Testing the Spirits
Not all “spiritual experiences” can be trusted to have come from God. True spirits do the following: testify of Christ; lead to repentance; are consistent with existing scripture; edify and enlighten the mind; are understandable and do not cause confusion; cause light to grow within; turn one toward Christ, not men; never cause pride; make one a better servant; increase one’s love of his fellow man; clothe one with charity for the failings of others; conform to the true whisperings of the holy ghost that had been previously received; leave one humble and grateful for God’s condescension; make one want to bring others to the light; are grounded in love toward God and all mankind; and lead one to rejoice. On the other hand, false spirits will: deny Christ; cause pride; make one believe he is better than others because of the experience; contradict the scriptures; appeal to carnality and self-indulgence; cause confusion; lead to ambition to control others; make one intolerant of others’ failings; seek self-fulfillment rather than service; appeal to one’s vanity and assure him that he is a great person; bring darkness; repulse the holy ghost; prevent one from repenting and forsaking sins; interfere with serving others; and focus on oneself rather than the needs of others. “Do not think all spiritual experiences can be trusted. There is no difference between the activities of deceiving spirits today and those in Kirtland, as well as those in the New Testament times. If you follow the Lord you must still test the spirits and only follow those which point to Christ (1 John 1:18). Even Joseph Smith had to ask God about some of the phenomena going on in Kirtland before he knew which were of God and which were deceiving.”1 There are many unclean spirits who will deceive mankind. Unless one is anchored in what is taught in the scriptures and requires all truth to measure up to that, he or she can be deceived. That is as true now as then. Some people are so thrilled by having any spiritual experience that they accept anything. Lying spirits appeal to one’s pride and vanity. God will chasten and require one to be meek and serve both Him and one’s fellow man. Lying spirits will tell a man that he is some great and mighty person. God will remind him that only He is strong, but He uses the weak things of this world to accomplish His work. No one can take credit but Him for whatever is accomplished.2
1 “False Spirits,” Jan. 19, 2012, blog post.
2 “Today and Yesterday,” July 21, 2014, blog post.