I am fascinated by spiritual gifts and their manifestations. The number and diversity of spiritual gifts are as numberless and diverse as each individual. The Lord promises that His children receive at least one gift, but aren’t limited to that. In fact, He commands us to seek and ask for spiritual gifts so we can know of His abundance, avoid deception and benefit others.
But ye are commanded in all things to ask of God, who giveth liberally; and that which the Spirit testifies unto you even so I would that ye should do in all holiness of heart, walking uprightly before me, considering the end of your salvation, doing all things with prayer and thanksgiving, that ye may not be seduced by evil spirits, or doctrines of devils, or the commandments of men; for some are of men, and others of devils.
Wherefore, beware lest ye are deceived; and that ye may not be deceived seek ye earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given;
For verily I say unto you, they are given for the benefit of those who love me and keep all my commandments, and him that seeketh so to do; that all may be benefited that seek or that ask of me, that ask and not for a sign that they may consume it upon their lusts.
Along with the canonical lists of spiritual gifts, we can realize potential spiritual gifts in patriarchal blessings, priesthood blessings, through the quiet whisperings of the Holy Ghost, and innate desires. Manifestations of those gifts vary based on our faith and diligence to the opportunities and revelations that come.
Pioneer musician Thomas Durham’s patriarchal blessing promised that he would hear the music of heaven. He shared a dream and its result with my great-grandmother Edith Smith Bushman which she carefully handed down to her descendants.
A Dream Given to Thomas Durham at Parowan, Utah
“I was standing alone at the head of a large river that was running west, on a narrow neck of land about 3 rods wide and 9 rods long sloping about 3 feet down to the water’s edge. I stepped to one side looking west as the river ran. The country was heavily timbered. I was gazing down the river, expecting some of my folks to come for it was nearly sundown.
Suddenly I heard a rustling in the timber behind me. I looked about me for I thought myself alone and I saw coming toward me what I thought was a Navajo Indian. I looked west again and saw a striped blanket floating on top of the water. Two men stepped down to the water’s edge to lift the blanket up when a pony came from under it.
By this time, the Indian that I first saw, stepped down and put his hand on the pony’s neck and led him out of the water. I smiled and thought that his action was a curious way to gentle a horse. He gave me a look as much as to say that it was none of my business.
I looked around and saw about 30 Indians coming toward me. When they got to where I was standing, they formed a circle, the chief standing on the east side. He pointed his finger to a young man on the west who had a brass horn in his hand. This young Indian stepped out and went down to the water’s edge and played a tune, the Nephite song of Lamentation. After he finished, he came back to his place.
The chief then motioned to another man to his left who had a gun in his hand. He went down to the same place and fired his gun into the air.
Then I awoke.
I remembered the tune and lay wondering whether to go to the organ and play it over and over so I would not forget it, but I went to sleep again and I heard the same tune again but saw nothing. I woke up just as the tune was finishing. It was just breaking day and I got up and went to the organ and played the tune. Afterward, I wrote it and arranged it for the choir.
This was in fulfillment of a blessing that Elder Cyrus H. Wheelock promised me in England in 1851. In that blessing, he told me that angels would reveal to me in my sleep music that is sung in the Heavens. I have also had five other pieces besides this one revealed to me in my sleep and we them in the choir.
Sometime after this, Brother Wheelock and Patriarch D. Tyler of Beaver were staying at my house when Brother Wheelock asked me to relate the above dream. This I did.
He then asked me and my family to sing it to him to the tune of “O My Father.” After we had sung it, Brother Tyler said he had the same vision that I saw. He said that those men that I saw were a remnant of the Nephites after a heavy battle with the Lamanites when thousands of them were slain and after the gun was fired that I heard, they sang a song of lamentation.
The chief lectured them for their disobedience to the prophet Mormon. Brother Tyler gave us this speech in the Nephite language and then in English and I can testify that he did it under the influence of the Holy Spirit as can all who were in the room.”
Thomas Durham is the father of George H. Durham and the grandfather of Homer G. Durham. This dream was initially related to my great grandmother Edith Smith Bushman by her cousin, George Durham’s wife, Nellie Marsden Durham.