During 1997, our visiting teaching messages take as their theme, “Seek ye earnestly the best gifts” (D&C 46:8). As a general presidency, we encourage you to study section 46 of the Doctrine and Covenants and claim its wonderful promises for yourself and those whom you love and serve.
Our Father in Heaven offers us access to a special group of blessings often called “spiritual gifts.” These particular gifts differ from the many other blessings we may enjoy, such as talents, family associations, or perhaps specialized learning. So important are these spiritual gifts that the Savior urges us to seek them earnestly. Among them are the gifts of testimony, wisdom, knowledge, faith to be healed, and discernment. Our Heavenly Father blesses us with these gifts as we live his commandments and keep our covenants. They are given to help us lead enriched spiritual lives and to serve others, “that all may be profited thereby” (D&C 46:12).
Few people have all these spiritual gifts. On the other hand, there is no member of the Church who does not have at least one gift (see D&C 46:11).
Many of us already have spiritual gifts, but we sometimes fail to recognize them. We may think they are reserved for people with special needs or callings. For the same reason, we may neglect to earnestly seek spiritual gifts, even though they have been promised to us. The Savior tells us, “Ye are commanded in all things to ask of God, who giveth liberally … that all may be benefited that seek or that ask of me” (D&C 46:7, 9).
In section 46, the Lord lists six qualifications to receive spiritual gifts: (1) They are not to be sought as signs (D&C 46:9); (2) they are to be used in the service of others (see D&C 46:12, 26); (3) they are to be used “in the name of Christ” (D&C 46:31); (4) we must thank God “for whatsoever blessing [we] are blessed with” (D&C 46:32); and (5) we “must practise virtue and holiness before [the Lord] continually” (D&C 46:33).
The sixth qualification is to ask “in the Spirit” (D&C 46:30). President Brigham Young once received a message from the Prophet Joseph Smith after the Prophet’s martyrdom that illustrates the importance of having the Holy Ghost with us: “Tell the brethren to be humble and faithful and be sure to keep the Spirit of the Lord, and it will lead them right. Be careful and not turn away the still small voice; it will teach them what to do and where to go. … Tell the brethren to keep their heart open to conviction, so that when the Holy Ghost comes to them their hearts will be ready to receive it. They can tell the Spirit of the Lord from all other spirits—it will whisper peace and joy to their souls; it will take malice, hatred, strife and all evil from their hearts, and their whole desire will be to do good” (Juvenile Instructor, 8  114).
The gifts of the Spirit will come by the Holy Ghost. It is our earnest prayer as a presidency that the sisters of the Church will open their hearts to these gifts, seek them earnestly, live worthily to receive them, and use them for the benefit of all.
Why are spiritual gifts so important? (See D&C 46:7–9.)
How have spiritual gifts blessed your life and the lives of others?