“May 3–9. Doctrine and Covenants 46–48: ‘Seek Ye Earnestly the Best Gifts,’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: Doctrine and Covenants 2021 (2020)
“May 3–9. Doctrine and Covenants 46–48,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2021
Record Your Impressions
As Parley P. Pratt, Oliver Cowdery, Ziba Peterson, and Peter Whitmer Jr. left Kirtland and moved on to other fields of labor, they left over one hundred converts who had plenty of zeal but little experience or direction. There were no instructional handbooks, no leadership training meetings, no broadcasts of general conference—in fact, there weren’t even very many copies of the Book of Mormon to go around. Many of these new believers had been drawn to the restored gospel by the promise of marvelous manifestations of the Spirit, especially those they knew about from studying the New Testament (see, for example, 1 Corinthians 12:1–11). Soon, some unusual expressions of worship—including falling to the ground or writhing like a snake—were introduced into their Church meetings. Many found it hard to discern which manifestations were of the Spirit and which were not. Seeing the confusion, Joseph Smith prayed for help. The Lord’s answer is equally valuable today, when people often reject or ignore the things of the Spirit. The Lord revealed that spiritual manifestations are real and clarified what they are—gifts from a loving Heavenly Father, “given for the benefit of those who love [Him] and keep all [His] commandments” (Doctrine and Covenants 46:9).
Meetings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints should be among the most welcoming and inspiring gatherings in the world. How does the Lord counsel us in Doctrine and Covenants 46:1–6 to receive those who attend our meetings? Do your friends and people in your neighborhood feel welcome at your ward’s worship services? What are you doing to make your Church meetings places that people want to return to? Ponder how your efforts to follow the Holy Ghost in Church meetings can affect your experience.
The early Saints believed in spiritual gifts but needed some guidance about their purpose. As you study about gifts of the Spirit using Doctrine and Covenants 46:7–33, ponder why it is important that you “always [remember] for what they are given” (verse 8). Consider how these verses apply to this statement from Elder Robert D. Hales: “These gifts are given to those who are faithful to Christ. They will help us know and teach the truths of the gospel. They will help us bless others. They will guide us back to our Heavenly Father” (“Gifts of the Spirit,” Ensign, Feb. 2002, 16). What else do you learn from these verses about spiritual manifestations? How can these truths help you “not be deceived”? (verse 8).
Ponder what your spiritual gifts are—and how you can use them “for the benefit of the children of God” (verse 26). If you have a patriarchal blessing, it likely identifies gifts you have been given.
See also Gospel Topics, “Spiritual Gifts,” topics.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
John Whitmer’s calling to keep a history of the Church continued a long tradition of record keepers among God’s people (see 2 Nephi 29:11–12; Moses 6:5; Abraham 1:28, 31). In fact, the position of Church Historian and Recorder still exists today. Why do you think keeping a history is so important to the Lord? Ponder this as you read His instructions to John Whitmer about this assignment in section 47. Also consider what personal experiences you need to record. For example, what has the Lord taught you that you want preserved?
As you ponder these questions, consider this insight from Elder Marlin K. Jensen of the Seventy, who served as Church Historian and Recorder from 2005 to 2012:
“We keep records to help us remember. … We desire to help Church members remember the great things God has done for His children. … Lessons from the past help us cope with our present and give us hope for our future” (“There Shall Be a Record Kept among You,” Ensign, Dec. 2007, 28, 33).
To learn more about the work currently being done under the direction of the Church Historian, visit history.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
- Doctrine and Covenants 46:2–6.
What can we do as a family to ensure that others feel welcome at our Church meetings? (see also 3 Nephi 18:22–23). The picture that accompanies this outline could add to this discussion.
- Doctrine and Covenants 46:7–26.
What spiritual gifts do we see in each other? How can those gifts bless our family?
- Doctrine and Covenants 47.
How can you encourage your family to record their personal histories throughout the week? You could share some entries from your personal journal or share a story about an ancestor (see FamilySearch.org). Some families set aside a few minutes each week for everyone to write in their journals. You might provide some journal prompts, like “What happened this week that you would like your grandchildren to know about?” or “How did you see the Lord’s hand in your life this week?” Young children could draw pictures of their experiences, or you could record them telling their stories. What blessings come from keeping a “regular history”? (verse 1).
- Doctrine and Covenants 48.
The Saints in Ohio were commanded to share their land with those who were moving to Ohio from the eastern United States. What can we share to meet the needs of others?
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.
Suggested song: “Have I Done Any Good?” Hymns, no. 223.