Posted in Doctrine and Covenants, Gospel Doctrine 2017, Holy Ghost, LDS Doctrine

Gospel Doctrine 2017 – Lesson 15: “Seek Ye Earnestly the Best Gifts”

1. All faithful members of the Church can receive gifts of the Spirit.

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D&C 46:13 It is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God

‘It will take study of the word of God. It will take prayer and anxious seeking of the source of all truth. It will take living the gospel, … following the teachings. I do not hesitate to promise, because I know from personal experience, that out of all of this will come, by the power of the Holy Ghost, a conviction, a testimony, a certain knowledge.’ (Gordon B Hinckley, “Ye May Know That He Is,” Ensign, Feb. 1997, 31)

D&C 46:14 To others it is given to believe on their words

‘”To some it is given,” says the Lord in the Doctrine and Covenants, “by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world”  (D&C 46:13)

It is to these I refer who stand firm upon the rock of revelation in the testimony that they bear to the world. But the Lord says further that there are those to whom it is given to believe upon the testimony of the words of others  (D&C 46:14) Note that. They believe upon the words of others that they may also receive salvation if they continue faithful. For all these, however, there comes a testimony also of daily experience. The members of the Church throughout the world find confirmation of their testimony in every performance of duty. They know that the gospel teaches them to be better individuals, that obedience to the principles of the gospel makes them stronger men and truer women. Every day such knowledge comes to them, and they cannot gainsay it. They know that obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ makes them happier, better, and truer husbands, true and honored wives, obedient children. They know that obedience to the principles of the gospel makes them in every respect ideal home builders. The ideal is there. They sense it in their minds. They cannot gainsay it. They know it, and they know that transgression of these principles will have the opposite effect upon their individual lives and upon their home lives. They know that obedience to the gospel fosters true brotherhood and fellowship among mankind. They know that they are better citizens by virtue of obedience to the laws and ordinances So, as they go through their daily activities and apply religion in their weekly vocations, the truth of the gospel becomes exemplified in their lives, thus with a testimony of the Spirit, the testimony of reason, and the testimony of daily experience, members of the Church throughout the world stand impregnable. (David O McKay, General Conference, October 1960)

D&C 46:15 The differences of administration

‘There are two spiritual gifts in particular—the gifts of administration and of discernment—that the Lord has placed in his church to keep his people from being led astray. The saints need not fall heir to false doctrine; they have no need to accept false ordinances; they need not be led astray by false gifts; and their worship can be kept pure and perfect—as long as these two gifts are in active operation.

Paul says that “there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.” Then he names some of the spiritual gifts that are administered or dispensed to the individual saints. He compares these gifts to the members or parts of the body, each gift being a separate member but all of them together forming one body. The church, he says, is “the body of Christ,” and each of the saints is a part or member of that body. Apostles, prophets, teachers, miracles, healings, governments—all of these, he says, are found in the true church. And through the officers named, the church is governed and the gospel is administered. (1 Corinthians 12.)

Paul then gives a comparison between charity and the gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 13), followed by a long discussion on the relative importance of prophecy and tongues. Following this, certain conclusions are reached, such as: All things are to be done unto edifying. Only two or three should speak in tongues in one meeting. An interpreter must always be present. Two or three prophets may speak while the other prophets sit in judgment upon their words. All prophetic utterances are subject to and governed by other prophets. Presiding prophets are always in control. There is to be no confusion, no disorder. All things are to be done decently and in order. (1 Corinthians 14.) That is to say, there is order and system in the church. Someone is always in charge. Members do not act independently as their whims dictate. The Lord’s house is a house of order. Someone with discernment sits in judgment on what is said and done, rejecting the bad and approving the good.

Moroni says that “there are different ways that these gifts [of God] are administered.” (Moroni 10:8.) In the revelation on spiritual gifts that has come in our day, the Lord approaches the problem directly. He says: “Ye are commanded in all things to ask of God, who giveth liberally.” It is the Lord’s work; he will determine what ought to be done and said in his church. “And that which the Spirit testifies unto you even so I would that ye should do in all holiness of heart, walking uprightly before me, considering the end of your salvation, doing all things with prayer and thanksgiving.” Manifestly, anyone who walks in such a godly course will be in tune with the Spirit and will know the mind and will of the Lord. As to why the saints must so seek and so live, the divine word says: “That ye may not be seduced by evil spirits, or doctrines of devils, or the commandments of men; for some are of men, and others of devils. Wherefore, beware lest ye are deceived; and that ye may not be deceived seek ye earnestly the best gifts.”

