In the spring of 1831, Parley P. Pratt (instrumental in bringing more than 100 souls to Christ in Kirtland, Ohio just months prior) arrived back to Kirtland, Ohio, from a mission that Joseph Smith. Jr sent him on, to preach the gospel among the Native Americans west of Missouri. Upon arriving Kirtland, Elder Pratt saw unusual behaviors among the Church members and said this:
“As I went forth among the different branches, some very strange spiritual operations were manifested, which were disgusting, rather than edifying. Some persons would seem to swoon away, and make unseemly gestures, and be drawn or disfigured in their countenances. Others would fall into ecstacies, and be drawn into contortions, cramp, fits, etc. Others would seem to have visions and revelations, which were not edifying, and which were not congenial to the doctrine and spirit of the gospel. In short, a false and lying spirit seemed to be creeping into the Church” (Autobiography of ParleyP. Pratt,ed. ParleyP. PrattJr. ,61).
Joseph Smith Jr, Prophet of the Lord, had this to say on the subject:
“Soon after the Gospel was established in Kirtland, and during the absence of the authorities of the Church, many false spirits were introduced, many strange visions were seen, and wild enthusiastic notions were entertained; men [ran] out of doors under the influence of this Spirit, and some of them got upon the stumps of trees and shouted, and all kinds of extravagancies were entered into by them: one man pursued a ball that he said he saw flying in the air, until he came to a precipice when he jumped into the top of a tree which saved his life, and many ridiculous things were entered into, calculated to bring disgrace upon the church of God; to cause the Spirit of God to be withdrawn; and to uproot and destroy those glorious principles which had been developed for the salvation of the human family” (in Manuscript History of the Church, vol. C-1, page1311, josephsmithpapers.org).
ParleyP. Pratt stated that the events led many to inquire of the Prophet, Joseph Smith Jr:
“Feeling our weakness and inexperience, and lest we should err in judgment concerning these spiritual phenomena, myself, John Murdock, and several other Elders, went to Joseph Smith, and asked him to inquire of the Lord concerning these spirits or manifestations” (Autobiography of ParleyP. Pratt,61–62).
This revelation was received: DC 50 (same for LDS/RLDS) May, 1831-Kirtland, Ohio.
D&C 50:1a Hearken, O ye elders of my church, and give ear to the voice of the living God, and attend to the words of wisdom which shall be given unto you-according as ye have asked and are agreed as touching the church and the spirits which have gone abroad in the earth.
D&C 50:1b Behold, verily, I say unto you that there are many spirits which are false spirits, which have gone forth in the earth, deceiving the world; and also Satan hath sought to deceive you, that he might overthrow you.
D&C 50:2a Behold, I, the Lord, have looked upon you and have seen abominations in the church that professes my name; but blessed are they who are faithful and endure, whether in life or in death, for they shall inherit eternal life.
D&C 50:2b But woe unto them that are deceivers and hypocrites; for thus saith the Lord, I will bring them to judgment.
D&C 50:3a Behold, verily, I say unto you, There are hypocrites among you, and have deceived some, which has given the adversary power; but behold, such shall be reclaimed;
D&C 50:3b but the hypocrites shall be detected and shall be cut off, either in life or in death, even as I will; and woe unto them who are cut off from my church, for the same are overcome of the world;
D&C 50:3c wherefore, let every man beware, lest he do that which is not in truth and righteousness before me.
D&C 50:4a And now come, saith the Lord by the Spirit unto the elders of his church, and let us reason together, that ye may understand; let us reason, even as a man reasoneth one with another, face to face.
D&C 50:4b Now when a man reasoneth, he is understood of man because he reasoneth as a man; even so will I, the Lord, reason with you, that you may understand. Wherefore, I, the Lord, asketh you this question: Unto what were ye ordained?
D&C 50:4c To preach my gospel by the Spirit, even the Comforter, which was sent forth to teach the truth. And then received ye spirits which ye could not understand, and received them to be of God. And in this are ye justified?
D&C 50:4d Behold, ye shall answer this question yourselves; nevertheless, I will be merciful unto you; he that is weak among you hereafter shall be made strong.
D&C 50:5a Verily, I say unto you, He that is ordained of me and sent forth to preach the word of truth by the Comforter, in the spirit of truth, doth he preach it by the spirit of truth or some other way? And if it be by some other way, it be not of God.
