Gifts of the Spirit
Gifts are given to bless all of God’s children and are a means to avoid deception. Men and women are commanded to not only seek gifts, but to seek earnestly the best gifts (see T&C 32:4–5). Gifts of the spirit are not coincident with, nor dependent upon, priesthood. Anyone — man or woman, young or old, with or without priesthood — can have gifts of the Spirit (see T&C 32:4–7). Paul’s instruction to the saints at Corinth suggested they all (men, women, and children) should seek for the best gifts (see 1 Corinthians 1:54–60). The great high priest for whom the Holy Priesthood after the Order of the Son of God was renamed did not perform miracles through his priesthood. Like every other person, he performed miracles through his faith.1 His faith to perform miracles preceded his ordination to the priesthood (see Genesis 7:18). Because he exhibited great faith, he was subsequently ordained (see Genesis 7:18). Before his ordination, he worked miracles. This means, just as T&C 32:4–7 confirms, that gifts of the spirit are not limited to men who hold the priesthood. Any person of any age or sex can work miracles through faith. The result of this, of course, is that women, as well as men, can prophesy, heal the sick, speak in tongues, have visions and inspired dreams, and other remarkable works through the spirit.2 These great gifts of the spirit are always acquired in exactly the same way in every generation when they appear, by everyone who acquires them. It is always through the exercise of the person’s faith. The way people exercise their faith is always by conforming their outward actions to their innermost true beliefs, even when the actions taken are difficult — “even when the Lord asks of you something you are very reluctant to place upon the altar; even when everyone will hate you for what it is you do.”3 There are “gifts” given (or acquired) by people which are based on real sensitivities or talents. They exist as part of the talents brought into this life. Some people have the talent to sing, compose music, or create art. There are those who have developed spiritual gifts. There are many kinds of gifts, but they all come from God (see Moroni 10:3). Possession of a gift, however, does not mean a person will use that gift in conformity with God’s will or plan. If a person does not seek to follow the Lord’s will, they can be misled and use gifts for improper ends. People who fail to remain obedient (who begin to use their gifts to gratify their pride or to achieve their ambitions) can drift away from the light and take others with them. Just because a person possesses a gift does not mean they live their lives in conformity to truth. Nor does it mean they will not mislead. Proper use of a gift should show gratitude to — and promote faith in — God. There are aids to faith that can help someone who is weak to still act in faith — modalities that focus thought, bolster confidence, and assist in believing the Lord can heal and can aid in the process. In the end, it is the authority of God and faith in Him that allows good things to follow. It comes from Him. If an act helps focus thought and confidence in Him, then the act is worthwhile. The problems creep in when the modality — a particular mode of treatment or handling, e.g., a holistic healing or gift — is regarded as an independent authority apart from God. As soon as a person begins to view God as uninvolved or that they can control the outcome independent of God’s will, there is an opening for evil or deception. Gifts were not intended to produce a monetary profit and should not be practiced for money (see Acts 5:4). Gifts belong to the body of believers and should be used to promote faith in God.4
“Many things can be faked, but you cannot fake spiritual power. People pretend to espouse beliefs and/or traits all the time which do not belong to them. But power in the spirit cannot be a mere pretense. Gifts of the spirit cannot be feigned. New and inventive ways to describe what is passed off as gifts of the spirit cannot substitute for the absence of the traditional gifts named in scripture. Some talents are commonly possessed by mankind, whether they have ever been converted or not. Calling such common talents a ‘gift of the spirit’ may be a humble acknowledgment of the fact all things come from God, but such things are not the gifts of the spirit which are identified in scripture. The scriptures are unequivocal in telling us healing, prophecy, ministering angels, speaking in tongues, etc., are the hallmark gifts of the spirit. If you have had such a witness and such an experience, you do not need to pretend something is a proof of the power of godliness when it is not. You will experience the real thing. And when you do, there will be no need for pretending something else is the power of godliness which Christ promised He was returning to the earth. The seventh Article of Faith says : We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth. This specific statement of belief, composed by the founding Prophet of the Dispensation, does not say we believe in administration, patience, love, listening, tolerating, or other merely human virtues possessed in common with all mankind, are going to be called the gifts of the spirit. The gifts of the spirit have something unusual about them and are based upon power from God. There is no need, if you have received a witness from the spirit, to pretend any longer a mere human virtue is evidence of God’s power in your life. You can and will actually find God bestowing upon you the power of prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, tongues, and interpretation of tongues, etc.”5
1 See 1835 D&C 3:2–3; Preserving the Restoration, 164–165; “The Holy Order,” Oct. 29, 2017, 6,10, paper.
2 “Organize Yourselves,” Sept. 19, 2016, blog post.
3 Essays : Three Degrees, “The Mission of Elijah Reconsidered,” 88.
4 “Gifts come from God,” June 2, 2010, blog post.
5 Second Comforter, 139–140.