The seeds of the powers of godliness


We are here on Earth in a temporal (mortal) existence to develop our faith as a principle of power by walking by faith. As an aid in that endeavor, we are offered the gifts of the Spirit.

Walking by sight

In our pre-mortal life, we walked by sight.  As we saw, so we did, imitating the beings around us, learning by copying what we saw others do.

Upon entering mortality as children, we bring this capacity to imitate others with us.  We imitate or emulate our parents, our brothers and sisters, our friends and associates, the celebrities of the day, etc.  Eventually we assimilate into whatever society we are born into.  Like the chameleon, we become what is around us.  A baby born in France, raised by French parents with French customs and language will soon feel and act like all other Frenchmen.  It is the same with every other culture.

While we resided in the heavens, we copied our perfect, heavenly Parents and their angels.  Here, we copy imperfect mortals.  Mortality, then, does not limit our ability to walk by sight.

Two principles of faith

The Lectures on Faith divide faith into two principles: one of action and one of power.

Regardless of which principle you use, all things are done by faith, though most everything in mortality is done by using faith as a principle of action.

Moving mountains

There are two ways of moving a mountain.  You can move it stone by stone with your hands, or by using shovels, bulldozers or other technologies, to force the elements that make up the mountain to move to another spot.  This would be faith as a principle of action.  Or, conversely, you can command the mountain to remove and it can obey you.  This would be faith as a principle of power.  The former uses coercion or force, wrestling with the elements to model them however you want them to be.  The latter uses agency.  The elements must voluntarily move themselves at your command.

Power faith is celestial

When we lived in the heavens, as all things were given agency, nothing that surrounded us there could be forced to do anything.  We could not even pick up a handful of heavenly dirt without its say-so.  Everything in heaven was accomplished “without compulsory means,” meaning that coercion, force, was (and still is) non-existent there.  In other words, we exercised faith only as a principle of power.  The elements around us obeyed us only insofar as they respected us and they respected us only insofar as we followed (imitated) the “grown-ups.”  There we learned to use faith as a principle of power by observing our heavenly Parents and the angels, for that is the only way that they operate.  They commanded the elements and were obeyed and so did we.

Action faith is earthly

Mortality is different. It is designed to allow faith to function under both principles.

Action faith is given to us a temporary crutch, as well as a test.  The elements that surround us here are commanded by God to allow us to push them around, regardless of our righteousness or lack thereof.  They voluntarily submit to His divine command and thus we can manipulate all the various earthly materials here.  If we desire it, we may never need to develop faith as a principle of power.  Mankind can survive on this planet (for a limited time, at least) solely on action faith.

Once we come here from heaven, we find ourselves in a fallen world.  Sin is rampant, both around us and in us.  Were the elements here operating like they did in heaven, everyone would immediately die.  We wouldn’t be able to even force air into our lungs, for the air would not allow itself to be forced into the lungs of a being it did not respect (a sinful being).  This would frustrate the design of God to prepare a world in which we could be tried and tested and in which would could develop faith as a principle of power.  So, as explained above, God commanded the elements that make up our temporal (mortal) existence to allow themselves to be pushed around by us, according to a specific set of laws that we term physics.

Imperfect memory is necessary for our test of power faith

If we had arrived here with our memory of pre-mortal life intact, we would remember how to use faith as a principle of power and would never sin, keeping our heavenly powers intact, as all things would continue to respect us and obey us.  But by the design of God, our memories are wiped clean and we become, as a result, unable to use faith as a principle of power (because we have forgotten how to).  The situation is okay, though, because we now can use faith as a principle of action, forcing the elements to sustain us.

Our limited memories serve another divine purpose.  As we cannot remember our past life in the heavens and we cannot see the future, plus the memory we have of our mortal lives is patchy at best, nothing is remembered perfectly and only bits and pieces remain in our minds to access at moments of recollection.  All of this is done so that we become blinded, so as not to instinctively walk by sight as we did in the heavens (and use power faith).  By limiting our memory (which is primarily a visual organ), we can only really see the present clearly.  The future is pitch black and the past is foggy.

Blindness required to walk by faith

In this state of blindness, we can be put on probation (tested) to see if we truly desire to use faith as a principle of power.  Whereas in the heavens we all learned to use faith as a principle of power, by walking by sight (because there was no other way to operate), here on Earth we can go our entire lives without ever using power faith, for action faith is available to us.  Thus, only those who truly desire to (re-)learn to use the heavenly powers will do so.  And so mortality becomes a test.

Additionally, mortality allows us to more fully develop our faith as a principle of power by walking by faith*.  There is no one to look at (imitate) to learn how to use the heavenly powers, nor can we access our memories to remember examples of how it is done.  When we walk by sight here we only learn to use faith as a principle of action, for this is the principle under which everyone here operates.  So, to use power faith we must walk by faith, or walk blindly, trusting in only the word of God and not the sight of Him.

(*Note: Although all things in heaven walk by sight, God walks both by sight and by faith.  In order for us to become like Him, then, mortality is given to us to develop this capacity.  I may have already explained this concept in the Faith of God series, but if not, I will, that is if I ever get around to finishing it.)

To re-iterate:

In the heavens we walked by sight, imitating the celestial beings we saw around us, copying what they did, and learned to use faith as a principle of power, for that is the only way that we saw them operate. We had no capacity to walk by faith, only by sight.

In mortality, we also walk by sight, imitating the fallen beings we see around us, copying what they do, and we thus learn to use faith as a principle of action, for that is the only way that fallen beings operate.  We are unable to exercise the power faith we previously had because we cannot remember (see) how to do it.

Being essentially blind, once we are presented with the word of God we are enabled to walk by faith and re-learn to use power faith.  Mortality is a test to see if we will choose to drop the crutch of action faith and start using power faith by walking by faith.

We must walk by faith

Mortality is the brief moment that God has given us to learn to walk by faith.  We are to walk by sight and use faith as a principle of action only until we are enabled to walk by faith.  Once we are presented with the word of God, we must let go of the crutch of action faith and re-enter the world of power faith.  We must stop walking by sight and start walking by faith.

If we do not learn to walk by faith and re-learn to use faith as a principle of power, we will be in for a whole lot of disappointment in the afterlife.  This is because the orders given by God to the elements that surround us in mortality (in which they allow themselves to be pushed around by us) only apply to mortality.  In the afterlife, the former rules (agency) apply and once again it will be impossible to force the elements to do anything against their wills.  In other words, in the afterlife faith as a principle of action no longer works.  If we haven’t re-learned how to use faith as a principle of power here on Earth, we will be powerless in the afterlife.

The best gifts develop power faith

To that end, that we might re-learn how to use faith as a principle of power and that we might learn to walk by faith, God has given us the best gifts of the Spirit.

The best gifts of the Spirit are the seeds of the powers of godliness.  When all of them are possessed in their fullness, one becomes omnipotent, able to do all things.  Here on Earth we are not expected to achieve every gift in its fullness, but we are expected to seek for them continually.

The gifts given to the LDS Gentile church

The LDS Gentile church of God has been given 14 best gifts, with one gift given to presiding elders to be able to discern the other gifts and weed out imposters.  They are obtained by asking God to receive them.  Once one of the gifts are received, faith can be more fully developed, for the gifts only operate on the principle of power.  As faith increases, and petitions for additional gifts are sent up to God, He grants more of them to the individual.  Eventually, following this pattern, all gifts may be obtained.

Gifts are paired

There are seven pairs of gifts.

1st Pair – The gift of knowing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world. The gift of believing on the words of those who have the gift of knowing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world.

2nd Pair – The gift of knowing the differences of administration according to the conditions among the children of men. The gift of knowing whether the diversities of operations are of God.

3rd Pair – The gift of the word of wisdom. The gift of the word of knowledge.

4th Pair – The gift of faith to be healed. The gift of faith to heal.

5th Pair – The gift of the working of miracles. The gift to prophesy.

6th Pair – The gift of the discerning of spirits. The gift to discern all best gifts.

7th Pair – The gift to speak with tongues. The gift of the interpretation of tongues.

Gifts are designed to be used in a church (group) setting, for the benefit of all

Only one gift is typically given to an individual.  For this reason, God has placed us into groups, or congregations, or churches.  If you have 13 individuals, each with a separate gift of the Spirit, each member of the group receives benefit from the 12 other people who have the lacking gifts.  If their individual gifts are fairly well developed, you can place this group of 13 people in any location, in any situation, and they will have power to do all things which are expedient to the Lord.

For example, place them among a foreign group or tribe who speaks an unknown language and the ones who have the gifts of tongues and interpretation would allow the other 11 members to communicate with the foreign tribe.  Or, place them among sick people and the one with the faith to heal would heal them all.  Or, have them deliver a message to an area of sickness and pestilence, of a highly contagious plague.  Who would be sent?  The one with the gift to be healed.  Place them among an ignorant people with no books or learning materials, whatsoever.  What would they do?  They would have the ones with the gifts of the word of wisdom and the word of knowledge start teaching the people.  And if the 13 themselves have no access to learning, these two individuals would immediately begin teaching the others of the group.  Or, just place the 13 alone, without any means of survival whatsoever, would they survive?  Of course, they would.  The one with the gift to work miracles would assure that.  Put them among a lying tribe and the one who discerned spirits would discover the lies.  Try to surprise them and it wouldn’t work, for the one with the gift to prophesy would have already seen that coming.  And so on and so forth.

Thus we see that by placing us in a congregation or church, the Lord has allowed all members to receive benefit from all the gifts which they may not have yet obtained.  If we were just baptized and told to go home and worship God on our own, we would not receive any benefit from the gifts we lack, until we ourselves finally reached the point where we obtained all the best gifts.  Also, being around others, who possess gifts we do not possess ourselves, makes it easier for us to obtain them.  The same principle of learning by sight, or imitating others, works with the gifts, too.