D&C 50:5b And again, he that receiveth the word of truth, doth he receive it by the spirit of truth or some other way? If it be some other way, it be not of God.
D&C 50:5c Therefore, why is it that ye cannot understand and know that he that receiveth the word by the spirit of truth receiveth it as it is preached by the spirit of truth?
D&C 50:6a Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth understandeth one another; and both are edified and rejoice together.
D&C 50:6b And that which doth not edify is not of God and is darkness. That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light and continueth in God receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.
D&C 50:6c And again, verily, I say unto you-and I say it that you may know the truth-that you may chase darkness from among you. For he that is ordained of God and sent forth, the same is appointed to be the greatest, notwithstanding he is least and the servant of all.
D&C 50:6d Wherefore, he is possessor of all things; for all things are subject unto him, both in heaven and on the earth, the life and the light, the Spirit and the power, sent forth by the will of the Father through Jesus Christ, his Son;
D&C 50:6e but no man is possessor of all things, except he be purified and cleansed from all sin; and if ye are purified and cleansed from all sin, ye shall ask whatsoever you will in the name of Jesus, and it shall be done.
D&C 50:6f But know this: It shall be given you what you shall ask; and as ye are appointed to the head, the spirits shall be subject unto you.
D&C 50:7a Wherefore, it shall come to pass that if you behold a spirit manifested that you cannot understand, and you receive not that spirit, ye shall ask of the Father in the name of Jesus; and if he give not unto you that spirit, that you may know that it is not of God.
D&C 50:7b And it shall be given unto you power over that spirit, and you shall proclaim against that spirit with a loud voice that it is not of God-
D&C 50:7c not with railing accusation, that ye be not overcome, neither with boasting nor rejoicing, lest you be seized therewith.
D&C 50:7d He that receiveth of God, let him account it of God; and let him rejoice that he is accounted of God worthy to receive, and by giving heed and doing these things which ye have received and which ye shall hereafter receive.
D&C 50:7e And the kingdom is given you of the Father, and power to overcome all things which are not ordained of him;
D&C 50:7f and behold, verily, I say unto you, Blessed are you who are now hearing these words of mine from the mouth of my servant; for your sins are forgiven you.
D&C 50:8a Let my servant Joseph Wakefield, in whom I am well pleased, and my servant Parley P. Pratt, go forth among the churches and strengthen them by the word of exhortation;
D&C 50:8b and also my servant John Corrill, or as many of my servants as are ordained unto this office, and let them labor in the vineyard; and let no man hinder them of doing that which I have appointed unto them.
D&C 50:8c Wherefore, in this thing my servant Edward Partridge is not justified; nevertheless, let him repent, and he shall be forgiven.
D&C 50:8d Behold, ye are little children, and ye cannot bear all things now; ye must grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth.
D&C 50:8e Fear not, little children, for you are mine; and I have overcome the world, and you are of them that my Father hath given me; and none of them that my Father hath given me shall be lost;
D&C 50:8f and the Father and I are one; I am in the Father and the Father in me; and inasmuch as ye have received me, ye are in me and I in you; wherefore, I am in your midst;
D&C 50:8g and I am the good Shepherd and the Stone of Israel. He that buildeth upon this Rock shall never fall. And the day cometh that you shall hear my voice, and see me, and know that I am. Watch, therefore, that ye may be ready. Even so. Amen.
Moroni 7 (LDS/RLDS) teaches this:
Moroni 7:- 7:1 And now, I Moroni, write a few of the words of my father Mormon, which he spake concerning faith, hope and charity; for after this manner did he speak unto the people, as he taught them in the synagogue which they had built for the place of worship.
7:2 And now I, Mormon, speak unto you, my beloved brethren; and it is by the grace of God, the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, and his holy will, because of the gift of his calling unto me, that I am permitted to speak unto you at this time;
7:3 Wherefore I would speak unto you that are of the church, that are the peaceable followers of Christ, and that have obtained a sufficient hope, by which ye can enter into the rest of the Lord, from this time henceforth, until ye shall rest with him in heaven.
7:4 And now my brethren, I judge these things of you because of your peaceable walk with the children of men; for I remember the word of God, which saith, By their works ye shall know them; for if their works be good, then they are good also.
