ANGELS (Teachings of Joseph Smith)

A Key to Know Whether or Not an Angel Is of God — Willard Richards Account (June 27, 1839)

A Key to detect Satan

As there are many Keys to the Kingdom of God the following one will detect Satan when he transforms himself nigh unto an Angel of Light. When Satan appears in the form of a personage unto man &—reaches out his hand unto him & the man takes hold of his hand & feels no substance he may know it is satan. for an angel of God (which is an angel of light) is a saint with his resurrected body & when he appears unto man and offers him his hand & the man feels a substance when he takes hold of it as he would in shaking hands with his neighbor he may know it is an Angel of God, & should a Saint appear unto man whose body is not resurrected he will never offer him his hand for it would be against the law by which they are governed & by observing this Key we may detect Satan that he deceive us not

Discourse, 27 June 1839, as Reported by Willard Richards, pp. 9-10, The Joseph Smith Papers.

A Key to Know Whether or Not an Angel Is of God — Wilford Woodruff Account [B] (June 27, 1839)

Among the vast number of the Keys of the Kingdom of God Joseph presented the following one to the Twelve for there benefit in there experience & travels in the flesh which is as follows. In order to detect the devil when he transforms himself nigh unto an angel of light. When an angel of God appears unto man face to face in personage & reaches out his hand unto the man <& he​ takes hold of the angels hand & feels a substance the same as one man would in Shaking hands with another he may then know that it is an angel of God. & he should place all Confidence in him Such personages or angels are Saints with there resurrected Bodies, but if a personaged appears unto man & offers him his hand & the man takes hold of it & he feels nothing or does not sens any substance he may know it is the devel, for when a Saint whose body is not resurrected appears unto man in the flesh he will not offer him his hand for this is against the law given him & in keeping in mind these things we may detec the devil that he decieved us not.

Discourse, June 27, 1839, as reported by Wilford Woodruff-B, p. 85, The Joseph Smith Papers.

A Key to Know Whether or Not an Angel Is of God — Wilford Woodruff Account [A] (June 27, 1839)

As there are many keys to the kingdom of God the following one will detect Satan when he transforms himself nigh unto an angel of light When Satan appears in the form of a personage unto man & reaches out his hand unto him & the man takes hold of his hand & feels no substance he may know it is Satan for an angel of God (which is an angel of light) is a Saint with his resurrected body & when he appears unto man & offers him his hand & the man feels a substance when he takes hold of it as he would in shaking hands with his neighbour he may know it is a Angel of God. & should a Saint appear unto man whose body is not resurrectd he will never offer him his hand for it would be against the law by which they are governd & by observing this key we may detect Satan that he decieve us not

Discourse, 27 June 1839, as Reported by Wilford Woodruff–A, pp. 1920, The Joseph Smith Papers.

Manifestation and Nature of Angels — Willard Richards Account (Between circa 26 June and circa 4 August 1839–A)

[W]e may look for Angels & receive their ministreting but we are to try the Spirits & prove them51 for it is often the case that men. make a mistake in regard to these things. . .

An angel of God never has wings. Some will Say that they have seen a Spirit that he offered them his hand. but they did not touch it. This is a lie. First it is contrary to the plan of God A spirit can not come but in glory. An angel has flesh and bones. we see not their glory. The devil may appear as an angel of light. Ask God to reveal it. if it be of the Devil. he will flee from you. if of God he will manifest himself or make it manifest. we may come to Jesus & ask him he will know all about it.— If he comes to a little child, he will adapt himself to the Language &​ capacity of a little child . . .

Discourse, between circa 26 June and circa 4 August 1839-A, as Reported by Willard Richards, pp. 72-73, The Joseph Smith Papers.

Manifestation and Nature of Angels — William Clayton Account (Between circa 26 June and circa 4 August 1839–A)

We may look for angels &c, but we are to try the spirits and prove them. It is often the case that men make a mistake in regard to these things. . .

