Deceived by an Angel of Light


Sunlight behind Brigham City Temple

We visited Brigham City recently and took this beautiful photo of the temple.

Consider two hypothetical conversations. Here is the first:

“Bishop, I’d like to see an angel.”
“Why would you want to do that?
Moroni 7:37 says that if angels no longer minister unto men it’s because we have no faith.”
“I don’t think it’s a good idea to ask to see an angel.”
“Why not?”
“Because you might be deceived by the devil as an angel of light.”
“But section 129 teaches us how to know an angel from the devil.”
“I don’t think you should be messing with the mysteries. Leave that stuff to the Brethren.”

Second theoretical conversation:

“Bishop, I’d like to see an angel.”
“That’s wonderful. Do you feel you’re ready for that?”
“Well, I’ve been reading the scriptures. There are so many references that tell me I should seek to see the face of God. From what I can tell, if I exercise faith in prayer, angels come first to tell me what I need to do to be prepared.”
“Since you’ve been to the temple, I think you are ready. I admire your faith and encourage you in your desire. If you feel it’s not too sacred, let me know how it turns out.”
“Thanks, Bishop.”

Do you see the difference? While these are both imaginary conversations, they are based on real attitudes I have encountered all my life. I’d like to address the concerns raised by the bishop in the first example, then a few more things I have heard when discussing spiritual manifestations. If anybody feels strongly enough that I’m spreading false doctrine and desires to correct me, please feel free to do so by leaving an intelligent response for discussion in the comments.

Audience with the Savior

First, by asking why anyone would want to see an angel, the bishop is either exhibiting ignorance of the scriptures or is expressing personal hidden fears and frustrations at his own inadequacies in spiritual matters. Perhaps he is testing the individual to see if they are serious in their desire. Either way, it is not a very positive response to a member of his congregation who is seeking guidance in a spiritual matter. Even, “Really? Tell me about it,” would be a better response.

I like the reply of the bishop in the second conversation because it is both encouraging and at the same time is gently probing to determine sincerity. A bishop is to watch over his flock and to encourage them to do good works. I can’t think of a good work more important than preparing for an audience with the Savior. The Bishop is simply trying to determine if there is anything he can offer in counsel to help this person achieve an exciting and admirable gospel ideal.

Lack of Belief

Moroni 7:37 has always impressed me as both a warning and an enticement to increase faith. I can’t imagine how anyone can read this and not ask why they haven’t had an angel appear and minister unto them. Of course the answer is “because of unbelief” or that faith is lacking. But it is the last phrase “and all is vain” that really catches my attention. Is Moroni suggesting that we waste our lives if we don’t receive angels and have them teach us of the things of eternity?

The reaction of the bishop that he didn’t think it was a good idea to seek to be visited by an angel is based on fear and not faith. D&C 67:3 addresses this directly. It is a real problem that was common then and even more common now. It is fear that keeps us from receiving promised blessings such as visits from angels or other manifestations of the spirit such as visions. These and more witnesses are promised in abundance to those who follow the counsel in D&C 67:10.

Promised Blessings

In fact, if you want to follow that whole scripture chain of promises start with D&C 38:8, then go to D&C 50:45, then D&C 67:10, D&C 88:68, D&C 93:1 and finally D&C 107:18-19. These are amazing and marvelous promises, each with increasingly greater privileges assured until you are promised to be brought into the presence of God the Father and Jesus the Mediator. I have long marveled at these declarations and wondered why they are not more fully believed today.

Now, the big question is, do you believe these promises are intended to be fulfilled in this life or are reserved from some future day, after this mortal life is over? I am convinced that the Lord wants us to do what it takes to receive these blessings while we are yet mortal, specifically in order to prepare us to dwell in the presence of God in the life to come. If we do not, how can we hope to feel comfortable when we are brought to that judgment day to kneel at the feet of Christ?

Under Condemnation

And yet, how many people do you know who can say that these promises are real, because they have both tested them and proved them? Perhaps some things are too sacred to share but I am of the opinion that we are under the condemnation mentioned in the Book of Mormon because we do not believe and use that book to bring us unto Christ like it was intended. I don’t think the Lord was speaking to Gentiles who don’t accept the Book of Mormon. He was speaking to us.

D&C 84:54-57 clearly spells out that condemnation. We are condemned because we do not believe and act upon the promises contained in the book. Do we or don’t we believe that we can have experiences similar to those of Lehi, Nephi, Jacob, Enos, Alma, Mormon and Moroni? Or are those kinds of things reserved only for prophets and apostles? Or perhaps you feel that such spiritual manifestations were only intended for the Brethren in early days of the modern Church.

Never Seen an Angel

I write this as much for me as for anyone else who happens to read this. I confess that I have never seen an angel, or at least not one of which I am aware. Perhaps the Lord has sent angels to me as a test to see how I would respond and I did not do as well as I should have. But then, I have never specifically asked to have an angel come and teach me, probably out of fear. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying that things are kept from us out of mercy so we are not condemned.

Is that a false doctrine, one that keeps us from asking for further light and knowledge as we should? Everyone has to decide how much they want to bind the Lord by doing as he commands. We are the ones who keep the heavens sealed by not asking in faith and in the way we are taught in the temple. I have taught priesthood quorums and asked the question why we don’t take the Lord seriously enough to ask that angels be sent to teach us what he wants us to do to come unto him.

Seek Visits from Angels

The answer I have received is “We have the scriptures. That’s enough. Everything we need to know about how to come onto Christ is contained in them. We just have to read them and do what they say.” While that sounds fine and admirable on the surface, I can’t help but think of the scripture “A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible.” It is as if we are saying we don’t need personal revelation because it has all been given and recorded.

The other common answer, which is similar to what the Bishop brought up in my first example, is that we should not ask for manifestations, visits or visions because we might be deceived by false spirits. It’s doubtful that the devil would be interested enough in us to appear as an angel of light (2 Cor 11:14, 2 Ne 9:9, D&C 128:20 & 129:8), but it could happen, right? That’s why Joseph gave us the three grand keys of how we could identify messengers from the spirit world.