7:5 For behold, God hath said, A man being evil, can not do that which is good; for if he offereth a gift, or prayeth unto God, except he shall do it with real intent, it profiteth him nothing.
7:6 For behold, it is not counted unto him for righteousness.
7:7 For behold, if a man being evil, giveth a gift, he doeth it grudgingly; wherefore it is counted unto him the same as if he had retained the gift; wherefore he is counted evil before God.
7:8 And likewise also is it counted evil unto a man, if he shall pray, and not with real intent of heart; yea, and it profiteth him nothing; for God receiveth none such; wherefore, a man being evil, can not do that which is good; neither will he give a good gift.
7:9 For behold, a bitter fountain can not bring forth good water; neither can a good fountain bring forth bitter water; wherefore a man being a servant of the devil, can not follow Christ; and if he follow Christ, he can not be a servant of the devil.
7:10 Wherefore, all things which are good, cometh of God; and that which is evil, cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually.
7:11 But behold, that which is of God, inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, everything which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.
7:12 Wherefore take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God, to be of the devil.
7:13 For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night.
7:14 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that they may know good from evil; wherefore I shew unto you the way to judge: for everything which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ;
7:15 Wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge, it is of God; but whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil,
7:16 For after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no not one; neither doth his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.
7:17 And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge, ye shall also be judged.
7:18 Wherefore I beseech you, brethren, that ye should search diligently in the light of Christ, that ye may know good from evil; and if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not, ye certainly will be a child of Christ.
7:19 And now, my brethren, how is it possible that ye can lay hold upon every good thing?
7:20 And now I come to that faith, of which I said I would speak; and I will tell you the way whereby ye may lay hold on every good thing.
7:21 For behold, God knowing all things, being from everlasting to everlasting, behold he sent angels to minister unto the children of men, to make manifest concerning the coming of Christ; and in Christ there should come every good thing.
7:22 And God also declared unto prophets by his own mouth, that Christ should come.
7:23 And behold, there were divers ways that he did manifest things unto the children of men, which were good; and all things which are good, cometh of Christ, otherwise men were fallen, and there could no good thing come unto them.
7:24 Wherefore, by the ministering of angels, and by every word which proceedeth forth out of the mouth of God, men began to exercise faith in Christ; and thus by faith, they did lay hold upon every good thing; and thus it was until the coming of Christ.
7:25 And after that he came, men also were saved by faith in his name; and by faith, they become the sons of God.
7:26 And as sure as Christ liveth, he spake these words unto our fathers, saying, Whatsoever thing ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is good, in faith believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be done unto you.
7:27 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, hath miracles ceased, because Christ hath ascended into heaven, and hath sat down on the right hand of God, to claim of the Father his rights of mercy which he hath upon the children of men;
7:28 For he hath answered the ends of the law, and he claimeth all those who have faith in him; and they who have faith in him, will cleave unto every good thing; wherefore he advocateth the cause of the children of men; and he dwelleth eternally in the heavens?
7:29 And because he hath done this, my beloved brethren, hath miracles ceased?
7:30 Behold, I say unto you, Nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men.
7:31 For behold, they are subject unto him, to minister according to the word of his command, shewing themselves unto them of strong faith and a firm mind, in every form of godliness.
7:32 And the office of their ministry is, to call men unto repentance, and to fulfill and to do the work of the covenants of the Father which he hath made unto the children of men, to prepare the way among the children of men, by declaring the word of Christ unto the chosen vessels of the Lord, that they may bear testimony of him;
7:33 And by so doing, the Lord God prepareth the way that the residue of men may have faith in Christ, that the Holy Ghost may have place in their hearts, according to the power thereof;
7:34 And after this manner bringeth to pass the Father the covenants which he hath made unto the children of men.
7:35 And Christ hath said, If ye will have faith in me, ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me.
7:36 And he hath said, Repent all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, and have faith in me, that ye may be saved.
7:37 And now my beloved brethren, if this be the case that these things are true which I have spoken unto you, and God will shew unto you with power and great glory at the last day, that they are true; and if they are true, has the day of miracles ceased?
7:38 Or have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men?
7:39 Or has he withheld the power of the Holy Ghost from them?
7:40 Or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man upon the face thereof to be saved?
