Recently I was told In my patriarchal blessing that I have the gift of prophecy. I had a sunday school teacher when I was younger tell us that he also had it, and he explained that he could prophesy about those whom he had stewardship over. I was told by my patriarch that the gift of prophecy is the ability to know with a surety that the gospel is true. Could you please shed some light on the subject for me as to which is correct? Also, is this all there is to the gift, or is there more related to it? Thank you very much!!
The gift of prophecy is something of a spectrum that rests on the spirit of prophecy, which is “the testimony of Jesus” Christ (Revelation 19:10). On the simplest level, if something so profound can be called simple, it is to have seemingly hidden truths revealed to you. The gift of revelation is often classified alongside it, and it can be viewed as a sort of subset to revelation. The difference is that the gift of revelation is the means by which truth can be confirmed (I already have a testimony that God loves me, yet today I was reassured of it again by the spirit of revelation), whereas the gift of prophecy uncovers some hidden truth (as in Alma and Amulek knowing Zeezrom’s thoughts through the gift of prophecy (Alma 12:7)). These truths can pertain to past, present, or future.
The world often thinks of foretelling future events when talking about prophecies, and this is certainly a portion of it. The apostle Heber C. Kimball was particularly blessed with this gift. “President Brigham Young, on more than one occasion said: ‘Heber is my prophet, and I love to hear him prophesy’” (J. Golden Kimball, 1930). One particular story that I enjoy was related by Elder Gene R. Cook in an Area Council Meeting in 1980.
“One time, Heber C. Kimball of the First Presidency made a prophecy to a poor man something like this, ‘I prophesy to you that in six months you will have three cows and three horses.’ Six months later, the man came to him and said, ‘The time of your prophecy has passed. Today your prophecy is to be fulfilled, and I don’t have three horses and three cows. I only have three horses and two cows.’ Then Heber C. Kimball said, ‘It is a poor prophet who can’t fulfill his own prophecy. Take one of mine.’”
Of course, all your standard principles of revelation apply to prophecy: you can only receive it for your own stewardship; it is non-binding for those outside of your stewardship; it cannot contradict the previously revealed word of God; etc.