DC 46 Historical Background
"Challenges to the Lord's newly restored Church were many and varied. The foundation years saw Satan's power unleashed in continued efforts to thwart the kingdom of God. Evil spirits were marshaled to destroy the Prophet Joseph Smith and all who aligned themselves with Christ's church. But the heavens had been opened, and God had revealed to his prophet-leader the designs and tactics of the enemy. Speaking of Satan's efforts and the need for the Saints to possess the gifts of the Spirit, the Prophet Joseph Smith said:
A man must have the discerning of spirits before he can drag into daylight this hellish influence and unfold it unto the world in all its soul-destroying, diabolical, and horrid colors; for nothing is a greater injury to the children of men than to be under the influence of a false spirit when they think they have the Spirit of God. Thousands have felt the influence of its terrible power and baneful effects. Long pilgrimages have been undertaken, penances endured, and pain, misery and ruin have followed in their train; nations have been convulsed, kingdoms overthrown, provinces laid waste, and blood, carnage and desolation are habiliments in which it has been clothed. (History of The Church, 4: 573.)
"On 8 March 1831 at Kirtland, Ohio, the Propeht received section 46, a revelation which would assist the Saints in dragging into daylight Satan's hellish plan be describing the true gifts of the Holy Spirit." (Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual, [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1981], 98)
DC 46:2 conduct all meetings as they are directed and guided by the Holy Spirit
David B. Haight
We encourage local Church leaders to see that the sacrament meetings of the Church are directed and guided by the Holy Spirit. The spirit in our sacrament meetings should be a matter that is continually emphasized and stressed by stake presidencies and bishoprics. Our members must be reminded of the need for a worshipful atmosphere. Bringing investigators to irreverent meetings has proven embarrassing to our members and missionaries.
The planning of sacrament meetings is one of a bishop's most vital responsibilities. The entire bishopric should prayerfully plan each meeting. They should ask: "What messages do our people need? Do we need to address youth problems or concerns? Who can best treat these subjects? Who needs to pray?"
Members should understand the Lord's expectation of worthiness. Worthiness includes forgiveness and charity. If there are feelings of animosity, members should seek reconciliation before partaking of the sacrament.
The primary objective of a bishopric for sacrament meeting is to see that the Saints are edified and strengthened in their faith, and that through their prayerful efforts and planning, the Holy Spirit is felt in their sacrament meetings. ("Remembering the Savior's Atonement," Ensign, Apr. 1988, 13)
Gordon B. Hinckley
To administrators, the leadership of the Church in our thousands of stakes, missions, districts, wards, and branches, you who structure and conduct the many and varied meetings-and I include myself-I make a plea that we constantly seek the inspiration of the Lord and the companionship of His Holy Spirit to bless us in keeping our efforts on a high spiritual plane. Those prayers will not go unanswered, for the promise has been given through revelation that "God shall give unto you knowledge by his Holy Spirit, yea, by the unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost" (D&C 121:26). ("Feed the Spirit, Nourish the Soul," Ensign, Oct. 1998, 2, 4)
DC 46:3 ye are commanded never to cast any one out from your public meetings
In the beginning of the Church, while yet in her infancy, the disciples used to exclude unbelievers, which caused some to marvel, and converse of this matter because of the things that are written in the Book of Mormon. Therefore the Lord deigned to speak on this subject, that his people might come to understanding and said that he had always given to his elders to conduct all meetings as they were led by the Spirit. (See D&C 46.) (The Book of John Whitmer, typescript, [Provo: BYU Archives and Manuscripts], chap. 4)
DC 46:7 that ye may not be seduced by evil spirits...for some are of men, and others of devils
Boyd K. Packer
All inspiration does not come from God. (See D&C 46:7.) The evil one has the power to tap into those channels of revelation and send conflicting signals which can mislead and confuse us. There are promptings from evil sources which are so carefully counterfeited as to deceive even the very elect. (See Matt. 24:24.)
