Review: Speaking In Tongues by Tom Tilley

ABC journalist Tom Tilley's memoir is an honest yet wholly empathetic story of questioning the church he was born into. Growing up in a country town, Tom's life revolved around sports and most importantly of all, the church that his parents belonged to. As he grows older, Tom begins to question more and more of the teachings of the fundamentalist Pentecostal church that his family belongs to, in particular their strictly enforced requirement that all members speak in tongues. Even as a child he has suspicions that the speaking in tongues part may not be real, but to reject it would mean being cast out of his close knit church community and even his family.

This was an interesting read about a childhood and a family who were shaped by a fundamentalist church community, one that Tilley would learn as he grew older had beliefs that were separate to other Christian churches and even other Pentecostal churches--and the rules far more harshly enforced to the point where entire families would be split up and lives turned upside down. It also takes a frank look at what it means to walk away--the huge personal costs and surprising personal discoveries made along the way. Fortunately, Tilley's journey toward independence has an excellent outcome, even if the journey is somewhat hard going.

I would definitely recommend this one to any reader who wants to know more about fundamentalist religions and how they work--it's an excellent insider view. It's also an excellent one for anyone who is at a point in their lives where they are beginning to question who they really are.

Highly recommended.


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