Dealing with Evil Spirits

When I was preparing for my mission back in 1975, I read D&C Commentary by Hyrum Smith in about two months. It was a most wonderful time of my life. I had many spiritual experiences. When I got to section 50, I read about how to deal with evil or unclean spirits that may come to us as a result of asking for spiritual manifestations. Note particularly the instructions in verses 30 through 33. They are to be fought, or as I like to say, “taught” in humility and not fear.

Yes, I am saying that if you ask the Lord to send you an angel, it is very likely that you will first be visited by evil or unclean spirits trying to pass themselves off as angels of the Lord. I know this is scary stuff, but from personal experience, I can tell you that it is real. While I confessed earlier that I had never seen an angel of the Lord, I can assure you that I have been visited by evil and unclean spirits attempting to deceive me. There is a difference between them.

Devils and Demons

No, I haven’t seen them with my natural eyes, but the experience is real nonetheless. An evil spirit, also known as a devil (male) or demon (female) has never had a mortal body. An unclean spirit is a deceased individual who died without the light of Christ in them, did not desire to go to the light and continues to hang around trying to co-habit the bodies of those who let them. The unclean spirits have much more power in that they know how to use our bodies against us.

Update (9-8-12): There has been enough discussion about my definition of devils and demons that I feel a need to claify. I had been taught and believed that devils were male evil spirits while demons were female evil spirits. This definition served me well for years. I have since been taught by others I trust that devils fit the description of any unborn (never mortal) spirit that followed Lucifer. Demons, I am told, are creations of Satan, along with imps (more in a furure essay).

You’re going to have to deal with fear if you’re serious about entertaining visitors from the spirit world. There’s no way you can have visits only from the Lord’s angels and not expect visits from the devil’s angels. It’s an eternal principle that there is opposition in all things. That will never go away. It is part of the balance of the universe. Simply prepare your heart and your mind to deal with them with humility and the Love of Christ, not with fear, anger or a rebuking attitude.

Cast out the Unclean Spirits

We read and hear often in Mormon culture about the casting out of evil spirits done by raising the arm to the square and commanding them to leave in the name of Jesus Christ. Yes, I have also done this. But lately, I find it more effective that I talk to them first and teach them about faith in Christ, then invite them to go unto Christ or an angel he has waiting for them in the light. This is especially effective with unclean spirits but a bit harder for me with devils and demons.

Update (9-11-12): This is important enough that it deserves clarification. I have learned since I wrote this that devils and demons will not go to the light. They hate the light. They have no light within them. They cannot understand it, comprehend it or even conceive of light. They do not want it and cannot be deterred from their course to destroy light. I have written about this in my essay on Conquering Spiritual Evil. They will not and cannot repent so don’t try to send them to the light. Just cast them out.

OK, I know what you’re thinking. This is all so weird. You’re never been taught any of this in your Sunday school, Priesthood or Relief Society classes. Just like so much of the early history of our church is not taught openly, these things are not in our curriculum. They’re deemed too scared and not for those who are young in the gospel. Yes, I agree with that assessment, but am also concerned that what was commonly understood by the early Brethren is being slowly lost.

Mysteries of Godliness

I conclude with a commentary on the bishop’s final statements in the first example I used. The word “mysteries” has taken on a negative connotation in the modern church. Joseph Smith taught that we should seek to have the mysteries of Godliness revealed to us. Do a search in the online scriptures on lds.org or use the topical guide in your own scriptures. There are 23 results in the Doctrine and Covenants alone that provide evidence of the Lord’s intent to reveal mysteries.

That was then. Today, when we hear that somebody is “seeking after the mysteries” we think of someone who has gone off the deep end and is “looking beyond the mark” or trying to make the simplicity of the gospel into something it was not meant to be. I find this frustrating. Yes, I know of individuals who fit that description, but they are also folks who do not yet have a firm grasp of the basic concepts of obedience and sacrifice, let alone purity and consecration to the Lord.

Seek after Mysteries

I disagree with my fictional Bishop’s advice. I do think we should be seeking after mysteries. I do not think that the Lord intended for us to leave that only to the Brethren who we sustain as the leaders of our church. In fact, I think it’s imperative that we make every effort to seek after greater light and knowledge than we now have. We are only saved as fast as we gain knowledge. Don’t be afraid of going off the deep end. Learn to trust in the Lord to lead you to greater truth.

Am I right or am I wrong? Am I off in left field, going in the wrong direction or have I stumbled upon a basic truth that we need to emphasize and teach more to those who are ready? I confess that I have combined many of the things I have learned from Denver Snuffer and Jan Graf in this essay, but they have all agreed with what I have studied and come to understand on my own over the years. Give me some feedback folks. Let me know if you think this is dangerous territory.

46 Responses

  1. I think we should be seeking after mysteries too. An angel wouldn’t be my first choice though, I would seek knowledge.

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    • Hi Howard,

      Thanks for reading my essay and sharing your thoughts. I agree with your point that seeking to be taught by an angel would not be your first choice for understanding the mysteries of God. I also seek knowledge from more conventional means such as the scriptures, the words of the Brethren and inspiration of the Holy Ghost. By posting this essay I am simply wondering if it’s possible to come to a point where we are no longer able to make spiritual progress like we should unless certain things are taught to us by messengers from the Lord. Moroni 7:37 seems to make it clear that we need to receive instruction from heaven directly for certain things.

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      • I completely agree with what has been written. I am a mother of a daughter who suffers from schizophrenia I have had some unbelievable encounters with evil and unclean spirits.

        Since my baptism I have had visions, dreams and promptings from God and it even states in my patriarchal blessing that the Lord wants me to read all good books and especially the teachings of our Church leaders for in these books is the wisdom of the eternities that I will need to defend the truth when I am called upon to do so. As a result I have been reading what Brigham Young and Joseph Smith have declared to us about evil and unclean spirits and everything that I have read was revealed to me not long after I joined the church and especially since my daughter was possessed by them.

        I have been rebuking unclean and evil spirits out for some time now but also feel I have also been teaching the unclean ones which does not make the evil ones happy because an evil one will enter my home sometimes and when it does it stinks.

