LDS Articles of Faith, Part XXXII
Article VII, Spiritual Gifts, Part II
The seventh LDS Article of Faith says, “We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelations, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, etc.” LDS Apostle James E. Talmage said those who officiate in the ordinances of the Gospel must be commissioned by the authority of heaven, and when they are, they will not be lacking in proofs of their divine commission. Then he said, “the existence of these spiritual powers (gifts) is one of the essential characteristics of the Church where these are not, the Priesthood does not operate.” (The Articles of Faith on p. 217). One of those gifts is tongues and it was quite common for many early LDS to speak in tongues during the 1800’s as our last blog pointed out.
But an article entitled “Gift of Tongues” in the Gospel Topics list on the LDS website says, “Glossalalia (speaking in tongues) continued as an important p art of Latter-day Saint worship during the rest of the 19th century, though the practice gradually declined over time and all but disappeared in the early 20th century.” If the gift of tongues practiced by Joseph Smith and other LDS all but disappeared in the early 20th century, where is the proof that Talmage said won’t be lacking for that LDS spiritual gift? He said where those spiritual powers or gifts aren’t present, the (LDS) Priesthood does not operate. So, do LDS have Priesthood? Under The Gift of Tongues on the LDS Website it says, the LDS “Language Training Mission and later missionary training centers developed language study programs that foster the spiritual gift of tongues, preparing missionaries to preach the gospel in many foreign languages.” That kind of tongues was NOT what Joseph Smith and early LDS spoke! They did not go to language school and quickly learn a new language to speak to people! What Smith and early LDS called speaking in tongues is what “all but disappeared” according to the LDS website!
Talmage said the existence of spiritual gifts like tongues which Smith and other early LDS practiced are the “essential characteristics” of the true Church. And LDS Apostle, Bruce R. McConkie said “Tongues and their interpretation are classed among the signs and miracles which always attend the faithful and which stand as evidence of the Lord’s work” (Mormon Doctrine, pp. 799-800). The LDS History of the Church, vol. I, pp. 296-297, 322-323 etc. shows that many LDS spoke, sang and prayed all in tongues much like a Pentecostal Church. But LDS today reject Pentecostal type of tongues!
Apostle Bruce McConkie and other LDS, and the LDS website, redefined “tongues” to refer to LDS missionaries who quickly learn a foreign language. But that changes the meaning of “the interpretation of tongues” as a spiritual gift. The LDS missionary lessons given in a foreign language are interpreted by those who speak that language not by someone with a spiritual gift! Those in foreign lands who hear and understand the LDS lessons usually reject them. Do the rejecters of the LDS message have the spiritual gift of “interpretation of tongues?” If they don’t, who does? The LDS website also has another Gospel Topic entitled “Gifts of the Spirit.” In the last paragraph it says, “In the 19th century, speaking in and interpreting unknown tongues in Church meetings was common. Later, Church members experienced the gift of tongues primarily as divine aid given to missionaries to help them preach the gospel in foreign languages.” That clearly says “speaking in tongues” now is NOT what it was in the 19th century! In the 19th century, speaking in tongues was done with no language training and it was done in LDS Wards or Churches here in the USA where everyone spoke English! Now it is done by LDS missionaries after they complete their language training and go to a place that speaks the language they learned! These two methods are not the same! Christian missionaries also learn a foreign language and use it to teach in foreign lands. But LDS don’t believe they have the spiritual gift of tongues! Why do LDS call it a spiritual gift for their missionaries but not for anyone else? And why did LDS change the meaning of speaking in tongues?
Tongues and their interpretation are easy to evaluate, but some spiritual gifts in the 7th LDS Article of Faith aren’t as easy to evaluate. Prophecy, revelation, and visions are personal, so no one else sees them. Prophecy requires revelation from God so those two words are often used interchangeably. Joseph Smith’s revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants contain prophecies of future events which often failed to happen or sometimes were only partly fulfilled. The LDS History of the Church vol. I, p. 154 and elsewhere shows that other LDS also said they received revelations from God. Then Joseph Smith had a revelation stating that he was the only one through whom God will reveal his messages for His Church and for the world (see Doctrine & Covenants 28:2 and 43:3-6). That ended competition and conflicting revelations. Now LDS teach that their President is the only Prophet that can speak for God on earth. Previous blogs discussed prophets and prophecies so no further comment will be made on them now.
The 7th Article of Faith lists visions as one of the gifts of the Spirit and Joseph Smith and other LDS claim they had visions. An LDS lady in NY told Joseph Smith she had a vision of an angel dressed in white with sandy colored hair with a message for her. But Smith told her that good angels do not have sandy colored hair (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 214). In LDS scripture in the Doctrine and Covenants, Sec. 129: 5-8, Smith said if a messenger claims to be an angel from God ask him to shake hands with you. “If he be an angel he will do so, and you will feel his hand. If he be the spirit of a just man made perfect he will come in his glory; for that is the only way he can appear—ask him to shake hands with you, but he will not move, because it is contrary to the order of heaven for a just man to deceive; but he will still deliver his message. If it be the devil as an angel of light, when you ask him to shake hands, he will offer you his hand, and you will not feel anything; you may therefore detect him.” In III Nephi 28 of the Book of Mormon, 3 Nephite disciples of Jesus here in America asked Him to let them live to bring souls to Him until His 2nd coming. Jesus granted their request. Many LDS claim they saw one of the 3 Nephites who never died, but they were usually changing a flat tire for a poor old lady, or they were chopping wood for a poor old person or doing some other good deed. None said the Nephite they saw was preaching the gospel—the one thing the Lord supposedly left them on earth to do! LDS believe those 3 Nephites are still converting multitudes from “all the scattered tribes of Israel, and all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people,” so who are they, and where are they? Are they members of the LDS Church? Some of those converts should be in the USA since they were to preach to “all nations”! God can give spiritual gifts to whoever he wants, but the kind of gifts mentioned above are not believable!
Next time we will discuss the LDS view of physical healing.