Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Gifts of the Spirit

Each newly baptized person is later confirmed as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and commanded to "receive the Holy Ghost." This ordinance is performed by men holding the Melchizedek Priesthood.

If we are willing and worthy to "receive" the Holy Ghost - the greatest gift a person can receive in this life, we can have His influence with us continually. Through the Holy Ghost, each of us can be blessed with certain spiritual powers called the gifts of the Spirit. These gifts are given to those who are faithful to Jesus Christ to help us know and teach the truths of the gospel. These gifts help us to bless others and will lead us back to God. It is important that we know what these gifts are, how we can develop them, and how to recognize Satan's imitations of them.

According to many scriptures, these gifts have been given to members of the true Church of God whenever it has been on the earth (see Mark 16:16-18). The gifts of the Spirit include the gift of tongues, the gift of interpretation of tongues, the gift of translation, the gift of wisdom, the gift of knowledge, the gift of teaching wisdom and knowledge, the gift of knowing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the gift of believing the testimony of others, the gift of prophecy, the gift of healing, the gift of working miracles, and the gift of faith.

In order to develop our gifts, we must first know what they are. We can gain this knowledge through fasting and prayer. Sometimes this information is given in patriarchal blessings. We are to seek after the best gifts according to Doctrine and Covenants 46:8. Obedience and faithfulness are required before we will be given gifts. We are then to use those gifts to do the work of the Lord.

Satan has the power to imitate the gifts of tongues, prophecy, visions, healings, and other miracles. Moses had to compete with Satan's imitations while trying to convince Pharaoh to let his people leave Egypt (see Exodus 7:8-22). Satan uses imitations to convince us to believe in his false prophets, false healers, and false miracle workers. These imitations may seem so real that they may be detected only by asking God for the gift of discernment. Satan himself may appear as an angel of light (see 2 Nephi 9:9).

Satan wants to blind us to the truth and to keep us from seeking the true gifts of the Spirit. Satan uses his power through mediums, astrologers, fortune tellers and sorcerers. They may claim that they follow God, but their works are an abomination to the Lord (see Isaiah 47:12-14; Deuteronomy 18:9-10). We should avoid all associations with the powers of Satan.

Spiritual gifts are sacred (see Doctrine and Covenants 6:10) and are given for our profit and for salvation. They are not to be boasted of or spoken about before the world. We should express gratitude to God for all the gifts that He gives to us.

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