Perfection of the saints

In fact, the only reason we are commanded to meet together is to perfect ourselves and the rest of the saints assembled through the manifestation of the gifts.  Everything done at church can be done in a home (family) setting if the priesthood is found in the home.  But to obtain benefit from gifts we do not possess, we must assemble with others who possess gifts we lack.  Said Paul:

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.  Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.  Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

Now 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.  But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: but all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.  For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.  For the body is not one member, but many.  If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?  And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?  If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?  But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.  And if they were all one member, where were the body?  But now are they many members, yet but one body.  And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.  Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: and those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.  For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: that there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.  And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.  Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.  Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?  Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?  But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.  (1 Cor. 12)

Paul also said:

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. (Ephesians 4: 11-16)

Order of the gifts in the church

The church in Paul’s day had an order to the best gifts:

And God hath set some in the church,

first apostles (gift of knowing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God),

secondarily prophets (gift to prophesy),

thirdly teachers (gift of the word of wisdom and gift of the word of knowledge),

after that miracles (gift of the working of miracles),

then gifts of healings (gift of faith to be healed and gift of faith to heal),

helps (gift of believing, gift of differences of administration, gift of diversities of operations, gift of discerning of spirits),

governments (gift of discerning of gifts),

diversities of tongues (gift of tongues, gift of interpretation). (1 Corinthians 12: 28)

Another of Paul’s lists can also be assigned gifts:

And he gave some, apostles (gift of knowing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God);

and some, prophets (gift to prophesy);

and some, evangelists (gift of tongues, gift of interpretation);

and some, pastors (gift of discerning of gifts)

and teachers (gift of the word of wisdom and gift of the word of knowledge);  (Ephesians 4: 11)

We see from these lists that church callings are to come according to the gifts a person has.  This is why the gift to discern the best gifts, which is given to the bishop and to the presiding elders, is so important.

Modern view of the best gifts

Modern LDS (the Gentile Mormons) typically avoid the best gifts.  It is unusual to find anyone prophesying or publishing revelations or performing miracles or speaking in tongues or raising the dead or instantly healing people, etc.

When LDS speak of the gifts that they have, they’ll perhaps mention piano playing as a gift from God, or being a good doctor or surgeon, or being a good athlete, or being a nice person, etc.  A certain percentage of Gentile Mormons believe that manifestations of the best gifts routinely happen, but are just never spoken of, since they are “too sacred.”  Stories of gift manifestations are usually hearsay.

“Someone once told me that when he was on his mission, he met a man whose companion had healed someone by…”, etc.

Another percentage of Gentile Mormons have downgraded the best gifts to fit into more acceptable administrations.  So, for example, the gift of tongues becomes going to the MTC for two months and learning the language.  Or, the gift of healing becomes going to medical school and becoming a doctor or surgeon.  Or, the gift to prophesy becomes gaining the title of President of the Church and being called “the prophet.”  In like manner, the word of wisdom and the word of knowledge are delegated to those who have enough money to study at a university.   And the working of miracles becomes the “happening of miracles” and every little unexpected thing becomes a “miracle.”  Etc.

None of the best gifts work this way.  You cannot use faith as a principle of action to activate a best gift.  They only work by faith as a principle of power.  To illustrate, let’s examine the gift of the word of knowledge.

The gift of the word of knowledge

And again, verily I say unto you, to some is given, by the Spirit of God, the word of wisdom.  To another is given the word of knowledge, that all may be taught to be wise and to have knowledge.  (D&C 46: 17-18; the gift of the word of knowledge is in bold type.)

Ammon possessed the word of knowledge

The Book of Mormon contains an example of the gift of the word of knowledge in action:

And it came to pass that when they had established a church in that land, that king Lamoni desired that Ammon should go with him to the land of Nephi, that he might show him unto his father.

And the voice of the Lord came to Ammon, saying:

Thou shalt not go up to the land of Nephi, for behold, the king will seek thy life; but thou shalt go to the land of Middoni; for behold, thy brother Aaron, and also Muloki and Ammah are in prison.

Now it came to pass that when Ammon had heard this, he said unto Lamoni:

Behold, my brother and brethren are in prison at Middoni, and I go that I may deliver them.

Now Lamoni said unto Ammon:

I know, in the strength of the Lord thou canst do all things. But behold, I will go with thee to the land of Middoni; for the king of the land of Middoni, whose name is Antiomno, is a friend unto me; therefore I go to the land of Middoni, that I may flatter the king of the land, and he will cast thy brethren out of prison.

Now Lamoni said unto him:

Who told thee that thy brethren were in prison?

And Ammon said unto him:

No one hath told me, save it be God; and he said unto me—

Go and deliver thy brethren, for they are in prison in the land of Middoni.  (Alma 20:1-5)

Ammon had knowledge that his brethren were, at that moment, in prison.  No one but God gave him this knowledge.  He then communicated the information to others, namely Lamoni.  This wasn’t knowledge of a spiritual thing, but of a physical fact that could be verified: Aaron, Muloki and Ammah were in prison at that very moment.  So, this was knowledge of something physically happening in the present.  It didn’t deal at all with anything pertaining to the future.  Nevertheless, no one but God told Ammon this fact, so, although it was knowledge of a physical thing that could be verified with one’s own two eyes, it was communicated via spiritual means.  This is, essentially, what the gift of the word of knowledge is all about.

The Savior mentioned the word of knowledge

Another example from the Book of Mormon comes from the Savior’s visit. Speaking to the Nephites, he said:

And I command you that ye shall write these sayings after I am gone, that if it so be that my people at Jerusalem, they who have seen me and been with me in my ministry, do not ask the Father in my name, that they may receive a knowledge of you by the Holy Ghost, and also of the other tribes whom they know not of, that these sayings which ye shall write shall be kept and shall be manifested unto the Gentiles, that through the fulness of the Gentiles, the remnant of their seed, who shall be scattered forth upon the face of the earth because of their unbelief, may be brought in, or may be brought to a knowledge of me, their Redeemer. (3 Ne. 16: 4; the gift of the word of knowledge is in bold type.)

Contrasted with the gift to prophesy

Notice how the gift of the word of knowledge contrasts with the gift to prophesy.  Again, an example from the Book of Mormon:

And it came to pass in the eleventh year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi, on the fifth day of the second month, there having been much peace in the land of Zarahemla, there having been no wars nor contentions for a certain number of years, even until the fifth day of the second month in the eleventh year, there was a cry of war heard throughout the land.  For behold, the armies of the Lamanites had come in upon the wilderness side, into the borders of the land, even into the city of Ammonihah, and began to slay the people and destroy the city.

And now it came to pass, before the Nephites could raise a sufficient army to drive them out of the land, they had destroyed the people who were in the city of Ammonihah, and also some around the borders of Noah, and taken others captive into the wilderness.

Now it came to pass that the Nephites were desirous to obtain those who had been carried away captive into the wilderness.  Therefore, he that had been appointed chief captain over the armies of the Nephites, (and his name was Zoram, and he had two sons, Lehi and Aha)—now Zoram and his two sons, knowing that Alma was high priest over the church, and having heard that he had the spirit of prophecy, therefore they went unto him and desired of him to know whither the Lord would that they should go into the wilderness in search of their brethren, who had been taken captive by the Lamanites.

And it came to pass that Alma inquired of the Lord concerning the matter. And Alma returned and said unto them:

Behold, the Lamanites will cross the river Sidon in the south wilderness, away up beyond the borders of the land of Manti. And behold there shall ye meet them, on the east of the river Sidon, and there the Lord will deliver unto thee thy brethren who have been taken captive by the Lamanites.  (Alma 16: 1-6)

In this case, Alma the younger had the spirit of prophecy, in other words, he had the gift to prophesy, and so he inquired of the Lord and received a prophecy of the future.  The “Lamanites will cross the river Sidon” (a prediction of the future), “there ye shall meet them” (another prediction of the future), “the Lord will deliver unto thee thy brethren” (a third prediction of the future).

Similar gifts

Prophecy does not deal with knowledge of things present and past, it deals with things pertaining to futurity: what will or shall happen.  On the other hand, the gift of the word of knowledge deals only with what has happened (the past) and what is happening (the present).  Both gifts, though, come through the manifestation of the Spirit.  Or as Ammon put it, “no one hath told me, save it be God.”

So, prophecy and the word of knowledge are almost the same gift, except for this one division: facts revealed of the present or past correspond to the word of knowledge, whereas words pertaining to the future correspond to prophecy.

All best gifts obtained by faith, not by study

All gifts of the Spirit are obtained by faith.  The healing gifts are called “faith to heal” and “faith to be healed” (see D&C 46: 19-20), but all the gifts could be worded the same way.  In other words, faith to speak the word of wisdom, faith to speak the word of knowledge, faith to prophesy, faith to work miracles, faith to speak in tongues, faith to interpret tonges, etc.  Without faith, none of these gifts are obtainable.

And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.  (D&C 88: 118)

The above scripture speaks of wisdom and learning (knowledge).  Wisdom and knowledge are two gifts of the Spirit, but the only way to obtain them directly from the Spirit is by having faith.  However, because not everyone has faith to speak the word of wisdom and faith to speak the word of knowledge, we are instructed to seek words of wisdom and learning out of the best books and teachers by study.  Wisdom and knowledge obtained by studying the best books and teachers should not be confused with the gift of faith to speak the word of wisdom and the gift of faith to speak the word of knowledge.  These gifts come by faith, not by study.

Nevertheless, the Lord is saying in this verse that those who do not possess the gifts of wisdom and knowledge, can still obtain wisdom and knowledge through those who possess these gifts.  In other words, the two gifts of wisdom and knowledge are for the express purpose “that all may be taught to be wise and to have knowledge.”  Those who possess these two gifts of the Spirit are to be the teachers that “teach one another words of wisdom” and “learning.”  They are to be the ones who write “the best books” in which are found “words of wisdom” and “learning.”  Their wisdom and knowledge does not come to these teachers through study, but by faith, directly from the Spirit, for they are spiritual gifts.

