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Sunday, April 24, 2016

A Spiritual Call to Arms, Part 3 (The Invitation)

Spiritual Gifts 101


Very few people (if any, including and especially myself) have at best a basic, fundamental level of understanding regarding spiritual gifts. Brother Joseph seemed to agree:

"All the gifts of the Spirit are not visible to the natural vision, or understanding of man; indeed very few of them are," (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 244).

Ignorance permeates our knowledge of spiritual gifts. For example, some believe that spiritual gifts are only bestowed on church leaders. This is false doctrine:

Elder Bruce R. McConkie said,
“Revelations are not reserved for a limited few or for those called to positions of importance in the Church. It is not position in the Church that confers spiritual gifts. . . . Rather it is personal righteousness; it is keeping the commandments; it is seeking the Lord while he may be found. God is no respecter of persons. He will give revelation to me and to you on the same terms and conditions” (Improvement Era, December 1969, p. 85).
Another error: spiritual gifts are only for faithful priesthood holders. Again, this is a false doctrine. Spiritual gifts know no gender. Like men, women have exercised spiritual gifts throughout history, including this dispensation:
"The Lord offers to his daughters every spiritual gift and blessing that can be obtained by his sons." - (President Joseph Fielding Smith, “Magnifying Our Callings in the Priesthood,” Improvement Era, June 1970, p. 66; emphasis mine).
"Many of us already have spiritual gifts, but we sometimes fail to recognize them. We may think they are reserved for people with special needs or callings. For the same reason, we may neglect to earnestly seek spiritual gifts, even though they have been promised to us." (Relief Society General Presidency, “Seeking the Best Gifts,” Ensign, Jan. 1997, p. 55) 
Elder McConkie also declared in Nauvoo at the dedication of the Monument to Women:
“Where spiritual things are concerned, as pertaining to all of the gifts of the Spirit, with reference to the receipt of revelation, the gaining of testimonies, and the seeing of visions, in all matters that pertain to godliness and holiness and which are brought to pass as a result of personal righteousness in all these things men and women stand in a position of absolute equality before the Lord. He is no respecter of persons nor of sexes, and he blesses those men and those women who seek him and serve him and keep his commandments.” (Ensign, Jan. 1979, p. 61; emphasis mine)
Another falsehood: No one has all spiritual gifts. While it's true that "all have not every gift given unto them," everybody has at least one spiritual gift (D&C 46:11) while "unto some it may be given to have all those gifts" (D&C 46:29).

Seek After The Best Gifts


No matter how many gifts you have, God invites you to seek after (D&C 46:8) and covet (1 Corinthians 12:31) "the best gifts" and "lay hold upon every good gift" (Moroni 10:7-8, 17-18, 24-25, 30). You're enthusiastically invited to receive more; they're yours for the asking.

Before proceeding too far, it's helpful to know that the Lord has established some conditions in the usage of these gifts:

1. They are to bear record of the Father and of the Son (D&C 20:27).
2. They are to be used “in the name of Christ” (D&C 46:31).
3. We should ask “in the Spirit” (D&C 46:30).
4. They are to be used in the service of others, not to gratify our pride or achieve our ambitions (see D&C 46:12, 26).
5. They are not to be sought as signs (D&C 46:9).
6. We must thank God “for whatsoever blessing [we] are blessed with” (D&C 46:32).
7. We “must practice virtue and holiness before [the Lord] continually” (D&C 46:33).

You can read some pretty long lists of spiritual gifts in D&C 46:13-25, 1 Corinthians 12:3-10 and Moroni 10:7-16. Additionally, here is a pretty comprehensive list of 37 spiritual gifts.

But these lists of gifts are not intended to be all-inclusive. Elder McConkie noted that,
"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], p. 371).

So Many Gifts...Where Do You Begin?


The admonition to seek the "best gifts" implies a difference in the quality or usefulness of these gifts to an individual. It would be difficult to say that one gift is "better" than another in an absolute sense.

But surely, particular gifts can be of greater use to an individual at a certain time, in connection with his or her responsibilities and life's work.

For example:

The Gift of Faith: How can you move forward in exercising spiritual gifts unless you have read or heard, and believe in, the promises God has set forth regarding spiritual gifts?

