Q&A: Questions and Answers
January 1996

“Q&A: Questions and Answers,” New Era, Jan. 1996, 17

Questions and Answers

Answers are intended for help and perspective, not as pronouncements of Church doctrine.

I don’t have any talents. I can’t play an instrument, sing, dance, or draw. And I’m not a very good student. We have lessons about how we should develop our talents, but what if you don’t have any?

New Era

Not all talents require an audience. It’s great when someone can play music or act or do well in school. But to limit talents just to public performance is unfair. Many are blessed with more personal abilities, such as being a good listener or helping others to feel comfortable.

And although they’re not identical to talents, the scriptures tell us we should “always retain in your minds what those gifts are, that are given unto the church.

“For … there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God … that all may be profited thereby” (D&C 46:10–12).

These gifts include many things “not visible to the natural vision,” such as knowing by the Holy Ghost that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, believing on the words of others, and speaking with tongues, which Joseph Smith taught was a God-given gift to be used to teach the gospel to people in their own language. (See Teachings, pp. 244, 148–49, 195, 247.) Think of all the missionaries who have a gift for teaching in another tongue!

The Logan Ward early-morning seminary class in Brisbane, Australia, sent several thoughts about talents. They said, “You must have some, because Heavenly Father gave us all talents. You might be overlooking yours.”

So how do you find these talents, abilities, and spiritual gifts? Try new things and see if you like them. You may discover a talent for logical thinking after learning to debate. Or you might find you have mechanical skill when helping your mom or dad fix things around the house.

Remember, “every good gift cometh of Christ” (Moro. 10:18). Take each opportunity to learn. Failing when trying to learn to watercolor isn’t important. If you learn a little about art, you can go to a gallery and appreciate how talented the artists on display are.

The seminary students also wrote, “Not all talents are hobbies.” Being a good friend is a talent. Sharing your testimony and being able to put into words what you believe are great gifts. Being able to teach is a skill.

You might not recognize how blessed you are. When talents come easily, you start thinking they aren’t a big deal. For example, you may be very organized. That’s an ability that can help make a Mutual activity a big success. You might be a good baby-sitter. That may lead to a special interest in working with children. You might be dependable.

The list goes on and on. Be patient. Learning about yourself, your interests, and your abilities takes time. But as you come to recognize your strengths, you can expand on them.


Last year I was noticing how I didn’t have any “real” talents. Then I received my patriarchal blessing. It said, “You have a special gift to work with people.” When I heard that, I knew what my talent was and decided to do whatever I could to pursue that talent. I was called as the Beehive president and have been striving to do what I can to be a good leader for the Beehives of my ward.

Sherry Olson, 14
Sonora, California

Talents don’t just come in athletics, music, or art, but your personality is also a talent. It is a talent you can work on and improve. For example, people that smile and are just plain friendly have a talent of spreading happiness.

Johnny Wudel, 16
Mesa, Arizona

The funny thing about talents is that we think they have to be something marvelous that people will notice right away. But we forget about those special talents that are within us. It’s the talents from out hearts that the Lord looks at. Sometimes knowing that I receive eternal blessings from the Lord is better than applause from an audience or an award.

Angel Linville, 18
Renton, Washington

Give service to others. Talents aren’t limited to performance. The best talents are often the ones that make others happy. And you create happiness for yourself along the way.

Amy Clark, 15
Moreno Valley, California

I’ve found many new hidden talents that have been waiting to be expressed. You just need to be patient, and someday you’ll realize that you’ve found a new talent or you’ve had a talent all along that you never knew you had. In my opinion, patience is the key.

Jon McBride, 14
Salt Lake City, Utah

There are also spiritual talents such as having the ability to feel, listen, and understand the promptings of the Spirit, and being faithful to those things you have been taught which are true. These are also important talents which need to be nurtured and developed. Search inside yourself. They are there.

Emily Edwards, 16
Rexburg, Idaho

One suggestion is to talk to your parents or grandparents because some talents are hereditary. Also others may be able to see hidden talents you can’t see yourself, so ask them.

Megan Sangster, 14
Stevensville, Montana

The Lord blessed everyone with talents. My family encouraged me to try many different things to see what I did well. Just seek out different ideas, and you’ll find that you strike gold in many activities.

Rebecca Morrissey, 15
Portland, Oregon

Photography by Bryant Livingston; posed by models

Christ taught the truths of the gospel in parables. In the parable of the talents (see Matt. 25:15–30), the master entrusts each servant with talents. One servant, because of fear, does nothing with the talent he is given. The Lord has given us a way to overcome our fear of men. He told us to pray always and he will help us in everything we do. (See 2 Ne. 32:9.) (Painting by Harry Anderson.)