150 Years of the Restored Gospel

What the Lord Has Said to Us about Our Dispensation

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    They were like us. They were farmers, housewives, teachers, shop owners, factory workers—the “ordinary” men and women who accepted the gospel in the first few years of the Restoration. Yet one of the poignant truths that the Doctrine and Covenants shows is that the Lord worked with them, patiently teaching them a larger vision—the restoration now of many things—and consistently pointing to a fulness of times wherein would be the restoration of all things, turning us to a yet-unborn age when all things will be gathered into one.
    It is illuminating—even electrifying—to again go to the revelations that the Master personally gave to those early members—and us—and to hear the Savior and Creator of the world discuss the importance of our dispensation, which had its beginning in the spring of 1820. In the selected passages which follow, the resurrected Lord talks of our time—and its destiny.

    The Purpose of this Dispensation

    “I the Lord, knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth, called upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and spake unto him from heaven, and gave him commandments;

    “And also gave commandments to others, that they should proclaim these things unto the world; and all this that it might be fulfilled, which, was written by the prophets—

    “The weak things of the world shall come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones, that man should not counsel his fellow man, neither trust in the arm of flesh—

    “But that every man might speak in the name of God the Lord, even the Savior of the world;

    “That faith also might increase in the earth;

    “That mine everlasting covenant might be established;

    “That the fulness of my gospel might be proclaimed by the weak and the simple unto the ends of the world, and before kings and rulers” (D&C 1:17–23).

    “[That] those to whom these commandments were given, might have power to lay the foundation of this church, and to bring it forth out of obscurity and out of darkness, the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth” (D&C 1:30).

    “[This is] the beginning of the rising up and the coming forth of my church out of the wilderness—clear as the moon, and fair as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners” (D&C 5:14).

    “Unto [Joseph Smith] I have committed the keys of my kingdom, and a dispensation of the gospel for the last times; and for the fulness of times, in the which I will gather together in one all things, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth” (D&C 27:13).

    “Behold, the field is white already to harvest; and it is the eleventh hour, and the last time that I shall call laborers into my vineyard” (D&C 33:3).

    “And the poor and the meek shall have the gospel preached unto them, and they shall be looking forth for the time of my coming, for it is nigh at hand—

    “And they shall learn the parable of the fig-tree, for even now already summer is nigh” (D&C 35:15–16).

    “Keep all the commandments and covenants by which ye are bound; and I will cause the heavens to shake for your good, and Satan shall tremble and Zion shall rejoice upon the hills and flourish;

    “And Israel shall be saved in mine own due time; and by the keys which I have given shall they be led, and no more be confounded at all” (D&C 35:24–25).

    “Whosoever I will shall go forth among all nations, and it shall be told them what they shall do; for I have a great work laid up in store, for Israel shall be saved, and I will lead them whithersoever I will, and no power shall stay my hand” (D&C 38:33).

    “Behold, now it is called today until the coming of the Son of Man, and verily it is a day of sacrifice, and a day for the tithing of my people; for he that is tithed shall not be burned at his coming.

    “For after today cometh the burning—this is speaking after the manner of the Lord—for verily I say, tomorrow all the proud and they that do wickedly shall be as stubble; and I will burn them up, for I am the Lord of Hosts; and I will not spare any that remain in Babylon.

    “Wherefore, if ye believe me, ye will labor while it is called today” (D&C 64:23–25).

    “Behold, I say unto you that Zion shall flourish, and the glory of the Lord shall be upon her;

    “And she shall be an ensign unto the people, and there shall come unto her out of every nation under heaven.

    “And the day shall come when the nations of the earth shall tremble because of her, and shall fear because of her terrible ones. The Lord hath spoken it” (D&C 64:41–43).

    “Hearken, and lo, a voice as of one sent down from on high, who is mighty and powerful, whose going forth is unto the ends of the earth, yea, whose voice is unto men—Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

    “The keys of the kingdom of God are committed unto man on the earth, and from thence shall the gospel roll forth unto the ends of the earth, as the stone which is cut out of the mountain without hands shall roll forth, until it has filled the whole earth.

    “Yea, a voice crying—Prepare ye the way of the Lord, prepare ye the supper of the Lamb, make ready for the Bridegroom.

    “Pray unto the Lord, call upon his holy name, make known his wonderful works among the people.

    “Call upon the Lord, that his kingdom may go forth upon the earth, that the inhabitants thereof may receive it, and be prepared for the days to come, in the which the Son of Man shall come down in heaven, clothed in the brightness of his glory, to meet the kingdom of God which is set up on the earth” (D&C 65:1–5).

    “Ye are to be taught from on high. Sanctify yourselves and ye shall be endowed with power, that ye may give even as I have spoken” (D&C 43:16).

    “Before the great day of the Lord shall come, Jacob shall flourish in the wilderness, and the Lamanites shall blossom as the rose.

    “Zion shall flourish upon the hills and rejoice upon the mountains, and shall be assembled together unto the place which I have appointed.

    “Behold, I say unto you, go forth as I have commanded you; repent of all your sins; ask and ye shall receive; knock and it shall be opened unto you.

    “Behold, I will go before you and be your rearward; and I will be in your midst, and you shall not be confounded.

    “Behold, I am Jesus Christ” (D&C 49:24–28).

    “Behold, ye are little children and ye cannot bear all things now; ye must grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth.

    “Fear not, little children, for you are mine, and I have overcome the world, and you are of them that my Father hath given me;

    “Wherefore, I am in your midst, and I am the good shepherd, and the stone of Israel. He that buildeth upon this rock shall never fall.