        I know exactly what you are talking about in regards to revelation. You can’t really discuss much at church in regards to this topic or any others. Ezra Taft Benson encouraged everyone to read the Naked Communist because of the secret societies that are set up on the earth. These societies have been set up to collapse the dollar and start war but it is not happy, happy, joy, joy, stuff and they don’t want to know.

        So I encourage you on in your endeavours to reveal the mysteries of our God because not to many people are very interested in doing it. I really think that a lot of members of the church have been taken in by the wisdom of the world.

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  2. I recently prepared a Ten-Question Gospel Quiz. Following is one question from the quiz.

    According to the prophets, what is the most important thing a church member can do in this life?

    1 Be worthy of a temple recommend
    2 Receive the ordinance of baptism
    3 Receive the gift of the Holy Ghost
    4 Give Christ like service

    The question and answers, are designed to bring into focus the challenge of picking the highest priority from a list of competing priorities.

    The best answer is three. So far, 157 people have taken the quiz, 73% answered this question incorrectly. That means only 1 out of 4 understand the relative importance of receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost when listed with other things of importance.

    When we fail to recognize those things that are of greater value and mistakenly pursue something of lesser value, we slow our progress and miss the greater blessings. There is a saying that brings this principle into focus:

    “There are many who struggle and climb and finally reach the top of the ladder, only to find that it is leaning against the wrong wall.”

    Those who desire to get nearer to God need to make sure they are placing their ladder on the correct wall. One-way to increase your odds of being correct, is to follow the counsel of the prophets. After reading the following quotes from modern day prophets, reread the quiz and answers. After doing so, I think you will see that the gift of the Holy Ghost is the correct answer.

    “Now, if you have the Holy Ghost with you—and every one ought to have—I can say unto you that there is no greater gift, there is no greater blessing, there is no greater testimony given to any man on earth.” Wilford Woodruff, Deseret Weekly, April 6, 1889, 451.

    “The greatest gift that a person can have in mortality, without any exception, is the gift of the Holy Ghost…” Sermons and Writings of Bruce R. McConkie, Page 350.

    “There is no greater blessing that can come into our lives than … the companionship of the Holy Spirit” Gordon B Hinckley, (Boston Massachusetts Regional Conference, 22 Apr. 1995).”

    The Prophet Joseph Smith taught: “You might as well baptize a bag of sand as a man, if not done in view of the remission of sins and getting of the Holy Ghost. Baptism by water is but half a baptism, and is good for nothing without the other half—that is, the baptism of the Holy Ghost”. History of the Church, 5:499

    I hope all who read this will be persuaded that, without any question whatsoever, acquiring the companionship of the Holy Ghost should be the first order of business for every member of the church. Just to make sure that we’re on the same page, I’ll provide another quote. It is one of my favorite:

    “Fundamentally, all gospel teachings and activities are centered on coming unto Christ by receiving the Holy Ghost in our lives.” David A. Bednar, “Receive the Holy Ghost”, Ensign, Nov. 2010, 94–98

    The Book of Mormon can be thought of as a handbook on how to acquire the companionship of the Holy Ghost. The “how to” doctrine is woven throughout the pages of the Book of Mormon. One example taught by the Savior explains:

    Now this is the commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day. (3 Nephi 27:20)

    One of the most powerful declarations found in the Book of Mormon about the value of having the Holy Ghost occurred when the apostles the Savior called, prayed for that which they most desired:

    And they did pray for that which they most desired; and they desired that the Holy Ghost should be given unto them. 3 Nephi 19:9

    This is a surprising request. It seems so out of place considering they were in the presence of the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ. They could have asked for anything, yet they knew precisely what they needed. They knelt down to pray and ask the Father for the Holy Ghost. They understood that out of all the things they could ask for, the Holy Ghost was the most important.

    I hope church members will understand the importance of coming to Christ by diligently seeking for the Holy Ghost.

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    • I’d like to see the rest of your quiz! Happy to say I got this one right … but was unsure of myself until you said it :)

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  3. I think teaching that it’s possible for devils, demons, and unclean spirits can repent (part of those that left their 1st estate) is certainly a “new” doctrine, if not outright false doctrine. I don’t feel it’s supported by the words of the brethren, or the scriptures, I’d be wary of teaching it.

    On what do you claim the gender of devils as male and demons as female?

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    • Hi again h_nu,

      Thanks for reading my essay and leaving your thoughtful comments. I also am wary of teaching anything that is not supported by scriptures or words of the Brethren. I do not share this stuff when I am asked to teach in a church classroom or to speak at the pulpit. I ONLY teach what I am assigned by my priesthood leaders and stick to the official curriculum. These essays are simply my own musings on spiritual questions that I hope lead to personal spiritual progress.

      Before I provide supporting evidence for the idea that devils, demons and unclean spirits can repent, let’s be clear that there is a major difference between the first two (evil spirits or devils and demons) and the latter group (unclean or foul spirits). By the way, my statement that devils are male and demons are female is personal opinion based on my experiences and impressions in dealing with these negative entities. You can ignore it if you want. It’s not important.

      Those in the first groups have never been mortal and have never had a physical body. It has been my experience that while they are more abundant in the spirit world around us, they are not as powerful as those in the second group. Impressions, voices and fiery darts from the first group are quick and insistent. They attempt to overwhelm us with sheer numbers. I hope that any LDS member would understand that these are the “third part” cast out of heaven to earth.

      On the other hand, those in the second group are more deliberate, take their time and are much more patient in their attacks. They keep coming back because they are seeking a body again. Sometimes they do not know that their presence is painful to us. In fact, sometimes they have a hard time accepting that they are dead. They have no light within them. These are the spirits of the dead who are currently in a state of “spiritual prison” and are in Satan’s power.

      1 Ne 11:31 – “And I beheld … people … afflicted … with devils and unclean spirits. … and the devils and unclean spirits were cast out.” Why would Nephi differentiate between the two classes of spirits if they didn’t exist?

      3 Ne 7:19 – “And in the name of Jesus did he cast out devils and unclean spirits…” Again, why the distinction between the two if they didn’t exist?

