What, Why, and How: A Breakdown of the Restoration

“What, Why, and How: A Breakdown of the Restoration,” New Era, June 2018

What, Why, and How: A Breakdown of the Restoration

To teach the gospel, you’ll need to be able to explain what apostasy, dispensations, and the Restoration are. This chart can help.

Liahona Magazine, 2018/04 Apr
Liahona Magazine, 2018/04 Apr

Say you’re on a weeklong trip to the beach with your friend’s family. You’ve had lots of fun, but you’re beginning to miss your own family. Then your dad sends you a text message to see how things are going—it’s just what you needed to feel loved and remembered.

Life on earth is a little like that. God doesn’t send us texts, but we are away from our heavenly home, so one way Heavenly Father communicates His love for us is by sending prophets.


What, Why, and How

Prophets lead what are called dispensations, periods of time when (1) God has at least one authorized priesthood leader on the earth and (2) this leader, a prophet, learns about the plan of salvation directly from God. The prophet then teaches, or dispenses, the gospel to the people.

Thanks to the scriptures, we know about many of the dispensations. Some important ones were those of Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus Christ, and Joseph Smith. The Lord began a dispensation through each of these prophets.


Apostasy=wickedness. When an individual or group turns away from the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ, rejects the prophets, and falls into sin, they are in apostasy.

How Apostasy Happens

What, Why, and How

God calls a prophet, who teaches the true gospel of Jesus Christ.

The people who follow the prophet’s teachings are blessed.

Some of the people become prideful and reject the prophet.

The Lord often removes His prophet from the people who reject the principles of the gospel.

When the time is right, God calls a new prophet to restore the truth, the priesthood, and the Church.


What, Why, and How

A restoration is the act of returning something to its original condition. It is not a reformation, which alters something existing to create something new. For example, if you wanted to restore an old house, you would rebuild it with the same layout that it had originally. You might want to add a new fireplace, but then you would be changing the house, not restoring it.

The gospel of Jesus Christ needed to be restored because it was lost during the Great Apostasy. The people had lived for centuries without the true Church. So the Lord restored His Church and gospel through Joseph Smith, just as ancient prophets had prophesied (see Isaiah 2:1–3; 29:13–14; Acts 3:19–21; Revelation 14:6–7; 2 Nephi 3:3–15).

The true gospel of Jesus Christ is here to stay—so will you stay with it? Even though the world grows more and more wicked, Jesus Christ’s Church will remain to the end.

You have a choice to make—the same choice that has faced mortals since the beginning of time: will you follow the prophet? If you do, you will be blessed and have the Spirit to guide you.