Lesson 6: “I Will Tell You in Your Mind and in Your Heart, by the Holy Ghost”
Lessons from the LDS past addressing the same general points as Lesson 6 of this year’s Gospel Doctrine manual. (If you find this at all useful for preparing to teach this lesson, check back toward the end of the week; I may find additional lessons to add in the meantime.)
1947: Melchizedek Priesthood Quorums:
Church History and Modern Revelation, by Joseph Fielding Smith
REVELATION FOR THE CHURCH
1. Hiram Page’s False Revelations. (Section 28) Note 1.
a. Hiram Page’s peepstone.
b. He receives false revelations concerning Zion.
c. Oliver Cowdery deceived.
2. A Revelation from the Lord. Note 2.
a. Concerning Hiram Page’s teachings.
b. Oliver Cowdery to teach by commandment but not to receive revelation or to write by commandment. (verses 3-5.)
c. Oliver Cowdery not to command Joseph Smith, who holds keys of revelation. (verses 3, 7.)
d. Joseph Smith to hold keys of revelation until another is appointed. (verse 7.)
3. The City of Zion. Note 3.
Place for City of Zion not yet revealed, but to be revealed hereafter.
b. Oliver Cowdery appointed to go to the Lamanites.
c. Oliver Cowdery to teach Hiram Page of his errors.
d. Revelation to be given only according to Church covenants. (verses 13-14.)
4. Mrs. Hubble’s Revelations. (section 43) Note 4.
a. Mrs. Hubble deceives some members of the Church.
b. The Elders warned.
c. “A commandment for a law unto the Church.” 9verses 2-6.)
d. None other appointed to receive commandments and revelations except Joseph Smith. (verses 607.)
e. “that you may not be deceived.”
5. “He That Is Ordained of Me Shall Come in at the Gate.” Note 5. (verse 7.)
a. Common consent the law in the Church.
b. Joseph Smith the one appointed to receive revelation.
c. Elders sent out to teach, not to be taught. (verses 15, 16, 28.)
d. The Lord to utter his voice out of heaven, crying repentance. 9verses 17-27.)
e. Satan to be bound during the Millennium. (verses 29-30.)
Doc. Hist. of Church, Vol. 1:109-110.
Doc. Hist. of Church, Vol. 1:115.
D. and C. 28:1, 3, 4.
D. and C. 35:18; 43:4-7.
D. and C. 28:9; 42:9, 35, 62, 67.
D. and C. 28:8, 13, 14, 15; 30:5-6; 32:1-5; Autobiography of P.P. Pratt, chapters 708.
Doc. Hist. of Church, Vol. 1:154.
D. and C. 43:1.
D. and C. 20:63-65; 26:2; 28:13; 38:34; 41:9; 124:144.
1. Hiram Page was born in Vermont in 1800. He joined the Church five days after its organization and was baptized by Oliver cowdery in Seneca Lake. Previously he had become one of the eight Witnesses of the Book of Mormon. Soon after his baptism he obtained a stone by means of which he received certain spurious revelations, at variance with the principles of the Gospel and the revelations received by Joseph Smith. Among other things he claimed to have received a revelation making known the place where the City of Zion would be built. In reading the Book of Mormon (Ether 13) it was discovered that Zion, or the New Jerusalem, was to be built upon this continent. This prediction caused some speculation at that early day and Hiram Page endeavored to settle the question by means of revelation received through his stone. As it was but a few months after the organization of the Church the members had not learned that there was but one appointed of the Lord to receive revelations for the Church, and several others thought that Hiram Page or Oliver Cowdery could receive revelation, just as well as Joseph Smith. Oliver Cowdery and the members of the Whitmer family were deceived by these false declarations of Hiram Page. This caused serious trouble and Oliver Cowdery took the Prophet to task for not accepting what Hiram Page had given. Finally the Prophet persuaded Oliver Cowdery that these things were wrong, and later the whole membership renounced the revelation given through this stone, but this did not come until the Lord had given to the Church the revelation known as section twenty-eight.