      Rev 18:2 – “Babylon … is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit.” Even John points out the difference, although in this case, he is quoting an angel.

      Brigham Young and Parley P Pratt taught a lot about these unclean spirits: “Many spirits of the departed, who are unhappy, linger in lonely wretchedness about the earth, and in the air, and especially about their ancient homesteads, and the places rendered dear to them by the memory of former scenes. The more wicked of these are the kind spoken of in Scripture, as ‘foul spirits,’ ‘unclean spirits,’ spirits who afflict persons in the flesh, and engender various diseases in the human system. They will sometimes enter human bodies, and will distract them, throw them into fits, cast them into the water, into the fire, etc. [see Mark 9:14-29, Matt 17:14-21, Luke 9:37-43] They will trouble them with dreams, nightmare, hysterics, fever, etc., and will sometimes compel them to utter blasphemies, horrible curses, and even words of other languages. If permitted, they will often cause death.” – Key to the Science of Theology, 1978 edition, pp. 72-73

      Joseph Smith taught in the King Follett discourse that “God has made a provision that the spirits of our friends and every spirit in that eternal world can be ferreted out and saved.” The Lord revealed through Joseph that every unclean spirit in prison can be saved with the exception of those who have denied the Holy Ghost. We call those perdition spirits. Perdition means lost. We help the spirits of the dead through temple ordinances. We can help those who come to us in pain or confusion not knowing that they are hurting us by their presence. So if you accept the idea that unclean spirits are those who have lived and died I don’t think you’ll have any problem with the idea that we can help them repent. We can teach them about Christ and invite them to go to him.

      I’ll address in another comment after I return from church this afternoon the idea that evil spirits (devils and demons) or those who have never had a mortal body can also repent and be saved.

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      • Evil Spirits Can Repent:

        Luke 11:26 – “Then goeth the evil spirit, and taketh seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there …”

        Think about this with me. If there are different degrees of wickedness among evil spirits then they must have agency to make choices. If they have agency to choose evil then they have agency to not choose evil as well. In other words, they can choose if they will do as Satan commands them. I wonder if there are some who are not happy with their pre-mortal choice.

        Consider the story of Orson Hyde, Heber C Kimball, Willard Richards and Isaac Russell when they were attacked by evil spirits in Preston England 30 July 1837:

        “We gazed upon them about an hour and a half (by Willard’s watch). We were not looking towards the window, but towards the wall. Space appeared before us, and we saw the devils coming in legions, with their leaders, who came within a few feet of us. They came towards us like armies rushing to battle They appeared to be men of full stature, possessing every form and feature of men in the flesh, who were angry and desperate; and I (Kimball) shall never forget the vindictive malignity depicted on their countenances as they looked me in the eye; and any attempt to paint the scene which then presented itself, or portray their malice and enmity, would be vain. I perspired exceedingly, my clothes becoming as wet as if I had been taken out of the river. I felt excessive pain, and was in the greatest distress for some time.

        “After you were overcome by them and had fallen, their awful rush upon me with knives, threats, imprecations, hellish grins, amply convinced me that they were no friends of mine. While you were apparently senseless and lifeless on the floor and upon the bed (after we had laid you there), I (Orson) stood between you (Heber) and the devils and fought them and contended with them face to face, until they began to diminish in number and to retreat from the room. The last imp that left turned around to me as he was going out and said, as if to apologize, and appease my determined opposition to them, ‘I never said anything against you!’” Orson F. Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball [Salt Lake City: Kimball Family, 1888], 129–31.

        Why would an evil spirit ever apologize to anyone if that spirit were completely evil? Perhaps there are some who only continue to follow Satan because they do not know that they can repent. I am convinced that there are some evil spirits who have remorse of conscience for their decision to follow Satan and are not happy with their lot. They would now choose to follow Christ if they had the opportunity presented to them. In other words, they would repent if they could.

        But the question before us is – can evil spirits repent? Does God allow it or are they eternally damned? As a church, we believe that the phrase “eternal punishment” is not a measurement of time but of a kind of punishment – God’s punishment. D&C 19:4, 6-12 confirms this doctrine. Eternal punishment can be temporary, and in fact, it is. The purpose of God’s punishment is to teach us obedience if we will repent. He wants to save all his children, including those who followed Satan in the pre-earth life. God is merciful. His mercy applies to all his children. Evil spirits can repent. They can be turned from evil. They can develop faith in Christ as their Savior. Of course they cannot escape a punishment for following Satan (Abraham 3:26).

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      • Luke 11:26 – “Then goeth the evil spirit, and taketh seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there …”

        Few understand this verse and I think this is an error that Joseph didn’t catch. The Holy Ghost has guided me that there are far more errors and out right fraud within the Bible than Joseph dared to mention or correct. Joseph was terrified of what could happen if he brought out the full light in 1830s frontier USA.

        An evil spirit can’t take possession unless we allow them. We can open ourselves up to them to attach to us like a leach feeding on our negative feelings without even being conscious of it. If we have strong negative feelings they will attract themselves in a feeding frenzy.

        I once worked with this fanatical holy roller type minister and he had demonic attachments all over himself. He thought it was really cool to rebuke them in the name of Jesus, but in a few hours they were all back again. If he had swept his house clean they won’t come back because they would not have anything to feed on.

        His problem was arrogance, his arrogance was so repulsive that most people couldn’t take him for long. Nobody, not even Christ can cast the demons out permanently unless he repents and casts off his own arrogance. He refused and he and his family continue to suffer with demons and his arrogance.

        IMO I believe these fundamentalist religious cause more harm than good.

        These attachments will weaken a person and eventually will cause serious health problems and eventual death. I don’t think it will be pleasant to move to the other side with these beasties attached to one’s spirit.

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  4. Tim,

    I entered the comment above. When I did I lost part of my comment. I’ll add what I lost here.

    I think you’re on the right track desiring to obtain greater manifestations of the Spirit. However, I urge all who are likewise interested to do it in the way the Lord has revealed. In any endeavor there is an order to things. Without question, the first order of business for followers of Christ is to obey the first principles of the gospel so they can receive the Holy Ghost. Then comes the gifts of the Spirit.

