A Great Work of God09204_000_003
April 6, 1830
One hundred eighty years ago, Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, and a handful of others gathered together to organize The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. By all accounts it was a simple but spiritual meeting. Joseph records that following the sacrament, “the Holy Ghost was poured out upon us to a very great degree—some prophesied, whilst we all praised the Lord, and rejoiced exceedingly.” 1
The events of this day went unnoticed by the world; they were not accompanied by headlines or heralds. Nevertheless, how the heavens must have rejoiced and glorified God—for on that day, the Church of Jesus Christ returned to earth!
From that day to this, millions of faith-filled sons and daughters of Heavenly Father have followed the promptings of the Holy Ghost and entered the sacred waters of baptism. One such man was Solomon Chamberlain.
Solomon was a spiritual man and had spent many hours in prayer, seeking for the remission of his sins and pleading with Heavenly Father to lead him to the truth. Sometime around 1816, Solomon was promised in a vision that he would live to see the day when the Church of Christ would be organized after the apostolic order was established once again on the earth.
Years later Solomon was traveling by boat toward Canada when his vessel stopped in the small town of Palmyra, New York. There he felt a compelling force urging him to disembark. Not knowing why he was there, he began speaking with the townspeople. It wasn’t long before he heard talk of a “gold Bible.” He said those two words sent “a power like electricity [that] went from the top of my head to the end of my toes.”
His inquiries led him to the Smith home, where he spoke with those present about the wonderful news of the restored gospel. After spending two days there and receiving a testimony of the truth, Solomon resumed his journey to Canada, taking with him 64 newly printed, unbound pages of the Book of Mormon. Everywhere he went, he taught the people, “both high and low, rich and poor, … to prepare for the great work of God that was now about to come forth.” 2
A Great Work of God
Since that day in April 1830, millions have discovered the truth of the restored gospel and have entered the waters of baptism. I testify that this “great work of God” is on the earth today. I bear witness that the Lord watches over His Church and directs it through His prophet, President Thomas S. Monson. It is no ordinary blessing to live in these latter days. These are glorious times, foreseen by ancient prophets and attended by watchful, angelic hosts. The Lord is mindful of His Church. He is also mindful of those who, like Solomon Chamberlain, follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost and join with their brothers and sisters the world over in helping to bring forth this great work of God.
Teaching from This Message
“Personal example is one of the most powerful teaching tools we have” (Teaching, No Greater Call , 18). As you share the story of Solomon Chamberlain, invite the family to look for times that he followed the promptings of the Spirit. Discuss how his example may have helped others. Invite family members to share a time when someone’s good example has helped them.
Photograph by Matthew Reier taken on the set of Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration
My Faith Experiment
Our Sunday School class of 13-year-olds was not exactly known for our reverence. However, we had a wonderful teacher who tried her best to teach each lesson by the Spirit. One such lesson was on reading the scriptures.
At the end of the lesson she gave us a challenge. It was meant for all of us, but for some reason she looked directly at me as she said, “I challenge you to read from the Book of Mormon every single day!” I thought to myself, “I will show you. I will do it!”
I began 1 Nephi chapter 1 that very night and continued reading every day. I probably did not have a proper attitude when I began, but over time I began to like the way reading the Book of Mormon made me feel. Reading each night became an enjoyable habit.
Months later I came to Alma 32 and was impressed by the idea of a faith experiment. In school we had just learned about conducting scientific experiments, so I kneeled down and told Heavenly Father that I was beginning the experiment. I asked that I would come to know whether the Book of Mormon was true.
In hindsight, I know that Heavenly Father answered my prayers many times. Reading daily from the Book of Mormon gave me increased capacity to overcome evil. I felt closer to my Father in Heaven. I felt strengthened by the power of the Holy Ghost to overcome obstacles. What Alma said about experimenting with God’s word is true: “It beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me” (Alma 32:28).
Photograph by Matthew Reier
No Ordinary Blessing
The Church was organized 180 years ago this month. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said it is “no ordinary blessing” to live today, when the Church has been restored. To find some of the great blessings Heavenly Father gives to people through the Church, look up the scriptures below. Then find the picture that matches each scripture.
Illustrations by Maryn Roos
Joseph Smith, in History of the Church, 1:78.
“A Short Sketch of the Life of Solomon Chamberlain,” typescript, Church History Library (on the Internet at www.boap.org/LDS/Early-Saints/SChamberlain.html); see also William G. Hartley, “Every Member Was a Missionary,” Ensign, Sept. 1978, 23. A few days after the organization of the Church, Solomon Chamberlain was baptized by Joseph Smith in the waters of Seneca Lake, New York.