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Restored Church

With the restoration of God's Gospel also came the restoration of His Church.  In particular, the restoration as a whole was to restore the Gospel, the authority of God, man's relationship with God, and God's Kingdom on earth.  This restoration began during what historians call the Second Great Awakening, which was a protestant revival movement that took place between 1790 and 1840.  Many hoped that this movement would cleanse the United States from sin and usher in the millennial age of Christ.  It was during this time that Joseph Smith, Jr. was born.

In 1819, Joseph and his family moved to Manchester, New York.  The fervor for religion was rampant, and many Protestant Ministers preached the gospel to the uneducated and less wealthy people in the New England area.  During this time, there were three prevalent denominations in Manchester, NY, the Methodists, the Presbyterians, and the Baptists. 

A year after Joseph’s family moved to Manchester, four of them decided to join the Presbyterian faith, namely, his mother Lucy, his brothers Hyrum and Samuel, and his sister Sophronia.  However, Joseph was still unsure on which Church he wanted to join.  Please read the following from Joseph Smith, Jr.’s testimony:

During this time of great excitement my mind was called up to serious reflection and great uneasiness; but though my feelings were deep and often pungent, still I kept myself aloof from all those parties, though I attended there several meetings as often as occasion would permit. But in process of time my mind became somewhat partial to the Methodist sect, and I felt some desire to be united with them, but so great was the confusion and strife among the different denominations that it was impossible for a person, young as I was and so unacquainted with men and things, to come to any certain conclusion who was right and who was wrong.

My mind at different times was so greatly excited, the cry and tumult was so great and incessant.  The Presbyterians were most decided against the Baptists, and Methodists, and used all their powers of either reason or sophistry to prove their errors, or at least to make the people think they were in error: on the other hand the Baptists and Methodists in their turn were equally zealous to establish their own tenets, and disprove all others.  In the midst of this war of words and tumult of opinions, I often said to myself, What is to be done?  Who of all these parities are right? Or, are they all wrong together?  If any one of them be right which is it, and how shall I know if?

While I was laboring under the extreme difficulties caused by the contests of these parities of religionists, I was one day reading the epistle of James, first chapter and fifth verse, which reads, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth unto all men liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be give him.”  Never did any passage of Scripture come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine.  It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart.

In May 1820, young Joseph took the words in the epistle of James to heart and retired to the woods to ask of God which Church he should join.  It was here in the Grove that Joseph received a revelation by the Holy Ghost and saw both the Father and the Son.  Joseph was given to know that he was to join none of the Churches, for they were all wrong.  Christ spoke saying, “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; they teach for doctrine the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”

It was not until three and half years later, in September 21, 1823, that Joseph received a visit from a heavenly messenger who identified himself as Moroni, a leader and prophet from the Book of Mormon.  Between 1820 and 1823, Joseph admitted in his testimony that he did not live those years without mistakes and that he became involved with follies of the world.  It was not until he repented and prayed unto the Lord that he received forgiveness and further revelation.  It is important to understand that all men, even prophets, are fallible, which is demonstrated in both the Old and New Testaments.  

During Joseph’s vision with Moroni, he was told of many ancient prophecies and the significance of them was revealed unto him.  In addition, Joseph learned of the golden plates, which bore record of Jesus Christ in America, and a remnant of the Jews.  He was told that the plates were being kept in a nearby hill and with them, was a means to translate them (the Urim and Thummim).

The day after his vision, Joseph traveled to the hill Moroni described, which was “convenient to the village of Manchester, Ontario County, New York,” and “on the west side of this hill not far from the top, under a stone of considerable size, lay the plates deposited in a stone box.”  However, Joseph was not allowed to take the plates from the hill at that time.  Instead, he was instructed to visit the place every year for further instructions.  In September 1827, Joseph was allowed to take the gold plates into his custody to translate.  Please read the following excerpt from F. Henry Edwards “Overviews of Church History”

The work of translation probably began almost immediately.  Joseph’s wife, Emma, and Martin Harris acted as secretaries or scribes to Joseph until the arrival of Oliver Cowdery.  After that the work moved forward more quickly.  It was not an automatic procedure, despite the use of the Urim and Thummim, but was both exacting and educational.  The word of translation was a major course in religious education.

Except for the confirmatory testimony of the spirit of those associated with him, Joseph alone carried the heavy burden of responsibility for the Book of Mormon for more than a year and a half.  Then, in June, 1829, the three most intimately associated with him were shown the plates by an angelic messenger.  Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris thereafter stood with Joseph as witnesses of the authenticity of the Nephite record and of the manner of its preservation.  A few days after this, Joseph was permitted to show the plates to eight others.  The testimonies of these three and of these eight have been printed in every Book of Mormon from the first issue in March, 1830 until present time.[1]

The Church of Jesus Christ was authoritatively reestablished April 6, 1830 through the prophet Joseph Smith, Jr.  Please read the following scripture passage from the Doctrine and Covenants section 17:

17:1a The rise of the Church of Christ in these last days, being one thousand eight hundred and thirty years since the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the flesh, it being regularly organized and established agreeably to the laws of our country, by the will and commandments of God in the fourth month, and on the sixth day of the month which is called April; 17:1b which commandments were given to Joseph Smith, Jr., who was called of God and ordained an apostle of Jesus Christ, to be the first elder of this Church; and to Oliver Cowdery, who was also called of God an apostle of Jesus Christ, to be the second elder of this Church, and ordained under his hand: 17:1c and this according to the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to whom be all glory both now and forever. Amen.

It is important to note that the Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ was not a sporadic thought or idea, but was actually given as a part of Joseph’s vision in 1820, and later confirmed through other revelations.  We read in the third chapter of Amos, “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, until he revealeth the secret unto his servants the prophets.[2]”  In fact, the building of the Church had already begun with the translation of the Book of Mormon and the gathering of a small number of believers, numbering six.  Immediately following the restoration of the Church, the membership began to increase as the Gospel message began to spread forth in its fullness for the purpose of bringing souls unto Christ and for establishing the Kingdom of God on earth, Zion.


[1] F. Henry Edwards, Overviews of Church History, Herald Publishing House (1951), 11

[2] Amos 3:7

Scriptures to Consider

James 1:5-6 (KJV)

5 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. 6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

Isaiah 11:11-12 (KJV)

11 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left... 12 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.

Revelation 14:6-7 (KJV)

14:6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, 14:7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come: and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

Principles to Consider

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The Restored Church

The Restoration was to restore authority, the gospel, man's relationship with God, and the Kingdom to earth.

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"Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid."

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Why the Restored Gospel?

"For behold, this life is a time to prepare to meet God..."

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Eternal Life

"And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."

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