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What was Joseph Smith’s role in the Restoration?

After centuries of apostasy, the Lord restored His Church and the fulness of the gospel through the Prophet Joseph Smith. This Restoration began with Joseph’s First Vision, in which Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared. Through the Prophet Joseph, the Lord brought forth the Book of Mormon and other scriptures, restored priesthood authority, and established His Church.

Prepare yourself spiritually

As you prepare, prayerfully study these scriptures and resources. What do you feel will be most meaningful to the young women you teach?

D&C 35:17–18 (Through the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord restored the fulness of the gospel)

D&C 76:22–24 (Joseph Smith’s testimony of Jesus Christ)

D&C 135:3 (Through the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord gave us additional scripture)

Joseph Smith—History 1:1–25 (God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith in answer to his prayer)

Neil L. Andersen, “Faith Is Not by Chance, but by Choice,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2015, 65–68

Neil L. Andersen, “Joseph Smith,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2014, 28–31

Lawrence E. Corbridge, “The Prophet Joseph Smith,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 103–5

“The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through Joseph Smith,” Preach My Gospel (2004), 36–37

Joseph Smith,” True to the Faith (2004), 89–90

Video: “Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration,”

Praise to the Man,” Hymns, no. 27

Share experiences

At the beginning of each class, invite the young women to share, teach, and testify about the experiences they have had applying what they learned in the previous week’s lesson. This will encourage personal conversion and help the young women see the relevance of the gospel in their daily lives.

Introduce the doctrine

Choose from these ideas or think of your own to introduce this week’s lesson:

  • In advance, perhaps two or three weeks before class, invite the young women to accept Elder Neil L. Andersen’s challenge: “Gain a personal witness of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Let your voice help fulfill Moroni’s prophetic words to speak good of the Prophet.” Encourage the young women to follow Elder Andersen’s counsel to share scriptures in the Book of Mormon with their friends and family, “acknowledging that Joseph was an instrument in God’s hands,” and to read the Prophet’s testimony. (See “Joseph Smith,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2014, 30.) At the beginning of class, ask them to share the scriptures they chose and any impressions they had as they read Joseph Smith’s testimony.
  • Write on the board, “Joseph Smith is important because __________.” Invite the young women to fill in the blank. At the end of class, ask the young women to fill in the blank again with something they learned during the lesson.

Learn together

Each of the activities below can help the young women learn about the divine mission of Joseph Smith. Following the guidance of the Spirit, select one or more that will work best in your class:

  • Invite each young woman to make a list of things she learns as she reads about Joseph Smith in True to the Faith (pages 89–90) or Doctrine and Covenants 135:3. Ask each young woman to share one thing from her list and explain why it is meaningful to her.
  • As a class, sing a hymn about Joseph Smith (use the topical index at the back of the hymnbook to find a hymn). What does this hymn teach the young women about Joseph Smith and the Restoration? Let members of the class share their feelings about and testimony of the Prophet.
  • Invite the young women to read about Joseph Smith’s First Vision in Joseph Smith—History 1:7–25, looking for gospel truths they find in the account (such as truths about the nature of God, the power of prayer, or the Great Apostasy). How do these truths affect our lives?
  • Ask the young women to imagine that a friend of another faith asks, “Why is Joseph Smith so important in your Church?” Invite them to look for possible answers to this question in the video “Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration” or in Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge’s talk “The Prophet Joseph Smith.” You could also read the section titled “Honest Questions” from Elder Neil L. Andersen’s talk “Faith Is Not by Chance, but by Choice” to help them learn how they can respond to criticism about Joseph Smith.
  • Display several pictures depicting events in Joseph Smith’s life (see Gospel Art Book, 89–97). Ask the young women to describe the events depicted. If possible, help them find scriptures that describe the event (possible scriptures are suggested at the beginning of the Gospel Art Book). Invite a few of them to share their testimonies of Joseph Smith.

Ask the young women to share what they learned today. Do they understand the role of Joseph Smith in the Restoration of the gospel? What feelings or impressions do they have? Do they have any additional questions? Would it be helpful to spend more time on this doctrine?

Live what we are learning

Invite the young women to consider how they will live what they have learned today. For example, they could:

  • Write their testimonies of Joseph Smith in their journals.
  • Share their testimonies with their families.