Confusion of the gifts

Modern LDS often confuse the obtaining of knowledge or wisdom through study and life experience as gifts of the Spirit.  If we find a man who is possessed of great knowledge or wisdom, and who seems to be a God-fearing righteous man, we are apt to believe he possesses the gift of the word of wisdom or knowledge.  He may or may not possess those gifts.  It all depends how he obtained his wisdom and knowledge.  If it was through studying at a university and life experience, then he doesn’t possess the gifts.  If it is through the revelations of the Spirit, (“no one hath told me, save it be God”), then he possesses these gifts.

How the best gifts work

“No one hath told me, save it be God” is the standard to determine whether a best gift is operating or not.  Regardless of the gift, for it to be a legitimate operation it must be by faith as a principle of power, meaning that if you speak words of wisdom, you must have gotten those words from God and no one else; if you speak words of knowledge, you must not have learned it from anyone but God; if you heal the sick, the healing power must not have been learned at medical school but must have come solely from God; if you work miracles, it must be a work done by you (such as Jesus turning water into wine) and not mere happenstance; if you prophesy, it must not be an educated guess based upon others’ speculations or statistics, but must be a prophecy you received solely from God; if you speak in foreign or unknown tongues, it must not have been learned through study; etc.

Let’s say that I prophesy that during this month of September (2010) that there is going to be a massively destructive earthquake in California that will turn the financial markets upside down.  Let’s say that I am the only one saying this and that I am claiming that no one has told me this, save it be God.  Let’s say that others believe me and then they also go around saying that in September there will be a great quake in California, as if it were their own prophecy. Then, along comes some date in September and lo and behold, a moment magnitude 9.0 quake strikes, sinking California’s economy and plunging the nation’s finances into the worst mess ever seen.  In which of the individuals would the gift to prophesy have been manifested?  In me or in the others who parroted my words?

The answer is only in me. Since I received the prophecy from no one, save God, the gift was manifested in me only.  The others benefited and repeated the same message, as if it came to them directly, but they didn’t have the gift.  Just because you repeat a real prophecy doesn’t make you a prophet.

In the same manner, just because some obtain words of wisdom and knowledge (through study and schooling) or ability to heal people (through study and learning) or language learning ability (through study) doesn’t mean they are possessors of these best gifts.

Some personal experience

I have had some limited experience with the various gifts. In the vast majority of the manifestations, if not all of them, I have been left totally perplexed. To the rational mind, it all appears insane.

For example, I once received a prophecy whose fulfillment was a distinct possibility. Then conditions changed and it became totally impossible for its fulfillment. But, I was sure that as crazy as it sounded, it would come to pass. So I simply waited for the conditions to change. Eleven years later conditions miraculously did change and the prophecy was fulfilled every whit.

On another occasion, I was praying for guidance on what to do and a manifestation of the word of wisdom occurred (the only time that has ever happened to me). I was told what would be the wisest course of action to take but it was the absolute craziest thing I had ever heard. But I knew this was from the Spirit and so I did it. In hindsight, I see that it really was a word of wisdom.

On yet another occasion, I remember, I was at work when the Spirit came upon me and told me that a friend of mine was in great danger. Who gave me this knowledge? “No one, save God.” As soon as I was able to, I made the phone call to my friend and sure enough, the Spirit was right.

Each manifestation I’ve received over the years has caused my logical, rational mind to protest. Yet, I have continued to ignore it. In fact, as time goes on, the revelations, prophecies and manifestations seem to be getting even more illogical and bizarre, at least to my rational mind. So, based upon my own experience, I don’t believe that we should expect to rationally understand the manifestations that may come. After all, the natural man cannot comprehend the things of God. In other words, it doesn’t really matter what the manifestation is, the only really important thing is that the manifestation comes from God.

Gifts are unscientific

Recently I commented on a blog by posting a link to The Split-Brain Model of the Gospel post. The blog’s owner replied,

“I will allow the link, but please note that I do NOT accept the proposed model therein as either good science or good theology.

A significant problem with “split-brain” popularizations is one of going far beyond the data into the realm of wild speculation. Readers of such popularizations should beware.”

The reply is interesting because it beautifully shows the reaction of the logical, rational, intellectual left-brain-mind to something written from the right-brain-heart (my post). I especially enjoyed reading that the model was considered unscientific.

Gifts are intended to engender and develop faith

Taking the gift of the word of knowledge again as an example, we should understand that even this gift, which appears to be based upon science (after all, it is knowledge, right?), is primarily designed to develop faith, not impart knowledge. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Let me explain.

Knowledge communicated by the Spirit through this gift is fact, not fiction, nevertheless, it is information that may not be readily verifiable.

For example, when Lehi stated, “I know that Jerusalem is destroyed,” this was the gift of the word of knowledge working in him. It was a fact. Jerusalem was destroyed at that time. This could be verified with one’s own two eyes if one could visit Jerusalem and see it for oneself. However, the Nephites could not visit Jerusalem, so they could only take Lehi’s words on faith.

Ammon’s word to Lamoni also were verifiable fact, but Lamoni could not verify them at that moment, so they had to be taken on faith.

So, the word of knowledge is a gift that imparts knowledge of present and past things that cannot immediately be verified using secular means, to the end that the listeners can develop their faith. The knowledge imparted is not of eye-witness accounts, but is a revelation from the Spirit.  The only way to immediately verify it is by another witness of the Spirit.

To illustrate, let’s say a group of 200 people are congregated and a man stands up and says that there is an army of 50,000 men in Cuba making preparations to attack Florida. Who told him this? “No one,” says he, “save it be God.” The man is not an eye-witness. The knowledge is received through spiritual means. Can it be verified? Sure, if one could be transported to Cuba. But as one can’t, it must be taken on faith.

Now let’s say that 5 other people in the group stand up and say that the Spirit has just told them the same thing. Does this add to the credibility of the first man? Not really, as none of them are eye-witnesses. There is nothing scientific about this. Yet, this is how the gift of the word of knowledge functions. It is designed to engender faith, not mere knowledge. Is this good science? Nope. Is this good theology? Yep.

Now let’s say 6 other people stand up, having just come from Cuba and they state they are eye-witnesses and can corroborate that indeed, Cuba is getting ready to invade Florida. Is this good science? Perhaps, if the witnesses are reliable. Is this good theology? Not really.

Don’t avoid the best gifts

I’ll be the first to admit that the best gifts take some getting used to, like an acquired taste. But again, we shouldn’t have an expectation that the things of God are going to be like the things of men.

The current trend in the church is to mainstream our image. As a result, I largely see LDS avoiding the best gifts. But this is a dangerous mistake, one which will lead to widespread deception among the membership.

The gifts are to avoid deception

The Lord said, “that ye may not be deceived seek ye earnestly the best gifts” (D&C 46: 8). Any man or woman who possesses one of these gifts and actively uses them will be protected from the deceptions of the day, whether they be “doctrines of devils, or commandments of men; for some are of men, and others of devils” (D&C 46: 7).

Nephi prophesied that the Gentile churches “which are built up, and not unto the Lord” will “deny the power of God, the Holy One of Israel; and they say unto the people: Hearken unto us, and hear ye our precept; for behold there is no God today, for the Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his power unto men; behold, hearken ye unto my precept; if they shall say there is a miracle wrought by the hand of the Lord, believe it not; for this day he is not a God of miracles; he hath done his work.”  (See 2 Nephi 28: 3, 5-6.)

Sound familiar? We are well on our way to fulfilling this prophecy, as LDS blindly follow their leaders, trusting that the leading brethren will not deceive them and relying upon their mortal guidance, without earnestly seeking and manifesting the gifts.

The gifts are no more

Among the majority membership, most of the best gifts are no longer manifested. The first two gifts are still among us: knowing Jesus Christ is the Son of God and believing that He is. But the rest of them are all but gone. At church, where the gifts are supposed to be manifested for the benefit of the congregation, no one prophesies, no one knows the diversities of operations, no one knows the differences of administration, no one teaches words of wisdom and words of knowledge, no one heals, no one is healed, no one works miracles, no one discerns spirits, no one speaks in tongues, no one interprets tongues, and none of the leadership discerns the gifts, for there are hardly any gifts manifesting which need discerning.

We have replaced a reliance upon the gifts with a reliance upon our leaders (the Brethren), setting up the fulfillment of Nephi’s prophecy. Instead of going to church and being spiritually uplifted and edified by participating in the manifestations of these gifts, we are lulled into a deep slumber and security. Our meetings are largely spiritually dead. The Holy Ghost has all but left the LDS Gentiles.

But two gifts left

The day that the last two remaining gifts are taken away from us will be the day when no one will join this church anymore. People currently join the church because the Holy Ghost manifests that the message is true. But the day fast approaches when the Holy Ghost will stop manifesting even that. When that occurs, the church (or churches, as it will be), will need to change their proselytizing methods. No more will it be, “ask God if these things are not true” but “come unto me, and for your money you shall be forgiven of your sins” and other wicked enticements to enter the church.

At that point, the wo pronounced by Moroni to the Gentiles will come to pass:

And now I speak unto all the ends of the earth—that if the day cometh that the power and gifts of God shall be done away among you, it shall be because of unbelief. And wo be unto the children of men if this be the case; for there shall be none that doeth good among you, no not one. For if there be one among you that doeth good, he shall work by the power and gifts of God. And wo unto them who shall do these things away and die, for they die in their sins, and they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God; and I speak it according to the words of Christ; and I lie not. (Moroni 10: 24-26)

The return of the gifts

The good news is that although at some point the gifts will be lost to the Gentiles, He will send more messengers who will be manifesting these same gifts. Unless you, yourself, as an individual, have developed one or more of these best gifts, and have come to recognize the manifestation of the gifts that you do not have—by being around people who have them (a congregation)—you will, like the majority member, be deceived into rejecting the new messengers sent from heaven. You cannot recognize bona fide best gifts of the Spirit unless you have experience in them. We must all then become familiar with these gifts, lest we perish at their re-appearance.

