Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Guardian Angels and The Holy Ghost

I don't know if I've blogged about this yet, but I don't think I have because I couldn't find any past posts with the word "Guardian" in it, though I blogged several times about angels. Many people believe that each person has a Guardian Angel, a specific being charged to watch over them and protect them. I particularly remember Pasquale's guardian angel from the comic Rose is Rose. While I was going on about angels in previous blog posts, I wanted to blog about the existence or non-existence of guardian angels like that, but I don't think I ever have - possibly because I found this.

Undoubtedly angels often guard us from accidents and harm, from temptation and sin. They may properly be spoken of as guardian angels. Many people have borne and may bear testimony to the guidance and protection that they have received from sources beyond their natural vision. Without the help that we receive from the constant presence of the Holy Spirit, and from possible holy angels, the difficulties of life would be greatly multiplied. 
The common belief, however, that to every person born into the world is assigned a guardian angel to be with that person constantly, is not supported by available evidence. … An angel may be a guardian angel though he come only as assigned to give us special help. In fact, the constant presence of the Holy Spirit would seem to make such a constant, angelic companionship unnecessary. 
So, until further knowledge is obtained, we may say that angels may be sent to guard us according to our need; but we cannot say with certainty that there is a special guardian angel, to be with every person constantly.
Elder John A. WidtsoeImprovement Era, April 1944, p. 225.

This basically shoots down the traditional idea of a guardian angel for each person. There are angels, and they do occasionally "guard" us from temptation or harm, but it seems unlikely that any person needs so much help that they have a specific angel with them constantly, and if they already have the presence of the Holy Spirit, the presence of a guardian angel is especially superfluous.

However, this got me thinking: If the Holy Ghost essentially replaces a guardian angel, filling the role of a guardian angel, could the Holy Ghost be considered a guardian angel Himself? The Bible Dictionary says this:

We learn from latter-day revelation that there are two classes of heavenly beings who minister for the Lord: those who are spirits and those who have bodies of flesh and bone. Spirits are those beings who either have not yet obtained a body of flesh and bone (unembodied) or who have once had a mortal body and have died and are awaiting the Resurrection (disembodied). Ordinarily the word angel means those ministering persons who have a body of flesh and bone, being either resurrected from the dead (reembodied), or else translated, as were Enoch, Elijah, etc.
Bible Dictionary, Angel

So, no. The Holy Ghost is probably not considered an "angel."

Well... bummer. I was kinda hoping that we each had a guardian angel, but I suppose the Holy Ghost is close enough in every case but terminology. Though I could have hoped for more individualization. I'd love for there to be some being out there who's my guardian angel, whose purpose it is to watch over and guide me. With the Holy Ghost being everyone's guardian angel (if he can be called a guardian angel at all), it somehow makes the relationship between us and Him less special. At least, to me it does. "Yeah, I helped you out, but I do that for everybody."

Maybe I'm just being selfish. The Holy Ghost gives me everything I'd need in a guardian angel, and that should be enough, but I'd also love the opportunity to form a special one-on-one relationship with some kind of guardian angel, someone specific that I could ask for help from and do favors for in return. Someone I could team up with and form a partnership for accomplishing mutual goals. I could probably form that kind of relationship with the Holy Ghost, but to me, He has always seemed like more of a conscience or some kind of energy force than an individual. Can a person become friends with an unembodied energy force?

Theoretically, I could, but first I'd have to get past my racism, or whatever you'd call it, to accept the Holy Ghost as an individual rather than just an extension of my conscience. I understand that God and Jesus Christ are both individuals. Perhaps  I need to learn more about who the Spirit is as a person. What's His personality like? What are some of the things He likes or dislikes? Does He have any hobbies or special talents? What is it that makes Him a unique individual, different from every other being in existence? I suppose I'd learn those kinds of things as I work the form a relationship with Him. But still, it seems to me that it'd be rather odd to form a friendship with a Spirit. Somehow, it seems more natural to be friends with an angel instead.

1 comment:

Barbara Robarts said...

The Holy Ghost is a distinct individual and a member of the Godhead. WE are his interest. Why is He a spirit and does not have a body? Well, so He can do His work with us, I suppose. But that seems like a tremendous sacrifice on His part. If we need bodies to progress and become like God, is the Holy Ghost sacrificing part of His progress or, more likely?, putting it on hold? He and Jesus Christ must have been truly remarkable spirit children to have achieved Godhood while in the Spirit World and before receiving bodies. Mind boggling! (Of course, I am speculating that He, like Christ, is probably our spirit brother - although no where do I ever remember hearing him called that. If not, who is He? an uncle? or??? ) What do they call Him, anyway? I mean Holy Ghost does not seem like a real name, does it? Did He sacrifice that too? Apparently, it is not important to our salvation to know about Him personally now. (Is He very shy?) But He is real and He must love Heavenly Father and us a lot.

As far as "more personal" guardian angels... I think that our ancestors are anxiously and lovingly watching over us. (In between their personal lessons and missionary work, etc. But time and limitations are different there) Probably praying for us - or having direct conversations (!) which is essentially the same thing, right? And sometimes possibly interceding for and communicating with us (with permission from higher up) (or trying to if we listen).

What can we do for them? Learn about our family history - them! - and do our genealogical work and temple work. And help and teach those around us - especially their descendents. How I must be disappointing them!