ‘he is above all things, and in all things, and is through all things, and is round about all things.” The Holy Ghost makes use of the Light of Christ to perform his work. “The Spirit of Christ (or Light of Christ) is the agency through which the Holy Ghost operates,” Elder McConkie explained. Moroni wrote that all spiritual gifts come through the Spirit of Christ, meaning that when the Holy Ghost works with us, he transmits his gifts by the agency of the light of Christ.
SLIDE: “There are three phases of the light of Christ that I want to mention,”
“The first one is the light which enlighteneth every man that cometh into the world;
“The second phase is the gift of the Holy Ghost;
“And the third is the more sure word of prophecy.” Marion G. Romney, General Conference April 1977
SLIDE: The First Phase is the Light of Christ also known as ‘The Spirit’
The first phase of the Light of Christ is referred to in the Doctrine and Covenants: “Whatsoever is truth is light, and whatsoever is light is Spirit, even the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
“And the spirit giveth light to every man that cometh into the world.” Mormon taught that “the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil.” In this respect, the Light of Christ is associated with what we often call conscience. Everyone who is born into mortality receives the Light of Christ.
SLIDE: The Second Phase is the Gift of the Holy Ghost
The gift of the Holy Ghost is received through obedience to the first principles of the Gospel of Christ, and by the laying on of hands of the servants of God. It is a “a greater and higher endowment of the Light of Christ which conveys to the Saints such gifts of the Spirit as testimony, revelation, healing, prophecy, and many others.” (Penrose)
Romney also explained that “one is born again by actually receiving and experiencing the light and power inherent in the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
SLIDE: The Third Phase is the More Sure Word of Prophecy
This is obtained by making one’s ‘calling and election sure’
2 Pet. 1:10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that “after a person has faith in Christ, repents of his sins, and is baptized for the remission of his sins and receives the Holy Ghost, … then let him continue to humble himself before God, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and living by every word of God, and the Lord will soon say unto him, Son, thou shalt be exalted. When the Lord has thoroughly proved him, and finds that the man is determined to serve Him at all hazards, then the man will find his calling and election made sure, then it will be his privilege to receive the other Comforter, which the Lord hath promised the Saints, as is recorded in the testimony of St. John.”
SLIDE: “Unlike the Spirit of Christ, the Holy Ghost does not fill the universe and cannot be personally present everywhere at the same time; however, his power and influence, through the Light of Christ, can be manifest at the same time throughout all the immensity of space.” (Doctrines of Salvation 1:38)
(Jodi) The best thing I can relate the Spirit to is like wireless phone service. (Not to sound too simplistic) but the Spirit is everywhere and all around us. We cannot see it and yet it allows us to communicate. The Spirit (or Light of Christ) is the medium or energy/power that allows us to connect and communicate with the Holy Ghost and/or with the Lord.
SLIDE: Sacrament Prayer Pattern
…that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him, and keep his commandments which he has given them, that they may always have his Spirit to be with them.
Note: ‘his Spirit’….. Is that the Holy Ghost? OR is that ‘his Spirit’?
First we have the Light of Christ, then the Holy Ghost…. Is this referring to the third phase of his light? ...Which is the ‘more sure word of prophecy’? Is the Sacrament prayer inviting us to that third level?
I don’t know for sure. Does it matter? Maybe. I am finding that knowing what Light I am tapping into helps me to discern revelation more easily.
For me, intuition and insights are from the Light of Christ. The Holy Ghost is more of an audible voice, or strong admonition – a more direct communication….. What does the ‘more sure word of prophecy’ look, sound or feel like? Something to consider…
SLIDE: “Hear Him”
Pres. Nelson has stated in two recent talks that we should:
1 – Seek to be taught by the Lord Himself
2 – Hear Him
Is he asking us to work to receive the ‘more sure word of prophecy’? Or perhaps just to fine tune what revelation we have and seek more….. Pray about that.