Nevertheless, we can learn to discern these spirits. Even with every member having the right to revelation, the Church can be maintained as a house of order. ("Revelation in a Changing World," Ensign, Nov. 1989, 14)
DC 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)
The gifts are spiritual... We can't conjure them up for ourselves. The Lord gives them, and he says he gives them. We must ask for them with real intent and with an honest heart. We can have them-any gift... all these things are available-all we need to do is ask. But we must ask for them, and of course if we ask not we receive not. (Approaching Zion, edited by Don E. Norton [Salt Lake City and Provo: Deseret Book Co., Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1989], 89 - 90.)
Joseph Fielding Smith
Now, the Lord will 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; he will give us a knowledge that will be so deeply rooted in our souls that it can never be rooted out, if we will just seek for the light and the truth and the understanding that are promised to us and that we can receive if we will only be true and faithful to every covenant and obligation pertaining to the gospel of Jesus Christ. ("Seek Ye Earnestly the Best Gifts," Ensign, June 1972, 3)
DC 46:8 always remembering for what they are given
Dallin H. Oaks
Satan will also attempt to cause our spiritual downfall through tempting us to misapply our spiritual gifts. The revelations tell us that "there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God. ... All these gifts come from God, for the benefit of the children of God" (D&C 46:11, 26). Most of us have seen persons whom the adversary has led astray through a corruption of their spiritual gifts. My mother shared one such example, something she observed while attending Brigham Young University many years ago.
A man who lived in a community in Utah had a mighty gift of healing. People sought him out for blessings, many coming from outside his ward and stake. In time, he almost made a profession of giving blessings. As part of his travels to various communities, he visited the apartments of BYU students, asking if they wanted blessings. This man had lost sight of the revealed direction on spiritual gifts: "always remembering for what they are given" (D&C 46:8). A spiritual gift is given to benefit the children of God, not to magnify the prominence or to gratify the ego of the person who receives it. The professional healer who forgot that lesson gradually lost the companionship of the Spirit and was eventually excommunicated from the Church. ("Our Strengths Can Become Our Downfall," Ensign, Oct. 1994, 12-13)
Dallin H. Oaks
We must take care never to misuse spiritual gifts. As the Prophet Joseph Smith taught, when spiritual gifts "are applied to that which God does not intend, they prove an injury, a snare and a curse instead of a blessing." (Teachings, p. 248.) ("Spiritual Gifts," Ensign, Sept. 1986, 69)
DC 46:9 for the benefit of those who... keep all my commandments, and him that seeketh so to do
Jeffrey R. Holland
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.” 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.
Please remember tomorrow, and all the days after that, that the Lord blesses those who want to improve, who accept the need for commandments and try to keep them, who cherish Christlike virtues and strive to the best of their ability to acquire them. If you stumble in that pursuit, so does everyone; the Savior is there to help you keep going. If you fall, summon His strength. Call out like Alma, “O Jesus, … have mercy on me.” (Alma 36:18) He will help you get back up. He will help you repent, repair, fix whatever you have to fix, and keep going. Soon enough you will have the success you seek. (General Conference, Apr. 2016)
DC 46:11 there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God
Marvin J. Ashton
One of the great tragedies of life, it seems to me, is when a person classifies himself as someone who has no talents or gifts. When, in disgust or discouragement, we allow ourselves to reach depressive levels of despair because of our demeaning self-appraisal, it is a sad day for us and a sad day in the eyes of God. For us to conclude that we have no gifts when we judge ourselves by stature, intelligence, grade-point average, wealth, power, position, or external appearance is not only unfair but unreasonable.
From D&C 46:11-12, we have this truth:
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.
God has given each of us one or more special talents. Socrates made the famous statement, "The unexamined life is not worth living" ("Apology," The Dialogues of Plato, trans. Benjamin Jowett, Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1952, p. 210). It is up to each of us to search for and build upon the gifts which God has given. We must remember that each of us is made in the image of God, that there are no unimportant persons. Everyone matters to God and to his fellowmen.
