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God Knows Our Gifts
When I became a deacon at the age of 12, I lived in New Jersey, 50 miles (80 km) from New York City. I dreamed of being a great baseball player. My father agreed to take me to see a game played in the old and storied Yankee Stadium, in the Bronx. I can still see the swing of the bat as Joe DiMaggio hit a home run into the center field stands with my father sitting beside me, the only time we ever went to a major league baseball game together.
But another day with my father shaped my life forever. He took me from New Jersey to the home of an ordained patriarch in Salt Lake City. I had never seen the man before. My father left me at the doorstep. The patriarch led me to a chair, placed his hands on my head, and pronounced a blessing as a gift from God that included a declaration of the great desire of my heart.
He said that I was one of those of whom it had been said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” [Matthew 5:9.] I was so surprised that a perfect stranger could know my heart that I opened my eyes to see the room where such a miracle was happening. That blessing of my possibilities has shaped my life, my marriage, and my priesthood service.
From that experience and what has followed it, I can testify, “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” (D&C 46:11).
By the Lord revealing to me a gift, I have been able to recognize and prepare for opportunities to exercise it to the blessing of those I love and serve.
God knows our gifts. My challenge to you and to me is to pray to know the gifts we have been given, to know how to develop them, and to recognize the opportunities to serve others that God provides us. But most of all, I pray that you will be inspired to help others discover their special gifts from God to serve.
President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency, “Help Them Aim High,” Ensign, Nov. 2012, 67.
Applying This Message
As you read and ponder Doctrine and Covenants 46:11–26, pray to know what spiritual gifts you may have.
How can serving others help you develop your spiritual gifts?
If you have not received a patriarchal blessing, consider getting one.
Consider writing your thoughts in your journal or discussing them with others.
Additional resources on this topic: True to the Faith (2004),
“I can promise you that you will bless [others] to help them recognize the spiritual gifts with which they were born. Every person is different and has a different contribution to make. No one is destined to fail.”
President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency, “Help Them Aim High,” Ensign, Nov. 2012, 60.
Finding Strength during Trials
“How do you remain ‘steadfast and immovable’ [Alma 1:25] during a trial of faith? You immerse yourself in the very things that helped build your core of faith:
you exercise faith in Christ,
you ponder the scriptures,
you keep the commandments,
and you serve others.”
Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Trial of Your Faith,” Ensign, Nov. 2012, 40; bullets added.
“The decision to serve a mission will shape the __________ of the missionary, his or her spouse, and their posterity for generations to come” (Russell M. Nelson, “Ask the Missionaries! They Can Help You!” Ensign, Nov. 2012, 18).
“To help us better __________, I would like to suggest four words to remember: ‘First observe, then serve’” (Linda K. Burton, “First Observe, Then Serve,” Ensign, Nov. 2012, 78).
“Temple and __________ work is one work divided into two parts” (Richard G. Scott, “The Joy of Redeeming the Dead,” Ensign, Nov. 2012, 93).
Creating Family Cultures
Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught five things parents can do to create stronger family cultures. He said: “These suggestions for creating stronger family cultures work in tandem with the culture of the Church. Our strengthened family cultures will be a protection for our children.”
“Parents can pray in earnest, asking our Eternal Father to help them.”
“They can hold family prayer, scripture study, and family home evenings and eat together as often as possible.”
“Parents can fully avail themselves of the Church’s support network.”
“Parents can share their testimonies often with their children.”
“We can organize our families based on clear, simple family rules and expectations, wholesome family traditions and rituals, and ‘family economics.’”
From “Becoming Goodly Parents,” Ensign, Nov. 2012, 28.