The Greek word for faith, pistis, implies certainty, confidence, trust and assurance. Those with this gift have a degree of confidence in God that empowers them by living boldly and manifesting their faith in mighty ways. All of us have the opportunity to receive the Gift of Faith:
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:" (Ephesians 2:8-9)
The Gift of Charity: Armed with your belief in God's promises, you can seek out and receive another foundational gift: Charity. With that Christlike love, your motives will be aligned and squared with God. You'll also be better prepared to receive intimations from the Spirit in helping others know the Savior and follow Him. Without that charity, which is founded upon God's promises, you are nothing:
"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing" (1 Corinthians 13:1–3).
The Gift of Discernment: Just because you have confidence (via faith) and proper motives (via charity) doesn't mean you can't be deceived. Quite the contrary, anyone with those two gifts poses a definite threat to Satan. No wonder Elder George Q. Cannon called the gift of discernment "a gift that is of exceeding value and one that should be enjoyed by every Latter-day Saint. … No Latter-day Saint should be without this gift, because there is such a variety of spirits in the world which seek to deceive and lead astray" ("Gospel Truth: Discourses and Writings of President George Q. Cannon", Jerreld L. Newquist, 1987, p. 156–57).
"… Every member in the restored Church of Christ could have this gift if he willed to do so. He could not be deceived with the sophistries of the world. He could not be led astray by pseudo-prophets and subversive cults. Even the inexperienced would recognize false teachings, in a measure at least. … We ought to be grateful every day of our lives for this sense which keeps alive a conscience which constantly alerts us to the dangers inherent in wrongdoers and sin." (President Stephen L Richards, Conference Report, Apr. 1950, 162–63)
"Oh, that we all had such power of discernment. That is a gift of the Spirit, to which we are entitled and we will have it as we live for it. With that gift we shall be free, to a great extent, from the deception that otherwise might lead us astray.
As the Lord gives revelations, so does Satan, each in his way. As the Lord has revelators upon the earth, so has Satan, and he is operating upon those men by his power, and they are receiving revelations, manifestations, that are just as truly of the devil as was his manifestation to Moses, to which I have referred.
We need the power of discernment. We need the inspiration of the Lord, that we may know the spirits with whom we have to deal, and recognize those who are speaking and acting under the influence of heaven, and those who are the emissaries of hell." (Elder James E. Talmage, Conference Report, April 1931, p.28)
All three of these are gifts available to all of us. With them, you can move forward with faith, exercise proper motives and effectively discriminate between good and evil.

I believe these three gifts serve as a "three-legged stool", a bedrock foundation, which must be in place before any other gifts can be sought after and exercised.

For example:
  • What good is a gift if you don't have faith in God's promises?
  • What good is a gift if you haven't received the gift of charity? What if your desires are based on your own personal agenda, and not the true needs of another?
  • What could happen if you're praying for interactions with heavenly beings, or desiring dreams or visions, without having received the gift of discernment?

An Invitation...for You


The Lord is extremely anxious to share with you as many gifts as you seek.

Several years ago, I asked Father for a gift. Soon, I was prompted to "sacrifice" something of mine to Him. I put quotes around sacrifice because looking back on it, it wasn't a sacrifice at all. It was an invitation to do something that would enhance my reception of the gift.

I immersed myself in a study of that gift. My personal gospel study revolved around that gift. My prayers included pleadings to Father that I be granted the opportunity to better understand, by experience, the things I was learning. Those opportunities came. I did well with some of the opportunities and utterly failed with others. Despite the failures, God was dedicated to ensuring I clearly understood every opportunity and passed every test. Within a year, it was very clear that the gift had been bestowed upon me.

But that wasn't the end. No, not at all. The Lord treated that gift as a "starting point". I was given more opportunities to learn, to be tested, to pass or fail and try again. More came. And still more came.

Our puny mortal minds tend to see things like a snapshot or moment in time, whereas God looks at them as a frame in a motion picture.

We ask for one, and He offers us a hundred.

We ask for a gift. He offers us the entire sleigh.
"Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen." (Ephesians 3:20-21)
I invite you to join me. Let's learn together what it takes to seek after and receive these gifts. Let's put God to the test! Let's see if He really will "do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think" with respect to the things He wishes to give us the most -- His gifts!

And you know what?

It all starts with one thing.

