The Toronto Blessing, aka Holy Laughter, is definitely a bad thing and you don’t want to be wherever it is manifesting (usually at charismatic prayer meetings). Although it usually begins as uncontrollable laughter among members of a group, it quickly ushers in other more bizarre behaviors such as orgasmic groaning, mock birthing complete with “coaches”, disrobing (called holy nakedness) and vomiting, to name a few.
Holy Laughter is a phenomenon that first manifested back in the 1850s during the Cain Ridge Revival where it was ultimately declared to be “mass hysteria.” It broke out again in the early 1900s in Pentecostal groups but was eventually cast out as a demonic influence. In the 1980’s, Jimmy Swaggart was in Argentina preaching to 80,000 people in a stadium when another outbreak occurred. The people who were affected by it were taken outside and delivered of unclean spirits after which time the phenomena disappeared.
“Based on the principles of discernment enunciated earlier, it seems exceedingly unlikely that the Toronto Blessing is from God. Those who receive it exhibit both heterodoxy (false teaching) and bizarre behavior incompatible with the Holy Spirit. Some phenomena, such as uncontrollable laughter, could be the result of the human spirit and does not necessarily forebode demonic activity. The reports of bestial grunting and groaning, and rolling around on the floor, however, is worrisome, since the same reactions accompany authentic cases of possession, both in Scripture and in Church experience.
They are not, however, unequivocally extraordinary since they are within our power. Of a more certain extraordinary character is the phenomenon called ‘holy glue.’ (A person becomes extremely heavy and others are unable to move them). This is a recognized mystical phenomenon called ‘extreme immobility’ and is the opposite of levitation. It is clearly beyond us; however, it is within the power of an angel . . . .” (i.e.,
It’s is also problematic that the phenomena is being associated with a trans-denominational church.
As Donovan points out: ” . . . (I)f the Toronto Blessing is ordered to the building up of a trans-denominational church authority, as some of its leaders suggest, then it is incompatible with Catholic truth and unity. It already has begun to demonstrate this property by the divisions being created in parishes and the Church at large. Aside from the dangers associated with a false charism, the participation of Catholics in a movement with such a goal would certainly be a grave sin.”
This would not be the first time the faithful have been fooled by counterfeit signs and wonders, nor will it be the last.
My recommendation is to stay away from Holy Laughter, and any group where it might be manifesting.