Early Church leaders needed to learn how to direct Church meetings. The Lord revealed the need for guidance by the Spirit and the benefits of other spiritual gifts. The Apostle Paul taught us to seek “earnestly the best gifts” (1 Corinthians 12:31). Elder Wilford Woodruff, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, spoke about the blessings that come from the gifts of the Spirit: “I realize to a great extent the necessity of prizing the gifts of the Holy Spirit bestowed upon me. … If we can be made to rightly value the gifts which the Almighty bestows upon us, we shall certainly not do any thing that is wrong; we shall not walk where we ought not to walk, but we shall be devoted to the building up of the kingdom of our God” (in Journal of Discourses, 9:160–61).
Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For
We should “seek … earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given” (D&C 46:8). They are given to help us accomplish God’s work, serve others, and avoid deception (see D&C 46:7–29; see also 1 Corinthians 12:1–13, 31; Moroni 10:8–18).
Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual: Religion 324–325, pp. 98–102.
Suggestions for Teaching
Doctrine and Covenants 46:1–6. Church meetings should be conducted as the Spirit directs. All those seeking the truth should be invited to our public meetings.
Ask students to name several activities they see in Church meetings, and list them on the board. (These might include prayers, hymns and other musical numbers, talks, ordinances.) Have students read Doctrine and Covenants 46:1–2 and look for why we do these activities in the Church. Have students compare verse 2 with Moroni 6:9 and identify any Church activities that were not listed on the board.
Add sacrament to the list on the board (if it is not already there). Read Doctrine and Covenants 46:4 looking for instruction on the sacrament, and compare it with 3 Nephi 18:28–29. Share the following statement by President Spencer W. Kimball:
“Every time we take the bread and water, there should be a deconsecrating, a rededication. When we are not living the commandments, when we are in transgression, when we have angers and hatreds and bitterness, we should consider seriously if we should take the sacrament. … The sacrament is so sacred … we fear that many times unworthy people partake of [it]” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball , 225).
Invite a student to pretend to be a nonmember attending a Church meeting for the first time. Ask the student:
What might you think about when you first walk in?
What might you hear or see that could seem unusual?
How could someone help you feel comfortable and welcome?
Have another student pretend to be a less-active member. Ask the same questions, and invite the class to consider how the answers would differ.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 46:3–6; 3 Nephi 18:28–32 and ask: How should we treat nonmembers and less-active members who come to Church meetings? Share the following statement by President Howard W. Hunter: “Treat each other with more kindness, more courtesy, more humility and patience and forgiveness” (in “President Howard W. Hunter, Fourteenth President of the Church,” Ensign, July 1994, 4).
Doctrine and Covenants 46:7–29. We should “seek … earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given.” They are given to help us accomplish God’s work, serve others, and avoid deception.
Prior to class, write in large letters on a piece of paper D&C 46:11–12. Cut the paper into fourteen puzzle pieces. On the other side of each piece, write a verse number from the following verses: 13–25, 27.
Ask students: What do you think is the most difficult commandment the Lord has given? After a few responses, have them read Matthew 5:48, and discuss the difficulty of being perfect. Share the following statement by President George Q. Cannon:
“If any of us are imperfect, it is our duty to pray for the gift that will make us perfect. Have I imperfections? I am full of them. What is my duty? To pray to God to give me the gifts that will correct these imperfections” (Gospel Truth, 1:196).
Ask: What has the Lord given us to help us become perfect?
Give the puzzle pieces to the students. Have them look up the verse on their puzzle piece in section 46. Invite them to tell what gift of the Spirit is described in their verse and name a situation in which that gift would be of value. (Use the explanations of the gifts of the Spirit on pages 100–101 in Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual: Religion 324–325.) Have students turn their pieces over, assemble the puzzle as a class, and read the verses shown (D&C 46:11–12). Ask:
What do these verses have to do with verses 13–25?
Why is every member important in the Lord’s Church?
Do you think this list includes all the gifts of the Spirit?
Share the following statements. Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote:
“Spiritual gifts are endless in number and infinite in variety. Those listed in the revealed word are simply illustrations of the boundless outpouring of divine grace that a gracious God gives those who love and serve him” (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith , 371).
Elder Marvin J. Ashton, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, said:
“Taken at random, let me mention a few gifts that are not always evident or noteworthy but that are very important … :
“… The gift of asking; the gift of listening; the gift of hearing and using a still, small voice; the gift of being able to weep; the gift of avoiding contention; the gift of being agreeable; the gift of avoiding vain repetition; the gift of seeking that which is righteous; the gift of not passing judgment; the gift of looking to God for guidance; the gift of being a disciple; the gift of caring for others; the gift of being able to ponder; the gift of offering prayer; the gift of bearing a mighty testimony; and the gift of receiving the Holy Ghost” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1987, 23; or Ensign, Nov. 1987, 20).
Tell students that the Lord can reveal spiritual gifts through patriarchal blessings. Tell them that the degree to which we have spiritual gifts depends on our faith and righteousness. Invite students to write on a piece of paper their answers to the following questions:
Doctrine and Covenants 46:7, 27–29. Bishops and other Church leaders are given the gift to judge which spiritual gifts are of God.
Write the accompanying chart on the board, leaving the contents of the right-hand column blank.
Share with students the following statement by Elder Marion G. Romney, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve:
“It appears that there are some apparently supernatural manifestations which are not worked by the power of the Holy Ghost. The truth is there are many which are not. The world today is full of counterfeits. It has always been so. …
“Some of these counterfeits are crude and easily detected, but others closely simulate true manifestations of the spirit. Consequently, people are confused and deceived by them” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1956, 70).
Have students name counterfeits of Satan for each of the gospel principles on the board, and fill in the chart with their answers. Read Doctrine and Covenants 46:7 and look for what the Lord said would keep us from being deceived by Satan’s counterfeits (the Spirit). Read verses 8–10, 30–33 and have students list the principles that govern gifts of the Spirit. Discuss these principles and their importance in our lives.
Read verses 27–29 and look for who has the gift to know which gifts are of God and which are not. Share the following statement by Elder Abraham O. Woodruff, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve:
“The Saints should be guided by the Spirit of God, and subject to those who preside in the meetings. If the Bishop, who is a common judge in Israel, tells a person to restrain this gift, or any other gift, it is the duty of that person to do it. The Bishop has a right to the gift of discernment, whereby he may tell whether these spirits are of God or not, and if they are not they should not have place in the congregations of the Saints” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1901, 12).