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Gifts of the Spirit.


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I realize that some/all of the gifts of the Spirit are sacred events , and it may be that I have not been paying attention, but there does not seem to be an emphasis on obtaining these gifts for oneself. There are also signs that follow those that believe but we avoid them because other groups have strongly adopted them. in the early days of the church there was a bit of chaos with visions and prophecies galore  so I see the tendency to be more circumspect. 

   That said, have we de-emphasized the gifts too much ?

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4 hours ago, blackstrap said:

I realize that some/all of the gifts of the Spirit are sacred events , and it may be that I have not been paying attention, but there does not seem to be an emphasis on obtaining these gifts for oneself. There are also signs that follow those that believe but we avoid them because other groups have strongly adopted them. in the early days of the church there was a bit of chaos with visions and prophecies galore  so I see the tendency to be more circumspect. 

   That said, have we de-emphasized the gifts too much ?

I'm not sure that they are de-emphasized, but perhaps we don't recognize them for what they are when we encounter them.  As taken from our article of faith, "We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth".   I know we regularly talk about (and many have had experiences with) prophecy, revelation, visions, healing.  We get talks on revelation on a regular basis, and many of us have experiences with receiving revelation for our callings and families.  We don't talk about the gift of tongues and interpretation of tongues that much (except perhaps on missionary experiences).   So I agree with you on that one.

Edited by InCognitus
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In my youth there was a gentleman in town that was said to have the gift of healing. Also in a neighboring town a man also had this gift and , in conversation , said he  had to be very sure that the healing was God's will because if he pronounced a healing , it would always happen. I have not heard of such a person for the last 60 years. Maybe that is because of medical advancements now .  

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Yes. Our conservative desire to be exceptional but otherwise "normal" people hits us in many ways, we are getting outshined by Charismatic Protestants whose forefathers a century ago disbelieved in spiritual gifts, and with a semi-decent track record of success. I think we should be using blessings and sacred oil left and right, LDS and Non-LDS. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I think we should do more unconventional divination methods, or be more expert in the methods employed, practice recording and interpreting dreams, etc.

Edited by Pyreaux
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15 hours ago, blackstrap said:

I realize that some/all of the gifts of the Spirit are sacred events , and it may be that I have not been paying attention, but there does not seem to be an emphasis on obtaining these gifts for oneself. There are also signs that follow those that believe but we avoid them because other groups have strongly adopted them. in the early days of the church there was a bit of chaos with visions and prophecies galore  so I see the tendency to be more circumspect. 

   That said, have we de-emphasized the gifts too much ?

I think our times and circumstances (as when Christ often instructed people not to publish the miracles) warrant some subtlety as directed by the Spirit. They are to facilitate individual conversion, and so their type and form of expression can differ between "languages" (using that term broadly to include cultures, norms, times and circumstances). 

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17 hours ago, blackstrap said:

I realize that some/all of the gifts of the Spirit are sacred events , and it may be that I have not been paying attention, but there does not seem to be an emphasis on obtaining these gifts for oneself. There are also signs that follow those that believe but we avoid them because other groups have strongly adopted them. in the early days of the church there was a bit of chaos with visions and prophecies galore  so I see the tendency to be more circumspect. 

   That said, have we de-emphasized the gifts too much ?

I think that when the gifts of the spirit are absent, or are controversial, or are otherwise an uncomfortable topic, it is a symptom that the paradigm is incomplete, and/or has room for improvement.

12 hours ago, blackstrap said:

In my youth there was a gentleman in town that was said to have the gift of healing. Also in a neighboring town a man also had this gift and , in conversation , said he  had to be very sure that the healing was God's will because if he pronounced a healing , it would always happen. I have not heard of such a person for the last 60 years. Maybe that is because of medical advancements now .  

Ime in this sort of area, one cannot do what one does not believe to be possible.  And imo the institution does not encourage belief in power from God except through the approved lines of authority.  So members get the (imo mistaken) impression that their access to power from God is regulated by how much priesthood they have and/or what their church calling is.

