by John R. Farkas
….my wife…was waiting for me, and she started to lecture me, saying that I was breaking the Word of Wisdom. She suddenly stopped, and by the gift of tongues she gave me a most remarkable and wonderful blessing and promised me that I should live to pay off all my debts, which I did live to do….Unless the gift of tongues and the interpretation thereof are enjoyed by the Saints in our day, then we are lacking one of the evidences of the true faith.YWJ [Young Woman’s Journal], 16:128″
(Gospel Standards, page 11-12 by President Heber J. Grant)
There are two parts to this paper. The first, and smallest, are sources from LDS Scriptures. The second, and most predominate, are dozens of sources from Mormon history. There is no narrative. The references speak for themselves.
WHAT DO THE MORMON SCRIPTURES SAY ABOUT TONGUES?
“And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;”
Acts 2:4-6, 12-18:
“And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language…
And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine. But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh…
“While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?”
“And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning.”
[see Acts 2:4-6 above]
“And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.
1 Corinthians 12:10, 28-30:
“To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues….And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?
1 Corinthians 14:21,39:
“In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord….Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.”
“…exhorting all men to come unto God, the Holy One of Israel, and believe in prophesying, and in revelations, and in the ministering of angels, and in the gift of speaking with tongues, and in the gift of interpreting languages, and in all things which are good; for there is nothing which is good save it comes from the Lord; and that which is evil cometh from the devil.”
“Having been visited by the Spirit of God; having conversed with angels, and having been spoken unto by the voice of the Lord; and having the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and also many gifts, the gift of speaking with tongues, and the gift of preaching, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the gift of translation;”
“And these signs shall follow them that believein my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover;”
“And again, to another, all kinds of tongues; And again, to another, the interpretation of languages and of divers kinds of tongues. And all these gifts come by the Spirit of Christ; and they come unto every man severally, according as he will.”
DC 46:24-26, March 1831:
“And again, it is given to some to speak with tongues; And to another is given the interpretation of tongues. And all these gifts come from God, for the benefit of the children of God.”
Articles of Faith #7, March 1842; Pearl of Great Price:
“We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.
WHAT DOES MORMON HISTORY SAY?
An Address to All Believers in Christ, by David Whitmer, p. 33, 1887
The Holy Ghost was with us in more power during the eight months previous to April 6, 1830, than ever at any time thereafter. Almost everyone who was baptized received the Holy Ghost in power, some prophesying, some speaking in tongues, the heavens were opened to some and all the signs which Christ promised should follow the believers were with us abundantly.
History of the Church 4:485, Footnotes, spring 1831:
“Soon after he [Alpheus Gifford] went to Kirtland, Ohio, to see the Prophet Joseph Smith and the brethren, when he was ordained an Elder; he was accompanied by his brother Levi Elial Strong, Eleazar Miller, Enos Curtis and Abraham Brown, who were baptized on returning to Pennsylvania he preached and baptized many, among whom was Heber C. Kimball. The gifts of the Gospel were enjoyed by many; signs following those that believed, devils were cast out; the sick were healed; many prophesied; some spake with new tongues; while others interpreted the same.”
History of the Church 1:295-297, November 1832:
“About the 8th of November I received a visit from Elders Joseph Young, Brigham Young, and Heber C. Kimball of Mendon, Monroe county, New York. They spent four or five days at Kirtland, during which we had many interesting moments. At one of our interviews, Brother Brigham Young and John P. Greene spoke in tongues, which was the first time I had heard this gift among the brethren; others also spoke, and I [Joseph Smith] received the gift myself.”
History of the Church 1:297, Footnotes, September 1832: Article in the Western Monitor, printed at Fayette, Missouri, the proceedings of the mob, on Jackson County troubles; “The above incident is thus related by President Brigham Young in his own history:
“In September, 1832, Brother Heber C. Kimball took his horse and wagon, Brother Joseph Young and myself accompanying him, and started for Kirtland to see the Prophet Joseph. We visited many friends on the way and some branches of the Church. We exhorted them and prayed with them, and I [Brigham young] spoke in tongues Some pronounced it genuine and from the Lord, and others pronounced it of the devil We proceeded to Kirtland and stopped at John P. Greene’s, who had just arrived there with his family. We rested a few minutes,….In the evening, a few of the brethren came in, and we conversed upon the things of the kingdom. He called upon me to pray: in my prayer I spoke in tongues As soon as we arose from our knees, the brethren flocked around him, and asked his opinion concerning the gift of tongues that was upon me. He [Joseph Smith] told them it was the pure Adamic language. Some said to him they expected he would condemn the gift Brother Brigham had, but he said “No, it is of God.”Millennial Star, vol. xxv, p. 439….The gift of tongues here spoken of was first exercised in one of the Pennsylvania branches: next at Mendon, where the Youngs and Kimballs resided then in the branches between Mendon and Kirtland, then in Kirtland under the circumstances above related and shortly afterwards it was a gift quite generally exercised by the Saints in Ohio. `And it came to pass,’ writes John Whitmer in his history of the Church (chap. x), `that in the fall of 1832, the disciples in Ohio received the gift of tongues, and in June, 1833, we received the gift of tongues in Zion.'”
