D&C 46:1-6 Church Meetings
The section heading indicates that this revelation was given “to the Church,” rather than for any individual, and in verse 1 the Lord declares that it is for our “profit and learning.” What does the Lord say in verses 2-6 about church meetings and who may attend them? How would your life be different if you were not able to join with others to attend church meetings?
D&C 46:7-33 Doctrine Related to Spiritual Gifts
The Lord taught His disciples in the Americas that one characteristic of His true church is that the Father will “show forth his own works in it” (3 Nephi 27:10). This is also true today. One of the great evidences of the truth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the manifestation of the works of God in the lives of its members. Spiritual gifts are from God, they are real, and they are sacred. Any list of spiritual gifts, such as in Section 46, can only represent a small portion of ways the Spirit of God can and does operate in our lives (see also 1 Corinthians 12-13; Moroni 10).
See what stands out for you in the following instructions the Lord gives as a preface:
- “Ye are commanded in all things to ask of God … in all holiness of heart, walking uprightly before me … doing all things with prayer and thanksgiving” (verse 7).
- “Seek ye earnestly the best gifts” (verse 8).
- Church members are to ask for gifts, “not for a sign that they may consume it upon their lusts” (verse 9).
- “Ye should always remember … what those gifts are” (verse 10).
- “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” (verses 11-12).
- “All things must be done in the name of Christ, whatsoever you do in the Spirit” (verse 31).
- “And ye must give thanks unto God in the Spirit for whatsoever blessing ye are blessed with” (verse 32).
- “Ye must practise virtue and holiness before me continually” (verse 33).
The Lord also reveals the purposes for which spiritual gifts are given, saying that we are to be “always remembering for what they are given” (verse 8). What stands out for you among these purposes?:
- “That ye may not be seduced by evil spirits, or doctrines of devils, or the commandments of men” (verse 7).
- “That ye may not be deceived” (verse 8).
- “They are given for the benefit of those who love me and keep all my commandments, and him that seeketh so to do” (verse 9; the second phrase help us understand that we need not be perfect to receive the gifts).
- “That all may be benefitted that seek or that ask of me” (verse 9).
- Gifts are given “that all may be profited thereby” (verse 12); also, “the manifestations of the Spirit may be given to every man to profit” (verse 16; see also verse 29).
- Gifts may be given “that all may be taught to be wise and to have knowledge” (verse 18).
- “These gifts come from God, for the benefit of the children of God” (verse 26).
- Certain leaders are given the gift of discernment, “lest there shall be any among you professing and yet be not of God” (verse 27).
Read again verses 7-8, 27 and consider this quote from the Prophet Joseph Smith: “Nothing is a greater injury to the children of men than to be under the influence of a false spirit when they think they have the Spirit of God” (History of the Church, 4:573).
Clearly, the Lord intends that we seek His gifts in order to have His help and peace in this life, and to be guided in our quest to attain eternal life and exaltation with Him.
D&C 46:13-30 The Gifts
Go through verses 13-30 and make a list of all the gifts the Lord mentions. Which of these gifts have you seen manifested in your life, or in the lives of others? Review again the purposes listed above and think of ways in which these gifts have fulfilled some of these purposes for you.
Helps for some of the gifts mentioned:
- “The differences of administration,” the “diversities of operations,” and “to discern all those gifts” (verses 15-16, 27): Read also Moroni 10:8; the gifts are given and manifested (or “administered”) in various ways, depending upon “the conditions of the children of men,” which could include their circumstances, faithfulness, natural abilities, duties, callings, the needs of those around them, and other factors.
- “The word of wisdom” (verse 17): This is not a reference to the Word of Wisdom that the Lord revealed later in Section 89, but likely means good judgment; the more traditional understanding of wisdom.
- “To speak with tongues” and “the interpretation of tongues” (verses 24-25): Joseph Smith taught, “The ultimate design of tongues is to speak to foreigners” (History of the Church 5:31-32). In other words, to serve, lead, and preach the gospel to those whose language differs from our own.
- To ask and receive “in Spirit” or “in the Spirit” (verses 28, 30): To be so in tune with the Spirt that as we pray, we are inspired and “receive in Spirit;” thus our words and our hearts are one with His (see also Romans 8:26; 3 Nephi 19:24; D&C 50:30).
- “Unto some it may be given to have all those gifts” (verse 29): This is likely a reference to the President of the Church (the “head”), inferring that he is blessed with all the gifts of the Spirit (see also D&C 107:91-92).
Brigham Young challenged us all as he taught: “There is no doubt, if a person lives according to the revelations given to God’s people, he may have the Spirit of the Lord to signify to him his will, and to guide and to direct him in the discharge of his duties, in his temporal as well as his spiritual exercises. I am satisfied, however, that in this respect, we live far beneath our privileges” (Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 32).
And Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Twelve wrote, “We need religious experience, we need to become personally involved with God…. What counts in the field of religion is to become a personal participant in it…. In the end the result is getting our souls touched by the Spirit of God” (New Era, June 1980, p. 50).
D&C 47 “Keep a Regular History”
Throughout the scriptures we see the importance of keeping a “record and history continually” (verse 3; see also 1 Nephi 9; Moses 6:5, 46; among numerous other examples). This revelation calls John Whitmer to serve as the official Church historian. According to verse 4, what help did the Lord promise John in this calling? Are you keeping a record and history of your life?
D&C 48 How to Organize
This revelation gives more instructions for the Saints as they prepare to live the law of consecration. They are moving toward what came to be called “the United Order,” which was the organization created for carrying out the law of consecration (somewhat like the Church being the organization created to fulfill the purposes of the gospel of Jesus Christ).
Note the Lord’s direction in verse 4 to “save all the money that ye can, and that ye obtain all that ye can in righteousness;” a perfect combination of temporal and spiritual, all with the purpose of fulfilling the Lord’s will for His children. Living the law of consecration does not mean all are perfectly equal in all things—for it depends upon various factors, including revelation. Note the five criteria that verse 6 identifies, which would help determine the various members’ allotments and assignments:
- One’s family
- One’s circumstances (resources, abilities, needs, and so forth)
- That which is determined by one’s leaders (“the presidency and the bishop”)
- All is to be in accordance with “the laws and commandments which ye have received” thus far
- All will continue according to that “which ye shall hereafter receive”
Do you feel you would be successful in striving to live among other Church members in the United Order?