The sad truth is we have taken the meaning out of something precious.
We have knowledge of it. We've sort of learned about it. Examples are before us in the scriptures, and we have somehow managed to remove the true meaning of it and have replaced it with false understanding.
Maybe that wouldn't be so terrible, but it is a thing so important that it is written within the previously blogged about Doctrine of Christ. This false understanding is preventing countless members from receiving The gift of the Holy Ghost, and we stand oblivious to this fact, propagating our false understanding throughout the world, assuming we already have something we haven't qualified for.
This is serious.
This is damning.
Without this we haven't even entered the gate that we take for granted as members that we have long since passed.
We're actually wandering blindly around outside it.
How do we fix it?
Christ and His prophets have said again and again that what is necessary is a broken heart and a contrite spirit.
3 Nephi 9:20-22
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.
Behold, I have come unto the world to bring redemption unto the world, to save the world from sin.
Therefore, whoso repenteth and cometh unto me as a little child, him will I receive, for of such is the kingdom of God. Behold, for such I have laid down my life, and have taken it up again; therefore repent, and come unto me ye ends of the earth, and be saved.
This is what it takes to qualify for the precious gift of the Holy Ghost.
Like the Lamanites, I had no idea what I had experienced at the time was a baptism of fire. I knew I had experienced something very spiritual and life-changing, but it wasn't until 4-6 months later after a lot of study on the matter and prayer that I came to recognize it for what it was, and only then because the Spirit confirmed this to me. But only after it gently pointed out that my answer had taken so long in arriving because I'd had all the tools necessary to figure it out for myself.
I'm glad He's patient with us, or I'd be a hopeless case.
In reviewing my own experience with others, there is a commonality in what brought it about: knowledge of our sins and inadequacies, and a plea for a remission of sins. Most of us were adults when we experienced this, decades after our baptisms and confirmations.
This isn't something that can be approached half-heartedly. I felt like I was pouring all my heart and all my will into my prayer. Both were offered freely to Him with the hope that He could make me whole. I felt like I was going to break.
But instead I was saved.
And the nature of my desires changed.
The baptism of fire is a gift from heaven, something that goes beyond the laying on of hands performed by man, to something spiritual and undeniable bestowed on you personally by heaven, and it's accompanied by gifts. Over and over again in the scriptures are accounts of the spiritual gifts bestowed on the recipients of this baptism. Not all are obvious, but some are.
I realize I'm starting to sound like a broken record, but it's for a good reason.
This is necessary. This is something only He can give. Go before Him in pureness of heart, whether you're 8 or 80.
Seek this Jesus.
Receive this gift He offers freely.