    As you know receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost is referred to as the First Comforter. With the First Comforter as our companion then we can move forward seeking to obtain the Second Comforter.

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    • Hi Jared,

      I always appreciate your thoughts on my essays. Your ten-point gospel quiz sounds interesting. I will have to stop by later on to take it and see how I come out. I agree with your point that there is an order to things when seeking after knowledge, especially spiritual knowledge – the most important kind. With the posting of this essay I guess I am simply wondering if there comes a point in our spiritual progression where we need to be taught certain things directly by messengers sent from the Lord, otherwise why did Mormon tell us that all is in vain if angels do not minister unto us? Am I reading that incorrectly? Maybe he just meant that in a generic sense – angels sent to mankind in general (someone else) and not specifically to us.

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  5. We are taught not to seek after signs, but rather that signs come after faith. If one seeks an angel, is he or she seeking a sign? I suppose the answer depends on why he or she is seeking an angel.

    I hope to be continually satisfied seeking after the companionship of the Holy Spirit, study of the scripture, and serving my fellowman.

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    • Hi ji,

      Thanks for reading the essay and sharing your comment. Yes, asking to have the Lord send you further light and knowledge through the ministration of angels is a sign of faith. It indicates that you are willing to be taught, to further your spiritual advancement in things of the kingdom of heaven. I would not classify it as seeking after a sign, but seeking after knowledge. Some things can only be taught by angels or directly by the Savior. We are commanded to come unto Christ and to push on in our quest for truth until he reveals himself to us. I hope to do all that the Lord inspires me to do through his spirit until I have arrived at that perfect day, having been taught by angels and by the Lord himself, what is required to enjoy the presence of the Father in the eternities.

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    • “I’m looking for messengers from Father”.

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  6. I agree with you, we can reach a point where we are no longer able to make spiritual progress without being taught by the divine and I support seeking that tutoring if you desire it. The point I was making is; I have enjoyed the ministering of angels it was comforting, supportive and fascinating to watch but since no one had a speaking part not very educational. I have learned far more from personal revelation by the Spirit. I treasure that knowledge far more than the memory of the angelic vision. But if your expectation is; only an angels will do, I have no doubt they can be manifested for you! A bit of advise: as the veil thins you will be exposed first to dark spirits until you chose the light, this preserves agency. The dark side is fascinating to experience, a bit frightening but largely powerless except by influence. So mostly you must cooperate in your own demise for them to have much effect, but caution they are very mentally crafty and persuasive. Enjoy your journey!

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  7. We are totally to seek for the experience of being taught by angels and covenanting with Christ face to face. When we understand this doctrine we start looking for angels. Satan will send counterfit messengers. We will experience opposition. It is part of the refining, part of the test. Satan does not want us to wake up. He wants to lull us to hell. We cannot remain passive. Anyone who truly studies the scriptures knows that coming into the presence of Christ in this life is the “fullness of the gospel”. Adam and Eve, Enoch, Abraham, Issac, Job, Enos, Alma, the twelve apostles, the twelve Nephite apostles, Moroni, Nephi, Jacob, Joseph Smith etc. all tell their experience so we can follow their expamples. The key is sacrifice and obedience. Only you and the Lord will know and maybe the angels he sends who are in disguise.

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  8. When you first wrote about Denver Snuffer was the first time I had heard of him and his writings. I checked out his blog and read what he had to say and I must admit that I came away with a lot to think about, but I also came away with the feeling that he was faulting the brethren for not teaching this stuff more forcefully (like in General Conference). Basically I got the sense that he was implying that the church leadership had lost the essential “stuff” (or keys) that allowed access to the deeper mysteries of the kingdom. It was at this point that I was put off by what he was saying. The reason why I was put off is because that way of thinking is a kind of a red flag for me. If someone begins to imply that the men that God has chosen to lead his church have (as a group) gone astray and no longer teach pure doctrine, but that one individual does understand the truth, more than the rest of them combined, then that is something that raises a red flag of warning for me. I have read so many stories (both autobiographical and biographical) of people who were probing the “deep mysteries” and came to the conclusion that the church leadership were “gone out of the way” and that they, and only they, had a correct understanding and that they needed to “get their message out” so that not everyone was left with the rest of the sheep. These stories never end well.

    Now Denver Snuffer may deny that this is what he is saying, but after reading his stuff, it seems that the loss of key understanding (in more senses than one) among the brethren is central to his argument. But if this is the case then no one would have access to the second comforter, no matter how much they studied, learned, understood, prayed or kept the commandments. As is pointed out in D&C 107:18-19, our access to the second comforter (and everything else mentioned in verse 19) is dependent on the president of the church actively holding and exercising the keys.

    I think what you have written here is a better way of putting it. I think that you have managed to sum up the essential arguments of Denver Snuffer without implying that the leaders of the church have somehow missed the boat and are leading people in to a long slow path to generic Protestantism. I have heard many church leaders teach the doctrine of the second comforter (from Apostles and Seventies to mission presidents and bishops), but I have also heard many people act like the first bishop in your essay (mostly gospel doctrine teachers and missionaries, people who, other than their initial calling, have absolutely no qualifications for the job).

    I just like to think that God is a pretty smart guy (see Abraham 3:19), and is very much aware of this, and many other pressing issues, and can adequately compensate for any perceived or actual shortcomings of the people that He has chosen to lead His church.

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  9. Howard,

    What do you mean “as the veil thins you will be exposed first to dark spirits until you choose the light”?

    How do you “choose the light” after being exposed to dark spirits?

    Thanks.

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  10. Bryan,
    It easy, the Spirit is monitoring you and knows your mind. So just think you are rejecting the darkness and choosing Christ and you will.

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  11. I see that there is interest in the quiz I prepared. I don’t know if Tim’s blog allows links. You’ll probably need to cut and paste. After you take the quiz let me know if you have any questions.

    http://www.ldsaliveinchrist.com/2012/04/drawing-nearer-to-god-through-the-book-of-mormon-part-1/

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  12. Why are we consulting the bishop about recieving personal revelation? It is none of his business.

