“Lesson 28 Class Preparation Material: The Lord Is Hastening His Work,” Foundations of the Restoration Teacher Material (2019)
“Lesson 28 Class Preparation Material,” Foundations of the Restoration Teacher Material
On Tuesday, April 6, 1830, about 50 people crowded in and around Peter Whitmer’s log home in Fayette, New York. There, Joseph Smith, under the direction of Jesus Christ, organized the Lord’s Church again upon the earth. Although the Church started small, its destiny is to fill the whole earth.
In Old Testament times, the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar had a dream where he saw a “stone [that] was cut out of the mountain without hands” (Daniel 2:45). This stone increased in size until it “became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth” (Daniel 2:35). In his interpretation of the king’s dream, the prophet Daniel foretold that in the latter days, God would set up a kingdom that would never be destroyed but would stand forever (see Daniel 2:28, 44).
The Lord reiterated Daniel’s prophecy to the Prophet Joseph Smith 18 months after the organization of the Church, at a time when there were only about 600 Latter-day Saints on the earth. In Doctrine and Covenants 65:2 we read: “The keys of the kingdom of God are committed unto man on the earth, and from thence shall the gospel roll forth unto the ends of the earth, as the stone which is cut out of the mountain without hands shall roll forth, until it has filled the whole earth.”
Two and a half years later, in April 1834, the Prophet Joseph Smith made a remarkable prophecy about the destiny of the Church to a group of priesthood holders in Kirtland, Ohio.
President Wilford Woodruff, who was at the meeting, recalled:
The Prophet called on all who held the Priesthood to gather into the little log school house they had there. It was a small house, perhaps 14 feet square. But it held the whole of the Priesthood of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who were then in the town of Kirtland. … The Prophet said, “Brethren, … I want to say to you before the Lord, that you know no more concerning the destinies of this Church and kingdom than a babe upon its mother’s lap. You don’t comprehend it.” I was rather surprised. He said, “It is only a little handful of Priesthood you see here tonight, but this Church will fill North and South America—it will fill the world.” (Wilford Woodruff, in Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith , 137)
Watch the video “The Gospel Shall Roll Forth” (2:47), and ponder how the growth of the restored Church is evidence of Heavenly Father’s desire to bless all the world.
Over 160 years later, after the Church had grown to more than 11 million members and spread over much of the world, President Gordon B. Hinckley taught:
My brethren and sisters, do you realize what we have? Do you recognize our place in the great drama of human history? This is the focal point of all that has gone before. This is the season of restitution. These are the days of restoration. … This is the summation of all of the centuries of time since the birth of Christ to this present and wonderful day. (Gordon B. Hinckley, “At the Summit of the Ages,” Ensign, Nov. 1999, 74)
And less than a decade later, President Hinckley proclaimed:
A great miracle is taking place right before our eyes. …
And this is only the beginning. This work will continue to grow and prosper and move across the earth. (Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Stone Cut Out of the Mountain,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2007, 83–84)
Speaking of the accelerated growth and influence of the Lord’s Church, President Thomas S. Monson taught:
The reason the Church is growing today is that the Lord indicated it would. In the Doctrine and Covenants, He said, “Behold, I will hasten my work in its time” [Doctrine and Covenants 88:73].
We, as spirit children of our Heavenly Father, were sent to earth at this time that we might participate in hastening this great work. (Thomas S. Monson, “Hastening the Work,” Ensign, June 2014, 4)
The following examples are a few of the ways the Lord and His servants have invited you to participate in the hastening of the work of salvation. Consider marking any of the principles or ideas that stand out to you, and be ready to share your thoughts about them in class.
Speaking of this gathering, President Russell M. Nelson taught:
My dear young brothers and sisters, these surely are the latter days, and the Lord is hastening His work to gather Israel. That gathering is the most important thing taking place on earth today. Nothing else compares in magnitude, nothing else compares in importance, nothing else compares in majesty. …
When we speak of the gathering, we are simply saying this fundamental truth: every one of our Heavenly Father’s children, on both sides of the veil, deserves to hear the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. They decide for themselves if they want to know more. (Russell M. Nelson, “Hope of Israel” [worldwide youth devotional, June 3, 2018], supplement to the Ensign and New Era, 8, ChurchofJesusChrist.org; italics in original)
Think about the teaching in this verse as you reflect on this invitation by Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles encouraging us to help in the work of salvation in new ways:
The Lord is hastening His work, and it is no coincidence that … powerful communication innovations and inventions are occurring in the dispensation of the fulness of times. Social media channels are global tools that can personally and positively impact large numbers of individuals and families. And I believe the time has come for us as disciples of Christ to use these inspired tools appropriately and more effectively to testify of God the Eternal Father, His plan of happiness for His children, and His Son, Jesus Christ, as the Savior of the world; to proclaim the reality of the Restoration of the gospel in the latter days; and to accomplish the Lord’s work. (David A. Bednar, “To Sweep the Earth as with a Flood” [Brigham Young University Education Week devotional, Aug. 19, 2014], ChurchofJesusChrist.org)
During His mortal ministry the Savior taught His disciples that He “came not to be ministered unto, but to minister” (Matthew 20:28). He ministered as He “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38). In a revelation to Joseph Smith, the Lord invited Frederick G. Williams to minister to others.
We have similarly been called to minister. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught:
I bear my own witness that these adjustments [from home and visiting teaching to ministering] are … yet more evidence that the Lord is hastening His work in its time. …
… May we labor side by side with the Lord of the vineyard [see Jacob 5:70–72], giving the God and Father of us all a helping hand with His staggering task of answering prayers, providing comfort, drying tears, and strengthening feeble knees [see Doctrine and Covenants 81:5]. If we will do that, we will be more like the true disciples of Christ we are meant to be. (Jeffrey R. Holland, “Be with and Strengthen Them,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2018, 101, 103)
Sister Linda K. Burton, former Relief Society General President, also shared:
Imagine with me some of the possible spiritual “help wanted” signs related to the work of salvation:
Help wanted: parents to bring up their children in light and truth
Help wanted: daughters and sons, sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles, cousins, grandparents, and true friends to serve as mentors and offer helping hands along the covenant path
Help wanted: those who listen to the promptings of the Holy Ghost and act on impressions received
Help wanted: those who live the gospel daily in small and simple ways
Help wanted: family history and temple workers to link families eternally
Help wanted: missionaries and members to spread the “good news”—the gospel of Jesus Christ
Help wanted: rescuers to find those who have lost their way
Help wanted: covenant keepers to stand firm for truth and right
Help wanted: true disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ …
… It does not matter if we are not yet perfect and complete. … We can walk as one, as disciples, as servants with willing hearts and hands to hasten the work of salvation. As we do so, we will become like the Savior. (Linda K. Burton, “Wanted: Hands and Hearts to Hasten the Work,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 124)
President M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught the following about the power of honoring the Sabbath day:
Of all of the organizational or policy changes or doctrinal training that could hasten the work of salvation at this time, we have determined that elevating the spirit and power of the Sabbath day would be most influential in drawing members and families closer to the Lord Jesus Christ. (M. Russell Ballard, in Chad H. Webb, “The Sabbath Day” [Seminaries and Institutes training satellite broadcast, Aug. 4, 2015], ChurchofJesusChrist.org)