History of the Church 1:323, January, 1833:
“On the 23rd of January, we again assembled in conference; when, after much speaking, singing praying, and praising God, all in tongues, we proceeded to the washing of feet (according to the practice recorded in the 13th chapter of John’s Gospel), as commanded of the Lord. Each Elder washed his own feet first, after which I [Joseph Smith] girded myself with a towel and washed the feet of all of them, wiping them with the towel with which I was girded. Among the number, my father presented himself, but before I washed his feet, I asked of him a father’s blessing, which he granted by laying his hands upon my head,….”
History of the Church, 1:325, February 1833, by John Murdock:
“…remember the exhortation which I gave you while I was yet present with you, to beware of delusive spirits. I rejoice that our Heavenly Father hath blessed you greatly, as He also has me, in enabling me to speak the praises of God and the mysteries of the kingdom in other tongues according to promise; and this without throwing me down or wallowing me on the ground, or any thing unbecoming or immoral, also, without any external operation of the system, but it is the internal operation and power of the Spirit of God, so that I know that those odd actions and strange noises are not caused by the Spirit of the Lord as is represented by Brother King. Therefore in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, by the Spirit of the living God, according to the authority of the Holy Priesthood committed to me, I command Brother Thomas King, (as though I were present), to cease from your diabolical acts of enthusiasm, and also from acting as an Elder in this Church of Christ,…”
History of the Church 1:397, July 1833:
“What would be the fate of our lives and property, in the hands of jurors and witnesses, who do not blush to declare, and would not upon occasion hesitate to swear, that they have wrought miracles, and have been the subjects of miraculous and supernatural cures, have converse with God and His angels, and possess and exercise the gifts of divination and of unknown tongues, and fired with the prospect of obtaining inheritances without money and without pricemay be better imagined than described.”
History of the Church 1:409, September 1833:
“A hymn, concerning the travels, toils, troubles, and tribulations of the Nephites, was sung in tongues by Elder W. W. Phelps, interpreted by Elder Lyman Wight,…”
History of the Church 1:422, October 1833:
“Tuesday, 29.After preaching at 10 o’clock a. m., I [Joseph Smith] baptized two, and Confirmed them at the water’s side. Last evening we ordained F. A. Nickerson an Elder; and one of the sisters received the gift of tongues, which made the Saints rejoice exceedingly.++ Tuesday, the 29th of October, also we took our departure from Mount Pleasant, on our return to Kirtland, and arrived at Buffalo, New York, on the 31st.”
History of the Church 2:40, December, 1833:
“…. I [Joseph Smith] extract from Brother Moses Chapman Nickerson’s letter of December 20, 1833. `Your labors in Canada have been the beginning of a good work; there are thirtyfour members attached to the Church at Mount Pleasant, all of whom appear to live up to their profession, five of whom have spoken in tongues, and three have sung in tongues; and we live at the top of the mountain.'”
History of the Church 2:137, July 1834:
“Elder Nathan West preferred charges against Samuel Brown, High Priest, for teaching contrary to counsel, namely, encouraging the brethren in practicing gifts (speaking in tongues,) in ordaining Sylvester Hulet a High Priest (without counsel) in a clandestine manner; asserting that he had obtained a witness of the Lord, which was a command to perform the same on receiving the gift of tongues, which gift he had never before received, but afterwards said that he had been in possession of that gift for the space of a year;…”
History of the Church 2:139-141, August 1834:
“Charles English testified that the Hulet Branch believed that they received the word of the Lord by the gift of tongues, and would not proceed to their temporal business without receiving the word of the Lord….Daniel Stanton testified that Sally Crandall said she saw his heart and saw two books in it, and that there was a Nephite standing behind him to push him into his duty; also that Sylvester Hulet spoke in tongues in meeting, and Sally Crandall interpreted thus: Verily, verily, thus saith the Lord unto you, little band, ye must beware, for there are many who are seeking to pry into your privileges….Absalom Crichfield testified that when he was in Jackson county last spring, the Hulet Branch said, in tongues, that they would be safe, during the night, from any interruption by the mob; but, before morning, Lyman Leonard and Josiah Sumner were whipped; they also said that they saw my heart, and three young women in it…..After councilors had spoken, the president said: `As for the gift of tongues in the manner it was used in the Hulet Branch, the devil deceived them, and they obtained not the word of the Lord, as they supposed, but were deceived; and as for the gift of `seeing,’ as held by the Hulet Branch, it is of the devil, saith the Lord God.’….I have been thus particular in giving the history of this council, as the gift of tongues is so often made use of by Satan to deceive the Saints.”