SLIDE: That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day. (D&C 50:24)
SLIDE: The Holy Ghost vs. the Gift of the Holy Ghost
Joseph Smith explained:
There is a difference between the Holy Ghost, and the gift of the Holy Ghost. Cornelius received the Holy Ghost before he was baptized, which was the convincing power of God unto him of the truth of the Gospel; but he could not receive the gift of the Holy Ghost until after he was baptized. Had he not taken this sign or ordinance upon him, the Holy Ghost which convinced him of the truth of God, would have left him.
(Millennial Star August 1842)
SLIDE: Receive the Holy Ghost - Bednar, GC October 2010
Worthy Melchizedek Priesthood holders place their hands upon the head of an individual and call him or her by name. Then, by the authority of the holy priesthood and in the name of the Savior, the individual is confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and this important phrase is uttered: “Receive the Holy Ghost.”
The simplicity of this ordinance may cause us to overlook its significance. These four words—“Receive the Holy Ghost”—are not a passive pronouncement; rather, they constitute a priesthood injunction—an authoritative admonition to act and not simply to be acted upon (see 2 Nephi 2:26). The Holy Ghost does not become operative in our lives merely because hands are placed upon our heads and those four important words are spoken. As we receive this ordinance, each of us accepts a sacred and ongoing responsibility to desire, to seek, to work, and to so live that we indeed “receive the Holy Ghost” and its attendant spiritual gifts. “ For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift” (D&C 88:33).
(Jodi) So in this we see that just because we undergo the ordinance of receiving the Holy Ghost, it is only operative in our lives as we seek after it. We may have it with us and we may not. But it goes farther than that – let’s continue on.
SLIDE: Is there a difference between the Holy Ghost and the Baptism of Fire & the Holy Ghost?
SLIDE: 3 Nephi 12:1
"Blessed are ye if ye shall give heed unto the words of these twelve whom I have chosen from among you to minister unto you, and to be your servants; and unto them I have given power that they may baptize you with water; and after that ye are baptized with water, behold, I will baptize you with fire and with the Holy Ghost”
(Jodi) Here it says that ‘HE’ – the Lord will be the one to baptize us with fire and with the Holy Ghost.
3 Nephi 9:20
"And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost, even as the Lamanites, because of their faith in me at the time of their conversion, were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not."
(Jodi) Somehow the Lord is involved with that. There seems to be a difference between the gift of the Holy Ghost and what happens later in the Baptism of Fire and of the Holy Ghost.
SLIDE: Description of the Baptism of Fire
At Baptism we enter a gate which puts us on the path. We put off the natural man. We obtain the mind of Christ.
The Baptism of Fire Sanctifies us.
Our Garments are washed clean in the blood of the lamb.
Romney (quoted by Bednar):
We are changed.
It converts us from carnality to spirituality.
Baptism of Fire is a consummation.
(Jodi) From this I think we can see that the Holy Ghost leads us to the Baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost.
SLIDE: Moses 6:60
"For by the water (or Baptism) ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified."
(Jodi) The Holy Ghost justifies us and lets us know if we are in the path, and we know if we aren’t because the Holy Ghost withdraws from us. So he justifies our path. He justifies our actions. He lets us know if we are still in the straight and narrow way.
The blood is the Atonement of Christ. Through this we are sanctified. So, through the Atonement and as Bednar said in the earlier slide, our garments will be washed clean in the blood of the Lamb.
I also want to take a minute… there are three higher blessings than Baptism of Fire. In future videos in this series we will talk about Calling & Election, Second Comforter (and then there’s Translation). The Baptism of Fire is in essence what we have been discussing here in scripture and quotes. Others often see it as more and pull in some of the elements from the other blessings and wrap it all into the Baptism of Fire. But I see it as a process. Baptism of Fire is the first step – or the first of the higher blessings. It is cleansing. You are motivated like the people of King Benjamin… this is the first step in moving towards the higher blessings.
SLIDE: 2 Nephi 31:13
"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; and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel."
(Jodi) We need to pay attention to those semi-colons. They are important. They separate different ideas or events that will happen. They may all happen at once, but it is a sequence of events. So when you read this (or any scriptures) we need to pay attention to the semi-colon.