We'll start examining that in my next post.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

A Spiritual Call to Arms, Part 2 (Why Don't We See Spiritual Gifts Very Often)

In my last post, we examined several quotes - from the New Testament, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, various statements by Joseph Smith and other apostles - conclusively explaining that those who have received the Holy Ghost can and do manifest spiritual gifts. 

Today, many (millions of) people fervently believe that they have received the Holy Ghost. 

If that's true, then shouldn't they be experiencing and/or manifesting at least some spiritual gifts?

[Hmmmm, let's pause and ponder that question for a minute.]

Maybe we should be asking, "Are spiritual gifts are being manifest today?"
  • Where are the people who are seeing heaven?
  • Where are the people who are being healed - for example, opening the eyes of the blind, or unstopping the ears of the deaf?
  • Where are the prophecies?
  • Where are the old men dreaming dreams, and the young men seeing visions, just as Pres. Hinckley promised?
  • Where are the angels?
  • Where is the power over evil spirits?
  • Why do many believe that only missionaries can be recipients of the gift of tongues/interpretation of tongues?
  • Why do we not hear about spiritual gifts very much anymore?

When Spiritual Gifts Are Absent


Why do we see a noticeable absence of spiritual gifts in our lives?

Could it be an indication, a symptom, that we have not fully received the Holy Ghost?

Definitely. 
"Because faith is wanting, the fruits are. No man since the world was had faith without having something along with it. The ancients quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, women received their dead, etc. By faith the worlds were made. A man who has none of the gifts has no faith; and he deceives himself, if he supposes he has. Faith has been wanting, not only among the heathen, but in professed Christendom also, so that tongues, healings, prophecy, and prophets and apostles, and all the gifts and blessings have been wanting." (Joseph Smith, Jr., TPJS p. 270; emphasis mine)
"No one who has been born of the Spirit, and who remains sufficiently faithful, is left destitute of a Spiritual Gift. A person who is without a Spiritual Gift, has not the Spirit of God dwelling in him, in a sufficient degree, to save him; he cannot be called a Saint, or a child of God; for all Saints who constitute the Church of Christ, are baptized into the same Spirit; and each one, without any exception, is made a partaker of some Spiritual Gift." (Orson Pratt, Masterful Discourses, p. 539-41; emphasis mine)
Those are some pretty tough, direct words. Not a lot of ambiguity there. The scriptures, the statements by Joseph Smith and other apostles and even logic are harmonious: 
  • If you have truly received the Holy Ghost, then spiritual gifts will be manifest in your life. 
  • Conversely, if you are not experiencing gifts of the spirit, then quite likely, you are not receiving the Holy Ghost as you should.
Don't take my word for it. Here's Elder George Q Cannon:
"Yet we find, even among those who have embraced the Gospel, hearts of unbelief. How many of you, my brethren and sisters, are seeking for these gifts that God has promised to bestow? How many of you, when you bow before your Heavenly Father in your family circle or in your secret places, contend for these gifts to be bestowed upon you? How many of you ask the Father, in the name of Jesus, to manifest Himself to you through these powers and these gifts? Or do you go along day by day like a door turning on its hinges, without having any feeling upon the subject, without exercising any faith whatever; content to be baptized and be members of the Church, and to rest there, thinking that your salvation is secure because you have done this?" 
"There is not that diligence, there is not that faith, there is not that seeking for the power of God that there should be among a people who have received the precious promises we have. Instead of the sick being healed, why, it is as much as you can do to get faith to believe that the administration of an elder will be attended with effect. There is not that seeking for the gift of healing and for the gift to be healed that there ought to be among the Saints. And so with other gifts and graces that God has placed in His Church for His people.
I feel to bear testimony to you, my brethren and sisters, just as these prophets have done, that God is the same today as He was yesterday; that God is willing to bestow these gifts upon His children. I know that God is willing to heal the sick, that He is willing to bestow the gift of discerning of spirits, the gift of wisdom, of knowledge and of prophecy, and other gifts that may be needed." (Elder George Q Cannon, Millennial Star, Apr. 1894, pp. 260-61)
I'm going to be uncharacteristically blunt here for a few minutes:

The conditions Elder Cannon described in 1894 are not only alive and well 122 years later, they're considerably worse...today. 

Why Don't We See Spiritual Gifts Very Often?


