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Stronger than sight

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Near the end of an interview in 1961, a newspaper feature writer delicately asked President David O. McKay if he could ask him a personal question, not for publication but for his own information. The writer wanted to know whether President McKay had ever seen the Savior.

"President McKay answered that he had not, but that he had heard his voice, many times, and that he had felt His presence and His influence. . . . Then he told how some evidences were stronger even than that of sight, and recalled the occasion when the Savior appeared to His disciples and told Thomas who had doubted, 'Reach hither thy finger and behold my hands: and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless but believing.' And then President McKay said that he liked to believe Thomas did not actually look up, but knelt at the Savior's feet and said unto Him, 'My Lord and my God.' And then President McKay repeated the words of the Master, 'Because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.' President McKay then smiled and said, 'That is quite a testimony I have given you. I do not know when I have given this before.' " ("Tributes to President David O. McKay," Improvement Era, 1963, as quoted in I Know that My Redeemer Lives, Deseret Book.)

This evidence stronger than sight comes through the power of the Holy Ghost. After baptism, each member of the Church is confirmed by a priesthood holder and given the right to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, which is the constant companionship of this member of the Godhead. Anyone who lives worthy of this has access to an endless reservoir of knowledge and guidance, and to a sure testimony of the Savior, Jesus Christ.

During His mortal ministry, Jesus spoke of the Holy Ghost as a comforter and told His disciples to look forward to the day when they could have this companionship.

"These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.

"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." (John:14:25-26.)

The witness of the Holy Ghost is the foundation of every testimony. It is the key to conversion and the test by which everyone can know that the gospel has been restored and the Book of Mormon is true. But it is of little value to those who do not learn how to recognize its whisperings or the comfort of its burnings within.

Missionaries are taught to help investigators recognize when the Spirit is present. This, as much as anything else, is vital to helping someone through the conversion process. A person may have felt the Holy Ghost testifying at various times in his or her life, but may never have fully realized what the feeling was. Armed with that knowledge, they are better prepared to seek and recognize truth.

But just as missionaries help investigators, so, too, should parents and Church leaders help the youth of the Church become familiar with the Spirit. After a family prayer or at other appropriate times, parents should tell their children that the warm feeling they are experiencing is the Spirit of the Holy Ghost. By so doing, they will be instilling a spiritual maturity that will serve their children throughout their lives.

The lifelong companionship of the Holy Ghost allows a member of the Church to "know the truth of all things." (Moroni 10:5.) It is this gift that enables prophets to testify with a knowledge more sure than sight. Wise parents and leaders will set young people on the road toward an understanding of this spirit even as they, themselves, seek to know it better in their own lives.