The future use of the best gifts

There is a great work to be done in the future, using these seeds of power, before the advent of the Lord. Everything mentioned in the scriptures that was done by them will be done again, with additional, new uses. Everything done before is but a precursor to what lies ahead.

To give an example, we are told that the Nephites had power to move mountains, that the brother of Jared moved mount Zerin (sounds similar to Zion, doesn’t it?), that the Savior told his disciples that if they had faith as a grain of mustard seed, they could move mountains.

Why all this mentioning of moving mountains by power faith? What is so important about it? Why do we need to learn this power? The obvious answer is that at some point in the future, prior to the Second Coming, mountains will need to be moved to fulfill the prophecies. Previously on this continent, the Nephites (and the brother of Jared) moved mountains. It may be that those mountains will have to be removed (or moved back) to their original locations at a future time.

There will not be the time nor the means to accomplish this using action faith, so we must learn to plant and engender and develop these seeds of the powers of godliness that the Lord’s plans may be fulfilled through us. If we do not develop these gifts, someone else will and it will be he or she who fulfills the prophecies, while we are cut off from the privileges we might have had.

Complete List of Articles authored by LDS Anarchist

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55 Comments

  1. I wrote this while ill (there is something going around, nearly my entire family is sick). I hope it is coherent. If not, I appologize ahead of time.

  2. Hey this is a great article. I really learned a lot that has complimented my studies. I enjoyed the part about modern LDS thought and the gifts of the Spirit. Of course everyon has read in D&C that piano playing is a gift of the Spirit. And how would all those ours of study at the MTC pay off if we didn’t have the gift of toungues to help us learn. hehehe.

    Just yesterday evening my wife and I attended our institute class, Doctrines of the Gospel. We were talking about the Holy Ghost cleansing us and that if we are healed we are also forgiven of our sins. And our teacher said that all of us priesthood holders should be worthy to give blessings. Then I commented that in D&C it says that we should only get a priesthood blessing if we don’t have the faith to be healed(Section 42:43-44 but I couldn’t remember it at the time). It sort of stopped him in his tracks and he just made a comment that tried to make what I said sound like you still have to get a priesthood blessing to be healed by the spirit.

    I felt inspiried to join that class so I know there is some reason for me to be there. I just hope I don’t get kicked out for commenting on the REAL Doctrines of the Gospel.

    BTW have you ever heard that one of the miracles of Christ is to control time? Apparently that’s how Christ aged the wine, after he changed the water into wine.

  3. Very coherent.

    This post really speaks to me in regards to things I have been writing on my own. Thanks for posting it.

  4. We wouldn’t be able to even force air into our lungs, for the air would not allow itself to be forced into the lungs of a being it did not respect (a sinful being).

    I also find this concept interesting to think of in terms of the cells in our body:
    All cells in our body work together in harmony in order to make life for us possible. But the teamwork of all cells is coordinated by agency. The introduction of “separateness” into our collective consciousness has caused a failure in the harmonic coordination. The cells do not work together perfectly anymore. The body and mind are in a disharmonious state, like a orchestra without a conductor. We are slaves of Satan’s worldview that only sees things in terms of separateness [How left-brain].

  5. Anarchist

    You said-

    “Among the majority membership, most of the best gifts are no longer manifested. The first two gifts are still among us: knowing Jesus Christ is the Son of God and believing that He is. But the rest of them are all but gone.”

    That is interesting that you feel the very first gift mentioned in the passages is among the last two to remain among the Saints.

    Perhaps you would be willing to define what you think it means to “know that Jesus is the Son of God”

    Here is the full statement in the passages you are referring to-

    “To some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world.
    To others it is given to believe on their words, that they also might have eternal life if they continue faithful.”

    Do you feel that passage of scripture is referring to knowing that Christ is the Son of God because of the subtle “promptings of the spirit” and the “burning in the bosom” that that is commonly spoken of in modern Mormonism or do you feel that it has more to do with being filled with the Holy Ghost and having the heavens parted and seeing the Father and the Son, as an eye witness, similar to the experience that Joseph, Sidney, Lyman, and John the Revelator, testified of having?

  6. Watcher, the gifts of the Spirit are given in portions. Some receive a greater portion of the word (or of the Spirit), while others receive a lesser portion. Still others receive different portions (not necessarily greater or lesser portions). As a result, the same gift of the Spirit can be manifested in different ways. I myself know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He was crucified for the sins of the world. I learned this through a manifestation of the Holy Ghost to me many years ago as a teenager of between 14 and 15 years of age. Yet I haven’t had an open vision like Stephen and seen God sitting on His throne with Jesus at His right hand. This does not mean that I do not possess the first gift listed in D&C 46.

    Another example would be the gift to heal. A man may have healed cancer or heart disease, etc., but may not have raised the dead, while another man may have healed the sick and raised a man from the dead. This does not mean that the latter man possesses the real gift to heal, while the former possesses a fake gift to heal. It is all the same gift, differently administered, according the conditions among men, according to the portion of the word/Spirit given by the Lord.

  7. Your statement sounds very logical, and very LDS, I just don’t know if it is doctrinally sound.

    Whenever the word testimony is used in modern revelation with regard to knowing that Jesus is the Son of God, I believe it is referring to “knowledge” rather than “faith”.

    I have not done an exhaustive study on the subject, but I have been pondering these issues of late and I think that may be the case.

    I think the current LDS belief that we gain a sure knowledge through the “manifestation of the Holy Ghost” is possibly a doctrinal innovation that took place in Utah, or sometime after the death of Joseph Smith.

    I am not sure that such a doctrine could be substantiated in the scriptures nor were such claims being made in by anyone in the early history of the church, that they “Knew” that Jesus is the Son of God by the “manifestation of the Holy Ghost”.

    Alma 32 speaks about how the Holy Ghost plays a very important part in growing our seeds of faith and makes it clear that once we have a perfect knowledge, we are no longer operating on faith.

    Are you sure you are no longer functioning on faith regarding Christ?

    Do you feel, as some GA’s have stated that if Jesus appeared before you right now you would not know any more then than you already now know, that he lives and that he is the Christ?

    And if you do feel that way, why does God encourage us to seek his face, if it does not represent a greater knowledge than the manifestations of the spirit?

    When Joseph Smith gave his instructions to the 12 apostles in 1835, he said, “You have been indebted to other men, in the first instance, for evidence; on that you have acted; but it is necessary that you receive a testimony from heaven for yourselves; so that you can bear testimony to the truth of the Book of Mormon, and that you have seen the face of God”

    Most of these men had been taught by Joseph Smith, and had incredible spiritual experiences. I am sure they all felt at that time, as you do, that they had experienced “manifestations of the spirit” and yet he was emphasizing to them that they were still functioning at the level of “being indebted to other men” for evidence.

    That sounds to me like they probably fell into the category of the second gift, of believing on the testimony of others.

    I am not making a judgment about you in particular, I am simply bringing this up as a general concept for everyone to ponder.

    I have personally felt the manifestations of the spirit about the divinity of Christ and I know lots of others who have, and I have always interpreted those manifestations to be a “knowledge” rather than a spirit filled “faith”…

    I am just wondering if all of us that have been indoctrinated by the modern philosophies of the corporate church have perhaps been conditioned to think that we are functioning on knowledge rather than on a strong faith or belief that has been quickened by the spirit..

    I realize there are portions of spiritual gifts, however, I think that the first two gifts give us a pretty good context to go on regarding the testimony of Christ vs a belief in Christ based on secondary evidence from the testimony of others.

    It seems to me that perhaps a testimony of Christ may be greater than what we assume and perhaps the spiritual gift of belief on the testimony of another is also a greater spiritual attribute than we might suppose, as well.

    Just a possibility to consider.

  8. “Are you sure you are no longer functioning on faith regarding Christ?”

    I still function on faith because the knowledge that I have is imperfect. (See The faith of God, part twelve: Truth.)

    “Do you feel, as some GA’s have stated that if Jesus appeared before you right now you would not know any more then than you already now know, that he lives and that he is the Christ?”

    You are talking of the difference between imperfect knowledge and perfect knowledge. (See the link above again.) If I tell you this week about my brother, who you’ve never met, and tell you all about him and that he lives and then next week you go and meet him in person, will you know that he lives and that he is my brother more so next week than this week? Would you not already have known that he lived and was my brother this week? Imperfect knowledge is still knowledge, as long as the person giving the knowledge (or testimony) is a reliable witness. You can’t get a more reliable witness than the Holy Ghost.

    “And if you do feel that way, why does God encourage us to seek his face, if it does not represent a greater knowledge than the manifestations of the spirit?”

    Is not God our Father? What father, after sending his children away, does not desire to have them come back as soon as their studies are finished and be in his presence again? We’ve been sent off to this earthly boarding school with Father as our absentee Teacher. Two substitute Teachers have been provided for us, who teach the very things Father teaches. One, our elder brother Jesus, made a brief visit and then left again. The other, the Holy Ghost, has stuck around, to bring to our remembrance the things that Jesus taught and that our Father teaches. But this is just school and eventually we are expected to return back home, hopefully having passed the course and prepared ourselves, where God Himself will then teach us the rest of the lessons.

  9. “I still function on faith because the knowledge that I have is imperfect”

    Yes

    that is my point.

    If in fact you and I and all members and leaders of the church are functioning on an imperfect faith that Jesus is the Son of God, then, that means that we have the second best gift mentioned, not the first.

    The church could possibly be down to one best gift, not two best gifts.

