November 16, 2009

Gifts of the Spirit and Faith


This question is about gifts of the Spirit. Elder Oaks in the Sep 1986 Ensign said:

"Spiritual gifts come to those who have received the gift of the Holy Ghost. As the Prophet Joseph Smith taught, the gifts of the Spirit 'are obtained through that medium' [the Holy Ghost] and 'cannot be enjoyed without the gift of the Holy Ghost. … The world in general can know nothing about them.'"

However, one of the most freely given gifts of the Spirit, that of Faith, comes to many before they are baptized and receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost.

So is the gift of Faith (and perhaps the gift of Faith to be healed) not actually a gift of the Spirit but rather just a preparatory gift? It feels contradictory but most likely is just my limited understanding. Please let me know if you can shed light on this for me. Thanks!


1 Corinthians 12:9 and Moroni 10:11 both present the point that faith is a gift of the Spirit. Note, though, that Moroni qualifies this as "exceedingly great faith."

Joseph Smith has presented that without having the gift of the Holy Ghost you can't enjoy the gifts of the Spirit; and that the world doesn't have the gift of the Holy Ghost. However the Holy Ghost and ministering angels can work with people as much as people allow them to. There is no requirement to be a member for this to happen. But these people don't have it as a permanent gift: Only a fleeting experience.

To have the gift of the Holy Ghost with you constantly it is required to first have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore the Holy Ghost can give gifts in some measure without giving a permanent gift.

To receive the constant gift of the Holy Ghost also requires baptism. Almost everyone being baptised isn't really baptised in their hearts immediately, as their faith in Christ isn't complete at that point. It is a long process in most cases. Therefore they don't have the permanent companionship of the Holy Ghost immediately either. So the gifts come in measure also (as true heart baptism is required to have the gift).

As we follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost we become sanctified. Through seeing the blessings that come from sanctification we gain greater faith and a greater union with the Holy Ghost. Thus the gifts of the Spirit become stronger in us through the additional faith and union with the Holy Ghost, Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. This creates the "exceeding great faith" that Moroni speaks of.


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