History of the Church 2:162, September 1834:
“President Joseph Smith then gave an explanation of the gift of tongues, that it was particularly instituted for the preaching of the Gospel to other nations and languages, but it was not given for the government of the Church….He further said, if Brother Gordon introduced the gift of tongues as a testimony against Brother Carpenter, it was contrary to the rules and regulations of the Church, because in all our decisions we must judge from actual testimony….Elder Gordon said the testimony was received and the decision given
before the gift of tongues was manifested….President Smith said, relative to the first question, that Brother Gordon’s tongue in the end did operate as testimony, as, by his remarks in tongues, the former decision was set aside and his (given in tongues) taken; that it was his (President Smith’s) decision that Brother Gordon’s manifestation was incorrect, and from a suspicious mind. He approved the first decision, but discarded the second.
History of the Church 2:376, January 1836:
“President Rigdon then arose and observed that instead of preaching the time would be occupied by the Presidency and Twelve, in speaking each in his turn until they had all spoken. The Lord poured out His Spirit upon us, and the brethren began to confess their faults one to the other, and the congregation was soon overwhelmed in tears, and some of our hearts were too big for utterance. The gift of tongues came on us also, like the rushing of a mighty wind, and my soul was filled with the glory of God.”
History of the Church 2:383, January 1836:
“President Rigdon arose to conclude the services of the evening by invoking the blessing of heaven upon the Lord’s anointed, which he did in an eloquent manner; the congregation shouted a long hosanna: the gift of tongues fell upon us in mighty power, angels mingled their voices with ours, while their presence was in our midst, and unceasing praises swelled our bosoms for the space of halfanhour.”
History of the Church 2:392, February 1836:
“President Zebedee Coltrin, one of the Seven, saw a vision of the Lord’s host. And others were filled with the Spirit, and spake with tongues and prophesied. This was a time of rejoicing long to be remembered. Praise the Lord.”
William Draper Autobiography, (1807-1881) typescript, April, 1836, BYUS, page 23:
“And there in the [Kirtland] temple on the Day of Pentecost of the 6th day of April 1836 there was such a time of the outpouring of the spirit of the Lord that my pen is inadequate to write it in full or my tongue to express it. But I will here say that the spirit was poured out and came like a mighty rushing wind and filled the house, that many that were present spoke in tongues and had visions and saw angels and prophesied, and had a general time of rejoicing such as had not been known in this generation.”
History of the Church 2:428, 27 March 1836:
[at the end of the temple dedication]
“President Brigham Young gave a short address in tongues, and David W. Patten interpreted, and gave a short exhortation in tongues himself, after which I [Joseph Smith] blessed the congregation in the name of the Lord, and the assembly dispersed a little past four o’clock, having manifested the most quiet demeanor during the whole exercise….[during the evening of the same day] Brother George A. Smith arose and began to prophesy, when a noise was heard like the sound of a rushing mighty wind, which filled the Temple, and all the congregation simultaneously arose, being moved upon by an invisible power; many began to speak in tongues and prophesy; others saw glorious visions; and I beheld the Temple was filled with angels, which fact I declared to the congregation. The people of the neighborhood came running together (hearing an unusual sound within, and seeing a bright light like a pillar of fire resting upon the Temple), and were astonished at what was taking place. This continued until the meeting closed at eleven p. m.”
Vilate Kimball Autobiography in Women of Mormondom (1877), 1806-1837, page 105-106:
“At their meetings Brigham and Heber saw the manifestations of the spirit and heard the gift of speaking and singing in tongues. They were constrained by the spirit to bear testimony to the truth, and when they did this the power of God rested upon them….They stayed with the Church about six days, saw the power of God manifested and heard the gift of tongues, and then returned rejoicing, bearing testimony to the people by the way. They were not baptized, however, until the following spring. Brigham was baptized on Sunday, April 14th, 1832, by Eleazer Miller, and Heber C. Kimball was baptized the next day.”
Willard Richards autobiography, in MS 27 (1865), page 133:
“January 8, 1837.I partook of the sacrament, and was confirmed by Reynolds Cahoon. I received such a measure of the Spirit as to be sensible of the subject of a song of Zion, which was sung by Elder Lyman Sherman, in the gift of tongues, on the coming of Christ.”
History of the Church, 3:379, Instruction from the Prophet Joseph Smith, June 1839:
“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.”,.