    That would mean there are no longer any people in the church that have gained the same level of perfect knowledge described by the Seer and the Spokesman,

    “This is the testimony last of all that we give of him, that he lives! for we saw him, even on the right hand of God and we heard the voice bearing witness that he is the only begotten of the Father”

    Embedded in that TESTIMONY is the very definition of what is entailed in a VALIENT TESTIMONY. It is to SEE him and to HEAR the voice bearing witness.

    It also explains what is being referred in the best gifts when speaking of KNOWING that Jesus is the Son of God as opposed to believing on the TESTIMONY of others.

    That would explain why the servants need to return before the Lord returns, to “BIND up the LAW and SEAL up the TESTIMONY” (88:84)

    That will give those who have the second best gift the opportunity to obtain the first best gift and to become VALIANT in gaining the TESTIMONY that Jesus is the Son of God during this probation. At that same time, they can finally keep the LAW that has not been kept successfully kept since it was revealed..

  10. OWIW:

    Can you elaborate on what you said when you stated, “The church could possibly be down to one best gift, not two best gifts.”?

    I maintain that there are those who are receiving the 2nd gift, though they are very few in number. Some are out there teaching what they have received and learned insofar as they are inspired to do so. And, just because the “church” (referring to the trademarked, corporate entity) isn’t receiving those gifts doesn’t preclude any of us as individuals from going forward in imperfect faith until we receive the other gift. And, I have no doubt that you recognize that point – I just wanted to draw some add’l attention to it.

    And, perhaps, the “church” (referring to the D&C 10:67-69 definition) may be those who will receive that gift much more readily and in more abundance than those who just belong to the trademarked, corporate entity.

  11. Tom

    Thank you for putting me on the spot. LOL

    What I am going to say is going to offend a lot of people.

    That is kind of ironic because, I just got through apologizing to a whole bunch of people for offending them… and now I will probably have to end up apologizing again at some point if I am misunderstood…

    You said-

    “I maintain that there are those who are receiving the 2nd gift, though they are very few in number.”

    I assume that the second gift you are referring to is to KNOW that Jesus is the Son of God… ie, to have the same testimony that Joseph and Sidney had… to have the heavens opened and to gain a perfect knowledge by SEEING and By HEARING.

    I personally don’t believe there is any living mortal on the earth at this time that has that testimony. (unless the servants have returned and have not made themselves known)

    I realize that sounds terrible and mean and nasty and it has bad implications…

    Please don’t judge what I am saying until you have at least read why I feel this way.

    I am currently writing a multi part series about the topic of testimony and the role it will play in the 3rd watch and in it I explain why I feel the way I do. You are invited to read it when it is finished and to show me where I am wrong…

    (to everyone else out there that claims to have the same testimony as Joseph and Sidney have, please don’t take this personally… I am not judging the intent of your heart nor do a question the sincerity of what you believe you have experienced… I simply have a different view of the gospel and of our current state, than you do.)

    Dogmatically and apolitically Watching

  12. I meant to say apologetically Watching… although the other might be applicable as well… LOL

  13. Watcher, I see a few problems with your interpretation.

    1st, you are equating the word “know” in that verse with “see and hear”. But if you do that, you’d have to apply it throughout the revelation. So…

    To some it is given by the Holy Ghost to [see and hear] that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world…

    to some it is given by the Holy Ghost to [see and hear] 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…

    it is given by the Holy Ghost to some to [see and hear] the diversities of operations, whether they be of God, that the manifestations of the Spirit may be given to every man to profit withal…

    To another is given the word of [sight and sound], that all may be taught to be wise and to have [sight and sound].

    So, we end up with 3 gifts (or 4, if you count the word of knowledge gift, lol) that require the gift of seeing and hearing, in other words, seership, in order to function.

    This is a strained interpretation because the revelation doesn’t say how the Holy Ghost will communicate this knowledge. All it says is, “that which the Spirit testifies unto you”. This doesn’t imply that the Spirit will testify by giving a vision with auditory commentary. There are many ways that the Spirit may testify, or as Moroni put it, “there are different ways that these gifts are administered; but it is the same God who worketh all in all”. If you pigdeon hole the first gift into only one way it can be administered, namely by sight and sound in an open vision, you wrest the scriptures.

    2nd, by placing only one way the first gift can be manifested (open vision), you eliminate the Lord’s doctrine of giving portions of the Spirit to His children. If I have an open vision and see God sitting on his throne with Jesus at His right hand and hear the voice, as Joseph and Sidney did, what portion am I receiving? If this is the only way the gift is manifested, this is the only portion available.

    3rd, In a gospel context, “testimony” is properly defined as “that which the Spirit testifies unto you.” John the Revelator also wrote that “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” The spirit of prophecy is the Holy Ghost. The Spirit may testify of the future (the gift to prophesy) or may testify of wisdom (the gift of the word of wisdom) or may testify that Jesus is the Christ (the gift to know Jesus is the Christ) or may plant belief in the heart of one who is hearing someone else’s testimony of Christ (the gift of belief) or may testify that healing is occurring (the gifts of healing) or may testify that evil spirits are present (the gift of discerning spirits), etc. So, to be valiant in the testimony of Jesus is to be valiant in “that which the Spirit testifies unto you,” even if the only testimony received is the gift of belief. This gift of belief is sufficient to save oneself, which is why the revelation states, “that they also might have eternal life if they continue faithful.”

    As the Spirit is “the record of heaven; the Comforter; the peaceable things of immortal glory; the truth of all things; that which quickeneth all things, which maketh alive all things; that which knoweth all things, and hath all power according to wisdom, mercy, truth, justice, and judgment”, it’s not like we are getting a second hand witness. As the record of heaven, even open visions must be confirmed by the Spirit, otherwise, we will doubt what we see as mere imagination, hallucination or the delusions of a frenzied mind.

    So, my understanding is that the first two gifts are still operating in the church, which is why people still learn through the Spirit that the gospel message is true or come to believe that it is true (without any direct revelation confirming that). It may be that the first gift is no longer functioning at the “open vision” portion, which the Apostles are commanded to obtain (and which anyone can obtain if they seek it.) But even if that is the case, the Spirit is operating at some portion for both these gifts in our church meetings.

    Lastly, I would not diss the gift of belief, for it is this gift which is what actually saves a person, not the gift of knowledge.

    They are they who received the testimony of Jesus [defined as the Holy Ghost], and believed on his name [the gift of belief] and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name, and this according to the commandment which he has given—

    If you take away the gift of belief, no one gets saved. (See The Faith of God, part eleven: Why knowledge doesn’t save.)

  14. Anarchist-

    All of you issues are covered in my series, you are welcome to critique it with everyone else when it is finished…

    BTW

    As I have previously stated, the scriptures refer to two types of faith… a pre-knowledge faith which is what the scriptures such as Alma, are usually speaking about because it applies to us during probation in time, and a post-knowledge faith, which we have in eternity.,… which is the power that an all-knowing God uses to create worlds. (Heb 11)

  15. […] of [those] prayer circles” in our stead.  Interesting, and telling, switch.  Interestingly, some even state that, “I assume that the second gift you are referring to is to KNOW that Jesus is the Son of God… […]

  16. well I have read this its really quite good. I think it only lacks one thing is sound example of action faith and power of faith. To me action faith is trusting in the blessings that God promisses in malici regarding tithing so you trust and act because you want that blessing wether it is food money or anything else. The power of faith to me would be that I pay tithing because I love God and I trust that he will give me a blessing that he sees fit to give me and because of that i act not wanting anything specifect only what He wants to give me.

  17. Interesting comments, thanks.

    However, I feel sad that your Sunday meeting experiences are so lacking (probably especially fast and testimony meeting) and that you generalize that feeling. Sure, I’ve heard the comments you’ve shared and I’ve felt sad at many of those comments and answers; but are they really real?

    I tell you, all the gifts of the Spirit are still in the church, and still among its many members. (How much is always a question, and will be for a while.) No need for general conference talks and third hand information to know that, either. Perhaps more gift of discernment would help? 😉 Sundays are uplifting and full of the Spirit. When they don’t seem to be, it seems to come down to lack of faith, on somebody’s part; or maybe the learning and growing aspect is much stronger (like when a new member learns knowledge, etc.).

    I suggest we keep a list of the manifestations of the Spirit in our lives–our own experiences, and the experiences we witness around us, and of those we know.

    And remember, signs follow faith, but are not necessarily measured, timed, and addressed.

  18. Grego,

    It’s refreshing to hear of a congregation that does manifest the gifts of the Spirit — instead of just naively stating that meetings are “full of the Spirit” and are “soo uplifting.” In my experience, claims are yours are usually statements of hope rather than an actual report of facts.

    Tell me, what gifts are you seeing manifested in your congregation?

  19. Grego,

    Thanks for sharing. I’d like to see those lists you suggest. They won’t even be as long as the list of the Gifts themselves found in D&C, or the writings of paul or anywhere else in scripture.

    Justin,

    Thank you for calling out Grego and all of us who might be tempted to settle for less than God’s gifts. The time to get real (manifestations of God’s spirit) is now.

  20. I have an experience that I would like to share, in the hopes that it may uplift and inspire souls to have faith, that they too may be able to have manifestations of these gifts spoken of above. My experience deals with the gift of knowledge.

    I am hesitant about giving too many details because I am not seeking sympathy and my first inclination is to be private with my personal experiences and feelings of my heart. But I know that being vague isn’t going to have the same impact, and is the seed from which the ever so commonly used phrase ” it’s too sacred to share” stems. I too have wondered if this experience was too sacred to share, especially where an indefinite amount of people could read it. But I do feel inspired to share for the benefit of all and so I will provide a few details.

