The Restoration of The Gospel Through Joseph Smith
Gospel Basics Series: The Plan of Salvation
When the time was right and religious freedom existed, Heavenly Father reached out once again to restore His church. He called a young man named Joseph Smith to be His prophet and restore (bring back in its original form) His ancient church.
Joseph Smith lived in New York, United States of America. God restored His church in America because it was the only country on earth with religious freedom. There were great religious excitements in that part of the country.
Joseph Smith was from a deeply religious family who earnestly sought after the truth. Many ministers claimed to have the truth. He had a strong desire to know which church was the true one. The Bible taught him that there could only be one true church. Joseph attended many churches to find the only true but he remained confused.
Joseph Smith said there was great confusions and strife among all the different churches that it made it extremely difficult for him to know which one was the true one and which one was false.
Joseph Smith said, “I often said to myself; What is to be done? Who of all these parties are right; or, are they all wrong together? If any one of them be right, which is it, and how shall I know it?” (Joseph Smith History 1:8,10)
Joseph Smith continued searching for the true church until he read a verse in the Bible that hit him with great power. He read James 1:5 that said “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”
This verse influenced him profoundly and in 1820 went to a nearby grove to pray. Joseph Smith said, “I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me…When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other- This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!”
Heavenly Father and Jesus together visited Joseph Smith. He learned many truths by this visitation. He learned that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have actual perfect physical bodies. He learned that they were separate beings. Jesus Christ directed Joseph to join none of the churches because none were true. The Lord said they all were wrong and their creeds were an abomination. Jesus informed Joseph Smith “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.” (Joseph Smith History 1:9)
Joseph Smith became a prophet like unto Adam, Moses, Abraham, Noah and the other great ones in the Bible.
Our days are known as the last days, and the ancient prophets saw our day with great anticipation. The Restoration issued in the dispensation of the fullness of times. It is the final dispensation, the dispensation that will see the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. This is why the church is called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
There is a living prophet today (at the time of this writing it is President Thomas S. Monson). He is the authorized successor of Joseph Smith and can trace his ordination back to the original twelve Apostles and Jesus Christ.
The prophets and Apostles were and are the foundation upon which the Lord’s church is organized, Jesus Christ as the head. You come to know Christ through the prophets.
Chapel Address and contact information: 1928 E. South Campus Drive, Salt Lake City; 801-562-8089. You can also call 801-259-6709 for the mission home in Midvale if you want to talk to someone.