Archive for the ‘Tongues Speaking’ Category

Authentic_Fire_Book_png_grandeReviewed by Fred W. Anson

Title: Authentic Fire: A Response to John MacArthur’s Strange Fire
Author: Michael L. Brown
Publisher: Creation House
Genre: Non-fiction, Religion
Year Published: 2015
Length: 426 pages
Binding: eBook
ISBN10: 1629984558
ISBN13: 978-1629984551
Price: $9.99 (Digital), $19.99 (Print) 

Unfortunately, there’s no way to review this book or discuss the book that it’s in response to (“Strange Fire” by John MacArthur) without talking about personalities. That said, while I am a Charismatic, Michael Brown is far more Pentecostal than I will ever be – or want to be. And while I’m Reformed, John MacArthur is far more Calvinistic than I will ever be – or want to be. After reading this book and considering the output from the Strange Fire camp (including the book of that title) I find myself somewhere between the two men.

Let’s start with this book. While I concur with most of what Michael Brown and his appendix authors present in this book – particularly their superb exegesis of scripture – I was troubled by the recurrence of that oldest of Pentecostal fallacies: An over-reliance on anecdotal evidence. This is particularly troubling to me since, as a Mormon Studies Scholar, I’m all too familiar with cults and other unorthodox groups citing anecdotes and experiences as though they’re conclusive, objective, empirical evidence. Folks, they’re not, they’re just not. While to some this may seem a niggling gnat straining point, it’s not since Charismatics are often (and not without reason) accused of elevating experience above biblical authority. This the very thesis that forms the core of MacArthur’s book and the one which he gleefully hammered away at for 352 pages, through an entire conference, and now continues through countless tweets and articles.

For example, I was troubled by Brown’s frequent reference to being slain in the Spirit (or “falling under the power of God” as he more often referred to it in the book) as if it were a “biblical given” based on his experiences and stories.  The fact is that it appears exactly nowhere in the Bible (that is unless you eisegete it into the text). This is a glaring hole in this book. By relying on anecdotes, in my opinion, Brown and some of his co-contributors have left themselves open and exposed for even more criticism from the Strange Fire camp.

That said, I thought that they did an excellent job of exposing the glaring hole in MacArthur’s book in particular and his stance in general:  His failure to exegete from the entirety of scripture and tendency to exegete only from select texts. For example, nowhere in his book does he address 1 Corinthians 14 where the public use of the “sign gifts” (to use a cessationist term that never appears in the Bible) of congregational prophetic utterances and tongues is not only commended, encouraged, and endorsed but given a practical framework in which they are to work in the local church.

Another example is his failure to address the last words in the Bible on the practice of charismata which are: “Therefore, my brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak in tongues.” (1 Corinthians 14:39, NASB) Respectfully, Mr. MacArthur, if you truly respect the authority of scripture and the authority of the foundational teachings of the Apostles of the Lamb then you can neither ignore this Biblical mandate or criticize others when they respect and obey it.

So clearly there’s bias on both sides – to the surprise, I’m sure, of no one. So the question is, who makes the most compelling case? In my opinion, it’s Michael Brown and his appendix authors. They present a compelling and cogent case that’s truly “sola scriptura” rather than “sola scriptura AND”.  The “AND” in this case are renowned historical figures of the Protestant Reformation in general and John Calvin in particular (for example, consider “Calvin’s Critique of Charismatic Calvinists” by Steve Lawson from the Strange Fire conference for a glaring example of this).

Yes, I’m Reformed but I refuse to put a pinch of incense on the altar of John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, Martin Luther, or anyone else in addition to declaring Jesus Lord and the scripture His gave us the absolute, final authority for this mortal passage. Michael Brown and the appendix authors very rightly call the Strange Fire camp to task for this.


Above: In contrast to Michael Brown’s calm, reasoned, and thoughtful response to Strange Fire, Pentecostal preacher Perry Stone demonstrates how NOT to respond. 

Last but not least, I’m not as nice as Michael Brown (after all I am one of those cranky, scholarly, truth-oriented, confessing, and Bible thumping, Reformed folks). So I’m just going to say it: John MacArthur can be a real bully. I say this while at the same time happily acknowledging all the wonderful benefit that I’ve derived from listening to more than my fair share of his excellent books and sermons over the years. I honor his gifting as a Bible teacher, expositor, and theologian. However, I’m not blind, nor am I deaf and it’s hard to miss the harsh, ungracious, even mean-spirited jabs that I have heard him take at those he differs with over the years – and that includes cessationists, continuationists, and even other Reformed theologians. It seems that you risk a declaration of war if you dare disagree with Mr. MacArthur. Pentecostals and Charismatics may be his favorite target but they’re far from his only target.

Further, after the harsh and uncharitable hatchet job that he did on John Wimber and the Vineyard Movement in 1993 (full disclosure, I and many other Charismatics were critical of the excesses in the Vineyard at the time as well) in “Charismatic Chaos” as well as the seemingly endless stream of exaggerated, unkind, unmerciful, and ungracious articles and sermons he has preached against Pentecostalism over the years neither his book or his conference came as any surprise – it was just par for the course only with a new club.

Particularly troubling was his comment in “Strange Fire Panel Question and Answer, Session 1” that, “I believe that we are not dividing the body of Christ in this conference.  We are trying to identify the body of Christ and show that these people aren’t part of it“. With that statement (which garnered applause from the audience) Mr. MacArthur has just thrown a half a billion Pentecostal/Charismatic Christians under the bus as not belonging to the body of Christ.

This isn’t theory or hyperbole, the fruit of the “license to kill” and relentless unkind, vitriol that he has  on Pentecostals and Charismatics can readily be seen in the mean spirited memes and posts that fill the Reformed groups on social media. Clearly John MacArthur and the Strange Fire camp has unleashed something is hard to describe as “Christian”. This is unfortunately and, frankly, I would expect more of someone of Mr. MacArthur’s maturity, stature, and position within the body of Christ. However, given the prejudiced model of bigoted bullying that MacArthur has modeled in Strange Fire and his two prior works on the Charismatic Movement (1978’s “The Charismatics” and 1993’s “Charismatic Chaos”) it’s no wonder less mature Christians feel the freedom to do the same.

But with that said is this response to all this bludgeoning perfect? No. However, given the ungracious, unkind, and unfair nature of the Strange Fire onslaught it needed to be written and, as other reviewers have noted, it does a fine job of addressing, as one pastor put it so well, “the strange theology of John MacArthur’s Strange Fire”. But more than that it stands up to a bully – and that’s never a bad thing.

A few final thoughts:

First, please read John MacArthur’s book and consider the Strange Fire conference addresses (which can easily be found on the internet). Please don’t take my, Michael Brown, or anyone else’s word for what they’ve said and the way they’ve said it. Frankly, I think that it speaks for itself. Suffice to say, in my opinion, the strong criticism that these materials have received from both the cessationist and continuationist camps is well deserved! MacArthur has since tried to reposition it all as “the start of a conversation”, however, the tone, content, and rhetorical style is clearly something else.

Second, some of the best material in this book (Authentic Fire) is in the appendices. Don’t skip them. In fact, I recommend that you first read through them starting with, “Why NT Prophecy Does NOT Result in ‘Scripture-quality’ Revelatory Words (A Response to the Most Frequently Cited Cessationist Argument against the Contemporary Validity of Spiritual Gifts)” by Sam Storms. This is Appendix B. Frankly, I wasn’t too impressed with Craig S. Keener’s Appendix A (“The Ongoing Evidence of Miracles, with Thoughts on African Charismatic Christianity”) due to its over-reliance on anecdotal evidence. In fact, in my opinion, you could just skip it without missing too much. However, I should probably add that Keener’s review of Strange Fire (which be read by clicking here) is superb and brings much to the conversation – it more than compensates for any deficiency in his contribution to Authentic Fire.

Third, The Pneuma Review published a superb panel discussion of Charismatic leaders and thinkers back in October 2013 in the fall out of the Strange Fire Conference (circa October 16-18, 2013) as web portal page. Everyone from Tim Challies to Adrian Warnock is present. There are hours of reading and it’s well worth your time. Click here.

Finally, in addition to this book I highly recommend that the reader works through Don Horban’s superb teaching series, “The Strange Theology of John MacArthur’s Strange Fire” which can be found by clicking here. Pastor Horban addresses many issues and points that were missed in this book. It is an excellent supplement to the Authentic Fire book and a masterful response to the Strange Fire camp.

(versions of this review have also been previously published on Goodreads and Amazon)

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TheCharismaticsFrontCover_EDITEDReviewed by Fred W. Anson

Title: The Charismatics: A Doctrinal Perspective
Author: John F. MacArthur, Jr.
Publisher: Zondervan
Genre: Nonfiction, Religion
Year Published: 1978
Length: 224 pages
Binding: Hardcover, Paperback
ISBN10: 0310284902
ISBN13: 978-0310284901
Price: $12.99 (Hardcover),  $9.95 (Trade Paperback)

While it may be hard to believe now, this nearly forty-year-old book was the first crack in the dike for the flood that was to follow 14-years later in “Charismatic Chaos” (308 pages, circa 1992), and then the tsunami that hit 21-years later in  “Strange Fire” (352 pages, circa 2013). Never the less, the only things that have really changed in the ensuing years and various editions (of essentially the same book) are: a) the people and movements that Mr. MacArthur snipes at; b) the increasingly shrill tone that came with each new offering, and; c) the length and breadth of the polemic – it keeps getting longer and wider. Given all that, a better title for this book would have been, “The Charismatics: A Polemic Perspective”. In fact, Timothy George (the dean of Beeson Divinity School at Samford University) could have been talking about this book when he wrote:

Within the worldwide charismatic movement, there are no doubt instances of weird, inappropriate, and outrageous phenomena, perhaps including some of the things MacArthur saw on TBN [the Trinity Broadcasting Network]. Many Pentecostal leaders themselves acknowledge as much. But to discredit the entire charismatic movement as demon-inspired because of the frenzied excess into which some of its members have fallen is both myopic and irresponsible. It would be like condemning the entire Catholic Church because some of its priests are proven pedophiles, or like smearing all Baptist Christians because of the antics of the Westboro Baptist Church.

When told that his all-charismatics-are-outside-the-pale approach was damaging the Body of Christ because he was attacking his brothers and sisters in the Lord, MacArthur responded that he “wished he could affirm that.” This is a new version of extra ecclesiam nulla salus—except that the ecclesia here is not the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church but rather an exclusively non-charismatic one.
(Timothy George, “Strange Friendly Fire”, First Things, November 4, 2013)

I’ve been Charismatic since 1976 so this book brings back memories good and bad. What’s addressed here is as much a part of my personal history as they are threads in the tapestry of Christian church history as a whole. However, like MacArthur, I was more an observer than a direct participant. The reason for that is simple: The movements, places, and personalities that MacArthur criticizes (often rightly) in this work were all considered on the lunatic fringe back in the day. We moderate, theologically conservative, Charismatics avoided the likes of Oral Roberts, Kathryn Kuhlman, and the first generation TBN crowd then just as surely as we avoid Benny Hinn, Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar and new generation TBN crowd today.

Calvary Chapel Yorba Linda (CA) in the late 1970's. This congregation later left Calvary Chapel and became the first Vineyard Church.

Calvary Chapel Yorba Linda (California) in the late 1970’s. This congregation later left Calvary Chapel and became the first Vineyard Church.

I would echo the words of Joseph Mattera (Presiding Bishop of Christ Covenant Coalition and Overseeing Bishop of Resurrection Church in New York) when he said, “As a believer with a Pentecostal experience since 1978 I have seen many genuine moves of God as well as many counterfeit works of the flesh. Unfortunately, many believers lack the discernment to tell the difference between what is of God and what originates with man.” (Joseph Mattera, “Ten Marks of Charismaniacs”, Spirit Life Magazine, September 26, 2013)

So, given that, why is it that John MacArthur presents these errant, fanatical “out there” Charismaniacs as the norm in this book while simultaneously misrepresenting or outright ignoring the theologically sound and conservative Charismatics that comprised the core of the movement at that time? For example, after giving some examples of Charismatic excesses (a lady who claimed that God “healed” her flat tire and a woman who claimed that she had taught her dog to praise the Lord in an unknown bark) MacArthur makes this claim:

Granted, both of these examples are bizarre. Perhaps it unfair to characterize the Charismatic movement with illustrations like these. I wish that were true. I wish these two examples are rare, but they are not. And the reason they are not is that in the Charismatic ranks no experience has to stand the test of Scripture. The Charismatics, by the nature of their theological persuasion, have no way to judge or stop bizarre testimonies of experience because the experience validates itself. Instead of checking someone’s experience against the Bible for validity, the Charismatic tries to get the Bible to fit the experience, or, failing that, he just ignores the Bible.
(John F. MacArthur, Jr., “The Charismatics: A Doctrinal Perspective”, pp.58-59, italics retained from original)

Indeed, Mr. MacArthur, it is unfair. This is nothing like the kind of normative Charismatic behavior and theology that the aforementioned Joseph Mattera articulates so well in his article:

Isaiah 8:20 says if we speak not according to the scripture then we have no light. Second Timothy 3:16 teaches that all scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, correction and for training in righteousness. The scriptures are our rule for life and the highest standard for judging truth…

The more sure word of prophecy comes from the inspired writings of the canonical books of both the Old and New Testaments, which should be our guiding light for life (2 Peter 1:19-21) and by which all prophetic utterances should be judged. If the prophetic word or supernatural vision doesn’t go against the scriptures, then we still need to pray and get a witness from the Lord in our spirit as well as get counsel from mature leaders as to whether this specific prophetic word or vision is really specific guidance from Him.
(Op cit, Joseph Mattera, “Ten Marks of Charismaniacs”)

A period photograph of Melodyland Christian Center, Anaheim, CA. The inset is of Pastor Ralph Wilkerson. This church was ground zero for much of the good and bad of this period of the Charismatic Movement.

A period photograph of Melodyland Christian Center, Anaheim, CA. The inset is of Pastor Ralph Wilkerson. This church was ground zero for much of the good and the bad that went on in the Charismatic Movement during this period.

But if that misleading misrepresentation isn’t enough, later in the book MacArthur presents the following as something that Charismatics would object to rather than affirm:

“From the time of the apostles until the present, the true church has believed the Bible is complete. God has given His revelation is finished. What He gave is complete, efficient, sufficient, inerrant, infallible, and authoritative.”
(Op cit, MacArthur, “The Charismatics”, p.25)

He then proceeds to construct this straw man argument:

“Although Charismatics will deny that they are trying to add to Scripture, their views on prophetic utterance, gifts of prophecy, and revelation really do just that. As they add – however unwittingly – to God’s final revelation, they undermine the uniqueness and authority of the Bible. New revelation, dreams, and visions come to be binding on the believer’s conscience as the Book of Romans or the Gospel of John.” 
(Ibid)

Well, Mr. MacArthur, I’m sure that I’m not the first to say, “That is utter nonsense!” and I’m sure that I won’t be the last. This is a complete caricature of how I and most Charismatics that I know treat prophecy, dreams, and visions. Rather, Mr. MacArthur, it’s quite simple: If any new revelation, dream, or vision contradicts the Bible it is promptly and completely thrown out as illegitimate. Period. Always has been, always will be.

Equally upsetting is how Mr. MacArthur incorrectly and flippantly dismisses the normative Charismatic stance in this area as if it’s irrelevant:

“Some Charismatics would say that people misunderstand what they mean by prophetic utterance and new revelation. No effort is made to change Scripture or even equal it. What is happening is the ‘clarifying of Scripture’ as it is applied or directed to a contemporary setting, such as the prophecy of Agabus in Acts 11:28.”
(Ibid)

Yes, Mr. MacArthur, exactly! We are indeed just doing what Agabus was doing in Acts 11:28 (NKJV) …

“Then one of them, named Agabus, stood up and showed by the Spirit that there was going to be a great famine throughout all the world, which also happened in the days of Claudius Caesar.”