As Elder Cannon noted above, it has something to do with diligence:

Apathy: Even though we're told to seek after and covet the best gifts, other things tend to rise on our priority lists:
  • Violence and Sex: Which has the higher priority in your life -- various forms of entertainment, or God?
  • Organized Sports: Which do you spend more time doing -- watching sports or personally developing an intimate relationship with God?
  • Babylon: Which has the higher priority in your life: the manufacture, promotion, sale or purchasing of the works of men's hands which constitute idolatry, or God?
  • Mammon: Which has the higher priority in your life: the pursuit, lure or promise of riches (as opposed to seeking self sufficiency; there is a difference), or God?
Here are two more which seem kind of ironic to me:
  • Author Elevation: Prioritizing the opinions and insights of a mortal author, while neglecting the writings of God in the Standard Works. For example, I'm astounded by how many people I know who have read LDS-related books regarding the last days, yet have neglected to deeply immerse themselves in Isaiah and Jeremiah.
  • Online Interaction: Interacting with (or "helping" or "spiritually growing with", etc) other saints in online chat rooms, forums, blogs, groups and messaging apps for hours a day, while time with spouses, children and even God is de-emphasized and de-prioritized.
Just where are your priorities these days? When God soon unleashes His judgments upon mankind prior to Christ's second coming, do you really think your focus on making money or online interactions -- instead of spending time with your family, drinking from the word of God or studying such things as spiritual gifts -- will be of greater, long-term benefit? Do you really think your casual apathy of today will somehow be magically forgotten when you're needing God's protection the most in the near future?

Ignorance: God has given us latter-day saints truly phenomenal amounts of knowledge. Unfortunately, for the most part, we tend to not know very much about spiritual gifts. 

If we do, we probably know the 7th Article of Faith. Even better: we know three different portions of scripture -- 1 Corinthians 12:3-11, Moroni 10:7-16 and D&C 46:6-25 -- and that's about it. 

Our ignorance often surfaces when it comes to knowing the details about even the greatest gifts. For example: 
  • What is probably the greatest exposition ever written (outside today's Standard Works) on faith?
  • How can someone proactively exercise the gift of charity?
  • How can someone be sure their gift of discernment is actively working? 
  • Can only men exercise the gift of healing?
  • Which gift is so great, that no man can have it, except he should possess the power of God? Can only the President of the Church possess this gift? 
"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because 
thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou
shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law
of thy God, I will also forget thy children." (Hosea 4:6)

Denial: I have personally witnessed the following beliefs from active, temple-going members of the church:
  • Spiritual gifts don't exist at all (as opposed to fervently believing in spiritual gifts, but just wondering where their manifestations are).
  • One must be extremely righteous to seek after and exercise spiritual gifts.
  • Only church leaders can exercise spiritual gifts.
  • Only men can exercise spiritual gifts.
  • It's alright to shun or chastise those who dare to speak about spiritual gifts. 
  • Anyone who has exercised spiritual gifts is suffering from delusion, schizophrenia or another mental disorder. 
  • Seeking after spiritual gifts will attract too much evil opposition, and thus, it's better (and safer) to leave well enough alone.
  • Any spiritual gift that's exercised must be evil.
"And again I speak unto you who deny the revelations of God, and say that they are done away, that there are no revelations, nor prophecies, nor gifts, nor healing, nor speaking with tongues, and the interpretation of tongues;
Behold I say unto you, he that denieth these things knoweth not the gospel of Christ; yea, he has not read the scriptures; if so, he does not understand them." (Mormon 9:7-8)

Do You Lack What You Think You Have?


I think the biggest reason why we don't see very many spiritual gifts being exercised today is because we lack the influence, perhaps even the companionship, of the Holy Ghost in our daily lives.

You may be tempted to say right now, "Well, Mr. LDS Perfect Day, I'll have you know that I've been baptized and given the Gift of the Holy Ghost. I've been endowed and sealed in the temple.  So I seriously doubt I'm lacking the Spirit's influence or companionship in my life."

I sincerely hope you're right. But let's examine this for a minute.

