08) DISCERN: How can evil spirits be discerned and detected? In what forms can Satanic messengers appear?

Supporting Statements

Brigham Young

If miracles prove a person to be divinely sent, then we are safe in declaring the Witch of Endor, who raised up Samuel, and the magicians of Egypt to be divinely sent. I will have it printed and sent to the world that no miracle is any proof of a man’s being sent of God to perform a mission in his name. Though Jesus Christ wrought miracles before the eyes of the Jews, they clamored for his blood and said, “Crucify him, crucify him, and let his blood be upon us and our children.” This has certainly come upon them. Jesus Christ told what would befall the nation of the Jews, and it has been literally fulfilled. Were I to bring a proof in favor of our religion I would quote the sayings, relating to this nation, of that man whom God has sent in the latter days with eternal life to them. There is more solid proof in favor of a Prophet’s being divinely sent when his words are fulfilled than all the miracles he can work.

The nineteenth century is not destitute of miracles; we have spirit rapping, spirit writing, spirit muttering, table moving, and the curing of diseases of long standing by the same influence and power. “And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?” 1

George A. Smith

Among the early baptisms in Northern Ohio, was a Methodist minister by the name of Ezra Booth. He was present when the Elders first received the ordination of the High Priesthood. They met together in June, 1831, in a log schoolhouse in Kirtland, a room about eighteen feet by twenty. While they were there, the manifestation of the power of God being on Joseph, he set apart some of the Elders to the High Priesthood. Ezra Booth was bound, and his countenance was distorted, and numbers of the brethren looked at him, and thought it was a wonderful manifestation of the power of God, but to their astonishment, Joseph came forward and rebuked the foul spirit, and commanded it to depart, in consequence of which Booth was relieved, and many of the brethren were greatly tried at such a singular treatment by the prophet of these wonderful manifestations of power. 2

  1. JOD, 10:193-4
  2. JOD, 10:4
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