… and then again in Acts 21:10-11 (NKJV):

“as we stayed many days, a certain prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. When he had come to us, he took Paul’s belt, bound his own hands and feet, and said, /Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.'”

Faith healer Oral Roberts and Elvis Presley circa 1974. You can't get more "70's" than this!

Faith healer Oral Roberts and Elvis Presley circa 1974. You can’t get more “70’s” than this folks!

Why is this a problem? Do you believe the Bible is authoritative or don’t you sir? If so, then why do you disobey the apostolic injunction that clearly states: Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good.” (1 Thessalonians 5:19-21, NKJV) Was Luke errant in recording Agabus’ words and behavior as a model for New Testament ecclesiology? Was Paul negligent in not reproving Luke and Agabus for their folly? And was Paul a fool for admonishing the Thessalonians to continue in the error of Agabus?

And so it goes in this book. Straw man after straw man. Logical fallacy after logical fallacy. Misrepresentation after misrepresentation. Exaggeration, misstatement, imbalance, data mined propaganda, confirmation bias driven presuppositionalism, and bigoted, prejudiced condescension from a mind so closed that no logic, reason, or appeal can possibly touch it.1 Page after page MacArthur acts with all the grace, equity, and gentleness of a schoolyard bully. Just consider this “gem” from the chapter on authority:

“Today, with their emphasis on experience, many in the Charismatic movement are perilously close to a type of neo-Baalism! 

It is not too hard to see that experience can be a dangerous weapon in the hands of Satan. Satan delights in getting Christians to emphasize experience and to de-emphasize God’s Word.” 
(Ibid, p. 68)

So there you have it: Charismatics are the new, apostate idol worshipers drawing God’s people from true and pure worship and into syncretistic paganism. And compared to some of the other claims that MacArthur makes in this book, that’s actually tame. Elsewhere we’re told that Charismatics might be demon possessed (see pp.175-179) and their miracles actually the work of Satan masquerading as acts of God (see pp.114-117). Given all that, perhaps Michael Brown’s observation regarding the fruit of MacArthur’s last Anti-Charismatic polemic tome (Strange Fire, 2013) is just as true as his first (The Charismatics, 1978):

John MacArthur circa late 1970's/Early 1980's.

John MacArthur (late 1970’s/early 1980’s)

“The problem I have is that, at least in my admittedly limited observation, some members or follow[er]s of the MacArthur circle suffer from Richard Dawkins syndrome. Dawkins has such contempt for Christianity that he can’t bring himself to take Christianity seriously even for the sake of argument.

And some members/followers of the MacArthur circle reflect the same mindset. They exhibit such unbridled contempt for charismatic theology that they can’t take it seriously even for the sake of argument. They demand evidence, yet they don’t make a good faith effort to be informed. So the objection is circular, given their studied ignorance.

There’s a word for that: prejudice.”
(Michael L. Brown, “Authentic Fire: A Response to John MacArthur’s Strange Fire”, p.8; Charisma House. Kindle Edition)

Friends, this isn’t how one talks or reasons with someone that one hopes to lovingly correct. Vineyard Pastor Rich Nathan summed John MacArthur’s Anti-Charismatic behavior well when he said:

“Ultimately it is MacArthur’s rancorous, bombastic style that undermines his objectivity and any value this book may have had as a necessary corrective to excesses or errors in the charismatic, Pentecostal and Third Wave movements. Rabid anti-charismatics will love this book. It provides wonderful sermon illustrations for the already convinced. For those not so zealously anti-charismatic, this book serves only as a painful reminder of the lovelessness that characterizes too much of contemporary Christianity.”
(Rich Nathan, “Vineyard Position Paper #5: A Response to ‘Charismatic Chaos'”, April 1993, p.27)

Stated plainly, given his polemic extremes does Mr. MacArthur really expect anyone not already in his camp to listen to him? Theologian C. Michael Patton (a cessationist and President of Reclaiming the Mind Ministries) spoke for many of us when on the advent of the 2013 Strange Fire Conference he suggested that MacArthur’s never-ending stream of polemic rhetoric may be causing him to lose his voice as a Christian leader:

It is irresponsible to criticize the easy targets within a movement. We call this a “straw man” argument. It is when you choose the worst representative you can and argue against him. Of course, with charismatics in popular culture, the easy targets are the “crazies” who get all the air time. Why do they get the air time? Well, it is entertaining for many to watch. And the sensationalism that can come from these abuses is also easy for the non-charismatic to look at and discredit. But think of all the movements which are part of the Christian fold today that could be picked apart because of some abuses and excesses within. The first two that come to mind would be Calvinism and Pretribulationalism. Certainly conferences could be done about both, characterizing each by the worst-of. But how responsible and godly is that? Yes, you may make a qualification at the beginning and the end saying, “Look, I realize that not all Calvinists are arrogant SOBs, but the movement is dangerous. It is filled with monsters who believe God hates unbelievers.” Or, concerning Pretribulationalism, “I know that not all Pretribulationalists are date setters, but the theology is dangerous and produces an unbiblical mentality. It is filled with date-setting and causes people to be unconcerned with this present world.” Of course, these criticisms can be true, but they are not the necessary outcome of their beliefs and, more importantly, they don’t deal honestly with the arguments…

Because of all this, John MacArthur is losing his voice, and I don’t want him to. His reputation dismantles his platform to speak at just about any conference. He has worked himself into a corner where every time he writes a book or opens his mouth, many of us say, “Oh no!” before anything else. His radio program is called “Grace to You” and we are often left thinking “grace to who?”

John MacArthur says the charismatic movement “blasphemes the Holy Spirit” and “attributes to the Holy Spirit even the work of Satan.” Maybe he should think about who is actually attributing the work of the Spirit to Satan. I am not a charismatic, but such a statement really scares me. And because of this it would seem (even though the [Strange Fire] conference is sold out) that John MacArthur may be losing his voice.”
(C. Michael Patton, “Why John MacArthur May Be Losing His Voice”, ReclaimingTheMind.org website, October 15, 2013) 

I think that Mr. Patton is right – and it breaks my heart. I love John MacArthur’s body of work. Some of the greatest sermons and best Bible exposition I’ve ever heard have come from his pulpit. And even though I disagree with him in part, I absolutely adore my MacArthur Study Bible for the deep insight and into the biblical text that it contains – it is my “go to” commentary. John MacArthur is not only not my enemy but I consider him a valued ally in preaching the gospel, proclaiming truth, and bringing glory to God alone.

Yet here we are 39-years and two more books later and Mr. MacArthur’s loveless Anti-Charismatic blindness has gotten worse, not better. So despite my respect and admiration for Mr. MacArthur, I suspect, based on the tone of the three highly polemic works that I have read alone, that he couldn’t bring himself to say anything good about me – or think that I have anything of value to add to any conversation –  simply because I’m a Charismatic. While he isn’t my enemy I suspect that in his mind I am his. Folks, that’s just sad, isn’t it?

And the fact remains that this subject seems to be an obsession for Mr. MacArthur. So in another decade or so we can fully expect to see another work from him on the Charismatic movement. I will be praying that between now and then things will change for him (not unlike the Grinch growing a heart) and his stance will at least soften to at least a point of respectful tolerance. Yes, it will take a miracle but we serve a great God – and one who still speaks moves and performs miracles today.

The Melodyland Christian Center (Anaheim, CA) Marque from the late 1970's.

The Melodyland Christian Center (Anaheim, CA) Marque from the late 1970’s.

NOTES
1 Lest the reader think my rhetoric too harsh here please consider this:

First, here’s how John MacArthur cites Charismatic Theologian Gordon Fee in “Charismatic Chaos” the Anti-Charismatic work that followed the one being reviewed here:

“Gordon Fee, a writer who himself is a Charismatic, commented in the hermeneutical difficulties posed by the way Charismatics typically render the book of Acts:

If the primitive church is normative, which expression of it is normative? Jerusalem? Antioch? Philippi? Corinth? That is why do not all the churches sell their possessions and have all things in common. Or further, is it at all legitimate to take any descriptive statements as normative? If so, how does one distinguish those which are from those which are not? For example, must we follow the pattern of Acts 1:26 and select leaders by lot? Just exactly what role does historical precedent play in Christian doctrine or in the understanding of Christian experience?’

But the book Acts was never intended to be a primary basis church doctrine to the church. It records only the earliest days of the church age and shows the church in tradition from the Old Covenant into the New. The apostolic healings and miracles and signs and wonders evident in Acts were not common, even in those days. They were exceptional events, each with a specific purpose, always associated with the ministry of the apostles and their frequency can be seen decreasing dramatically even from the beginning of the book of Acts to the end.”
(John MacArthur, “Charismatic Chaos”, p.208, bolding added on the Gordon Fee cited text)

But here’s what Mr. Fee actually said in it’s full context:

“In defense of Pentecostals, it should be observed that although they have tended to arrive at the biblical norm by way of experience, they are not alone in establishing norms on the basis of historical precedent rather than on the explicit teaching of Scripture. The practice of infant baptism and the theology of its necessity are based first of all on the exegesis of some historical passages in Acts and one in 1 Corinthians (7: 14); they are made normative on the basis of the historical precedent. (Roman Catholic theologians would prefer the word “tradition.”) The Baptists’ insistence on baptism by immersion is based on no clear statement of Scripture, but rather on the exegesis of certain passages (including word study: “to baptize” = “to immerse”) and historical precedent. The partaking of the Lord’s Supper every Sunday is required by some Christians on the basis of historical precedent (Acts 20: 7). Likewise, on the basis of Acts 2: 44– 45 some groups in the Jesus-movement required the selling of possessions and having all things in common. Even such fringe groups as the snake-handlers argue for their distinctive practices partly on the basis of historical precedent (Acts 28: 3– 6).

The hermeneutical problem, therefore, is not unique to Pentecostals. It has to do with the interpretation and appropriation of the historical sections of Scripture. The problem may be posed in several ways. How is the book of Acts the word of God? That is, does it have a word which not only describes the primitive church but speaks as a norm to the church at all times? If there is such a word, how does one discover it, or set up principles in order to hear it? If the primitive church is normative, which expression of it is normative? Jerusalem? Antioch? Philippi? Corinth? That is, why do not all the churches sell their possessions and have all things in common? Or further, is it at all legitimate to take descriptive statements as normative? If so, how does one distinguish those which are from those which are not? For example, must we follow the pattern of Acts 1: 26 and select leaders by lot? Just exactly what role does historical precedent play in Christian doctrine or in the understanding of Christian experience?”
(Gordon D. Fee, “Gospel and Spirit: Issues in New Testament Hermeneutics”, (pp.87-88). Baker Publishing Group, bolding added on selection cited by John MacArthur)

Did you notice how Mr. MacArthur has taken a passage that explicitly indicts both cessationists and continuationists for hermenuetics that are ultimately rooted and grounded in experience first bias and data mines it? Specifically he cites only the content that suit his agenda in an out of context manner so that it appears to be an indictment of Charismatics alone when that’s simply not the case.

Second, I would refer the reader to the appendix of my review of “Building Bridges Between Spirit-filled Christians and Latter-day Saints (Mormons)” by Rob and Kathy Datsko in which MacArthur also engages in similar data mining and text twisting tactics in an attempt to build a case that there’s a movement of mainstream Charismatic Christians seeking ecumenical unity with tongues speaking Mormons. As I concluded there, directly addressing Mr. MacArthur:

…you knew that these authors were Mormon converts when you dishonestly tried to pass them off as Charismatic Christians didn’t you? So, in a similar manner Mr. MacArthur, no matter how many times you attempt to count the Datskos as Charismatic Christians, zero plus zero still equals zero. Finally, as Kathy Datsko stated plainly in her February 2013 comment, and as I have repeatedly observed myself, Latter-day Saints have absolutely no interest in Pentecostalism and stay as far away from it as possible – they treat it like kryptonite. So in the end Mr. MacArthur your evidence that mainstream Charismatics Christians are seeking closer ecumenical ties with Charismatic Mormons isn’t just exaggerated, it’s non-existent.
(Fred W. Anson, “Book Review: “Building Bridges Between Spirit-filled Christians and Latter-day Saints (Mormons)” by Rob and Kathy Datsko”)

Sadly, it’s quite apparent in his Anti-Charismatic work John MacArthur isn’t really interested in truth, balance, or justice. As one reviewer of MacArthur’s third Anti-Charismatic book, “Strange Fire” noted, “Make no mistake about it, MacArthur is not out to bring correction to a sector of Christianity with which he disagrees; his goal is to destroy a movement he considers false, heretical and dangerous.” (Eddie L. Hyatt, “John MacArthur’s Strange Fire, Reviewed by Eddie L. Hyatt”, The Pneuma Review website, October 23, 2013)

And apparently, if that means using unethical tactics like data mined propaganda generation, then so be it.

Catacomb painting of Pentecost.

Catacomb painting of Pentecost.

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Strange Fire Front CoverReviewed by Fred W. Anson

Title: Strange Fire: The Danger of Offending the Holy Spirit with Counterfeit Worship
Author: John F. MacArthur
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre: Non-fiction, Religion
Year Published: 2013
Length: 352 pages
Binding: Digital, Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook
ISBN10: 1400205174
ISBN13: 978-1400205172
Price: $10.99 (Digital), $22.99 (Hardcover),  $6.99 (Paperback), $9.99 (Audiobook)

My pastor could have been speaking of John MacArthur when he said to me, “Your message is usually substantive and true but the way that you deliver it often leaves the other person so in reaction to the messenger that they can’t receive the message.” Yes, friends, I empathize with John MacArthur since I’m on of that those annoying “truth first, grace and mercy second, and let the pieces fall where they will third” guys too. And try as I may to not react to the messenger rather than the message in this review I will warn you in advance that I may not succeed.

The More Things Change . . . 
Anti-Charismatic books are nothing new to John MacArthur. In 1978 he published “The Charismatics: A Doctrinal Perspective” In 1992 it was “Charismatic Chaos” and in 2013, his latest offering, “Strange Fire: The Danger of Offending the Holy Spirit with Counterfeit Worship”. So three titles and thirty five years later and what has changed? Obviously, not a lot since the twenty one old words of Vineyard Pastor, Rich Nathan are just as applicable to “Strange Fire” as they were of “Charismatic Chaos”:

“Ultimately it is MacArthur’s rancorous, bombastic style that undermines his objectivity and any value this book may have had as a necessary corrective to excesses or errors in the charismatic, Pentecostal and Third Wave movements. Rabid anti-charismatics will love this book. It provides wonderful sermon illustrations for the already convinced. For those not so zealously anti-charismatic, this book serves only as a painful reminder of the lovelessness that characterizes too much of contemporary Christianity.”
(Rich Nathan, “Vineyard Position Paper #5: A Response to ‘Charismatic Chaos'”, April 1993, p.27)

And this is a pity because MacArthur has always done a very good job of indentifying and condemning the excesses in the Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements. In “Charismatic Chaos” it was the immature abuses of “out there” Vineyard churches (like the bizarre Holy Laughter of the Toronto Airport Vineyard and the insanity of the Kansas City Prophets), the zaniness of The Trinity Broadcasting Network, and the charlatanism of Benny Hinn – who has very appropriately returned as the favored punching bag and dart board target of Strange Fire. To all this, like so many other, mainstream, theologically cautious and conversative Charismatics, I can only stand, applaud, and yell, “Bravo!” These are things that we are in complete agreement with Mr. MacArthur on. In fact, these are things that we ourselves have publicly and repeatedly condemned and denounced ourselves. Bravo Mr. MacArthur, bravo!