Prescindia Huntington autobiography, (1836-1839) in Women of Mormondom (1877), pages 207-209:
“When the brethren and sisters came home in the evening, they told of the power of God manifested in the temple [Kirtland temple] that day, and of the prophesying and speaking in tongues. It was also said, in the interpretation of tongues, `That the angels were resting down upon the house…At another time a cousin of ours came to visit us at Kirtland. She wanted to go to one of the saints’ fast meetings, to hear someone sing or speak in tongues, but she said she expected to have a hearty laugh. Accordingly we went with our cousin to the meeting, during which a Brother McCarter rose and sang a song of Zion in tongues; I arose and sang simultaneously with him the same tune and words, beginning and ending each verse in perfect unison, without varying a word. It was just as though we had sung it together a thousand times. After we came out of meeting, our cousin observed, `Instead of laughing, I never felt so solemn in my life.'”
Journal of Discourses 6:240, Joseph Smith, June 2, 1839:
“Every spirit, or vision, or singing is not of God. The Devil is an orator. He is powerful. He took our Saviour on to a pinnacle of the Temple, and kept him in the wilderness for forty days. The gift of discerning spirits will be given to the Presiding Elder. Pray for him that he may have this gift. 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 classescan 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.
History of the Church 3:379, June 1839:
[Instruction from the Prophet 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.”
History of the Church, 4:485-486, December 1841
“Sunday, 26: The public meeting of the Saints was at my [Joseph Smith] house this evening, and after Patriarch Hyrum Smith and Elder Brigham Young had spoken on the principles of faith, and the gifts of the Spirit, I [Joseph Smith] read the 13th chapter of First Corinthians, also a part of the 14th chapter, and remarked that the gift of tongues was necessary in the Church; but that if Satan could not speak in tongues, he could not tempt a Dutchman, or any other nation, but the English, for he can tempt the Englishman, for he has tempted me, and I am an Englishman; but the gift of tongues by the power of the Holy Ghost in the Church, is for the benefit of the servants of God to preach to unbelievers, as on the day of Pentecost. When devout men from every nation shall assemble to hear the things of God, let the Elders preach to them in their own mother tongue, whether it is German, French, Spanish or `Irish,’ or any other, and let those interpret who understand the language spoken, in their own mother tongue, and this is what the Apostle meant in First Corinthians xiv: 27.”
History of the Church 4:296-297, February 1841:
“Since Stanley Hill conference, I [Levi Richards] have attended about thirty council meetings of Church officers, in eleven different places in Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, and Worcestershire, making a circuit of nearly one hundred miles. Union and harmony prevail among them, and a disposition to add to their faith. New places are frequently opened for preaching, which is generally supplied. Many are baptized every week, although the ice has to yield its natural claims, and be put aside. The gift of healing is manifested to quite an extent in this region. The gift of tongues is received in most of the branches where I am acquainted.”
History of the Church, 4:485, December, 1841:
“Sunday, 26The public meeting of the Saints was at my house this evening, and after Patriarch Hyrum Smith and Elder Brigham Young had spoken on the principles of faith, and the gifts of the Spirit, I [Joseph Smith] read the 13th chapter of First Corinthians, also a part of the 14th chapter, and remarked that the gift of tongues was necessary in the Church; but that if Satan could not speak in tongues, he could not tempt a Dutchman, or any other nation, but the English, for he can tempt the Englishman, for he has tempted me, and I am an Englishman; but the gift of tongues by the power of the Holy Ghost in the Church, is for the benefit of the servants of God to preach to unbelievers, as on the day of Pentecost. When devout men from every nation shall assemble to hear the things of God, let the Elders preach to them in their own mother tongue, whether it is German, French, Spanish or “Irish,” or any other, and let those interpret who understand the language spoken, in their own mother tongue, and this is what the Apostle meant in First Corinthians xiv: 27.
History of the Church 4:580, April 1842:
“At a subsequent period a Shaker spirit was on the point of being introduced, and at another time the Methodist and Presbyterian falling down power, but the spirit was rebuked and put down, and those who would not submit to rule and good order were disfellowshiped. We have also had brethren and sisters who have had the gift of tongues falsely; they would speak in a muttering unnatural voice, and their bodies be distorted like the Irvingites before alluded to; whereas, there is nothing unnatural in the Spirit of God. A circumstance of this kind took place in Upper Canada, but was rebuked by the presiding Elder; another, a woman near the same place, professed to have the discerning of spirits, and began to accuse another sister of things that she was not guilty of, which she said she knew was so by the spirit, but was afterwards proven to be false; she placed herself in the capacity of the “accuser of the brethren,” and no person through the discerning of spirits can bring a charge against another, they must be proven guilty by positive evidence, or they stand clear.”
