Lesson 54: Doctrine and Covenants 46

“Lesson 54: Doctrine and Covenants 46,” Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Manual (2013)

“Lesson 54,” Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Manual

Lesson 54

Doctrine and Covenants 46


In March 1831, nearly a year after the organization of the Church, the Lord reminded the Saints that Church meetings are to be conducted by the Holy Spirit. In the same revelation, He emphasized that people who are not members of the Church are not to be cast out of public meetings. In addition to correcting the practice of excluding unbelievers from meetings, the Lord taught about the gifts of the Spirit.

Suggestions for Teaching

Doctrine and Covenants 46:1–6

The Lord instructs the Saints concerning their Church meetings

Ask students to imagine they are in charge of planning a sacrament meeting.

  • How would you know what to include in the meeting? How would you choose the music and decide who would give the talks?

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 46:1–2. Ask the class to follow along and look for instruction the Lord gave about how Church meetings are to be conducted. You may want to point out that the responsibility to conduct meetings includes the responsibility to prepare for them. Ask students to report what they find. Their responses may vary, but they should express the following principle: Church leaders are to be guided by the Holy Spirit as they conduct meetings.

  • When have you felt that leaders have been directed by the Holy Ghost in a meeting?

  • How might all Church members invite the influence of the Holy Ghost in Church meetings?

Invite students to write in their class notebooks or scripture study journals about one way they will improve their participation in Church meetings.

Write the following on the board: Visitors Welcome. Ask students to identify places where they have seen this phrase posted. Ask if they have seen it outside Church meetinghouses. Invite a student to read the section introduction for Doctrine and Covenants 46 aloud. Ask the class to follow along in their scriptures and look for whom the early Saints admitted into their meetings. Invite them to report what they find. Then ask them to read Doctrine and Covenants 46:3–6 silently, looking for phrases that corrected this early practice.

  • What can we learn from these verses about how the Lord wants us to treat others? (Students should identify the following principle: The Lord has commanded us to welcome all people to our public meetings.)

  • How can we help others know they are welcome at our Church meetings?

To help students deepen their understanding of this truth, share the following example:

A young member of the Church visits a new ward with her family for the first time. After sacrament meeting, a member of the ward greets the family and shows them where to go for Sunday School. He takes the young woman to class and introduces her to the teacher. The young men and women in the class briefly acknowledge her and then proceed to visit among themselves, ignoring her.

Encourage students to welcome those who attend Church meetings, classes, and activities.

Doctrine and Covenants 46:7–33

The Lord explains the purposes of the gifts of the Spirit

Remind students that in February 1831, Joseph Smith joined the Saints in Kirtland (see lesson 50 in this manual). When he arrived, he found that these Church members had adopted some false practices. One false practice was the exclusion of people from Church meetings, as explained earlier in this lesson. Another false practice was that some members engaged in strange behavior when they attended Church meetings. They claimed that their actions were inspired by the Holy Ghost. Some members believed them, and others felt that the behaviors were not of God. In the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 46, the Lord taught principles that would help the Saints avoid being deceived and that would help them understand true gifts of the Spirit.

  • What does it mean to be deceived? (To be misled or tricked into believing something that is not true.) Can you think of a time when you were deceived?

Ask students to read Doctrine and Covenants 46:7–8 silently and look for what the Lord counseled His people to do so they could avoid being deceived. You may want to suggest that students mark what they discover.

  • What do these verses teach about how to avoid being deceived? (Help students identify the following principle: One way to avoid being deceived is to follow the directions of the Holy Ghost in all holiness.)

  • According to verse 8, what should we earnestly seek? (The best gifts.)

Write the following on the board: If we earnestly seek the best gifts, …

As students participate in the following activity, invite them to look for blessings that will come as they seek the gifts of the Spirit. You may want to explain that gifts of the Spirit are “blessings or abilities that are given by the power of the Holy Ghost. God gives at least one of these gifts to every faithful member of the Church” (True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference [2004], 165).

Before class, write the numbers 13 through 25 and 27 in random places on a piece of paper. Then cut the paper into fourteen puzzle pieces, with one number on each puzzle piece.

Distribute the puzzle pieces among the students. Depending on the size of the class, you may need to give single puzzle pieces to small groups or give more than one puzzle piece to individual students. Invite the class to work together to assemble the puzzle.

  • In a puzzle, why is each piece important?

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 46:8–12, 26 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for the purpose of the gifts that God gives us.

  • What are the gifts of the Spirit to be used for? (“For the benefit of the children of God.”)

