D&C Section 46

Historical Background

This revelation was given to the Church, through Joseph Smith, and was concerning how the meetings should be conducted and gifts of the spirit.

How are Nonmembers of the Church to Be Treated at Public Sacrament Meetings?

“HEARKEN, O ye people of my church; for verily I say unto you that these things were spoken unto you for your profit and learning (v. 1). But notwithstanding those things which are written, it always has been given to the elders of my church from the beginning, and ever shall be, to conduct all meetings as they are directed and guided by the Holy Spirit (v. 2). Nevertheless ye are commanded never to cast any one out from your public meetings, which are held before the world (v. 3). Ye are also commanded not to cast any one who belongeth to the church out of your sacrament meetings; nevertheless, if any have trespassed, let him not partake until he makes reconciliation (v. 4). And again I say unto you, ye shall not cast any out of your sacrament meetings who are earnestly seeking the kingdom—I speak this concerning those who are not of the church (v. 5). And again I say unto you, concerning your confirmation meetings, that if there be any that are not of the church, that are earnestly seeking after the kingdom, ye shall not cast them out (v. 6). But ye are commanded in all things to ask of God, who giveth liberally; and that which the Spirit testifies unto you even so I would that ye should do in all holiness of heart, walking uprightly before me, considering the end of your salvation . . . (v. 7)”.

When the church was first organized, there were some who excluded anyone who was a “nonmember”. In 3 Nephi 18:22-24 we read, “And behold, ye shall meet together oft; and ye shall not forbid any man from coming unto you when ye shall meet together, but suffer them that they may come unto you and forbid them not (v. 22); But ye shall pray for them, and shall not cast them out; and if it so be that they come unto you oft ye shall pray for them unto the Father, in my name (v. 23). Therefore, hold up your light that it may shine unto the world. Behold I am the light which ye shall hold up—that which ye have seen me do. Behold ye see that I have prayed unto the Father, and ye all have witnessed (v. 24).” The Lord taught the early saints, that the meetings would be under the direction of the Elders as they are influenced by the spirit, and that no one should be excluded from public meetings. If the practice of keeping Sacrament private, had continued, I think there would be a lot fewer members of the church today. Being able to feel the spirit that is in sacrament meetings, has influenced many to seek for the truth. In 3 Nephi, we are taught that we should pray for those who do not yet believe, that they may feel that the spirit is with us.

Not All Supernatural Manifestions Are Gifts of the Spirit

“. . . doing all things with prayer and thanksgiving, that ye may not be seduced by evil spirits, or doctrines of devils, or the commandments of men; for some are of men, and others of devils (v. 7). 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 (v. 8 ); 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 (v. 9).”

Satan has the power to give men gifts, but they are not gifts of the spirit. Men have the ability also, to make it seems as though they have been given gifts of the spirit when they have not. When we have the holy ghost with us, we can discern what these gifts are. The Lord teaches us that we should look for those gifts that we know are good and will be used properly. Gifts of the spirit should not be desired or used for our own gain, but rather to further the work of the Lord.

“And to Every Man Is Given a Gift”

“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 (v. 10). 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 (v. 11). To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby (v. 12).” We are promised by the Lord, that everyone who has received the spirit, has been given a gift of the spirit. There cannot be a gift of the spirit, without the acceptance of the spirit in us, so those who have not received baptism, do not have gifts of the spirit. But those who continue to rely on the spirit, will not go without at least on gift. There are so many different gifts of the spirit and we are given different ones, so we each have a work to do in the church.

What Is the Gift “to Know That Jesus Is the Christ”?

“To some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world.” Some people have received a revelation that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. This gift is specifically given to prophets and apostles, so that they may act as witnesses of the Savior for the world.

The Gift to Believe on the Testimony of Others

“To others it is given to believe on their words, that they also might have eternal life if they continue faithful (v. 14).” I have felt the touch of the spirit in confirmation that testimonies of the Savior, from church leaders, is truth. I know that the Savior, Jesus Christ, is the Son of God and that he died for all mankind. It is something that makes perfect sense in my mind and feels perfectly true in my heart, that I know I can never deny it. I believe their testimonies and I do not doubt it. This gift is common among church members and is the driving force behind the faith of many.

The Gift to Know the Difference of Administration

“And again, to some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know the differences of administration, as it will be pleasing unto the same Lord, according as the Lord will, suiting his mercies according to the conditions of the children of men.” I don’t fully understand this one, but the manual I am reading says this, “One who has the gift by the Holy Ghost to know differences of administration is one who discerns correctly the services and agencies by which the Lord works.” I guess if I had this gift, that I would know better what it is.