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  13. This post reminded me of something I read in the book David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism. I’d like to share some quotes from page 38.

    President McKay said, “I know that He lives. I know that He will confer with His servants who seek Him in humility and in righteousness. I know because I have heard His voice, and I have received His guidance in matters pertaining to His kingdom here on earth.”

    And most of the rest of the page consists of an account (written by Ted L. Cannon) of an interview done by John Cook, a reporter for the Sacramento Union. I’m just sharing parts of that quote here: “He (Mr. Cook) then asked President McKay if he had ever seen the Savior. President McKay answered that he had not, but that he had heard His voice–many times–and that he had felt His presence and His influence . . . Then he told how some evidences were stronger even than that of sight . . . And then the President repeated the words of the Master, ‘Because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed; blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.’ ”

    I’m not saying that it is evil or wrong to seek for angels. If a person feels that in order to spiritually progress he/she needs to speak with messengers from God, then that is certainly something to pursue! After all, Adam and Eve were seeking for messengers from God too. Maybe in LDS culture we do tend to discount the act of searching or preparing for messengers. I just want to point out that there are many ways to gain spiritual knowledge, and in my opinion it is possible to learn things from the Holy Ghost that are not in the scriptures or the words of modern day prophets. I believe that the Spirit will guide us to seek the methods of spiritual growth that will be most beneficial for us. That could be seeing angels or the Savior, or it could simply be through learning from the Holy Ghost or gaining insights from the challenges and experiences that we have in our lives. One of the reasons we are on this earth is that the experiences we have here teach us eternal truths that we could not have fully understood in the premortal life.

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  14. Although I agree with much of what Denver Snuffer has written, one thing he has wrong is his view of the Gentiles in the Book of Mormon. For example, in 3 Nephi, there are three groups of Gentiles mentioned, believing, non-believing, and nations of the Gentiles. The “non audience” position is contrary to what the Book of Mormon actually states.

    If someone trusts an evil spirit enough to try to have a conversation with one, they are playing a game that only the evil spirit can win. These are devils, permanently cast out, to spend eternity in Outer Darkness. They cannot repent, they cannot be forgiven. All they can do is destroy, and they have 1,000’s of years of experience in doing so. The dumbest of them is infinitely smarter than the most intelligent mortal. They do not have the veil over their minds like we do. Please DO NOT engage them in conversation, just cast them out.

    As far as seeking after greater knowledge, visits from angels that you actually see and touch, and a personal audience with Christ, the post is well done!

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  15. The Holy Ghost is one of the Godhead, equal in sovereignty with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Why would one choose to be taught by angels, which are lower beings, for that deeper spiritual knowledge when the Holy Ghost is the conduit given to us for knowledge from the Godhead? I don’t believe Heavenly Father would withhold any information from us unless He had reason to believe it was not in our best interest at that point in time. Yes I do get the point that maybe we are sometimes at a point where he expects us to ask before we receive more. Then using the Godhead (the Holy Ghost) to transfer that knowledge to us would represent the purest source, I would think. Fastenating essay, though. And lots of interesting posts.

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  16. Interesting stuff. I hold similar views – frustration that the doctrine is being dumbed down. I think that at some point, utterances of angels should be sought after. We learn that in the temple. I, as the commenter above, would never open a dialogue with an evil spirit – it is very dangerous ground. I have also tangled with them in Brazil and they are trouble and have no hope of progression. Their fate is sealed – and many know they have made a poor choice. Most are still delusional like their leader and think they will still win the ultimate battle over good and evil. I would focus on my relationship with Christ who the great Mediator. Love Denver – I think he is cutting edge when it comes to focus on where we should be placing our emphasis in these last days. I believe we are led by inspired men – but I also temper that with a healthy dose of scrutiny and DO NOT like it when it is said over the pulpit that “All is well in Zion”. The day may come when we have to go with the Prophet and a majority of the Twelve. The BOM was written for us (not necessarily the Catholics or Baptists – except to convert them) to warn US of OUR awful state! Our stats as a Church mimic the world’s. It freaks me out – quite badly actually.

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  17. [...] 8 Dec 2007 – The Influence of the Adversary Today 7 May 2008 – Pondering About the Spirit World 22 May 2008 – The Reality of Satan and Evil Spirits 5 June 2008 – Another Visit to the Spirit World 21 June 2008 – The Near-Death Experience of an Apostle 28 June 2008 – Brigham Young Teaches About Evil Spirits 6 Oct 2008 – Born That Way – Not a Choice 18 Oct 2008 – Speak of the Devil 20 May 2012 – Addictions and Disembodied Spirits 7 July 2012 – Deceived by an Angel of Light [...]

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  18. Angels are real. The scriptures are not complete and have been tampered with far more than some care to admit. The Brethren do not share everything and they also do not know everything. Angels are here to teach us, to warn us and to comfort us. They even minister to non-members. We LDS do not have an exclusive right, hardly so indeed. Not everybody is ready to hear an angel. From the reading above some of you have had the experience and note the reluctance and even a touch fear in some of the responses. 2 angels ministered to my daughter for an illness. They blessed her just as we are taught in Priesthood. Another angel warned a different daughter to prepare for famine and was told things contrary to some things we have been taught about being prepared. We have been prohibited to share the details. My wife had an angel comfort her as the Catholic little girl she was at the time. BTW isn’t this what the endowment is all about? To seek and know for yourself-first hand. Its ironic that my bishop does not listen nor does my stake president understand and all that I am is only a home teacher. Are our leaders always inspired? I don’t think so.

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    • If you ever receive permission. I would really like to know what that advice of prepetration is.

      I feel very much like you do and I feel like I can’t share it with , anyone really. I’m met with a lot of opposition. Thanks for sharing.

