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Staying Close to the Spirit Is ‘Vital,’ General Authority Seventy Says

The Holy Ghost can guide us and protect us, Elder Arnulfo Valenzuela tells BYU–I students

Elder Arnulfo Valenzuela of the Seventy greets students prior to speaking at the weekly BYU-Idaho devotional on Tuesday, May 17, 2022. Photo by Michael Lewis, courtesy of BYU–Idaho and Church News.Copyright 2022 Deseret News Publishing Company.

This story appears here courtesy of TheChurchNews.com. It is not for use by other media.


By Rachel Sterzer Gibson, Church News

After Elder Arnulfo Valenzuela finished his full-time mission service more than 40 years ago, he traveled to the United States from his native Mexico to work and save money to attend Brigham Young University.

One day, however, he received a strong impression that he needed to return to Mexico. He obeyed, but soon found that the Mexican education system did not recognize his graduation from the Church’s high school, Juarez Stake Academy. In order to go to college, he would need to either move back to the U.S. where his high school studies were accepted or restart his high school education in Mexico.

Elder Arnulfo Valenzuela, a General Authority Seventy, and his wife, Sister Pilar Valenzuela, pose for a photo prior to his speech at a campus devotional on May 17, 2022. Photo by Michael Lewis, courtesy of BYU–Idaho and Church News.Copyright 2022 Deseret News Publishing Company.

Because of the direction he had received from the Spirit, he made the difficult decision to stay in Mexico and spend three years going back to high school.

“The Lord helped me make the right decision,” Elder Valenzuela, now a General Authority Seventy, recalled during a BYU–Idaho devotional on Tuesday, May 17. By staying in Mexico, he said, “I met my wife, one of the greatest blessings of my life. I had adequate academic preparation and got an excellent job that would allow me to raise a family in the gospel and provide them with everything they needed.”

Elder Valenzuela said to follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost in our daily lives. He reiterated the promise made by President Russell M. Nelson to the youth of the Church in 2018.

“I promise you that if you will sincerely and persistently do the spiritual work needed to develop the crucial, spiritual skill of learning how to hear the whisperings of the Holy Ghost, you will have all the direction you will ever need in your life,” President Nelson said. “You will be given answers to your questions in the Lord’s own way and in His own time” (“Hope of Israel,” Worldwide Youth Devotional).

Elder Valenzuela taught that the Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead, a personage of spirit, who witnesses of the Father and the Son and reveals and teaches “the truth of all things” (Moroni 10:5).

The Holy Ghost’s communication carries more certainty than any communication received through natural senses, he explained.

“As we strive to stay on the path that leads to eternal life, the Holy Ghost can guide us in our decisions and protect us from physical and spiritual danger,” Elder Valenzuela said.

Through the Holy Ghost, individuals can receive gifts of the Spirit and know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. It is also through the Holy Ghost that others are able to believe the testimony of others.

The Holy Ghost is the Comforter, Elder Valenzuela continued. “As the soothing voice of a loving parent can quiet a crying child, the whisperings of the Spirit can calm our fears, hush the nagging worries of our life and comfort us when we grieve. The Holy Ghost can fill us ‘with hope and perfect love’ and ‘teach [us] the peaceable things of the kingdom’” (Doctrine and Covenants 36:2).

Through the power of the Holy Ghost, individuals are sanctified as they repent, receive the ordinances of baptism and confirmation and remain true to covenants, Elder Valenzuela said, sharing 3 Nephi 27:20. “Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day.”

It is vital to an individual’s physical and spiritual safety to keep the gift of the Holy Ghost, he said. We do so by keeping the commandments, praying, reading the scriptures and keeping our thoughts, actions and language virtuous.

“We should worship our Heavenly Father in our homes, at church, and whenever possible, in the holy temple. Stay close to the Spirit, and the Spirit will stay close to you,” he said.

While all honest seekers of truth can feel the influence of the Holy Ghost, the fulness of blessings are only available to those who receive the gift of the Holy Ghost and remain worthy, Elder Valenzuela said. 

In conclusion, he testified, “I know that the Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead with a specific assignment to testify that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of Heavenly Father, and guide us in our decisions in our journey on this earth.”

Copyright 2022 Deseret News Publishing Company.

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