    A while back I found myself in a lot of pain. The pain got steadily more intense over the course of a couple days and culminated in vomiting and internal bleeding. At that point we decided to go to the hospital. It turned out to be an ectopic pregnancy. This was a shock to us because we were unaware of being pregnant and also horrified that we were now losing the baby. We mourned the loss of our little one and of one of my fallopian tubes. We had to rely heavily on the spirit to pull through this challenge. And we continued to follow the promptings of the spirit when it came to trying again. The whisperings of the spirit to me flew in the face of what the doctors had warned us to do. I bring this up only to illustrate the many fears which threatened our faith in the coming weeks. And to contrast that darkness with the beauty of the miracles that followed.

    We continued to try and conceive, trusting completely in God but expecting that it might take a while due to the ruptured tube. My menstrual cycle has for the last 8 years was highly irregular (only about 4-5 times a year) and now due to my condition we were wondering how we would even know if I were to become pregnant. Going off of a spiritual sensation I began pestering my husband to go and get a pregnancy test. But he put it off saying “Well, were gonna know eventually if you are.” Then we read this post .

    We decided to use this as an opportunity to seek after the best gifts and get some deeply desired manifestations of the spirit. We were struck with how personal and yet profound the gift of knowledge could be. We prayed to KNOW of God whether I was with child. My husband who offered the prayer vocally on our behalf heard the spirit whisper “A son, a son…” in his mind. I felt a burning in my bosom. We both felt that since we believed fully in the manifestation from God, it would not be wrong to ask for further knowledge or affirmation. My husband reached over and pulled a Book of Mormon off of the table expecting to open to some scripture that would speak directly to us. He opened to the pronouncing guide and for a brief second was tempted to say “Oh let me try again. That obviously wasn’t from God.” But we knew that the gifts were obtained by faith not through overt efforts of our own. So we took a look and first realized that what the open pages contained were names of people and places. We took this to mean we were definitely having a baby. But then I said “Since we were given specific knowledge that we are having a boy, not only a baby, we could do the ring test.” The ring test for those who don’t know is where you take a metallic ring tie a string to it and dangle it over the woman’s stomach to determine the sex of the child. If it is a girl the ring will move in a circle and if it’s a boy then it swings in a line. If the ring moves in a circle it could mean you will have a daughter or it could just as easily mean nothing since it will react that way do to the spirit of the woman anyway. But if the ring starts to move back and forth like a pendulum it could only mean one thing. My husband held it very still over my belly and suddenly it started to go in a line. We were both overcome and cried. We realized that God was teaching us a visual lesson on how to receive the gifts of the spirit. Just like the ring test; the trick is to be very still and not do anything. Just hold the ring still and await the answer. About a week prior to this I had the random impression that maybe we should someday name one of our children Elijah which I had never considered before. I ran it by my husband and he said that he liked it but had never thought of using it either. Well as we sat there pondering the things that had just happened to us after our prayer for knowledge, and belief followed by other signs, we felt to take a closer look at the Book of Mormon that remained open to those pages of the pronunciation guide. Right there smack dab in the middle of all the words was the name Elijah.

    We learned much about the gifts of the spirit through these experiences. First, this was something that we needed to know. Not just some little tid bit of knowledge “to consume it on our lusts” We felt that the combination of sincere need, desire and humble trust contributed to the manifestation we received. At the same time this was not something that was immediately necessary for our physical survival. I don’t know if that would have been something that in our current state of faith we could have successfully received. So this was basically a perfect learning experience. Secondly, we felt that God wanted to illustrate the importance of resisting any urges to do too much. This was something that only He could tell us. Then when it occurred to us that we could “do” the ring test, it was an additional teaching tool that God used in showing how it is “done”. That is, you have to be still and know that God is. Calm your left and right hemispheres in your brain. And when it is calm like a sea of glass, then the light and truth comes. But it is important to not question it, or else you might miss the most amazing revelations. I guess that would be the third point we felt impressed upon our hearts and minds; that you can’t deny the gifts when you have them manifest. I didn’t want my husband to end up like Zachariah.

    D&C 46:7 But ye are commanded in all things to ask of God,
    who giveth liberally; 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 thanks-
    giving, 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.
    8 Wherefore, beware lest ye are deceived; and that ye
    may not be deceived seek ye earnestly the best gifts,
    always remembering for what they are given;

    I feel like I was able to learn more of what these verses mean. I too was one who was disappointed in the lack of experiences with gifts of the spirit being manifest by myself or others. And after my husband and I read this post, we were determined to make these gifts more manifest in our lives. I am grateful to have had these experiences and am determined to have more and more, until I’ve either been able to manifest each and every gift myself, or witness with my own eyes them being manifest by someone else. In my patriarchal blessing I was blessed with the gift of healing of the mind, body and spirit and am learning how to heal. I would love for commenters following my remarks to share their experiences with these gifts, as they would bare testimony of our True and Living God.

  21. […] The seeds of the powers of godliness […]

  22. My wife and I thank you for the post and feel very encouraged and motivated to seek the best gifts.
    I am interested to know why you referred to someone (singular) when you said…
    “If we do not develop these gifts, someone else will and it will be he or she who fulfills the prophecies, “

  23. Glad you liked the post.

    I did not have a specific person in mind when I wrote that. It was just a manner of speaking (or writing).

  24. Were the elements here operating like they did in heaven, everyone would immediately die. We wouldn’t be able to even force air into our lungs, for the air would not allow itself to be forced into the lungs of a being it did not respect (a sinful being).

    Made me think about king Benjamin saying that God loans us breath (Mosiah 2:21) — meaning He grants as a temporary gift the ability to force air into the lungs via a pressure gradient caused by an expanding chest cavity.

  25. From this Christian website about the gifts of the Spirit.

    I found it interesting that they teach: the gift of apostleship (to know Jesus is the Christ), the gift of prophecy, the gift to work miracles, the gift of healings, the gift of discerning spirits, the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, the gift of tongues and their interpretation — have all been done away.

  26. I looked over the link Justin referred to above the Christian website about gifts of the spirit. Okay I don’t want to get into a feeding frenzy of things incorrect about this site. It is in fact very instructive what they say are the requirements to be an apostle; shades of Oliver Cowdery’s charge which I will post here soon.
    But one thing caught my eye which the site lists as a permanent gift.
    The gift of CELIBACY!
    Aye Yi Yi !! With gifts like that, who needs curses!

  27. The gifts have been done away? Gee, where have I heard that before?

    Some few days after I had this vision, I happened to be in company with one of the Methodist preachers, who was very active in the before mentioned religious excitement; and, conversing with him on the subject of religion, I took occasion to give him an account of the vision which I had had. I was greatly surprised at his behavior; he treated my communication not only lightly, but with great contempt, saying it was all of the devil, that there were no such things as visions or revelations in these days; that all such things had ceased with the apostles, and that there would never be any more of them. (JS-H 1: 21)

    Temporal inequality is the reason for no gifts.

    He who is appointed to administer spiritual things, the same is worthy of his hire, even as those who are appointed to a stewardship to administer in temporal things; yea, even more abundantly, which abundance is multiplied unto them through the manifestations of the Spirit. Nevertheless, in your temporal things you shall be equal, and this not grudgingly, otherwise the abundance of the manifestations of the Spirit shall be withheld. (D&C 70: 12-14)

    The Christians have temporal inequality, have minimum manifestations of the gifts and are called Christians. The Mormons have temporal inequality, have minimum manifestations of the gifts and desire to be called Christians. Well, perhaps we should be called Christians…

  28. From my elder’s quorum lesson on The Gifts of the Spirit:

    We never cracked the scriptures open to read the scriptural lists of the best gifts.

    The gift of belief is the “silver medal, runner-up prize” to the gift of knowledge [I did interject with what Jesus said in 3 Nephi 12:2].

    The gift of receiving revelations comes to a person by virtue of the calling they have. You can get more if you get a greater calling, like EQ president or Bishop, etc.

    The gift of prophecy is so you can give advice to those within your “priesthood stewardship”.

    The healing gifts consist of men giving priesthood anointings and blessings

    Tongues and the interp. of tongues are essentially the same gift. People manifest them when they use foreign languages on their missions for the Church.

    The gift of knowledge was mentioned many times by Gordon Hinckley — as he counseled members to go to college and obtain all the knowledge they can by study so that the world will pay them what it thinks they are worth. Oh yeah — you should seek spiritual knowledge by studying your scriptures too.

    Finally, a member related that at a Single Adult conference in which Elder Nelson was speaking he said that, since this talk wouldn’t be reproduced in Ensign magazines, etc. that he would tell them — the big miracles like raising people from the dead still happen commonly within the Church. But we have learned to not talk about these things b/c of their sacred nature.

    One person said that when pressed by a non-member friend about why the spiritual manifestations aren’t present within our Church — he testified that he simply knew that they do happen, but it’s just that no one talks about them anymore b/c of their sacred nature.

    Besides, another said, if you tell everyone about these manifestations that we all know everyone is having — or if you do them openly in our meetings — then people will just come to our Church b/c they see the acts we are doing. By keeping them quiet, we can keep the focus on the Spirit — where it really belongs.

    Mainly, what I took away from our meeting is that current members understand the list of the spiritual gifts to be a list of things that, in any manifestation, are from the Spirit. By that I mean, in my quorum at least, people think that having knowledge is a manifestation of the Spirit — instead of having a spiritual manifestation of knowledge, or obtaining knowledge thru the Spirit. Anytime someone gets better from a sickness — that is healing, and that therefore is of the Spirit. If you can speak in or understand a foreign language, then this is a manifestation of the gift.

    There seems to be no ability to see the difference between the Spirit giving someone healing or giving someone the ability to speak in or understand an unknown language, etc. — They see any occurrence of the knowledge, wisdom, foreign language communication, healing, etc. as THE manifestation of the spiritual gifts.