History of the Church 4:607, April, 1842:
“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.
History of the Church 5:31, June 1842; from the Prophet Joseph Smith:
“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. We may some future time enter more fully into this subject, but shall let this suffice for the present.
Ebenezer Robinson The Return 1 (June 1889), 1832-1843, page 90:
“President S. (Sidney) Rigdon then made a few appropriate closing remarks, and a short prayer which was ended with loud acclamation of Hosanna! Hosanna! Hosanna! to God and the Lamb, Amen, Amen, and Amen! Three times. Elder B. (Brigham) Young, one of the Twelve, gave a short exhortation in tongues himself; Elder D. (David) W. Patten interpreted and gave a short exhortation in tongues himself; after which, President J. (Joseph) Smith, Jr., blessed the congregation in the name of the Lord, and at a little past four P.M. the whole exercise closed and the congregation dispersed.”
Brigham Young History, 180144, ed., E. Watson (1968), page 2, 4-5:
“We arrived at the place where there was a small branch of the Church; we conversed with them, attended their meetings and heard them preach, and after staying about one week we returned home, being still more convinced of the truth of the work, and anxious to learn its principles and to learn more of Joseph Smith’s mission. The members of the branch in Pennsylvania were the first in the Church who received the gift of tongues….In the evening a few of the brethren came in, and we conversed together upon the things of the kingdom. He called upon me to pray; in my prayer I spoke in tongues. As soon as we arose from our knees the brethren flocked around him, and asked his opinion concerning the gift of tongues that was upon me. He told them it was the pure Adamic language. Some said to him they expected he would condemn the gift Brother Brigham had, but he said, “No, it is of God, and the time will come when Brother Brigham Young will preside over this Church. The latter part of this conversation was in my absence.”
History of the Church 7:557, December 1845, in the Nauvoo temple:
“After the dancing had continued about an hour, several excellent songs were sung, in which several of the brethren and sisters joined. The `Upper California’ was sung by Erastus Snow, after which I [Brigham Young] called upon Sister Whitney who stood up and invoking the gift of tongues, sang a beautiful song of Zion in tongues. The interpretation was given by her husband, Bishop Whitney, and me, it related to our efforts to build this house to the privilege we now have of meeting in it, our departure shortly to the country of the Lamanites, their rejoicing when they hear the gospel and of the ingathering of Israel.”
Lorenzo Brown Journal, 1823-1846, typescript, BYUS, page 5:
“Our meetings were good. We were blessed spiritually with the gift of tongues, through which, and the interpretation, we learned many things. There were several hymns given, one of which was given through myself and interpreted by Sister Esther Crowely, who had the gift the most perfect of any person I ever knew. These lines I cannot withhold the impulse to subjoin as I then thought and still think them good. They were given several times until they were committed to memory.
Come every Saint and hearken now
Did you not make a solemn vow
When the Savior’s name ye took on you
With all your sins to bid adieu”
Sarah Leavitt History (1919), 1799-1847, page 18:
“But I will return to my history. We had lost our only cow, but my husband made rails and bought another and finally we concluded we would go to Nauvoo, as lots of our friends were going. We never had lived where there was a branch of the Church, but we got together every week and had prayer meetings and the Lord was with us and poured out His spirit upon us insomuch that they spoke in tongues and prophesied. The children took an active part in these meetings. They would talk in tongues and prophesy and it was interpreted. We depended on no leader but the Lord and He led us into all truth; the sick were healed as often as any were taken sick.”
History of the Church 7:557-558, December 1845:
[This event was in the Nauvoo temple after the death of Joseph Smith]
“After the dancing had continued about an hour, several excellent songs were sung, in which several of the brethren and sisters joined. The `Upper California’ was sung by Erastus Snow, after which I [Brigham Young] called upon Sister Whitney who stood up and invoking the gift of tongues, sang a beautiful song of Zion in tongues. The interpretation was given by her husband, Bishop Whitney, and me, it related to our efforts to build this house to the privilege we now have of meeting in it, our departure shortly to the country of the Lamanites [to end up in what is now Salt Lake City], their rejoicing when they hear the gospel and of the ingathering of Israel.”
Warren Foote Autobiography, typescript, BYUS, 1817-1846, page 18:
“4th. We had trouble in the camp again. After considerable talking in, tongues, and confessions, it was again settled. O the folly and weakness of man. Mr. Markham has been sick, but is now getting better.
Heber Kimball Journal, Millennial Star 26 (1864), page 488:
“As soon as I heard them I was convinced that they taught the truth, and that I had only received a part of the ordinances under the Baptist Church. I also saw and heard the gifts of the spirit manifested by the elders, for they spoke in tongues and interpreted, which tended to strengthen my faith. Brigham Young and myself were constrained, by the Spirit, to bear testimony of the truth, and when we did this, the power of God rested upon us.”
