Chapter 9: The Restoration and the Coming Forth of New Scripture

Missionary Preparation Teacher Manual Religion 130, (2005), 60–67

The Restoration of the gospel in this dispensation includes the truths, covenants, ordinances, priesthood power, and priesthood keys of all former dispensations in their fulness. The Restoration established the kingdom of God on the earth in preparation for the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. As prophesied by the Lord when He visited the Nephites, the Book of Mormon would be a sign of the beginning of the promised gathering of the faithful (see 3 Nephi 21:1–7). Through prophets called of God, the Restoration burst forth with all its gospel light (see “The Glorious Gospel Light Has Shone,” Hymns, no. 283).

Joseph with the plates

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not just a 19th-century church, not an American church, and not simply a church that traces its origins to what is called the Christian era. In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the gospel of Christ taught, as it has been from before the foundations of the earth. This is the dispensation of the fulness of times—a dispensation of the gospel led by a prophet named Joseph, a dispensation when it has again been revealed that we are all children of a loving God” (M. Russell Ballard, “The Power of the Restoration” [seminar for new mission presidents, June 24, 2003], 4).

This chapter provides students with information and opportunities to teach the basic truths regarding the call of Joseph Smith as a prophet, the significance of the Book of Mormon, and the Restoration of the Lord’s true Church.

Doctrines and Principles to Understand

  • God called Joseph Smith to be the prophet of the Restoration.

  • Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon and brought forth other scriptures by the gift and power of God.

  • The Book of Mormon helps bring people to Christ.

  • The Book of Mormon is convincing evidence of the Restoration.

  • Under the direction of Jesus Christ, the priesthood and the Church were restored through His servants.

Teaching Suggestions

God called Joseph Smith to be the prophet of the Restoration.

Missionaries need to understand that what happened with the Prophet Joseph Smith fits the pattern that God has used from the beginning: He calls prophets, often by appearing personally to them; He gives revelation and scripture through the prophets; they teach the gospel principles as directed by Him; and we are invited to obey these teachings.

Your students will be better prepared to teach when they recognize that God has followed this pattern for revealing truth in our day. As their investigators understand this pattern, they will be better prepared to see how Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon fit into Heavenly Father’s plan.

Write the following pattern on the board:

  • God calls prophets and often appears personally to them.

  • He gives the prophets priesthood authority.

  • The prophets testify of Christ and teach the gospel, often recording their testimony and teachings in scripture.

  • The Holy Ghost confirms truth.

  • We are invited to obey.

Ask students to think of examples of any of these points from the Old Testament or Book of Mormon. Then ask the same question and have them suggest New Testament examples of any of these points. You may wish to list their answers on the board next to the corresponding statement. Testify that the Lord has repeatedly followed this pattern since the days of Adam.

  • Why do you think it is important for investigators to understand this pattern?

  • How did the Lord’s calling of the Prophet Joseph Smith fit this pattern?

  • Why was the calling of the Prophet Joseph Smith necessary for our day?

Ask students if they can think of a passage of scripture that has affected their life in a significant way. Have one or two share their scripture and how it influenced them.

Ask someone to quote James 1:5, and then read the following statement:

“A single sentence, twenty-six plain and simple words—these Spirit-authored words have had a great impact upon religion and all that appertains to it. Though they present a divine concept of universal application and were written for the guidance of all men, though they chart the course all must follow in their search for that religion which is pure and undefiled, and though they are a guide for all who seek the Lord and his saving truths—yet they were preserved through the ages for the especial guidance of that prophet who should usher in the dispensation of the fulness of times” (Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith [1985], 5).

Ask students to describe what made young Joseph Smith’s reading of this verse in James significantly different than any other person who has read it before or since. (Joseph’s prayer led to the First Vision and the Restoration of the gospel through him.)

Give students five minutes to read Joseph Smith—History 1:14–20. Then have students pair off and relate the story of the First Vision to one another in their own words and testify of its truth. Circulate among the students, listening and offering suggestions.

Read with students the statement by President Joseph F. Smith in the introduction to chapter 9 in the student manual (p. 72).

Write the following scriptures on the board: Doctrine and Covenants 1:17, 19; 135:3, 6; 136:37–38. Divide them among the class, and have students use the verses to develop several brief descriptions of the Prophet Joseph Smith’s role and work.

Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon and brought forth other scriptures by the gift and power of God.

Ask if there are any students who know a second language. Ask these students how long it took them to learn their new language. Hold up a copy of the Book of Mormon and ask students how long it would take to translate a book this size from one language to another.

DVD Track 15 Have a student read the statement by Elder Russell M. Nelson in the student manual regarding the time required to translate the Book of Mormon (p. 74), or you may choose to show DVD track 15 (1:27).

Read to students from the Prophet Joseph Smith’s own account in Joseph Smith—History 1:35 and from the following:

“With the records was found a curious instrument, which the ancients called ‘Urim and Thummim,’ which consisted of two transparent stones set in the rim of a bow fastened to a breast plate. Through the medium of the Urim and Thummim I translated the record by the gift and power of God” (History of the Church, 4:537).

  • Joseph Smith had to exercise faith in the translation procedure. According to Doctrine and Covenants 8:1–3, 10–11; 9:7–9, what other efforts were necessary for Joseph to translate using the gift and power of God?

  • What principles from these verses can you apply to your upcoming efforts to learn the restored gospel well enough to teach it?

In addition to the Book of Mormon, what other scriptures did the Prophet Joseph Smith bring forth by the gift and power of God? (List them on the board.)

Show students the descriptions of the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price under “Scriptures” in True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference (2004; pp. 157–59). Divide students into groups of three—one for each book of scripture. Ask the students in each group to prepare a brief and simple explanation for his or her book of scripture. Give each group time for each student to give the description to the other two in their group without using any notes. Challenge them to use descriptions and explanations that would be simple enough for a new investigator to understand. In addition, you may wish to encourage students to include in their explanations the value of the words of modern-day apostles and prophets (see D&C 1:38; 68:4). Ask group members to share with each other observations on what they liked about each presentation. Also recommend any changes that would improve their descriptions.

President Boyd K. Packer described the need for other scriptures brought forth by the Prophet Joseph Smith and the relationship the scriptures have with each other:

“Not all that God has said is in the Bible. Other scriptures—the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price—have equal validity, and they sustain one another” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1984, 81; or Ensign, Nov. 1984, 66).

The Book of Mormon helps bring people to Christ.

Share the following experience of Elder Jack H. Goaslind Jr. of the Seventy:

“While traveling to a conference, I sat next to a gentleman who had been in Salt Lake on business. He said he had found some of the members reluctant to talk about the Church with him.

“He asked me some questions about the youth program and the welfare program, and other things about the Church. Then he asked me, ‘Why is it that you Mormons are not Christians?’ …

“I said, ‘Why do you ask that question?’

“He answered, ‘When you got on the plane, you opened that book, the Book of Mormon, and not the Bible as a Christian would.’

“I asked him if he would read something in the Book of Mormon.

“He said, ‘If you are trying to sell me a Book of Mormon, I’m not interested.’

“I said, ‘Would you read one verse?’”

Ask the class what verse they think Elder Goaslind read to the man. Allow your students a minute or two to locate a verse in the Book of Mormon that shows our belief in Christ. Then have them read it to the class before continuing with Elder Goaslind’s story:

“I handed him my Book of Mormon, pointed out 2 Nephi 25:26, and asked him if he would read it. …

“After he read the scripture, we had a lengthy discussion on the Book of Mormon. I bore my testimony to him that it is another witness for Christ. Then I asked him if he would like the missionaries to come and teach him more about the gospel. He said he would like that. The missionaries taught this man and his family. They were eventually all baptized and became active members of the Church” (Introduction to the Scriptures: Part B Sunday School Course 13 [1985], 40).

  • What important missionary principles does this story illustrate?

  • Why do you think it helped when the man read a Christ-centered scripture from the Book of Mormon?

Read Moroni 10:32 with students, and ask them to look for what Moroni taught about why we need to come to Christ.

  • What crucial steps must an investigator take to “come unto Christ”? (Moroni 10:32). (Accept the first principles and ordinances of the gospel.)

Invite a few students to briefly share how their testimonies of the Savior have been influenced by studying the Book of Mormon.

The Book of Mormon is convincing evidence of the Restoration.

Have students read from the student manual the statement by President Gordon B. Hinckley and the first statement by President Ezra Taft Benson (see p. 76).

