And to others the discerning of spirits. (D&C 46:23)
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. (1 Corinthians 12:8-11)
For behold, to one is given by the Spirit of God, that he may teach the word of wisdom; and to another, that he may teach the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; and to another, exceedingly great faith; and to another, the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; and again, to another, that he may work mighty miracles; and again, to another, that he may prophesy concerning all things; and again, to another, the beholding of angels and ministering spirits; and again, to another, all kinds of tongues; and again, to another, the interpretation of languages and of divers kinds of tongues. (Moroni 10:9-16)
Shortly after I turned nine years old, the Holy Ghost began manifesting in my life. The second manifestation, prior to me becoming a member of the LDS church via baptism, was of the discerning of spirits. A short time later I had two other manifestations and then the Holy Ghost ceased manifesting anything to me for about five years. At around age 14, the Holy Ghost again started to manifest in my life, and since then there has never been a “dry time.”
At some point during my teenage years, the topic of spiritual gifts came up. I think it may have been during some church class. The understanding I and everyone around me had was that everyone in the church got one of these listed best gifts. The question was asked, “Which gift do you have?” I looked over my life from age nine to whatever age I was at that time, and came to the conclusion that I had the discerning of spirits.
In truth, I had more than one best gift, but I had been taught that we typically only have one, and to have more than one was unusual, and that you had to be a “special” person to have multiple gifts, such as one of the living apostles and prophets, and in my humility I didn’t want to think I was anyone “special,” so I just assumed that I only had one. As a result, every prophecy I received was called, by me, a “revelation.” My revelations, of which I had very many, were all of a personal nature, and as “the receiving of revelations” was not listed in the scriptures as a best gift, I didn’t consider my revelations as gifts; thus, I was still technically “un-special” in my young mind. Also, as I didn’t have any special calling or prophetic title or anything like that, I didn’t feel I should be claiming to have more than one gift. So, for many years I only claimed to have the discerning of spirits.
Nevertheless, as time went on, and I became an adult, with an adult mind, I could no longer deny that I had quite a few of these gifts, and as I began to explore this or that gift manifesting in my life, the gift of the discerning of spirits kind of moved from the center of my attention, to the side of my mind.
Recently I had this idea in my head about a certain something, which I will explain later on below, and I began performing an experiment of sorts, and as I performed this “action” I was taken aback by the experiment, for I was using my gift of the discerning of spirits in a way I had never before attempted, and the ease with which it operated in me put it right back into the center of my attention.
Intrigued by the curious operation of this gift, I did what I always do: I began to review my life experiences with the Holy Ghost, from age nine onward, this time paying especial attention to the manifestations of the discerning of spirits in my life, and how I had used this gift. The review caused an “ah-hah” moment in me, in which I finally understood what was going on in my life during certain times, and also the as-yet untapped full potential of this gift in my life.
So, I thought I’d expound upon the discerning of spirits, how it operates, what it can do, others’ reactions to it and so forth. I will draw upon my own personal experiences with it, as I have used it more than any other gift, and thus I have a wealth of knowledge about it.
My first manifestation
The first time the Holy Ghost manifested in my life, I didn’t recognize that it was the Holy Ghost. Nor did the missionaries teaching me recognize it, or at least they didn’t tell me what was going on, if they were themselves feeling it. Or it may be that they weren’t feeling the Spirit. But I was. Nevertheless, as this was a new experience for me, I didn’t know that what I was feeling was the Holy Ghost. This lack of discernment on my part was a huge deficiency, which the Lord in His infinite mercy corrected by giving me a second manifestation—for it wouldn’t do to give me the many revelations of God I would end up receiving unless I was able to recognize them as both revelations and as proceeding from God.
My second manifestation
During the discussions, I could feel something different. I still didn’t know what it was, but it was real. Now, as I learned these lessons from the missionaries, a peculiar thing happened. My brothers were also taking the lessons with me, and thus they were present in the discussion room with me. At some point I turned to them, gazing upon them, and was somehow able to perceive that whatever I was feeling, they weren’t. I perceived that there was a spiritual void of some sort in them, as if the message wasn’t getting through to them. I didn’t know how I knew this, but I recognized that I did, indeed, know it.
