We often forget that Hiram Page was one of the eight witnesses of the Golden Plates. Hiram is best remembered for his peep stone and the revelations he was receiving in 1830, a short time after becoming a witness.
I had forgotten that Oliver Cowdery along with David Whitmer and his family, initially believed in Hiram Page’s revelations. Can you imagine how difficult this must have been for the young prophet Joseph? Here were several men who were supposed to be sober and firm minded, who were not only witnesses of the Golden Plates, but some of whom had also beheld an angel of God, AND YET EVEN THEY COULD NOT DISCERN that Page’s experiences were not from God.
What should WE learn from this?
Here is part of the testimony of the Three Witnesses:
And we declare with words of soberness that an angel of God came down from Heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates, and the engravings thereon; and we know that it is by the grace of God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ that we beheld and bear record that these things are true; and it is marvelous in our eyes.
It doesn’t get much stronger than this in terms of witnesses.
Contrast this true witness with the account of Page’s deception summarized on Wikipedia:
While Page was living with the Whitmers in Fayette, New York, Smith arrived in August 1830 to discover Page using a “seerstone” to receive revelations for the church. The only available detail about the stone was that it was black. The revelations were regarding the organization and location of Zion. Cowdery and the Whitmer family believed the revelations Page had received were true. In response, Joseph Smith, the first president of the church, received a revelation during the conference in September of that year to have Cowdery go to Page and convince him that his revelations were of the devil (Doctrine and Covenants, Section 28:11). At the conference there was considerable discussion on the topic. Page agreed to discard the stone and the revelations he received and join in following Smith as the sole revelator for the church. The members present confirmed this unanimously with a vote. Later, the stone was ground to powder and the revelations purportedly received through it were burned.
In dealing with this matter the Lord tells Joseph:
And again, you shall take your brother Hiram Page, between him and you alone, and tell him that those things which he has written from that stone are not of me, and that Satan deceives him, for behold, those things have not been appointed unto him, neither shall anything be appointed unto any of this church, contrary to the church covenants, for all things must be done in order and by common consent in the church, by the prayer of faith. And you shall settle all these things according to the covenants of the church, before you shall take your journey among the Lamanites.
Joseph’s ability to discern and get revelations from the True Source, restored peace to the new Church. But, not for long. Page and the Whitmers and eventually Cowdery and many others would turn on Joseph and leave the Church or be excommunicated. Page was later ordained a high priest into the Whitmerite Church of Christ in 1847. He was killed when his wagon tipped over on him years later. Page never denied his witness of the Book of Mormon.
I find it interesting that Hiram Page was not a fraud per se. He was simply deceived. Somehow he obtained a stone, much like Joseph’s, that he was able to receive revelations from. Hiram Page was passionate about knowing where Zion would be and in his zeal, he seemed to be trying to imitate the Lord’s servant Joseph. Hiram knocked and someone answered. “What is wanted?” “Who are you?” “I am the god of this world…” Make no mistake — this stone worked! Hiram was absolutely receiving revelations! Just not from God.
I can scarcely blame Hiram and those who believed him. Would I do any better? Do I do any better? The adversary so often mimics the truth in a way that even the very elect are deceived.
Speaking of the Lord’s elect, look at Mary Magdelene. She was possessed by devils before her Lord healed her. We don’t know the backstory as to how she became filled with devils nor do we know what it may have looked like. None of that is really important.
Being under the influence of the adversary in this world is not something to be ashamed of. It happens to all of us I believe, at some point, in some way. But, it is essential that those demons be cast out. That we discern them as false and want them to be cast out. Their possession of our house prevents us from entering into His presence.
The Lord’s True Messengers will do much more than just receive a few so called revelations. They will do more than produce a few signs–a peep stone, a staff, a book, a blog, a sword and some “plates.” If you want polaroids of “angels” there will be many who shall come with such signs who will teach the philosophies of men mingled with scripture.
But if you wish to discern, true messengers will speak with the tongue of Angels and their words, once feasted upon, will produce in you, a change of heart where you lose your desire and disposition to do evil. If we stay on this course, those same angels whose message we accepted through true messengers, will appear to us and we shall give unto them the signs and tokens (Try the Spirits) and we shall hopefully pass by them successfully into the presence of the Lord.
Sadly discernment is a scarce commodity in a world so filled with darkness and there are many who think they do the Lord’s work, who are employed by the devil.
Maurico Berger, whose name ironically means “Dark Shepherd,” is just another deceived servant of the god of this world. There are many others just like him who will continue to lead souls away from the truth using counterfeit tactics that mimic and mock God.