2. In this revelation given to correct the false teachings of Hiram Page and to teach Oliver Cowdery the order of the Church, the Lord said that neither Oliver Cowdery nor any other man, except Joseph Smith, should receive revelations for the Church while the Prophet was acting in the office the Lord had given him to hold the keys of revelation and of the mysteries which are sealed. Oliver was told that he was called to teach and expound the revelations and in these things should be heard by the church, but “no one shall be appointed,” the Lord said, “to receive commandments and revelations in this Church except Joseph Smith, Jun., for he receiveth them even as Moses.” Moreover, Oliver Cowdery was not to write by commandment, but by wisdom. He was to be obedient in all things which the Lord should give through Joseph Smith and be to him as Aaron was to Moses in expounding and teaching the revelations. It was very necessary that Oliver Cowdery should receive this admonition, for he was inclined to take issue with the Prophet even in regard to matters of revelation. Much good came out of this unpleasant incident for the members were taught that there was order in the Church and only one appointed to receive commandments and revelations for their guidance and he was the one God had called. The members at that time were largely excusable for falling into this error because they had but recently come into the Church and had to be taught in all things pertaining to the kingdom of God and its government. They did not know that it was wrong for a man other than the Prophet to claim to be the spokesman for the Almighty, and this revelation taught them that confusion would result from such a course, and that Joseph Smith held the keys of revelation until another was appointed to succeed him.
3. The first step taken towards making known where the New Jerusalem should be built was taken in the appointment of Oliver Cowdery in August, 1830, to go to the Lamanites and preach the Gospel. The time had not come in 1830 for the site for this city to be revealed, and in the attempt to make it known Hiram Page had blundered. However, the Lord did say at that time that the city should be on the borders of the Lamanites. In later revelations other brethren, including Parley P. Pratt, Peter Whitmer, Jr., and Ziba Peterson, were appointed to accompany Oliver Cowdery on this mission. (See D. and C., Sections 31 and 33.) Before Oliver Cowdery departed on this mission to the Lamanites, which was understood to be a mission to Western Missouri, he was commanded to wait until after the next conference and in the meantime he was to take Hiram Page, “between him and thee alone and tell him that those things which he hath written from that stone are not of me,” said the Lord, “and that Satan had deceived him.” After the conference he and other brethren were to leave for the border of the Lamanites, where the New Jerusalem, or Zion, would be built.
4. Today the doctrine that revelation for the Church comes only through the one who is duly appointed and who holds the keys of the kingdom, and that there is but one at a time called to that position is well understood by all faithful members of the Church. Each member of the church has the right to receive inspiration and revelation for his or her own guidance, but such revelation is not to be exploited or made common property, but is given for the welfare of the individual who received it. the failure of some members of the Church to understand this truth has led them into serious error and even to the loss of membership in the Church. It is true, also, that such persons have at times deceived some who are also weak in the faith because of their ignorance of the law of the Gospel. When the Lord gave the revelation correcting the error of Hiram Page it should have been sufficient information for the guidance in such matters for the members of the Church for all time, but this did not prove to be the case. A few months later, in February, 1831, a woman by the name of Hubble began to make claims to the reception of revelations through a peepstone in her possession. In this way she deceived some members who had not learned the lesson in the previous August. The Lord, therefore, gave another revelation as a law to the Church in which the Lord stated that Joseph Smith is the only person “appointed unto you to receive commandments and revelations until he be taken, if he abide in me.” There was to be “none else appointed unto this gift.” Even in case that Joseph smith should fail to keep his place and should transgress, yet he should retain the power to appoint another in his stead. this was given as a law that the members might know that they were to “receive not the teachings of any that shall come before you as revelations and commandments; and this I give unto you that you may not be deceived, that you may know that they are not of me.” Earlier the Lord said that Oliver Cowdery should tell Hiram Page that, “behold these things have not been appointed unto him, neither shall anything be appointed unto any of the church contrary to the church covenants, for all things must be done in order, and by common consent in the church by the prayer of faith.” (See Sec. 28:12-13.)