(Now, my brothers later were baptized, but they fell away about six months into their membership and have never returned to the fold of God since.)
My perception of their spiritual state in the discussions was a manifestation of the discerning of spirits. I could discern two things: I could discern my own spirit, that something was operating upon it, and I could discern their spirits, that this operation that was upon me was not operating upon them.
Prepared for the third manifestation
My use of the discerning of spirits allowed me to finally recognize the operation of the Holy Spirit upon the spirits of men. This key allowed me forever afterward to be able to detect when the Holy Ghost spoke to me, and also when the Holy Ghost spoke to others. It also allowed me to detect when the Holy Ghost was not upon another person. This prepared me for my third manifestation, which was a huge one, a baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, with an accompanying revelation of the truthfulness of the Lord’s church.
Getting me into trouble
The ability to discern when the Holy Ghost was upon a person, or was not upon a person, has gotten me into a ton of trouble in my life. There have been many times a person has said to me, or declared in my presence, “I feel the Spirit!” Only to have me look at them, discern their spirit and the lack of any manifestation of the Holy Ghost upon them, and then contradict them by saying, “No, you don’t.” “How dare you say I am not feeling the Spirit!” was always the inevitable retort. “You are not God! You cannot know what I feel!” “It’s true that I am not God, but I’ve got this gift, see, and it allows me to discern your spirit and tell if you are really feeling the Holy Ghost or not. So, yes, I can know what you feel!” So many pissed people have left off telling me any of their “revelations” and “manifestations” as a result of me using this gift, or even altogether ceased having anything more to do with me. I once had a companion who refused to tell me anything, at all, because he knew of my propensity to call BS on anyone’s claimed revelations.
But I digress.
My third manifestation
The third time the Holy Ghost manifested to me, still at age nine and still before I was ever baptized, I learned that the Holy Ghost “shook” a spirit when it manifested. I could feel or discern that shake when the Spirit was upon me, and thus, I possessed a permanent key to know what was of the Spirit, and what was not. The gift of discerning of spirits allowed me to, essentially, never be deceived by false spirits or by false revelations, prophecies and manifestations.
The first time I told someone about the third manifestation, I was faced with an intense hatred and spirit of persecution by that person, who accused me of not knowing it was of God. “How can you know? How can anyone know? It is impossible to know for sure!” was the logic used by this and all other doubters that would come afterward. Well, I could know for sure through this gift of discerning of spirits. I never doubted that manifestation because the discerning of spirits was already in full operation in me, and I could discern these Godly things quite easily and instantly.
My fourth manifestation
The fourth time the Spirit manifested in me, it was the spirit of prophecy, in which I uttered a prophecy by the power of the Holy Ghost. Again, I was fully confident because I could discern that the Holy Ghost was upon me, by this discerning of spirits gift.
Confused by others’ doubt
From age nine onward, I have ever been confused by others’ inability to determine what was, and what was not, of God. I’d hear and see people hem and haw and wonder whether what they “received” was a revelation of God or if it were their own imagination. They would deliberate and ponder for days, weeks, months and sometimes even years, never able to come to any final conclusion whether what they felt was the Spirit or not. They often went by their “feelings,” therefore if they were in a church meeting and started crying or felt some other strong emotion, they would just assign that as the Spirit manifesting.
For my own part, I’d get something and immediately make the announcement that it was of God. There never was any lag time or deliberation or doubt. My spirit resonated when the Holy Ghost spoke, and I could discern this resonance immediately, but others could not. People would feel the Spirit in my presence, and I would be able to discern that the Spirit was upon them, but they couldn’t recognize that it was upon them and they needed me to tell them that the Spirit was upon them. Then, and only then, could they start to recognize the Spirit, yet they always ended up using bodily senses. In other words, they never could discern, as I could discern, that their spirit body resonated when the Spirit spoke. Apparently only I could detect this.