  • According to verse 9, to whom are the gifts of the Spirit given? (To those who love God and keep His commandments and to those who “seeketh so to do.”)

  • According to verse 11, how many of us have been given a gift of the Spirit?

  • From what you have learned in these verses, how would you complete the sentence on the board? (Though students may use different words, their responses should express the following principle: If we earnestly seek the best gifts, God will grant them to us for the benefit of others. You might suggest that students mark the phrases in their scriptures that teach this truth.)

Direct students’ attention to the puzzle they have assembled. Remind them of the importance of every piece in the puzzle.

  • Why is every member important in the Lord’s Church? (Everyone has a gift that can benefit others.)

Take the puzzle apart and give the pieces back to the students. Explain that the numbers on the pieces refer to verses in Doctrine and Covenants 46 and that each of these verses names a gift of the Spirit. Invite students to read aloud the verses that correspond to the numbers they have been given.

After each verse is read, ask students to suggest a situation in which that gift could benefit the children of God. Students may struggle to understand some of the gifts. The following explanations of a few of the gifts may help you guide their discussion:

The gift to know the differences of administration is often manifest in leaders who recognize how others’ gifts can be helpful in various positions of service.

The gift to know the diversities of operations is manifest in a person’s ability to see the differences between authentic gifts or workings of the Holy Ghost and false spirits, doctrines, or commandments.

The gift of the word of wisdom does not refer to the commandment known as the Word of Wisdom. Rather, it refers to the blessing of wisdom that comes to those who “ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally” (James 1:5).

The gift of the discerning of spirits allows a person to recognize or understand others’ true intentions and hidden motivations. This gift helps a person to detect hidden evils and to see the good in others.

The gift of tongues and the gift of interpretation of tongues are commonly manifest in missionaries who are able to learn and understand languages quickly. These gifts may also be enjoyed by people who need to overcome language barriers to learn and teach the gospel.

  • Why should we seek spiritual gifts? What do you think we can do to seek them? (It may be helpful to point out that the Lord can reveal spiritual gifts through patriarchal blessings or other priesthood blessings.)

  • When have you seen someone receive a spiritual gift to benefit others?

Ask students to search Doctrine and Covenants 46:30–33 on their own and identify four things we are to do as we use our spiritual gifts. (Answers may include that we should ask for the will of God to be done, act in the name of Jesus Christ, give thanks for the blessings we receive, and practice virtue and holiness.)

Express gratitude for the gifts of the Spirit and for their influence in your life. Give students an opportunity to do the same. Testify of the Lord’s desire for all people to know they are welcome and needed in His Church.

Commentary and Background Information

Doctrine and Covenants 46:4. Welcoming everyone to Church meetings

Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught:

Elder L. Tom Perry

“Our community of Saints is not one of exclusion but one of inclusion, built upon a foundation of apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone. It is open to all of us who love, appreciate, and have compassion for our Father in Heaven’s children” (“Building a Community of Saints,” Ensign, May 2001, 37).

Doctrine and Covenants 46:11–12. “To every man is given a gift”

Elder Orson Pratt of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught:

Elder Orson Pratt

“Whenever the Holy Ghost takes up its residence in a person, it not only cleanses, sanctifies, and purifies him, in proportion as he yields himself to its influence, but also imparts to him some gift, intended for the benefit of himself and others. No one who has been born of the Spirit, and who remains sufficiently faithful, is left destitute of a spiritual gift. …

“Each member does not receive all these gifts; but they are distributed through the whole body [of the Church], according to the will and wisdom of the Spirit. … Some may have all these gifts bestowed upon them, so as to understand them all, and be prepared to detect any spurious gifts, and to preside over the whole body of the Church, that all may be benefited. These spiritual gifts are distributed among the members of the Church, according to their faithfulness, circumstances, natural abilities, duties, and callings; that the whole may be properly instructed, confirmed, perfected, and saved” (Masterful Discourses and Writings of Orson Pratt, comp. N. B. Lundwall [1946], 539–41). (See also Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual, 2nd ed. [Church Educational System manual, 2001], 100.)

Doctrine and Covenants 46:11. Many gifts of the Spirit

Spiritual gifts are listed in Doctrine and Covenants 46 and also in 1 Corinthians 12:1–13 and Moroni 10:8–18. But these are not the only spiritual gifts we can receive. Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught:

Elder Bruce R. McConkie

“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 [1985], 371).

Doctrine and Covenants 46:12. “To some is given one, and to some is given another”

Elder Marvin J. Ashton of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said:

Elder Marvin J. Ashton

“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” (“There Are Many Gifts,” Ensign, Nov. 1987, 20).