One of the challenges in spreading the gospel is a challenge in other aspects of life too: language barriers!
The scriptures say that everyone spoke the same language until the time of the Tower of Babel. That’s when the Lord “confounded” the languages, intentionally making it hard for people to communicate with each other because they were being disobedient.1 From that point forward, people spread out around the world and developed different languages.
Want to guess how many languages are spoken in the world today? OK, but your guess is probably going to be low.
It’s about 7,000!
Yes, the 7.7 billion people in the world today speak about seven thousand different languages. Some of those are spoken by only small groups of people, and the top 25 languages (English, Mandarin, Hindi, Spanish, French, Arabic, etc.) account for around half of the world’s population. But that still leaves billions of people speaking the other 6,975+ languages.
The Church works hard to translate materials into as many languages as possible. We teach missionaries to speak foreign languages so we can take the gospel to the whole world. But missionary work would be a lot easier if everyone spoke the same language!
Well, Zephaniah prophesied that someday we will: “For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent” (Zephaniah 3:9).
What is this “pure language,” and how will everyone learn it? We don’t know all the details. But in the meantime, with the help of the Holy Ghost and the gift of tongues, we keep working to bridge language barriers. Heavenly Father understands all of His children—and someday we will all understand each other too.