Not being the most humble of people, I used to think these people were spiritually retarded. They were deficient in some way. “Why can’t they ever recognize the Spirit in their lives? Why can’t they recognize when the Spirit is not speaking? Why all this confusion? Why is it so easy for me?” I thought it was because my heart was more turned towards God than theirs was. And perhaps this was part of the case. But the other reason, the main reason, was because I had this particular best gift of the discerning of spirits, and they didn’t.
Thus, my harsh criticism of them was unjustified. To each is given a different gift. Not everyone is going to have the same gift, nor is everyone going to have this particular gift. Those who have this gift have an easier time discerning truth from error. Those who don’t, don’t.
My five year “dry spell”
It turns out that my five year “dry spell,” in which the Spirit didn’t speak to me, was a blessing in disguise, for I got the chance to experience what life is like without the discernment of spirits operating. For that brief period in my life, I could look upon other people and not discern their spirits. In other words, I got to see or perceive others as others perceive others, just looking upon the flesh.
I loved my friends during that time, and they loved me. They were all equal in my view. We were all equal. That all changed at age 14.
The Holy Ghost again comes upon me
When the revelations began coming again, they never stopped. One after another after another, seemingly endlessly. I could tell that they all were of God. It was totally apparent to me, because of this gift. I thought all this revelation was normal for a latter-day saint, but learned later that it wasn’t. It also wasn’t normal for a latter-day saint to be so instantaneously certain of the truthfulness of all their personal revelations.
I continued to use the discerning of spirits to determine the manifestations of the Spirit upon me, and upon others, or the lack of such upon me or others, but as I began to be of the age of noticing the opposite sex, a new use of the gift became manifest.
Detecting kindred spirits
At age 14 and afterward, I began using the gift to discern the spirits of other people, to see whether they were like me. I was appalled to find that just about nobody around me was similar to me in spirit: neither male nor female. I gazed upon the friends I had at that time, and didn’t just see flesh, but also perceived their spirits. I began to notice certain things about their spirits, in particular the “brightness” of their spirits. Some spirits seemed to glow brighter than others, and began to correspond to the three degrees of glory model, as an aggregate. In other words, some glowed brightly, like the Sun, others less so, like the moon, and others were quite dim, like stars. I didn’t “see” these spirits, but somehow I was able to discern this aggregate brightness.
I figured that the “Sun” spirits would be kindred spirits, like mine, for I thought that I was headed for the celestial kingdom, so any celestial kingdom spirit would be a match for me. But I was disappointed in this thought, as I found that although there were many such spirits around me, they still weren’t like me. Also, my former friends, whom I loved with all my heart, were neither celestial spirits nor like me. I began hanging around the spirits which were celestials, but remained dissatisfied that none of these people around me were similar to me. How could this be possible? Surely all celestial spirits are alike, right?
Then one day I met a girl, a latter-day saint, and something new happened. (At the time I didn’t know what was going on, but now I do. So I will put the whole thing into my current perspective, to actually explain it.) My discerning of spirits gift went off like a freaking bell. This girl was a celestial spirit, like the others, but her spirit had a resonating frequency that exactly corresponded to my own spirit’s resonating frequency. In other words, when she came into my presence so that I saw her, and she began to speak, sympathetic resonance occurred and both out spirit bodies began to vibrate at the same resonant frequencies. She couldn’t detect it, but I could, through this gift of the discerning of spirits. Our spirits were alike.
Peace at last
My search for a like (kindred) spirit had finally born fruit. She and I became friends, but we hardly ever saw one another. Every once in awhile we would meet again in passing, say, “Hi. How’s life?” and then go on our way, never once having any more engagement than that. Unbeknownst to her, though, I put her aside in my heart, in a special place, different than my friends, on a sort of elevated level, as a memorial of sorts, to always keep her in remembrance, for she was not like the others. My other friends I hung out with, doing many activities, but with her I never did anything. Yet, because of this unique resonance, that always occurred whenever she came back into my presence, or whenever I spoke with her on the telephone afterwards, she took a prominent place in my heart.