...let me mention a few gifts that are not always evident or noteworthy but that are very important. Among these may be your gifts-gifts not so evident but nevertheless real and valuable.
Let us review some of these less-conspicuous gifts: the gift of asking; the gift of listening; the gift of hearing and using a still, small voice; the gift of being able to weep; the gift of avoiding contention; the gift of being agreeable; the gift of avoiding vain repetition; the gift of seeking that which is righteous; the gift of not passing judgment; the gift of looking to God for guidance; the gift of being a disciple; the gift of caring for others; the gift of being able to ponder; the gift of offering prayer; the gift of bearing a mighty testimony; and the gift of receiving the Holy Ghost.
We must remember that to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God. It is our right and responsibility to accept our gifts and to share them. God's gifts and powers are available to all of us. ("There Are Many Gifts," Ensign, Nov. 1987, 20)
Relief Society General Presidency
Few people have all these spiritual gifts. On the other hand, there is no member of the Church who does not have at least one gift (see D&C 46:11).
Many of us already have spiritual gifts, but we sometimes fail to recognize them. We may think they are reserved for people with special needs or callings. For the same reason, we may neglect to earnestly seek spiritual gifts, even though they have been promised to us. The Savior tells us, "Ye are commanded in all things to ask of God, who giveth liberally ... that all may be benefited that seek or that ask of me" (D&C 46:7, 9).
In section 46, the Lord lists six qualifications to receive spiritual gifts: (1) They are not to be sought as signs (see D&C 46:9); (2) they are to be used in the service of others (see D&C 46:12, 26); (3) we should ask "in the Spirit" (D&C 46:30); (4) they are to be used "in the name of Christ" (D&C 46:31); (5) we must thank God "for whatsoever blessing [we] are blessed with" (D&C 46:32); and (6) we "must practise virtue and holiness before [the Lord] continually" (D&C 46:33). ("Seeking the Best Gifts," Ensign, Jan. 1997, 55)
DC 46:13 it is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God
For some, a testimony that Jesus is the Christ seems to come so easily. Others believe, but feel as if their testimony is weak. They listen to others bare their testimonies and wonder how they can be so sure-how they can say they know. Why is this so? The scriptures teach us that some are given the gift to know. Others are not given this gift. They may seek it out. They may obtain it at length, but for them it will not come without work. They should take comfort in the words of President Hinckley:
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. ("Ye May Know That He Is," Ensign, Feb. 1997, 31)
While we often speak of a testimony as something that everyone should have, we should understand that even our own testimony is given to us as a gift of the Spirit. Those whose testimonies are strong should not take pride in their knowledge of the truth for it was given to them from above. Joseph Smith said, "no man can know that Jesus is the Christ, but by the Holy Ghost." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 243)
Dallin H. Oaks
Spiritual gifts come by the power of the Holy Ghost, that all the faithful may be benefited. One of these gifts is "to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world." (D&C 46:13.) Those who receive that gift have the duty to testify of it. We know this because immediately after describing the gift of knowing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Lord says: "To others it is given to believe on their words, that they also might have eternal life if they continue faithful." (D&C 46:14; see also 3 Ne. 19:28.) Those who have the gift to know must give their witness so that those who have the gift to believe on their words can enjoy the benefit of that gift. ("Witnesses of Christ," Ensign, Nov. 1990, 30)
Stephen D. Nadauld
When we bear our testimonies, we have an opportunity to provide assurances that others might accept. If we wish to increase faith and be in harmony with the purpose of the meeting, those assurances must be of the things hoped for. Warm personalities, charisma, and travel experiences all may have their place, but the basic issue for a testimony meeting is whether or not we can stand and add our witness-our assurance that there is a plan of redemption, a Savior, an atonement, a resurrection, and eternal life. ("Learning to Be like the Lord," Ensign, Dec. 1995, 8)
Neal A. Maxwell
We should not forget that for many in the Church who do not yet have the witness of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ, they must believe on the words of those of us who do know. (See D&C 46:13-14.)