Heber Kimball Journal, Millennial Star 26 (1864), Pg.535:
“The Hill Cumorah is a high hill for that country, and had the appearance of a fortification or entrenchment around it. In the state of New York, probably, there are hundreds of those fortifications which are now visible and I have seen them in many other parts of the United States. We received the gift of tongues and interpretation a few days after we were baptized. The brethren who brought the Gospel to us belonged to the first Branch of the Church that received the gift of tongues, and the Branch at Mendon was the next. Brothers Brigham and Joseph Young and myself went to Kirtland, with my horses and wagon, to visit the Prophet, a distance of three hundred miles. We saw Brother Joseph Smith and had a glorious time; during which Brother Brigham spoke in tongues before Brother Joseph, it being the first time he had heard any one speak in tongues; he testified that the gift was from God, and spoke in tongues himself. Soon the gift of tongues became general in the Church in Kirtland. We had a precious season and returned with a blessing in our souls.”
Journal of Discourses 11:10, George Albert Smith, November 15, 1864:
“On the first day of the dedication [Kirtland temple], President Frederick G. Williams, one of the Council of the Prophet, and who occupied the upper pulpit, bore testimony that the Savior, dressed in his vesture without seam, came into the stand and accepted of the dedication of the house, that he saw him, and gave a description of his clothing and all things pertaining to it. That evening there was a collection of Elders, Priests, Teachers and Deacons, etc., amounting to four hundred and sixteen, gathered in the house; there were great manifestations of power, such as speaking in tongues, seeing visions, administration of angels. Many individuals bore testimony that they saw angels, and David Whitmer [he left the Church in 1838] bore testimony that he saw three angels passing up the south aisle, and there came a shock on the house like the sound of a mighty rushing wind, and almost every man in the house arose, and hundreds of them were speaking in tongues, prophesying or declaring visions, almost with one voice.”
Journal of Discourses 2:215, George Smith, 8 April 1855:
“On the evening after the dedication of the temple [Kirtland, 27 March 1836], hundreds of the brethren received the ministering of angels, saw the light and personages of angels, and bore testimony of it. They spake in new tongues, and had a greater manifestation of the power of God than that described by Luke on the day of Pentecost. Yet a great portion of the persons who saw these manifestations, in a few years, and some of them in a few weeks, apostatized.”
Benjamin Brown Testimonies For The Truth (1853), page 7:
“The Saints that I gathered at Portland, and that met at my house, were richly blessed with the various gifts of the Spirit tongues, interpretations, prophecy, etc. I will relate an instance or two. One Sunday morning, while opening the meeting with prayer, the gift of tongues came upon me, but thinking of Paul’s words, that it is sometimes wisdom not to speak in tongues, unless one is present who can interpret, and forgetting that a sister, possessing the gift of interpretation, was present, I quenched the Spirit, and it left me. Immediately, another brother broke out in tongues, the interpretation of which was, that, `the Lord knew we were anxious to learn of the affairs of our brethren in Missouri, and that if we would humble ourselves before him, and ask, he would reveal unto us the desires of our hearts.’ Missouri was some thousand miles from Portland. We accordingly bowed again in supplication before the Lord, and, after rising from our knees, and reseating ourselves, the same brother broke out singing in tongues, in a low, mournful strain. But judge our feelings when the interpretation was given, and was found to be some thirteen or fourteen verses of poetry, descriptive of affairs in Missouri, the murder of our brethren there, and telling us that just at that time”
Journal of Discourses 1:131, Brigham Young, April 6, 1853:
“Were it not that our bodies have to be fed and clothed, I would propose that we tarry here a few months, to give all a chance to speak, to exhort, to pray, to prophesy, to sing, to speak in tongues, or to do whatsoever the Spirit should manifest unto them. But our work is a work of the present. The salvation we are seeking is for the present, and, sought correctly, it can be obtained, and be continually enjoyed.”
Journal of Discourses 1:374-375, John Taylor, April 19, 1854:
“….but there must be missionary boxes to swallow up the money put into them, and if they go abroad, they must be well supplied with money, but they call upon the people to trust them for their spiritual welfare, while they cannot trust God for a piece of Johnny cake. I think we are very like them sometimes; we have a good supply of faith, we can speak and sing in tongues, and some of us have the gift of prophecy, and are full of religion and zeal. We pray fervently for the President, and for the Twelve, and for the rolling forth of God’s kingdom, and we seem all alive in it in this way; but what about our temporal interests?….`Yes, we have a great deal of faith, we can speak in tongues, and cast out devils in thy name.'”