The gifts used in administering and regulating the church are then named: “To some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know the differences of administration, as it will be pleasing unto the same Lord, according as the Lord will, suiting his mercies according to the conditions of the children of men.” All of the gifts of the Spirit must be dispensed in an orderly way, according to the needs and conditions of the moment. All of the affairs of the earthly kingdom must be administered as changing needs and circumstances require.

Also: “It is given by the Holy Ghost to some to know the diversities of operations, whether they be of God, that the manifestations of the Spirit may be given to every man to profit withal.” It is to the gift of discernment that reference is here made. Appointed leaders must be able to divide true doctrine from false, to single out true prophets from the false, to discern between true spirits and false ones.

“And unto the bishop of the church, and unto such as God shall appoint and ordain to watch over the church and to be elders unto the church, are to have it given unto them to discern all those gifts lest there shall be any among you professing and yet be not of God. And it shall come to pass that he that asketh in Spirit shall receive in Spirit; that unto some it may be given to have all those gifts, that there may be a head, in order that every member may be profited thereby.” (D&C 46:7-29.)

As long as the Lord’s people enjoy the gifts of the Spirit, including the gifts of administration and discernment, they will never go astray. And “all these gifts, which are spiritual,” Moroni says, “never will be done away, even as long as the world shall stand, only according to the unbelief of the children of men.” (Moroni 10:19.)’ (Bruce R McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, p.277-278)

D&C 46:16 The gift to know the diversity of operations

‘The world today is filled with false philosophies and false prophets. This gift gives one the ability to distinguish between those things that are of the devil and those that are of God. To avoid deception requires constant vigilance and acquiring the gift or following those who have received the gift; otherwise, even the elect, according to the covenant, could be deceived.’ (Doctrine and Covenants Institute Manual)

D&C 46:17-18 Wisdom and knowledge

‘Gaining knowledge is one thing and applying it, quite another. Wisdom is the right application of knowledge; and true education-the education for which the Church stands-is the application of knowledge to the development of a noble and Godlike character.

A man may possess a profound knowledge of history and of mathematics; he may be authority in psychology, biology, or astronomy; he may know all the discovered truths pertaining to geology and natural science; but if he has not with this knowledge that nobility of soul which prompts him to deal justly with his fellow men, to practice virtue and holiness in personal life, he is not a truly educated man.’ (Gospel Ideals: Selections from the Discourses of David O. McKay [Salt Lake City: Improvement Era, 1953], 440.)

Knowledge-Hierarchy

D&C 46:19 Faith to be healed

‘Though the authority to administer to the sick belongs to the elders of the Church in general, some possess this power in an unusual degree, having received it as an especial endowment of the Spirit. Another gift, allied to this, is that of having faith to be healed, which is manifested in varying degrees. Not always are the administrations of the elders followed by immediate healings; the afflicted may be permitted to suffer in body, perhaps for the accomplishment of good purposes, and in the time appointed all must experience bodily death. But let the counsels of God be observed in administering to the afflicted; then if they recover, they live unto the Lord; and the assuring promise is added that those who die under such conditions die unto the Lord.’ (James E Talmage, Articles of Faith, p. 205)

D&C 46:20 Faith to heal

‘Faith to heal the sick is one of the most desirable gifts of the gospel and should be sought after by all Melchizedek Priesthood holders. They should always be ready to exercise this power in behalf of those who need a blessing. They should seek to have and develop the gift of faith, faith to heal and faith to be healed. “And whoso shall ask it in my name in faith,” the Lord has said, “they shall cast out devils; they shall heal the sick; they shall cause the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak, and the lame to walk.” (D&C 35:9.)

Administration to the sick should be done at the request of the sick persons or someone close to them who is concerned about them, that it might be done through their faith.’ (James A Cullimore, “Gifts of the Spirit,” Ensign, Nov. 1974, 28)

D&C 46:21 The working of miracles

“I bear my witness to you that if a record had been made of all those who have been afflicted, those who have been given up to die, and who have been healed by the power of God since the establishment of the Church of Christ in our day, it would make a book much larger than the New Testament. More miracles have been performed in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints than we have any account of in the days of the Savior and His Apostles. Today, sickness is cured by spiritual power … The dead have been raised. My own brother was announced to be dead, but by the prayer of faith he lives and presides over one of the stakes of Zion. I know, as I know I live, that the healing power of Almighty God … is in the Church of Christ of which you and I are members.” (Heber J Grant, Conference Reports, October 6, 1910, p. 119)

D&C 46:22 The gift of prophecy

“All members of the Church should seek for the gift of prophecy, for their own guidance, which is the spirit by which the word of the Lord is understood and his purpose made known.” (Joseph FielChurch History and Modern Revelation, 3 vols., Salt Lake City, Deseret Book Co., 1953, 1:201.)