Some of the enemies of the Church try to make a point out of the saying that Joseph Smith was to “appoint another in his stead.” This provision was made at the time this revelation was given so that the Church would know the order even if Joseph Smith should fall. Later, after the Prophet had been tested and proved, the Lord said:
“Thus saith the Lord, verily, verily I say unto you my son, thy sins are forgiven thee, according to thy petition, for thy prayers and the prayers of thy brethren have come up into my ears.
“Therefore, thou art blessed from henceforth that bear the keys of the kingdom given unto you, which kingdom is coming forth for the last time.
“Verily I say unto you, the keys of this kingdom shall never be taken from you, while thou art in the world, neither in the world to come;
“Nevertheless, through you shall the oracles be given to another, yea, even to the church.” (D. and C. 90:1-4.)
Thus, we see, that the Lord placed upon Joseph Smith the keys of this dispensation and said that because of his faithfulness he should hold them throughout all eternity. In Nauvoo a few months before the martyrdom, the Prophet conferred upon the heads of the Twelve Apostles all the keys and authorities which he held, and told them that henceforth they would have to bear off the kingdom, for he would be taken away. (See testimonies of Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Hyde, Wilford Woodruff, and others, in “Origin of the Reorganized Church, and the question of Succession,” also a discussion of the order of Presidency, pp. 59-66, and 82-85.)
5. Let the members of the Church remember that the Lord has said that when a man is called to any position of responsibility and especially to preside over the Church, he will “come in at the gate and be ordained as I have told you before, to teach those revelations which you have received and shall receive through him whom I have appointed.” (D. and C. 43:7.) This counsel and commandment was given that the Saints should know how to be edified and instructed and how to direct the Church in all holiness before the Lord. For many years our communities have been troubled with imposters claiming to be called of God to lead the church as the “one mighty and strong, holding the scepter of power.” Some of these imposters have passed away, but others come, and at times are able to lead away unwise members who lack the understanding and knowledge by which the Church is governed. These revelations given in 1830 and 1831, are for our benefit and guidance in all such matters. The Lord would have us know that he does all things in order, and whenever he calls one to lead the Church that one will come in at the gate and be ordained by those who hold authority. It has been so from the beginning and will continue so to the end.
1949: Doctrine and Covenants Studies, by Bryant S. Hinckley
DISCERNING OF SPIRITS (Section 50)
“During the month of April, I continued to translate the scriptures as time would allow. In May, a number of Elders being present, and not understanding the different spirits abroad in the earth, I inquired and received from the Lord the following: … [The follows Section 50.]” (DHC, Volume I, page 170.) Parley P. Pratt in his autobiography said: “As I went forth among the different branches [in the vicinity of Kirtland] 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 ecstasies, and be drawn into contortions, cramps, 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. All these things were new and strange to me, and had originated in the Church during our absence, and previous to the arrival of President Joseph Smith from New York. 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. After we had joined in prayer in his translating room, he dictated in our presence the following revelation [Section 50].”
“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.” (D&C 50:2.) In this revelation the Lord (1) warns against false spirits, deception, and hypocrisy (1-9); (2) gives instructions on how to discern between false and true spirits (10-36); (3) gives personal direction to some elders (37-46).
In the history of the church, particularly in its early days, hypocrites and deceivers were drawn into the Church and brought with them their abominations and wicked practices. Some of the Saints were deceived by them. This deception and sinister influence had to be rebuked by the Prophet, which is done in this revelation. In all dispensations deceivers have called forth the wrath and indignation of the almighty as almost nothing else has done.
Note this bitter denunciation: “But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.
“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer; therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.
“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.” (Matt. 23:13-15;.)
There will be no hypocrites in heaven. The Lord “in his hot displeasure, and in his fierce anger, in his time, will cut off those wicked, unfaithful, and unjust stewards, and appoint them their portion among hypocrites, and unbelievers.” (D&C 101:90.)
Deceivers, imposters, pretenders, hypocrites, and all who engage in sham and pretense are the enemies of truth; they not only lack honesty, but they are devoid of those primary elements of character – sincerity and genuineness. their influence undermines the very foundation upon which society rests. The Lord can use no such people in building up his Church.
