Paul Confers the Gift of the Holy Ghost by the Laying on of Hands

Acts 19:1–7

1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,
2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.
3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism.
4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.
7 And all the men were about twelve.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote:

“To admit a person into God’s Church on earth and thereafter into God’s kingdom in heaven, he must be ‘born of water and of the Spirit’ (John 3:5). Immersion in water under the hands of a legal administrator opens the door to the kingdom of God both on earth and in heaven because it makes available that most transcendent of all gifts—the gift of the Holy Ghost. Unless and until a person is baptized by the Spirit, his soul is not cleansed, evil and iniquity are not burned out of him as by fire, and he cannot go where God and Christ are.

“Joseph Smith taught: ‘Baptism is a holy ordinance preparatory to the reception of the Holy Ghost; it is the channel and key by which the Holy Ghost will be administered’ [Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith (2007), 95–96]. Also: ‘You might as well baptize a bag of sand as a man, if not done in view of the remission of sins and getting of the Holy Ghost. Baptism by water is but half a baptism, and is good for nothing without the other half—that is, the baptism of the Holy Ghost’ [Teachings: Joseph Smith, 95]. . . .

“. . . John [the Baptist] had not baptized these [Ephesian] disciples. Had he done so he would have sent them to Christ and the Apostles to be baptized ‘with the Holy Ghost, and with fire’ (Matt. 3:11). But, as the Prophet [Joseph Smith] expressed it, ‘some sectarian Jew had been baptizing like John’ [“Baptism,” Times and Seasons, Sept. 1, 1842, 904], that is, some self-appointed minister had come along, as modern divines do, and assumed the prerogative to imitate the legal administrations of the past. Hence these receptive believers were baptized over again by a legal administrator other than Paul [see 1 Cor. 1:12–16], who, however, then conferred upon them the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

(Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [1965–73], 2:166–67.)

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