An Angel of God never has wings. Some will say that they have seen a spirit, that he offered them his hand but they did not touch it; this is a lie for it is contrary to the plan of God. A spirit cannot come but in glory. An Angel has flesh and bones, we see not their glory. The Devil may appear as an angel of light. Ask God to reveal it; if it be of the Devil he will flee from you, if of God he will manifest himself or make it manifest. We may come to Jesus, he will know all about it. If he comes to a little child he will adopt himself to the language and capacity of a little child . . .

Discourse, between circa 26 June and circa 4 August 1839–A, as Reported by William Clayton, pp. 23-24, The Joseph Smith Papers. There is also additional context about the Ancient of Days on pp. 17-18, 21.

A Key to Determine If an Angel Is of God (December 1840)

A key by Joseph Smith . . .

If an Angel or spirit appears offer him your hand; if he is a spirit from God he will stand still and not offer you his hand. If from the Devil he will either shrink back from you or offer his hand, which if he does you will feel nothing, but be deceived.

A good Spirit will not deceive.

Angels are beings who have bodies and appear to men in the form of man.

Discourse, December 1840, as Reported by William Clayton, p. 3, The Joseph Smith Papers; underlined in original.

Difference between Angels and Spirits, with Christ as an example — Times & Seasons Account (October 3, 1841)

He explained a difference between an angel and a ministering spirit; the one a resurrected or translated body, with its spirit, ministering to embodied spirits—the other a disembodied spirit, visiting and ministering to disembodied spirits. Jesus Christ became a minestering spirit, while his body laying in the sepulchre, to the spirits in prison; to fulfil an important part of his mission, without which he could not have perfected his work or entered into his rest. After his resurrection, he appeared as an angel to his disciples &c. . . .The angel that appeared to John on the Isle of Patmos was a translated or resurrected body.— Jesus Christ went in body, after his resurrection, to minister to translated and resurrected bodies.

Discourse, October 3, 1841, as Published in Times and Seasons, p. 577, The Joseph Smith Papers; “Minutes of a Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saint, Held in Nauvoo. Ill., Commencing Oct. 1st, 1841,” Times and Seasons 2 (October 15, 1841): 577.

See also an account of Joseph Smith’s October 3, 1841 discourse written by Willard Richards. Alone, Richard’s account contains fragments of Joseph Smith’s original meaning and words. When read alongside the Times & Seasons account, Richard’s account offers additional insight into the Prophet’s meaning. See Discourse, 3 October 1841, as Reported by Willard Richards, p. 1, The Joseph Smith Papers.

Discerning Between Angels and Spirits — Willard Richards Account  (February 9, 1843)

Parley Pratt & others came in & Joseph explain the followig there are 3 adminitater Angels. Spirits Devils— one class in heaven Angels the spirts of Just men made perfect.— innumerable co of angels & Spirits of Just Men made perfct.

An angel appears to you how will you prove him. ask him to shake hands if he has flesh & bones— he is an Angel. “spirit hath not flesh & bones”

spirit of a Just man made perfct. person in its tabernacle could hide its glory.

if David Patten or the Devil came. how would you determine should you take hold of his hand you would not feel it. if it were a false administration he would not do it.

true spirit will not give his hand

the Devil will.

Journal, December 1842–June 1844; Book 1, 21 December 1842–10 March 1843, pp. 172174, The Joseph Smith Papers.

Discerning Between Angels and Spirits — William Clayton Account  (February 9, 1843)

Thursday 9 . . . P. M At Josephs with Orson & Parley P. Pratt & others. Prest. Joseph related some of his history and gave us a key whereby we might know wether any administration was from God.

