“The Gospel Restored,” New Era, Dec. 1976, 4
We have a glorious message for the world. It is the most wondrous proclamation of the last 2,000 years. It compares with the message of Peter, James, and John of 2,000 years ago. They went forth to proclaim that Jesus had risen from the dead. They testified that the resurrection was a reality.
We come in this day with a proclamation of equal proportions. We announce boldly that the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ has been restored in our day. We say that the heavens have been opened. We say that revelation is coming anew. We say that God speaks today as he spoke anciently. We say that every gift and power and grace ever had by the ancient saints has been restored. There is no proclamation like this in all the world.
We need some explanations and definitions. What is the gospel? The gospel is the plan of salvation. It is all of the laws and ordinances needed to save and exalt man. It is the system that enables us to take the souls that we possess and qualify them to go where God and Christ are.
We worship a God who is no respecter of persons. We believe that God loves all his children, that he has offered or will offer to all of them his saving truths. Whenever he offers these saving truths to men, it is called a dispensation of the gospel. This means that he reveals the gospel anew from heaven to men on earth.
The plan of salvation was first revealed in Adam’s day. It has been revealed in various dispensations since that time. When it was first revealed, it was done in three ways:
1. Man heard the voice of God.
2. Angels administered to man.
3. The gift of the Holy Ghost was poured out upon man.
By these means, men learned what they must do to be saved. To be saved is to return to the presence of God our Father. Those who are saved have eternal peace and rest and joy in his kingdom. He has followed this pattern in all the succeeding dispensations. The dispensation in which we live is named the dispensation of the fulness of times. This means that all the light and truth and knowledge of the past is being funneled into this dispensation.
We would draw a picture in this way. Every dispensation of the past is like a great river. The present dispensation is like a great ocean. All of the rivers of the past flow into the ocean of the present. We have received again every key and power and right that the ancient saints had. Once again the voice of God has been heard. Once again angels have ministered from his presence. Once again the Church and kingdom of God has been set up.
All of these wondrous things were predicted by the prophets of old. Their occurrence in our day began in the spring of 1820. The person chosen of God to be his prophet was named Joseph Smith. This young man desired to know which of all the churches was right. He poured out his soul to God in humble prayer. The hour had then come for the opening of the new dispensation. The veil was rent. The heavens were opened. Messengers from eternity appeared. The young man was told that if he were true and faithful, he would be the instrument in the hands of the Lord for restoring again the fulness of the everlasting gospel. He was true to the trust given him.
In process of time, line upon line, the gospel was restored. The Lord had to restore the knowledge and doctrines that the ancient saints had. In large measure, he did this by giving a new volume of scripture. We believe the Bible to be the word of God. We accept it fully and completely. We study it and try to live in harmony with its teachings. The Bible is the history of God’s dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the old Palestinian world. We have the Bible the same as all the Christian world has.
But in addition, we have another great volume of scripture. This volume is named the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is a history of God’s dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas. In it is recorded the plan of salvation. It tells what men have to do to be saved. It is in perfect and complete harmony with the Bible. It expands and clarifies many doctrines. It is a volume of holy scripture. It was given to men in our day by the ministering of angels. It is now published in many languages. It bears witness of the Lord, Jesus Christ. It is a new witness for Christ. It teaches the doctrines of Christ. We rejoice in the additional revelation we have received.
As part of the great restoration the Lord sent many angels to minister to men. These angels gave priesthood and keys. Revelations were received. Arrangement was made to set up again the same organization had by the primitive saints. The name of that organization is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We hold the holy priesthood. Apostles and prophets have been called again upon earth. And we come to announce what men must do to be saved.
There are two great truths that men must believe to gain salvation. The first great truth is that Jesus Christ is the son of the living God, that he was crucified for the sins of the world, that he ransoms all men from the temporal and spiritual death brought into the world by the fall of Adam, that salvation is in Christ. We reverence him as the Son of God. We bear witness of his holy name.
The second great truth that men must believe is this: God has in these last days restored the fulness of his everlasting gospel; he has called prophets and legal administrators again; he has set up his earthly kingdom; once again he has given the power to bind on earth and seal in heaven; once again there are legal administrators; once again the power is here to baptize so that it will be binding on earth and in heaven.
Now incident to these great truths, there are many others. Let me single out one only. I single out the fact that God has given in this day eternal family units. Just as the ancient saints had power to create eternal family units for themselves, so do we. This is a sample of the doctrines of the restoration. It means that in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have a peculiar system of matrimony. It means that we are married for time and for all eternity. It means that we continue as husband and wife in the life to come. It means that the family unit that commences here will continue in the eternal world. This is the noblest concept that can enter the heart of man. You ponder all things that you can think of in your heart. You cannot come up with a greater concept than this—that a man and a woman can go on everlastingly as husband and wife; that the family unit with all its felicity and joy and love continues in eternity.
Now we say to all the world: keep all the truth and all the good that you have. Do not abandon any sound or proper principle. Do not forsake any standard of the past that is good, righteous, and true. Every truth in every church in all the world we believe. But then we say this to all men: come and take the added light and truth that God has restored in our day. The more truth we have, the greater our joy here and now. The more truth we receive, the greater our reward in eternity. This is our invitation to men of goodwill everywhere. We bear testimony that the things of which I speak are true.
Now God is no respecter of persons. He has revealed to me by the power of the Holy Ghost that there has been a glorious and wondrous Restoration in our day. I am a witness of that fact. I can assert it with absolute certainty. But any living soul who will obey the same law will come to know in his heart the same thing that I know in my heart. The way God speaks is by the pouring out of the gift of the Holy Ghost. Any man who obeys the law will receive the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
In view of the wondrous import of this glorious message, we have no hesitancy in inviting all men everywhere to investigate. We promise you that if you do so in sincerity and in faith, you will come to know as we know. The Holy Spirit of God will burn in your bosom. And you will know added truths that are not had anywhere else in the world.
Now I suggest that you ponder in your heart the things I am saying. See if you can figure out a message that in any way compares to the glorious proclamation we are making. We are sober people. We are not peculiar or freakish. Our testimony is sure and certain. We invite investigation. We invite all men everywhere to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. We invite them to ponder its wondrous doctrine in their heart. We ask them to ask God if it be true. And we say to you that it is true. We testify that God has spoken again. We testify that there has been a glorious, wondrous restoration.
God grant that the light of investigation and truth may be in the hearts of all men everywhere. Those who receive the truth will have joy in this life. They will be inheritors of eternal life in the world to come.