Doctrine and Covenants 129
1 There are two kinds of beings in heaven, namely: Angels, who are resurrected personages, having bodies of flesh and bones—
2 For instance, Jesus said: Handle me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.
3 Secondly: the spirits of just men made perfect, they who are not resurrected, but inherit the same glory.
4 When a messenger comes saying he has a message from God, offer him your hand and request him to shake hands with you.
5 If he be an angel he will do so, and you will feel his hand.
6 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—
7 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 deceive; but he will still deliver his message.
8 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.
9 These are three grand keys whereby you may know whether any administration is from God.
To me, this passage is evidence of only one thing. Well, actually two things. First, Joseph Smith apparently did a lot of drugs. Secondly: the devil, the father of lies, the author of sin and master of deceit... is the stupidest con man ever. According to this passage, the reason "a just man" won't offer to shake hands is because he is unable to deceive. And the devil, because he is trying to deceive you as to his ability to shake your hand, will offer his hand but you won't feel it.
Now, I don't claim to be a genius, or of any special intelligence whatsoever. But it occurs to me that this may not be the devil's most effective method of deceiving you. Specifically, why wouldn't he just pretend to be "a just man" and tell you he can't shake your hand? Or is the devil unaware of this little loophole in the order of heaven?
Joseph Smith really enjoyed making up stuff like this to keep people's attention. It works as long as no one thinks too hard about it. I'm reminded of Stan's exclamation in the South Park episode All About the Mormons: "Mormons actually know this story, and they still believe Joseph Smith was a prophet?" Yep, they do. But I think these three keys must be a little too grand for my limited earthly comprehension.