4. The Restoration
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4. The Restoration, Doctrinal Mastery Core Document (2018)

4. The Restoration

The Gold Plates

4.1. God has restored His gospel in these latter days by reestablishing His truths, priesthood authority, and Church upon the earth. Ancient prophets foretold the latter-day Restoration of the gospel (see Isaiah 29:13–14; Acts 3:19–21).

4.2. The Restoration began in 1820. God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, appeared to Joseph Smith in response to Joseph’s prayer, and They called him to be the Prophet of the Restoration (see Joseph Smith—History 1:15–20).

4.3. God called Joseph Smith to be a latter-day witness of the living Christ. As the Prophet of the Restoration, Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon by the gift and power of God (see D&C 135:3). With the Bible, the Book of Mormon testifies of Jesus Christ and contains the fulness of the gospel (see Ezekiel 37:15–17). The Book of Mormon is also a witness of Joseph Smith’s prophetic calling and the truthfulness of the Restoration.

4.4. As part of the Restoration, God sent angelic messengers to restore the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods. He then directed that His Church be organized anew upon the earth on April 6, 1830. Because it was established by God Himself, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth” (D&C 1:30).

Related references: Amos 3:7; Ephesians 2:19–20; Ephesians 4:11–14; D&C 13:1; D&C 76:22–24; D&C 107:8

Related topics: The Godhead; Prophets and Revelation

Apostasy

4.5. The need for the latter-day Restoration of God’s truths, priesthood authority, and Church arose because of apostasy. Apostasy occurs when one or more individuals turn away from the truths of the gospel.

4.6. Following the Savior’s crucifixion and the deaths of His Apostles, many people turned away from the truths the Savior had established (see 2 Thessalonians 2:1–3). Principles of the gospel and parts of the holy scriptures were corrupted or lost. Unauthorized changes were made in Church organization and priesthood ordinances. Because of this widespread wickedness, the Lord withdrew the authority and keys of the priesthood from the earth. Although there were many good and honest people who worshipped God according to the light they possessed and received answers to their prayers, the world was left without divine revelation through living prophets. This period is known as the Great Apostasy.

4.7. Other periods of general apostasy have occurred throughout the history of the world.

Related topics: Prophets and Revelation; Priesthood and Priesthood Keys; Ordinances and Covenants

Dispensations of the Gospel

4.8. When God’s children have fallen into a state of apostasy, He has lovingly reached out to them by calling prophets and dispensing gospel blessings anew through His prophets to the people. A period of time when the Lord reveals His truths, priesthood authority, and ordinances is called a dispensation. It is a period in which the Lord has at least one authorized servant on the earth who bears the holy priesthood and who has a divine commission to dispense the gospel and to administer its ordinances.

4.9. Dispensations are identified with Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus Christ, and others. The latter-day Restoration of the gospel, which the Lord began through the Prophet Joseph Smith, is part of this pattern of dispensations.

4.10. In every dispensation, the Lord and His prophets have sought to establish Zion. Zion refers to the Lord’s covenant people who are pure in heart, united in righteousness, and care for one another (see Moses 7:18). Zion also refers to a place where the pure in heart live.

4.11. Today we are living in the final dispensation—the dispensation of the fulness of times. It is the only dispensation that will not end in apostasy. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will eventually fill the whole earth and stand forever (see Daniel 2:44).

Related topics: Prophets and Revelation; Priesthood and Priesthood Keys; Ordinances and Covenants