“There are two kinds of beings in heaven viz. 1st Angels who are resurrected personages having bodies of flesh and bones, for instances Jesus said ‘handle me and see for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see me have’ 2nd. The spirits of just men made perfect, they who are not resurrected but inherit the same glory. When a messenger comes saying he has a message from God offer him your hand and request him to shake hands with you. If he be an Angel he will do so and you will feel his hand. If he be the spirit of a just man made perfect he will come in his glory for that is the only way he can appear. Ask him to shake hands with you, but he will not move, because it is contrary to the order of Heaven for a just man to deceive but he will still deliver his message

If it be the devil as an angel of light when you ask him to shake hands he will offer you his hand and you will not feel any thing, you may there fore detect him. These are the three grand keys whereby you may know wether any administration is from God.”

Instruction, 9 February 1843 [D&C 129], as Reported by William Clayton, pp. 53-54, The Joseph Smith Papers.

Angels Dwell with God and Only Minister to the Planet They Belong To — William Clayton Account (April 2, 1843)

In answer to a question which I [William Clayton] proposed to him as follows, ‘Is not the reckoning of Gods time, Angels time, prophets time & mans time according to the planet on which they reside[‘] he [Joseph Smith] answered Yes

“But there is no Angel ministers to this earth only what either does belong or has belonged to this earth And the Angels do not reside on a planet like our earth but they dwell with God and the planet where he dwells is like crystal, and like a sea of glass before the throne. . . .”

Instruction, 2 April 1843, as Reported by William Clayton, p. 68, The Joseph Smith Papers.

Angels Dwell with God and Only Minister to the Planet They Belong To — Willard Richards Account (April 2, 1843)

There are no angels who administer to this earth but who belong or have belongd to this earth. The angels do not reside on a planet like this earth. but they reside in the presence of God— but on a Globe like a sea of glass. & fire. “sea of glass before the throne.— &c.” where all things are manifest past present & to come,—

Journal, December 1842–June 1844; Book 2, 10 March 1843–14 July 1843, p. 38, The Joseph Smith Papers.

Differences Between Angels and the Spirits — James Burgess Account (October 9, 1843)

A great many men suppose there is no difference between a spirit an angel and a spirit of a just man made perfect but Paul makes a distinction in the 12 chap of Hebrews he tells us that the hebrew church had came into the presence of God and Angels and to the spirits of just men made perfect The spirit of a just man made perfect if he made his appearance he would appear or be enveloped in flaming fire and no man in this mortal state could endure it, but an angel could come and appear as an other man for Paul says be careful to entertain an strangers for some have entertained Angels unawares. But to prove spirits view the Saviour after his resurection when he appeared unto his disciples they were afraid and thought they had seen a spirit but he convinces them of their mistake by teling them to handle him for says he a spirit has not flesh and bones as ye see me have.

Discourse, 9 October 1843, as Reported by James Burgess, pp. 18-19, The Joseph Smith Papers.

Differences Between Angels and the Spirits — Times & Seasons Account (October 9, 1843)

What object was gained by this communication with the spirits of the just, &c.? It was the established order of the kingdom of God—the keys of power and knowledge were with them to communicate to the saints—hence the importance of understanding the distinction between the spirits of the just, and angels. Spirits can only be revealed in flaming fire, or glory. Angels have advanced farther—their light and glory being tabernacled, and hence appear in bodily shape.

Discourse, 9 October 1843, as Reported by Times and Seasons, p. 331, The Joseph Smith Papers.

Differences Between Angels and the Spirits — Willard Richards Account (October 9, 1843)

Angels have advanced higher in knowledge & power than Spirits[.]

Journal, December 1842–June 1844; Book 3, 15 July 1843–29 February 1844, p. 122,  The Joseph Smith Papers.

Angels Are More Advanced than Spirits (October 9, 1843)

Spirits can only be revealed in flaming fire, or glory. Angels have advanced farther—their light and glory being tabernacled, and hence appear in bodily shape.

Discourse, October 9, 1843, as reported in the Times and Seasons. See “Minutes of a Special Conference,” Times and Seasons 4 (September 15, 1843): 331.

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