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  19. I would like to boldly take on a misunderstanding about the Holy Ghost, perhaps it is even a false doctrine that has crept into the church that nobody seems to question. That you have to be “worthy” to have it’s promptings. Who under all the heavens is really worthy? The Holy Ghost is here to help us NOW. All we need is to sincerely want to keep the commandments. It is very wrong to believe that we don’t have his promptings because we are unworthy. It takes patience and time to learn to recognize it. Usually we learn the hard way by ignoring it and we reap something unpleasant, that is the way I learned and Pres. Faust told me that is how he learned. The belief that we must be “worthy” is holding back millions of LDS from being blessed by the Holy Ghost to refine our hearts and minds. Truly I find this doctrine odious and I stand up to it every time in church. I have yet to be excommunicated.

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    • Stephen, I agree. I think your statement could be misunderstood, though. There is a difference between thinking that we are unworthy of the Spirit and from recognizing we are unworthy before God. We should all recognize that we all fall short before God and that we should always “acknowledge [our] unworthiness before God at all times” (Alma 38:14). Speaking for myself, though, being trapped in sin was completely blinding for me; this prevented me from recognizing and following the Spirit. The cure for me was humility and the desire to be better. I agree that thinking we are unworthy to receive mercy and guidance from the Spirit can be a stumbling block, but sin and our unwillingness to repent will hold us back. It was difficult to be able to exercise enough faith in Christ to finally overcome some sins in my life. It came out that it was something that could be overcome by diligent scripture study (among other things). It is true that God is extremely merciful to the penitent.

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  20. Please forgive my poor writing as I’m recovering from a stroke and the left hand has a mind of its own.

    I just wanted to thank you for this leading article and share a couple things which unfortunately I cannot verify so i offer them as a testimony only.

    As a young man I was naive enough to take the scriptures at their word (ie literally) its wasn’t until my mission that I found out there were such things as metaphors and so forth (I come from a back water village in New Zealand) but having read Jacobs account of his “firmness of faith” I wanted it for myself to be a better husband father, son and brother, its seemed to me that Enos was showing a way to do this so I experimented with his method and tried it one morning and had what was told me later was the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost (29yo), Since that time I have been visited constantly by angels. I didn’t call them that at first, I called them ghosts. A little while later a voice in my head told me that I was not to refer to them as ghosts anymore but as the “Ministering of Angels” which instantly made a lot of sense. As they always came with a message usually go do this or go do that. It’s hard to stress how much I resisted doing what they requested – which stopped when these same messengers would appear in the Temple and in their exact words “I am here to strongly encourage you to do what you have been shown”) Now just a couple of points.

    In respect to “too sacred to share”. What I was taught by theses messengers regarding the idea that something is “too sacred to share” . If you are not to share something with somebody you will be stopped and the Lord will himself commanded you and shut up your mouth, as we know Father will not have you condemn either yourself or others as a result of wrongfully shared knowledge.

    With regard to these angels: I have not received visitations from any but my family members who are deceased some as far as 8 generations ago (with full facial tattoos not for the faint hearted luckily for me they were introduced by someone I knew and who had visited me many time before. . What do they tell me – Reclaim lost family bear witness of their father (earthly fathers and mothers who visit me) and invite them back into the fold. As you can see there is nothing there that is not already well known. Except the resolve is much greater as you think perhaps it might have successful. You can test them exactly they way descibed in the D&C. None of my visitors has ever tried to touch me. When I do the work requested the results speak for themselves and deliver much fruit and joy to my extended family.

    On seeing the face of the Lord. The Lord appeared to me at 3pm in February this year for the first time he placed his hands upon my head and gave me a blessing. Is this too sacred to share? As I was commanded to bear witness of the a physical embodied Jesus Christ. That he does visit man, and that the calling and election is a true doctrine. I have notice a number of people witnessing the same things.

    It does not make one an apostle or great, only one with the spirit of Laman and Lemuel would consider such an experience in those terms. I have been taught that the calling and election is that one is sealed to be exalted but does not in anyway imply that one is perfect my wife and kids will confirm that!

    I did ask the lord one thing “so what do I share do I teach my kids how to get calling and election the Lord commanded that I do not teach or preach anything but the gospel which is all designed to have one receive the baptism of fire.

    2 Nephi 31:13
    1. Have faith in Jesus Christ sufficient that you are willing to
    2. Repent so that you might receive the
    3. Baptism of and immersion
    4. Repeat step 1 and 2 so that you might receive the
    5. Baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost

    Calling and Election follows baptism of fire, but some time later in the time of the Lord after some testing and teaching so just hang in there until it happen as it most certainly will happen.

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    • You have been truly blessed. I have had a similar experience and only those that have had such an experience recognize the truth of this when others testify.

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    • QB: As Stephen noted, you have truely been blessed. I also felt the confirming wittness of the spirit as I read your comment that you shared truth. I am discovering more and more people who are bearing witness of these things. It strengthens my faith and confirms what I have been experiencing lately. I know I have been visited by angels. They are directing me in my thoughts and prompting / encouraging me to do good works.

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    • QB, thanks for sharing, I too felt the Spirit as I read your remarks.

      Just to clarify, for those who may not be as familiar with these subjects, Joseph Smith taught that calling and election qualify one for a special visit from Christ, they are not the same event. Usually, the Lord, through the Spirit, will tell you that your calling and election has been made sure, and then, according to His will and timing, you will see Him.

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  21. On demons: It seems from experience that demons are able to inflict physical damage on people. They can leave bruises and bite marks and even move physical objects. My late father came to visit and he put his hand on my daughter’s shoulder and she felt nothing. Yet both of my daughters that have been blessed by angels commented that they felt their hands and the physical warmth from them. They both commented that the Angels looked like a photo of their great great grandfather and the light they emanated was bright as the sun, but “whiter”.

    So the question for me is perhaps the D&C is not as cut and dried on this subject. If demons can bite then we can feel their hands if they choose to deceive. I do agree that demons can be of varying degrees of evil and strength, implicating the possibility of choice to repent.

    Now before any of you jump to conclusions, this daughter is able to see through the veil and positively ID Spirits. She was born with this ability. They cannot deceive her, (as far as she knows) she knows exactly why they are present and if somebody has sent them.

    If any of you have empirical experiences with this, I could use your help.

