There is some pretty strange stuff in the Doctrine and Covenants. If you look at all the things God needed to tell mankind, God seems to suffer from ADHD when He was talking with Joseph Smith. So many important things He could have conveyed to Joseph, like maybe boiling your water before drinking it, particularly in the late summer when wells seem to go stagnate? Or maybe laying out a clear line of succession; since God knew when Joseph was going to die, it would have been easy a few month before to wake him up in the middles of the night, and tell him who should be the next leader of the church.

D&C 129 seems to be a good example of God being distracted, and going off on a tangent. It is short, so I’ll post all of it below

Instructions given by Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Nauvoo, Illinois, February 9, 1843, making known three grand keys by which the correct nature of ministering angels and spirits may be distinguished.

There are two kinds of beings in heaven, namely: 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.

Secondly: 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 an angel he will do so, and you will feel his hand.

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 deceived; 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.

D&C 129

To summarize, when a heavenly being show up and tells you she he has a a message for you, ask to shake his hand. No mention is made if this is a special handshake, or just a normal one, so feel free to use any fancy ones you may have learned someplace. If they offer you their hand and you feel it, that is good, you better listen to what they have to say. If they offer their hand and you feel nothing, “danger Will Robinson, danger!” You need to run!

Lastly, if they refuse to shake your hand, and you are quite sure you showered that morning, you can be assured this is a true messenger from God. Go ahead and listen to him, but maybe don’t put as much weight on it as the one who you could feel their hand.

As a kid reading this, I thought it was cool, and couldn’t wait to try it out the next time an angel showed up. I’m still waiting.

This section raises so many questions! What if the devil, who is not known to follow the rules, refuses to shake your hand? He must have read D&C 129 by now. He knows the grand keys. How hard would it be to just stand there? Also, was this something that was so common in Joseph Smith’s time that God needed to reveal this to Joseph, and it needed to be canonized in Scripture? Was there angels showing up weekly to the members, and they needed this information? How often was this used?

Is it used today? Do you know anybody that has ever used this? Does the Q15 practice this on each other while they are standing around waiting for their weekly meeting to start in the temple? As I have recounted here before, I was present in a regional Priesthood leadership meeting when Elder Packard told us that he had NEVER seen a heavenly being, or even heard an audible voice. He just got a feeling on which way he should go. The point he was making is that we as leaders do not need to be calling Slat Lake all the time, just go with your spiritual promptings (gut). I don’t think he ever used it.

Have any of you readers had the opportunity to use this? If its not too secret sacred, please share in the comments.

Image by Walter Bichler from Pixabay