Imo it's a paradigm that prioritizes institutional stability, but arguably constrains individual growth and development.

Edited by manol
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19 hours ago, blackstrap said:

I realize that some/all of the gifts of the Spirit are sacred events , and it may be that I have not been paying attention, but there does not seem to be an emphasis on obtaining these gifts for oneself.

There are also signs that follow those that believe but we avoid them because other groups have strongly adopted them. in the early days of the church there was a bit of chaos with visions and prophecies galore  so I see the tendency to be more circumspect. 

   That said, have we de-emphasized the gifts too much ?

I don't think we've de-emphasized the gifts at all.

It may be a case of not paying enough attention. But then again, we don't necessarily talk about instances of spiritual gifts that we experience or witness. I have experienced a good number of spiritual events in my life -- so much so that I am hard-pressed to explain them away as anything other than the result of the Spirit of God working strongly in my life. But I don't chatter about them to every person I meet, nor every member of the Church. I tend to keep them close except when the Spirit directs otherwise. If you hang around here long enough, you will read some of our board members describe events involving spiritual gifts they have received.

As to the church de-emphasizing them, perhaps you haven't been paying attention to General Conference as much as you think. At our last priesthood meeting, I led the discussion, the GC talk I covered was Elder Stevenson's talk "Gifts of the Spirit" from October 2023 conference, in which he admonished the saints to seek the best gifts. My last sacrament meeting talk (in November) the topic was "Hear Him", and covered the need to seek the guidance of the Spirit. 

President Nelson has mentioned the topic of that important spiritual gift called personal revelation on a number of occasions since the Lord called him to lead His church, and in four instances, three in General Conference and once in the Liahona, he has gone into some detail about the necessity and the importance of being led by the Lord through personal revelation. He has also delved into what is needed in order to make yourself ready to receive this kind of guidance. If you do a search of general conference talks that go into this topic, you will find a long list.

Healing of the sick? Gift of tongues? Having a witness of the truthfulness of the Church -- or of the Book of Mormon? These things happen every day, but we don't necessarily hear of them due to the fact that we are not in one of those churches where the megachurch pastor calls sick people up to the stage to do a dramatic "healing" in front of thousands. Jesus was the exemplar of keeping it low-key and unboastful. It is documented that on a number of occasions when he healed, he instructed the healed to keep quiet about it. John said that he did a lot of such things that are simply not recorded. And I'm pretty sure that all kinds of such things are happening around us, but we are not usually in a position to witness them -- unless we're personally involved. 

 

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8 hours ago, Pyreaux said:

Yes. Our conservative desire to be exceptional but otherwise "normal" people hits us in many ways, we are getting outshined by Charismatic Protestants whose forefathers a century ago disbelieved in spiritual gifts, and with a semi-decent track record of success. I think we should be using blessings and sacred oil left and right, LDS and Non-LDS. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I think we should do more unconventional divination methods, or be more expert in the methods employed, practice recording and interpreting dreams, etc.

If nothing else, it would make testimony stories more interesting.  

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1 hour ago, pogi said:

If nothing else, it would make testimony stories more interesting.  

It does already when we get an unshy dreamer in sacrament meetings and class, we try to rein in the weird because it can be a little cringe. Just because I don't think Jesus was a ginger or blonde doesn't mean "dream"-Jesus that said something profound wasn't really him. 

"La Ola Es Mia. The Wave Is Mine"

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9 hours ago, Pyreaux said:

It does already when we get an unshy dreamer in sacrament meetings and class, we try to rein in the weird because it can be a little cringe. Just because I don't think Jesus was a ginger or blonde doesn't mean "dream"-Jesus that said something profound wasn't really him. 

"La Ola Es Mia. The Wave Is Mine"

Heavy, dude!, like wow, man! I mean this dude, he's right on, dude!

And waves man, they're like, what goes around comes around, like dig?

I mean like sure the dude was trippin' but that's some heavy stuff!