John MacArthur

John MacArthur

Broad Brush Polemics
However, MacArthur isn’t content with reprimanding just a few bad apples. It quickly becomes apparent that in his mind, if you’re a Charismatic, you’re a bad apple – period. Consider these excerpts:

“The Charismatic Movement began barely a hundred years ago, and its influence on evangelicalism can hardly be overstated. From its inception by Charles Fox Parham to its most ubiquitous modern representative in Benny Hinn, the entire movement is nothing more than a sham religion run by counterfeit ministers. True biblical interpretation, sound doctrine, and historical theology owes nothing to the movement— unless an influx of error and falsehood could be considered a contribution. Like any effective false system, charismatic theology incorporates enough of the truth to gain credibility. But in mixing the truth with deadly deceptions, it has concocted a cocktail of corruption and doctrinal poison— a lethal fabrication— with hearts and souls at stake.”
(John F. MacArthur, “Strange Fire”, p. 113)

“the gospel that is driving these surging numbers is not the true gospel, and the spirit behind them is not the Holy Spirit. What we are seeing is in reality the explosive growth of a false church, as dangerous as any cult or heresy that has ever assaulted Christianity. The Charismatic Movement was a farce and a scam from the outset; it has not changed into something good.”
(Ibid, p.xix)

As one commenter on The Pneuma Review website said well of such over the top polemics:

“There are excesses in the charismatic group that need to be addressed, but Strange Fire is devoid of any hint on J[ohn] M[cArthur]’s part to meet with these whom he feels are in error to try to make sure he understands them. In taking this to the extreme that he has, he has become an example of the extreme he is trying to point out in others.”
(Rick Collins, Aug 24, 2014 8:27pm comment, “John MacArthur’s Strange Fire, reviewed by Craig S. Keener”)

And again, Rich Nathan’s description of “Charismatic Chaos” yesterday is just as true of “Strange Fire” today:

“MacArthur doesn’t rebuke charismatics as a person would rebuke a member of one’s own family. The book reads like hostile fire shot by an outsider. The tone, as will be seen by the numerous pejorative adjectives that MacArthur uses to describe charismatics, is anything but familial or irenic. It is one thing to have your child spanked by your spouse. It is quite another thing to have your child spanked by a stranger. Charismatics understandably react to being spanked by someone who intentionally positions himself as a stranger and not as a “dear friend, fellow worker… and [brother]” (Philem. 1:1).”
(Op Cit, Rich Nathan, p.3)

Folks, I could stop right there and you would have an apt brief review of Strange Fire. Unfortunately, when the specifics are considered Strange Fire gets even worse.

Double Standards
Adding insult to injury is MacArthur’s use of Double Standards. He spends an entire chapter pounding away at the scandals in the continuationist camp while utterly ignoring his own shattered cessationist glass house. As Time Magazine observed:

“Anthea Butler, a professor of religion at the University of Rochester in New York believes Pentecostals are no more trouble-prone than other Protestants. “The same sort of thing is happening to Baptists and Presbyterians,” she says. “Except for one big thing. They are not media figures.”
(David Van Biema, “Are Mega-Preachers Scandal-Prone?”, Time magazine, Friday, Sept. 28, 2007)

One need go no further than the dedication page of MacArthur’s first Anti-Charismatic book (“The Charismatics: A Doctrinal Perspective”, circa 1978) to see MacArthur’s blind hypocrisy. It reads as follows:

“To Dave Hocking,
A true and beloved friend
with whom I share a common love
for the Word of Christ
and the purity of His church.”

Yet just fourteen year later, and just 6 months after MacArthur’s second Anti-Charismatic book (“Charismatic Chaos”, circa April 1992), fellow hard cessationist and Anti-Charismatic David (aka “Dave”) Hocking was involved in a scandal that involved not one, but two high profile Southern California churches:

“In Oct 1992, the elders of Calvary Church [Santa Ana, California] caught David Hocking in a major scandal involving marital infidelity. The elders of the church told Hocking that he would no longer be the Senior Pastor of Calvary Church and would have to undergo a three-year restoration process.

Refusing to accept the restoration plan of the elders at Calvary Church, Hocking’s long-time buddy Chuck Smith [the founding Pastor of Calvary Chapel and the Senior Pastor of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, California at the time] took him in. Reportedly, Smith said that this great man of God should not be wasted, and took in David Hocking as a Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa staff member. Hocking was excommunicated by Calvary Church of Santa Ana after he refused to submit to the elders of the church in their restoration process…

This was a major point of contention between Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa and other local churches in the community (particularly CCSA [Calvary Church Santa Ana]). This caused a major scandal here in Southern California where the results are still being felt.”
(“The Calvary Church of Santa Ana/David Hocking Incident”, Calvary Chapel Wiki website)  

And this is just the tip of the cessationist iceberg of scandals. We could also talk about Southern Baptist Charles Stanley’s divorce, R.C. Sproul, Jr.’s  (whose father R.C. Sproul, Sr. spoke at the Strange Fire Conference) “Ashley Madison indiscretion”, or the scandals of Baptists, Kent Hovind, Lonnie Latham, Coy Privette, or Joe Barron (see “List Of Christian Evangelist Scandals” for details).

Further, and speaking as someone in the same Reformed camp that MacArthur is in (yes, I’m one of those dreaded “Charismatic Calvinists” that Steve Lawson woodshedded at the Strange Fire conference) it pains me to admit that Frank Viola was largely correct when he observed:

“Using MacArthur’s logic and approach, one could easily write a book about the toxicity of the Reformed movement by painting all Reformed Christians as elitist, sectarian, divisive, arrogant, exclusive, and in love with “doctrine” more than with Christ.

And just as MacArthur holds up Benny Hinn, Todd Bentley, Pat Robertson, et al. to characterize the charismatic world, one can hold up R.J. Rushdoony, Herman Dooyeweerd, R.T. Kendall, or Patrick Edouard, et al. to characterize Reformed Christians. Or Peter Ruckman and Jack Hyles, et al. to characterize Fundamentalist Baptists. Or William R. Crews and L.R. Shelton Jr., et. al. to represent Reformed Baptists.

My point is that charismatic, Reformed, and Baptist people would strongly object to the idea that any of these gentleman could accurately represent their respective tribes as each of them have strong critics within their own movements. Even so, the game of burning down straw man city with a torch is nothing new.”
(Frank Viola, “Pouring Holy Water on Strange Fire” p.9; also cited in Michael L. Brown, “Authentic Fire: A Response to John MacArthur’s Strange Fire”, p.157)

But probably no one summed it up better than Rich Nathan when he said:

“Immorality is, tragically, a phenomenon that seems to know no denominational boundaries. Indeed, several very prominent dispensational and fundamentalist leaders have had to step down from radio ministries, para-church leadership, and pastorates because of sexual immorality. One might more realistically point to the sex-drenched culture of the modern western world, the cult of sexual self expression, and the absence of the practice of spiritual disciplines as more likely explanations for the fall of charismatic pastors than their experience of speaking in tongues.”
(Op Cit, Rich Nathan, p.8)

Treating the Extreme as the Norm
This treating extremes as the norm is the biggest problem with MacArthur’s approach to Pentecostalism in general and his Anti-Charismatic books in particular. Consider this example from Strange Fire:

“More moderate charismatics like to portray the prosperity preachers, faith healers, and televangelists as safely isolated on the extreme edge of the charismatic camp. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Thanks to the global reach and incessant proselytizing of religious television and charismatic mass media, the extreme has now become mainstream. For most of the watching world, flamboyant false teachers— with heresies as ridiculous as their hairdos— constitute the public face of Christianity. And they propagate their lies in the Holy Spirit’s name.”
(Op Cit, John F. MacArthur, “Strange Fire”, p. 13)

Again, writing of “Charismatic Chaos” Rich Nathan’s response is just as applicable:

“MacArthur rarely acknowledges a mainstream view within the charismatic or Pentecostal movements that’s balanced, Biblical, and mature. MacArthur, moreover, rarely admits that the Pentecostal/charismatic movement – now over 400 million strong – has borne tremendous fruit for the kingdom of God. He simply does not permit himself to acknowledge positive contributions by this enormous and varied movement.”
(Op Cit, Rich Nathan, p.2)

And as this review is being written, Pentecostals and Charismatics not only number over 500 million adherents but represent the fastest growing segment of the modern Christian Church. All this while mainline denominations are shrinking and cessationist numbers are flattening. No numbers and don’t equal veracity but, if nothing else, it bespeaks an ability to meet needs and bear fruit – something that John MacArthur sees as a net negative due to his antipathy toward continuationism in all forms. Such prejudice driven hard hardheartedness and blindness is heartbreaking.

Exaggeration, Data Manipulation, and Guilt by Association Fallacies
Equally concerning is how MacArthur repeatedly engages in gross exaggeration and “Guilty by Association” fallacies. Please consider this example:

“[Joel] Osteen’s muddled comment about Latter-day Saints introduces an interesting point of discussion— especially since the founders of Mormonism claimed to experience the same supernatural phenomena that Pentecostals and charismatics experience today. At the dedication of the Kirtland Temple in 1836, Joseph Smith reported various types of charismatic phenomena— including tongues, prophecy, and miraculous visions. Other eyewitness accounts of that same event made similar claims: “There were great manifestations of power, such as speaking in tongues, seeing visions, administration of angels”; and, “There the Spirit of the Lord, as on the day of Pentecost, was profusely poured out. Hundreds of Elders spoke in tongues.” More than half a century before Charles Parham and the Pentecostals spoke in tongues, the Latter-day Saints reported similar outbursts, leading some historians to trace the roots of Pentecostalism back through Mormonism.”
(Op Cit, John F. MacArthur,”Strange Fire”, pp.51-52)

Well the “some historians” referenced in the footnote for that last sentence is exactly one historian, and one historical work (Hard Cessationist, Thomas R. Edgar’s Anti-Pentecostal treatise, “Satisfied by the Promise of the Spirit”, p.218 and p.108)

Further, speaking as a Mormon Studies Scholar, the fact is that the early Mormons were merely one of many tongues speaking groups in the Second Great Awakening. Joseph Smith and the earliest Mormons didn’t speak in tongues at all until Brigham Young and his tongues speaking brothers arrived on the scene along with their tongues speaking friend Heber C. Kimball. And, for the record, Young and his brothers were Restorationist Pentecostals (specifically tongues speaking Primitive Methodists in most cases) before joining the Mormon Church – so the phenomenon didn’t, I repeat, did not originate in Mormonism.

Rather, it’s generally conceded that the fountainhead for all this 19th Century, Second Great Awakening tongues speaking was the 1801 Cane Ridge Revival. So for a historian to claim that the roots of modern Pentecostalism can be traced back to early Mormonism isn’t just ludicrous, it’s hack scholarship.

But wait, MacArthur isn’t done yet, there’s more:

“Even today, similarities between the two groups have led some to seek for greater unity. In their book Building Bridges Between Spirit-Filled Christians and Latter-Day Saints, authors Rob and Kathy Datsko assert, “Although there is an incredible language and culture barrier between LDS [Latter-day Saints] and SFC [Spirit-filled Christians], often these two groups believe many of the same basic doctrines.” Though Pentecostalism has traditionally rejected the Latter-day Saints, comments like those made by Joel Osteen suggest that a new wave of ecumenical inclusivism may be on the horizon. It is hardly coincidental that Fuller Theological Seminary, the birthplace of the Third Wave Movement, is currently leading the campaign for greater unity between Mormons and evangelical Christians.”
(Op Cit, John F. MacArthur,”Strange Fire”, pp.51-52)

Regarding this passage, as I pointed out in my review of Rob and Kathy Datsko’s book, “Building Bridges Between Spirit-Filled Christians and Latter-Day Saints” MacArthur’s argument is based on data manipulation, flawed evidence, and good old fashioned exaggeration. Please consider the following questions I posed to Mr. MacArthur in this regard:

1) Why are the Datskos implicitly presented as Charismatic Christians in your (circa 2013) book when, in fact, they have been Mormons since 2003?
Folks as soon as these folks converted to Mormonism, they were no longer Charismatic Christians, they were Latter-day Saints who were following another Jesus and preaching another gospel.

2) Where are the rest of the Charismatic Christians that you declare, are seeking greater unity with Mormons?
Friends I’m a Mormon Studies scholar and I will tell you plainly: Any that have tried this (such as Lynn Ridenhour, Paul Richardson, and Cal Fullerton) are now considered, marginalized, lunatic fringe, Charismaniacs by mainstream Charismatics. They have no significant power or influence among us.

3) Why do you single out Charismatics when, in fact, it’s cessationists who are taken a far greater, more active role in seeking greater unity with Mormons?
I’ll name names: Craig Blomberg (Denver Theological Seminary), Christopher Hall (Episcopalian theologian), Gerald R. McDermott (Beeson Divinity School), and James E. Bradley (Fuller Theological Seminary). Oh, and let me add newcomer, Baptist Author and Educator, Roger E. Olson, to the list.

4) Where are all these Charismatic Latter-day Saints that you refer to on p.73 of Strange Fire?
That’s where you claim, “Today there are even charismatic Mormons. Regardless of what else they teach, if they have had that experience, they are in.” Footnote 53 for the passage on p.73 takes us to this: “See, for example, “Hi. I’m Kathy, I’m a born again, Spirit-filled, Charismatic Mormon” at Mormon.org, accessed March 2013” (p.290) and one clicks on the link that’s provided in the footnote and it takes us to (wait for it, wait for it, wait for it) Kathy Datsko’s Mormon testimony! Folks, no many how many times you count her Kathy Datsko is one, and only one, Charismatic Latter-day Saint. Add in her husband Rob and you now have not one but two Charismatic Mormons.

This is far from a trend or even a pattern people! In fact, other than these two I know of no other Charismatic Latter-day Saints. That’s because Latter-day Saints have absolutely no interest in Pentecostalism and stay as far away from it as possible – they treat it like kryptonite. So in the end Mr. MacArthur’s evidence that there’s a major trend involving mainstream Charismatics Christians are seeking closer ecumenical ties with Charismatic Mormons isn’t just exaggerated, it’s non-existent.

Confirmation Bias Driven Evidence Presentation
As continuationist Bible scholar Craig S. Keener notes:

“MacArthur’s selective approach to history is meant to substantiate his approach. Yet his appendix on church history, if intended to be representative, cherry-picks only statements that agree with him. Yes, cessationists existed; but not all orthodox believers have been cessationists. Irenaeus, Origen and Tertullian all claimed eyewitness accounts of healings and exorcisms. Historian Ramsay MacMullen shows that these sorts of experiences constituted the leading cause of Christian conversion in the third and fourth centuries.

MacArthur cites Augustine as an advocate of cessationism (252-53) without noting that he later changed his mind and reported numerous miracles, including raisings from the dead and some healings that he personally witnessed. John Wesley valued weighing prophecy rather than rejecting it, reports healings, and offers his own firsthand report of what he believed to be a raising from the dead. Late nineteenth-century evangelical leaders such as Baptist A. J. Gordon (for whom Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary is named) and A. B. Simpson, founder of Christian and Missionary Alliance, were continuationists and recounted healing reports.”
(Craig S. Keener, “John MacArthur’s Strange Fire, reviewed by Craig S. Keener”, The Pneuma Review website)

And it’s not in the book but in the follow up video on to the book and conference that Mr. MacArthur did at The Master’s Seminary entitled, “What has happened after the ‘Strange Fire’ Conference” (it can be seen on YouTube) John MacArthur said of Chuck Smith and the Calvary Chapel movement that in 1967 “a bunch of Jesus freak people.. go to Calvary Chapel…and for the first time…that I know of in history, the church lets the very defined subculture dictate what it will be,” citing “the hippie culture, communal living…kids coming out of drugs and free sex, and all that” as displacing “all the normal and formal things,” and typifying the charismatic church, with the movement becoming Calvary Chapel. (video transcription from Wikipedia)

Well, I’ve got to tell you, I was at Calvary Chapel in the 1970’s during the height of Jesus Movement and what Mr. MacArthur has just said is nonsense! Chuck Smith’s friend and colleague Jacob Prasch has called it “false witness” and I agree with him. Folks, it simply isn’t true. Anyone who thinks that staid, culturally and theologically conservative Pastor Chuck wasn’t fully in control of things and wasn’t keeping a leash on the insanity that we hippies brought in tow with us simply wasn’t there! Case in point: Chuck Fromm (the founder of Maranatha! Music and Chuck Smith’s son in law) once told me that Pastor Chuck didn’t like the rock music that was on the label and was always trying to convince him to shut that side of the ministry down and focus on just worship music – which Fromm eventually did.

