The Gift of Tongues, True Jesus Church and the faulty Mormon understanding of it

When I first attended The True Jesus Church in August 2023, I was taken back by a loud series of sounds in the chapel when the service first started. At first, these sounds were highly unsettling if not a bit unusual. My fellowshipper explained to me that this was a mode of prayer, and these noises were people manifesting the presence of The Holy Spirit in them through speaking in tongues.

Having spent half my life as a Mormon, I was not used to this. In the LDS church, prayer is either completely quiet and personal, or led by an individual in a group session who speaks aloud on everyone’s behalf. Usually, these prayers are conducted in King James English. The use of tongues was probably the biggest difference I had to reconcile with when adapting to TJC life, although I was never outright rejecting, repulsed or dismissive. A teacher later told me that some visitors of course have even laughed at it, which to be honest doesn’t surprise me because it is a new experience that takes getting used to.

However, over time I grown to understand what this means properly through the Bible itself, and is very much in harmony with its teachings. When it comes to the Gift of Tongues, we were taught in Mormonism that it is merely the ability given by god to speak different, real world languages, and that there is no incomprehensible sound, and is described as a “gift of the spirit” as seen in (1 Corinthians 12:10). For an example, a faith building Mormon story once stated an elder gained the sudden ability to say something in Dutch that he was not later able to recall.

As you can tell, the promise of the gift of tongues is used by the LDS church to encourage their missionaries to learn their assigned languages, which makes it questionable if it is a “gift” at all in this sense. Through my lessons, I have now been able to understand what “tongues” actually means, which is in fact as shown in the bible to be a sign that a given individual is under the influence of the Holy Spirit.

Their understanding of this doctrine begins with Acts chapter 2, whereby the Holy Spirit is poured out on the day of Pentecost. As it goes: “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:1-4)

Although some interpret these verses arguing that everyone was speaking in each other’s languages, this in fact only refers to some being able to “spiritually interpret” the meaning of it. Hence, as the chapter continues, it goes on to say that some mocked and contested those speaking in tongues were drunk, hence: “Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.” (Acts 2:13) and Peter’s reply is that: “For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.” (Acts 2:15). This is also not just exclusive to the day of Pentecost, hence “And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.” (Acts 19:6).

There is more evidence that this is a constant feature of prayer, than associated with one specific event or Biblical period. As stated in Romans: “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” (Romans 8:26). Likewise, if one goes back to Acts, we find it is established that this is a feature of those who are gathered together in a congregation. “And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.” (Acts 4:31)

Thus, despite the fact that the Mormon’s 7th article of faith claims that “We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth” never has in any occasion an LDS leader claimed to have spoke with the manner of tongues as specified in the New Testament through prayer, or for that matter the interpretation of tongues, can Russell M. Nelson, a proclaimed “prophet” of god speak in any language he wishes to show people the truth of his church? If not, why? Rather, in the True Jesus Church it is taught those who do so do not do it on their own accord, but it is a sign that this person has received the Holy Ghost and it is a spontaneous process. It is not something “taught” either and nor is there a “correct way” to do it accordingly, which is what some Pentecostal churches do.

How then, is someone to receive the Holy Spirit? The Book of Galatians teaches: “That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” (Galatians 3:14) and as stated in Ephesians “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise” (Ephesians 1:14). In other words, to have faith and believe.

It may be added on that note that Mormons do not believe that a non-member can receive “The Holy Spirit” in full, and only receive its “power” to testify that the church is true. Of course, there is no actual Holy Ghost involved in Mormonism which why its converts all leave the church as they are shoehorned into baptism without any true conversion process, and having spent two years as a missionary doing just that, I can certainly say the spirit was never with me despite all the relentless faith and determination I thrown into it, to the point the entire experience only served to break my confidence in the church.

However, with True Jesus Church, I can only say I feel completely different, and the best I have felt in over a decade, and now I feel the spirit when I hear the various members praying in a group, and also its influence on myself to do the same thing, spontaneously. I believe finally, I have found the Holy Spirit and I challenge others to not be afraid of the manifestation of tongues and to embrace the path to the truth.

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