When I was young, I was friends with a girl whose family was Pentacostal. I noticed several things about their lifestyle, such as the fact that the women in their family only wore skirts, not pants, didn't wear jewelry, and didn't cut their hair. One day when I was visiting my friend, I asked her some questions about her religion. She told me that in addition to their dress code, they also didn't watch television, or listen to popular music on the radio. They also didn't dance. She told me that they also believed in speaking in tongues. Having not experienced that in my life, I asked her how a person spoke in tongues. She told me that only those who had the gift of the Holy Ghost were able to speak in tongues. She said that speaking in tongues was the way a person knew if they had receieved the gift of the Holy Ghost. I asked her if she had received the Holy Ghost, and she told me she had not yet received it, but her mother had. I was very fascinated by their teachings, but I had been taught a different way of receiving the Holy Ghost.
We believe that the influence of the Holy Ghost can come upon anyone who is worthy. This influence can lead a person to truth, or warn them from danger. But this influence isn't permanent. We believe that in order to have the permanent gift of the Holy Ghost, we must first receive that gift by the laying on of hands by one holding the proper Priesthood authority. In the book of Acts, we read that Peter and John went to Samaria, and conferred the gift of the Holy Ghost, by the laying on of hands upon the members there. These members had already been baptized, but as yet had not received the gift of the Holy Ghost.
"14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:
15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:
16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)
17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost." Acts 8:14-17
Baptism is a prerequisite to receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. The Bible Dictionary of the LDS scriptures, in speaking about the role of the Holy Ghost, states, "More powerful than that which is available before baptism, it acts as a cleansing agent to purify a person and sanctify him from all sin. Thus it is often spoken of as "fire" John the Baptist taught, " I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: (Matt. 3: 11 )
After we have this "baptism of fire" spoken of in the scriptures, then we are entitled to the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. However this gift is conditional upon our worthiness. In the Book of Mormon we are taught that "..the Spirit of the Lord doth not dwell in unholy temples—" (Helaman 4: 24) If we want that constant companionship of the Holy Ghost to guide and direct us, we must live worthy of it.
So how does the Holy Ghost communicate with us? In the Doctrine and Covenants 8:2 we read, "Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart." Elder Boyd K. Packer further taught, " That sweet, quiet voice of inspiration comes more as a feeling than it does as a sound. Pure intelligence can be spoken into the mind. The Holy Ghost communicates with our spirits through the mind more than through the physical senses. This guidance comes as thoughts, as feelings through promptings and impressions. We may feel the words of spiritual communication more than hear them and see with spiritual rather than with mortal eyes." (Boyd K. Packer, "Prayer and Promptings," Liahona, Nov 2009, 43–46)
The gift of the Holy Ghost is one of the greatest blessings in my life. I have had many experiences when I have received direct guidance through the gift of the Holy Ghost. I pray that I might always live in such as way as to be worthy to receive that guidance it gives.