Holy Ghost Joy or Evil Spirit Laughter?

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The following events are based on a true story. They relate the experiences of a young lady in the Church. Some facts have been altered and some have been removed altogether, partly because the present writer wishes to protect himself, and partly because he is in no wise fitted for the complete and brutal revelation of the facts. The lady is not given a name, not even one that is not hers, but, doubtless, some readers might already be familiar with her. It is to her that the following work is dedicated. The writer hopes a thing or two may be learned by the reader, so that the he (the reader) will be careful henceforth.

Until university, she had never really seen a person falling in church. Of course, people fell in the churches on TV, but she dismissed their actions as mere chicanery.However, during her first service in school, persons went to the ground neatly and heavily, like a bag of so many potatoes, so that she began suspecting that this whole business of falling might be genuine after all. Some people fell so dangerously,she caught herself wincing, as if she were the one who had fallen. One would think some invisible mattress cushioned their falls so that they were confident to just let go.

It was not just the falling that took her breath away. Something she had never ever seen or heard of – even on TV – happened right before her very eyes. Nothing particularly laughable had occurred, no joke had been cracked, but persons here and there were seized with paroxysms of laughter. At first she almost laughed herself, not because laughter might be infectious, but because the whole affair was humorous in a way. Unannounced, in the middle of a worship song, a member of the congregation would give to fits of uncontrollable laughter, as if tickled by some unseen hand. After the first few times, however, the fits lost their drollness to her, and took an air of divine inspiration. She came to learn that this inspired laughter was called Holy Ghost laughter.

In the course of the first few sermons in her new church, she heard strange concepts being preached. The preachers announced that they could not get sick, for they had what they referred to as the DNA of God. But that was only the lightning before the thunder. They went on, straight-faced as could be, and said they could not sin; that they were God. These concepts were at first totally absurd to her. Yet they were proclaimed freely, and nobody stood to refute them. Instead, everyone seemed to accept them as gospel truth. And while she sat through the sermons, Sunday after Sunday, her skepticism weakened by the sermon, even as mere drops of water, when falling continuously upon a rock, will wear it out eventually.

With her faith thus increasing, she found herself in her first church meeting. There, members of the church met to pray and read the Bible and discuss things of the spirit. She was anxious at first, for she knew not what exactly to expect. Perhaps they healed the sick? Perhaps miracles that could not be performed in church (probably because of the skeptics who insisted on a sign) were worked in these meetings? Anyhow, the meeting began with prayer. At this point everyone else took to praying in tongues. She was shocked. While all about her were absorbed in prayer, she had her eyes wide open, for she was afraid of praying the way she was used to, lest they cast her out as an unbeliever.They turned up their faces towards the ceiling and spoke powerfully in strange tongues while she looked at each of them in turn wondering whether it was a good idea to attend the meeting in the first place. The prayers ended at last, and the leader took the stage. While he worked no particular miracle, he gave testimonies of them. So-and-so, after being filled with the Spirit, could heal the sick, or could tell you things about yourself that nobody could possibly know, or could prophesy. She found such things wonderful indeed, and desired to be able to do them. But, alas, she could barely speak in tongues! Thus she sought the preacher so that he might lay hands on her and fill her with the Spirit.

It was during the next service that she had hands laid on her. The pastor called her to the podium and after an introduction, she asked her to kneel. Then she felt hands on her head. She had seen people fall before the pastor even before hands were laid on them: as soon as he turned towards them, they went down in a resounding thud. Some even literally ran away. Thus she knew the congregation expected nothing short of dramatic. Some part of her wanted to disappoint the congregation, but she ignored the part and braced herself for her fall. The pastor prayed for minutes on end; now using human language, now speaking in tongues; now placing his hands on her head, now letting go. She thought he was about to give up, when suddenly, with absolutely no effort on her part – without even the gentlest of pushes from the pastor – she fell to the ground!

She was overjoyed. The Spirit has come at last. She began speaking in tongues and laying hands on people. She made people laugh and fall. She, herself, could laugh and fall too. She could feel the presence of God in a room. She could prophesy. God revealed things to her. She was inspired. Her face glowed. Surely this must be the work of the Spirit.

Suddenly things took a terrible turn. One morning while she walked into church, she felt hands on her neck – strangling her. She stepped out of the room immediately, and as soon as she was a safe distance from the church, the hands let go and she breathed with ease again. Later she realized she could not stand listening to the Scripture or anything Godly. She distanced herself from anyone who went to church, for as soon as she began interacting with them, she hated them immensely. Sometimes, when she could not get away from them (some people are really hard to avoid), she would speak something along the lines of “You are one of ours. Come back to us.”

When she went home for the holidays, her parents noticed something was wrong. Before, she read the Bible daily; now she could barely stand it. She whose speech was crowded with words glorifying God now uttered words unspeakably blasphemous and profane! Surely something horrible had happened to their girl. They could stand it no longer, and went to speak to a man of God about the girl. Theman said he recognized the signs and that the girl must be brought to church at once. Six men were called to bring her in, for she had superhuman strength and could wiggle out of the grasp of two strong men like it was nothing really.

No sooner had she been taken into the church than she was seized with terribly violent convulsions. Her eyes popped as if they wanted to take leave of their sockets. The man of God began praying. She scratched and clawed and bit and fought. The man of God went on. She screamed and cursed and howled and yelled. The man of God still persisted. A whole day went like this while her parents looked on, crying and begging God to deliver their daughter. The six men who pinned her down were sweating profusely and bleeding from cuts and bruises she inflicted on them. The man of God still prayed. Suddenly, the girl fainted. The six men relaxed their grips. The man of God seemed relieved but still prayed on for a while. She revived at last, and immediately went on her knees to pray. She thanked God for delivering her from the terrible ordeal. When she told her story to the man of God, she was asked to be careful of whom she let lay hands on her.

The unexpected turn of events the writer describes above is not admitted in glee but with profound regret.

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