Chapter 19: The Church of Jesus Christ Today

"Chapter 19: The Church of Jesus Christ Today," Part Six: The Church of Jesus Christ, ()


Where can we find the true gospel of Jesus Christ today?

For Many Years the Church of Jesus Christ Was Not on the Earth

Jesus organized His Church when He was on the earth. His Church stayed on the earth for a time after He returned to heaven. When the people stopped teaching and believing His true teachings, Jesus took the priesthood and His Church from the earth.

For many years, people lived without the true gospel and Church of Jesus Christ. The people organized many churches, based on their own ideas and some teachings from the Bible. But these churches did not have our Father in Heaven’s priesthood. They did not have all the teachings of Jesus. They did not have continual revelation from Jesus. They did not have all the spiritual gifts.

The people began to want to know the truth about our Father in Heaven. They began to search for the truth about our Father in Heaven and His teachings. Some of them realized that the true gospel and Church of Jesus Christ were no longer on the earth. Our Father in Heaven knew that the time had come to restore the true gospel and Church of Jesus Christ to the earth.

Discussion

  • Why did Jesus take the priesthood from the earth?

  • Why were the churches that people organized not the Church of Jesus Christ?

Our Father in Heaven Kept His Promise to Bring Back the True Church

Our Father in Heaven loves all His children. He wants them to know what they have to do in order to live with Him after they die and are resurrected. Before taking the true Church of Jesus Christ away from the earth, Jesus told the prophets and Apostles that this would happen. He also promised that He would someday restore the Church to the earth. He would do this when there were again people who were ready to receive the true gospel.

Jesus Has Restored His Church to the Earth

Jesus has restored His Church to the earth with the same authority and blessings as the Church He organized while He lived on the earth. Every person who is willing to obey His commandments can become a member of His Church.

Our Father in Heaven Chose Joseph Smith to Help Restore the Church

In the year 1820, Jesus began to restore the true gospel and Church to the earth. A young man named Joseph Smith wanted to know which church was the Church of Jesus Christ. He read in the Bible that a person who wants to know something should ask our Father in Heaven. He decided to ask our Father in Heaven which church he should join. He went into the forest near his home and asked our Father in Heaven which church he should join. Our Father in Heaven and Jesus appeared to Joseph Smith. Our Father in Heaven told Joseph to listen to Jesus and to obey Him. Jesus then told Joseph not to join any of the churches. He said the true Church was not on the earth.

Such a revelation from our Father in Heaven had not been received since the true gospel and Church of Jesus Christ were taken away from the earth. Since that revelation, many other revelations have come. Our Father in Heaven chose Joseph Smith to represent Him on earth. Jesus restored the true gospel and Church of Jesus Christ through Joseph Smith.

Discussion

  • Why did Joseph Smith see a vision?

The Priesthood Was Restored

The priesthood was restored to the earth in 1829. John the Baptist came from heaven and gave some of the authority of the priesthood to Joseph Smith by laying his hands on Joseph’s head. This priesthood authority is called the Aaronic Priesthood. John the Baptist, who restored this priesthood authority, was the same person who had baptized Jesus. Peter, James, and John, three of Jesus’ early Apostles, also came and gave Joseph more priesthood authority. This priesthood authority is called the Melchizedek Priesthood.

Other prophets, including Moses and Elijah, also came and gave to Joseph Smith authority to do other sacred works. The authority from our Father in Heaven to teach the gospel, to do sacred works, and to lead the Church is on the earth again.

Discussion

  • How did Joseph Smith first receive the priesthood?

Jesus Organized His Church Again

Through revelation, Jesus directed Joseph Smith to organize His Church again, on 6 April 1830. Jesus was the head of His Church when He was living on earth. He is the head of His Church now. The members of His Church are still called Saints.

Jesus named His Church today The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The words Latter-day show that this is the Church of Jesus Christ in a later time of the earth. Jesus said that this Church is the only true Church in the whole world and that He is pleased with it.

Jesus chooses a prophet to lead the Church on earth. Jesus directs this prophet. He gives this prophet the authority to lead the Church. Joseph Smith was the first prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The prophet of the Church is also called the President of the Church. The President has men who help him. They are called Counselors. When the prophet dies, Jesus chooses a new prophet to take his place.

