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Saturday, May 30, 2015

Gifts of the Spirit

                After one is baptized by immersion, hands are laid upon the person’s head to confirm them a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Then they are commanded to “receive the Holy Ghost.”  If they are faithful, they can have the influence of the Holy Ghost with them at all times.  Through the Holy Ghost, each person can be blessed with gifts of the Spirit or certain spiritual powers.  These gifts are given only to those who keep the commandments of God to help them know and teach the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ as well as to bless other people and to guide them back to Heavenly Father.

                In order to use the gifts of the Spirit wisely, one must know and understand what they are, how to develop them, and how to recognize Satan’s imitations of them.  The scriptures mention many gifts of the Spirit given to members of the true church of Jesus Christ whenever it is upon the earth.  The presence of these gifts is proof of the true church (see Mark 16:16-18) but are not the only proof of the true church because they are easily imitated by Satan.  Some of the gifts of the Spirit are as follow.

                The Gift of Tongues (Doctrine and Covenants 46:24):  Sometimes it is necessary to communicate the gospel in a language one has not learned.  In such an instance, the Lord can bless a person with the ability to speak that language.  Many missionaries have received this gift at times of great need.

                The Gift of Interpretation of Tongues (Doctrine and Covenants 46:25):  This gift is sometimes given when one does not understand the language and need to receive an important message from God.

                The Gift of Translation (Doctrine and Covenants 5:4):  If one has been called by the leaders of the Church to translate the word of the Lord, the person can receive a gift to translate beyond their natural ability.  As with all gifts, one must live righteously, study hard, and pray to receive it.  When one does these things, they will feel their translation is correct (Doctrine and Covenants 9:8-9).

                The Gift of Wisdom (Doctrine and Covenants 46:17):  Some people are blessed with the ability to understand people and the principles of the gospel as they apply in their lives.

                The Gift of Knowledge (Doctrine and Covenants 46:18):  In order to become like Heavenly Father, one must eventually know all things.  The knowledge of God and His laws is revealed by the Holy Ghost (Doctrine and Covenants 121:26).  No one can be saved without this knowledge (Doctrine and Covenants 131:6).  Knowledge from the Holy Ghost comes through thoughts to the mind and feelings to the heart plus a burning of the truth within one’s soul (Doctrine and Covenants 8:2).

                The Gift of Wisdom and Knowledge (Moroni 10:9-19):  Some people are given the special ability to explain and testify to the truths of the gospel.  This is a gift that can be used by parents in the home and teachers in the classroom.  This gift helps one to instruct others so they can come to an understanding of the gospel.

                The Gift of Knowing that Jesus Christ if the Son of God (Doctrine and Covenants 46:13):  This is the gift of prophets and apostles who have been called as special witnesses of Jesus Christ, but it is also given to other people.  Every person can have a testimony of Jesus Christ; this testimony may come through the whispering of the Holy Ghost, dream, or vision.

                The Gift of Believing the Testimony of Others (Doctrine and Covenants 46:14):  One may know the truth of all things by the power of the Holy Ghost.  If one desires to know if someone is speaking the truth, one must ask God.  If one is praying about something that is true, the Lord will speak peace to one’s mind (see Doctrine and Covenants 6:22-23).  By using this gift, one can know when someone has received revelation from God.

                The Gift of Prophecy (Doctrine and Covenants 46:22):  The gift of prophecy is the ability to receive true revelations about the past, present, or future.  Prophets have this gift, but other people also can receive it to govern their own lives (see 1 Corinthians 1439).  One can receive revelations from God for one’s stewardship – self, family, Church calling, etc. – but never for the Church or its leaders.  It is contrary to the order of heaven for anyone to receive revelation for one higher in authority than oneself.  Those who have the gift of prophecy will never receive any revelation contrary to what the Lord has said in the scriptures.

                The Gift of Healing (Doctrine and Covenants 46:19-20):  Some people have faith to heal while other people have faith to be healed.  Everyone can exercise the faith to be healed when ill (see Doctrine and Covenants 42:48).  Many priesthood bearers have the gift of healing the sick.  Other people may have received knowledge on how to cure illness.

                The Gift of Working Miracles (Doctrine and Covenants 46:21):  The Lord has performed many miracles.  When one is in great need and asks in faith, the Lord will work miracles if it is for one’s good.

                The Gift of Faith (Moroni 10:11):  Faith is very important because no other gift can be received without it.  One can increase faith, discover gifts, and use them.  Some people deny these gifts even exist because they do not have faith.

                One can develop these gifts.  The Lord said, “For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God.  To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby” (Doctrine and Covenants 46:11-22).

                In order to develop one’s gifts, one must first discover the gifts one possesses.  This can be done through fasting, prayer, and seeking after the best gifts (see Doctrine and Covenants 46:8).  Patriarchal blessings sometimes mention one’s gifts.  The gifts are developed through obedience and faithfulness to the commandments and ordinances of God and should be used to do the work of the Lord.  The gifts are not given to satisfy one’s curiosity or to prove anything to anyone.  Gifts are to be used to build up the kingdom of God and to strengthen testimonies.

                Satan can imitate the gifts of tongues, prophecy, visions, healings, and other miracles as shown by the experience of Moses competing with Satan’s imitations in Pharaoh’s court (see Exodus 7:8-22).  Satan wants people to believe his false prophets, false healers, and false miracle workers; he can appear as an angel of light.  Satan’s imitations may appear so real that the only way one may the truth is to ask God for the gift of discernment.

                Satan wants people to be blind to the truth and does all he can to keep them from seeking the true gifts of the Spirit.  Mediums, astrologers, fortune tellers, and sorcerers are inspired by Satan but may claim to follow God.  The powers of Satan should be avoided at all times.

                The Lord desires all people to treat His spiritual gifts as sacred and not boast of them.  He asks only one thing in return for His gifts:  “Ye must give thanks unto God in the Spirit for whatsoever blessing ye are blessed with” (Doctrine and Covenant 46:32).

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