Each young man will come to better understand what fruits and gifts of the Spirit are and how he can obtain and develop them.
Copies of the scriptures (each young man should bring his own).
A piece of paper and a pencil for each young man.
Pencils for marking scriptures.
Chalk, chalkboard, and eraser.
Suggested Lesson Development
Quotation and discussion
Explain that a Mr. Sollars once asked Joseph Smith if he could just get baptized and not worry about the gifts of the Spirit. The Prophet replied:
“Suppose I am traveling and am hungry, and meet with a man and tell him I am hungry, and he tells me to go yonder, there is a house of entertainment, go and knock, and you must conform to all the rules of the house, or you cannot satisfy your hunger; knock, call for food, sit down and eat;—and I go and knock, and ask for food, and sit down to the table, but do not eat, shall I satisfy my hunger? No. I must eat. The gifts are the food; and the graces of the Spirit are the gifts of the Spirit” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1938], pp. 270–71).
What do you think Joseph Smith meant by this answer?
Explain that to be followers of Jesus Christ, we must do certain things, such as have faith in Christ and his atonement, repent of our sins, be baptized, and receive the Holy Ghost. If we do these things, we will receive great blessings. Explain that the Prophet was saying that for a person to meet all the Lord’s requirements but then fail to fully partake of the blessings that come from meeting those requirements would be the same as for a hungry man to do everything necessary to obtain food, sit down at the table, and then not eat. It would be foolish.
Explain that keeping the Lord’s commandments and completing ordinances such as baptism and confirmation are like sitting down at the table and obtaining food. To eat, or enjoy the blessings of obedience, we must receive and develop the fruits and gifts of the Spirit.
Becoming Godlike through the Fruits of the Spirit
Explain that by following Heavenly Father’s plan and living the gospel of Jesus Christ, we can return to live with Heavenly Father and Jesus and eventually become gods ourselves. To become godlike while we are on earth, we want to develop the qualities and attitudes that Heavenly Father and Jesus have. These qualities and attitudes are some of the fruits of the Spirit.
Explain that another word for fruits is results. We receive these qualities and attitudes as the results of living the gospel.
Write Fruits of the Spirit on the left side of the chalkboard.
Can you name any fruits of the Spirit mentioned in the scriptures?
List any responses. Then tell the young men you would like them to learn more about the fruits of the Spirit by searching the scriptures.
When the young men have completed their lists, have them take turns naming fruits of the Spirit as you write them on the chalkboard. Some of these fruits are listed below:
Fruits of the Spirit
Briefly discuss why these qualities are desirable.
Who has all these qualities in complete perfection? (Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ.)
Point out that as we strive to follow the commandments and live the gospel, the Holy Ghost will help us develop these qualities and become more like Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
Ask a young man to read aloud 2 Peter 1:5–7. Point out that we will not receive all of these qualities perfectly at once, but we can receive and develop them throughout our lives.
Serving Others through the Gifts of the Spirit
Explain that the fruits of the Spirit are available equally to every person who lives the gospel of Jesus Christ. But each of us is also given specific gifts of the Spirit, which are special abilities we can develop through following Jesus.
Write Gifts of the Spirit on the chalkboard next to Fruits of the Spirit. Divide the young men into two groups. Ask one group to list the gifts of the Spirit discussed in Moroni 10:8–19 and the other to list the gifts discussed in Doctrine and Covenants 46:10–26. Have each young man write the gifts on his own piece of paper.
List these gifts on the chalkboard as you did with the fruits of the Spirit. Have the young men add to their lists the gifts mentioned by the other group, as suggested below.
Fruits of the Spirit
Speaking in Tongues
Ministering of angels
Gifts of the Spirit
Point out that these two scriptures list some of the better-known spiritual gifts, but these are not the only spiritual gifts we can receive.
What other spiritual gifts might we receive?
Scripture and discussion
Ask a young man to read aloud Doctrine and Covenants 46:11–12, 26.