7:41 Behold I say to you, Nay, for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men;
7:42 Wherefore if these things have ceased, wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain; for no man can be saved, according to the words of Christ, save they shall have faith in his name;
7:43 Wherefore, if these things have ceased, then has faith ceased also; and awful is the state of man: for they are as though there had been no redemption made.
7:44 But behold, my beloved brethren, I judge better things of you, for I judge that ye have faith in Christ because of your meekness; for if ye have not faith in him, then ye are not fit to be numbered among the people of his church.
7:45 And again my beloved brethren, I would speak unto you concerning hope.
7:46 How is it that ye can attain unto faith, save ye shall have hope? And what is it that ye shall hope for?
7:47 Behold I say unto you, that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal; and this because of your faith in him according to the promise;
7:48 Wherefore, if a man have faith, he must needs have hope; for without faith there can not be any hope.
7:49 And again, behold I say unto you, that he can not have faith and hope, save he shall be meek and lowly of heart; if so, his faith and hope are vain, for none is acceptable before God, save the meek and lowly of heart;
7:50 And if a man be meek and lowly in heart, and confesses by the power of the Holy Ghost, that Jesus is the Christ, he must needs have charity; for if he have not charity, he is nothing; wherefore he must needs have charity.
7:51 And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things; wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth.
7:52 Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail; but charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth for ever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with them.
7:53 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son Jesus Christ, that ye may become the sons of God, that when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is, that we may have this hope, that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.
The Prophet Joseph Smith said:
"nothing is a greater injury to the children of men than to be under the influence of a false spirit when they think they have the Spirit of God" [Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith,p.205)
“Watchmen upon the Watchtower”
LDC 101 / RDC 98:5m Behold, here is wisdom concerning the children of Zion; even many, but not all; they were found transgressors, therefore, they must needs be chastened. He that exalteth himself shall be abased, and he that abaseth himself shall be exalted.
6a And now, I will show unto you a parable that you may know my will concerning the redemption of Zion.
6b A certain nobleman had a spot of land, very choice; and he said unto his servants, Go ye into my vineyard, even upon this very choice piece of land, and plant twelve olive trees; and set watchmen round about them and build a tower, that one may overlook the land round about, to be a watchman upon the tower;
6c that mine olive trees may not be broken down, when the enemy shall come to spoil and take unto themselves the fruit of my vineyard.
6d Now the servants of the nobleman went and did as their lord commanded them; and planted the olive trees, and built a hedge round about, and set watchmen, and began to build a tower.
6e And while they were yet laying the foundation thereof, they began to say among themselves, And what need hath my lord of this tower? and consulted for a long time, saying among themselves, What need hath my lord of this tower, seeing this is a time of peace?
6f Might not this money be given to the exchangers? for there is no need of these things!
6g And while they were at variance one with another they became very slothful, and they hearkened not unto the commandments of their lord,
6h and the enemy came by night and broke down the hedge, and the servants of the nobleman arose, and were affrighted, and fled; and the enemy destroyed their works and broke down the olive trees.
7a Now, behold, the nobleman, the lord of the vineyard, called upon his servants, and said unto them, Why! what is the cause of this great evil? ought ye not to have done even as I commanded you? and after ye had planted the vineyard, and built the hedge round about, and set watchmen upon the walls thereof,
7b built the tower also, and set a watchman upon the tower, and watched for my vineyard, and not have fallen asleep, lest the enemy should come upon you?
7c and, behold, the watchman upon the tower would have seen the enemy while he was yet afar off, and then you could have made ready and kept the enemy from breaking down the hedge thereof, and saved my vineyard from the hands of the destroyer.
7d And the lord of the vineyard said unto one of his servants, Go, and gather together the residue of my servants; and take all the strength of mine house, which are my warriors, my young men, and they that are of middle age also, among all my servants, who are the strength of mine house, save those only whom I have appointed to tarry;
7e and go ye straightway unto the land of my vineyard, and redeem my vineyard, for it is mine, I have bought it with money.
7f Therefore, get ye straightway unto my land; break down the walls of mine enemies, throw down their tower, and scatter their watchmen;
7g and inasmuch as they gather together against you, avenge me of mine enemies; that by and by I may come with the residue of mine house and possess the land.
8a And the servant said unto his lord, When shall these things be?
8b And he said unto his servant, When I will: go ye straightway, and do all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and this shall be my seal and blessing upon you; a faithful and wise steward in the midst of mine house; a ruler in my kingdom.
