Lesson 23

The Savior Restored His Priesthood, Church, and Gospel

“Lesson 23: The Savior Restored His Priesthood, Church, and Gospel,” Jesus Christ and the Everlasting Gospel Teacher Manual (2015)


Introduction

Modern Apostles have testified: “We declare in words of solemnity that [Jesus Christ’s] priesthood and His Church have been restored upon the earth” (“The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles,” Ensign or Liahona, Apr. 2000, 3). As you teach this lesson, help students understand that as part of His eternal ministry, the Savior directed the Restoration of the gospel and His Church through the Prophet Joseph Smith. A careful study of the Doctrine and Covenants reveals that Jesus Christ directs the kingdom of God on the earth.

Background Reading

Suggestions for Teaching

Joseph Smith—History 1:18–20

Jesus Christ restored His Church in the latter days

Begin class by asking students to list some important questions someone might ask Heavenly Father. After several responses, invite a student to read Joseph Smith—History 1:18–19 aloud. Then ask:

  • What question did Joseph Smith ask Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ?

  • How did Jesus Christ respond? (Consider pointing out that verse 20 records that the Savior reiterated His answer: “He again forbade me to join with any of them.”)

  • If all of the churches were “wrong,” what needed to happen in order for the Lord’s Church to be on the earth? (There needed to be a restoration of the Lord’s New Testament Church.)

Display the following statement by President James E. Faust (1920–2007) of the First Presidency, and ask a student to read it aloud:

President James E. Faust

“We believe The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a restoration of the original Church established by Jesus Christ, which was built ‘upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone’ [Ephesians 2:20]. It is not a breakoff from any other church” (“The Restoration of All Things,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2006, 68).

  • What does it mean when we say that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a restoration of the Savior’s Church established in New Testament times?

Tell students that there is not enough time in class to compare every element of the Lord’s primitive (meaning original) Church with the restored Church. However, you may want to have students review Luke 6:13; 10:1; Acts 14:23; Ephesians 4:11; Philippians 1:1; and Titus 1:5 and identify elements of the organizational structure of the primitive Church that also exist in the Church today. (For more examples, encourage students to read “What Is the Blueprint of Christ’s Church?” by Brother Tad R. Callister, Sunday School general president, which is listed in the Student Readings section of this lesson.) Display the following statement by Brother Callister, and ask a student to read it aloud:

Tad R. Callister

“If one were to match … Christ’s original Church against every church in the world today, he would find that point for point, organization for organization, teaching for teaching, ordinance for ordinance, fruit for fruit, and revelation for revelation, it will only match one—The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” (“What Is the Blueprint of Christ’s Church?” [Church Educational System devotional for young adults, Jan. 12, 2014]; LDS.org).

  • Why is it important to have a testimony that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a restoration of the Savior’s original Church? (Such a testimony helps us recognize that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s true Church on the earth today. Since the Lord is the same yesterday, today, and forever, we should expect His Church to contain the same elements in every dispensation.)

Doctrine and Covenants 1:17, 38; 18:34–35

Jesus Christ directs the work of the Restoration

Invite students to scan Joseph Smith—History 1:17 and identify what Heavenly Father commanded Joseph Smith to do (listen to His Son). Then read aloud the following statement by President Joseph Fielding Smith (1876–1972):

President Joseph Fielding Smith

“All revelation since the fall has come through Jesus Christ” (Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954–56], 1:27).

To illustrate this truth, invite students to read silently Doctrine and Covenants 1:17, 38; 18:34–35 with the following question in mind: How do these verses help us better understand the truth that Jesus Christ guides and directs His Church through revelation? After sufficient time, invite students to share what they found.

Display the following statement by Elder Gary J. Coleman of the Seventy, and ask a student to read it aloud:

Elder Gary J. Coleman

“The Doctrine and Covenants is a latter-day testament of the ministry of Jesus Christ to the children of God through prophets and servants of God, and it illustrates the divine pattern of revelation that guides the Church and its members today” (“You Shall Have My Word: The Personal Ministry of Jesus Christ in the Restoration,” in You Shall Have My Word: Exploring the Text of the Doctrine and Covenants, ed. Scott C. Esplin, Richard O. Cowan, and Rachel Cope, The 41st Annual Brigham Young University Sidney B. Sperry Symposium [2012], 3).

  • According to Elder Coleman, why is the Doctrine and Covenants important to the Church today? (It is a latter-day testament of the ministry of Jesus, and it shows how revelation leads the Church today.)

  • Why do you think it is important for Heavenly Father’s children to understand the truth Elder Coleman taught?

handout iconTestify that the Savior’s appearances, revelations, and bestowal of priesthood powers and keys during the Restoration are a significant part of His eternal ministry. To help students see more specifically how the Savior directed the Restoration of the everlasting gospel and His Church in the latter days, display the following chart or provide it to students as a handout (do not include the phrases in parentheses):

handout, Savior Directs the Work of the Restoration

The Savior Directs the Work of the Restoration

Doctrines of the Church

Ordinances of the Church

Leadership of the Church

Doctrine and Covenants 76 section heading and summary (Kingdoms of glory, life after death)

Doctrine and Covenants 84:33–39 (Oath and covenant of the priesthood)

Doctrine and Covenants 128:1, 15, 18 (Proxy baptism for the dead)

Doctrine and Covenants 131:1–4 (Celestial marriage necessary for exaltation)

Doctrine and Covenants 137:6–10; 138:29–35 (Those who die without knowledge of the truth will have opportunity for redemption)

Doctrine and Covenants 20:37, 72–74 (Requirements for and correct mode of baptism)

Doctrine and Covenants 20:70 (Blessing of children)

Doctrine and Covenants 20:75–77, 79 (Administration of the sacrament)

Doctrine and Covenants 124:33–39 (Temple ordinances)

Doctrine and Covenants 132:7, 15–20 (Eternal marriage)

Doctrine and Covenants 20:38–59 (Duties of priesthood offices)

Doctrine and Covenants 20:61–62 (Conducting of regular Church conferences)

Doctrine and Covenants 26:2 (Common consent)

Doctrine and Covenants 107:22–27, 33–35, 64–67, 85–91 (Duties of Church leadership)

Divide the class into three groups and assign each group a column to study. Invite each student to read three or four of the references in their assigned column and prepare to answer the following questions:

  • What did the Savior restore to the earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith?

  • Why are the principles or practices you discovered important?

After several minutes, invite students to share what they discovered. As they share, emphasize that Jesus Christ directs the work of the Restoration. If needed, ask questions similar to the following:

  • Why is it important to understand that Jesus continues to direct the work of His Church and its leaders?

  • What experiences have helped you to know that this Church is the Church of Jesus Christ?

Time permitting, ask a student to read aloud Doctrine and Covenants 1:30. Then ask the class:

  • After considering what we have discussed today, why is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth”? (Because it is the only church on earth with divine authority to teach the true gospel of Jesus Christ, administer the necessary ordinances of salvation, and receive continuing revelation through the Lord’s appointed servants.)

To conclude the lesson, consider asking a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 76:40–42 aloud as the class follows along. Testify that these verses are a summary of the Savior’s eternal ministry. Challenge students to consider what they can do to honor Jesus Christ, who performed the Atonement so we might be sanctified, cleansed, and saved in the Father’s kingdom.

Student Readings