While we all loved and respected Pastor Chuck, we still thought that he was a bit of an establishment square, a stick in the mud, and even an encumbrance to all our “grooviness” at times. To suggest that we children were leading a strong willed, in command, personality, father figure, and leader like Pastor Chuck is just laughable! And if there’s any doubt on any of this please see watch the “Pastors Perspective 4/3/2014” video on the K-Wave Radio YouTube Channel and you can hear it straight from Brian Brodersen, Don Stewart, Steve Mays, and Ray Bentley who were there at a much higher level than I ever was.

Conclusion and Other Perspectives
Since the Strange Fire conference and publication of the book John MacArthur has stated that they were supposed to be “the catalyst for conversation” (see “John MacArthur on Making an Informed Response to Strange Fire” on YouTube). Well if that’s the case, given the harsh, polemic, condemning tone then this “conversation” started with all the charm and grace of an alley mugging by a bully.

Equally amusing is how in the aforementioned, “What has happened after the ‘Strange Fire’ Conference” video Mr. MacArthur complains about the ad-hominems leveled at him in the reviews on Amazon. This coming from a man who spends, pages, chapters, and even the greater part of a book engaging in personal attacks, character assassination, and some of the most derogatory and insulting slurs against fellow Christians imaginable. Mr. MacArthur that thing sticking out of your eye is what’s called a “beam”.

That said, I have one last piece of advice to my Charismatic friends: Read the Strange Fire book. Yes, read the book. I think it speaks for itself. Please don’t take my word for it, read the book and see for yourself if all the criticism that this book has garnered from myself and others is justified or not.

Finally, probably no one summed up the mindset, spirit, and content of “Strange Fire” better than the late, great, first editor of Christianity Today, Carl F.H. Henry who said in 1957:

“The real bankruptcy of fundamentalism has resulted not so much from a reactionary spirit – lamentable as this was – as from a harsh temperament, a spirit of lovelessness and strife contributed by much of its leadership in the recent past. One of the ironies of contemporary church history is that the more fundamentalists stress separation from apostasy as a theme in their churches, the more a spirit of lovelessness seems to prevail.

The theological conflict with liberalism deteriorated into an attack upon organizations and personalities. This condemnation, in turn, grew to include conservative churchmen and churches not ready to align with separatist movements. It widens still further, to abusive evangelicals unhappy with the spirit of independency in such groups as the American Council of Churches and the International Council of Christian Churches. Then came internal debate and division among separatist fundamentalism within the American Council. More recently, the evangelistic ministry of Billy Graham and [the] efforts of other evangelical leaders, whose disapproval of liberalism and advocacy of conservative Christianity are beyond dispute, have become the target of bitter volubility.

This character of fundamentalism as a temperament and not primarily fundamentalism as a theology, has brought the movement into contemporary discredit… Historically, fundamentalism was a theological position; only gradually did the movement come to signify a mood and disposition as well. In its early [years] leadership reflected ballast, and less of bombast and battle… If modernism stands discredited as a perversion of the scriptural theology, certainly fundamentalism in this contemporary expression stands discredited as a perversion of the Biblical spirit.”
(Carl F.H. Henry, Editor of “Christianity Today” magazine in 1957)

Appendix: Other Voices
Here are some other quotes on and about John MacArthur and Strange Fire that I thought the reader might find interesting:

“Within the worldwide charismatic movement, there are no doubt instances of weird, inappropriate, and outrageous phenomena, perhaps including some of the things MacArthur saw on TBN. Many Pentecostal leaders themselves acknowledge as much. But to discredit the entire charismatic movement as demon-inspired because of the frenzied excess into which some of its members have fallen is both myopic and irresponsible. It would be like condemning the entire Catholic Church because some of its priests are proven pedophiles, or like smearing all Baptist Christians because of the antics of the Westboro Baptist Church.

When told that his all-charismatics-are-outside-the-pale approach was damaging the Body of Christ because he was attacking his brothers and sisters in the Lord, MacArthur responded that he “wished he could affirm that.” This is a new version of extra ecclesiam nulla salus—except that the ecclesia here is not the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church but rather an exclusively non-charismatic one.”
(Timothy George, “Strange Friendly Fire”, First Things, November 4, 2013)

“The problem I have is that, at least in my admittedly limited observation, some members or follow[er]s of the MacArthur circle suffer from Richard Dawkins syndrome. Dawkins has such contempt for Christianity that he can’t bring himself to take Christianity seriously even for the sake of argument.

And some members/followers of the MacArthur circle reflect the same mindset. They exhibit such unbridled contempt for charismatic theology that they can’t take it seriously even for the sake of argument. They demand evidence, yet they don’t make a good faith effort to be informed. So the objection is circular, given their studied ignorance.

There’s a word for that: prejudice.”
(Michael L. Brown, “Authentic Fire: A Response to John MacArthur’s Strange Fire”, p.8; Charisma House. Kindle Edition)

‘On each point, it is surely misguided to single out charismatics, says [Pastor John] Piper. “Charismatic doctrinal abuses, emotional abuses, discernment abuses, financial abuses, all have their mirror image in non-charismatic churches.” Of charismatics and non-charismatics alike, “we all stand under the word of God and we all need repentance.”

But those charismatic abuses remain. So how are these excesses best policed? How are Christians today protected from the abuses of the charismatic church? Is it through attack-centered books and conferences?

“I don’t go on a warpath against charismatics. I go on a crusade to spread truth. I am spreading gospel-centered, Christ-exalting, Bible-saturated, Calvinistic truth everywhere, and I am going to push it into the face of every charismatic I can find, because what I believe, if they embrace the biblical system of doctrine that is really there, it will bring all of their experiences into the right orbit around the sun of this truth.”’
(John Piper, “Piper Addresses Strange Fire and Charismatic Chaos”, Desiring God website)

“In his “Strange Fire” conference (that starts today), book (upcoming), and ensuing promotions, John MacArthur has, I believe, acted very irresponsibly and is doing incredible damage to the body of Christ.

It is no secret that John MacArthur pushes the polemic line and causes many of us to be uncomfortable. This is just who he is and I don’t really expect him to change. But this conference is an excessively eristic and unnecessarily divisive crusade against charismatics. And, to be frank, it is even over the top for him…

Because of all this, John MacArthur is losing his voice, and I don’t want him to. His reputation dismantles his platform to speak at just about any conference. He has worked himself into a corner where every time he writes a book or opens his mouth, many of us say, “Oh no!” before anything else. His radio program is called “Grace to You” and we are often left thinking “grace to who?”

John MacArthur says the charismatic movement “blasphemes the Holy Spirit” and “attributes to the Holy Spirit even the work of Satan.” Maybe he should think about who is actually attributing the work of the Spirit to Satan. I am not a charismatic, but such a statement really scares me. And because of this it would seem (even though the conference is sold out) that John MacArthur may be losing his voice.”
(C. Michael Patton, “Why John MacArthur May Be Losing His Voice”, Reclaiming the Mind website, October 15, 2013)

“I’m not just talking from the sidelines as a bystander but as someone who has had a lot of experience and education in both [the Charismatic and Reformed] traditions and still embraces a respect for each while feeling free to critique both.

As I watched the video [of John MacArthur’s opening address at the “Strange Fire Conference”] I felt a growing anger as well as a disgust for what MacArthur was saying and how he was saying it. His speech is as lofty as his demeanor. His criticism of charismatics is as old as the charismatic movement itself. So it’s nothing new. It is a familiar flame. What I found dismaying is his complete dismissal of the movement and all its adherents in a single one hour dignified gesture. With one speech he purged the rolls of salvation of over 500 million believers.

Basically his argument is that charismatics dishonor God. Since they are therefore not in Christ, their theology is demonic. So since they are serving Satan and promoting him, there is a hotter hell reserved for them. He claims that the charismatic movement has done nothing to advance sound doctrine or biblical theology but in fact has caused more damage than anything else ever has because it has only delivered confusion, distortion and error to the church. He questions the church: You have always defended God. You have always defended Jesus Christ. Why do you not defend the Holy Spirit? Instead, the church opens the gates to the charismatics and they have taken over the city of God and set up an idol in its center. He doesn’t understand why God doesn’t just strike all these people down. He sadly supposes his ways aren’t our ways…

I’m not just angry. I’m not just disappointed. I’m sad. After watching MacArthur I was tempted to throw in the towel. Even though many people would distance themselves from MacArthur and his position on charismatics, it’s still a sign that the church and its leaders may use anything at their disposal to elevate themselves above their brothers and sisters, even if it means separating themselves from them forever.

I thought we were better than this.”
(David Hayward, “John MacArthur Sends 500,000,000 Charismatics to Hell”; nakedpastor website, October 18, 2013

“MacArthur’s latest book does not represent an honest search for truth. It is obvious that his mind was already made up when he began his research for Strange Fire, and he found what he was looking for. He presents a circular argument, beginning with a faulty premise and proceeding with selective anecdotal evidence that determines the outcome. He begins with a commitment to cessationism, the belief that the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit were withdrawn from the church after the death of the twelve apostles and the completion of the writings of the New Testament. Since that is the case for him, that means modern expressions of Spiritual gifts must be false. He then utilizes the selective anecdotal evidence to buttress his presupposition, which leads him back to his starting point of cessation.

It seems that MacArthur wants to believe the worst about the movement of which he writes. At times I felt he was embellishing the bad to make it even worse. For example, Oral Roberts was not a Christian brother with whom he had profound differences but a heretic who did much damage to the body of Christ, “the first of the fraudulent healers to capture TV, paving the way for the parade of spiritual swindlers who have come after him” (p.155). Make no mistake about it, MacArthur is not out to bring correction to a sector of Christianity with which he disagrees; his goal is to destroy a movement he considers false, heretical and dangerous.”
(Eddie L. Hyatt, “John MacArthur’s Strange Fire, Reviewed by Eddie L. Hyatt”, The Pneuma Review website, October 23, 2013)

And while Pastor Jack Hayford didn’t call out John MacArthur (who by the way he’s close personal friends with) directly, for anyone who’s read the Strange Fire book or watched the conference videos there’s no mistaking what prompted the following response:

“It is essential to note: as with any sector of the church, at times ungodly and wholly unworthy leaders rise and gain a following. From local pastorates to notable media ministries one can find shameful violations of the Word and personalities lauded as ‘anointed’ who ignore biblical standards regarding morality, financial accountability, and biblical integrity. Pop culture themes that compromise the whole truth of God’s Word on subjects that lead to human, financial, lifestyle, and attitudinal shoddiness are often paraded in the name of ‘charismatic.’ This is a tragic miscarriage of a biblically rooted word (charismata) and shameless rejection of the charismatic lifestyle modeled by the apostles’ own first-century ministry—one lived without compromise of truth, character, behavior, or morality, and devoid of any self-serving ways.

May it be known and affirmed here: such biblically inconsistent leaders, be they men or women, who violate God’s Word—and any who follow them—are not and should not (no matter what ‘signs following’ are claimed) be seen or understood to be a valid definition of what charismatic or Pentecostal life or leadership is about.

It is grieving to all who seek to live and walk in humility and holiness as members of the Spirit-filled community of believers, when there is evidence of a leader’s doctrinal, ecclesiastical, moral, or financial compromise, and yet nothing of confrontation, discipline, or disapproval appear to be administered. However, truth is that this is not at all the case among the vast majority of those within the Pentecostal or charismatic community. For the most part, existing denominations and structured nondenominational networks do administer correction and discipline, as well as directing recovery and restoration programs where repentance is shown by the errant or fallen.

The most flagrant cases of violation and neglect of discipline occur in the glaring instances where independent, self-directed, self-ruled, and self-governed leaders move. The absence of structures requiring accountability to fellow leaders, or the ‘cronyism’ of some who unite, but do so forming small circles of equally errant ministers who ‘measure themselves by themselves’ (2 Cor. 10:12) and smugly exercise a self-affirming tolerance and grace that refuses the legalism of critics; these are of the nature of those the Epistle of Jude identifies as ‘dreamers’ who ‘defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries,’ and as having ‘gone in the way of Cain, run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah . . . for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever’ (Jude 4-13, NKJV).

Further, it is an egregious exercise in unkindness when categorical charges or institutional ‘blackballing tactics’ are leveled against charismatics as though all are given to indifference concerning Bible interpretation or moral recklessness. Even those differing theologically know full well that such broad brush treatment is a violation of facts—that the few characterize neither the values nor lifestyle of the many, i.e., charismatics who love, honor, and live for Christ, the Lord of us all—charismatic or otherwise. May God extinguish the foul incense from the ‘strange fire’ offered by voices among leaders at either group’s altars, and may His ‘holy fire’ baptize us all with a fresh baptism of His unifying love, whatever our doctrinal differences.”
(Jack Hayford’s foreword for R.T. Kendall, “Holy Fire: A Balanced, Biblical Look at the Holy Spirit’s Work in Our Lives”, Kindle Locations 3477-3504)

Recommended Reading
The following books have been written in response to “Strange Fire”. They offer a fuller, richer perspective on the book and address in greater detail MacArthur’s errors – up to and including his confirmation bias driven hard cessationist exegesis of scripture.

“Authentic Fire: A Response to John MacArthur’s Strange Fire” by Michael L. Brown
This book directly addresses the issues raised by the Strange Fire book, conference, and camp in a calm, even toned, and scholarly manner. (note: I have also reviewed this book)

“Holy Fire: A Balanced, Biblical Look at the Holy Spirit’s Work in Our Lives” by R.T. Kendall
A thoughtful scriptural exegetical response to MacArthur’s hard cessationist arguments from a theologian in the Reformed tradition who is Charismatic.

“The Essential Guide to the Power of the Holy Spirit: God’s Miraculous Gifts at Work Today” by Randy Clark
A combination defense of continuationism and practical, scriptural guidelines which, if followed, would eliminate would eliminate many of the abuses and excesses that MacArthur correctly criticizes in Strange Fire.

Christian Historian William De Arteaga’s short analysis of how John MacArthur abuses and misrepresents Church History in “Strange Fire” is very informative and enlightening.

William De Arteaga, “John MacArthur’s Strange Fire as Parody of Jonathan Edwards’ Theology”, The Pneuma Review website, November 8, 2013

And, finally, while I would like to believe that my review is pretty good, I’m not sure that these reviews of John MacArthur’s last two Anti-Charismatic books can be topped. I’ve cited from some of them above but I encourage a full read in order to fully appreciate them for yourself: 

Craig S. Keener, “John MacArthur’s Strange Fire, reviewed by Craig S. Keener”, The Pneuma Review website, November 15, 2013

Monte Lee Rice, “John MacArthur’s Strange Fire, reviewed by Monte Lee Rice”, The Pneuma Review website, December 26, 2013

Rich Nathan, “Vineyard Position Paper #5: A Response to ‘Charismatic Chaos'”, April 1993

(this review was previously published on Goodreads and Amazon)

BACK TO TOP

by John R. Farkas
….my wife…was waiting for me, and she started to lecture me, saying that I was breaking the Word of Wisdom. She suddenly stopped, and by the gift of tongues she gave me a most remarkable and wonderful blessing and promised me that I should live to pay off all my debts, which I did live to do….Unless the gift of tongues and the interpretation thereof are enjoyed by the Saints in our day, then we are lacking one of the evidences of the true faith.­­YWJ [Young Woman’s Journal], 16:128″

(Gospel Standards, page 11-12 by President Heber J. Grant)

Heber J. Grant, 7th President of the LdS Church

There are two parts to this paper. The first, and smallest, are sources from LDS Scriptures. The second, and most predominate, are dozens of sources from Mormon history. There is no narrative. The references speak for themselves.

