Joseph Smith’s 1833 Prophecy Fulfilled at General Conference

Contributed By Ryan Morgenegg, Church News staff writer.

  • 13 October 2014

Elder Chi Hong (Sam) Wong speaks in his native language of Cantonese during the Saturday morning session of the 184th Semiannual General Conference.  Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

Article Highlights

  • Joseph Smith prophesied in 1833 that the gospel would be available to everyone in every language.
  • General conference speakers could give talks in their native languages.
  • Four speakers gave talks in their native languages at conference.

“It’s easier to feel the Spirit when someone is speaking in your native language.” —Luis Caputo de Sousa, BYU student from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

“For it shall come to pass in that day, that every man shall hear the fulness of the gospel in his own tongue, and in his own language, through those who are ordained unto this power, by the administration of the Comforter, shed forth upon them for the revelation of Jesus Christ” (D&C 90:11).

That revelation, given to the Prophet Joseph Smith in 1833, was fulfilled in a new way as millions of members across the world listened to the 184th Semiannual General Conference on October 4–5. With each talk being translated into 93 languages, members in non-English-speaking nations heard the conference proceedings in their own language. However, for the first time members in various parts of the world heard four General Authorities’ voices—not those of translators—as they spoke from the pulpit in their native tongues.

Luis Caputo de Sousa is a 28-year-old engineering student at BYU, from Campos dos Goitacaze, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He attended the afternoon session of general conference on Sunday and heard the words of Elder Carlos A. Godoy of the Seventy in his own language, Portuguese.

“It was just wonderful,” Brother Caputo de Sousa said. “I can't express my excitement before, during, and after the talk. Elder Godoy is an amazing speaker and even more charismatic when talking in Portuguese. The fact that we were in the Conference Center with the great spirit it carries, and to be able to hear him talk in his own language—my language—was one of the best feelings I’ve ever had. As he said, ‘This is a historical moment.’”

Three other speakers at general conference offered talks in their native languages. Elder Chi Hong (Sam) Wong of the Seventy spoke in Cantonese, and Elder Hugo E. Martinez and Elder Eduardo Gavarret of the Seventy spoke in Spanish.

Over 20,000 people gathered in the Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City for the Sunday afternoon session of general conference. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

“Yes! It’s easier to feel the Spirit when someone is speaking in your native language,” said Brother Caputo de Sousa. “I feel like the talks are even more powerful when not just the words but also the culture are expressed in it. I would like to hear more talks in conference in my native language, because the scripture in Doctrine and Covenants says, ‘In that day, that every man shall hear the fulness of the gospel in his own tongue, and in his own language.’ More than ever I feel like we are living in those days!”

When asked what it means to the Saints in Brazil to hear their own language being spoken in general conference, Brother Caputo de Sousa said, “It assures the growth of the Church in Brazil and also confirms that the Lord is the same in every language and loves every nation. It strengthens testimonies and gives the Saints living in Brazil and other nations represented one more thing to hold on to!”