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Speaking In Tongues

A clinical psychologist, Dr. John P. Kildahl, has authored a book published by Harper and Row, entitled, The Psychology of Speaking in Tongues. The book is the result of two major research projects and ten years of intensive independent research by the author: His information was gathered from coast to coast and tongue-speakers from every educational level. They tape recorded and interviewed dozens of tongue-speakers who also filled out detailed questionnaires.

In order to make a valid comparison, their investigation included non-tongue speaking prayer groups which otherwise were equivalent in every possible way to those who were tongue-speakers. Extensive psychological testing was done with both groups, using standardized tests.

Some very interesting conclusions came from this study. Significantly, more than 85% of the tongue-speakers had experienced personal crises preceding their "gift" of tongues. Anxieties caused by marriage problems, loneliness, illness, financial pressure, and guilt figured prominently in these crises. In the non-speaking groups, only 30% expressed similar concerns. "We believe," says Kidahl, "anxiety is a prerequisite for developing the ability to speak in tongues."

The researchers also observed great differences between the interpretations given to the tongue-speaking When tapes submitted to those claiming interpretation yielded widely differing interpretations. When confronted with this, tongue-speakers sincerely defended the varying interpretations as having equal validity. One man who was raised in Africa (the son of a missionary) attended a tongue-speaking meeting, at which he arose and spoke the Lord's Prayer in an African dialect. It was immediately interpreted as a message about the "imminent second coming of Christ.'

This study, and many others like it, should lead us to see tongue-speaking for what it really is - a psychological abnormality which has no kinship with the Holy Spirit.

--The Restorer Magazine, 1995