Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Joe Smith & the Devil

I recently listened to a talk by Terryl Givens called “Lightning Out of Heaven”: Joseph Smith and the Forging of Community . You can read it at that link or search the BYU Talk Database to listen to it. I want to share this quote from the talk that speaks about something that Parley P. Pratt wrote.

“In 1844 Parley P. Pratt published a little story in the New York Herald entitled ‘Joe Smith and the Devil.’ In this story the devil happens upon Joseph, and they have a pleasant conversation. The devil is insisting to the Prophet that he, the devil, is happy to support ‘all creeds, systems, and forms of Christianity, of whatever name or nature; so long as they leave out that abominable doctrine, which caused me so much trouble in former times, and which, after slumbering for ages, you have again revived; I mean the doctrine of . . .'

"And guess what that doctrine was. What do you think Parley P. Pratt and (I think we can safely assume) Joseph Smith himself believed was the single most important doctrine he restored—one to make the devil himself quake in the knowledge that his kingdom was in jeopardy of total collapse?”



I am pausing Brother Givens talk here to give you a second to think about it, like I was when I was listening. What do you think? The priesthood is the first principle that came to my mind, followed by several others. Let’s see if you thought of the same thing that Parley P. Pratt wrote.

“That principle, Pratt wrote, was this: ‘You have again revived [and this is the devil speaking here] the doctrine of direct communion with God, by new revelation.’ (Parley P. Pratt, “Joe Smith and the Devil: A Dialogue,” New York Herald, 25 August 1844, 1.)”

Whether personal revelation and revelation to the prophets came to your mind or not, you probably will agree that it is pretty unique to our religion and fundamental to be sure. I have been teaching my Sunday school youth about Joseph Smith and the first vision and how to gain a personal testimony of it. How sad it is that he was mocked and persecuted at a young age for saying that he saw God by people who believe in the Bible and believe that God used to talk to prophets. I am so grateful to know that He has does speak to His servants on the earth and that we can know His will by listening to our prophet. I could definitely go on for a long time about how awesome it is to be able to receive personal revelation about our own lives and our families directly from our Heavenly Father who loves us so much and doesn’t just drop us here on earth with no directions or maps. No wonder Satan does not want people to know that Heavenly Father speaks to a prophet and can give us direction through the Holy Ghost. What could possibly be more powerful?

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing this. What a powerful reminder!

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  2. We have knowledge of things that so many people don't and it is so easy to forget how blessed we are to have such knowledge...and of course blessed to be able to hear and believe revelation.

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  3. Thank you so much for the comments that you left on my blog and thank you so much for sharing this with us as a fresh reminder that personal revelation as well as revelation through our modern day Prophets is just as real today as it was in Old Testament times. It never ceases to amaze me of the number of good "Christian" people who feel or believe that once the Bible was written, there was no further revelation given. Nothing could be further from the truth. I often tell people that God at no time stop speaking to man, the fact of the matter is that some men stop listening to God.

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