GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT
The new members of the Church in Ohio were excited that the original Church of Jesus Christ had been restored and they knew that this meant the gifts of the Spirit would be present, but they didn’t really know what those gifts would look like. They pulled the practices of their own former religions into this new context and confusion resulted. As a consequence, Doctrine and Covenants Section 46 was revealed for clarification.
Wherefore, beware lest ye are deceived; and that ye may not be deceived ye earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given;
Today we can also be confused about gifts of the Spirit, but the scripture above gives a great litmus test: If it blesses others, it is probably a valid gift. Each of us has our own gifts and we must dare to learn to exercise them until they are strong and fully developed so that we also may bless others.
For all have not every given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God.
Marvin J. Ashton share a huge list of personal gifts of the Spirit that we might not recognize in his October 1987 GeneralConference. Read it! You will see that their are hundreds of gifts of the Spirit. If it profits others, if it brings them closer to Christ, it is a gift from God.
RECORDING HUGS FROM HEAVEN
Section 47 is a specific revelation to a specific person (John Whitmer) about keeping a specific record (the Church’s history). So why was it important enough to be canonized? There must be a relevance to us as individuals, and there is. Record-keeping is important not only on a Church-wide level, but also on an individual and family level. Most of us will have a moment or two in our lives when we have questions or discouragement—moments that try our faith. If we have kept a record of our sacred experiences, we can refer back to them and refresh our testimonies; we can remember why we believe.
To that end, I share this personal spiritual experience prompt compiled from a list by Truman G. Madsen, altered by my own former stake president Kent R. Wallis (check out his art online or in many temples), and capped off by a couple of my own ideas. I used this as a question-and-answer writing tool for recording my own spiritual experiences in my journal. You may want to do the same. Or make your own list. I like to call them "hugs from Heaven," especially in this year when we are starved of human hugs.
1. Have you ever been lifted beyond yourself in prayer to be inspired in what to say or ask for?
2. Have you ever received a confirmation back immediately, letting you know the conversation is two-way?
3. Has the warmth of the Spirit brought tears to your eyes when you have partaken of the sacrament and contemplated the Savior’s gift?
4. Have you ever been given a priesthood blessing of any type and felt yourself being revealed? Were things expressed that only you and the Lord could have known?
5. Have you ever felt the mantle of responsibility settle upon you when you were set apart to a calling?
6. Have you been an instrument in the Lord’s hands, surprised by what you said?
7. Have you ever been compelled by the Spirit to bear your testimony when you were not planning to?
8. Have you taught beyond what you knew to be your own ability?
9. Has a lesson or talk ever seemed tailor-made for you and your present situation?
10. Have you ever been taught by the Spirit while you were teaching others, gaining understanding of concepts that were not clear to you before?
11. Have you felt “pure intelligence” flow into you, coming up with great ideas that were not yours?
12. Have you ever instantly recognized someone that you had not met before, realizing that you are kindred spirits and knew each other in the pre-existence?
13. Have you ever known something was going to happen before it did, such as being called to a certain position?
14. Has the music in a meeting ever spoken to you in a heavenly way, perhaps moving you to tears?
15. Have you ever had a stricken conscience, when, regardless of consequence to yourself, you were compelled to confess or to forgive or to set something right?
16. Have you ever felt a confirmation that a place you are visiting is really a sacred place?
17. Have you ever been moved to be suddenly more compassionate, more forgiving, more accepting of others, even to the point of thinking generously of other drivers on the road, for example?
18. Have you felt the desire to not just imitate the Lord, but to be one with Him?
19. Have you ever had an experience that you felt was too sacred to share?
20. Have you ever recognized a light shining in the countenance of a righteous person?
21. Have you ever looked in the mirror and seen a change in your own countenance?
22. Have you had the thrill of making a visit or keeping an appointment that you didn’t want to, and leaving with a wonderful feeling that you did some good?
23. Have you ever had the desire to take someone else’s trials upon you and relieve them of their burden?
24. Have you ever received a sustaining witness to the call of another, such as a general authority or a bishop or Relief Society president?
25. Have you ever felt the love God has for you?
26. Have you ever been able to feel the love that God feels for someone else?
27. Have you ever been surprised to realize that you suddenly know exactly what to do to help someone else?
28. Have you ever felt a scripture leap off the page at you, having your understanding enlightened in a different way, or having an application to your personal life made apparent?