May we behave so that we are believable. ("Continue to Minister," Ensign, June 1987, 11)
DC 46:14 to others it is given to believe on their words
Neal A. Maxwell
It is clear that in some situations we can rely on the faith of others. The Book of Mormon prophet asked the king if he believed and the king said, "And if now thou sayest there is a God, Behold I will believe." The striplings "did not doubt" that their mothers knew the gospel was true. And, as we read in the Section 46 of the Doctrine and Covenants, "to some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.. to others it is given to believe on their words... " (For the Power is in Them..., 31-32)
F. Arthur Kay
I want you to know that my testimony came when I was a little boy at the feet of my parents. I loved my parents. They taught me in the way of truth and righteousness. I was taught the story of the Restoration, which I believed with all of my heart because I believed my parents.
In the forty-sixth section of the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord says: "To some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus is the Son of God. ... To others it is given to believe on their words." (D&C 46:13-14.) I was one of those who believed on my parents' words. To me, the teachings of the First Vision, the visits of Moroni and others were as real as if they had been personal experiences of my own. I have never had a day in my life that I can remember when I haven't known these things are true. ("Keep the Faith," Ensign, Nov. 1989, 80)
DC 46:15 to some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know the differences of administration
We often speak of ministering as being more important than administering. However, its really impossible to administer without being a minister of spiritual things. The business of running the church and its programs cannot be completely separated from the things of the Spirit, for those who administer, "labor in spiritual things, in administering the gospel and the things of the kingdom unto the church, and unto the world." (DC 72:14)
How important is it to administer the things of God according to this gift? One only has to travel to where the church is struggling because the priesthood brethren lack experience and the gift to know the differences of administration to appreciate the necessity of this gift. In areas where the church is more settled, the church administration is so organized and efficient that it is often taken for granted. Ward and Stake callings are filled with great administrators, but we should always remember that their great ability is a gift of the Spirit.
Bruce R. McConkie
The phrase "differences in administration" is perplexing to some. It refers not only to a spiritual gift dealing with the ability to manage or administer the Lord's programs, but also to the fact that the same gift may be administered in different ways. Moroni explains that all spiritual gifts come from God and operate through the agency of the Spirit of Christ. There are, he says, many gifts, but "different ways that these gifts are administered" (Moro. 10:8), meaning that the same gift may be manifest, experienced, or exercised in different ways. (Sermons and Writings of Bruce R. McConkie [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1998], 343, footnote 3)
DC 46:16 to know the diversities of operations, whether they be of God
The gift to know the diversities of operations is the same as the gift of discernment to know whether a spiritual manifestation is of God, Satan, or man.
Dallin H. Oaks
This power of discernment is essential if we are to distinguish between genuine spiritual gifts and the counterfeits Satan seeks to use to deceive men and women and thwart the work of God. The Prophet Joseph Smith said, "Nothing is a greater injury to the children of men than to be under the influence of a false spirit when they think they have the spirit of God." (Teachings, p. 205.) He also taught that "no man nor sect of men without the regular constituted authorities, the Priesthood and discerning of spirits, can tell true from false spirits." (Teachings, p. 213.)
Satan-inspired and man-made counterfeits of spiritual gifts have been present throughout our religious history. This is evident from the enchantments wrought by Pharoah's sorcerers and magicians (see Ex. 7:11, 22; Ex. 8:7), and from Isaiah's warnings against "wizards that peep, and that mutter" and "them that have familiar spirits" (Isa. 8:19). The Savior warned against false Christs and false prophets who "shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch, that, if possible, they shall deceive the very elect ... according to the covenant." (JS-H 1:22.) The Apostle John said, "Try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world." (1 Jn. 4:1.)
