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What or who is the Holy Ghost and his Significance

The white dove signifies purity, truth, and peace.  The scriptures have many accounts pertaining to the use of doves.  The most memorable one is of the account of John the Baptist and his baptizing Jesus.

“And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.  And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me.  Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is the which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.  And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.” (John 1:32-34, the Bible.)  John’s statement leaves evidence that he had personal revelation about how he could recognize the Messiah when he baptized him.  The white Dove was to be symbolic of the Holy Ghost.  Another testimony recorded between 600 and 592 BC on the American continent by Nephi, a prophet historian.  “And I looked and beheld the Redeemer of the world, of whom my father had spoken; and I also beheld the prophet who should prepare the way before him.  And the Lamb of God went forth and was baptized of him; and after he was baptized, I beheld the heavens open, and the Holy Ghost come down out of heaven and abide upon him in the form of a dove.” (1 Nephi 11:27, the Book of Mormon) Joseph Smith recorded in D&C 93:15: “And I John bear record, and lo, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Ghost descended upon him in the form of a dove, and sate upon him, and there came a voice out of heaven saying.  This is my beloved Son.”

The significance of the Dove was to be a witness to John the Baptist that he was baptizing the Savior.  The Prophet, Joseph Smith, states:  “The sign of the dove was instituted before the creation of the world, a witness for the Holy Ghost, and the devil cannot come in the sign of a dove.  The Holy Ghost is a personage, and is in the form of a personage.  It does not confine itself to the form of the dove, but in sign of the dove.  The Holy Ghost cannot be transformed into a dove; but the sign of a dove was given to John to signify the truth of the deed, as the dove is an emblem or token of truth and innocence.” (Teachings, pp. 275-276.)

“It appears that the sign of the dove was given to John to show that the Holy Ghost had been given; and, if the translation in Luke is correct it also appears that the Holy Ghost (who is a personage of Spirit) descended in “bodily shape”, that is having the same shape and bodily form that men have, and that his descent was “like a dove,” that is calm, serene, and peaceful.” (Mormon Doctrine, Bruce R. McConkie, pp 712).