Elder Bruce R. McConkie described the purposes and reasons for obtaining spiritual gifts:
“[The purpose of spiritual gifts] is to enlighten, encourage, and edify the faithful so that they will inherit peace in this life and be guided toward eternal life in the world to come. Their presence is proof of the divinity of the Lord’s work; where they are not found, there the Church and kingdom of God is not. The promise is that they shall never be done away as long as the earth continues in its present state, except for unbelief (Moro. 10:19), but when the perfect day comes and the saints obtain exaltation, there will be no more need for them. As Paul expressed it, ‘When that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.’ (1 Cor. 13.)
“Faithful persons are expected to seek the gifts of the Spirit with all their hearts. They are to ‘covet earnestly the best gifts’ (1 Cor. 12:31; D.&C. 46:8), to ‘desire spiritual gifts’ (1 Cor. 14:1), ‘to ask of God, who giveth liberally.’ (D.&C. 46:7; Matt. 7:7–8.) To some will be given one gift; to others, another; and ‘unto some it may be given to have all those gifts, that there may be a head, in order that every member may be profited thereby.’ (D.&C. 46:29.)” (Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. , 314).
Elder Marvin J. Ashton (1915–94) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles suggested additional gifts of the Spirit “that are not always evident or noteworthy but that are very important. Among these may be your gifts—gifts not so evident but nevertheless real and valuable.
“Let us review some of these less-conspicuous gifts: the gift of asking; the gift of listening; the gift of hearing and using a still, small voice; the gift of being able to weep; the gift of avoiding contention; the gift of being agreeable; the gift of avoiding vain repetition; the gift of seeking that which is righteous; the gift of not passing judgment; the gift of looking to God for guidance; the gift of being a disciple; the gift of caring for others; the gift of being able to ponder; the gift of offering prayer; the gift of bearing a mighty testimony; and the gift of receiving the Holy Ghost” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1987, 23; or Ensign, Nov. 1987, 20).
President Boyd K. Packer gave counsel concerning obtaining spiritual gifts:
“I must emphasize that the word ‘gift’ is of great significance, for a gift may not be demanded or it ceases to be a gift. It may only be accepted when proffered.
“Inasmuch as spiritual gifts are gifts, the conditions under which we may receive them are established by him who offers them to us. Spiritual gifts cannot be forced, for a gift is a gift. They cannot, I repeat, be forced, nor bought, nor ‘earned’ in the sense that we make some gesture in payment and expect them to automatically be delivered on our own terms.
“There are those who seek such gifts with such persistence that each act moves them further from them. And in that persistence and determination they place themselves in spiritual danger. Rather we are to live to be worthy of the gifts and they will come according to the will of the Lord.
“Brigham Young said something in his day that surely applies to ours:
“‘There is no doubt, if a person lives according to the revelations given to God’s people, he may have the Spirit of the Lord to signify to him His will, to guide his duties in his temporal as well as his spiritual exercises. I am satisfied however, that in this respect, we live far beneath our privileges.’ (Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 32.)
“Spiritual gifts belong to the Church and their existence is one of the great and abiding testimonies of the truth of the gospel. They really are not optional with the Church. Moroni taught that if they were absent then ‘awful is the state of man.’ …
“We are to seek to be worthy to receive these gifts according to the way that the Lord has directed.
“Now, I say that again—we are to seek for spiritual gifts in the Lord’s way” (“Gifts of the Spirit” [unpublished remarks at a 16-stake fireside, Brigham Young University, Jan. 4, 1987], 5–6).