Just a few months after the Church was organized, Hiram Page, one of the earliest members, was receiving revelations through a seer stone. The Lord told the Prophet Joseph Smith to tell Hiram Page privately that "those things which he has written from that stone are not of me and that Satan deceiveth him." (D&C 28:11.) The receipt of revelation had not been "appointed unto" Hiram Page, the Lord explained, "neither shall anything by appointed unto any of this church contrary to the church covenants. For all things must be done in order, and by common consent in the church, by the prayer of faith." (D&C 28:12-13.)
Here we learn that Satan gives revelations to deceive the children of men and that our protection is in following the order of the Church on who should receive revelation for what subject. In this, both men and women have equal responsibility to follow the duly ordained leaders of the church who have the obligation to lead and, on occasion, to correct. ("Spiritual Gifts," Ensign, Sept. 1986, 71-72)
DC 46:17-18 to some is given...the word of wisdom
The Lord doesn't speak of the gift of knowledge, but the word of knowledge. The Lord doesn't speak of the gift of wisdom, but the word of wisdom, implying that the wise man must share his wisdom by the power of the Spirit. What benefit is a wise man who keeps his wisdom to himself? We are reminded that the gifts of the Spirit are for the benefit of the church (v. 12) more than for the benefit of the individual, "that all may be taught to be wise and to have knowledge."
The religion embraced by the Latter-day Saints, if only slightly understood, prompts them to search diligently after knowledge. There is no other people in existence more eager to see, hear, learn, and understand truth.
Let there be a mutual desire in every man to disseminate knowledge, that all may know. I have always followed out the rule of dispensing what I know to others, and been blessed in so doing. (Discourses of Brigham Young, selected and arranged by John A. Widtsoe [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1954], 247.)
DC 46:17-18 The difference between knowledge and wisdom
David O. McKay
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.)
Heber J. Grant
Faith and knowledge without practice are of no value. All the knowledge in the world would not amount to anything unless we put that knowledge into actual practice. We are the architects and builders of our lives, and if we fail to put our knowledge into actual practice and do the duties that devolve upon us we are making a failure of life. (Gospel Standards: Selections from the Sermons and Writings of Heber J. Grant, compiled by G. Homer Durham [Salt Lake City: Improvement Era, 1981], 185.)
Howard W. Hunter
The knowledge explosion of which the world is so proud is not of man's creation... But increase in knowledge is not the greatest need of mankind today. Man's greatest need is the ability to properly use or put to use the knowledge which he has already acquired. To the knowledge you have learned must be added wisdom. Knowledge without wisdom may be the pathway to that which is evil unless one is willing to apply the principles of right-doing and follow the commandments of God. This is wisdom.
Wisdom is the quality of being wise, of discerning in judging soundly with respect to what is true and false, the ability to deal sagaciously with facts as they relate to life and conduct. Sometimes intelligence is used synonymously with wisdom. If we were speaking mathematically, we would say that knowledge plus the proper use of knowledge equals wisdom. Knowledge, then, becomes one of the steps by which wisdom is attained. Intelligence and wisdom quicken knowledge. (The Teachings of Howard W. Hunter, edited by Clyde J. Williams [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997], 175.)
DC 46:18 that all may be taught to be wise and to have knowledge
In knowledge there is power. God has more power than all other beings, because he has greater knowledge; and hence he knows how to subject all other beings to Him. He has power over all. (Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 Vols. 5:340)
After all our endeavors to obtain wisdom from the best books, etc., there still remains an open fountain for all; "If any man lack wisdom let him ask of God." (Discourses of Brigham Young, selected and arranged by John A. Widtsoe [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1954], 261.)
Joseph Fielding Smith
Now I say it boldly, all the knowledge that a man can gain in this world or beyond this world, independent of the Spirit of God, the inspiration of the Almighty, will not lead him to a fulness...
So with all our boasting, with all our understanding, with all the knowledge that we possess-and let me say that this great knowledge that has been poured out upon men, and all that is truth, has come from God-but with it all, unless we humble ourselves, and put ourselves in harmony with his gospel truth, and seek for the light which comes through the Spirit of truth, which is Jesus Christ, we will never gain a fulness of knowledge. (Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., edited by Bruce R. McConkie [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954-1956], 1: 291.)
