oving Forward into the New Century

Church History in the Fulness of Times Teacher Manual, (2001), 70–71


  1. 1.

    After becoming free of debt in 1906, the Church began an era of prosperity and expansion.

  2. 2.

    Significant “reforms” in the priesthood and auxiliary programs of the Church were developed in the first decades of the twentieth century.

  3. 3.

    The Saints were urged to remain in their own lands and there help build the kingdom of God.

  4. 4.

    During the administration of President Joseph F. Smith, many important doctrinal principles were clarified.

    Suggested Approaches

  • Discuss the need for faithful Saints to remain in their own lands and gather to the stakes of Zion throughout the earth. During the administration of President Smith, the Saints were urged to remain in their own lands and help build the kingdom of God where they lived rather than gather to Salt Lake City.

  • Several doctrinal expositions were issued by the First Presidency during this era. You could briefly outline and explain these to students. The complete statements are found in James R. Clark, comp., Messages of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6 vols. (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965–75), vols. 4–5. They include:

    1. 1.

      Letter to Joshua R. Clark, 24 Jan. and 10 Feb. 1902 (Messages, 4:32–34). Answers the question of whether the Spirit of the Lord and the Holy Ghost are one and the same.

    2. 2.

      “One Mighty and Strong,” 13 Nov. 1905 (Messages, 4:107–20). Explains the meaning of Doctrine and Covenants 85:7–8.

    3. 3.

      “The Origin of Man,” Nov. 1909 (Messages, 4:199–206); “‘Mormon’ View of Evolution,” Sept. 1925 (Messages, 5:243–44). Declares that Adam was the first man on the earth and that man is the direct and lineal offspring of Deity.

    4. 4.

      “Pre-Existent States,” 31 Jan. 1912 (Messages, 4:264–65). A brief declaration of what is clearly taught in scriptures concerning the premortal existence.

    5. 5.

      Letter to Samuel O. Bennion, 20 Feb. 1912 (Messages, 4:265–67). Defines the relationship of Adam to the Savior and to God the Father.

    6. 6.

      “Only One God to Worship,” Apr. 1912 (Messages, 4:269–71). Explains Moses 1:6.

    7. 7.

      “The Holy Ghost; Inquiry and Reply,” 2 Mar. 1916 (Messages, 5:3–4). Explains when the gift of the Holy Ghost was given in the meridian dispensation.

    8. 8.

      “The Father and the Son,” 30 June 1916 (Messages, 5:23–34). Explains how the Savior is both Father and Son.

    9. 9.

      “Vision of the Redemption of the Dead,” 3 Oct. 1918 (Messages, 5:102–6). This revelation became Doctrine and Covenants 138.

    Theme Sources

  • Comprehensive History of the Church, 6:418–78.

  • Readings in LDS Church History, 3:271–328.

  • William Hartley, “The Priesthood Reform Movement, 1908–1922,” Brigham Young University Studies, Winter 1973, pp. 137–56.

    Covers the work of the general priesthood committee, which was organized in 1908.

  • Norman S. Bosworth, “Remembering Joseph F. Smith: Loving Father, Devoted Prophet,” Ensign, June 1983, pp. 20–24.

    Tributes to Joseph F. Smith by four of his children provide insights into the life of this great leader.

  • Robert L. Millet, “Beyond the Veil: Two Latter-day Revelations,” Ensign, Oct. 1985, pp. 8–13.

    The historical background of Doctrine and Covenants 137 and 138.

    Additional Sources

  • Richard O. Cowan, The Latter-day Saint Century (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1999).

    Chapter 3 provides insights into events during the administration of President Joseph F. Smith.

  • John R. Talmage, The Talmage Story (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1972), pp. 154–87.

    Chapters 16 and 18 provide facts relating to Elder James E. Talmage’s writing Jesus the Christ and the Articles of Faith.

  • Francis M. Gibbons, Joseph F. Smith: Patriarch and Preacher, Prophet of God (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1984), pp. 212–331.

    Covers the administration of Joseph F. Smith as President of the Church.

  • Joseph Fielding Smith, Life of Joseph F. Smith: Sixth President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City: The Deseret News Press, 1938).

    A comprehensive study of the life of Joseph F. Smith written by his son.