DEVIL (Teachings of Joseph Smith)

Table Of Contents
  1. Keys to Differentiate between the Devil and an Angel — Wilford Woodruff (June 27, 1839)
  2. Devil’s Power, Abilities, and Manifestations — Willard Richards (Between circa June 26 and circa August 4, 1839)
  3. Purpose of Body Is to Protect against the Powers of Darkness — William P. McIntire (January 5, 1841)
  4. Satan Miserable Because He Does Not Have a Body — William P. McIntire (January 5, 1841)
  5. Uneternal Principles Are from the Devil — William Clayton (January 5, 1841)
  6. Devil Has No Body, but Desires and Gains Power by Possessing the Bodies of Others — William Clayton (January 5, 1841)
  7. Satan Cannot Seduce Us Unless We Let Him — William P. McIntire (March 16, 1841)
  8. Bodies Given to Spirits to Defend against Stronger Spirits — William P. McIntire (March 28, 1841)
  9. Those Who Have Bodies Have Power over Those Who Do Not — William Clayton (May 16, 1841)
  10. Devil Cannot Compel Men to Sin — Times & Seasons (May 16, 1841)
  11. Satan Speaking in Tongues — Willard Richards (December 26, 1841)
  12. Evidence & Consequences of the Devil’s Influence — History of the Church (August 29, 1842)
  13. Devil Steals Others’ Tabernacles — Wilford Woodruff (May 14, 1843)
  14. In Retaliation for Not Having His Own Body, the Devil Occupies the Bodies of Others — Willard Richards (May 21, 1843)
  15. Lucifer Posesses Bodies until Cast Out — Howard Coray (May 21, 1843)
  16. Satan Mortified Because He Does Not Have a Body — Franklin D. Richards (May 21, 1843)
  17. Lucifer Organized His Kingdom to Overthrow God’s Kingdom — George Laub (May 12, 1844)

Keys to Differentiate between the Devil and an Angel — Wilford Woodruff (June 27, 1839)

In order to detect the devel 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 personage 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, 27 June 1839, as Reported by Wilford Woodruff–B, p. 85, The Joseph Smith Papers.

Devil’s Power, Abilities, and Manifestations — Willard Richards (Between circa June 26 and circa August 4, 1839)

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 . . . every Spirit or vision or singing is not of God. The Devil is an orator, &c: he is powerful: he took our Savior onto a pinnacle of the temple; & kept him in the Wilderness for forty days. The gift of discerning Spirits will be given to the presiding Elder. pray for him &c. that he may have this gift  Speak not in the gift of Tongues without understanding it, or without interpretation, The Devil can speak in Tongues. The Adversary will come with his work, he can tempt all classes Can speak in English or Dutch. — Let no one speak in tongues unless he interpret except by the consent of the one who is placed to preside, then he may discern or interpret or another may.

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

Purpose of Body Is to Protect against the Powers of Darkness — William P. McIntire (January 5, 1841)

Joseph said that before foundation of the Earth in the Grand – Counsel that the spirits of all men ware subject to opression & the express purpose of God in Giveing it a tabernicle was to arm it against the power of Darkness — for instance Jesus said get behind me Satan also the apostle said Resist the Devil & he will flee from you.

Account of Meeting, circa 19 January 1841, as Reported by William P. McIntire, p. 7, The Joseph Smith Papers.

Satan Miserable Because He Does Not Have a Body — William P. McIntire (January 5, 1841)

. . . in testimony of the situation the saints in the presence of God. that they had flesh & bones & that was the agreement in eternity to come here & take on them tabernicles & the differance between us & satin [Satan] in that respect is that he fell— & had not opertunity to come in the flesh— & that he allways is striveing to get others as miserable as himself—

Account of Meeting and Discourse, 5 January 1841, as Reported by William P. McIntire, p. 4-5, The Joseph Smith Papers

Uneternal Principles Are from the Devil — William Clayton (January 5, 1841)

A key, every principle proceeding from God is eternal, and any principle which is not eternal is of the Devil.

Discourse, 5 January 1841, as Reported by William Clayton, p. 6, The Joseph Smith Papers.

Devil Has No Body, but Desires and Gains Power by Possessing the Bodies of Others — William Clayton (January 5, 1841)

The great principle of happiness consists in having a body. The Devil has no body, and herein is his punishment. He is pleased when he can obtain the tabernacle of man and when cast out by the Savior he asked to go into the herd of swine showing that he would prefer a swines body to having none. All beings who have bodies have power over those who have not. The devil has no power over us only as we permit him; the moment we revolt at anything which comes from God the Devil takes power.

Discourse, 5 January 1841, as Reported by William Clayton, pp. 7-8, The Joseph Smith Papers.

Satan Cannot Seduce Us Unless We Let Him — William P. McIntire (March 16, 1841)

. . . satan cannot seduce us By his enticements unless we in our hearts Consent & yeald yield— our organization such that we can Resist the Devil If we were Not organized so we would Not be free agents.

Account of Meeting and Discourse, circa 16 March 1841, p. 16, The Joseph Smith Papers.

Bodies Given to Spirits to Defend against Stronger Spirits — William P. McIntire (March 28, 1841)

. . . he says the spirit or the inteligence of men are self Existant principles he before the foundation this Earth — & quotes the Lords question to Job “where wast thou when I laid the foundation of the Earth” Evidence that Job was in Existing somewhere at that time he says God is Good & all his acts is for the benifit of infereir inteligences — God saw that those intelegences had Not power to Defend themselves against those that had a tabernicle therefore the Lord Calls them togather in Counsel & agrees to form them tabernicles so that he might Gender the spirit & the tabernicle togather so as to create sympathy for their fellow man— for it is a Natureal thing with those spirits that has the most power to bore down on those of Lesser power so we see the Devil is without a tabernicle & the Lord has set bands to all Spirits.— & hence came the saying Jesus thou son of David why art thou come to torment us before the time, & Jesus Comanded him to Come out of the Man & the Devil besought him that he might enter in a herd of swine Near by (for the Devil knew they were a Coveitous people & if he could Kill their Hogs that would Drive Jesus out of their coasts & he then would have tabernicle enough) & Jesus permitted him to Enter into the swine.