Jesus also chooses twelve Apostles to help lead the Church. Men chosen to be members of the Quorums of the Seventy help the Apostles and the President. Other good men and boys also receive the priesthood and serve in the Church. They are called high priests, elders, bishops, priests, teachers, and deacons, just as they were called in the earlier Church of Jesus Christ.

Jesus told Joseph Smith how His Church must be organized. When the Church is completely organized in an area, that area is known as a stake.* A president leads the stake. He has two counselors to help him.

A stake is divided into smaller areas. These areas are known as wards.* A priesthood leader called a bishop leads the ward. He has two counselors to help him.

In areas where stakes have not been organized yet, there may be districts,* which are made up of branches. Branches are led by a president and two counselors. The areas where there are many missionaries teaching the gospel are called missions.*

Men Who Have the Priesthood Are Organized into Quorums

Men who hold the priesthood are organized into groups called quorums. A priesthood quorum is a group of men who hold the same office in the priesthood. They join together to help each other and other people.

Discussion

  • Who is the head of the Church of Jesus Christ today?

  • What are the men called who help to lead the Church?

The Church Today Is Organized the Same Way As the Church That Jesus Organized When He Was on the Earth

Jesus Still Leads His Church by Revelation

Through the Holy Ghost, Jesus tells the prophet how he should lead the Church. He also reveals to the Apostles and other leaders of the Church what He wants them to do. Through revelation, Jesus continually guides the members of His Church.

Anyone Can Become a Member of the Church

Anyone can become a member of the Church of Jesus Christ now in the same way that people joined His Church when He was on the earth. The person must have faith in Jesus and repent. The person must be baptized. After the person is baptized, he or she receives the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Discussion

  • What do we have to do to join the Church of Jesus Christ now?

Members of the Church Today Receive Spiritual Gifts

Jesus always gives spiritual gifts to the members of His Church. All these spiritual powers are in the Church today.

Discussion

  • What are some of the spiritual gifts? (See chapter 16.)

Jesus Restored His True Teachings

Jesus has restored the teachings that He and His Apostles taught. The basic teachings are faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost. Some important truths that Jesus has given His Church are:

  1. 1.

    Our Father in Heaven has a body of flesh and bones.

  2. 2.

    We are spirit children of our Father in Heaven. We lived with Him in heaven as spirits before we were born on earth.

  3. 3.

    We will be punished only for our own sins and not for what Adam did. Many people believe that because Adam and Eve ate some of the forbidden fruit, we, their children, are sinful when we are born. This is not true. Children are not sinful when they are born. They are innocent. Therefore, they do not need to be baptized until they are eight years old.

  4. 4.

    A man must have the priesthood in order to perform the ordinances* (see chapter 21) of the Church of Jesus Christ.

Discussion

  • What are some of Jesus’ teachings that He has given to people again?

The Church of Jesus Christ Will Never Again Be Taken from the Earth

Now that the true Church of Jesus Christ, priesthood authority, and gospel have been restored to the earth, they will never be taken from the earth again. Our Father in Heaven said that He would set up a kingdom that would never be destroyed. This kingdom is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It will continue forever.

Many people have joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There are members of the Church in many countries of the world. More and more people will continue to join the Church. All of the children of our Father in Heaven will hear the gospel and have a chance to accept it.

Discussion

  • What can you do to help others to hear about the gospel of Jesus Christ so that they can join His Church?

References

For Many Years the Church of Jesus Christ Was Not on the Earth

  • Isaiah 24:5 (The people would change the true teachings.)

  • Amos 8:11–12 (The prophet said that people would not know how to find the true word of our Father in Heaven.)

  • 4 Nephi 1:26–29 (The people made their own churches.)

Our Father in Heaven Kept His Promise to Bring Back the True Church

  • Isaiah 2:2–4 (Our Father in Heaven would establish His kingdom in the latter days.)

  • 2 Nephi 3:6–15 (A prophet named Joseph would help to restore the truth to the earth.)

The Church Today Is Organized the Same Way As the Church That Jesus Organized When He Was on the Earth

  • Acts 3:20–21 (The prophets said all things would be restored.)

  • 2 Nephi 29:9 (Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever.)

  • Moroni 10:7–19 (Jesus gives the same spiritual gifts yesterday, today, and forever.)

The Church of Jesus Christ Will Never Again Be Taken from the Earth