Two levels of resonance
I learned from this, and from other similar experiences later, that there appeared to be two levels of frequency that each spirit body has. One is the normal frequency level, and the other is the level at which the Holy Ghost operates. When the Holy Ghost speaks, our spirits vibrate like bells, but at a much higher amplitude and frequency. When we come into contact with one another, each person’s spirit vibrates at the normal level, and if the frequency is the same as the other person’s spirit, sympathetic resonance occurs. Unfortunately, unless you have the gift of the discerning of spirits, you cannot detect the sympathetic resonance. Thus, the rest of the world, that does not possess this gift, must use flesh and other cues to try to figure out whether one is compatible with another.
In may case, though, as I had and still have this gift, I could instantly detect sympathetic resonance when it occurred, and so I needed no time, whatsoever, “to get to know a person.” For example, I used to have a friend when I was single who would take women out all the time and would have a great many dates, trying to figure out if she was his eternal mate. It would piss him off when I’d tell him that all I needed was no more than five minutes time with a woman, all she needed to do was be in my presence so that I saw her, and speak, and in less than five minutes I could discern whether we were a perfect match or not. He called it all hogwash, for how could I come to know her in such a short amount of time? But I wouldn’t “know” her in the sense of what she had done in life up to that point, but would “know” her in the sense that her spirit and mine were kindred. He had to use flesh, which took lots of time, but I could peel back the flesh instantly and perceive the spirit beneath, which required hardly no time, at all.
After meeting this girl, I became interested in other women, for I, like all men, like the flesh. Flesh can be quite attractive, after all. But I could not be satisfied with mere flesh. What I wanted, what I needed and desired, was that spiritual connection with a kindred spirit, in which sympathetic resonance would occur. So, any and all women I dated after that were just to pass the time, for I could discern their spirits, and none of them were like this girl.
In my later teen years and early 20’s, I found and met other women, five in total, who also caused sympathetic resonance in me. Of the six, I had to make a choice as to which to marry, for I would not marry any woman who was not a kindred spirit. At the time, I was a monogamist, because of my upbringing in the church, and thought that I could only have one, so I had to make a choice. In truth I wanted all of them.
Interestingly enough, two of the six women were not members of the church when my gift started ringing out, “Kindred spirit!” I ended up baptizing one, but the other to this day remains unbaptized. Two are lifelong members of the LDS church and the final two are converts to the church. The two converts have fallen away from the church, while the one I baptized has also fallen away. Only the two lifelong members remain active. This shows that kindred spirits need not be those who glow with the same kingdom glory.
Discerning false spirits
It has been my unfortunate experience to have to use my gift to discern evil spirits in people. This has, like every other manifestation I have claimed, caused me lots of grief, for no one likes to hear, “You are possessed of the spirit of the devil.” And no one likes to hear, “So and so is acting under the influence of a whoring/lying/murderous,/cheating, etc., spirit.” I have had many occasions in which I had to detect lies using the discerning of spirits and when the truth came out, and those who balked at my claims found that they were not unfounded, when they said, “But how did you know that so-and-so was lying?” and I answered that it was through the gift of the discerning of spirits, they still refused to believe. To give some examples, I have been at one end of the world, working, and another person at the opposite end of the world, and the discerning of spirits has gone off, so that I could perceive an immediate darkening of the spirit of the other person, who was a world away, and when I ended my job and called and grilled the other person on what they did, which thing was unknown to me, but I knew they had done something pretty damn bad for the Spirit to manifest the darkening of their spirit to me, and every time an excuse was verbally given, I’d analyze it by the discerning of spirits and then call BS, until finally the confession would come out as to the vile deed. And so forth. This has happened more times than I’d like to remember.