Why are we given these spiritual gifts?
Why don’t we all have the same spiritual gifts?
Help the young men understand that we are given gifts of the Spirit to serve others and to build up the kingdom of God. We are all given different gifts so that we may all serve each other.
Tell the following story about how Newel Knight used his spiritual gift to help a friend:
In November 1833 some of the residents of Jackson County, Missouri, attacked the Latter-day Saints living there. In the ensuing fight three men were killed and many were wounded. One of the Saints who was wounded was Philo Dibble, who had been shot in the abdomen. A surgeon who examined him said he had never known anyone to survive that kind of wound.
Because of the antagonism from people in Jackson County, many Church members there were leaving to go to Clay County. Staying in Jackson County was very dangerous. Despite the danger, Newel Knight went to Brother Dibble’s home, which was surrounded by members of the mob, gave Brother Dibble a blessing, and then left quickly.
The next day Newel Knight met Philo Dibble ten miles from the house where he had seen him the day before. Brother Dibble was able to walk and was leaving Jackson County. He told Brother Knight that as soon as he had received the blessing, the pain seemed “to move as before a power driving it, until in a few minutes it [was gone].”
Philo Dibble recovered completely and later crossed the plains to Utah. (History of the Church, 1:431. See also Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, 3rd ed., edited by Parley P. Pratt Jr. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1938], pp. 99–100.)
What spiritual gifts were used in this incident? (Newel Knight used the gift of healing; Philo Dibble used the gift of faith to be healed.)
Receiving and Developing the Fruits and Gifts of the Spirit
Remind the young men that we can develop the fruits of the Spirit and our particular spiritual gifts by living the gospel.
Write these six words down the left side of the chalkboard: Obey, Pray, Fast, Study, Repent, and Serve. Explain that Study refers to studying the scriptures. Point out that these are some of the major actions required to live the gospel.
Which, if any, of these actions do you think is most important in obtaining the fruits and gifts of the Spirit?
Give the young men a moment to think, then ask for responses. The responses will probably vary. Point out that it is impossible to choose one of these behaviors as most important, because they are all necessary for obtaining the fruits and gifts of the Spirit.
Discuss why each action is important. Bring out the following points:
Obey: Commandments are established to bring us happiness. When we obey the commandments and the promptings of the Holy Ghost to us, we will do the things that will make us happy and enable us to become like Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. (See 1 Nephi 4:6–18.)
Pray: When we humbly pray for God to strengthen us in righteousness, our loving Heavenly Father will respond. (See Alma 17:3.)
Fast: Fasting exercises our spiritual strength in governing the appetites and passions of our physical bodies. If done with the right attitude, it humbles us and helps us be more sensitive to spiritual promptings. (See Alma 5:46.)
Study: By studying the scriptures, we learn about the attributes of godliness we should seek to obtain. We also learn how some of God’s faithful children have attained these attributes. (See D&C 33:16.)
Repent: We need to repent and continually renew our baptismal covenants by partaking of the sacrament so that the Spirit may be unrestrained. The Holy Ghost will not dwell in unholy temples. (See 3 Nephi 9:22.)
Serve: When we use our spiritual gifts to serve each other, we increase both our ability to use our spiritual gifts and our ability to experience the fruits of the Spirit in our own lives. (See Galatians 5:13.)
Emphasize to the young men that all the fruits of the Spirit are available to those who live the gospel. Remind them that each of them also has specific spiritual gifts that they can develop by living the gospel, and that they should use these gifts to serve others. Serving this way will help increase the fruits of the Spirit in their lives.
Bear testimony that the Lord wants to bless us with the fruits and gifts of the Spirit so that we may be happy and help other people. Testify that the Spirit can help us become more like Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and return to live with them someday.
Challenge the young men to strive to become more like Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ by living the gospel, and to seek the blessings of the Spirit through praying, fasting, obeying, studying, repenting, and serving.