Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Restoration Of The Gospel Of Jesus Christ Through Joseph Smith

  After hundreds of years of apostasy, our Heavenly Father once again reached out to His children in love. He continued the prophetic pattern of calling prophets, and this time he called a young man named Joseph Smith to be his prophet. Through him, the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ was restored to the earth.

  Joseph Smith lived in the United States, which was perhaps the only country to enjoy religious freedom at the time. He was born in the year 1805. At this particular time in the early 1800s in the Eastern United States, there was lots of religious excitement going on. His family was very religious and they constantly sought for truth from God. Many ministers claimed to have the true gospel and Joseph desired “to know which of all the sects was right,” (Joseph Smith—History 1:18). The Bible taught there was “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5). Joseph attended different churches, but he remained confused about which church he should join. He was confused because so many doctrines were taught differently despite being taught from the same Bible. Joseph was concerned for the welfare of his soul and was a sincere seeker of the truth. He later wrote: “So great were the confusions and strife among the different denominations, that it was impossible for a person young as I was . . . to come to any certain conclusion who was right and who was wrong. . . . 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 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).

   As Joseph sought truth among the different faiths, he turned to the Bible for guidance. One day he was reading in the epistle of James and read, “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” (James 1:5). This scripture means that if anyone has a question, all they need to do is ask Heavenly Father for guidance and He will reveal the answer.
    This passage of scripture hit Joseph harder than any scripture that he had ever before read. Joseph reflected on it again and again, and finally, Joseph decided to put that scripture to the test and to ask God what he should do. Because if anyone needed wisdom from God, he did.

   In the spring of 1820 Joseph, being a 14 year old boy, went to a
nearby grove of trees and knelt in prayer. He offered up the desires of his heart to know which church was true. Joseph's prayer was answered. In his own words he described this experience and 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!” (Joseph Smith—History 1:16–17).

   Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, appeared to the boy Joseph Smith. I know with all of my heart and soul that that did in fact happen. Jesus Christ answered Joseph's question regarding the true church and told Joseph not to join any of the churches, for they “were all wrong” and “all their creeds were an abomination.” He stated, “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 1:19).

  The priesthood authority that was once on the earth was lost during the apostasy. Therefore, it needed to be restored back to the earth. After the appearance of the Father and the Son, other heavenly messengers, or angels, were sent to Joseph Smith and his associate Oliver Cowdery. John the Baptist appeared and conferred upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery the Aaronic Priesthood, which includes the authority to perform the ordinance of baptism. Peter, James, and John (three of Christ’s original Apostles) appeared and conferred the Melchizedek Priesthood upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, restoring the same authority given to Christ’s Apostles anciently. With this priesthood authority, Joseph Smith was directed to organize the Church of Jesus Christ again on the earth.

   The time in which we live today is referred to by Bible prophets as the last days, the latter days, or the dispensation of the fulness of times. It is the period of time just before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. It is the final dispensation. This is why the Church is named The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A living prophet directs the Church today and his name is Thomas S. Monson. I testify that he is the authorized successor to Joseph Smith. He and the present Apostles trace their authority to Jesus Christ in an unbroken chain of ordinations through Joseph Smith.
   Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ. He was called to be a prophet and restored lost truths back to the earth. I know this to be true because I have prayed to know and I cannot deny the Holy Spirit that has touched my heart.

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic blog! I love the way you have added the lessons as "pages" in your blog. Way to go and keep it up!


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