We generally commemorate the anniversaries of events because they have in some way affected our lives as individuals and societies.
For this reason, the 150th anniversary of the Restoration means a great deal to members of the Church because they enjoy the blessings of the restored gospel. But in the world at large, where some religions and philosophies can claim thousands of years of existence, 150 years do not seem very long. Only members of the Church appreciate the facts that the gospel is older than the earth, that it has existed on the earth many times—beginning with Adam—and that this is the same church organized by the Savior during his ministry.
During the past 150 years a firm foundation has been laid for us to build upon. Those years have seen countless acts of sacrifice and heroism on behalf of the Kingdom. Many of these are known to us, and we think of the examples of the prophets, the trials of the Kirtland and Nauvoo Saints, the struggles of the pioneers. Less often thought of are the struggles of ordinary members to keep themselves and their families free from sin, to pay tithes and offerings, to build chapels and temples, to support missionaries. All of these things have contributed to bringing the Church to the point where, as President Kimball said in the April 1979 conference: “The church is at a point in its growth and maturity when we are at last ready to move forward in a major way.” (International Magazines, October 1979).
Eventually the whole world will appreciate what happened on April 6, 1830. The task that lies ahead of us is to continue to build, to “lengthen our stride,” so that the world will know.
In this special issue of the Tambuli we attempt to give an overview of this final gospel dispensation: the events of the past 150 years and their significance for us; the meaning of the dispensation of the fulness of times; where we stand now as a church; and what remains to be done to prepare for the second coming of the Savior, whose Church this is.