D&C 46:23 Discerning of spirits

‘First, I mention the gift of discernment, embodying the power to discriminate, which has been spoken of in our hearing before, particularly as between right and wrong. I believe that this gift when highly developed arises largely out of an acute sensitivity to impressions-spiritual impressions, if you will-to read under the surface as it were, to detect hidden evil, and more importantly to find the good that may be concealed. The highest type of discernment is that which perceives in others and uncovers for them their better natures, the good inherent within them. It is the gift every missionary needs when he takes the gospel to the people of the world. He must make an appraisal of every personality whom he meets. He must be able to discern the hidden spark that may be lighted for truth. The gift of discernment will save him from mistakes and embarrassment, and it will never fail to inspire confidence in the one who is rightly appraised.’ (Stephen L Richards, Where Is Wisdom? [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1955], 199 – 200.)

D&C 46:24-25 Speaking in tongues and interpretation of tongues

“Be not so curious about tongues, do not speak in tongues except there be an interpreter present; the ultimate design of tongues is to speak to foreigners, and if persons are very anxious to display their intelligence, let them speak to such in their own tongues. The gifts of God are all useful in their place, but when they are applied to that which God does not intend, they prove an injury, a snare and a curse instead of a blessing.” (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 5:31–32)

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2. God gives gifts of the Spirit for the benefit of His children.

D&C 46:9 And him that seeketh so to do

‘When there was a controversy in the early Church regarding who was entitled to heaven’s blessings and who wasn’t, the Lord declared to the Prophet Joseph Smith, “Verily I say unto you, [the gifts of God] are given for the benefit of those who love me and keep … my commandments, and [for them] that seeketh so to do.” (Doctrine and Covenants 46:9) Boy, aren’t we all thankful for that added provision “and … seeketh so to do”! That has been a lifesaver because sometimes that is all we can offer! We take some solace in the fact that if God were to reward only the perfectly faithful, He wouldn’t have much of a distribution list.’ (Jeffrey R Holland, General Conference, April 2016)

D&C 46:11-12, 26 To some is given one

‘Spiritual gifts are endless in number and infinite in variety. Those listed in the revealed word are simply illustrations of the boundless outpouring of divine grace that a gracious God gives those who love and serve him. ‘ (Bruce R McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, p.367-377)

3. We should seek and cultivate gifts of the Spirit.

D&C 46:8 Seek ye earnestly the best gifts

“What are the best gifts, or what gifts ought we seek? The answer: those gifts that would find best service in the office and call that is ours. For the Apostle it may be the testimony of Christ. For the bishop it may be the gift of discernment. For a patriarch it will likely be the gift of prophecy. A faithful father might seek to be endowed with the gift of wisdom, while a mother might yearn in prayer for the pure love of Christ. The newly called missionary might seek to speak with the tongue of angels. And so forth. With the companionship of the Holy Ghost comes the right to a gift, but none are limited to a single gift save those who fail to seek others.” (Joseph Fielding McConkie, Joseph Smith: The Choice Seer [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], chap. 33)

D&C 46:7 Ask of God

‘Now the Lord would give us gifts. He will quicken our minds. He will give us knowledge that will clear up all difficulties, and put us in harmony with the commandments that he has given us, and with a knowledge that will be so deeply rooted in our souls that the knowledge can never be rooted out, if we will just seek for the light and the truth and the understanding which is promised to us, and which we can receive if we will only be true and faithful to every covenant and obligation pertaining to the gospel of Jesus Christ.’ Joseph Fielding Smith, General Conference, October 1958)

D&C 46:32 Give thanks unto God

‘And about what shall we pray in our prayers? We should express joyful and sincere gratitude for past blessings. The Lord has said, “And ye must give thanks unto God in the Spirit for whatsoever blessing ye are blessed with.” (D&C 46:32.) A wonderful and assuring spirit comes over us as we express sincere gratitude to Heavenly Father for our blessings-for the gospel and the knowledge of it that we have been blessed to receive, for the efforts and labors of parents and others in our behalf, for our families and friends, for opportunities, for mind and body and life, for experiences good and helpful throughout our lives, for all of our Father’s helps and kindnesses and answered prayers.’ (Spencer W Kimball, “Pray Always,” Ensign, Oct. 1981, 4)

 

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