 

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It is a similar problem to the early Church in ancient days. Many of the church’s detractors had no problem with the miracles of Jesus or the apostles. They just thought they had some form of numina or magic while the Church wanted to emphasize that this was different. This power came from a cosmic God. Many of the churches at the time chose to distance themselves from magic and gifts of that sort to avoid looking like they some kind of magical practitioner. If someone in one of our meetings experienced glossolalia what would the reaction of the members be?

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On 12/17/2023 at 3:07 PM, pogi said:

If nothing else, it would make testimony stories more interesting.  

Come to my ward. Nearly every fast testimony meeting we have either a miracle of some lost inanimate object being found after desperate prayer or car crashes avoided because they paid a full tithe. We have had quite a few tithing blessing being shared. Being a completely six figure earning ward it is a miracle no one attributes their ability to pay a full tithe when after expenses they have more disposable income left over than some people make in several months work. They issue irrigation boots on fast Sunday lol. 

We have had some good ones that were not these wild miracles just plain old faithful people being blessed or at least they believe so. No drama or bs embellishments. Those are the best ones even though I don’t believe in miracles myself. I’m glad it works for them. 

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13 hours ago, Diamondhands69 said:

Come to my ward. Nearly every fast testimony meeting we have either a miracle of some lost inanimate object being found after desperate prayer or car crashes avoided because they paid a full tithe. We have had quite a few tithing blessing being shared. Being a completely six figure earning ward it is a miracle no one attributes their ability to pay a full tithe when after expenses they have more disposable income left over than some people make in several months work. They issue irrigation boots on fast Sunday lol. 

We have had some good ones that were not these wild miracles just plain old faithful people being blessed or at least they believe so. No drama or bs embellishments. Those are the best ones even though I don’t believe in miracles myself. I’m glad it works for them. 

Well at least you seem entertained by attending church.

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13 hours ago, Diamondhands69 said:

Yea at least on fast testimony meeting. Elders quorum has been interesting with the high priests added back in. They dominate all the convo. Everyone else is engrossed in whatever is on their phone. 

Yeah. Those kids should be where they belong in primary.

Maybe even teaching for the smart ones.

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This isn’t meant in any way as a critique of anything anyone has written in the thread and may not even be a response to it in particular, really, it’s just that this thread caused me to think of these scriptures and other things (for whatever they're worth—“Leave us alone with your non sequiturs, Ken!” :angry: ;) :D)  At any rate, these are few things that come to mind—to my mind, anyway—when it comes to Gifts of the Spirit: 

One is I Kings 19:9-12 (this is from the New International Version):

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… And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.

 

 

Another is Alma 37:6-7 (emphasis mine):

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6 Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.

7 And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls.

 

Another is Doctrine and Covenants 64:33:

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33 Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.

Another is what the Lord told Oliver Cowdery when Oliver was questioning the witness(es) he had received of the truthfulness of the work in Doctrine and Covenants 6:22-23:

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Verily, verily, I say unto you, if you desire a further witness, cast your mind upon the night that you cried unto me in your heart, that you might know concerning the truth of these things. Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?

And it's possible, I think, to receive a gift of the Spirit (or a manifestation of a gift of the Spirit) and not even know it.  Consider what the Savior said in 3 Nephi 9:20 (emphasis mine):

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20 And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost, even as the Lamanites, because of their faith in me at the time of their conversion, were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not.

And while the Lord commands us to seek spiritual gifts earnestly, in Doctrine and Covenants 46, He adds a caution:

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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;

9 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.

 

In the same spirit of that caution, I think, President (then-Elder) Dallin H. Oaks gave an address, "Our Strengths Can Become Our Downfall."  After mentioning the various ways in which Satan attacks us through our weaknesses, then, he said:

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... [O]ur weaknesses are not the only areas where we are vulnerable. Satan can also attack us where we think we are strong—in the very areas where we are proud of our strengths. He will approach us through the greatest talents and spiritual gifts we possess. If we are not wary, Satan can cause our spiritual downfall by corrupting us through our strengths as well as by exploiting our weaknesses.