The Gift to Know the Diversities of Operations

“And again, it is given by the Holy Ghost to some to know the diversities of operations, whether they be of God, that the manifestations of the Spirit may be given to every man to profit withal (v. 16).” This gift is the ability to discern those philosophies and prophets that are of God or are not. There have always been false prophets and teachings that are not true. Some have been given the gift to know what is from God and what is not. We should all seek for this knowledge, or to be able to follow those who have this gift, so that we will not be deceived by others.

The Gift of Wisdom

“And again, verily I say unto you, to some is given, by the Spirit of God, the word of wisdom (v. 17).” Those who seek after wisdom, may be given this gift of the spirit. The manual I am reading says that this gift is often given to church leaders and their counselors. It also says that it is often given to parents to be able to counsel their children. I pray often that I might know what is the best thing to say in a particular situation. I hope that I am given this gift in times when I need to counsel my children as they grow up.

The Gift of Knowledge

“To another is given the word of knowledge, that all may be taught to be wise and to have knowledge.” With faithful study, we can gain knowledge and revelations to know things that God wants us to know. Knowledge is one the the best things that we can seek for because it not only will help us as we live our lives, but we will continue to have this knowledge after this life.

The Gift to Discern Spirits

“And again, to some it is given to have faith to be healed (v. 19); And to others it is given to have faith to heal (v. 20). And again, to some is given the working of miracles (v. 21); And to others it is given to prophesy (v. 22); And to others the discerning of spirits (v. 23).” These are all great gifts that can help build the faith and testimony of others. Those who discern spirits are able to see the good (or bad) in some that others do not see. The manual I am studying says that this gift is most important for missionaries to have, in order to find their “hidden spark that may be lighted by the truth”. It seems like a pretty amazing gift, to be able to tell what truth will help someone to turn to Christ and his gospel.

The Gift of Tongues

“And again, it is given to some to speak with tongues (v. 24); And to another is given the interpretation of tongues (v. 25).” The gift of tongues is the ability to speak and interpret foreign languages, particularly given when seemingly little to no study of the language is received. Missionaries are often given the gift of tongues after a short time of learning. It is a gift that is given to further the work of the Lord and is not for boasting of oneself. If tongues are used for anything other than the Lord’s purposes, they are not of God.

The Bishop Is to BeGiven the Gift of Discerning All The Gifts

“And all these gifts come from God, for the benefit of the children of God (v. 26). And unto the bishop of the church, and unto such as God shall appoint and ordain to watch over the church and to be elders unto the church, are to have it given unto them to discern all those gifts lest there shall be any among you professing and yet be not of God (v. 27).” The gift of discernment is most important for those who lead the church. This gift allows the Bishop to know what callings the Lord may want someone to have. It allows the leaders to know if something is wrong and hurtful to the church. It is a blessing of great responsibility.

“He That Asketh in Spirit Shall Receive in Spirit”

“And it shall come to pass that he that asketh in Spirit shall receive in Spirit (v. 28 ); That unto some it may be given to have all those gifts, that there may be a head, in order that every member may be profited thereby (v. 29). He that asketh in the Spirit asketh according to the will of God; wherefore it is done even as he asketh (v. 30). And again, I say unto you, all things must be done in the name of Christ, whatsoever you do in the Spirit (v. 31); And ye must give thanks unto God in the Spirit for whatsoever blessing ye are blessed with (v. 32). And ye must practise virtue and holiness before me continually. Even so. Amen (v. 32).” When we need a gift of the spirit, we can receive it. First, we must pray for it, asking according to the will of God. We must ask in the name of Christ and give thanks to God for all of the blessings we are given. Then we must remain worthy of it by having virtue and holiness continually.

When we are called to do something in the church, it is appropriate to ask for those gifts that will help to do the work. For example, when we need to teach and lead our children, it is important that we seek after the gift of wisdom. These gifts are there for us, and if we ask sincerely to have one, so that we can lift, help, or save souls, we will be given them. Our sincerity must be accompanied by the righteousness to be a worthy holder of the gifts given to us. When we are not worthy, we cannot use these gifts. They can be taken away just as they are given to us, if we do not use them properly or if we are not prepared to have them. These gifts will be given according to our faith and we can use them with faith to do many great works in our lives and the lives of those around us. I know that the Lord wants us to be able to serve and bless others by using gifts of the spirit. I am so grateful for the gifts that I have been given.

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About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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