  29. There is a post on the Gifts of the Spirit lesson from the Sunday School manual that may be able to benefit from some of the perspective given in this post on the subject:

    http://feastuponthewordblog.org/2010/11/14/rsmp-lesson-22-%E2%80%9Cthe-gifts-of-the-spirit%E2%80%9D-gospel-principles-manual/

  30. According to my stake conference meeting:

    Signs will follow them that believe.[D&C 58:64]”

    In other words, there are things that Mormons either do or don’t do that make us different — you know, a peculiar people. Examples of the signs that follow them that believe can be found in the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet: e.g. no drinking alcohol, smoking or using drugs, spending your Sunday at Church(TM) or Church(TM)-related activities, not viewing rated-R movies, and wearing modest clothing.

  31. Justin:

    Was the linking of signs to the things mentioned in the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet a direct report of what was shared in your stake conference meeting? If so, do we now believe that those things you listed are examples of (a) miracles and (b) signs of the Holy Ghost?

  32. Yes, this was a direct report from a talk given by the presiding member of the seventy.

    If so, do we now believe that those things you listed are examples of (a) miracles and (b) signs of the Holy Ghost?
    I’m honestly not sure where they could be placed. I’m sure most people would say that teenagers not consuming alcohol or drugs, not doing anything but Church on Sunday, not viewing R-rated movies, and not wearing skimpy or slouchy clothing is a miraculous work.

  33. It may be that we are down to only one gift, the second one listed in D&C 46. The first gift listed, the gift of belief, is attended by signs following. When was the last time anyone ever heard of these scriptural signs following belief?

  34. The implications of this is that if we claim that we are believers in Christ, yet do not or have not manifested the signs which follow belief, it may very well be that we are not believers in Christ. The signs that follow believers in Christ are signs to the believers that they are believers in Christ, as well as to other believers. The end of the sign is to confirm one’s faith, both to confirm the faith of the one who manifested the sign and the faith of a believer who witnessed or heard about a sign which followed another believer. It is the scriptural means used to reveal a believer. See here and here.

    Now, I’m not saying this to condemn anyone. I’m just thinking out loud about what this means to me, personally, as a professed believer in Christ…

  35. I usually hear people refer to “Require not miracles, except I shall command you…” as evidence that miraculous manifestations should not occur openly — but should only come if someone feels direct command from the Lord.

    However, the rest of the verse leads me to the opposite conclusion:

    “…except casting out devils, healing the sick, and against poisonous serpents, and against deadly poisons;
    And these things ye shall not do, except it be required of you by them who desire it, that the scriptures might be fulfilled; for ye shall do according to that which is written.”

    We should be requiring manifestations of the signs that follow them that believe [e.g. casting out devils, healing the sick, protection from injected or ingested poisons, etc.] — and they should be manifesting for any who desire it. If you aren’t manifesting those signs, then we are not fulfilling that which has be written concerning the believers.

  36. I enjoyed BiV’s post at Faith-Promoting Rumor on the topic of the gifts of the Spirit and how they are (or are not) working within the current LDS church.

  37. Considering the comments at the post linked above and comment #228 at the Wheat and Tares post about guns:

    So, do we really need to arm ourselves? I believe we do, because we do not have faith in God. And people who do not have faith in God’s protection should not be restricted in their ability to protect themselves. Do we love our guns more than God? Again, I’d say that we do, because otherwise we would repent and exercise faith in God to protect us and not fear and worry about the guns and weapons that others have.

    It would seem to me that scripture, in the hands of a faithless people, is actually a very dangerous thing. One would be lead by reading the “no weapon formed against thee shall prosper” verses and assume that he/she can apply that to themselves right now. Taking no precautions b/c he/she assumes that God will protect them by virtue of those verses.

    But since no one generally has any faith — God would not protect them from a gunshot, administered poison, or bomb, etc.

    Perhaps this has something to do with the oft-reported problem I’ve read about online that people don’t “get their prayers answered” [a la Moroni 10:3-4, etc.]. Because the scriptures promise that prayers will be answered — people are assuming they have claim on that promise by virtue of what’s written, when [in fact] they do not b/c no one has faith.

  38. This reminds me of the Church of God with Signs Following.

    For the most part, I don’t think we in the LDS church are in too much danger of taking literally the Lord’s promises without first acquiring the faith to activate them. Jeff’s reply to my comment, I believe, is typical of LDS thought:

    I suspect “weapons” is more figurative than literal because the weapons that I think could prevail are more complancy, sin, morality issues, unbelief, etc.

    More so than physical weapons.

    As long as everything is interpreted as figurative or symbolic, no one need put their physical lives in the hands of the Lord, only their spiritual lives. We believe in exercising faith concerning spiritual welfare, but when it comes to physical welfare, we rely upon the arm of flesh to see us through, while giving lip-service (prayers without faith, priesthood blessings without faith, etc.)

    The Lord tells us all of these things that He will do for us so that we will desire them and seek them and acquire them by faith. The danger we have, then, is that through our figurative interpretations of His promises, we do not seek to obtain the faith to gain these miracles in our lives, leaving the promises and prophecies unfulfilled, to be fulfilled by another people, one that exercises faith to that end.

  39. I liked this portion from that wiki page you linked to:

    Many people consider snake-handling to be a part of uneducated folk religion, however, churches who practice snake handling claim their scriptural mandate from the gospel of Mark 16:9-20. Curiously, this passage is arguably a later addition to Mark, and is footnoted as such in most well known translations of the Bible. Even those denominations who affirm this passage as canonical do not interpret the passage as a call to handle serpents; they regard snake handling as the grave error of “tempting God” [1] and the passage as a statement of signs demonstrating Paul’s apostleship (cf. Acts 28:3-6).

    Snake handlers argue that it is tempting God when one picks and chooses what parts of Scripture to believe and ignore. They add that Jesus only spoke to Satan who was tempting the Lord. Satan, they argue, asked Jesus to throw himself off of a cliff when he expelled the statement, “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God!”. In addition they state that if God himself asked Jesus to throw himself off of the cliff instead of Satan, just as God asked Moses to pick up a serpent without question which then transformed into a rod in the Old Testament, Jesus would have done so. “Fear and the slightest form of doubt” as some handlers maintain can be enough to kill some worshippers which is why they encourage those, who have fear and doubt, not to partake in such practices unless they are living a morally correct life of holiness and total trust in God’s Will.

    I had not noticed the connection of Moses picked up a serpent by command from the Lord. However, with this case as their example, I would challenge the comparison of what they do as a part of regular worship service with what God specifically commanded of Moses to fulfill a unique purpose [I guess expediency is what I’m trying to say].

    Also, considering you just mentioned Jeff’s perfect example of Christian/LDS “spiritualization” of literal things from the scriptures — I’ll still bring-up the thoughts I’d had in regards to Mark 16:18 [in hopes it’s not “spiritualizing” away any literal rendering]:

    They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them

    I’ve seen this scripture in terms of adminstered poisons — rather ingested thru food/water contamination or injected [thus the reference to snakes] thru vaccines I received as a child, etc.

    I see it also in light of D&C 84:72 — where the wording is a bit different than in Mark:

    And the poison of a serpent shall not have power to harm them.

  40. I may have missed this in the response section, but I think this is a typo:

    “Here, we copy imperfect mortals. Morality, then, does not limit our ability to walk by sight.”

    I’m guessing you meant Mortality and not Morality? I apologize if someone else has already pointed this out.

  41. OWIW, I have several responses in the ‘Round midnight’ article that explain the problem with the English word/verb “to know” as I comprehend it and how it is improperly used in most “LDS” testimonies.

    I believe this is a poor English word to use in scriptural translations because it is very ambigious and vague. This word has many different meanings and is difficult to know which meaning is being applied. For example, you can ‘know’ someone, meaning that you’ve met them or talked with them before; you can ‘know’ something because you ‘learned’ it either in school, from a book, a mentor etc. (math and science); you can ‘know’ something meaning that you are ‘aware’ of it as in, “I know that we only have 10 minutes left!” (meaning that you’re aware of the time crunch); you can ‘know’ something from personal experience, such as The First Vision of Joseph Smith; you can ‘know’ something is a FACT because you were a first-hand eyewitness to an event, or used one of your other senses allowing you to give ‘testimony’ in either a court or a Fast and Testimony Meeting; or you can PROVE it. This is more than just a semantical issue or even a contextual issue, though, as this word does create real and problematic understandings. For most uses of the word/verb “to know” there exists a better word/verb to choose (to meet, to learn, to be aware of, to prove, to test etc.)

    As I explained in my ‘Round midnight’ response, this verb creates confusion in English, which doesn’t really exist in Latin languages (or other languages), which use at least two words/verbs to explain and translate “to know”, but this should give you a taste of the confusion and ambigiuity that exists when we use this word, especially when it’s applied to imperfect and perfect ‘knowledge’.

    Most of the time, the word/verb that we really should use is “to believe” or even “to be convinced”. This applies to nearly every LDS testimony out there. For example, we are taught (and LDSA mentions this above) that we are to walk by faith not by sight (faith/belief not factual knowledge). I believe that the Holy Ghost doesn’t give us either imperfect or perfect “knowledge” but insteads there are levels or degrees of convincing us of our beliefs. When we have what we consider to be a spiritual event or a manifestation from the HG, that event simply increases the convincement of our belief(s). I understand the LDS ethnocentrism but I believe that very, very few people have ever been on this planet that truly “knew” anything of God (the people of the City of Enoch may have “known” the things of God and could no longer exist in a faith/belief based world, which may be why they were translated). Unless you saw the gold plates, you are believing on hearsay and can never testify of it’s existence.

    If we can get past this ethnocentrism with regards to the Gosple, scriptures and modern revelations, I think we will better understand belief versus knowledge. We really should ask ourselves why we are not content with just believing in Christ and His Gospel. Again, we are taught from the scriptures to walk by faith and not by sight; to believe in Jesus; 12 of the 13 Articles of Faith, written by Joseph Smith, begin with “We believe” not “We know”. So even Joseph, who would have had firsthand “knowledge” of Jesus and HF, chose the correct English word/verb.