Discourse, circa 28 March 1841, pp. 17-18, The Joseph Smith Papers.

Those Who Have Bodies Have Power over Those Who Do Not — William Clayton (May 16, 1841)

There are three independent principles — the spirit of God, the spirit of man, and the spirit of the devil. All men have power to resist the devil. They who have tabernacles have power over those who have not.

Discourse, 16 May 1841, as Reported by William Clayton, p. 9, The Joseph Smith Papers.

Devil Cannot Compel Men to Sin — Times & Seasons (May 16, 1841)

He then observed that satan was generally blamed for the evils which we did, but if he was the cause of all our wickedness, men could not be condemned. The devil cannot compel mankind to evil, all was voluntary.— Those who resist the spirit of God, are liable to be led into temptation, and then the association of heaven is withdrawn from those who refuse to be made partakers of such great glory — God would not exert any compulsory means and the Devil could not; and such ideas as were entertained by many were absurd. The creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but Christ subjected the same in hope — we are all subject to vanity while we travel through the crooked paths, and difficulties which surround us. Where is the man that is free from vanity? None ever were perfect but Jesus, and why was he perfect? because he was the son of God, and had the fulness of the Spirit, and greater power than any man. — But, notwithstanding our vanity, we look forward with hope, (because “we are subjected in hope,”) to the time of our deliverance.

Discourse, 16 May 1841, as Published in Times and Seasons, pp. 429-430, The Joseph Smith Papers.

Satan Speaking in Tongues — Willard Richards (December 26, 1841)

. . . if satan could not speak in tongues he could not tempt a Dutchman, or any other nation, but the English, for he can tempt the Englishman, for he has tempted me, & I am an Englishman;

Discourse, 26 December 1841, as Reported by Willard Richards, p. 39, The Joseph Smith Papers.

Evidence & Consequences of the Devil’s Influence — History of the Church (August 29, 1842)

Is it not enough to put down all the infernal influence of the devil, what we have felt and seen, handled and evidenced of this work of God? But the Devil had influence among the Jews after all the great things they had witnessed to cause the death of Jesus Christ by hanging him between heaven and earth.

History, 1838–1856, volume D-1 [1 August 1842–1 July 1843], p. 1388, The Joseph Smith Papers.

Devil Steals Others’ Tabernacles — Wilford Woodruff (May 14, 1843)

Now in this world mankind are naturly selfish, ambitious & striving to excell one above another so while yet some are willing to build up others as well as themselves so in the other world their is a variety of spirits some who seek to excell, & this was the case with the devil when he fell he  sought for things which were unlawful hence he was cast down & it is said he drew away many with him & the greatness of his punishment is that he shall not have a tabernacle this is his  punishment So the devil thinking to to thwart the decree of God by going up & down in the earth seeking whome he may destroy any person that he can find that will yield to him he will bind him & take possession of the body & reign there glorying in it mightily not thinking that he had got a stolen tabernacle & by & by someone of Authority will come along & cast him out & restore the tabernacle to his rightful owner but the devil steals a tabernacle because he is has not one of his own but if he steals one he is liable to be turned out of doors.

Discourse, 14 May 1843, as Reported by Wilford Woodruff, p. 31, The Joseph Smith Papers.

In Retaliation for Not Having His Own Body, the Devil Occupies the Bodies of Others — Willard Richards (May 21, 1843)

Devils punihment. should not have a  habitatin. like other men.— Dvils retaliation— come into this wrld  bind up mens bodes. & occupy himself.— authorities come along and  eject him from a stolen habitation

Discourse, 21 May 1843, as Reported by Willard Richards, p. 216, The Smith Papers.

Lucifer Posesses Bodies until Cast Out — Howard Coray (May 21, 1843)

When Lucifer was hurled from Heaven the decree was that he Should not obtain a tabernacle not those that were with him, but go abroad upon the earth exposed to the anger of the elements naked & bare, but oftimes he lays hold upon men binds up their Spirits enters their habitations laughs at the decree of God and rejoices in that he hath a house to dwell in, by & by he is expelled by Authority and goes abroad mourning naked upon the earth like a man without  a house exposed to the tempest & the storm

Discourse, 21 May 1843, as Reported by Howard Coray, pp. 42-43, The Joseph Smith Papers.

Satan Mortified Because He Does Not Have a Body — Franklin D. Richards (May 21, 1843)

The mortification of satan consists in his not being permitted to take a body He sometimes gets possession of a body but when the proven authorities turn him out of Doors he finds it was not his but a stolen one.

Discourse, 21 May 1843, as Reported by Franklin D. Richards, pp. 19-20, The Joseph Smith Papers.

Lucifer Organized His Kingdom to Overthrow God’s Kingdom — George Laub (May 12, 1844)

. . . the devil or lucifer also organised his kingdom in oposit to overthrow gods and he Became a sun son of perdition[.]

The Words of Joseph Smith, 370.

Explore our newest project!

Unlock a treasure trove of FREE resources! Dive into engaging videos, lesson plans, activities, and much more—all perfectly aligned with Come Follow Me 2024.

Join our email newsletter!
Latest News