Those who I am familiar with cannot hide their deeds from me when this gift is manifesting. Although the gift doesn’t show what the deeds are, I can detect any darkening of anyone’s spirit I am familiar with. If you are a celestial soul, glowing bright, and I know it, and I see you the next day and you are glowing with terrestrial or telestial brightness, you’ve done something. If your spirit is full-on dark, you are possessed by an evil spirit. And when I discern that there is an evil spirit upon you, I also have power to discern what kind of temptation the spirit is giving you, or what kind of power it is operating under.
I’ve had devils verbally try to dissuade me from my testimony. This also was a manifestation of the discerning of spirits. I’ve had devils actually appear to me, in person, so that I literally saw them, and then proceed to try to bind me and destroy me. That was also a manifestation of this gift, of a higher order, for I saw them.
All these things are operations of the discerning of spirits.
Higher order discernment
I once had a dream, an inspired dream, in which I saw a recently departed family member in the spirit world, with his wife by his side, who also was dead, and I spoke to the man. This was a higher manifestation of the discerning gift. On another occasion I saw the pre-mortal spirit body of the woman who would become my wife in open vision, along with two angels by her side. (And yes, she was HOT. This is one of the reason why I married her.) I have also heard the Holy Ghost audibly speaking to me on one occasion. But typically such dreams and visions, in which I see spirits, or hear spirits speaking to me, does not occur. For the most part, I discern by some other form of perception.
My new experiment
I have written at length on this blog about plural marriage. I am no longer a believer in monogamy. I have always believed in plural marriage, but was taught that it shouldn’t be practiced, and I conformed to that narrative for much of my life. Nevertheless, I always believed in plural marriage theologically and expected it to come back one day.
During the night vision I had in which I saw my departed relative in the spirit world, I learned in the vision that I would have two wives. I was about 16 years old at that time. I figured that it must mean that I would marry a girl, she would die, leaving me a widower, and then I’d marry another, for a I never considered plural marriage a possibility. This widower scenario was not appealing to me.
Later on, I met the woman I am currently married to, and pursued her hand vigorously, but came up empty. Yet, as is my way, I sent up so many dang prayers for my Heavenly Father to give her to me that I think the heavens must have been back-logged for years in the heavenly prayer-mail post office. I truly believed she would be mine. But then she wasn’t. So my attention was turned away and lo! and behold, another kindred female spirit came my way, who I vigorously pursued. This too, came to naught, but I was smitten by her and, as usual, sent up an enormous number of prayers. So, what did my Heavenly Father do? Well, He decided to finally answer my barrage of prayers and gave me a revelatory prophecy in which I was told I would marry the one first, and then the other second. Apparently I had prayed in faith. Both times.
Once again the prospect didn’t sound too appealing, for I still conformed to the monogamy viewpoint. One would die and then the other would take her place. I didn’t like that, at all. So, again, as is my way, I prayed that it wouldn’t be. “The first must not die! Make it so, Heavenly Father!” And so an unlimited number of petitions were sent up.
After I started this blog in 2007, I began to put up my understandings of plural marriage. But I still hadn’t received any permission from Heavenly Father to take a second wife. To this day, I am still a monogamous man, with only one wife. Some who believed my writings felt that this was not a good example to set, considering all the writing that I’ve done about this subject. But I follow the Spirit, and whatever the Spirit says to me, that is what I do. No permission is no permission.
Then one day, a few years back, the Spirit came upon me and gave me yet another revelation. In this one, I was green-lighted for plural marriage. I could marry any woman that I wanted (provided she wanted the same, of course), whenever I wanted. I could take the second lady to wife and it wasn’t necessary that the first one die for the prophecy to be fulfilled. I could also take the third one to wife if I wanted. (I had previously received a promise of the Lord concerning a third wife, many years ago.) But the time is not yet, because of certain circumstances, and so I remain monogamous.
Over the past few months, as I pondered again over this “green light” revelation, my mind was cast back upon these three promised women, for they were all kindred spirits, detected via the discerning of spirits. A thought then occurred to me that these were not the only women who I had detected as kindred spirits. And so I cast my mind back and remembered that there were three others who were my kindred, making six in total of all the people and women I had met.