WHAT DO THE MORMON SCRIPTURES SAY ABOUT TONGUES?
Mark 16:17:
“And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;”

Acts 2:4-6, 12-18:
“And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language…

And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine. But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh…

El Greco,

El Greco, “The Pentecost”

Acts 10:44-47:
“While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?”

Acts 11:15:
“And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning.”
[see Acts 2:4-6 above]

Acts 19:6:
“And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.

1 Corinthians 12:10, 28-30:
“To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues….And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?

1 Corinthians 14:21,39:
“In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord….Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.”

The Book of Mormon, An Angel Appears to Alma

Omni 1:25:
“…exhorting all men to come unto God, the Holy One of Israel, and believe in prophesying, and in revelations, and in the ministering of angels, and in the gift of speaking with tongues, and in the gift of interpreting languages, and in all things which are good; for there is nothing which is good save it comes from the Lord; and that which is evil cometh from the devil.”

Alma 9:21:
“Having been visited by the Spirit of God; having conversed with angels, and having been spoken unto by the voice of the Lord; and having the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and also many gifts, the gift of speaking with tongues, and the gift of preaching, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the gift of translation;”

Mormon 9:24:
“And these signs shall follow them that believe­­in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover;”

Moroni 10:15-17:
“And again, to another, all kinds of tongues; And again, to another, the interpretation of languages and of divers kinds of tongues. And all these gifts come by the Spirit of Christ; and they come unto every man severally, according as he will.”

DC 46:24-26, March 1831:
“And again, it is given to some to speak with tongues; And to another is given the interpretation of tongues. And all these gifts come from God, for the benefit of the children of God.”

Articles of Faith #7, March 1842; Pearl of Great Price:
“We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.

David Whitmer, Book of Mormon Witness and Early Mormon Leader

WHAT DOES MORMON HISTORY SAY?
An Address to All Believers in Christ, by David Whitmer, p. 33, 1887
The Holy Ghost was with us in more power during the eight months previous to April 6, 1830, than ever at any time thereafter. Almost everyone who was baptized received the Holy Ghost in power, some prophesying, some speaking in tongues, the heavens were opened to some and all the signs which Christ promised should follow the believers were with us abundantly.

History of the Church 4:485, Footnotes, spring 1831:
“Soon after he [Alpheus Gifford] went to Kirtland, Ohio, to see the Prophet Joseph Smith and the brethren, when he was ordained an Elder; he was accompanied by his brother Levi Elial Strong, Eleazar Miller, Enos Curtis and Abraham Brown, who were baptized on returning to Pennsylvania he preached and baptized many, among whom was Heber C. Kimball. The gifts of the Gospel were enjoyed by many; signs following those that believed, devils were cast out; the sick were healed; many prophesied; some spake with new tongues; while others interpreted the same.”

History of the Church 1:295-297, November 1832:
“About the 8th of November I received a visit from Elders Joseph Young, Brigham Young, and Heber C. Kimball of Mendon, Monroe county, New York. They spent four or five days at Kirtland, during which we had many interesting moments. At one of our interviews, Brother Brigham Young and John P. Greene spoke in tongues, which was the first time I had heard this gift among the brethren; others also spoke, and I [Joseph Smith] received the gift myself.”

Brigham Young, Second LdS Church President

History of the Church 1:297, Footnotes, September 1832: Article in the Western Monitor, printed at Fayette, Missouri, the proceedings of the mob, on Jackson County troubles; “The above incident is thus related by President Brigham Young in his own history:­­
“In September, 1832, Brother Heber C. Kimball took his horse and wagon, Brother Joseph Young and myself accompanying him, and started for Kirtland to see the Prophet Joseph. We visited many friends on the way and some branches of the Church. We exhorted them and prayed with them, and I [Brigham young] spoke in tongues Some pronounced it genuine and from the Lord, and others pronounced it of the devil We proceeded to Kirtland and stopped at John P. Greene’s, who had just arrived there with his family. We rested a few minutes,….In the evening, a few of the brethren came in, and we conversed upon the things of the kingdom. He called upon me to pray: in my prayer I spoke in tongues As soon as we arose from our knees, the brethren flocked around him, and asked his opinion concerning the gift of tongues that was upon me. He [Joseph Smith] told them it was the pure Adamic language. Some said to him they expected he would condemn the gift Brother Brigham had, but he said “No, it is of God.”­­Millennial Star, vol. xxv, p. 439….The gift of tongues here spoken of was first exercised in one of the Pennsylvania branches: next at Mendon, where the Youngs and Kimballs resided then in the branches between Mendon and Kirtland, then in Kirtland under the circumstances above related and shortly afterwards it was a gift quite generally exercised by the Saints in Ohio. `And it came to pass,’ writes John Whitmer in his history of the Church (chap. x), `that in the fall of 1832, the disciples in Ohio received the gift of tongues, and in June, 1833, we received the gift of tongues in Zion.'”

History of the Church 1:323, January, 1833:
“On the 23rd of January, we again assembled in conference; when, after much speaking, singing praying, and praising God, all in tongues, we proceeded to the washing of feet (according to the practice recorded in the 13th chapter of John’s Gospel), as commanded of the Lord. Each Elder washed his own feet first, after which I [Joseph Smith] girded myself with a towel and washed the feet of all of them, wiping them with the towel with which I was girded. Among the number, my father presented himself, but before I washed his feet, I asked of him a father’s blessing, which he granted by laying his hands upon my head,….”

John Murdock, Early Mormon Leader

History of the Church, 1:325, February 1833, by John Murdock:
“…remember the exhortation which I gave you while I was yet present with you, to beware of delusive spirits. I rejoice that our Heavenly Father hath blessed you greatly, as He also has me, in enabling me to speak the praises of God and the mysteries of the kingdom in other tongues according to promise; and this without throwing me down or wallowing me on the ground, or any thing unbecoming or immoral, also, without any external operation of the system, but it is the internal operation and power of the Spirit of God, so that I know that those odd actions and strange noises are not caused by the Spirit of the Lord as is represented by Brother King. Therefore in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, by the Spirit of the living God, according to the authority of the Holy Priesthood committed to me, I command Brother Thomas King, (as though I were present), to cease from your diabolical acts of enthusiasm, and also from acting as an Elder in this Church of Christ,…”

History of the Church 1:397, July 1833:
“What would be the fate of our lives and property, in the hands of jurors and witnesses, who do not blush to declare, and would not upon occasion hesitate to swear, that they have wrought miracles, and have been the subjects of miraculous and supernatural cures, have converse with God and His angels, and possess and exercise the gifts of divination and of unknown tongues, and fired with the prospect of obtaining inheritances without money and without price­­may be better imagined than described.”

History of the Church 1:409, September 1833:
“A hymn, concerning the travels, toils, troubles, and tribulations of the Nephites, was sung in tongues by Elder W. W. Phelps, interpreted by Elder Lyman Wight,…”

Gary Smith, “Jesus Christ appearing to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdrey in the Kirtland Temple”

History of the Church 1:422, October 1833:
“Tuesday, 29.­­After preaching at 10 o’clock a. m., I [Joseph Smith] baptized two, and Confirmed them at the water’s side. Last evening we ordained F. A. Nickerson an Elder; and one of the sisters received the gift of tongues, which made the Saints rejoice exceedingly.++ Tuesday, the 29th of October, also we took our departure from Mount Pleasant, on our return to Kirtland, and arrived at Buffalo, New York, on the 31st.”

History of the Church 2:40, December, 1833:
“…. I [Joseph Smith] extract from Brother Moses Chapman Nickerson’s letter of December 20, 1833. `Your labors in Canada have been the beginning of a good work; there are thirty­four members attached to the Church at Mount Pleasant, all of whom appear to live up to their profession, five of whom have spoken in tongues, and three have sung in tongues; and we live at the top of the mountain.'”

History of the Church 2:137, July 1834:
“Elder Nathan West preferred charges against Samuel Brown, High Priest, for teaching contrary to counsel, namely, encouraging the brethren in practicing gifts (speaking in tongues,) in ordaining Sylvester Hulet a High Priest (without counsel) in a clandestine manner; asserting that he had obtained a witness of the Lord, which was a command to perform the same on receiving the gift of tongues, which gift he had never before received, but afterwards said that he had been in possession of that gift for the space of a year;…”

Burbank, “Camp Meeting” (1839)

History of the Church 2:139-141, August 1834:
“Charles English testified that the Hulet Branch believed that they received the word of the Lord by the gift of tongues, and would not proceed to their temporal business without receiving the word of the Lord….Daniel Stanton testified that Sally Crandall said she saw his heart and saw two books in it, and that there was a Nephite standing behind him to push him into his duty; also that Sylvester Hulet spoke in tongues in meeting, and Sally Crandall interpreted thus: Verily, verily, thus saith the Lord unto you, little band, ye must beware, for there are many who are seeking to pry into your privileges….Absalom Crichfield testified that when he was in Jackson county last spring, the Hulet Branch said, in tongues, that they would be safe, during the night, from any interruption by the mob; but, before morning, Lyman Leonard and Josiah Sumner were whipped; they also said that they saw my heart, and three young women in it…..After councilors had spoken, the president said: `As for the gift of tongues in the manner it was used in the Hulet Branch, the devil deceived them, and they obtained not the word of the Lord, as they supposed, but were deceived; and as for the gift of `seeing,’ as held by the Hulet Branch, it is of the devil, saith the Lord God.’….I have been thus particular in giving the history of this council, as the gift of tongues is so often made use of by Satan to deceive the Saints.”

History of the Church 2:162, September 1834:
“President Joseph Smith then gave an explanation of the gift of tongues, that it was particularly instituted for the preaching of the Gospel to other nations and languages, but it was not given for the government of the Church….He further said, if Brother Gordon introduced the gift of tongues as a testimony against Brother Carpenter, it was contrary to the rules and regulations of the Church, because in all our decisions we must judge from actual testimony….Elder Gordon said the testimony was received and the decision given

before the gift of tongues was manifested….President Smith said, relative to the first question, that Brother Gordon’s tongue in the end did operate as testimony, as, by his remarks in tongues, the former decision was set aside and his (given in tongues) taken; that it was his (President Smith’s) decision that Brother Gordon’s manifestation was incorrect, and from a suspicious mind. He approved the first decision, but discarded the second.

Sidney Rigdon Founding Member of the First Presidency of The LdS Church

History of the Church 2:376, January 1836:
“President Rigdon then arose and observed that instead of preaching the time would be occupied by the Presidency and Twelve, in speaking each in his turn until they had all spoken. The Lord poured out His Spirit upon us, and the brethren began to confess their faults one to the other, and the congregation was soon overwhelmed in tears, and some of our hearts were too big for utterance. The gift of tongues came on us also, like the rushing of a mighty wind, and my soul was filled with the glory of God.”

History of the Church 2:383, January 1836:
“President Rigdon arose to conclude the services of the evening by invoking the blessing of heaven upon the Lord’s anointed, which he did in an eloquent manner; the congregation shouted a long hosanna: the gift of tongues fell upon us in mighty power, angels mingled their voices with ours, while their presence was in our midst, and unceasing praises swelled our bosoms for the space of half­an­hour.”

History of the Church 2:392, February 1836:
“President Zebedee Coltrin, one of the Seven, saw a vision of the Lord’s host. And others were filled with the Spirit, and spake with tongues and prophesied. This was a time of rejoicing long to be remembered. Praise the Lord.”

William Draper Autobiography, (1807-1881) typescript, April, 1836, BYU­S, page 2­3:
“And there in the [Kirtland] temple on the Day of Pentecost of the 6th day of April 1836 there was such a time of the outpouring of the spirit of the Lord that my pen is inadequate to write it in full or my tongue to express it. But I will here say that the spirit was poured out and came like a mighty rushing wind and filled the house, that many that were present spoke in tongues and had visions and saw angels and prophesied, and had a general time of rejoicing such as had not been known in this generation.”

History of the Church 2:428, 27 March 1836:
[at the end of the temple dedication]
“President Brigham Young gave a short address in tongues, and David W. Patten interpreted, and gave a short exhortation in tongues himself, after which I [Joseph Smith] blessed the congregation in the name of the Lord, and the assembly dispersed a little past four o’clock, having manifested the most quiet demeanor during the whole exercise….[during the evening of the same day] Brother George A. Smith arose and began to prophesy, when a noise was heard like the sound of a rushing mighty wind, which filled the Temple, and all the congregation simultaneously arose, being moved upon by an invisible power; many began to speak in tongues and prophesy; others saw glorious visions; and I beheld the Temple was filled with angels, which fact I declared to the congregation. The people of the neighborhood came running together (hearing an unusual sound within, and seeing a bright light like a pillar of fire resting upon the Temple), and were astonished at what was taking place. This continued until the meeting closed at eleven p. m.”

Vilate Kimball Autobiography in Women of Mormondom (1877), 1806-1837, page 105-106:
“At their meetings Brigham and Heber saw the manifestations of the spirit and heard the gift of speaking and singing in tongues. They were constrained by the spirit to bear testimony to the truth, and when they did this the power of God rested upon them….They stayed with the Church about six days, saw the power of God manifested and heard the gift of tongues, and then returned rejoicing, bearing testimony to the people by the way. They were not baptized, however, until the following spring. Brigham was baptized on Sunday, April 14th, 1832, by Eleazer Miller, and Heber C. Kimball was baptized the next day.”

Willard Richards autobiography, in MS 27 (1865), page 133:
“January 8, 1837.­­I partook of the sacrament, and was confirmed by Reynolds Cahoon. I received such a measure of the Spirit as to be sensible of the subject of a song of Zion, which was sung by Elder Lyman Sherman, in the gift of tongues, on the coming of Christ.”

History of the Church, 3:379, Instruction from the Prophet Joseph Smith, June 1839:
“TONGUES were given for the purpose of preaching among those whose language is not understood; as on the day of Pentecost, etc., and it is not necessary for tongues to be taught to the Church particularly, for any man that has the Holy Ghost, can speak of the things of God in his own tongue as well as to speak in another; for faith comes not by signs, but by hearing the word of God.”,.

Though married to Norman Buell at the time, Prescindia Huntington was secretly sealed to Joseph Smith by her brother Dimick on December 11, 1841

Prescindia Huntington autobiography, (1836-1839) in Women of Mormondom (1877), pages 207-209:
“When the brethren and sisters came home in the evening, they told of the power of God manifested in the temple [Kirtland temple] that day, and of the prophesying and speaking in tongues. It was also said, in the interpretation of tongues, `That the angels were resting down upon the house…At another time a cousin of ours came to visit us at Kirtland. She wanted to go to one of the saints’ fast meetings, to hear someone sing or speak in tongues, but she said she expected to have a hearty laugh. Accordingly we went with our cousin to the meeting, during which a Brother McCarter rose and sang a song of Zion in tongues; I arose and sang simultaneously with him the same tune and words, beginning and ending each verse in perfect unison, without varying a word. It was just as though we had sung it together a thousand times. After we came out of meeting, our cousin observed, `Instead of laughing, I never felt so solemn in my life.'”

Journal of Discourses 6:240, Joseph Smith, June 2, 1839:
“Every spirit, or vision, or singing is not of God. The Devil is an orator. He is powerful. He took our Saviour on to a pinnacle of the Temple, and kept him in the wilderness for forty days. The gift of discerning spirits will be given to the Presiding Elder. Pray for him that he may have this gift. Speak not in the gift of tongues without understanding it, or without interpretation. The Devil can speak in tongues: the Adversary will come with his work. He can tempt all classes­­can speak in English or Dutch. Let no one speak in tongues, unless he interpret, except by the consent of the one who is placed to preside; then he may discern or interpret, or another may.

