“A Glossary of Restoration Terms,” New Era, Mar. 2020, 6–7.
Some of the terms we use in talking about the Restoration (such as Restoration) may be unfamiliar to others (at least the way we use them). Here are a few such terms and a brief explanation of what we mean by them.
Apostasy: A turning away from truth by individuals, groups, or nations. People in apostasy usually reject God’s prophets, break His laws, and stop keeping their covenants with Him. The period of apostasy after the death of Jesus Christ and His Apostles is called the Great Apostasy and led to the loss of God’s authority, prophets, and Church from the earth.
Atonement of Jesus Christ: Jesus Christ’s suffering the penalty for our sins, dying on the cross, and being resurrected so that we can be resurrected, return to Heavenly Father, and become like Him. Jesus Christ was the only one capable of making a perfect Atonement for all mankind. He also took upon Himself the pains, sicknesses, temptations, afflictions, and infirmities of us all (see Alma 7:11–13).
Confirmation: A religious ceremony, (or ordinance), in which a person becomes a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and and receives the gift of the Holy Ghost. This is done by someone with authority, who lays his hands on the person’s head during the ordinance.
Covenant: A promise between God and His children. God sets the terms, and we agree to do what He asks of us. God then promises us certain blessings if we obey. We make covenants through ceremonies (or ordinances) such as baptism, the sacrament, and temple ceremonies.
Dispensation: A period of time in which at least one person is on the earth who is authorized by God to deliver (or “dispense”) the gospel to the world. This authority comes through the priesthood and its keys (see Priesthood). In each new dispensation, the gospel is revealed through a prophet again (see Prophet). The dispensation that began when the Lord called the Prophet Joseph Smith is known as the “dispensation of the fulness of times” (see Ephesians 1:10).
Exaltation: To become like our Father in Heaven and live forever as families in His presence (see Doctrine and Covenants 132:19–20). Exaltation is God’s greatest gift to His sons and daughters and comes through the Atonement of Jesus Christ and through obedience to God’s laws, including making and keeping covenants (see Covenant).
Gospel: God’s plan of salvation, made possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The gospel includes God’s truths, laws, covenants, and ordinances (religious ceremonies), which make it possible for people to return to God.
Premortal life (premortal existence; pre-earth life): Our life before we were born on this earth, when we were in the presence of our Father in Heaven as His spirit children.
Priesthood: Authority and power from God to act in the name of Jesus Christ for the salvation of all people.
Prophet: A man who has been called and given authority by God and who speaks for Him. A prophet tells people about God’s will and true character, tells them not to sin, and tells them of the consequences if they do. At times, he may by inspired to foretell the future for people’s benefit.
Redemption: Being freed from sin and death through the Atonement of Jesus Christ (see Salvation).
Restoration of the gospel: Jesus Christ’s bringing back His true Church, teachings, and authority (which had been lost through apostasy [see Apostasy]), by calling a prophet again.
Resurrection: The reuniting of spirit and body after death. After resurrection, the spirit is joined with a body of flesh and bones that cannot die, and they will never again be separated. Every person born on earth will be resurrected because Jesus Christ overcame physical death.
Revelation: Communication from God to His children on earth. This can come through various means, such as inspiration, visions, dreams, and visits by angels. Prophets receive revelation for the world and the Church; individuals receive it for their personal lives.
Salvation: To be saved from physical death and spiritual death (sin) through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. By the grace of God, all people will be resurrected and thus saved from physical death. This comes through the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Salvation from sin comes by the grace of God as we have faith in Jesus Christ, repent, and obey His laws, including making and keeping covenants (see Articles of Faith 1:3).
Spiritual death: Separation from God through sin. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can become clean from sin and overcome spiritual death as we repent and live God’s laws (see Articles of Faith 1:2–3).