  • In what ways is the Book of Mormon convincing evidence of the Restoration?

  • If the Book of Mormon is true, then what must we conclude about Joseph Smith? priesthood authority? The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? revelation?

Have the class read President Benson’s second statement (see student manual, 76–77) and discuss how we can use the Book of Mormon to respond to objections. You might wish to write each step of the procedure on the board for reference. Suggest to the class a sample objection that missionaries might encounter, and then work through President Benson’s procedure to resolve the concern using the Book of Mormon.

  • How would you apply these four steps to address an objection to paying tithing?

Allow the class to work together through this objection, applying each of the four steps. Invite a student to summarize how he or she would encourage an investigator to study and pray about the Book of Mormon to know whether tithing is a commandment from God.

Divide the class into small groups of three or four, and assign each group an “objection.” Ask them to role-play, with an investigator offering an objection and missionaries guiding the investigator to Restoration scriptures and to the need to know if the Book of Mormon is true. You may wish to assign some of the following objections or some of your own: Word of Wisdom, Sabbath day, living prophets, other books of scripture besides the Bible, fasting.

Invite a few of the groups to share their role-playing lesson with the rest of the class. Ask students why they feel this approach would invite the Spirit more than debating with someone over the meaning of Bible scriptures would. Invite the class to provide feedback to the groups who taught. Testify that the Book of Mormon is our best tool for teaching the truth of the Restoration.

Under the direction of Jesus Christ, the priesthood and the Church were restored through His servants.

Write “May 15, 1829” and “April 6, 1830” on the board. Ask if students know the significance of May 15, 1829.

Assign a student to silently read the heading for Doctrine and Covenants 13 and be prepared to summarize it in his or her own words for the class. As the student prepares, ask class members the following questions:

  • How would you define the word priesthood? (You may wish to write their definition on the board.)

  • Why is priesthood authority necessary?

Have the assigned student present the summary of the heading for Doctrine and Covenants 13.

Share the following statement by President Boyd K. Packer:

“Remember, it was the resurrected John the Baptist, ‘under the direction of Peter, James and John, who held the keys of the Priesthood of Melchizedek,’ who came, in person, to restore the Aaronic Priesthood, and it was the resurrected Peter, James, and John who came, in person, to restore the Melchizedek Priesthood—facts in Church history except for which our claim to priesthood authority would be invalid” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1993, 23; or Ensign, May 1993, 20).

DVD Track 16 Ask students to explain why April 6, 1830, is important. Then read the following statement by Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, or you may choose to show DVD track 16 (1:18):

“April 6, 1830, is a significant date for Latter-day Saints. It is the day The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized. The translation and printing of the Book of Mormon had been completed, the priesthood had been restored, and now the Lord directed that His church should again be organized here on the earth.

“Prospective members of the Church gathered at the home of Peter Whitmer Sr. in Fayette, New York, for this special occasion. The meeting was simple. Joseph Smith, then twenty-four years of age, called the group to order and designated five associates to join with him in satisfying New York’s legal requirements for the incorporation of a religious society. After kneeling in solemn prayer, Joseph Smith proposed that he and Oliver Cowdery be called as teachers and spiritual advisers to the newly organized Church. Everyone raised his right arm … , and the pattern of sustaining Church leadership was established” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1994, 20; or Ensign, Nov. 1994, 17).

  • Why was it necessary for the priesthood to be restored before the Church was organized?

  • What difference will the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood make in the lives of your investigators?

  • Why do young men generally receive the Melchizedek Priesthood before serving full-time missions?

What kinds of preparations should a young man participate in to prepare himself to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood?

After responses, have students turn to Doctrine and Covenants 84:33–48 and select principles they think are important to understand about the oath and covenant of the priesthood. Discuss their findings as appropriate.

Suggested Assignments for Students

  • Teach one or more of the principles covered in this chapter in a home evening or other appropriate setting. Use basic scriptures and bear testimony of the truth of these principles. (It would be good practice to make a lesson plan before teaching.)

  • Memorize the following scriptures: Acts 2:37–38; 7:55–56; Ephesians 2:19–20; 4:11–14.

  • Memorize the two paragraphs of the introduction on the Book of Mormon title page.

  • Select and memorize key verses in Joseph Smith—History.