    Imagine the accuracy of LDS testimonies, and the spiritual strength that would resonate, especially from missionaries, if we chose to use the word/verb ‘believe’ instead of ‘ know’. I believe that when one uses the word/verb ‘to know’, it creates a challenge to the listener, who may not be at the same belief/faith level. Ultimately, though, anyone who still chooses to state that they “know” anything of God and scriptures, must either claim that they saw, firsthand, an Angel, Jesus, HF or whomever/whatever, or be prepared to PROVE it. Otherwise, choose the more correct word/verb and state that you believe (insert your HG experience and why it convinced you of your belief).

    Just some of my thoughts…

  42. Thanks, Daitoryu. Fixed it.

  43. Regarding the use of firearms for defending ourselves:

    I have for many years enjoyed shooting and been so glad to be able to have a firearm to protect myself. I think it is very wrong for any government to prohibit the ownership and the carrying of a firearm. A firearm can not protect you if it is at home or locked in the trunk of your car and you are in neither of those locations. The Book of Mormon states a principle applicable to all people, “And again, the Lord has said that: Ye shall defend your families even unto bloodshed.” (Alma 43:47) I think it is foolish to bring a knife to a gun fight. So in today’s world that would mean being in possesion of a firearm.
    And we have the example of Moroni in the book of Alma “a man of perfect understanding”, “who was firm in the faith of Christ” and Mormon goes on to say, “Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men.” (Alma 48:11,13,17)
    We would be going astray to say Mormon did not know what constituted faith in Christ so we must view Moroni as having faith.
    But please read on and don’t misunderstand my comment. Jesus did not resort to a weapon to protect himself from being killed. A mob was ready to push him off a cliff and he just passed through the midst of them. Elijah was another who had no problem defending himself even though he didn’t seem to possess an assault rifle. He twice called down fire from heaven to consume his foes. (The third captain sent was smart to try and negotiate)
    When I lived in the US I had a nice assortment of firearms. I did shooting contests where we used single action six shooters and lever action rifles and a pump shotgun.
    I had a .357 revolver with a laser hand grip and a nice civilian version semi automatic M-16 type rifle and 1000 rounds of ammo. I loved them they were fun and I am quite confident I could have made a good account of defending myself against and intruder in my home if needed.
    But when I went moved out of the country I sold them all. I don’t even have a pellet gun.
    But since finding this blog last year I have decided not to worry about having guns. I am ore focused on developing a faith like Elijah had. I see the efforts of Captain Moroni and Mormon were involved in helping a people who did not have much faith. I think God would never condone preventing people from exercising action faith. I am sure it must also be a stepping stone to power faith.
    And now in our time we have a different event looming upon the world. The coming of Jesus Christ in Glory to rule personally upon the earth. He is not just coming to teach for a few days or months. This is something new. And now at this same time we see the power of evil so strong that the faith and patience of true saints will be deeply tried.
    It is already hard to arm yourselves in many places. So is that not an opportunity to rise to the occasion and develop power faith? The time will come when we can not buy or sell unless we sell out to Satan. What better motivator to break the money addiction and get out of the Babylonian matrix?
    Enoch used the power of God to fight his battles. 1 Nephi 14:14 talks about the mother of harlots (Babs Alon) gathering her forces to fight against the saints of the Lamb: 14 “And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the power of the Lamb of God, that it descended upon the saints of the church of the Lamb, and upon the covenant people of the Lord, who were scattered upon all the face of the earth; and they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory.” And Jesus said in 3rd Nephi 20:17 Thy hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off.
    I don’t think He was speaking of being armed with guns or swords. I think the hand His people will lift up is the power of the priesthood same as Enoch. This can only be done with power faith. I see a very natural process at work preparing those who are seeking to be converted to the true faith of God.

  44. The Faith-Promoting Rumor conversation on the cessation of the best gifts of the Spirit seems to have just transferred over to Times and Seasons — if any are interested in following.

  45. Dear friend:
    I’m asking for your permision to translate your posts and include them in a new blog for spanish lds.
    Salud ¡

  46. Be my guest.

  47. Gonzalo,

    Ya lo estoy haciendo o sea ya empecé a hacer un lugar donde se puede tratar estos temas en español. Me sentía inspirado hacerlo…pero también quería encontrar a alguien con quien trabajar como hay mucho para traducir. Si te guste la idea, por favor, seamos compañeros en esta causa.

    Aca se puede ver el blog que he preparado.

    http://restauracionrevolucionaria.wordpress.com/

    Saludos desde Mexico.

  48. Romans 1:11

    For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established;

    There can be no established church without at least one spiritual gift in operation among the congregation — ideally [it would seem] a gift that would have been imparted by one of the traveling quorum of apostles, who themselves cause great fear to come upon every soul because of the many wonders and signs done by their hand [Acts 2:43].

  49. I thought this exponent post did a good job talking about the best gifts of the Spirit. To quote:

    Can you speak in tongues? Work miracles? Heal? Prophecy?

    What would you say if I told you that you had to be able to discern Spirits to be a good Mormon? What if being able to interpret tongues was a temple recommend interview prerequisite? That would be crazy, right? Because those are really specific (and uncommon) gifts of the spirit that not everyone has been given, “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” (D&C 46:11-12).

    There are approximately nine different gifts of the spirit, why do you think we focus so often on just belief? Which gift of the spirit do you have? How can we better recognize and utilize the gifts we have been given?

  50. I was talking to someone today about patriarchal blessings and it occurred to me that patriarchs still have the gift to prophesy, do they not? Sure, it is used in a very limited fashion, but I think most members would say that their patriarchal blessings contain prophecies of the future.

  51. Yes they do….but they also have their crutches and hang-ups and have been known to even throw in cliche lines making the blessing less direct and less personal or unique to the individual who comes to receive a blessing through them.
    Gypsies are way better at it and keep the tradition alive meaning they can act more in the spirit as they are less controled by protocol. But since it is one of the las magical practices remaining in the church there is a lot of belief channeled into these one time fortune telling sessions and therfore even though they are not even real patriarchs…well God acts through whatever means we will allow him…only problem is our limiting the amount to these marginal experiences.

    When I was months ago, sitting on the beach with a few members of my tribe, pondering deeply upon the words of my patriarchal blessing and trying to understand what they meant for me right now….God sent a whole band of Gypsy youth over and the eldest among them made a b-line for me. She proceeded to talk about exactly what I had been praying and pondering about and excitedly asked for a small coin to make an amulet for me to be able to move forward in life in the ways outlined in my patriarchal blessing. Her eyes were so full of light. But I misunderstood and thought she was asking for a donation…plus I reasoned that all I had on me was enough for bus fare for me and the other tribal members to return home by bus. Her spirits fell. She had been a pure receptor and acted on God’s will in the moment. But my concerns kept her from being able to make an amulet to help me move forward and obtain the blessings promised years ago by the voice of an LDS ‘Patriarch’

    When I realized my error I prayed and repented before the Lord. He guided me in a ritual to show my repentance and humbly ask again for the opportunity to accept those blessing which had long been promissed me. To my surprise the ritual I felt led to perform in private was then within 2 hrs of its completion, mirrored by another Gypsy, this time an old man who literally popped out of nowhere and offered the same thing the girl had offered only a week or two earlier. This is how God works.

  52. there are still gifts of healing and faith to be healed among the missionaries and members around the world. i saw people healed while on a mission, sometimes in extremely un-scientific and miraculous ways. there are definitely times when missionaries will receive the gift of knowledge about certain people and future events will be revealed to them. however, i think that these things happen more an international scale, if only due to the gentiles being more hard-hearted and more unequal in temporal things

  53. elder chantdown i met some gypsys on my mission. beautiful people, sadly hated and despised by the western white world at large. the families i met followed the lehite model of living in tents and always being on the move from place to place

  54. hey yo se tambien hablar espanhol y estoy dispuesto para ayudar a traducir, avisame cuales articulos ya traduciste y empiezo con eso

  55. Today I taught in Institute the section 46; I think was able to succesfully explain the gifts of the Holy Ghost as described in this post, but I realized that the second pair of gifts (“The gift of knowing the differences of administration according to the conditions among the children of men” and “The gift of knowing whether the diversities of operations are of God”) were lacking a clearer description, so I created my own interpretation and would like you to comment what you think about it:

    First I think that “The gift of knowing the differences of administration according to the conditions among the children of men” is the same gift described in the verse 27 “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”; I think so because Moroni says “there are different ways that these gifts are administered”, and who is going to know how to administer these gifts? the Bishop (and others elders) are. In other words they use this gift to know which gift do every other member posses, whether that gift is from God and finally determine the best way the members could use that gift within the Church (after all, the first verses of the section explain how the elders “conduct all meetings as they are directed and guided by the Holy Spirit”; so if they know that some member has the gift to prophesy they can give him some time to do it in the meetings, so with the member that has the gift of the word of wisdom).

    Second, as LDSA points out, the gifts are paired so they complement each other; so “The gift of knowing whether the diversities of operations are of God” would be the complement of “The gift of knowing the differences of administration according to the conditions among the children of men”; an operation is a word which represents a function (or instruction); who give us functions or instructions in the Church? our Bishop and our leading elders do; so this gift can reveal unto us if the functions or instructions we receive from them are of God; that’s why I think these two gifts complement each other, because the former one is for our leaders to know how to administer our gifts, while the later one is for us to know if what our leaders are commanding us is from God.

    OK this is how I explained these gifts, how I interpret them; please if you know something about them, comment it so I can verify my conclussions or change them.

    By the way, I’m a spanish speaker, don’t speak english, so forgive any grammatical error, please.


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