The entire address is worth a read: https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/dallin-h-oaks/strengths-can-become-downfall/

Perhaps I am too timid when it comes to having more direct and more frequent interaction with the Holy Spirit. Perhaps, as Elder Jeffrey R. Holland says, I am one of the people who, rather than “com[ing] boldly to the throne of grace” (Hebrews 4:16), approaches God too obliquely. Perhaps I am the very personification of the old saw that asks, “If you’re not as close to God today as you were yesterday, who moved?” And it's hackneyed, and trite, and clichéd, but, even for all of that, still, I like the old piece of prose about footprints in the sand, where the person, when he or she sees only one set of footprints, realizes that's when the Savior was carrying him or her.

And for all of the times when I have felt, like Joseph Smith, to cry out, “Oh, God! Where art Thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth Thy hiding place?” (Doctrine and Covenants 121:1), it is, perhaps, because of those very moments that I treasure the times—as small, as insignificant, and as infrequent as they may seem sometimes, but unmistakable and undeniable, nonetheless (to my mind and heart, anyway)—that God has spoken absolute, pure, unadulterated, undiluted peace to my very soul.

For what any of this may be worth.  Others' mileage may vary, of course.

Edited by Kenngo1969
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10 hours ago, Diamondhands69 said:

Which kids? The old ones or the young ones?

Odd that people would be on their phones and complaining a out a discussion in which they refuse to participate.

They would be more comfortable at home, but perhaps mommie makes them come.

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6 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

Odd that people would be on their phones and complaining a out a discussion in which they refuse to participate.

They would be more comfortable at home, but perhaps mommie makes them come.

Uhhh they are not complaining. They are not interested in engaging with the five high priests who spend the entire meeting patting themselves on the back for all their ministerial deeds the last week or injecting personal soliloquy’s every two minutes. 

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On 12/22/2023 at 5:09 AM, Diamondhands69 said:

We have had some good ones that were not these wild miracles just plain old faithful people being blessed or at least they believe so. No drama or bs embellishments. Those are the best ones even though I don’t believe in miracles myself. I’m glad it works for them. 

If you don't believe in small miracles, then big miracles are even less likely to happen to you. Or so it seems to me.

I've had two of those kinds of "lost item is found" miracles. One was minor, but at the time I was desperate and in my despair over the matter I needed it badly. If I hadn't found the item in question the downside would have been very temporary and not serious, but in the moment I was desperate. And the Lord answered my very humble prayer in what was fairly low-key and dramatic (to me) simultaneously. And it taught me something important about faith.

The other was somewhat more serious, and involved a ring of keys (yes, the typical "ho hum" item). The lost keys were extremely important to my wife's business at the time. She had no idea where she had last left them, and we searched the house and her car thoroughly. Couldn't find them. We both had faith that the Lord could help, so we prayed together before we each left for work. As per usual we locked the master bedroom as we left. I expected that one of us would get some "inspiration" during the day to lead us to where the keys had been left. But when my wife returned home from her work, she found the lost key ring sitting on the center of the bed in our locked bedroom. This was a bed we had made together before leaving for the day, and the key ring was not there when we did it. I'm sure you could come up with alternative explanations that don't involve an actual miracle. I certainly could. But none of the scenarios I came up with seemed at all likely. 

As I said, if one disregards the small miracles, or have no faith in them, then the larger ones are never going to find one.

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On 12/22/2023 at 6:40 PM, Diamondhands69 said:

Yea at least on fast testimony meeting. Elders quorum has been interesting with the high priests added back in. They dominate all the convo. Everyone else is engrossed in whatever is on their phone. 

We're a very small ward. Practically everyone in the elders quorum is a high priest. 

