A new spiritual beginning

Area Leadership Message

Elder Erik Bernskov
Elder Erik Bernskov Area Seventy

After His resurrection, the Savior visited and taught his apostles. For forty days he showed himself unto them and taught them about the Kingdom of God. What a marvelous time they must have had together. During that time, He also told them that they should not leave Jerusalem but wait until they had been endowed with power from on high. He had promised them, that they soon would be baptized with the Holy Ghost. What a cliffhanger, He left them with. They must have been looking very much forward to this event, which should happen soon.

After Jesus had blessed the group and departed, the apostles returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and spend a lot of the waiting time in the temple. A great way to prepare spiritually for the coming baptism by the Holy Ghost and the subsequent events.

The apostles only had to wait until the Jewish thanksgiving feast, called Pentacost, which came 50 days after Passover. As they were gathered, there came a sound like a strong wind, which filled the house. “And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them”. They were all filled with the Holy Ghost and they began speaking in tongues.

This outpouring of the Holy Ghost was the spiritual beginning for the first saints. Shortly after, many souls were baptized, and miracles were performed by the apostles. The new saints lived in harmony with each other, helping those in need, and they often went to the temple.

We have many times in the history of the restored church seen outpouring of the Holy Ghost, which have strengthened the saints. On the higher end of the scale, many members have had wonderful spiritual experiences in connection with dedication of temples. The most well known and most unique spiritual outpouring happened, when the Kirtland temple was dedicated in 1836. Prior to this dedication, many sacrifices were made by the members, who donated time and money to help build this special first temple, which still stands. The saints were also asked to prepare themselves spiritually before the dedication.

I had the pleasure to experience the dedication of the Copenhagen temple back in 2004. Prior to the dedication I – together with many members – was involved in the all the practical things in connection with the open house for thousands of visitors. All the preparation and the uplifting experiences going through with visitors prior to the dedication, made the dedication itself a special event, which had an effect on the members, and motivated them to come often to the temple to serve and feel the spirit.

After having the experience of being filled with the Holy Ghost, a typical outcome is often to get a desire to recommit oneself in living closer to the Lord. Also a stronger commitment and motivation to do good and help others could follow. Perhaps even a stronger love and patience toward others.

Fortunately, it is not necessary to wait for big events like temple dedication, visit of an apostle, special conferences etc. before feeling the presence or outpouring of the Holy Ghost and feel renewed. My own personal experience is that I can feel a weekly spiritual new beginning during church meetings and partaking of the sacrament, when I have had a week with time spent studying the scriptures – often together with the Come Follow Me manual – and serving others.

I am very fortunate to live close to a temple, and coming there reminds me of the whole purpose of life and set things in perspective. I may not have experiences like the saints had at the dedication in Kirtland, but the special spirit present in the temple also helps me be more spiritual inclined to feel the presence of the Holy Ghost – just like the early saints prior to the day of Pentacost.