Sunday, December 11, 2016

Spiritual Gifts

I spoke today in the Billerica Ward on spiritual gifts and how Heavenly Father wants us to use them. As usual, I've included the notes below. I also put a link directly to my Google Document notes. Part of my preparation for this talk included asking Reddit for some tips, so I'm including that link too.

Google Document
Reddit post


  1. Introduction
    1. Christmas as a time to think about gifts
      1. Gifts we give to each other
      2. God’s gift to us of his Son
      3. Gifts of the Spirit
        1. Elder Oaks has said “We know too little about spiritual gifts. This is evident in our communications, and it is also evident in our failure to seek after and use spiritual gifts.”
        2. Gospel Principles lesson from several years ago
    2. Bikeshedding - The term was coined as a metaphor to illuminate Parkinson’s Law of Triviality. Parkinson observed that a committee whose job is to approve plans for a nuclear power plant may spend the majority of its time on relatively unimportant but easy-to-grasp issues, such as what materials to use for the staff bikeshed, while neglecting the design of the power plant itself, which is far more important but also far more difficult to criticize constructively.
    3. Yak shaving - Any apparently useless activity which, by allowing you to overcome intermediate difficulties, allows you to solve a larger problem OR A less useful activity done consciously or subconsciously to procrastinate about a larger but more useful task.

  1. Spiritual gifts
    1. Scriptural accounts - three of the standard works - four if you count AoF 7 & 13
        1. Church History In The Fullness of Times Lesson 8: Gathering to Ohio - Right after the law of consecration is revealed
        1. Counterpoint given to “Carried away unto these dumb idols”
        2. Comparing the church to a body (12-21)
        1. The very end, the final words, the conclusion
    2. Elder Oaks - “Spiritual gifts come to those who have received the gift of the Holy Ghost. As the Prophet Joseph Smith taught, the gifts of the Spirit “are obtained through that medium” [the Holy Ghost] and “cannot be enjoyed without the gift of the Holy Ghost. … The world in general can know nothing about them.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1938, pp. 243, 245; see also Elder Marion G. Romney in Conference Report, Apr. 1956, p. 72.)”
      1. Mbstephenson - “A survey of the work of a talented musician by the name of Ludwig van Beethoven may offer some insight. His early works are focused on delighting, impressing and moving the aristocratic Viennese audiences of his day. There came a time when he felt a need to do something more significant - manifested by his Opus 48 Gellert lieder, the final one of which is entitled Busslied, or song of repentance. What followed was, I believe, a manifestation of the enhancement of his talents by the Spirit of the Almighty: the Eroica Symphony, the 4th piano concerto, the violin concerto, the phenomenal Razumovsky quartets, the Oratorio, Christ on the Mount of Olives etc. etc. As he became more "single to the glory of God" his talents were directed and amplified by the Spirit.”
      2. Handel’s Messiah
    3. Spiritual gifts vs. talents
      1. Grace vs. works - the atonement

  1. We all have spiritual gifts
    1. Parable of the talents: Matt 25:14-30
      1. Talents - not directly analogous to talents
    2. D&C 46:11-12 - “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.”
    3. Elder Ashton - “One of the great tragedies of life, it seems to me, is when a person classifies himself as someone who has no talents or gifts. When, in disgust or discouragement, we allow ourselves to reach depressive levels of despair because of our demeaning self-appraisal, it is a sad day for us and a sad day in the eyes of God. For us to conclude that we have no gifts when we judge ourselves by stature, intelligence, grade-point average, wealth, power, position, or external appearance is not only unfair but unreasonable.”

  1. The purpose of spiritual gifts
    1. Elder Oaks - “We should seek after spiritual gifts. They can lead us to God. They can shield us from the power of the adversary. They can compensate for our inadequacies and repair our imperfections.”
    2. Elder Hales - “During our time here on earth, we have been charged to develop the natural gifts and capabilities Heavenly Father has blessed us with. Then it will be our opportunity to use these gifts to become teachers and leaders of God’s children wherever they may be found on earth. To exercise these gifts, we must develop a purity of heart.”
    3. David O McKay quoting Charles Jefferson, 1950 Conference - “The only thing which places a man above the beasts of the field is his possession of the spiritual gifts. … Man’s earthly existence is but a test as to whether he will concentrate his efforts, his mind, and his soul upon the things which contribute to the comfort and gratification of his physical instincts and passions, or whether he will make as his life’s end and purpose the acquisition of spiritual qualities.”

  1. Obtaining spiritual gifts
    1. Getting new items in Zelda
    2. D&C 46:8 - “seek ye earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given”
    3. D&C 46:9 “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;”
    4. Elder Oaks - “While the Spirit of Christ is the means by which spiritual gifts are transmitted to men and women, such gifts come by the power of the Holy Ghost”
    5. Elder Oaks - “Spiritual gifts do not come visibly, automatically, and immediately to all who have received the gift of the Holy Ghost. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that most such gifts are “not visible to the natural vision, or understanding of man,” and that it “require[s] time and circumstances to call these gifts into operation.” (Teachings, pp. 244, 246.)”
    6. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith” (Galatians 5:22). If we seek to bring about love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, and faith then we place ourselves in the position to receive spiritual gifts.

  1. Using spiritual gifts
    1. Elder Hales - The phrase “that all may be profited thereby” is a very important concept to understand about the gifts of the Spirit. The gifts given to each individual are given not only for the one who receives, but also for those who can benefit when the gift is shared with others.’
    2. Magnify - Maximize the small, focus the impact
    3. Profit! - D&C 46:9 “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.”

  1. Examples
    1. Daniel 2 - MassCreate - ‘all the "magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans" (Daniel 2:2) were unable to produce the results Daniel was able to. The king wanted to know what a dream he had was all about, and demanded that they tell not only what happened in the dream but what it meant.
      The Chaldeans wanted to only tell the interpretation to the king. But the king wouldn't do that, he wanted them to tell him what happened in the dream. The Chaldeans replied by saying "There is not a man upon the earth that can shew the king’s matter: therefore there is no king, lord, nor ruler, that asked such things at any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean." (Daniel 2:10)
      Well Daniel prayed to God and it was revealed to him. He then, in detail, described the dream the king had and what it meant.’
    2. Sister Darley’s experience with gift of organization
    3. My perspective of gifts - life without them - losing my job and 2015. Mary Poppins climax

  1. Conclusion
    1. Gift of peace - Luke 2:14 “on earth peace, good will toward men”
    2. Testimony