Satan sought to overthrow the elders through deceit

In 1831, so-called spiritual phenomena were taking place among Church members, some of whom claimed to be receiving visions and revelations. In his autobiography Parley P. Pratt recorded:

"As I went forth among the different branches [near KirtlandT, 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.T"Of this section, Sidney B. Sperry wrote In Doctrine and Covenants Compendium: "The Lord tells the brethren that there are many false spirits which have gone abroad in the earth and which are deceiving the world. He specifically points out that Satan has sought to deceive the Elders in order that he might overthrow them. The Lord affirms that He has looked upon the brethren and has seen the abominations in the Church which professes His name. Doubtless He has reference to the abominations such as are explained in the words of Elder Parley P. Pratt. On the other hand, the Lord blesses those who are faithful and endure, whether in life or death, for they shall inherit eternal life."

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