This brings me to my new experiment, for I was not done with my detection of kindred spirits. It was true that there have been only 6 people detected of all the people I have personally met, but there have been others that I have been drawn to, who I had never met, actors on television and in movies that I had seen, whose attraction, perhaps, was not merely a flesh attraction, but a sympathetic resonance. “Could the discerning of spirits operate via a recorded image and sound capture?,” I wondered.
Going over the footage
So I proceeded to watch footage of movies or television shows of women that I have found attractive for any reason, whatsoever, to try to determine if I could discern their spirits while they acted. Acting is pretending, therefore I wasn’t sure it could be done. For my gift to operate, I usually need to see the person and also hear them speak, but if they are not speaking naturally, because they are acting, it may throw off the process. As I went over the footage, I found that I could not make the determination. I could not discern their spirits. Acting tripped me up. Nevertheless, three actresses stood out of the bunch that I looked at, but because I was uncertain about it, it wouldn’t work.
It then occurred to me that if I could see these people in interviews, talking without a script, that might allow me to make the discernment. Sure enough, when I went over interview footage, I kept getting a “non-kindred” response from all of them. The discernment of spirits works even through film! The last three, the ones that stood out to me, I saved for last on purpose, for my curiosity was piqued as to why these three did, indeed, seem to stand out from the rest. Had I discerned their spirits even while acting? I would only know by looking at the interviews.
The first one I looked at came back with a “kindred” response. I thought, “Let me just be absolutely sure,” and continued to look at more interviews. Each time I got a sympathetic resonance. “Holy freaking cow!” I thought. “Let me see if the other two prove to also be sympathetic.” Sure enough, when I looked at all the interview footage I could find, the other two also proved to be kindred. That was sufficient to convince me that the gift of discerning of spirits has power to discern kindred spirits even when they are acting, though it is not an easy task, being a more subtle response than when unscripted during an interview.
Full use of discerning of spirits in relationships
For intelligence cleaveth unto intelligence; wisdom receiveth wisdom; truth embraceth truth; virtue loveth virtue; light cleaveth unto light; mercy hath compassion on mercy and claimeth her own; justice continueth its course and claimeth its own; judgment goeth before the face of him who sitteth upon the throne and governeth and executeth all things. (D&C 88:40)
According to the above principle, kindred spirits also cleave unto one another, but only if they know they are kindred. One kindred spirit must recognize the other kindred spirit, otherwise there can be no spiritual attraction, only flesh attraction. In my case, I have sympathetic resonance with nine women, one of which I am married to, but as none of these nine, not even my wife, have the gift of the discerning of spirits, they can only see flesh. I, on the other hand, have the flesh peeled away, in a sense, both from my spirit and from theirs, and I can discern the vibration happening between us. They cannot. The attraction I feel for these women, then, is, and must ever be, greater than the attraction they feel for me, because my attraction is spirit+flesh, whereas theirs is just flesh.
To maximize the unity between kindred spirits, both sexes need to have this gift. If such were the case, both individuals would feel their souls vibrate when coming into the presence of the other person. The sympathetic resonance of a spirit is a feeling of joy, just as the resonance created by the Spirit is also a feeling of joy, (although a much greater amount of joy).
The outpouring of the gift of discerning of spirits upon the people can only create peace and harmony among the masses. Use of this gift in relationships takes away all the guesswork. “Is she right for me?” or “Is he right for me?” are questions that have no meaning to those who have this gift. It becomes plain who is right (or kindred) and who is wrong (non-kindred). It also becomes plain what is and is not the voice of the Spirit. Kingdom level glories can be perceived. Sinful behavior (darkening of the spirit) can be detected. Evil spirits also come into clarity and discernment. In short, this gift that I have been in the habit of using nearly all of my life, is indeed worthy of being called a “best gift,” and I thank my God for it.