Journal of Discourses 3:9, Jedediah M. Grant, May, 30, 1855:
“I remember well, when a boy, of hearing brother Brigham speak in tongues, and the effect it produced I shall never forget; I could feel the spirit, although I did not fully understand the tongue. I have heard others speak in tongues, but it had not the same effect, and I have marked the different impressions received under different individuals.”
Discourses of Brigham Young, page 162, June 1856:
“The gift of seeing with the natural eyes is just as much a gift as the gift of tongues. The Lord gave that gift and we can do as we please with regard to seeing; we can use the sight of the eye to the glory of God, or to our own destruction.” JD 3:364.
Journal of Discourses 3:364, Brigham Young, June 22, 1856:
“Take, for instance, the gift of tongues; years ago in this Church you could find men of age, and seemingly of experience, who would preach and raise up Branches, and when quite young boys or girls would get up and speak in tongues, and others interpret, and perhaps that interpretation instructing the Elders who brought them into the Church, they would turn round and say, “I know my duty, this is the word of the Lord to me and I must do as these boys or girls have spoken in tongues.”
Journal of Discourses 4: 170, Heber C. Kimball, January 11, 1857:
“As for the gift to tongues, I do not speak in tongues often. Can I speak in tongues? Yes, I can speak in a good, beautiful language to this people at any time. Why? Because God gave me the gift, and He does not give gifts to men and then take them away again, so long as those men are doing their duty.”
Parley Pratt Autobiography (1985), 1808-1857, pages 91-92:
“She then rode home, and was baptized in connection with several others, who came forward and obeyed the fullness of the gospel. We afterwards laid our hands on them for the gift of the Holy Ghost, when it fell upon them in great power, insomuch that all in the room felt its power and influence and glorified God; some spake in tongues, others prophesied and bore testimony to the truth.
Journal of Discourses 11:135-136, Brigham Young, August 110, 1865:
” A sister who receives the gift of tongues is not thereby empowered to dictate her president, or the church. All gifts and endowments given of the Lord to members of His church are not given to control the church; but they are under the control and guidance of the priesthood, and are judged of by it. Some have erred upon this point, and have been led captive by the devil.”
“When Joseph asked Brigham Young to pray, Brigham spoke in tongues, using strange sounds and unfamiliar words. The others looked at Joseph in some perplexity, for this type of spiritual phenomenon was not common to them. It was Joseph’s first experience with the puzzling speech and he called it ‘pure Adamic’ and stated that it was ‘of God.’ Speaking in tongues spread through the Pennsylvania branches of the church first, then occurred in Mendon, New York. Brigham Young brought it to Kirtland. The practice became a part of the Saints’ worship – particularly among women – until well into the next century.”
(King and Newell, Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith, p. 46)
Journal of Discourses 13:58, Brigham Young, July 18, 1869:
“This Gospel is for all the children of men, and it will save all who will believe and obey it. Do this people believe in this Gospel?….Yes; and this is not all. They speak with new tongues, they lay hands on the sick and they do recover. In these particulars we differ from those with whom we formerly fellowshipped in the Christian world, who say they tell the people how to come to God and be saved. ”
Zebedee Coltrin Minutes, HP Spanish Fork, 5 Feb 1870, page 103:
“At Kirtland, we were called to the school of the prophets, and at one time when Joseph was in the translating room, myself and others were talking about the gift of tongues, when the spirit of tongues fell upon me and I [Zebedee Coltrin] spoke under its influence. Joseph came into the room and said, `God bless you, Brother Zebedee, that is the spirit of God.’ He told me to continue and the gift of tongues and of prophesying rested on the greater part of the brethren present and we continued speaking in tongues and prophesying through that day and the greater part of the following night.”
Journal of Discourses 15:76, Orson Pratt, February 4, 1872:
“If the formerday Saints taught the necessity of having the various gifts of the Gospel, such as the gifts of vision, the ministration of angels, prophecy, revelation, healing the sick, speaking with tongues, the interpretation of tongues, and all the various gifts mentioned in the New Testament; if they taught these things in former days, the Latterday Saints have been commissioned to teach the same things in our day, consequently there is no difference so far as doctrines, ordinances and the gifts are concerned.”
Discourses of Brigham Young, page 161, August 1873:
“There is a variety of blessings;….They have such power that when a person enters this congregation they can tell the spirit of such person; then they have received the gift of discerning of spirits. Some may receive the gift of tongues, that they will get up and speak in tongues, and speak in many other languages beside their mother tongue, the language that they were brought up in, that they were first taught,…” JD 16:164.