“And that I may visit them in the day of visitation, when I shall unveil the face of my covering, to appoint the portion of the oppressor among hypocrites, where there is gnashing of teeth, if they reject my servants and my testimony which I have revealed unto them.” (D&C 124:8.)
From this group of people come the liars, the betrayers, the traitors, the traduces, character assassins, deceivers, and trouble-makers that receive the contempt of men and the malediction of the almighty who will bring them to judgment. No man has any claim to greatness who is not sincere, genuine, and sound at heart.
The Reward of the Faithful
On the other hand, note what is promised the faithful: “But blessed are they who are faithful and endure, whether in life or in death, for they shall inherit eternal life.” (D&UC 50:5)
Who are classed among the faithful and what may they hope to receive? The reward of those who are true to the faith, who are constant and steadfast in their adherence to the gospel – who are willing to live it, to work for it, to defend it, and if need be, die for it, are promised the greatest gift of God to man – eternal life. this is the highest reward offered to the children of our Father. Its price is obedience to the divine will and word of the Lord. All during is eventful days the Prophet Joseph’s life was in jeopardy. Wicked and conspiring men sought to destroy him, and he came to value the friendship of true and tried friends next to the love of God. Loyalty is one of the highest virtues possessed by man, and our Heavenly Father must have great respect for those who possess it. The humble, faithful men and women who have been steadfast in their devotion to the truth have been the instruments in the hands of the Almighty in conquering the desert, carrying on the missionary work, redeeming their dead, and establishing Zion. “Wherefore, let every man beware lest he do that which is not in truth and righteousness before me.” (D&C 50:9.)
How to Detect False Spirits
In reasoning with the elders, the Lord asks this question, “… unto what were ye ordained?” He then answers it: “To preach my gospel by the Spirit, even the Comforter which was sent forth to teach the truth. … 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 is not of God.” (D&C 50:14, 17, 18.)
Anything that is not in harmony with the spirit of truth is not of God. The Lord makes plain the key: “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 50:23, 24.)
To edify means to build up, to strengthen, to improve or enlighten. So every spiritual manifestation is measured by its influence. If it builds men up, strengthens, inspires and makes them better, it is of God. That is the standard by which to judge. If it does not do this, it is not of him. He that is ordained of God and sent forth, clothed with divine authority and commissioned to do the Lord’s work, has power to discern evil spirits and to overcome them. The Lord emphasizes this fact in verses 31, 32, 33:”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, then you may know that it is not of God. 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 – Not with railing accusation, that ye be not overcome, neither with boasting nor rejoicing, lest you be seized therewith.”
That which is not of God is darkness, and it mattereth not whether it come in the form of religious philosophy or revelation. No revelation from God will fail to edify. All who teach or preach this gospel will do well to ponder with care the lessons taught in this revelation. The truth of heaven can only be taught under the impression and power of the Holy Ghost, and the Lord lays down specifically the conditions under which those who are commissioned to teach and preach must live in order to do their work properly. “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 50:29.)
The Lord said to Parley P. Pratt, J.R. Murdock and the other elders present while Joseph dictated this revelation: “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.” (Verse 36.)
No one can deceive this people nor lead them astray when they are in the line of their duty. The sheep know the voice of the good shepherd and they will not follow a stranger. When an elder speaks the truth, the spirit bears witness; and under this influence he is enlightened and edified, and so are those who listen.
1955: Teachings of the Doctrine and Covenants, by William E. Berrett
HOW TO DISCERN THE THINGS OF GOD
In the spring of 1831, several individuals in and around Kirtland, Ohio, claimed revelations for the guidance of the infant Church. Further, a spiritualist medium came to Kirtland and led some away from the flock. Confusion was the result. In the midst of this confusion of minds, Parley P. Pratt and other elders called on Joseph Smith and inquired of him how members of the Church could distinguish that which was of God from that which was of the Adversary.
This is an ever-recurring problem with some members of the Church, and the history of the Church is replete with attempts of would-be prophets to lead away the Church membership.
The Lord has not left us without guidance in these matters. In answer to the inquiry of Parley P. Pratt and the elders of the above-mentioned occasion, Joseph Smith invited them to join him in prayer, following which he received among other things this counsel of the Lord:
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.