History of the Church 3:379, June 1839:
[Instruction from the Prophet Joseph Smith]
“TONGUES were given for the purpose of preaching among those whose language is not understood; as on the day of Pentecost, etc., and it is not necessary for tongues to be taught to the Church particularly, for any man that has the Holy Ghost, can speak of the things of God in his own tongue as well as to speak in another; for faith comes not by signs, but by hearing the word of God.”

Artist’s depiction of Peter James and John laying their hands upon the head of Joseph Smith

History of the Church, 4:485-486, December 1841
“Sunday, 26­­: The public meeting of the Saints was at my [Joseph Smith] house this evening, and after Patriarch Hyrum Smith and Elder Brigham Young had spoken on the principles of faith, and the gifts of the Spirit, I [Joseph Smith] read the 13th chapter of First Corinthians, also a part of the 14th chapter, and remarked that the gift of tongues was necessary in the Church; but that if Satan could not speak in tongues, he could not tempt a Dutchman, or any other nation, but the English, for he can tempt the Englishman, for he has tempted me, and I am an Englishman; but the gift of tongues by the power of the Holy Ghost in the Church, is for the benefit of the servants of God to preach to unbelievers, as on the day of Pentecost. When devout men from every nation shall assemble to hear the things of God, let the Elders preach to them in their own mother tongue, whether it is German, French, Spanish or `Irish,’ or any other, and let those interpret who understand the language spoken, in their own mother tongue, and this is what the Apostle meant in First Corinthians xiv: 27.”

History of the Church 4:296-297, February 1841:
“Since Stanley Hill conference, I [Levi Richards] have attended about thirty council meetings of Church officers, in eleven different places in Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, and Worcestershire, making a circuit of nearly one hundred miles. Union and harmony prevail among them, and a disposition to add to their faith. New places are frequently opened for preaching, which is generally supplied. Many are baptized every week, although the ice has to yield its natural claims, and be put aside. The gift of healing is manifested to quite an extent in this region. The gift of tongues is received in most of the branches where I am acquainted.”

Hyrum Smith, brother of Joseph Smith, Jr.

History of the Church, 4:485, December, 1841:
“Sunday, 26­­The public meeting of the Saints was at my house this evening, and after Patriarch Hyrum Smith and Elder Brigham Young had spoken on the principles of faith, and the gifts of the Spirit, I [Joseph Smith] read the 13th chapter of First Corinthians, also a part of the 14th chapter, and remarked that the gift of tongues was necessary in the Church; but that if Satan could not speak in tongues, he could not tempt a Dutchman, or any other nation, but the English, for he can tempt the Englishman, for he has tempted me, and I am an Englishman; but the gift of tongues by the power of the Holy Ghost in the Church, is for the benefit of the servants of God to preach to unbelievers, as on the day of Pentecost. When devout men from every nation shall assemble to hear the things of God, let the Elders preach to them in their own mother tongue, whether it is German, French, Spanish or “Irish,” or any other, and let those interpret who understand the language spoken, in their own mother tongue, and this is what the Apostle meant in First Corinthians xiv: 27.

History of the Church 4:580, April 1842:
“At a subsequent period a Shaker spirit was on the point of being introduced, and at another time the Methodist and Presbyterian falling down power, but the spirit was rebuked and put down, and those who would not submit to rule and good order were disfellowshiped. We have also had brethren and sisters who have had the gift of tongues falsely; they would speak in a muttering unnatural voice, and their bodies be distorted like the Irvingites before alluded to; whereas, there is nothing unnatural in the Spirit of God. A circumstance of this kind took place in Upper Canada, but was rebuked by the presiding Elder; another, a woman near the same place, professed to have the discerning of spirits, and began to accuse another sister of things that she was not guilty of, which she said she knew was so by the spirit, but was afterwards proven to be false; she placed herself in the capacity of the “accuser of the brethren,” and no person through the discerning of spirits can bring a charge against another, they must be proven guilty by positive evidence, or they stand clear.”

History of the Church 4:607, April, 1842:
“If you have a matter to reveal, let it be in your own tongue; do not indulge too much in the exercise of the gift of tongues, or the devil will take advantage of the innocent and unwary. You may speak in tongues for your own comfort, but I lay this down for a rule, that if anything is taught by the gift of tongues, it is not to be received for doctrine.

History of the Church 5:31, June 1842; from the Prophet Joseph Smith:
“Be not so curious about tongues, do not speak in tongues except there be an interpreter present; the ultimate design of tongues is to speak to foreigners, and if persons are very anxious to display their intelligence, let them speak to such in their own tongues. The gifts of God are all useful in their place, but when they are applied to that which God does not intend, they prove an injury, a snare and a curse instead of a blessing. We may some future time enter more fully into this subject, but shall let this suffice for the present.

Ebenezer Robinson The Return 1 (June 1889), 1832-1843, page 90:
“President S. (Sidney) Rigdon then made a few appropriate closing remarks, and a short prayer which was ended with loud acclamation of Hosanna! Hosanna! Hosanna! to God and the Lamb, Amen, Amen, and Amen! Three times. Elder B. (Brigham) Young, one of the Twelve, gave a short exhortation in tongues himself; Elder D. (David) W. Patten interpreted and gave a short exhortation in tongues himself; after which, President J. (Joseph) Smith, Jr., blessed the congregation in the name of the Lord, and at a little past four P.M. the whole exercise closed and the congregation dispersed.”

Brigham Young History, 1801­44, ed., E. Watson (1968), page 2, 4-5:
“We arrived at the place where there was a small branch of the Church; we conversed with them, attended their meetings and heard them preach, and after staying about one week we returned home, being still more convinced of the truth of the work, and anxious to learn its principles and to learn more of Joseph Smith’s mission. The members of the branch in Pennsylvania were the first in the Church who received the gift of tongues….In the evening a few of the brethren came in, and we conversed together upon the things of the kingdom. He called upon me to pray; in my prayer I spoke in tongues. As soon as we arose from our knees the brethren flocked around him, and asked his opinion concerning the gift of tongues that was upon me. He told them it was the pure Adamic language. Some said to him they expected he would condemn the gift Brother Brigham had, but he said, “No, it is of God, and the time will come when Brother Brigham Young will preside over this Church. The latter part of this conversation was in my absence.”

Nauvoo Temple 1847

History of the Church 7:557, December 1845, in the Nauvoo temple:
“After the dancing had continued about an hour, several excellent songs were sung, in which several of the brethren and sisters joined. The `Upper California’ was sung by Erastus Snow, after which I [Brigham Young] called upon Sister Whitney who stood up and invoking the gift of tongues, sang a beautiful song of Zion in tongues. The interpretation was given by her husband, Bishop Whitney, and me, it related to our efforts to build this house to the privilege we now have of meeting in it, our departure shortly to the country of the Lamanites, their rejoicing when they hear the gospel and of the ingathering of Israel.”

Lorenzo Brown Journal, 1823-1846, typescript, BYU­S, page 5:
“Our meetings were good. We were blessed spiritually with the gift of tongues, through which, and the interpretation, we learned many things. There were several hymns given, one of which was given through myself and interpreted by Sister Esther Crowely, who had the gift the most perfect of any person I ever knew. These lines I cannot withhold the impulse to subjoin as I then thought and still think them good. They were given several times until they were committed to memory.

Come every Saint and hearken now
Did you not make a solemn vow
When the Savior’s name ye took on you
With all your sins to bid adieu”

Sarah Leavitt History (1919), 1799-1847, page 18:
“But I will return to my history. We had lost our only cow, but my husband made rails and bought another and finally we concluded we would go to Nauvoo, as lots of our friends were going. We never had lived where there was a branch of the Church, but we got together every week and had prayer meetings and the Lord was with us and poured out His spirit upon us insomuch that they spoke in tongues and prophesied. The children took an active part in these meetings. They would talk in tongues and prophesy and it was interpreted. We depended on no leader but the Lord and He led us into all truth; the sick were healed as often as any were taken sick.”

History of the Church 7:557-558, December 1845:
[This event was in the Nauvoo temple after the death of Joseph Smith]
“After the dancing had continued about an hour, several excellent songs were sung, in which several of the brethren and sisters joined. The `Upper California’ was sung by Erastus Snow, after which I [Brigham Young] called upon Sister Whitney who stood up and invoking the gift of tongues, sang a beautiful song of Zion in tongues. The interpretation was given by her husband, Bishop Whitney, and me, it related to our efforts to build this house to the privilege we now have of meeting in it, our departure shortly to the country of the Lamanites [to end up in what is now Salt Lake City], their rejoicing when they hear the gospel and of the ingathering of Israel.”

Warren Foote Autobiography, typescript, BYU­S, 1817-1846, page 18:
“4th. We had trouble in the camp again. After considerable talking in, tongues, and confessions, it was again settled. O the folly and weakness of man. Mr. Markham has been sick, but is now getting better.

Heber Chase Kimball was a leader in the early Latter Day Saint movement. He served as one of the original twelve apostles in the early Mormon church, and as first counselor to Brigham Young in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1847 until his death

Heber Kimball Journal, Millennial Star 26 (1864), page 488:
“As soon as I heard them I was convinced that they taught the truth, and that I had only received a part of the ordinances under the Baptist Church. I also saw and heard the gifts of the spirit manifested by the elders, for they spoke in tongues and interpreted, which tended to strengthen my faith. Brigham Young and myself were constrained, by the Spirit, to bear testimony of the truth, and when we did this, the power of God rested upon us.”

Heber Kimball Journal, Millennial Star 26 (1864), Pg.535:
“The Hill Cumorah is a high hill for that country, and had the appearance of a fortification or entrenchment around it. In the state of New York, probably, there are hundreds of those fortifications which are now visible and I have seen them in many other parts of the United States. We received the gift of tongues and interpretation a few days after we were baptized. The brethren who brought the Gospel to us belonged to the first Branch of the Church that received the gift of tongues, and the Branch at Mendon was the next. Brothers Brigham and Joseph Young and myself went to Kirtland, with my horses and wagon, to visit the Prophet, a distance of three hundred miles. We saw Brother Joseph Smith and had a glorious time; during which Brother Brigham spoke in tongues before Brother Joseph, it being the first time he had heard any one speak in tongues; he testified that the gift was from God, and spoke in tongues himself. Soon the gift of tongues became general in the Church in Kirtland. We had a precious season and returned with a blessing in our souls.”

Journal of Discourses 11:10, George Albert Smith, November 15, 1864:
“On the first day of the dedication [Kirtland temple], President Frederick G. Williams, one of the Council of the Prophet, and who occupied the upper pulpit, bore testimony that the Savior, dressed in his vesture without seam, came into the stand and accepted of the dedication of the house, that he saw him, and gave a description of his clothing and all things pertaining to it. That evening there was a collection of Elders, Priests, Teachers and Deacons, etc., amounting to four hundred and sixteen, gathered in the house; there were great manifestations of power, such as speaking in tongues, seeing visions, administration of angels. Many individuals bore testimony that they saw angels, and David Whitmer [he left the Church in 1838] bore testimony that he saw three angels passing up the south aisle, and there came a shock on the house like the sound of a mighty rushing wind, and almost every man in the house arose, and hundreds of them were speaking in tongues, prophesying or declaring visions, almost with one voice.”

Journal of Discourses 2:215, George Smith, 8 April 1855:
“On the evening after the dedication of the temple [Kirtland, 27 March 1836], hundreds of the brethren received the ministering of angels, saw the light and personages of angels, and bore testimony of it. They spake in new tongues, and had a greater manifestation of the power of God than that described by Luke on the day of Pentecost. Yet a great portion of the persons who saw these manifestations, in a few years, and some of them in a few weeks, apostatized.”

Benjamin Brown Testimonies For The Truth (1853), page 7:
“The Saints that I gathered at Portland, and that met at my house, were richly blessed with the various gifts of the Spirit­­ tongues, interpretations, prophecy, etc. I will relate an instance or two. One Sunday morning, while opening the meeting with prayer, the gift of tongues came upon me, but thinking of Paul’s words, that it is sometimes wisdom not to speak in tongues, unless one is present who can interpret, and forgetting that a sister, possessing the gift of interpretation, was present, I quenched the Spirit, and it left me. Immediately, another brother broke out in tongues, the interpretation of which was, that, `the Lord knew we were anxious to learn of the affairs of our brethren in Missouri, and that if we would humble ourselves before him, and ask, he would reveal unto us the desires of our hearts.’ Missouri was some thousand miles from Portland. We accordingly bowed again in supplication before the Lord, and, after rising from our knees, and reseating ourselves, the same brother broke out singing in tongues, in a low, mournful strain. But judge our feelings when the interpretation was given, and was found to be some thirteen or fourteen verses of poetry, descriptive of affairs in Missouri, the murder of our brethren there, and telling us that just at that time­­”

Journal of Discourses 1:131, Brigham Young, April 6, 1853:
“Were it not that our bodies have to be fed and clothed, I would propose that we tarry here a few months, to give all a chance to speak, to exhort, to pray, to prophesy, to sing, to speak in tongues, or to do whatsoever the Spirit should manifest unto them. But our work is a work of the present. The salvation we are seeking is for the present, and, sought correctly, it can be obtained, and be continually enjoyed.”

John Taylor was the third president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1880 to 1887. For the entire seven years of his presidency, he served with George Q. Cannon, left, first counselor, and Joseph F. Smith, second counselor.

Journal of Discourses 1:374-375, John Taylor, April 19, 1854:
“….but there must be missionary boxes to swallow up the money put into them, and if they go abroad, they must be well supplied with money, but they call upon the people to trust them for their spiritual welfare, while they cannot trust God for a piece of Johnny cake. I think we are very like them sometimes; we have a good supply of faith, we can speak and sing in tongues, and some of us have the gift of prophecy, and are full of religion and zeal. We pray fervently for the President, and for the Twelve, and for the rolling forth of God’s kingdom, and we seem all alive in it in this way; but what about our temporal interests?….`Yes, we have a great deal of faith, we can speak in tongues, and cast out devils in thy name.'”

Journal of Discourses 3:9, Jedediah M. Grant, May, 30, 1855:
“I remember well, when a boy, of hearing brother Brigham speak in tongues, and the effect it produced I shall never forget; I could feel the spirit, although I did not fully understand the tongue. I have heard others speak in tongues, but it had not the same effect, and I have marked the different impressions received under different individuals.”

Discourses of Brigham Young, page 162, June 1856:
“The gift of seeing with the natural eyes is just as much a gift as the gift of tongues. The Lord gave that gift and we can do as we please with regard to seeing; we can use the sight of the eye to the glory of God, or to our own destruction.” JD 3:364.

Journal of Discourses 3:364, Brigham Young, June 22, 1856:
“Take, for instance, the gift of tongues; years ago in this Church you could find men of age, and seemingly of experience, who would preach and raise up Branches, and when quite young boys or girls would get up and speak in tongues, and others interpret, and perhaps that interpretation instructing the Elders who brought them into the Church, they would turn round and say, “I know my duty, this is the word of the Lord to me and I must do as these boys or girls have spoken in tongues.”

Journal of Discourses 4: 170, Heber C. Kimball, January 11, 1857:
“As for the gift to tongues, I do not speak in tongues often. Can I speak in tongues? Yes, I can speak in a good, beautiful language to this people at any time. Why? Because God gave me the gift, and He does not give gifts to men and then take them away again, so long as those men are doing their duty.”

Parley Pratt Autobiography (1985), 1808-1857, pages 91-92:
“She then rode home, and was baptized in connection with several others, who came forward and obeyed the fullness of the gospel. We afterwards laid our hands on them for the gift of the Holy Ghost, when it fell upon them in great power, insomuch that all in the room felt its power and influence and glorified God; some spake in tongues, others prophesied and bore testimony to the truth.