    “And the day cometh that you shall hear my voice and see me, and know that I am” (D&C 50:40–41, 44–45).

    “What I say unto one I say unto all: Watch, for the adversary spreadeth his dominions, and darkness reigneth;

    “And the anger of God kindleth against the inhabitants of the earth” (D&C 82:5–6).

    “Zion must increase in beauty, and in holiness; her borders must be enlarged; her stakes must be strengthened; yea, verily I say unto you, Zion must arise and put on her beautiful garments” (D&C 82:14).

    “I the Almighty, have laid my hands upon the nations, to scourge them for their wickedness.

    “And plagues shall go forth, and they shall not be taken from the earth until I have completed my work, which shall be cut short in righteousness—

    “Until all shall know me, who remain, even from the least unto the greatest, and shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, and shall see eye to eye, and shall lift up their voice, and with the voice together sing” (D&C 84:96–98).

    “Behold, if Zion [shall obey my commandments] she shall prosper, and spread herself and become very glorious, very great, and very terrible.

    “And the nations of the earth shall honor her, and shall say: Surely Zion is the city of our God, and surely Zion cannot fall, neither be moved out of her place, for God is there, and the hand of the Lord is there;

    “And he hath sworn by the power of his might to be her salvation and her high tower.

    “Therefore, verily, thus saith the Lord, let Zion rejoice for this is Zion—the pure in heart; therefore, let Zion rejoice, while all the wicked shall mourn.

    “For behold, and lo, vengeance cometh speedily upon the ungodly as the whirlwind; and who shall escape it?

    “The Lord’s scourge shall pass over by night and by day, and the report thereof shall vex all people; yea, it shall not be stayed until the Lord come:

    “For the indignation of the Lord is kindled against their abominations and all their wicked works.

    “Nevertheless, Zion shall escape if she observe to do all things whatsoever I have commanded her.

    “But if she observe not to do whatsoever I have commanded her, I will visit her according to all her works, with sore affliction, with pestilence, with plague, with sword, with vengeance, with devouring fire” (D&C 97:18–26).

    “Behold, I say unto you, the redemption of Zion must needs come by power;

    “Therefore, I will raise up unto my people a man, who shall lead them like as Moses led the children of Israel.

    “For ye are the children of Israel, and of the seed of Abraham, and ye must needs be led out of bondage by power, and with a stretched-out arm.

    “And as your fathers were led at the first, even so shall the redemption of Zion be.

    “Therefore, let not your hearts faint, for I say not unto you as I said unto your fathers: Mine angel shall go up before you, but not my presence.

    “But I say unto you: Mine angels shall go up before you, and also my presence” (D&C 103:15–20).

    “Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom; otherwise I cannot receive her unto myself” (D&C 105:5).

    “Let my army become very great, and let it be sanctified before me, that it may become fair as the sun, and clear as the moon, and that her banners may be terrible unto all nations;

    “That the kingdoms of this world may be constrained to acknowledge that the kingdom of Zion is in very deed the kingdom of our God and his Christ; therefore, let us become subject unto her laws” (D&C 105:31–32).

    “God shall give unto you knowledge by his Holy Spirit, yea, by the unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost, that has not been revealed since the world was until now;

    “Which our forefathers have awaited with anxious expectation to be revealed in the last times, which their minds were pointed to by the angels; as held in reserve for the fulness of their glory;

    “A time to come in the which nothing shall be withheld, whether there be one God or many gods, they shall be manifest.

    “All thrones and dominions, principalities and powers, shall be revealed and set forth upon all who have endured valiantly for the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    “And also, if there be bounds set to the heavens or to the seas, or to the dry land, or to the sun, moon, or stars—

    “All the times of their revolutions, all the appointed days, months, and years, and all the days of their days, months, and years, and all their glories, laws, and set times, shall be revealed in the days of the dispensation of the fulness of times—

    “According to that which was ordained in the midst of the Council of the Eternal God of all other gods before this world was, that should be reserved unto the finishing and the end thereof, when every man shall enter into his eternal presence and into his immortal rest” (D&C 121:26–32).

    “And now, verily saith the Lord, that these things might be known among you, O inhabitants of the earth, I have sent forth mine angel flying through the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel, who hath appeared unto some and hath committed it unto man, who shall appear unto many that dwell on the earth.

    “And this gospel shall be preached unto every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.

    “And the servants of God shall go forth, 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—

    “For since the beginning of the world have not men heard nor perceived by the ear, neither hath any eye seen, O God, besides thee, how great things thou has prepared for him that waiteth for thee.

    “And it shall be said: Who is this that cometh down from God in heaven with dyed garments; yea, from the regions which are not known, clothed in his glorious apparel, traveling in the greatness of his strength?

    “And he shall say: I am he who spake in righteousness, mighty to save.

    “And for this cause, that men might be made partakers of the glories which were to be revealed, the Lord sent forth the fulness of his gospel, his everlasting covenant, reasoning in plainness and simplicity—

    “To prepare the weak for those things which are coming on the earth,

    “And for this cause these commandments were given. …

    “And this according to the mind and will of the Lord, who ruleth over all flesh.

    “And unto him that repenteth and sanctifieth himself before the Lord shall be given eternal life.

    “Behold the Lord your God hath spoken it. Amen” (D&C 133:36–39, 45–47, 57–58, 60–62, 74).

    Illustrated by Dale Kilbourn