Monday, July 14, 2008

D&C 46:16 - "...to know the diversities of operations..."


Three places in recorded scripture provide us with a list of gifts from the Spirit. The list includes 1st Corinthians 12, Moroni 10, and D&C 46. The lists in 1st Corinthians 12 and D&C 46 mention a gift of the Spirit that has always stuck out to me because it is not one that I would typically think about.

1st Corinthians 12:6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.

D&C 46:16 16 And again, it is given by the Holy Ghost to some to know the diversities of operations, whether they be of God, that the manifestations of the Spirit may be given to every man to profit withal.

As usual, the version given in modern scripture further clarifies the point from ancient times.

So what does this mean and who generally receives this gift of the Spirit? Many commentators seem to think that it refers to leading authorities in the church. McConkie and Ostler commented:

"Each [prophet] has been endowed with the particular gifts needed during the time of his restoration. The Prophet Joseph laid the foundation of this dispensation and no other man could. Yet, perhaps he would not have been Brigham's match in leading the Saints across the plains and colonizing the Great Basin. And so it has been with one prophet after another, each specially prepared to meet the challenges of that time for which he was called." Revelations of the Restoration, p. 366. McConkie, Joseph Fielding and Ostler, Craig J.

It would be crucial for leaders in the church to have the ability to understand all the operations and functions of the organization. We have seen two recent leaders that serve as a great examples of being blessed with this gift.

Pres. David O. McKay - President McKay presided over the church at a time of unprecedented growth, especially in Latin America. President McKay understood the use of new media in helping modernize the church. He used the talents of new Apostle Gordon B. Hinckley to develop radio and film adaptations of church materials. Surely he was inspired to understand the diversities of operations that were at his disposal as President of the Church.

President McKay also travelled extensively and met with members all over the world, the first Church President to be able to do this. He was surely inspired to lead member who for the first time saw the Lord's anointed.

Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley - As most us all know, President Hinckley, like President McKay before him, presided over the church at a time of unprecedented growth. In order to bring the blessings of the temple closer to faithful members in more remote areas. President Hinckley was inspired to direct the building of smaller temples that could be used on a smaller scale. From that time, over 70 new temples have been built and many more are either under construction or planned. Can anyone doubt that President Hinckley was called at the right time to preside and that he did have the gift of understanding the many operations of running a world-wide church.

Of course there are many more sides of this that I am not covering, but would appreciate feedback and comments on this.

5 comments:

Hans said...

One follow up question that I have is why Moroni's list does not cover this. Thoughts?

Nate said...

That's an interesting gift, and I've never given it much thought. Most gifts of the spirit are available to all who seek them and are worthy. I wonder how this gift manifests itself in more local capacities.

I have one example. I had an insane EQ President in my last ward. We had 92 families in EQ. This Pres split out 9 districts, with the presidency being responsible for 3 districts each. The presidency would then rotate which 3 they were over after a while. This way they got to know all of the families without killing themselves and their own families.

There was much more that he implemented...and his focus was amazing. In the end, the district leaders shouldered a lot of burden that a presidency just could not have handled alone. He set up a host of different activities that would bring people together in small, but different groups. The EQ became a really tight group that was very effective when it needed to step up and do something.

I guess my point is that I could see that example as being more than just a driven individual. It probably stems from a spiritual gift. It certainly was amazing to see it all work. It's sad, but I doubt I'll ever see something like it again.

Jeremy said...

I have always taught that this gift refers to the workings, results or effects of the various spiritual gifts. That said, the gift gives one the ability to distinguish between the things of God and the things of the adversary.

In that same vein, I believe this gift goes hand-in-hand with the gift to know the differences of asministration (D&C 46:15). He who holds the gift to know the differences of adminstration is one who can correctly discern the services and agencies by which the Lord works. The Lord blesses His children jointly through these two gifts.

Hans said...

I agree with Jeremy on this point, that presiding elders usually have both of these gifts at their disposal to function in their position.

Jason said...

What is he doing in that photo above? It almost looks like he is using a seer stone to read the scriptures, lol.