Journal of Discourses 11:135­-136, Brigham Young, August 1­10, 1865:
” A sister who receives the gift of tongues is not thereby empowered to dictate her president, or the church. All gifts and endowments given of the Lord to members of His church are not given to control the church; but they are under the control and guidance of the priesthood, and are judged of by it. Some have erred upon this point, and have been led captive by the devil.”

Brigham Young, clean shaven and rising through the ranks of LdS Church leadership

“When Joseph asked Brigham Young to pray, Brigham spoke in tongues, using strange sounds and unfamiliar words. The others looked at Joseph in some perplexity, for this type of spiritual phenomenon was not common to them. It was Joseph’s first experience with the puzzling speech and he called it ‘pure Adamic’ and stated that it was ‘of God.’ Speaking in tongues spread through the Pennsylvania branches of the church first, then occurred in Mendon, New York. Brigham Young brought it to Kirtland. The practice became a part of the Saints’ worship – particularly among women – until well into the next century.”
(King and Newell, Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith, p. 46)

Journal of Discourses 13:58, Brigham Young, July 18, 1869:
“This Gospel is for all the children of men, and it will save all who will believe and obey it. Do this people believe in this Gospel?….Yes; and this is not all. They speak with new tongues, they lay hands on the sick and they do recover. In these particulars we differ from those with whom we formerly fellowshipped in the Christian world, who say they tell the people how to come to God and be saved. ”

Zebedee Coltrin Minutes, HP Spanish Fork, 5 Feb 1870, page 103:
[approximately 1835]
“At Kirtland, we were called to the school of the prophets, and at one time when Joseph was in the translating room, myself and others were talking about the gift of tongues, when the spirit of tongues fell upon me and I [Zebedee Coltrin] spoke under its influence. Joseph came into the room and said, `God bless you, Brother Zebedee, that is the spirit of God.’ He told me to continue and the gift of tongues and of prophesying rested on the greater part of the brethren present and we continued speaking in tongues and prophesying through that day and the greater part of the following night.”

Journal of Discourses 15:76, Orson Pratt, February 4, 1872:
“If the former­day Saints taught the necessity of having the various gifts of the Gospel, such as the gifts of vision, the ministration of angels, prophecy, revelation, healing the sick, speaking with tongues, the interpretation of tongues, and all the various gifts mentioned in the New Testament; if they taught these things in former days, the Latter­day Saints have been commissioned to teach the same things in our day, consequently there is no difference so far as doctrines, ordinances and the gifts are concerned.”

Discourses of Brigham Young, page 161, August 1873:
“There is a variety of blessings;….They have such power that when a person enters this congregation they can tell the spirit of such person; then they have received the gift of discerning of spirits. Some may receive the gift of tongues, that they will get up and speak in tongues, and speak in many other languages beside their mother tongue, the language that they were brought up in, that they were first taught,…” JD 16:164.

Journal of Discourses 16:291­-292, Orson Pratt, November 2, 1873:
“We find a great many gifts besides those I have mentioned. The gift of tongues, the interpretation of tongues, the discerning of spirits, and the beholding of angels, were all given in ancient times by the Spirit, and the Church possessing them was compared to the body of Christ;….Says Paul, speaking to the Church­­`You are the body of Christ, and members in particular. God has set in the church, first apostles, second prophets, after that teachers, workers of miracles, speakers with tongues, interpreters of tongues.’ All these different ones are members of the body of Christ. Now, have we any right to say to the lowest of these members, `We have no need of you in the body?’ Supposing the teacher should say to the speaker in tongues­­`I have no need of you, now in the body, the Lord has a different kind of a body on the earth from what he had eighteen hundred years ago, and we do not need you now.’ Another says to the interpreter of tongues­­`We have persons who have studied all these languages, and we do not need a person to interpret tongues, by the Spirit,..”

Orson Pratt was a leader in the Latter Day Saint movement and an original member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles

Key to the Science of Theology, by [Apostle] Parley P. Pratt, 1874, pages 98­-99, 106:
“He may perhaps speak in power, in the word of wisdom, in the word of knowledge, in prophecy, or in other tongues. He may see a vision, dream an inspired dream, or possess the gift to be healed, or to heal others, by the laying on of hands in the name of Jesus Christ…The members of the Church also partook of this Spirit, through the ministry of the Apostles, by which miraculous gifts were imparted unto them, some to one and some to another: some to speak in tongues, some to interpret, or translate from one language into another; some to prophesy, see visions, or converse with angels; others to control, or cast out devils, or heal the sick; and others, again, to teach and edify the Church, or the world, by the word of wisdom, and by the word of knowledge.”

Journal of Discourses 25:136, B. H. Roberts, January 28th, 1884:
“Did the ancient Saints enjoy the spiritual gifts and blessings of the Gospel ­­the gifts of knowledge, wisdom, faith, healing, tongues, interpretations, discerning of spirits, revelation, prophecy, visitation of angels, etc.? Yes: and do the Latter-­day Saints enjoy these things? You know they do, for you are witnesses of these things­­ then this institution exactly resembles that which Jesus established upon the earth when He was here.”

David O. McKay was the ninth president of The LdS Church serving from 1951 until his death. Ordained an apostle and member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1906, McKay was a general authority for nearly sixty-four years, longer than anyone else in history

Gospel Ideals, by [President] David O. McKay, 1873-1970, page 552:
“THE GIFT OF INTERPRETATION ­­ The occasion was a conference held at Huntly, New Zealand, a thousand people assembled. Before that time I had spoken through interpreters in China, Hawaii, Holland, and other places, but I felt impressed on that occasion to speak in the English language. In substance I said, “I have never been much of an advocate of the necessity of tongues in our Church, but today I wish I had that gift. But I haven’t. However, I am going to speak to you, my brothers and sisters, in my native tongue and pray that you may have the gift of interpretation of tongues. We will ask Brother Stuart Meha who is going to interpret for me, to make notes, and if necessary he may give us a summary of my talk afterwards. Well, the outpouring of the gift of tongues on that occasion was most remarkable….So it is the gift of interpretation rather than the gift of tongues, that was remarkable.”

Mormon Doctrine, by [Apostle] Bruce R. McConkie, 1979, Bookcraft, page 801:
“TONGUES As with other spiritual gifts, tongues “never will be done away,” as long as the earth remains in its present state, “only according to the unbelief of the children of men.” (Moro. 10:19.) But in the ultimate perfect day the gifts pertaining to tongues “shall cease.” (1 Cor. 13:8.)…”

Influential LdS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie preaching

A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, 1985, Deseret Book Co., page 374:
“These are of two kinds:

(1) Learning to speak foreign tongues, to understand the words spoken by aliens, and to translate what is written in other languages; and
(2) Speaking or understanding alien and unknown languages without premeditation.

The first kind is by far the more important and more commonly conferred; the second type is more dramatic and may involve languages spoken by others now living or dead languages long unknown among men. Some have spoken, for instance, in the pure Adamic language.”

CONCLUSION
Do Mormons now speak in tongues? As an active Mormon between 1975 and early 1984 I never once heard of any Mormon speaking in tongues as the early Mormons did. This does not mean it didn’t happen, I just never heard of it, then or since. Have you?

Now read again, just below, the quote under the title at the beginning of this paper for the significance to one Mormon prophet and president of speaking in tongues.
“…my wife….waiting for me, and she started to lecture me, saying that I was breaking the Word of Wisdom. She suddenly stopped, and by the gift of tongues she gave me a most remarkable and wonderful blessing and promised me that I should live to pay off all my debts, which I did live to do…Unless the gift of tongues and the interpretation thereof are enjoyed by the Saints in our day, then we are lacking one of the evidences of the true faith.­­YWJ [Young Women’s Journal], 16:128.”
(Gospel Standards, (President) Heber J. Grant (1870-1945), pages 11-12, describing a personal experience)

Hebert J. Grant (circa 1900) with his three wives and the first two of what would eventually total twelve children in all. Left to Right: Grace Grant (Evans), Heber J. Grant, Emily Wells Grant, Frances Grant (Bennett), Emily Grant (Mansen), Deseret “Dessie” Grant (Boyle)

About the Author
John R. Farkas (1932-2011) was a convert to Mormonism in 1975 and served in several callings up to and including Elder’s Quoruom President of  the Rochester 1st Ward, New York Stake. In 1984 he left the LdS Church and became involved with Berean Christian Ministries where he served until his death. Mr. Farkas is the author of several books on Mormonism and other subjects which can be found on his Author’s page on Amazon. Beggar’s Bread is grateful that before he passed Mr. Farkas granted us the permission to republish the articles from his now defunct website. 

John Farkas is of one the giants on whose shoulders we stand and to whom we owe a debt that we simply can never repay!  We look forward to thanking him again in heaven for the example of his life and treasure of wisdom that he left behind for our benefit. 

Introduction
While I was preparing the prior Beggar Bread article, “Mormons: Pentecostals Gone Bad!”  I was fortunate enough to find an email address for the webmaster of the now (and I hope temporarily) defunct WhyMormons.net website that contained important articles that I had sourced when I originally researched and wrote my piece back in 2009.

Recontact in this case was important because two articles from that much missed resource are cited in both editions of my piece. Further, I make every attempt to be diligent in providing not only justification for the evidence that I present and conclusions that I draw but in creating an audit and research trail for future researchers should they wish to validate or build on my work as I have on the work of others.  Fortunately, in this case, I had had the foresight in 2009 to capture one of the articles in it’s entirety (Shamdango’s “Alcohol & Mormon Temples: Getting Crunk in the House of the Lord” – see Appendix A of “Mormons: Pentecostals Gone Bad!”) in my research archives.  However, one article was still Missing In Action (MIA). 

That MIA article, I felt, was especially critical because it contained rare and unique summations of early Latter-day Saint initiatory ordinances – including the unusual practice of washing in perfumed whiskey – as well as some important historical transcripts of that ordinance.   So you can imagine my delight and surprise today when I not only received a response to my email from the WhyMormons.net webmaster but the entire text of that MIA article as well! 

So it’s with delight and pleasure that I present that same said article as  both Appendix B to “Mormons: Pentecostals Gone!” and as it’s own stand-alone article:  

APPENDIX B:
The Kirtland (Spiritual Endowment): An Early Template for the Initiatory
by “Shamdango” (author’s pen name)
The early Kirtland initiatory ordinances were for “worthy brethren” who were,“invited to participate in certain purifying ordinances preparatory to receiving a spiritual endowment of power. These ordinances consisted of washing ‘head to foot’ in soap and water, washing in clear water and perfumed whiskey, having one’s head anointed with consecrated oil and receiving a blessing by the spirit of prophesy, having the anointing blessing sealed with uplifted hands (solemn prayer, a sealing prayer, and the hosanna shout), and washing of faces and feet and partaking of the Lord’s Supper.”
(Backman & Cook eds. “Kirtland Elders’ Quorum Record” (1985), p.25-26)

Artist’s depiction of the Kirtland Temple

In summary, the Kirtland Endowment & Initiatory Ceremony included:

  • Washing with soap and water;
  • Washing with water and perfumed whiskey
    (Using whiskey for washing is supported by Doctrine and Covenants 89:7);
  • Consecration with oil and receiving blessing
    (solemn prayer, sealing prayer, and hosanna shout);
  • Blessing sealed;
  • Washing of faces and feet and partaking of the Lord’s Supper;

The men participating in these Spiritual Endowments were informed that they should fast during the day that they attended to these ordinances.

The men would become completely naked and bathe themselves completely in soap and water.
After attending to the duties above spoken I repaired to a room in Company with Elder Meeks & Priest J Turpin to attend to our first washing. After washing our bodies from head to foot in soap & watter we then washed ourselves in clear watter next in perfumed spirits [whiskey].”
(“Wilford Woodruff’s Journal”, edited by Scott G. Kenny)

Upon breaking the fast to partake of the Lord’s supper…
The fast was then broken by eating light wheat bread, and drinking as much wine as they saw proper. Smith knew well how to infuse the spirit which they expected to receive; so he encouraged the brethren to drink freely, telling them that the wine was consecrated, and would not make them drunk. As may be supposed, they drank to the purpose. After this, they began to prophesy, pronouncing blessings upon their friends, and curses upon their enemies.”
(William Harris, “Mormonism Portrayed”)

These washings and anointings would later be incorporated into the Nauvoo temple ceremony and became known as the “initiatory ordinance” or “preparatory ordinances” to the secret and sacred endowment created for Joseph Smith’s closest inner-circle of polygamy-practicing friends.

The earliest account that we have of the Nauvoo initiatory ordinance is given to us in Heber C. Kimball’s journal in 1845. He says:
. . . John D Lee and others have been fitting up stoves in the two west rooms [of the temple]. As they will be devoted to washing and Anointing and to heet water. We have two Large traves [troughs]. . . . Three men can wash in either of them at the same time”

Men and women’s washings and anointings were performed in separate areas of the temple by members of the same gender (males performing the ritual on males and females performing the ritual for females)

The earliest accounts of the initiatory washings indicate a literal Old Testament model of actual bathing. Large tubs of water are specified in the separate men’s and women’s rooms. The anointing was performed by liberally pouring consecrated oil from a horn over the head and allowing it to run over the whole body.

As late as 1931, the Salt Lake Temple had full-sized bathtubs for the washing ceremony. Men and women were still expected to become completely nude and “wash” themselves according to the ordinance.

(The House of the Lord: A Study of Holy Sanctuaries Ancient and Modern, by James E. Talmage, Signature Books, 1998, p. 118)On the right is a photo of one of the ten washing and anointing rooms in the Salt Lake Temple as it appeared in 1912.

Sometime after 1931, the ordinance for the initiatory washings and anointings was modified to become a much less intimate procedure – one requiring a simple and symbolic touching of the patron’s naked body in certain places with oil and water.

This ordinance continued to evolve into the patron wearing a white pancho-looking cloth called a “shield” with the sides completely open allowing the officiator to touch the patron’s naked body in the places that were being symbolically washed and anointed.

While the initiatory & endowment work is now done for both the living and the dead within Mormon temples, these secret rituals and ceremonies weren’t performed for the dead within Mormon temples until 1877.

“The first recorded endowments for the dead were performed in St. George on 11 January 1877, according to temple president David H. Cannon. Shortly thereafter Wilford Woodruff, the new temple president, received a revelation about endowments and sealings for his dead, which he recorded in his journal . . . Accordingly on 1 March 1877 Woodruff spent his seventieth birthday in the St. George temple with 154 women performing proxy endowments for deceased women who had been or were being sealed to Woodruff.”
(David J. Beurger, “The Mysteries of Godliness: A History of Mormon Temple Worship” pp.108-9)

Cross section view of the Kirtland Temple

The Initiatory Ordinance (Pre-2005)
What Follows is the actual wording of the initiatory.
(parenthesis indicates my own description of the actions)
Words in red represent wording & actions from the initiatory pre-2005

(Each initiate is presented individually to the washing rooms. Throughout the initiatory, women officiate for women, and men for men.)

Washing
(An officiator places water on the initiate’s head while pronouncing the following words)

Brother _________, having authority, I wash you preparatory to your receiving your anointings [for and in behalf of _________, who is dead], that you may become clean from the blood and sins of this generation.

(While pronouncing the blessings which follow, the officiator touches each part of the body as it is named)

I wash your head, that your brain and your intellect may be clear and active;

your ears, that you may hear the word of the Lord;

your eyes, that you may see clearly and discern between truth and error;

your nose, that you may smell;

your lips, that you may never speak guile;

your neck, that it may bear up your head properly;

your shoulders, that they may bear the burdens that shall be placed thereon;

your back, that there may be marrow in the bones and in the spine;

your breast, that it may be the receptacle of pure and virtuous principles;

your vitals and bowels, that they may be healthy and perform their proper functions;

your arms and hands, that they may be strong and wield the sword of justice in defense of truth and virtue;

your loins, that you may be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth, that you might have joy in your posterity;

your legs and feet, that you might run and not be weary, and walk and not faint.

