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the gift of discernment (Richards)


I mention the gift of discernment ( D&C 46:27), embodying the power to discriminate, which has been spoken of in our hearing before particularly as between right and wrong. I believe that this gift when highly developed arises largely out of an acute sensitivity to impressions—spiritual impressions, if you will—to read under the surface as it were, to detect hidden evil, and more importantly to find the good that may be concealed. The highest type of discernment is that which perceives in others and uncovers for them their better natures, the good inherent within them...

The gift and power of discernment in this world of contention between the forces of good and the power of evil is essential equipment for every son and daughter of God. There could be no such mass dissensions as endanger the security of the world, if its populations possessed this great gift in larger degree. People are generally so gullible one is sometimes led to wonder whether the great Lincoln was right, after all, in the conclusion of his memorable statement, "You can't fool all the people all the time."

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. With this gift they would be able to detect something of the disloyal, rebellious, and sinister influences which not infrequently prompt those who seemingly take pride in the destruction of youthful faith and loyalties. 

President Stephen L. Richards, April 1950 General Conference (emphasis added)

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