Does the Holy Ghost 'Go to Bed' at Midnight?

Does the Holy Ghost

If you find yourself out late at night, watch out--they say that the Holy Ghost goes to bed at midnight. 

Who is "they"? Many of us have heard this funny Mormon phrase from our moms and dads, grandparents, teachers, and friends. We've even heard the phrase over the pulpit once in general conference: 

Have expectations for your children. We had a curfew and told our sons that the Holy Ghost goes to bed at midnight. When they didn’t come home, a few times the Holy Ghost told me to go out and find them. That surprised a few of their dates! We laugh about that now—but I must admit, laughter comes easier as they have grown older.

--Former Relief Society President Bonnie D. Parkin

Of course, we all know that the Holy Ghost doesn't actually "go to bed" at midnight, or at any other time. This simple turn of phrase isn't used to arbitrarily limit the Holy Ghost's influence; as long as we are worthy, we are promised that we will "always have his spirit to be with [us]." And nothing magical happens between 11:59pm and 12:01am that suddenly changes our worthiness. Rather, saying that "the Holy Ghost goes to bed at midnight" is a tongue-in-cheek way of encouraging youth and young single adults to mind the time--and their actions--when they're out on the town, especially late at night. Every parent knows that the later young people stay out (even righteous and well-intentioned youth), the more likely they are to make questionable decisions and find trouble.  

So perhaps it's not the Holy Ghost who goes to bed at midnight--it should be us! 

And often, we can even find blessings from following smart curfew precautions. Check out this great story Brother Charles W. Dahlquist II, former Young Men General President, shared at a youth devotional:

When I was getting ready to graduate from high school, my friend and I wanted to go to the senior all-night party. It seemed like everybody else was going, so we asked his father, who was our stake president, if we could go.

He said, “Absolutely not. The Holy Ghost goes to bed at midnight.” Now, he knows the Holy Ghost doesn’t go to bed at midnight, but he also knows what tends to happen after midnight. Then he said something I will never forget: “Find something positive to do that you’ll be able to think of in years to come.”

We put our heads together and organized a progressive dinner. We went from one house to the next and had a wonderful evening. With planning and a well-placed suggestion from a caring priesthood leader, we were able to stay in holy places while our friends were in jeopardy of being subject to temptations.

Whether or not we use the phrase, having a curfew is a good idea that can keep us from trouble and temptation. Because you know what they say: the Holy Ghost goes to bed at midnight. 

Does the Holy Ghost "go to bed" at midnight--or earlier--in your home? What was your experience with a curfew growing up? Did your family have one? When was it? Do you have one for your kids now? Take our poll and tell us more in the comments!

Stay in the loop!
Enter your email to receive updates on our LDS Living content