Gift of the Holy Ghost and the Ministering of Angels2 Nephi 32
speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words
Dallin H. Oaks
"The word 'angel' is used in the scriptures for any heavenly being bearing God's message" (George Q. Cannon, Gospel Truth, sel. Jerreld L. Newquist , 54). The scriptures recite numerous instances where an angel appeared personally. Angelic appearances to Zacharias and Mary (see Luke 1) and to King Benjamin [page 39] and Nephi, the grandson of Helaman (see Mosiah 3:2; 3 Ne. 7:17-18) are only a few examples. When I was young, I thought such personal appearances were the only meaning of the ministering of angels. As a young holder of the Aaronic Priesthood, I did not think I would see an angel, and I wondered what such appearances had to do with the Aaronic Priesthood.
But the ministering of angels can also be unseen. Angelic messages can be delivered by a voice or merely by thoughts or feelings communicated to the mind. President John Taylor described "the action of the angels, or messengers of God, upon our minds, so that the heart can conceive … revelations from the eternal world" (Gospel Kingdom, sel. G. Homer Durham , 31).
Nephi described three manifestations of the ministering of angels when he reminded his rebellious brothers that (1) they had "seen an angel," (2) they had "heard his voice from time to time," and (3) also that an angel had "spoken unto [them] in a still small voice" though they were "past feeling" and "could not feel his words" (1 Ne. 17:45). The scriptures contain many other statements that angels are sent to teach the gospel and bring men to Christ (see Heb. 1:14; Alma 39:19; Moro. 7:25, 29, 31-32; D&C 20:35). Most angelic communications are felt or heard rather than seen.
How does the Aaronic Priesthood hold the key to the ministering of angels? The answer is the same as for the Spirit of the Lord.
the blessings of spiritual companionship and communication are only
available to those who are clean. As explained earlier, through the
Aaronic Priesthood ordinances of baptism and the sacrament, we are
cleansed of our sins and promised that if we keep our covenants we will
always have His Spirit to be with us. I believe that promise not only
refers to the Holy Ghost but also to the ministering of angels, for
"angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the
words of Christ" (2 Ne. 32:3). So it is that those who hold the Aaronic
Priesthood open the door for all Church members who worthily partake of
the sacrament to enjoy the companionship of the Spirit of the Lord and
the ministering of angels. ("The Aaronic Priesthood and the Sacrament,"
Ensign, Nov. 1998, p. 39)
Ministering of Angels