DC 46:19 faith to be healed
James A. Cullimore
As members of the Church, is our faith sufficiently strong? Are we in tune with the Spirit that we might be blessed by these great gifts? Do we believe a miracle can be performed or a blessing given? Do we call upon the priesthood as often as we should to administer to the sick? Do we believe we can be healed? Do we have faith to heal? Is the priesthood always prepared to give a blessing? How strong is your faith? ("Gifts of the Spirit," Ensign, Nov. 1974, 27-28)
George Q. Cannon
I have felt deeply impressed... that the members of our Church do not value as they should the means which God has placed within their reach for the relief and healing of the sick.
There is too great a disposition, when sickness enters a household, to send for a doctor...
Instances are very common among the faithful Saints of the gift of healing being manifested in a very wonderful manner...
God has not forgotten His promises, and He has not withdrawn Himself from His people. But the Latter-day Saints should make use of these means more frequently than they do, and put more trust in God and less in man's skill. (James A. Cullimore, "Gifts of the Spirit," Ensign, Nov. 1974, 27-28)
DC 46:20 faith to heal
James A. Cullimore
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. ("Gifts of the Spirit," Ensign, Nov. 1974, 28)
The people... hunt me almost to death, saying, "Won't you lay hands on this sick person? Won't you go to my house over yonder?" and so on. I am sent for continually, though I only go occasionally, because it is the privilege of every father, who is an Elder in Israel, to have faith to heal his family, just as much so as it is my privilege to have faith to heal my family; and if he does not do it he is not living up to his privilege. It is just as reasonable for him to ask me to cut his wood and maintain his family, for if he had faith himself he would save me the trouble of leaving other duties to attend to his request. (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 3: 46.)
Bruce R. McConkie
Faith comes in degrees. Until we gain faith to heal the sick, how can we ever expect to move mountains and divide seas? ("This Final Glorious Gospel Dispensation," Ensign, Apr. 1980, 25)
DC 46:21 to some is given the working of miracles
"In one of the modern revelations, the Lord said that although not all have the same spiritual gifts, some people are blessed by God to have 'faith to heal,' and some are given the gift of 'the working of miracles.' (See D&C 46:11, 20-21.) On 26 November 1839, while en route to England to fulfill a mission, a violent storm buffeted the ship on which Brother [Brigham] Young traveled:
'I went upon deck and I felt impres in spirit to pray to the Father in the name of Jesus for a forgiveness of all my sins. And then I set to command the winds to sees [cease] and let ous [us] goe safe on our Jorney. The winds abated and Glory & ouner [honor] & prase be to that God that rules all things.'
"In a marvelous manifestation of the gift of healing, Brigham Young administered to a woman in southern Utah who had been paralyzed by a stroke, and 'she was instantly healed and walked home unassisted.'" (D. Michael Quinn, "Brigham Young: Man of the Spirit," Ensign, Aug. 1977, 36)
Heber J. Grant
"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." (Conference Reports, October 6, 1910, p. 119)
DC 46:22 to others it is given to prophesy
If "the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy" (Rev. 19:10), then all those who have the gift to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (v. 13), must also have the gift of prophesy. How is this possible?
Dallin H. Oaks
When we hear the word prophet in our day, we are accustomed to thinking of the prophet. These words signify him who holds the prophetic office and is sustained as the prophet, seer, and revelator. The priesthood offices and powers exercised by the President of the Church are unique. As we learn in the Doctrine and Covenants, it is given to him to have "all the gifts of God which he bestows upon the head of the church." (D&C 107:92; see also D&C 46:29; D&C 50:26-28.)
