“All the Light and Truth,” New Era, Jan. 2004, 43
We have a glorious message for the world. 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.
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 believe that God loves all His children, and 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:
Man heard the voice of God.
Angels administered to man.
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 began in the spring of 1820. The person chosen of God to be His prophet was named Joseph Smith Jr. 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. 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.
But in addition, we have another great volume of scripture. 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 new witness for Christ.
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.
Now, incident to these great truths, there are many others. I single out the fact that God has given in this day eternal family units. This is a sample of the doctrines of the Restoration. It means that, in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are married for time and for all eternity. The family unit that commences here will continue in the eternal world. This is the noblest concept that can enter the heart of man.
God 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.
Now I suggest that you ponder in your heart these things. 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.