(A second officiator enters. Both officiators place their hands on the initiate’s head, and the second officiator seals the washing as follows.)

Brother _________, having authority, we lay our hands upon your head [for and in behalf of _________, who is dead] and seal upon you this washing, that you may become clean from the blood and sins of this generation through your faithfulness; in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Anointing
(An officiator places oil on the initiate’s head while pronouncing the following words.)

Brother _________, having authority, I pour this holy anointing oil upon your head [for and in behalf of _________, who is dead] and anoint you preparatory to your becoming a king and a priest unto the most high God, hereafter to rule and reign in the house of Israel forever.

(While pronouncing the blessings which follow, the officiator touches each part of the body as it is named)

I anoint your head, that your brain and your intellect may be clear and active;

your ears, that you may hear the word of the Lord;

your eyes, that you may see clearly and discern between truth and error;

your nose, that you may smell;

your lips, that you may never speak guile;

your neck, that it may bear up your head properly;

your shoulders, that they may bear the burdens that shall be placed thereon;

your back, that there may be marrow in the bones and in the spine;

your breast, that it may be the receptacle of pure and virtuous principles;

your vitals and bowels, that they may be healthy and perform their proper functions;

your arms and hands, that they may be strong and wield the sword of justice in defense of truth and virtue;

your loins, that you may be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth, that you might have joy in your posterity;

your legs and feet, that you might run and not be weary, and walk and not faint.

(A second officiator enters. Both officiators place their hands on the initiate’s head, and the second officiator confirms the anointing as follows.)

Brother _________, having authority, we lay our hands upon your head [for and in behalf of _________, who is dead] and confirm upon you this anointing, wherewith you have been anointed in the temple of our God preparatory to becoming a king and a priest unto the most high God, hereafter to rule and reign in the house of Israel forever, and seal upon you all the blessings hereunto appertaining, through your faithfulness; in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

The Garment
Click here [note: link now dead] for the history of the garment
(An officiator clothes the initiate in the garment. The officiator then pronounces the following words.)

Brother _________, having authority, I place this garment upon you [for and in behalf of _________, who is dead], which you must wear throughout your life. It represents the garment given to Adam when he was found naked in the garden of Eden and is called the garment of the holy priesthood.

Inasmuch as you do not defile it, but are true and faithful to your covenants, it will be a shield and a protection to you against the power of the destroyer until you have finished your work here on earth.

The New Name
(In the case of a living endowment, the officiator who clothed the initiate in the garment continues as follows.)

With this garment, I give you a new name, which you should always remember and which you must keep sacred and never reveal, except at a certain place that will be shown you hereafter.

The name is _________.

Temple Square, Salt Lake City 1891

The 2005 Changes to the Initiatory
In January 2005, the initiatory ordinance was once again changed. This time the patron arrives already wearing the garment and the pancho-looking shield zips up on the sides. The patron is no longer naked or touched on any parts of their body other than their head.
Words in red represent the new verbiage & changes
Everything else about the verbiage is exactly the same as the pre-2005 ordinance verbiage.

(The initiate dons the garment and the shield before being presented individually to the washing rooms. Throughout the initiatory, women officiate for women, and men for men.)

PREFACE
Brother _________, the temple washing, anointing, and clothing ordinances were given anciently, as recorded in the book of Exodus: “And thou shalt bring Aaron and his sons unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and wash them with water. And thou shalt put upon Aaron the holy garments, and anoint him, and sanctify him.”

We likewise administer these ordinances in our day, but you are washed and anointed only symbolically, as follows.

Washing Changes
(While pronouncing the blessings, the officiator lays hands on the initiate’s head only.)

Anointing Changes
(While pronouncing the blessings, the officiator lays hands on the initiate’s head only.)

Garment Verbiage Changes
Brother _________, under proper authority, the garment placed upon you is now authorized [for and in behalf of _________, who is dead], and is to be worn throughout your life. It represents the garment given to Adam when he was found naked in the garden of Eden and is called the garment of the holy priesthood.

Everything else about the verbiage is exactly the same as pre-2005.

New Name
(In the case of a living endowment, the officiator who authorized the initiate’s garment continues as follows.)

Pre-2005 verbiage is exactly the same.

by Fred W. Anson
(Second Edition to original June 2009 edition published on “Concerned Christians”)
Tongues speaking, vision seeing, holy rolling Mormons? For many the fact that primitive Mormonism was as Pentecostal as their local Foursquare or Assemblies of God Church may come as a shock but it’s a historical fact.

And could there be any greater evidence of the Pentecostalism of early Mormonism than the Dedication of the Kirtland Temple? Maybe, but it’s pretty hard to top – especially since we have such a rich trove of first hand reports to choose from.  A few of these accounts follow this brief introduction.

And since this author comes from a Pentecostal/Charismatic tradition I think it important to note that I’m not saying that these experiences would be considered legitimate by Christians of any ilk either then or now. Thankfully, the test for orthodoxy then, as it is now, rests on Biblical authority as well as reasonable empiricism and common sense (well, at least for the most part on the last one). Consider, for example, this empirical commentary from a modern Mormon Studies Scholar who suggests that something more than a move of the Spirit was a factor in Early Mormon practice of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit (aka “Charismata”):

Oh, there was prophesying, testifying, speaking in tongues, blessing and cursing, visions, angels, appearances by all kinds of characters including Elijah, Jesus, Adam, and Abraham.

But the Mormon church conveniently never discusses the fact that everyone arrived fasted – starving and thirsty. And how did they break the fast? With the Lord’s Supper, of course: bread and wine. Lots of wine.[1]

Yet despite any challenges to the causality, legitimacy or orthodoxy of any particular charismatic expression  Early Mormonism was unquestionably rooted in the burgeoning Pentecostalism of it’s day. Further, you can still see evidences and echoes of that legacy in the modern LdS Church – though today it’s only a shadow-like (actually more like a zombie-like, that is, animated but dead) aberration of what it once was.

 First Hand Accounts of the Dedication of the Kirtland Temple:
Joseph Smith, Jr.
“Brother George A. Smith arose and began to prophesy, when a noise was heard like the sound of a rushing mighty wind, which filled the Temple, and all the congregation simultaneously arose, being moved upon by an invisible power; many began to speak in tongues and prophesy; others saw glorious visions; and I beheld the Temple was filled with angels, which fact I declared to the congregation. The people of the neighborhood came running together (hearing an unusual sound within, and seeing a bright light like a pillar of fire resting upon the Temple), and were astonished at what was taking place.”[2]

Oliver Cowdery
“Sunday, the 27th attended on the dedication of the Lord’s house. For the particulars of this great event see my account written by myself, and printed in the March No. of The Messenger and Advocate, signed C. In the evening I met with the officers of the church in the Lord’s house. The Spirit was poured out–I saw the glory of God, like a great cloud, come down and rest upon the house, and fill the same like a mighty rushing wind. I also saw cloven tongues, like as of fire rest upon many, (for there were 316 present,) while they spake with other tongues and prophesied.”[3]

Heber C. Kimball
“During the ceremonies of the dedication, an angel appeared and sat near President Joseph Smith, Sen., and Frederick G. Williams, so that they had a fair view of his person. He was a very tall personage, black eyes, white hair, and stoop shouldered; his garment was whole, extending to near his ankles; on his feet he had sandals. He was sent as a messenger to accept of the dedication…While these things were being attended to the beloved disciple John was seen in our midst by the Prophet Joseph, Oliver Cowdery and others.”[4]

George A. Smith
“There were great manifestations of power, such as speaking in tongues, seeing visions, administration of angels. Many individuals bore testimony that they saw angels, and David Whitmer bore testimony that he saw three angels passing up the south aisle, and there came a shock on the house like the sound of a mighty rushing wind, and almost every man in the house arose, and hundreds of them were speaking in tongues, prophecying or declaring visions, almost with one voice.”[5]

Eliza R. Snow
“One striking feature of the ceremonies, was the grand shout of hosanna, which was given by the whole assembly, in standing position, with uplifted hands. The form of the shout is as follows: ‘Hosanna-hosanna-hosanna-to God and the Lamb-amen-amen, and amen.’ The foregoing was deliberately and emphatically pronounced, and three times repeated, and with such power as seemed almost sufficient to raise the roof from the building.

A singular incident in connection with this shout may be discredited by some, but it is verily true. A notice had been circulated that children in arms would not be admitted at the dedication of the temple. A sister who had come a long distance with her babe, six weeks old, having, on her arrival, heard of the above requisition, went to the patriarch Joseph Smith, Sr., in great distress, saying that she knew no one with whom she could leave her infant; and to be deprived of the privilege of attending the dedication seemed more than she could endure. The ever generous and kind-hearted father volunteered to take the responsibility on himself, and told her to take her child, at the same time giving the mother a promise that her babe should make no disturbance; and the promise was verified. But when the congregation shouted hosanna, that babe joined in the shout. As marvelous as that incident may appear to many, it is not more so than other occurrences on that occasion

The ceremonies of that dedication may be rehearsed, but no mortal language can describe the heavenly manifestations of that memorable day. Angels appeared to some, while a sense of divine presence was realized by all present, and each heart was filled with ‘joy inexpressible and full of glory.'”[6]

Benjamin Brown
“There the Spirit of the Lord, as on the day of Pentecost, was profusely poured out. Hundreds of Elders spoke in tongues. We had a most glorious and never-to-be-forgotten time. Angels were seen by numbers present. It was also at this time that Elijah the Prophet appeared, and conferred upon Joseph the keys of turning the hearts of the fathers to the children, previous to the re-institution of the ordinance of baptism for the dead.”[7]

Truman Angell
“When about midway during the prayer, there was a glorious sensation passed through the house [Kirtland Temple]; and we, having our heads bowed in prayer, felt a sensation very elevating to the soul. At the close of the prayer, F. [Frederick] G. Williams being in the upper east stand- -Joseph being in the speaking stand next below–rose and testified that midway during the prayer an holy angel came and seated himself in the stand. When the afternoon meeting assembled, Joseph, feeling very much elated, arose the first thing and said the personage who had appeared in the morning was the Angel Peter come to accept the dedication.”[8]

NOTES
[1] Shamdango, “Alcohol & Mormon Temples: Getting Crunk in the House of the Lord”; (http://www.whymormons.net/2008/04/alcohol-mormon-temples.html ; retrieved 2009-06; link now dead but full text follows in Appendix A)
[2] Joseph Smith, “History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”, 7 vols., introduction and notes by B. H. Roberts (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1932-1951), Volume 2, p.428.
[3] Leonard J. Arrington, “Oliver Cowdery’s Kirtland Ohio ‘Sketch Book,'” BYU Studies, Volume 12, (Summer 1972), 426.
[4] Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. (London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854-1886), Volume 9, p.376
[5] Ibid, Volume 11, p.10.
[6] Edward W. Tullidge, “The Women of Mormondom” (New York: Tullidge & Crandall, 1877), p.95
[7] Benjamin Brown, “Testimony for the Truth,” Gems for the Young Folks (Salt Lake City: Juvenile Instructor Office, 1881), p.65
[8] Truman Angell, Autobiography, Our Pioneer Heritage, Writings of Early Latter-day Saints, p.198.

APPENDIX A:
Alcohol & Mormon Temples: Getting Crunk in the House of the Lord

by “Shamdango” (author’s pen name)
To “get crunk”: (verb) The act of getting crazy drunk.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is quick to tell fascinating tales of spiritual manifestations about its temples.

Some fantastic tales are the remarkable events that transpired in 1836 before and during the dedication of the Kirtland temple.

Oh, there was prophesying, testifying, speaking in tongues, blessing and cursing, visions, angels, appearances by all kinds of characters including Elijah, Jesus, Adam, and Abraham.

But the Mormon church conveniently never discusses the fact that everyone arrived fasted – starving and thirsty. And how did they break the fast? With the Lord’s Supper, of course: bread and wine. Lots of wine.

Speaking of the endowment event, William Harris gives us this account: “In the evening, they met for the endowment. The fast was then broken by eating light wheat bread, and drinking as much wine as they saw proper. Smith knew well how to infuse the spirit which they expected to receive; so he encouraged the brethren to drink freely, telling them that the wine was consecrated, and would not make them drunk…..they began to prophecy, pronounce blessings upon their friends, and curses on their enemies. If I should be so unhappy as to go to the regions of the damned, I would never expect to hear language more awful, or more becoming the infernal pit, than was uttered that night.”

Some years later, a brother Milo Andress “spoke of blessings and power of God manifested in the Kirtland Temple. Said he once asked the Prophet why he (Milo) did not feel the power that was spoken of as the power that was felt on the day of the Pentecost?….when we had fasted for 24 hours and partaken of the Lord’s supper, namely a piece of bread as big as your double fist and a half pint of wine in the Temple. I was there and saw the Holy Ghost descend upon the heads of those present like cloven tongues of fire.” – Diary of Charles L. Walker 1855-1902, excerpts typed 1969, page 35.

Mrs. Alfred Morley made this comment: “I have heard many Mormons who attended the dedication, or endowment of the Temple say that very many became drunk….The Mormon leaders would stand up to prophesy and were so drunk they said they could not get it out and would call for another drink. Over a barrel of liquor was used at the service.”

Isaac Aldrich stated: “My brother, Hazen Aldrich, who as president of the Seventies, told me when the Temple was dedicated a barrel of wine was used and they had a drunken pow-wow.”

Stephen H. Hart gave this information: “Mr McWhithey, who was a Mormon…said he attended a service which lasted from 10 AM until 4 PM, and there was another service in the evening. The Lord’s Supper was celebrated and they passed the wine in pails several times to the audience, and each person drank as much as he chose from a cup. He said it was mixed liquor and he believed the Mormon leaders intended to get the audience under the influence of the mixed liquor, so they would believe it was the Lord’s doings….When the liquor was repassed, Mr McWhithey told them he had endowment enough, and said he wanted to get out of the Temple, which was densely crowded.”

“The great heavenly ‘visitation,’ which was alleged to have taken place in the temple at Kirtland, was a grand fizzle. The elders were assembled on the appointed day, which was promised would be a veritable day of Pentecost, but there was no visitation. No Peter, James and John; no Moses and Elias, put in an appearance. ‘I was in my seat on that occasion,’ says Mr. Whitmer, ‘and I know that the story sensationally circulated, and which is now on the records of the Utah Mormons as an actual happening, was nothing but a trumped up yarn…”

High Priest David Whitmer, one of the Three Witnesses, The Des Moines Daily News, Oct. 16, 1886;

The statement by Mormon Apostle George A. Smith would also lead a person to believe that wine was used to excess: “… after the people had fasted all day, they sent out and got wine and bread…. they ate and drank…. some of the High Counsel of Missouri stepped into the stand, and, as righteous Noah did when he awoke from his wine, commenced to curse their enemies (Journal of Discourses, vol. 2, p.216).

Yes, wine was pouring that day and everyone was “drunk” with the spirit, from having drunk too many spirits.

It seems that the majority of the time, you can hardly find Joseph Smith having any of his historical visions and visitations without having the Lord’s Supper somewhere around the event – lots of wine.

It wasn’t until July 5, 1906 that the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles officially abandoned the practice of drinking wine in their weekly temple sacrament meetings.

The early initiatory ordinances also included bathing naked in strong perfumed “spirits” (e.g. whiskey) You can learn more about that here.

It’s apparent that the early saints were much more liberal with the wine at Joseph Smith’s request. Have you ever noticed that the outpouring of the spiritual manifestations and pentecostal gifts seemed to fade once Joseph Smith was gone?

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