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.
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;
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 ye may understand;
Wherefore I, the Lord, ask you this question, Unto what were ye ordained?
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?
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.
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 some other way, it is not of God.
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 is not of God:
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?
Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together;
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. 
Here we have two important tests: one, the confirmation of the spirit, and two, the pragmatic test of results – that which edifies is of God. “And that which does not edify is not of God, and is darkness.”  The first test is that spoken of by the apostle Peter:
Know this first, that no prophecy of the scriptures is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. 
Hence, the truth could be discerned by the reader only if he possessed the same spirit.
This is also the explanation given by the Prophet Nephi:
Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I say unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do. 
This is also the key given by Moroni:
Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye should remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down unto the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things. 
The Lord recognized that not all have the gift of discernment:
To some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that He was crucified for the sins of the world;
To others it is given to believe on their words, that they also might have eternal life if they continue faithful.
And again, to some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know the diversities of operations, whether they be of God, that the manifestations of the Spirit may be given to every man to profit withal. 
The power of discernment is a special blessing upon the heads of bishops and other leaders so that they may discern false spirits in the wards:
And unto the bishop of the Church, and unto such as God shall appoint and ordain to watch over the Church and to be elders unto the Church, are to have it given unto them to discern all those gifts lest there be any among you professing and yet be not of God. 
1. Light and Darkness
The second test is applicable to all men who will reason one with another. That which is of God is light. It has the clarity given by sunshine. It fits into the pattern of light known before. It is in harmony with all other truth. Further, it is good; it edifies. It is agreeable to the understanding; it brings happiness and peace.
Long ago, the Prophet Mormon stated the principle in these words:
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.
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.
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. 
To many men the things of God are realized only after the test of time has found them good. But, even so, the truth survives. It is the application of this test that preserves the scriptures. It is the test by which books become living or dead volumes with the passage of the years. It is not so readily useful as the discernment of truth by the spirit, but it is, at least, a test that should be applied by all men.
2. the Detection of Spirits
Once a woman claimed a revelation for the guidance of the Church. According to her account, a heavenly being appeared to her and personally gave the alleged instructions. The Prophet Joseph asked her the one question, “What was the color of the angel’s hair?” And when her reply was “Red,” the Prophet remarked: “There are no red-headed angels.” 
This method of discerning a false angel may seem peculiar until we realize that the Prophet had had considerable experience with angels and knew that they came to men clothed in glory. The woman labeled her own vision false by her description of a heavenly visitor without such glory.
The question of the Prophet to her was a trap into which she unwittingly fell. Had she answered that the visitor’s hair was “brown,” or in any way made him appear like unto her neighbor, she would likewise have shown the falsity of her claim.
In a revelation given to Joseph Smith at Nauvoo, Illinois, February 9, 1843, the Lord makes clear, certain characteristics of heavenly messengers whereby the angels of light might be distinguished from the messengers of the adversary:
There are two kinds of beings in heaven – viz., angels who are resurrected personages, having bodies of flesh and bones.
For instance, Jesus said, “Handle me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.”
2nd. The spirits of just men made perfect – they who are not resurrected, but inherit the same glory.
When a messenger comes, saying he has a message from God, offer him your hand, and request him to shake hands with you.
If he be the spirit of a just man made perfect, he will come in his glory; for that is the only way he can appear.
Ask him to shake hands with you, but he will not move, because it is contrary to the order of heaven for a just man to deceive; but he will still deliver his message.
If it be the Devil as an angel of light, when you ask him to shake hands, he will offer you his hand, and you will not feel anything; you may therefore detect him.
These are three grand keys whereby you may know whether any administration is from God. 
 Doc. & Cov. 50:1-3, 10-24
 Ibid., 50:23
 II Peter 1:20-21
 II Nephi 32:3
 Moroni 10:3-5
 Doc. & Cov. 46:13-16
 Ibid., 46:37
 Moroni 7:12-14
 Joseph Smith, History of the Church
 Doc. & Cov. 129:1-9