Prelude to the Restoration

Church History in the Fulness of Times Teacher Manual, (2001), 1


  1. 1.

    The Lord revealed the fulness of the gospel to Adam and Eve. Since then there has been a continual cycle of apostasies from the truth followed by divinely inspired restorations of the gospel of Christ.

  2. 2.

    A Great Apostasy followed the organization of the Church of Jesus Christ in the dispensation of the meridian of time.

  3. 3.

    Significant preparation was necessary for a successful restoration of the gospel to take place in the dispensation of the fulness of times.

    Suggested Approaches

  • The following questions may be useful in generating class discussion:

    • What were some of the causes and consequences of the Apostasy?

    • What are the various factors discussed in the student manual that opened the way for the Restoration of the gospel?

    • How should Latter-day Saints regard the contributions of reformers like Luther and Calvin?

    • What is the relationship between the establishment of religious freedom in America and the Restoration of the gospel? Why would it have been more difficult for the gospel to have been restored elsewhere?

  • Assign a few of your students to read some of the Ensign articles on the Apostasy. Have them each give a two- to three-minute summary of what they learned.

    Theme Sources

  • History of the Church, 1:xxiii–xciv.

    An overview of the major dispensations since the days of Adam with emphasis on the universal Apostasy preceding the Restoration of the gospel in the dispensation of the fulness of times.

  • Comprehensive History of the Church, 1:xxix–xlv.

    Overview of the major dispensations with emphasis on the universal Apostasy.

  • Readings in LDS Church History, 1:1–9.

    A brief survey of thinking about religion in the United States at the beginning of the nineteenth century.

  • Stephen E. Robinson, “Warring against the Saints of God,” Ensign, Jan. 1988, pp. 34–39.

    Focuses on the “great and abominable church,” and how the Apostasy occurred primarily between the second half of the first century and the middle of the second century.

  • Hans-Wilhelm Kelling, “Martin Luther: The First Forty Years: In Remembrance of the 500th Anniversary of His Birth,” Brigham Young University Studies, Spring 1983, pp. 131–46.

    Focuses on Martin Luther’s major arguments and contributions and identifies some of the limitations of his reform efforts.

  • Milton V. Backman, Jr., “Preparing the Way: The Rise of Religious Freedom in New England,” Ensign, Jan. 1989, pp. 16–19.

    Covers events that helped to bring about religious freedom in the United States in preparation for the Restoration of the gospel.

    Additional Sources

  • T. Edgar Lyon, “Teaching the Apostasy,” Improvement Era, June 1958, pp. 394–95, 470–71.

    Lists potential pitfalls and recommends emphases teachers should give while teaching the Apostasy.

  • James L. Barker, Apostasy from the Divine Church (Salt Lake City: Kate Montgomery Barker, 1960).

    Former Melchizedek Priesthood text that provides a general treatment of the Apostasy.

  • James E. Talmage, The Great Apostasy (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1953).

    A general treatment of the Apostasy that preceded Joseph Smith and the Restoration.

  • Milton V. Backman, Jr., “Preliminaries to the Restoration,” Improvement Era, Oct. 1958, pp. 723–24, 769–71, 773, 779; Nov. 1958, pp. 846–48, 850, 852, 854, 883.

    Suggests why the early nineteenth century was the most opportune time since the Apostasy to reestablish the Lord’s true Church.