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20 minutes ago, Stargazer said:

The lost keys were extremely important to my wife's business at the time. She had no idea where she had last left them, and we searched the house and her car thoroughly. Couldn't find them. We both had faith that the Lord could help, so we prayed together before we each left for work. As per usual we locked the master bedroom as we left. I expected that one of us would get some "inspiration" during the day to lead us to where the keys had been left. But when my wife returned home from her work, she found the lost key ring sitting on the center of the bed in our locked bedroom. This was a bed we had made together before leaving for the day, and the key ring was not there when we did it.

I believe you; ime that kind of thing can and sometimes does happen. 

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1 hour ago, Stargazer said:

If you don't believe in small miracles, then big miracles are even less likely to happen to you. Or so it seems to me.

I've had two of those kinds of "lost item is found" miracles. One was minor, but at the time I was desperate and in my despair over the matter I needed it badly. If I hadn't found the item in question the downside would have been very temporary and not serious, but in the moment I was desperate. And the Lord answered my very humble prayer in what was fairly low-key and dramatic (to me) simultaneously. And it taught me something important about faith.

The other was somewhat more serious, and involved a ring of keys (yes, the typical "ho hum" item). The lost keys were extremely important to my wife's business at the time. She had no idea where she had last left them, and we searched the house and her car thoroughly. Couldn't find them. We both had faith that the Lord could help, so we prayed together before we each left for work. As per usual we locked the master bedroom as we left. I expected that one of us would get some "inspiration" during the day to lead us to where the keys had been left. But when my wife returned home from her work, she found the lost key ring sitting on the center of the bed in our locked bedroom. This was a bed we had made together before leaving for the day, and the key ring was not there when we did it. I'm sure you could come up with alternative explanations that don't involve an actual miracle. I certainly could. But none of the scenarios I came up with seemed at all likely. 

As I said, if one disregards the small miracles, or have no faith in them, then the larger ones are never going to find one.

Thanks for sharing.. that said it seems as if Mormons are the only ones blessed with finding car keys after fervent prayer. I have heard so many car key testimonies over the years it is about driving me crazy ha.
 

While Jesus is locating all those keys being prayed over, the kids locking themselves in a closet to protect themselves from being whipped with a wire hangar again are being ignored. That’s why I can’t take the whole car key thing seriously. 

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6 minutes ago, Diamondhands69 said:

Thanks for sharing.. that said it seems as if Mormons are the only ones blessed with finding car keys after fervent prayer. I have heard so many car key testimonies over the years it is about driving me crazy ha.

Perhaps others who are not Mormons are being blessed to find their car keys, too. But you're not there, so you don't hear of it. 

It's funny, though, that you've heard so many car key testimonies over the years. Does it drive you crazy because you lost your own keys and God didn't help you find them? So you're resentful over it?

6 minutes ago, Diamondhands69 said:

While Jesus is locating all those keys being prayed over, the kids locking themselves in a closet to protect themselves from being whipped with a wire hangar again are being ignored. That’s why I can’t take the whole car key thing seriously. 

That's possibly why the OP was puzzled about a perceived dearth of spiritual gift instances in the church. Because those with whom these things happen are told "Well, there's thousands of people dying in a war over there, and you're all excited about finding your keys? Don't make me laugh!" So they keep these things to themselves, and then those who have no faith to experience these things say to themselves, "It doesn't happen. I can't take it seriously."

Meanwhile, the person to whom this happened recognizes that there's something beyond himself that is watching over him. Sure, there are wars and rumors of wars, and people are suffering. But does this mean that little miracles can't happen or shouldn't happen? Either God has to save all of us, or He's not allowed to save any of us? I don't tell everyone about all that has happened to me in the realm of spiritual experiences. But I sometimes talk about the car keys being found. Because the weightier matters are too precious to me to share with mockers. They are real to me, because they happened to me, and regardless of all the bad in the world, it happened and it was real.

Something Jesus said covers this. It's called "Casting pearls before swine." It's not calling people pigs, it's just a colourful way of saying pigs don't understand pearls, and might accidentally eat the pearls, destroying them. And it doesn't help the pigs at all, so best not to burden them with the pearls. 

 

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