Just because you've been confirmed a member of the church doesn't mean the Holy Ghost is operative in your life: 
"The simplicity of this ordinance [confirmation] may cause us to overlook its significance. These four words—'Receive the Holy Ghost'—are not a passive pronouncement; rather, they constitute a priesthood injunction—an authoritative admonition to act and not simply to be acted upon (see 2 Nephi 2:26). The Holy Ghost does not become operative in our lives merely because hands are placed upon our heads and those four important words are spoken. As we receive this ordinance, each of us accepts a sacred and ongoing responsibility to desire, to seek, to work, and to so live that we indeed 'receive the Holy Ghost' and its attendant spiritual gifts. 'For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift' (D&C 88:33)." (Elder David A. Bednar, "Receive the Holy Ghost", October 2010 General Conference, emphasis mine)
Elder Boyd K. Packer mirrored Elder Bednar's comments six months earlier when he said that there's a difference between having authority and having power in the priesthood:
"We have done very well at distributing the authority of the priesthood. We have priesthood authority planted nearly everywhere. We have quorums of elders and high priests worldwide. But distributing the authority of the priesthood has raced, I think, ahead of distributing the power of the priesthood. The priesthood does not have the strength that it should have and will not have until the power of the priesthood is firmly fixed in the families as it should be." ("Priesthood", April 2010 General Conference, emphasis mine).
Indeed, even the Lord said that professing discipleship, doing good works or even performing miracles isn't enough:
"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
And then will I say, Ye never knew me: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." (JST Matthew 7:21-23; emphasis mine).

So, Here's The Bottom Line

If you're not seeing the gifts of the spirit being
manifest in your life, or if anything mentioned
above even remotely resonated with you, repent.
While you still can. 

I'm not necessarily advising you go talk to your bishop or make some kind of public declaration. Don't complicate this! Just kneel down; acknowledge your weaknesses before God; ask, from the depths of your heart, for His mercy in forgiving your omissions; then ask for His strength in turning your weakness into a strength. It really is that simple. 

Here's how Elder George Q. Cannon approached this topic (of our lackadaisical attitude towards seeking after the best gifts):
"I say to you, in the name of the Lord, as one of His servants, that you have need to repent of this. You have need to repent of your hardness of heart, of your indifference, and of your carelessness." (Elder George Q Cannon, Millennial Star, Apr. 1894, pp. 260-61)
Now I don't think the Lord expects us to kiss goodbye sports, movies, TV and online interactions entirely. But I do think he expects us to use what little time we have here on earth wisely, and to better prioritize both He and the Spirit in our lives. In other words, to "diligently seek him"…
"And it came to pass after I, Nephi, having heard all the words of my father, concerning the things which he saw in a vision, and also the things which he spake by the power of the Holy Ghost, which power he received by faith on the Son of God-and the Son of God was the Messiah who should come-I, Nephi, was desirous also that I might see, and hear, and know of these things, by the power of the Holy Ghost, which is the gift of God unto all those who diligently seek him, as well in times of hold as in the time that he should manifest himself unto the children of men." (1 Nephi 10:17; emphasis mine)
Note that the Lord asks us to seek Him, not power. Even if you're seeking power to serve God, we mortals have an abysmal track record when it comes to constantly keeping our motives in check (D&C 121:37). All too often, we ask, and receive not, because we ask amiss, so we can consume it upon our lusts (James 4:3). The Lord Himself walked us through the proper steps:
"Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men." (D&C 11:21; emphasis mine)
Ahhh, desire. The only proof of our true desire is the diligence with which we persist until we receive. This can start by sincerely praying, diligently seeking and carefully heeding God regarding your most needed gifts:
"If any of us are imperfect, it is our duty to pray for the gift that will make us perfect. Have I imperfections? I am full of them. What is my duty? To pray to God to give me the gifts that will correct these imperfections. If I am an angry man, it is my duty to pray for charity, which suffereth long and is kind. Am I an envious man? It is my duty to seek for charity, which envieth not." (Elder George Q Cannon, Millennial Star, Apr. 1894, p. 260-61) 
…and obeying anything the Lord says to you, no matter if it's in the scriptures or prayer:
"As in the early Christian era, Mormonism challenged the world to believe, and declared that the signs Christ promised would follow those who complied with the formula of faith. Missionaries like Orson Pratt preached continually on the need of the gifts of the Spirit, as manifestations of saving faith. While on a short mission in Michigan Territory, Joseph Smith declared, 'If you will obey the Gospel with honest hearts, I promise you, in the name of the Lord, that the gifts as promised by our Saviour will follow you, and by this you may prove me to be a true servant of God.'" (Quoted by Edward Stevenson, Reminiscences of Joseph, the Prophet, and the Coming Forth of the Book of Mormon (1893), p. 4) 
On this note, I'm going to leave you to ponder what I've said and to talk with God about it.

