“The Gospel of Jesus Christ Was Restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith,” Ensign, Dec. 2012, 8–9
After the Crucifixion of the Savior and the death of His Apostles, people changed some of the doctrines and ordinances of the gospel. Even though many good people believed in Jesus Christ and tried to understand and teach His gospel, the fulness of truth was no longer available. The result was varying stages of apostasy among the surviving Christians. While they had many truths, none of them had the fulness of Christ’s doctrines, ordinances, or priesthood.
Our Heavenly Father knew that this gradual loss of truth would occur, so He preserved the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ in an ancient volume of scripture comparable to the Bible. In the early 1800s, a heavenly messenger named Moroni directed Joseph Smith to where this holy scripture had lain hidden for centuries. Written on golden plates, this record contained the writings of prophets telling of God’s dealings with some of the ancient inhabitants of the Americas. The Prophet Joseph Smith translated the writings on these plates by the gift and power of God. This record is the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.
The process of translating the Book of Mormon provided Joseph Smith with an education in God’s doctrines—the Spirit was his teacher, and the Book of Mormon was his text. When Joseph Smith had a question, he went to God in prayer and God revealed the answer to him. This process taught Joseph Smith, an unlearned young man, essential truths that were vital for his call as the Prophet of the Restoration.
“I had actually seen a light, and in the midst of that light I saw two Personages, and they did in reality speak to me; and though I was hated and persecuted for saying that I had seen a vision, yet it was true; … I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it.”1
“By the power of God I translated the Book of Mormon from hieroglyphics, the knowledge of which was lost to the world, in which wonderful event I stood alone, an unlearned youth, to combat the worldly wisdom and multiplied ignorance of eighteen centuries, with a new revelation.”2
“I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.”3
“I … hold the keys of the last kingdom, in which is the dispensation of the fullness of all things spoken by the mouths of all the holy Prophets since the world began, under the sealing power of the Melchizedek Priesthood.”4 (See D&C 27:12–13.)
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was founded upon direct revelation, as the true Church of God has ever been, … and through the will and blessings of God, I have been an instrument in His hands, thus far, to move forward the cause of Zion.”5
“[The Book of Mormon] tells us that our Savior made His appearance upon this continent [the Americas] after His resurrection; that He planted the Gospel here in all its fulness, and richness, and power, and blessing.”6