In this week’s religion class, I studied Articles of Faith 1:7: “We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.” Two of the doctrines found in this scripture are the place of gifts of the Spirit in the Church of Jesus Christ and the gifts of the Spirit in disciples’ lives. I gained the following insights as I studied this Article of Faith.
There were several truth taught under the heading “The Place of Gifts of the Spirit in the Church, and I summarized them as follows: Spiritual gifts are abilities given by God to members of His church by the Holy Ghost whenever the true church has been on earth, and they are without number. Each member of the Church of Jesus Christ has at least one spiritual gift, and the gifts are given to bless the individual and to help in serving other people.
The Lord provides spiritual gifts, such as those in Articles of Faith 1:7, to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints through the power of the Holy Ghost to bless the lives of individuals and to help them to serve other people. He gives these gifts whenever His Church is established upon the earth. The scriptures list numerous spiritual gifts, but there are many more gifts available than are listed. In fact, the available gifts are almost innumerable. Every member receives at least one spiritual gift, but everyone has the right to pray for additional ones and/or develop them. There are priesthood leaders who are entitled to the discernment of all gifts. Satan can counterfeit many of the spiritual gifts, so we should pray for the ability to discern the difference and to avoid the bogus ones. We should also pray for the gift of charity because it is the true love of Christ.
Doctrine and Covenants 46:8-9 tells us that we should “seek earnestly” for the “best gifts” because the Lord gives gifts for the benefit of those who love Him and keep His commandments. Doctrine and Covenants 46:11-12 tells us that the Holy Ghost cleanses, sanctifies, and purifies us as we yield to His influences and receive His gifts. The gifts are distributed among the Saints according to their faithfulness, circumstances, natural abilities, duties, callings, etc. Verse 13 tells us that the gift to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God is placed first among spiritual gifts because it is obtained only through revelation.
Doctrine and Covenants 46:13 tells us one of the spiritual gifts from the Spirit is to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. The student manual information for this verse says that this knowledge is placed first among the spiritual gifts because it comes only through personal revelation. It also says that every member of the Church of Jesus Christ should have this gift. One of the blessings that comes when the Holy Ghost speaks to our spirit is that “the imprint upon the soul is far more difficult to erase.” I can testify that this statement is true because I have personal experience with it. I forget many things, including impressions from the Spirit, but I cannot forget the imprint made by the Holy Ghost when He testified to me that the Church of Jesus Christ and all that it teaches is true.
The Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 12:12 that we should “covet earnestly the best gifts,” and Doctrine and Covenants 46:8 tells us to “seek … earnestly the best gifts.” We know that the greatest of all the gifts is charity because it is the pure love of Christ (Moroni 7:47). Before we seek more gifts, we should first seek to know the gift or gifts that we already have.
Elder Robert D. Hales in his talk titled “Gifts of the Spirit” (Ensign, February 2002) reminds us that we are instructed that each of us has at least one gifts and could have more. He also says that revelation for the direction of the Church of Jesus Christ will never be given through the gift of tongues because Satan can duplicate that gift. He tells us to find our gifts through fasting, prayer, and searching our patriarchal blessing. Once we discover our gift or gifts, we should develop them to the greatest extent possible.
As we seek for more gifts, we should remember that they are without number and not just the ones listed in the scriptures. We should also remember that gifts are given to bless the Church of Jesus Christ as a whole and not for our own gratification. I appreciate the opportunity to study the gifts of the Spirit and why they are given. I will be more diligent in the future about determining my current gifts and seeking new ones.