In 1902, the First Presidency responded to a question about the Holy Ghost, specifically, when did the apostles in the New Testament receive this sacred gift? The following is their reply:
The following inquiry has been received from an elder residing in Tooele County, with the request for a reply:
“There is a dispute here among the brethren as to when the Holy Ghost was received; was it at, or before the day of Pentecost?”
The answer to this question depends on what is meant by “receiving” the Holy Ghost. If reference is made to the promise of Jesus to His apostles about the endowment or gift of the Holy Ghost by the presence and ministration of the “personage of spirit,” called the Holy Ghost by revelation in Doctrine and Covenants, Sec. 130, verse 22, then the answer is, it was not until the day of Pentecost that the promise was fulfilled. But the Divine essence, called the Spirit of God, or Holy Spirit, or Holy Ghost by which God created or organized all things, and by which the prophets wrote and spoke, was bestowed in former ages and inspired the apostles in their ministry long before the days of Pentecost. The words “Ghost and Spirit” are often used synonymously, and this causes some confusion, when the difference between the “personage of spirit” and the spirit “poured out from on high” is not taken into consideration. There is a universally diffused essence which is the light and life of the world, which proceedeth forth from the presence of God throughout the immensity of space, the light and power of which God bestows in different degrees to “them that ask him,” according to their faith and obedience, but the Holy Ghost, which Christ said He would send to His apostles from the Father (John 14:26) was and is a “personage of spirit,” and was not to come until Christ went away (John 16:7). Also the endowment from that divine being, the third person in the Holy Trinity, called “the gift of the Holy Ghost,” is a special blessing sealed upon baptized repentant believers in Jesus Christ, and is “an abiding witness.” The spirit of God may be enjoyed as a temporary influence by which divine light and power come to mankind for special purposes and occasions. But the gift of the Holy Ghost, which was received by the apostles on the day of Pentecost, and is bestowed in confirmation, is a permanent witness and higher endowment than the ordinary manifestation of the Holy Spirit.