Witch of Endor
Samuel was called and chosen as the prophet. He also was appointed to the political office of a Judge in Israel—The equivalent of a king, prime minister, or president of a nation today. His sons also served in government offices.
His sons abused the power, however, so the tribes of Israel wanted a king to be like other nations. The Lord repeatedly told them through Samuel what would happen, but the people persisted. To teach them a lesson, the Lord than said to go ahead.
The first king chosen was Saul, who at first was a good king. But pride, Jealousy and impatience overtook him, and he lost his right for his posterity to succeed to the kingship. He remained King until his death in battle.
One of the laws in ancient Israel according to the Law of Moses was not to seek out a witch, or a person with a familiar spirit. Saul was entering a period of pride and desperation. Samuel had quit counseling him and then had passed away. Saul had been righteous enough and sensitive enough to receive the Lord's guidance on his own, but the Lord no longer spoke to him.
So in disguise Saul went to a witch in Endor to get revelation:
- Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and enquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at En-dor (1 Sam. 28: 7).
The witch brought up the spirit of "Samuel" and he said Saul displeased God and would die by the sword the following day, along with his sons. The prophecy was fulfilled.
Mark E. Peterson, in his book The Three Kings, said if such people never told the truth why consult them. And Counselor to Joseph F. SMith Charles W. Penrose said it was not Samuel, but simply what the witch was inspired to report.
The Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible also says the report was from the witch, and that Samuel was not really brought forth. Righteous spirits are not at the beck and call of mediums.