Spiritual Gifts

Moroni exhorted us to “deny not the gifts of God” (Moroni 10:8). Paul counseled us to “eagerly desire the greater gifts” (1 Corinthians 12:31, New International Version). And through Joseph Smith, the Lord admonished us, “Seek ye earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given” (Doctrine and Covenants 46:8).

All three of them also provided examples of the kinds of gifts we should strive to receive. I don’t think these lists are comprehensive, but I do think they represent some of the “best gifts” which are worthy of our attention and our effort. Here are the lists, side by side, grouped by the purposes they serve:

Purpose1 Corinthians 12:4-11Moroni 10:8-18Doctrine and Covenants 46:13-25
Testimony“To know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world”
“To believe on their words, that they also might have eternal life if they continue faithful”
Leadership“There are differences of administrations”
“There are diversities of operations”
“To know the differences of administration”
“To know the diversities of operations”
Teaching“The word of wisdom”
“The word of knowledge”
“That he may teach the word of wisdom”
“That he may teach the word of knowledge”
“The word of wisdom”
“The word of knowledge”
Faith“Faith”“Exceedingly great faith”
Healing“The gifts of healing”“The gifts of healing”“Faith to be healed”
“Faith to heal”
Miracles“The working of miracles”“Work mighty miracles”“The working of miracles”
Revelation“Prophecy”
“Discerning of spirits”
“That he may prophesy concerning all things”
“The beholding of angels and ministering spirits”
“To prophesy”
“The discerning of spirits”
Communication“Divers kinds of tongues”
“The interpretation of tongues”
“All kinds of tongues”
“The interpretation of languages and of divers kinds of tongues”
“To speak with tongues”
“The interpretation of tongues”

A few observations about these gifts:

  • Many of them group into pairs: knowledge and belief, wisdom and knowledge, healing and being healed, speaking and interpreting. These pairings help to underscore a central message of these passages: that we ought to appreciate one another’s gifts because they are often complementary.
  • A common theme among these gifts is the need to deal with diverse experiences in a complex world—different ways to serve and to get things done (diversities of administration and operations), different kinds of spirits to discern, different languages to speak and understand. Life presents us with many different kinds of experiences, which is why God gives us many different spiritual gifts.
  • President Russell M. Nelson has specifically urged us to increase our capacity to receive personal revelation, which relates to two of these gifts: prophecy and discerning of spirits (See “Hear Him,” General Conference, April 2020).
  • More recently, he encouraged us to increase our faith, promising that it would lead to miracles. Both of these are also spiritual gifts. (See “Christ Is Risen; Faith in Him Will Move Mountains,” General Conference, April 2021).

Today, I will seek the best gifts. I will specifically strive to increase my ability to hear the voice of the Lord and to exercise faith in Him. I will remember that God has encouraged me to seek these gifts and that He will help me in my efforts to receive them.

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