8c And his servant went straightway, and did all things whatsoever his lord commanded him, and after many days all things were fulfilled.
9a Again, verily I say unto you, I will show unto you wisdom in me concerning all the churches, inasmuch as they are willing to be guided in a right and proper way for their salvation, that the work of the gathering together of my Saints may continue, that I may build them up unto my name upon holy places; for the time of harvest is come, and my word must needs be fulfilled.
9b Therefore, I must gather together my people according to the parable of the wheat and the tares, that the wheat may be secured in the garners to possess eternal life, and be crowned with celestial glory when I shall come in the kingdom of my Father, to reward every man according as his work shall be;
9c while the tares shall be bound in bundles, and their bands made strong, that they may be burned with unquenchable fire.
9d Therefore, a commandment I give unto all the churches, that they shall continue to gather together unto the places which I have appointed;
9e nevertheless, as I have said unto you in a former commandment, let not your gathering be in haste, nor by flight; but let all things be prepared before you;
9f and in order that all things be prepared before you, observe the commandments which I have given concerning these things, which saith, or teacheth, to purchase all the lands by money, which can be purchased for money, in the region round about the land which I have appointed to be the land of Zion, for the beginning of the gathering of my Saints;
9g all the land which can be purchased in Jackson County, and the counties round about, and leave the residue in mine hand.
10a Now, verily I say unto you, Let all the churches gather together all their moneys; let these things be done in their time, be not in haste; and observe to have all things prepared before you.
10b And let honorable men be appointed, even wise men, and send them to purchase these lands; and every church in the eastern countries when they are built up, if they will hearken unto this counsel, they may buy lands and gather together upon them, and in this way they may establish Zion.
10c There is even now already in store a sufficient, yea, even abundance to redeem Zion, and establish her waste places, no more to be thrown down, were the churches, who call themselves after my name, willing to hearken to my voice.
10d And again I say unto you, Those who have been scattered by their enemies, it is my will that they should continue to importune for redress, and redemption, by the hands of those who are placed as rulers, and are in authority over you,
10e according to the laws and constitution of the people which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles, that every man may act in doctrine, and principle pertaining to futurity,
10f according to the moral agency which I have given unto them, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment.
10g Therefore, it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another.
10h And for this purpose have I established the constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.
11a Now, unto what shall I liken the children of Zion?
11b I will liken them unto the parable of the woman and the unjust judge (for men ought always to pray and not faint), which saith, There was in a city a judge which feared not God, neither regarded man.
11c And there was a widow in that city, and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.
11d And he would not for a while, but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard men, yet because this widow troubleth me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming, she weary me. Thus will I liken the children of Zion.
12a Let them importune at the feet of the judge; and if he heed them not, let them importune at the feet of the governor; and if the governor heed them not, let them importune at the feet of the president;
12b and if the president heed them not, then will the Lord arise and come forth out of his hiding place, and in his fury vex the nation, and in his hot displeasure, and in his fierce anger, in his time, will cut off these wicked, unfaithful, and unjust stewards, and appoint them their portion among hypocrites and unbelievers; even in outer darkness, where there is weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth.
12c Pray ye, therefore, that their ears may be opened unto your cries, that I may be merciful unto them, that these things may not come upon them.
12d What I have said unto you, must needs be, that all men may be left without excuse; that wise men and rulers may hear and know that which they have never considered;
12e that I may proceed to bring to pass my act, my strange act, and perform my work, my strange work. That men may discern between the righteous and the wicked, saith your God.
13a And again, I say unto you, It is contrary to my commandment, and my will, that my servant Sidney Gilbert should sell my storehouse, which I have appointed unto my people, into the hands of mine enemies.
13b Let not that which I have appointed, be polluted by mine enemies, by the consent of those who call themselves after my name; for this is a very sore and grievous sin against me, and against my people, in consequence of those things which I have decreed, and are soon to befall the nations.
13c Therefore, it is my will that my people should claim, and hold claim, upon that which I have appointed unto them, though they should not be permitted to dwell thereon;
13d nevertheless, I do not say they shall not dwell thereon; for inasmuch as they bring forth fruit and works meet for my kingdom, they shall dwell thereon;
13e they shall build, and another shall not inherit it; they shall plant vineyards, and they shall eat the fruit thereof. Even so. Amen.