BOBBY - If mormons receive the gift of the holy ghost after thier baptism, why cannot they speak in tongues, for instance the prophet to speak and understand all other languages?
JOEL - The gift of tongues is a gift from the Holy Ghost but it is only used when absolutely needed and even then not everyone can do it.
Paul says, "To one is given the gift of tongues, to another the gift of prophecy, and to another the gift of healing"; and "Do all prophesy? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?" (1 Cor. 12), evidently showing that all did not possess these several gifts; but that one received one gift, and another received another gift—all did not prophesy, all did not speak in tongues, all did not work miracles; but all did receive the gift of the Holy Ghost; sometimes they spake in tongues and prophesied in the apostles' days, and sometimes they did not.
Here are a few quotes from Joseph Smith:
"Tongues were given for the purpose of preaching among those whose language is not understood; as on the day of Pentecost, etc., and it is not necessary for tongues to be taught to the Church particularly, for any man that has the Holy Ghost, can speak of the things of God in his own tongue as well as to speak in another; for faith comes not by signs, but by hearing the word of God" (TPJS, 148-49).
"Speak not in the gift of tongues without understanding it, or without interpretation. The devil can speak in tongues; the adversary will come with his work; he can tempt all classes; can speak in English or Dutch. Let no one speak in tongues unless he interpret, except by the consent of the one who is placed to preside; then he may discern or interpret, or another may." (HC 3:391-92.)
"If you have a matter to reveal, let it be in your own tongue; do not indulge too much in the exercise of the gift of tongues, or the devil will take advantage of the innocent and unwary. You may speak in tongues for your own comfort, but I lay this down for a rule, that if anything is taught by the gift of tongues, it is not to be received for doctrine." (Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 Vols. 4:607)
"Be not so curious about tongues, do not speak in tongues except there be an interpreter present; the ultimate design of tongues is to speak to foreigners, and if persons are very anxious to display their intelligence, let them speak to such in their own tongues. The gifts of God are all useful in their place, but when they are applied to that which God does not intend, they prove an injury, a snare and a curse instead of a blessing." (Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 Vols. 5:30, 31-32)
The Apostle Paul stated the principle well: "I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue" (1 Cor. 14:19).
There are occaisions where this gift has been made manifest in past church leaders
President Joseph F. Smith once said:
I believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit unto men, but I do not want the gift of tongues, except when I need it. I needed the gift of tongues once, and the Lord gave it to me. I was in a foreign land, sent to preach the gospel to a people whose language I could not understand. Then I sought earnestly for the gift of tongues, and by this gift and by study, in a hundred days after landing upon those islands I could talk to the people in their language as I now talk to you in my native tongue. This was a gift that was worthy of the gospel. There was a purpose in it. There was something in it to strengthen my faith, to encourage me and to help me in my ministry. . . . Paul did not seem to care much about the gift of tongues either He said to the Corinthians: "I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue." (1 Cor. 14:19. Gospel Doctrine, p. 201.)
In 1952, President David O. McKay related the following personal experience:
The occasion was a conference held at Huntly, New Zealand, a thousand people assembled. Before that time I had spoken through interpreters in China, Hawaii, Holland, and other places, but I felt impressed on that occasion to speak in the English language. In substance I said, "I have never been much of an advocate of the necessity of tongues in our Church, but today I wish I had that gift. But I haven't. However, I am going to speak to you, my brothers and sisters, in my native tongue and pray that you may have the gift of interpretation of tongues. We will ask Brother Stuart Meha, who is going to interpret for me, to make notes, and if necessary he may give us a summary of my talk afterwards."
Well, the outpouring of the gift of tongues on that occasion was most remarkable. Following the end of my sermon Brother Sid Christy, who was a student of Brigham Young University, a Maori, who had returned to New Zealand, rushed up and said, "Brother McKay, they got your message!"
Well, I knew they had by the attention and the nodding of their heads during the talk. I said, "I think they have but for the benefit of those who may not have understood or had that gift, we shall have the sermon interpreted."
While Brother Meha was interpreting that or giving a summary of it in the Maori language some of the natives, who had understood it, but who did not understand English, arose and corrected him in his interpretations.
President George Albert Smith and Brother Rufus K. Hardy (my great uncle) visited New Zealand several years after that event, and Brother Hardy, hearing of the event, brought home testimonies of those who were present, and he took the occasion to have those testimonies notarized. So it is the gift of interpretation rather than the gift of tongues, that was remarkable. (Gospel Ideals, p. 552.)
In our latter-days the gift of tongues is mostly responsible for how quickly missionaries are able to learn a new language.
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