Journal of Discourses 16:291-292, Orson Pratt, November 2, 1873:
“We find a great many gifts besides those I have mentioned. The gift of tongues, the interpretation of tongues, the discerning of spirits, and the beholding of angels, were all given in ancient times by the Spirit, and the Church possessing them was compared to the body of Christ;….Says Paul, speaking to the Church`You are the body of Christ, and members in particular. God has set in the church, first apostles, second prophets, after that teachers, workers of miracles, speakers with tongues, interpreters of tongues.’ All these different ones are members of the body of Christ. Now, have we any right to say to the lowest of these members, `We have no need of you in the body?’ Supposing the teacher should say to the speaker in tongues`I have no need of you, now in the body, the Lord has a different kind of a body on the earth from what he had eighteen hundred years ago, and we do not need you now.’ Another says to the interpreter of tongues`We have persons who have studied all these languages, and we do not need a person to interpret tongues, by the Spirit,..”
Key to the Science of Theology, by [Apostle] Parley P. Pratt, 1874, pages 98-99, 106:
“He may perhaps speak in power, in the word of wisdom, in the word of knowledge, in prophecy, or in other tongues. He may see a vision, dream an inspired dream, or possess the gift to be healed, or to heal others, by the laying on of hands in the name of Jesus Christ…The members of the Church also partook of this Spirit, through the ministry of the Apostles, by which miraculous gifts were imparted unto them, some to one and some to another: some to speak in tongues, some to interpret, or translate from one language into another; some to prophesy, see visions, or converse with angels; others to control, or cast out devils, or heal the sick; and others, again, to teach and edify the Church, or the world, by the word of wisdom, and by the word of knowledge.”
Journal of Discourses 25:136, B. H. Roberts, January 28th, 1884:
“Did the ancient Saints enjoy the spiritual gifts and blessings of the Gospel the gifts of knowledge, wisdom, faith, healing, tongues, interpretations, discerning of spirits, revelation, prophecy, visitation of angels, etc.? Yes: and do the Latter-day Saints enjoy these things? You know they do, for you are witnesses of these things then this institution exactly resembles that which Jesus established upon the earth when He was here.”
Gospel Ideals, by [President] David O. McKay, 1873-1970, page 552:
“THE GIFT OF INTERPRETATION 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….So it is the gift of interpretation rather than the gift of tongues, that was remarkable.”
Mormon Doctrine, by [Apostle] Bruce R. McConkie, 1979, Bookcraft, page 801:
“TONGUES As with other spiritual gifts, tongues “never will be done away,” as long as the earth remains in its present state, “only according to the unbelief of the children of men.” (Moro. 10:19.) But in the ultimate perfect day the gifts pertaining to tongues “shall cease.” (1 Cor. 13:8.)…”
A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, 1985, Deseret Book Co., page 374:
“These are of two kinds:
(1) Learning to speak foreign tongues, to understand the words spoken by aliens, and to translate what is written in other languages; and
(2) Speaking or understanding alien and unknown languages without premeditation.
The first kind is by far the more important and more commonly conferred; the second type is more dramatic and may involve languages spoken by others now living or dead languages long unknown among men. Some have spoken, for instance, in the pure Adamic language.”
Do Mormons now speak in tongues? As an active Mormon between 1975 and early 1984 I never once heard of any Mormon speaking in tongues as the early Mormons did. This does not mean it didn’t happen, I just never heard of it, then or since. Have you?
Now read again, just below, the quote under the title at the beginning of this paper for the significance to one Mormon prophet and president of speaking in tongues.
“…my wife….waiting for me, and she started to lecture me, saying that I was breaking the Word of Wisdom. She suddenly stopped, and by the gift of tongues she gave me a most remarkable and wonderful blessing and promised me that I should live to pay off all my debts, which I did live to do…Unless the gift of tongues and the interpretation thereof are enjoyed by the Saints in our day, then we are lacking one of the evidences of the true faith.YWJ [Young Women’s Journal], 16:128.”
(Gospel Standards, (President) Heber J. Grant (1870-1945), pages 11-12, describing a personal experience)
About the Author
John R. Farkas (1932-2011) was a convert to Mormonism in 1975 and served in several callings up to and including Elder’s Quoruom President of the Rochester 1st Ward, New York Stake. In 1984 he left the LdS Church and became involved with Berean Christian Ministries where he served until his death. Mr. Farkas is the author of several books on Mormonism and other subjects which can be found on his Author’s page on Amazon. Beggar’s Bread is grateful that before he passed Mr. Farkas granted us the permission to republish the articles from his now defunct website.
John Farkas is of one the giants on whose shoulders we stand and to whom we owe a debt that we simply can never repay! We look forward to thanking him again in heaven for the example of his life and treasure of wisdom that he left behind for our benefit.