‘then he shall receive the Holy Ghost’ (semi-colon); then sometime later it says ‘then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost’ (semi-colon); ‘then ye can speak with the tongue of angels…..’
We need to pay attention to the semi-colons, and sometimes even the commas. For example in Revelation, multiple things can happen in just one chapter…and there is likely time that passes in between those items. Even in this single verse here in 2 Nephi 31:13 there are multiple things that take place and may take an entire lifetime to complete.
SLIDE: So, in this verse we just read, one of the last things it says we can do is speak with the tongue of angels. What does that mean? If you click on the word ‘tongue’ in your online scriptures (or look up the footnotes in your hand held scriptures), It will take you to 2 Nephi 32:2-3.
2 Nephi 32: 2-3
"Do ye not remember that I said unto you that after ye had received the Holy Ghost ye could speak with the tongue of angels? And now, how could ye speak with the tongue of angels save it were by the Holy Ghost?"
"Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do."
(Jodi) The tongue of angels – if we are speaking with the tongue of angels, we are speaking the words of Christ. We may even be being taught by angels. Dig deeper and study more about this. I believe it relates directly to the third phase of light which we are told we can receive which is ‘more sure word of prophecy’. Isn’t that what we see in this scripture? We become convinced of the words of Christ, angels speak by the words of Christ, and then we can, so it’s the more sure word of prophecy.
The same pattern is there of the way we receive light and knowledge.
SLIDE: Helaman 5 – Nephi & Lehi cast into prison. A mob of 300 come to slay them.
(Jodi) I will be summarizing and starting in about verse 22 or 23. One of the things that you will start to notice as you learn more about the higher blessings is that you will begin to see them everywhere in the Book of Mormon and I mean everywhere. Keep that in mind as you go forward.
Nephi and Lehi are cast into prison and there is a mob of 300 Lamanites coming to slay them. When they get there, they see that Nephi and Lehi are encircled about as if by fire.
Verse 24 – this gives Nephi and Lehi courage. They see that the Lamanites are afraid to lay their hands upon them. This has given Lehi and Nephi courage and hope.
Verse 26 – Nephi and Lehi begin to speak to the Lamanites. They are encircled about by fire. Is this part of the tongues of angels.
Verse 27 – Fear not – it is God that has shown unto you this marvelous thing in the which ye cannot lay your hands on us to slay us. The earth shakes and the walls shake as if they are about to fall.
Verse 28 – the Lamanites are overshadowed with a cloud of darkness and solemn fear comes upon them. They are afraid. A voice came from heaven and tells them to repent and seek no more to destroy the servants. Still small voice as if a whisper. Then the earth shook again. Voice came again – repent ye.. the kingdom of God is at hand. Seek no more to destroy my servant.
Verse 33 – voice came again – spoke marvelous words which could not be spoken by man. The earth shook again and the walls.
Verse 34 – the Lamanites couldn’t flee because of the cloud of darkness. They were immovable because of fear. There was a Nephite there in the group who was named Aminadab. He was able to see through the cloud of darkness, and saw the faces of Nephi and Lehi.
Verse 36 – they did shine exceedingly as the faces of angels. They did lift their eyes to heaven and were in the attitude of speaking to someone who they beheld. Aminidab turned to the multitude and told them to look and see what was happening and they did turn and look. They also saw the faces of Nephi and Lehi. They asked Aminidab – behold what do these things mean? And who is it with whom these men do converse? He said they do converse with the angels of God. The Lamanites asked, “What shall we do that this cloud of darkness may be removed from overshadowing us?”
Verse 41 – Aminidab said – you must repent or cry unto the voice – even until you shall have faith in Christ. Then the cloud of darkness shall be removed from overshadowing you.
Verse 42 – so they did begin to cry unto the voice until the cloud dispersed. They then cast their eyes round about and now they were encircled about – yea every soul by a pillar of fire.
Verse 45 – the Holy Spirit of God did come down from heaven and did enter into their hearts and they were filled as if with fire. So there they have the baptism of fire. They could speak forth marvelous works – they were speaking with the tongues of angels.