The instructions given by Joseph Smith Jr., as recorded by William Clayton February 9, 1843, are mirrored by the June 27, 1839 entry in Wilford Woodruff’s journals. Both are presented here. Differences between the Latter-day Saints’ version and the original text are in italics. Male gender has been changed to ambiguous gender, as these keys may be used by men or women, and angels and devils may also be men or women.
Wilford Woodruff June 27, 1839
1 I spent the day in Commerce in Council with the Presidency and Twelve. We had an interesting day; Joseph Smith Jr. was president of the Council.
2 Brother Orson Hide was restored to the Church and the quorum of the Twelve in full fellowship by a full vote of the Council, after making an humble confession and acknowledgement of his sins and so forth.
3 ¶ Among the vast number of the Keys of the Kingdom of God, Joseph Smith Jr. presented the following one to the Twelve for there benefit in there experience and travels in the flesh, which is as follows:
4 ¶ “In order to detect the devil when he transforms himself nigh unto an angel of light:
5 “When an angel of God appears unto man face to face in personage, and reaches out his hand unto the man and he takes hold of the angels hand, and feels a substance the same as one man would in shaking hands with another, he may then know that it is an angel of God, and he should place all Confidence in him.”
6 “Such personages or angels are Saints with there resurrected bodies.”
7 “But if a personage appears unto man and offers him his hand, and the man takes hold of it, and he feels nothing or does not sense any substance, he may know it is the devil,”
8 ¶ “Or when a Saint whose body is not resurrected appears unto man in the flesh he will not offer him his hand, for this is against the Law given him;
9 “And in keeping in mind these things, we may detect the devil that he deceived us not.”
William Clayton February 9, 1843
10 ¶ Thursday 9PM; At Joseph Smith Jr.’s with Orson Hyde, Parley P. Pratt, and others; President Joseph Smith Jr. related some of his history, and gave us a key whereby we might know whether any administration was from God.
11 ¶ “There are two kinds of beings in heaven, the first are angels who are resurrected personages having bodies of flesh and bones,
12 “For instances, Jesus said: ‘handle me and see for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see me have.’”
13 ¶ “The second: The spirits of just men made perfect, they who are not resurrected, but inherit the same glory.”
14 “When a messenger comes saying they have a message from God, offer them your hand and request them to shake hands with you.”
15 “If they be an angel, they will do so, and you will feel their hand.”
16 “If they be the spirit of a just man or woman made perfect, they will come in their glory, for that is the only way they can appear.”
17 “Ask them to shake hands with you, but they 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.
18 ¶ “If it be a devil as an angel of light, when you ask them to shake hands they will offer you their hand, and you will not feel any thing; you may there fore detect them.”
19 “These are the three grand keys whereby you may know whether any administration is from God.”
20 ¶ President Joseph Smith Jr. also shewed from various circumstances that any man who would seek after a sign was an adulterer, and mentioned several instances wherein he had detected men.