An Introduction to the Gifts of the Spirit

Premortality

I believe, as a general rule, the scriptures reveal to mankind the laws of the Celestial world. The purpose for doing so is to prepare as many of the sons and daughters of God as possible for entrance into the Celestial Kingdom of God. In our pre-mortal state we lived in the presence of God, but at some point we must have relocated to spirit earth to exercise our agency and to participate in the “war in heaven”. In Fathers presence sin was not possible, thus the war in heaven must have taken place elsewhere, and we know that the earth was created spiritually before being made temporally, so it is reasonable to opinionate that is where we lived while en route to the world we now live on.

Parley P. Pratt wrote:

In order to multiply organized bodies, composed of spiritual element, worlds and mansions composed of spiritual element would be necessary as a home, adapted to their existence and enjoyment. As these spiritual bodies increased in numbers, other spiritual worlds would be necessary, on which to transplant them. Key to the Science of Theology, P. 62.

As in this world, there mankind exhibited varying degrees of faith and good works. Jesus Christ was the central figure there, and to our knowledge, there was no veil of forgetfulness, as there is here. We walked by sight there, whereas we walk by faith here, but we had our agency to choose good or evil, and certainly we must have fallen short of keeping all the laws. That being the case, repentance there, as here, was necessary. Were their souls who initially followed satan, but were persuaded by the followers of Christ to “repent”?[1] Certainly, this must have been the case. If so, then we would have relied on the future Atonement of Christ to repent there, as we do here.

In the premortal world, our progress towards perfection (following Christ), or lack of it, follows us into mortality. Our receptiveness to the Holy Ghost and the Gifts of the Spirit appear to be directly related to our premortal progress.

Gifts of the Spirit

With this setting in mind, let’s turn our attention to the Gifts of the Spirit that are available to all those who seek after them. I would think that the ultimate purpose of the gifts of the Spirit is to help us become “perfect”. Isn’t that the purpose of all that we do?

Some church members assume that these gifts are available to church leaders and none else. This is false. The church has no such doctrine. In fact, the doctrine of the church is exactly the opposite. We are taught:

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;

For verily I say unto you, they are given for the benefit of those who love me and keep all my commandments, and him that seeketh so to do; that all may be benefited that seek or that ask of me, that ask and not for a sign that they may consume it upon their lusts.

And again, verily I say unto you, I would that ye should always remember, and always retain in your minds what those gifts are, that are given unto the church.

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 46:8 – 12

With these verses before our eyes let’s consider a few things:

What is at least one reason the Lord makes these Gifts available to us? “…that ye may not be deceived…

How can we obtain these Gifts?“…seek ye earnestly…”

Which Gifts should we seek? “…the best Gifts…

What qualifies us to receive them? ”… they are given for the benefit of those who love me and keep all my commandments, and him that seeketh so to do…

Who are the Gifts given to? “…every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God…

How should I use my gift? “…that all may be profited thereby…

To close, I would like to focus on one important aspect of receiving the Gifts of the Spirit—sincerity, nothing more is needed. Remember the phrase about how well we need to keep the commandments— “and him that seeketh so to do”. I’m sure glad this phrase is included. It gives me eligibility; it allows anyone who is sincere to receive these sacred manifestations of the Spirit.

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[1] Among the two thirds who remained, it is highly probable that there were many who were not valiant in the war, but whose sins were of such a nature that they could be forgiven through faith in the future sufferings of the Only Begotten of the Father, and through their sincere repentance and reformation. Orson Pratt, The Seer, vol. no4.,pp. 54-55.

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