“Why did Heavenly Father let the Great Apostasy happen?” New Era, December 2017
Apostasy means to turn away from the Lord and His gospel. Throughout history there have been many times when more people chose wickedness than righteousness. When this happens, people often live without prophets or priesthood authority for a time. The Great Apostasy happened after people rejected and tried to change the pure truths and organization of the Church established by the Savior.
Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has explained: “Our Heavenly Father loves all of His children, and He wants them all to have the blessings of the gospel in their lives. Spiritual light is not lost because God turns His back on His children. Rather, spiritual darkness results when His children turn their collective backs on Him. It is a natural consequence of bad choices made by individuals, communities, countries, and entire civilizations. …
“In every dispensation, God’s loving desire to bless His children is manifest in the miraculous restoration of the gospel truth to the earth through living prophets. The Restoration of the gospel through the Prophet Joseph Smith in the early 1800s is only the most recent example” (Apr. 2009 general conference).