The spiritual gift of prophecy is quite different. As we read in the Book of Revelation, "The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." (Rev. 19:10.) The Prophet Joseph Smith relied on this scripture in teaching that "every other man who has the testimony of Jesus" is a prophet. (Teachings, p. 119.) Similarly, the Apostle Paul states that "he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort." (1 Cor. 14:3.) Thus, in the sense used in speaking of spiritual gifts, a prophet is one who testifies of Jesus Christ, teaches God's word, and exhorts God's people. In its scriptural sense, to prophesy means much more than to predict the future.
The scriptures often use the word prophet and its derivatives in the broad sense of one who teaches and testifies of God... In our day, Elder Joseph Fielding Smith declared that "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." (Church History and Modern Revelation, 3 vols., Salt Lake City, Deseret Book Co., 1953, 1:201.)
It is important for us to understand the distinction between a prophet, who has the spiritual gift of prophecy, and the prophet, who has the prophetic office. ("Spiritual Gifts," Ensign, Sept. 1986, 71)
DC 46:23 the discerning of spirits
The gift of discernment is to perceive that which can only be known by the power of God. By this gift Ammon perceived the thoughts of king Lamoni (Alma 18:14-19). By this gift Amulek perceived the wicked intentions of Zeezrom (Alma 11:21-25, 46). This gift can be expressed in many ways. By this gift, priesthood leaders are able to discern spiritual phenomena-whether they are from God, man, or Satan (see commentary for verse 16). Bishops use this gift to identify wolves among the flock, to determine the right individual for the right calling, and to determine the spiritual needs of ward members. Missionaries use this gift to identify those who will be receptive and to teach just what the investigator needs to hear. Every member and parent may use this gift in his or her stewardship if only the gift is earnestly and prayerfully sought.
Stephen L. Richards
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. (Where Is Wisdom? [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1955], 199 - 200.)
Elaine L. Jack
Many women have the gift of discernment. Often blessed with the power to know and understand beyond their experience, women draw on this strength as they visit monthly to teach in the homes or to assess needs as directed by the bishop. We use it as we nurture our children and teach them the gospel. We discern, by the power of God given to us through His Spirit that "one thing is needful" (Luke 10:42). Nothing we do is more important than the work of righteousness in our homes.
Discernment is critical for our times. President Boyd K. Packer has said, "We need women with the gift of discernment who can view the trends in the world and detect those that, however popular, are shallow" (Ensign, Nov. 1978, 8). That is exactly what we need. ("Partakers of the Glories," Ensign, Nov. 1996, 77)
DC 46:24 to speak with tongues
"According to the Prophet Joseph Smith, the purpose of the gift of tongues is to preach the gospel 'among those whose language is not understood' (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith , 148-49)....
"Sister Rhonda Patten Grow experienced the gift of tongues in a way familiar to many missionaries. When her husband was called from the United States to be a mission president in Uruguay, she was afraid she couldn't learn to speak Spanish. But gradually, with the help of members, she finally learned to bear her testimony in Spanish. She was amazed, however, at how much more she could say when under the influence of the Spirit. 'In fact, the Spirit helped me so much when I spoke in meetings that the members usually assumed my Spanish was much better than it actually was.'
"At one meeting, Sister Grow noticed a young woman signing for a hearing-impaired sister. When Sister Grow stood to speak, 'It seemed as if the Spirit was lifting me up and giving me utterance beyond my own abilities. I was filled with tender feelings of love for the people, and I especially noticed the smiling face of the young hearing-impaired woman looking up at me.'
"Sister Grow learned later that when she had begun to speak, the woman communicated she no longer needed signing interpretation. She could understand Sister Grow's message without it." ("Communicating by the Power of the Spirit," Ensign, Oct. 1997, 71)
In the Fall of 1832, Brothers Heber C. Kimball, Joseph Young and myself started for Kirtland to see the Prophet Joseph. We went to his father's house and learned that he was chopping wood. We immediately went to the woods, where we found the Prophet and two or three of his brothers.
Here my joy was full at the privilege of shaking the hand of the Prophet of God, and I received the sure testimony, by the spirit of prophecy, that he was all that any man could believe him to be, as a true prophet. He was happy to see us, and made us welcome.
