The seventh article of faith is “We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.”
The seventh article of faith essentially states that we believe in spiritual gifts. We all possess spiritual gifts, though not all possess the same spiritual gifts. For each individual our spiritual gifts will manifest themselves differently, at different times, in different places, in different circumstances. These God given gifts are unique to each of us with varying degrees of skill and levels of spirituality attached to each one. As God-given gifts it is important that we understand what they are, how they work and what gifts we possess. It is through understanding that we will be come better equipped to love and serve God to our greatest capacity. For the purpose of this post I will just focus on the ones mentioned in this article of faith as there are many gifts of the spirit and I could not possibly cover them all.
1) The Gift of tongues and interpretation of tongues: This is the ability to understand and speak a foreign language. It is through this gift that we learn a new language and understand language spoken by others that we may not know before hand. This Gift is not restricted to suddenly speaking in tongues like on the day of Pentecost as commonly accepted in biblical scripture amongst most Christians. A missionary in a Spanish-speaking mission described his experience with the gift of tongues in this video.
2) The gift of prophecy. This is a gift that is generally only given to those who have authority in this respect. The prophet, his Councillors and the apostles. But I do not believe it be limited to them. We all have different positions of authority within our respective circles. A bishop for example has authority to receive revelations and prophecy for his ward which he has stewardship over. As the leader in my home I have the authority to receive prophecy and revelation for those within my home. It is important to remember however that the gift of prophecy is not simply predicting the future, we all can do that to some extent. Saying tomorrow I am going to go to work is not prophecy for example.
Elder Dhallin H Oaks said in the September 1986 ensign
“The spiritual gift of prophecy is quite different. As we read in the Book of Revelation, “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Rev. 19:10.) The Prophet Joseph Smith relied on this scripture in teaching that “every other man who has the testimony of Jesus” is a prophet. (Teachings, p. 119.) Similarly, the Apostle Paul states that “he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.” (1 Cor. 14:3.) Thus, in the sense used in speaking of spiritual gifts, a prophet is one who testifies of Jesus Christ, teaches God’s word, and exhorts God’s people. In its scriptural sense, to prophesy means much more than to predict the future.”
So essentially the gift of prophecy is the gift of a testimony and being able to speak of our testimonies to others.
3) The Gift of Revelation. This is one of my favorite gifts of the spirit and one we all have the opportunity to partake of. The gift of revelations has helped me in many ways throughout my married and adult life and I am sure to some extent my life as a kid as well. One story comes to mind when thinking about this gift.
It was the summer of 2009 and I was suffering extensively in a job that was causing so much stress and anxiety that I would literally become ill at work to the point of losing consciousness. The stress was causing such a strain on me and my family I was at a loss for what I needed to do.
I had applied for school but was told that I would not be admitted that year leaving me with no other options. I knew I needed to get out of that job and so I had been praying for weeks on what I needed to do. I had no other jobs lined up and no hope for good employment at that time. My wife was pregnant working a part time job. It was through prayer that I received the revelation that I needed to quit that job and It could not wait any longer. I was confused by this revelation (after all why would God tell me that I needed to go unemployed and essentially have my family risk homelessness and starvation) but I followed through with it and quit the next day.
What I did not know is that I would in the end get into school. As I jumped around to a few different jobs which paid quite a bit less over the next month or so I got into school. God knew the plan and he provided that revelation of what I needed to do. This gift is there for anyone who cares to actively seek it out through heartfelt prayer.
It was a year later. My 8 months university course was done and I still had no job. My funding dried up a month before my schooling was done. I once again received revelation through a blessing. The gift of revelation was given to the one that blessed me. In that blessing these are the words that were spoken. “If you will pray one last time for a job tonight then you are promised to have a job before the week is out”. At this point I was skeptical but I prayed anyway. I figured I have nothing left to lose. The next day I was offered a job that I have been at ever since.
The gift of revelation can play a vital and important role in our lives if we will listen to and actively seek it out.
4) Visions: This is one of those spiritual gifts that I would say is exceptionally rare. Only a few people in recorded history have had visions that we are aware of. Within the church Joseph Smith is probably the most famous of them all. When Joseph wanted to know which of all the churches was true he prayed about it. In Joseph’s own words he described his first visions as follows. This is recorded in Joseph Smith History in the Pearl of Great Price.
“… the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!
My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)—and which I should join.
I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”
He again forbade me to join with any of them; and many other things did he say unto me, which I cannot write at this time. When I came to myself again, I found myself lying on my back, looking up into heaven. When the light had departed, I had no strength;…”
5) Healing: This gift can apply in many different ways. As priesthood holders we have the ability to pronounce blessing of healing on the sick and afflicted. But this Gift of healing goes quite a bit farther beyond that. Doctors and nurses as well as other medical professionals can be quite talented and healing the sick and injured. But we also can have the gift of healing. I personally have experienced this gift of healing from severe depression. We can be gifted to heal quickly from our ailments in many ways.Everyone has this blessing and gift to some extent, we just have to be open to receiving it.
Gifts of the spirit are given to us from God for our benefit and blessing. It is important to not only recognized the gifts that we have but to use those gifts to bless the lives of others. We were not given these gifts to remain silent and keep them to our selves. God expects us to use them to bless others. If we do not use these blessing in this way we will loose them. God will not be pleased by our selfishness. Lets be sure to not only recognize our spiritual gifts but to use them to bless the lives of all those we associated with.
And that is the gospel according to Andrew