If you'd like some insights on which gifts might be good ones to start pursuing, stay tuned for Part 3.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

A Spiritual Call to Arms, Part 1 (When You Have the Spirit, You Experience Spiritual Gifts)

An Ancient Outpouring of the Spirit


In about a month, it'll be Pentecost. It's an important date in Judeo-Christianity. In Judaism, Pentecost commemorates God's giving the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai, 49 days after the Exodus. In Christianity, it's celebrated fifty days after Easter Sunday, inclusively (i.e., 49 days with the first day counted, seven weeks) -- hence its name, Pentēkostē, or "the fiftieth [day]".

Almost 2,000 years ago, about 120 early Christians (Acts 1:15), including the Twelve Apostles (including Matthias, Judas' replacement; Acts 1:13, 26), Christ's mother, Mary, and his brothers (Acts 1:14) all gathered in the Upper Room (Luke 22:12-13). What happened next is summarized is in Acts 2:1-6:
"And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other languages, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language."
As a result, Peter declared that the event was the fulfillment of Joel's prophecy in Joel 2:28-29 (Acts 2:17) and that it was the beginning of a continual outpouring of the Spirit that would be available to all believers from that point on, Jews and Gentiles alike.

Yet once all the Apostles were deceased, there was a noticeable decrease of (even a cessation in) manifestations of spiritual gifts. No wonder we call that era "The Dark Ages" or, simply, "The Great Apostasy".

The Link Between the Holy Ghost and Spiritual Gifts


Pentecost was a collective event which demonstrated the inexorable link between the reception of the Holy Ghost and the manifestation of spiritual gifts.

The same holds true for you, too:
And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;" (Mark 16:17; emphasis mine) 
"Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied." (Acts 19:4-6; emphasis mine)
"Yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel" (2 Ne. 31:13; emphasis mine)
"For I am God, and mine arm is not shortened; and I will show miracles, signs, and wonders, unto all those who believe on my name.
And whoso shall ask it in my name in faith, they shall cast out devils; they shall heal the sick; they shall cause the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak, and the lame to walk.'' (D&C 35:8-9
Therefore, as I said unto mine apostles I say unto you again, that every soul who believeth on your words, and is baptized by water for the remission of sins, shall receive the Holy Ghost.
And these signs shall follow them that believe
-
In my name they shall do many wonderful works;
In my name they shall cast out devils;
In my name they shall heal the sick;
In my name they shall open the eyes of the blind, and unstop the ears of the deaf;
And the tongue of the dumb shall speak;
And if any man shall administer poison unto them it shall not hurt them;
And the poison of a serpent shall not have power to harm them." (D&C 84:64-72; emphasis mine)
In fact, when Joseph Smith passed through Cincinnati in June 1831, he spoke briefly with Walter Scott, one of the founders of the Campbellites:
"Before the close of our interview, he [Scott] manifested one of the bitterest spirits against the doctrine of the New Testament (that 'these signs shall follow them that believe,' as recorded in Mark the 16th chapter,) that I ever witnessed among men." (Joseph Smith, Jr., HC 1:188)
Brother Joseph also taught,
"No man can receive the Holy Ghost without receiving revelations. The Holy Ghost is a revelator" (TPJS, p. 328; emphasis mine)
Later, Elder Orson Pratt echoed this point:
"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." (Orson Pratt, Masterful Discourses, p. 539-41; emphasis mine) 
I really like this insight from Apostle Charles W. Penrose, who differentiated between the fruits of the spirit and the gifts of the spirit.:
"[The gift of the Holy Ghost's] internal fruits are faith, knowledge, wisdom, joy, peace, patience, temperance, long suffering, brotherly kindness and charity. Its external gifts are manifested in prophecies, visions, discernments, healings, miracles, power over evil spirits, speaking in various tongues, interpretation of tongues, etc." ("Mormon Doctrine, Plain and Simple," p. 17; emphasis mine)
All of this makes a lot of sense to me: When you have truly received the gift of the Holy Ghost, when it is truly residing in you, the "believer", the Holy Ghost will manifest its presence within you through its fruits and gifts.

Does it make sense to you, too?

Good. I'm glad to hear that. We'll continue this conversation in my next post, "A Spiritual Call to Arms, Part 2".