Monday, May 4, 2015


President Packer has shared an experience of his about a conversation with an atheist.  The man told him that no one could know if there was a God, Elder Packer told him that he knew, and proceeded to illustrate his point by asking the man to describe the taste of salt.  And although the man knew what salt tasted like, he couldn't describe its taste in words.  The same can be said of the Holy Ghost.
I sat in an airplane next to a man who so strongly expressed his disbelief in God that I bore my testimony to him. “You are wrong, I said, “there is a God. I know He lives!” 
He protested, “You don’t know. Nobody knows that! You can’t know it!” When I would not agree with him, the man, who was an attorney, asked perhaps the ultimate question on the subject of testimony. “All right,” he said in a sneering, condescending way, “you say you know. Tell me how you know.” 
I felt perhaps, that I had borne my testimony to him unwisely and was at a loss as to what to do. Then something came into my mind. I said to the man, “Let me ask if you know what salt tastes like.” 
“Of course I do,” was his reply. 
“When did you taste salt last?” 
“When I just had dinner here on the airplane.” 
“You just think you know what salt tastes like,” I said. 
He insisted, “I know what salt tastes like as well as I know anything.” 
“If I gave you a cup of salt and a cup of sugar and let you taste them both, could you tell the salt from the sugar?” 
“Now you are getting silly,” was his reply. “Of course I could tell the difference. I know what salt tastes like. It is an everyday experience.” 
“Then,” I said, “assuming that I have never tasted salt, explain to me just what it tastes like.”
After some thought, he said, “Well, I suppose you could say that it is not sweet and it is not sour.” 
“You’ve told me what it isn’t, not what it is.” After several attempts, of course, he could not do it. He could not explain, in words alone, so ordinary an experience as tasting salt. 
I bore testimony to him once again and said, “I know there is a God. You ridiculed that testimony and said that if I did know, I would be able to tell you exactly how I know. My friend, spiritually speaking, I have tasted salt. I am no more able to tell you in words how this knowledge has come to me than you are able to tell me what salt tastes like. But I say to you again, there is a God! He does live! And just because you don’t know, don’t try to tell me that I don’t know, for I do!” (The Candle of the Lord, Elder Boyd K Packer)
I know what salt tastes like.  I eat salt with almost every meal.  It brings out the flavor of the food, and makes meals more delicious.  Without salt, many food become bland and boring.  Could you imagine eating potatoes without salt?  But even though I know what salt tastes like, I can not describe the taste of salt.  It is salty.  It isn't sweet and it isn't bitter.  But more than that, words just don't exist to describe the taste.

Similiarly, I know what the Holy Ghost feels like.  I am not making up emotions, nor am I confusing the experience with something else.  I have felt the Holy Ghost, and I know what it feels like.  I know the difference between the Holy Ghost and emotions.

But more than that, when I was baptized, I received the gift of the Holy Ghost.  This means that I have the right to have the Holy Ghost as my constant companion.  Just like eating salt is an everyday experience, feeling the Holy Ghost is an every day experience.  It brings out the flavor of life, and makes experiences more delicious to me.  Just like I wouldn't want to eat French Fries without salt, I wouldn't want to live one day without the Holy Ghost.

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