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    • Hi Stephen,

      I’m still learning about demons. I have no empirical evidence. I have never seen one. I have never felt physical manifestations from a demon. As cited in another essay (Dealing with Evil and Unclean Spirits), I have felt their influence firsthand, although it could have been devils.

      I also believe I have seen their influence upon others. I have certainly felt the influence of evil spirits upon others although I could not tell you specifically if what I felt was from a devil, a demon or an unclean spirit. Perhaps you can tell that I am distinguishing them purposefully.

      I don’t know if I agree with you that demons can bite or inflict physical damage. I’ll leave that up to others to reply who may have more knowledge than I do. I have read stories of unclean spirits moving things around – poltergeists we call them – but I don’t believe those were demons.

      Not sure if the distinction is important but I’m beginning to suspect that it is. Differences between devils, demons and unclean spirits became clearer to me as I studied Conquering Spiritual Evil by Doug Mendenhall. I highly recommend you read it if you haven’t already.

      Since I wrote this essay I have come to the conclusion that devils and demons cannot repent. You can read more about that on my essay, The Devil and his Angels. I would be very interested in learning more about your daughter who can see through the veil. Tell me more.

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      • My daughter has the gift of discerning spirits at least to a point. She can see them and know what they are up to. She claims that it is impossible that they deceive her as she can see (pardon the pun) right through them. She can distinguish between spirits of people that have passed and even premortal spirits. Spirits in general are like people there are very intelligent ones and unintelligent and various grades of evil and good. She has even recognized spirits that were her friends in the pre-existence that rebelled and joined Lucifer’s side.

        Since she can sense them, she is like a candle to moths. Its not fun for her and she has been attacked physically and left with injuries. I have been attacked myself and left physically ill. A blessing quickly took care of that.

        So this has lead her to question Joseph Smith’s method of distinguishing spirits as frightfully simplified and easily countered by these dark entities. They are not dumb and don’t have to reach out with their hands to prove it to us.

        She distinguishes between “spirit guides” which are our ancestors helping us along from angels. The difference being between the two is like a Ph.D compared to a grade schooler.

        Those that practice the evil arts learn to use demons to do their dirty work and at the same time make the practitioner believe they are in control. Several of these people have tried to recruit her to the dark side as early as grade school. Its actually more common than we think.

        She says that evil spirits appear hideous and deformed, often not even human like. She believes they can repent but also that we can slip into outer darkness and become evil spirits if that is our choice.

        She has told me of a blessing she received from angels, she physically felt their hands and their warmth. The light was so bright that it was difficult to make them out. She did say that one appeared to be her great grandfather.

        I have felt the light emanating from Jesus, It is his love and it is of such power that it emits as light. I would think that the absence of this powerful love that emits as light would be a better indicator if one is being visited by a true angel or Christ himself.

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      • Hey I just checked out your blogsite holistic research, Its very interesting. You might want to check out my website http://new-holistic-medicine.com

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  22. I think we should not strive for s e e i n g angels, but instead to have angels t e a c h us, I tihink we should not strive to have god’s mysteries revealed to us unless we first strive for understanding the clear and open doctrines we have already been given. I think our heart should long to understand the Book of Mormon as good as possible by the holy ghost, because the experience with the holy ghost leaves a stronger impression than seeing an angel or even god himselfe, and we will always need to have these experiences with the holy ghost again. After we have done all this, we will long for more knowledge and understanding, and once the scriptures cannot anymore give us the answers, the time usually arives were we will be visited by angels.

    If I were bishop in such a situation, I would be full of joy to hear that someone strives to learn more, and I would welcome his desire to have angels visit him, but I also would testify to him that receiving angels is a great responsibility, and that our responsibility towards god and his written word needs to be proven first.

    There is so much to be discovered in the scriptures, and there is so much to be experienced, if we can’t value these things properly even the visit of an angel won’t make any difference, as we can see with laman and lamuel… It is the holy ghost that prepares us, and that impresses our heart. Even as we don’t understand the word of god without the holy ghost, we won’t understand the angels that visit us. I feel our mainintent should be to become better, to show more love towards god and our brothers and sisters, and everything else will follow.

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    • Then how do you explain angels coming to little children? Besides Angels help us to understand that there actually are more interpolations by man in the scriptures than what most people are willing to admit. Joseph Smith didn’t find them all. Believe me when you see an angel in his glory and light, its something you’ll never forget and indeed one of my daughters has also seen and touched an angel and today she lives in total rejection of the Gospel, and she also felt the holy ghost as a child. Its a matter of choice, do we want to pay attention to truth or not? And the willingness to pay attention to the truth is all we need for divine guidance. “Worthiness” has little to do with it. Please don’t put limitations on what people can or may experience because the only limitations are those that we allow others to place upon ourselves.

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      • Hey Steven,

        I think you are right, we should not put to many limits here, Paul also saw an angel. What I ment , is that we should also keep attention to the “small” things, because they can show us many great things and prepare for greater things. Children are pure and innocent, and willing to receive, that’s why they often have more expeiences. Joseph Smith said this about the impressions of the holy ghost, and its impression being stronger than the actual visit of an angel ( need to find it somewhere ) .. that also would explain why the sin agains to holy ghost is so serious. It’s no garanti, not even when seing an angel as you say, it’s a choice.

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      • 2 Nephi 32:3 Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.

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  23. “When a man has the manifestation from the Holy Ghost, it leaves an indelible impression on his soul, one that is not easily erased. It is Spirit speaking to spirit, and it comes with convincing force. A manifestation of an angel, or even the Son of God himself, would impress the eye and mind, and eventually become dimmed, but the impressions of the Holy Ghost sink deeper into the soul and are more difficult to erase” (Answers to Gospel Questions, 2:151).

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    • 2 Nephi 32:3 Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do

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  24. It was said by President Joseph Fielding Smith, just to make it correct :o)

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  25. [...] Four Phases of Mormonism 05. December 11, 2012 – What Denver Snuffer Teaches 06. July 7, 2012 – Deceived by an Angel of Light 07. May 12, 2012 – Orthodox Mormonism 08. May 5, 2012 – Ten Parables by Denver Snuffer 09. [...]

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