The gift of tongues (part two): a Book of Mormon account

Background: Nephi and Lehi preach among the Lamanites and are taken by a Lamanite army and cast into prison for many days without food. The Lamanites go into to the prison to kill them and the following happens:

Mormon said, “And it came to pass that Nephi and Lehi were encircled about as if by fire, even insomuch that they durst not lay their hands upon them for fear lest they should be burned. Nevertheless, Nephi and Lehi were not burned; and they were as standing in the midst of fire and were not burned. And when they saw that they were encircled about with a pillar of fire, and that it burned them not, their hearts did take courage.” (Hel. 5: 23-24)

The Lamanites were dumbstruck with amazement so Nephi and Lehi took the opportunity to preach to them. Then, the earth and prison walls shake, a cloud of darkness overshadows everyone in the prison and they all hear a voice three times. Each time the voice speaks, everything shakes again. No one could flee because of the earthquake and also because they were gripped with fear. Then the following happens:

Mormon said, “Now there was one among them who was a Nephite by birth, who had once belonged to the church of God but had dissented from them. And it came to pass that he turned him about, and behold, he saw through the cloud of darkness the faces of Nephi and Lehi; and behold, they did shine exceedingly, even as the faces of angels. And he beheld that they did lift their eyes to heaven; and they were in the attitude as if talking or lifting their voices to some being whom they beheld. And it came to pass that this man did cry unto the multitude, that they might turn and look. And behold, there was power given unto them that they did turn and look; and they did behold the faces of Nephi and Lehi. And they said unto the man: Behold, what do all these things mean, and who is it with whom these men do converse? Now the man’s name was Aminadab. And Aminadab said unto them: They do converse with the angels of God.” (Hel. 5: 35-39.)

Everybody asks what to do and they receive the advice to cry unto the voice and repent, which they do. The following happens next:

Mormon said, “And it came to pass that when they cast their eyes about, and saw that the cloud of darkness was dispersed from overshadowing them, behold, they saw that they were encircled about, yea every soul, by a pillar of fire. And Nephi and Lehi were in the midst of them; yea, they were encircled about; yea, they were as if in the midst of a flaming fire, yet it did harm them not, neither did it take hold upon the walls of the prison; and they were filled with that joy which is unspeakable and full of glory. And behold, the Holy Spirit of God did come down from heaven, and did enter into their hearts, and they were filled as if with fire, and they could speak forth marvelous words.” (Hel. 5: 43-45)

Now, some may argue that because the record doesn’t specifically name the gift of tongues, that this isn’t necessarily a manifestation of it, but the facts of the account correspond with what the scriptures tell us about this gift. They were encased in fire, just like cloven tongues of fire, their faces shone like angels, they spoke to heavenly beings, supposedly to angels of God, they were filled with the Holy Ghost and could speak marvelous words. All of this is indicative of the gift of tongues.

Next Gift of Tongues article: The gift of tongues (part three): tongues and administrations

Previous Gift of Tongues article: The gift of tongues (part one)

Complete List of Articles authored by LDS Anarchist


  1. I would have to agree. It would seem that whatever language they spoke or whaterver things were in direct correlation with this miraculous event. The following is a long quote on the subject of this gift: “The true gift of tongues is made manifest in the Church more abundantly, perhaps, than any other spiritual gift. Every missionary who goes forth to teach the gispel in a foreign language, if he is prayerful and faithful, receives this gift. This is the idea in Paul’s remarks, ‘Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not.’ This was the nature of the gift on the day of Pentacost when Peter and the apostles spoke to the assembled Jews who had come to Jerusalem from foreign lands to attend the feast. Each understood in his own tongue… (Answers to Gospel Questions 2:29, J.F. Smith).

    Both Lehi and Nephi needed all the help they could get and apparently they received it amply. I’m sure that somewhere those words were recorded and we will be able to read them someday.

  2. And, by the way, even though I’ve only been given the gift of interpretation of public tongues one time, I speak in tongues myself


    as anyone who has received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit can.

    If you don’t believe me, call me on the phone and I’ll speak in tongues for you over the phone.

    Or meet me in person.

    If you want to see Acts Chapter 2 in action, all you have to do is encounter me. 😉

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