Wednesday, August 17, 2011

 SPEAKING IN TONGUES

Western depiction of the Pentecost, painted by Jean Restout, 1732

I have decided to learn to speak French. Has anyone been checking out the Mormon.org website that features profiles of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints? My favorites are the video clips. Lately there are quite a few clips of members from French speaking countries. I love that language. I grew up in Louisiana, and of course I am always asked if I speak French. Some people for whatever reason will come up to me and start to converse in French. I get the gist of what they are saying, but I can’t communicate with them.

It’s funny, when I was growing up in La; French was a rogue language that was at first taught to all children as a second language. The practice was stopped. One of reasons was due to a group of people living in the southern most part of the state, we call them Cajuns, but they are a people descended from the French Acadians.
Many later settled in Louisiana, where they became known as Cajuns Acadians speak a dialect of French called Acadian French. The Louisiana Cajun descendants mostly speak English, with a distinct local dialect known as Cajun English being prominent, but some still speak Cajun French, a French dialect developed in Louisiana  Wikipedia
 My mom told me,that the Acadians at that time persisted in speaking their own dialect of French, most resisting speaking English, or having their children attend schools that taught English. So laws were passed, and unfortunately they were enforced harshly. There were penalties for advertising in a language other than English. Everyone had to speak and be taught English. This sounds eerily familiar to events in the present doesn’t it? But when I was in the first or second grade, I was taught beginning French during summer school. It was fantastic; I looked forward to regular school so I could enroll in the 2nd part. Sadly there was no French class part 2. I later attended a parochial school, and Latin was the language taught. I can understand why Latin is a “dead language”. It is only used in a church setting. I suppose that the Catholic Church felt that Latin was the perfect language to praise God
During the early part of the 20th century, attempts were made to suppress Cajun culture by measures such as forbidding the use of the Cajun French language in schools. After the Compulsory Education Act forced Cajun children to attend formal schools, American teachers threatened, punished, and sometimes beat their Cajun students in an attempt to force them to use English (a language many of them had not been exposed to before). In 1968 the organization of Council for the Development of French in Louisiana (CODOFIL) was founded to preserve the French language in Louisiana. Besides advocating for their legal rights, Cajuns also recovered for themselves a sense of ethnic pride and appreciation for their ancestry. WIKIPEDIA
Do you ever wonder why any religious entity would choose a specific language to speak with God?
And for this official worship the Catholic Church uses official liturgical language - Latin, which being a dead language, is not subject to the constant changes of meaning which we find in all living languages.
In my previous post, I wrote about “The Tower of Babel” and the subsequent destruction of that city and dispersion of that people. What happened to those people, and their descendants? We know that Heavenly Father did spare some of them. We have a record of the Jaradites who vigorously petitioned the Lord to preserve their way of life and save their language. If you love watching the National Geographic Channel like I do, you can watch so many programs about prehistoric civilizations. There is one program that is an ongoing study on a group of people called the “Clovis People
The Clovis culture (sometimes referred to as the Llano culture[1]) is a prehistoric Paleo-Indian culture that first appears 11,500 RCYBP (radiocarbon years before present[2]), at the end of the last glacial period, characterized by the manufacture of "Clovis points" and distinctive bone and ivory tools. Archaeologists' most precise determinations at present suggest that this radiocarbon age is equal to roughly 13,500 to 13,000 calendar years ago.
I love the description “they first appeared”. Did these people just pop out of nowhere? I have the impression that the effects of the dispersion at Babel lasted for generations. Probably enough generations that each culture did not have an adequate record of their existence of who they were. They had no language in which to express themselves, they had no name.
Gen: 11:4 …………… and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the earth
They are identified only by the tools they left behind. They were a nomadic group of people, and judging from what has been found of them, they had no end or beginning, or rather no family ties to trace them to another group of prehistoric people. No books or cave drawing, and no scratched out attempts at a language. So scientists are in debate over how old this group is.
In the Book of Mormon in Omni Chapter 1: 6- 7 gives reference to the “wickedness” of the Nephites and even though they did not keep the commandments of God, he did preserve them, but he didn’t cut them any slack either. As they wandered throughout their history, because of their disobedience they did not prosper. Their civilization did not grow, and leave a lasting record. He did spare those righteous few.

Omni 1:6-7
6 For the Lord would not suffer, after he had led them out of the land of Jerusalem and kept and preserved them from falling into the hands of their enemies, yea, he would not suffer that the words should not be verified, which he spoke unto our fathers, saying that: Inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall not prosper in the land.
7 Wherefore, the Lord did visit them in great judgment; nevertheless, he did spare the righteous that they should not perish, but did deliver them out of the hands of their enemies.

Deut. 28:29 And thou shall grope at noonday, as the blind grope in darkness, and thou shall not prosper in thy ways: and thou shall be only oppressed and spoiled evermore, and no man shall save thee.
Omni 1:16-17 Tells the story of a people, who had come out of Jerusalem and who had been led away captive by King Zedekiah
16 And they journeyed in the wilderness, and were brought by the hand of the Lord across the great waters, into the land where Mosiah discovered them; and they had dwelt there from that time forth.
17 And at the time that Mosiah discovered them, they had become exceedingly numerous. Nevertheless, they had had many wars and serious contentions, and had fallen by the sword from time to time; and their language had become corrupted; and they had brought no records with them; and they denied the being of their Creator; and Mosiah, nor the people of Mosiah, could understand them.
18 But it came to pass that Mosiah caused that they should be taught in his language. And it came to pass that after they were taught in the language of Mosiah, Zarahemla gave a genealogy of his fathers, according to his memory; and they are written, but not in these plates.
Here was a group of people, who were dispersed, and wandered around in the “wilderness “of the world. They were nomadic, and they seemed to lose a sense of being civilized. They grew in numbers and fought with one another, etc. Eventually, they forgot their language; the language of their fathers. They forgot God and all that they had been taught about him. They were lost and then found by Mosiah, who taught them his language, he taught them the gospel in his language, and they were able to give an account of their history because of that.

Now the reason for this long winded rant is because I “saw” something in Acts 2 that caught my attention. And I know that it was the Holy Spirit whispering to me, because I needed to look at it again. This is the record of the Day of Pentecost, and of the Apostles manifesting the gift of “Speaking in Tongues”. I realized that the significance of this day was not so much that the apostles were speaking tongues, but to whom they were speaking to. (Do you see where this is going?)
Acts 2:4-12
4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
5 And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven.
6 And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and was confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.
7 Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans?
8 And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?
9 Parthian and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,
10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,
11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.”
12 So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?”
In verse’s 9-11 we get a demographic sampling of people from the known world. They were Jews, and other devout men from every nation under heaven. Picture the crowds that gather at “Mecca”. This was a large group of people, all speaking their various languages. If you could picture this meeting in our time, as a United Nations meeting, with everyone seated with an interpreter apparatus, so that they could hear the Apostle Peter speak.

In verse 12; an amazed and perplexed by stander wonders “Whatever could this mean?” It means that our Heavenly Father keeps his promises, and loves his children. It means that now these people will be able to hear the Gospel in their own tongues and then they will know about the Savior. Faith comes by hearing the word of God. That ancient curse has been lifted.
Genesis 22:18 In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”

Galatians 3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, in thee shall all nations be blessed.

Luke 24:46-47
46 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day,
47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem

Zechariah 8:22-23
22 Yes, many peoples and strong nations Shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, And to pray before the LORD.’
23 “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”’”
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