In the evening a few of the brethren came in, and we conversed together upon the things of the kingdom. Joseph called upon me to pray. In my prayer I spoke in tongues, which gift I had previously received and exercised. As soon as we arose from our knees, the brethren flocked around him and asked his opinion concerning the gift of tongues that was upon me. He told them that it was the pure Adamic language. Some said to him they expected he would condemn the gift Brother Brigham had, but he said, "No, it is of God, and the time will come when Brother Brigham Young will preside over this Church."
The latter part of this conversation was in my absence. (Hyrum L. Andrus and Helen Mae Andrus, comps., They Knew the Prophet [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1974], 35.)
The gift of tongues is the smallest gift perhaps of the whole, and yet it is one that is the most sought after...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. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 247.)
DC 46:27 unto the bishop... [is given] to discern all those gifts
Stephen L. Richards
The gift of discernment is essential to the leadership of the Church. I never ordain a bishop or set apart a president of a stake without invoking upon him this divine blessing, that he may read the lives and hearts of his people and call forth the best within them. The gift and power of discernment in this world of contention between the forces of good and the power of evil is essential equipment for every son and daughter of God... Every member in the restored Church of Jesus Christ could have this gift if he willed to do so. (Where Is Wisdom? [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1955], 199 - 200.)
John A. Widstoe
To protect the Saints, and to maintain truth within the Church, the power of discerning between truth and error is given to the officers of the Church. The bishop for his ward, the stake president for his stake, and the President of the Church for the whole Church have this gift of discernment given them. (Evidences and Reconciliations [Salt Lake City: Improvement Era], 98.)
Boyd K. Packer
President Harold B. Lee told me once of a conversation he had with Elder Charles A. Callis of the Quorum of the Twelve. Brother Callis had remarked that the gift of discernment was an awesome burden to carry. To see clearly what is ahead and yet find members slow to respond or resistant to counsel or even rejecting the witness of the apostles and prophets brings deep sorrow. ("The Twelve Apostles," Ensign, Nov. 1996, 7)
DC 46:30 he that asketh in the Spirit asketh according to the will of God
Bruce R. McConkie
Perfect prayers are spoken by the power of revelation. (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1985], 384.)
Neal A. Maxwell
Paul observed that we all need the help of the Spirit to help us even to know what we should pray for: "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered." (Romans 8:26. Italics added.)... Clearly, when our prayers are uninspired, we petition for things we should not ask for, even though we do so innocently. This is, in effect, what we do when we pray and "ask amiss." (James 4:3.)
When we ask amiss, God, being perfect, must reject our petitions: "And whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you." (3 Nephi 18:20. Italics added.)
The task is to draw close enough to the Lord that we progress to the point where we petition Him according to His will, not ours. "And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us." (1 John 5:14.) In modern revelations the Lord has declared His willingness to grant us the requests contained in our petitions if what we ask for is expedient for us. (D&C 88:64-65.)
When we become sufficiently purified and cleansed from sin, we can ask what we will in the name of Jesus "and it shall be done." (D&C 50:29.) The Lord even promises us that when one reaches a certain spiritual condition, "it shall be given you what you shall ask." (D&C 50:30.)
Thus we clearly need to have the Spirit with us as we petition, because "in the Spirit" we will ask "according to the will of God; wherefore it is done even as he asketh." (D&C 46:30.)
...To grow to that point when we can utter inspired prayers... is part of being proven. (All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1979], 95.)
Neal A. Maxwell
It isn't simply a case of having the pass key of faith to unlock the treasures of heaven from which we can then extract whatever blessing we choose; we need the Spirit operating in our lives to shape our very desires and hence our very requests, but on the basis of what is really good for us. (That My Family Should Partake [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1974], 83.)
DC 46:32 ye must give thanks unto God in the Spirit for whatsoever blessing ye are blessed with
Spencer W. Kimball
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. ("Pray Always," Ensign, Oct. 1981, 4)