Restoration of the Gospel
When Jesus Christ was on the earth, He established His Church among His followers. After His Crucifixion and the deaths of His Apostles, the fulness of the gospel was taken from the earth because of widespread apostasy. Through the Prophet Joseph Smith, our Father in Heaven and His Son Jesus Christ restored the fulness of the gospel. The true Church of Jesus Christ is on the earth again. Because of the Restoration, the teachings and ordinances necessary for salvation are available to all people.
The following outline summarizes a few of the important events in the restoration of the gospel and the establishment of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which the Lord has declared is "the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth" (D&C 1:30).
Early spring, 1820. Seeking the true Church of Jesus Christ, 14-year-old Joseph Smith prayed in a grove of trees near his home in Palmyra, New York. In answer to his humble prayer, Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ visited him and told him that he must not join any of the churches on the earth at that time. (See Joseph Smith—History 1:11–19.) In the Church we refer to this experience as Joseph Smith's First Vision.
September 21–22, 1823. Joseph Smith was visited by an angel named Moroni. Moroni prophesied of coming events and told Joseph of the Book of Mormon record, written on plates of gold. The angel allowed Joseph to see the gold plates, which were buried in the nearby Hill Cumorah. (See Joseph Smith—History 1:27–53.)
September 22, 1827. Joseph Smith received the gold plates from Moroni at the Hill Cumorah after having met with Moroni on 22 September of each of the previous four years. (See Joseph Smith—History 1:53, 59.)
May 15, 1829. Having read about baptism for the remission of sins as they worked on the translation of the gold plates, Joseph Smith and his scribe Oliver Cowdery went to a secluded area to inquire of the Lord concerning the matter. There, on the banks of the Susquehanna River near Harmony, Pennsylvania, they received the answer to their prayer. John the Baptist, a resurrected being, came to them as "a messenger from heaven . . . in a cloud of light." He conferred upon them the Aaronic Priesthood. Then, in obedience to his instructions, Joseph and Oliver baptized each other and ordained each other to the Aaronic Priesthood. (See Joseph Smith—History 1:68–72; see also D&C 13.)
May 1829. The ancient Apostles Peter, James, and John conferred the Melchizedek Priesthood upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. (See D&C 128:20.)
March 26, 1830. The first printed copies of the Book of Mormon became available in Palmyra, New York.
April 6, 1830. The Church was organized in Fayette Township, New York, beginning with six members.
March 27, 1836. The Kirtland Temple, the first temple built in this dispensation, was dedicated. The Prophet Joseph Smith offered the dedicatory prayer, which had been given to him by revelation. (See D&C 109.)
April 3, 1836. The Savior appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland Temple. Moses, Elias, and Elijah also appeared and gave priesthood keys to Joseph and Oliver. Elijah brought the keys of the sealing power, which make it possible for families to be sealed together forever. (See D&C 110.)
—See True to the Faith (2004), 135–39
"Rejoice in the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ"
Liahona, Jan. 2005, 25; or Ensign, Jan. 2005, 67
Quotes from Church leaders on the Restoration of the gospel.
"The Richness of the Restoration"
Neal A. Maxwell, Liahona, Sept. 2001, 18–24; or Ensign, Mar. 1998, 8–13
The restored gospel dispels doubt and despair, giving us assurance concerning immortality and God's great plan of happiness.
"The Restoration of the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods"
Larry C. Porter, Ensign, Dec. 1996, 30–47
Historical records and the testimony of Joseph Smith's associates tell the manner, order, and pattern of priesthood restoration and indicate that the time of the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood was probably within the 13-day period of 16 to 28 May 1829.
"Jesus Christ Is at the Center of the Restoration of the Gospel"
Gary J. Coleman, Ensign, Nov. 1992, 43–44
The Restoration has brought to earth again the true doctrines and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Restoration affects every fiber of our being.
"Four Cornerstones of Faith"
Gordon B. Hinckley, Liahona, Feb. 2004, 2–7; or Ensign, Feb. 2004, 3–7
The four essential cornerstones of our faith are Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith's First Vision, the Book of Mormon, and the restoration of the priesthood.
"Receiving a Testimony of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ"
Robert D. Hales, Liahona, Nov. 2003, 28–31; or Ensign, Nov. 2003, 28–31
Follow the example of Joseph Smith and the pattern of the Restoration. Turn to the scriptures. Kneel in prayer. Ask in faith. Listen to the Holy Ghost.
"The Message of the Restoration"
Charles Didier, Liahona, Nov. 2003, 73–75; or Ensign, Nov. 2003, 73–75
The message of the Restoration is an invitation to know why the gospel of Jesus Christ and His true Church have been restored by a prophet in modern times.
"The Wondrous Restoration"
Neal A. Maxwell, Ensign, Apr. 2003, 30–37
Dazzling truths came through the Prophet Joseph Smith, including key truths lost for centuries.
"The Restoration of the Priesthood"
Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Gospel Doctrine Teacher's Manual, Lesson 8
"The Only True and Living Church"
Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Gospel Doctrine Teacher's Manual, Lesson 9
"Joseph Smith, the Prophet of the Restoration"
Teachings of Presidents of the Church: John Taylor, Chapter 9
"The Restoration of the Priesthood"
Duties and Blessings of the Priesthood: Part A, Lesson 3
"How Do Mormon Beliefs Differ from Other Christians?"
A video clip of Elder M. Russell Ballard addressing this question.
"Restoration of the Gospel"
Guide to the Scriptures
"The Church of Jesus Christ Today"
Gospel Principles, Chapter 17
"The Things Which I Saw While I Was Carried Away in the Spirit"
Book of Mormon Gospel Doctrine Teacher's Manual, Lesson 4
"I Had Seen a Vision"
Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Gospel Doctrine Teacher's Manual, Lesson 3