See also: Acts 3:21
It is left for us to see, participate in and help to roll forward the Latter-day glory, “the dispensation of the fulness of times, when God will gather together all things that are in heaven, and all things that are upon the earth, even in one,” (see Eph 1:10) when the Saints of God will be gathered in one from every nation, and kindred, and people, and tongue, when the Jews will be gathered together into one, the wicked will also be gathered together to be destroyed, as spoken of by the prophets; the Spirit of God will also dwell with His people, and be withdrawn from the rest of the nations, and all things whether in heaven or on earth will be in one, even in Christ. The heavenly Priesthood will unite with the earthly, to bring about those great purposes; and whilst we are thus united in the one common cause, to roll forth the kingdom of God, the heavenly Priesthood are not idle spectators, the Spirit of God will be showered down from above, and it will dwell in our midst. — Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 vols. 4:610
It is also very persuasive to me that no other religion claims to have the keys to bind family relationships eternally. President Hinckley said, “Every temple, be it large or small, old or new, is an expression of our testimony that life beyond the grave is as real and certain as is mortality.” Those who cherish their family have a compelling reason to claim the transcendent blessing of being sealed for eternity in the temples of God. For all grandparents, parents, husbands, wives, children, and grandchildren, this sealing power and authority is a crowning principle, a pinnacle in the restoration “of all things” through the Prophet Joseph Smith. Sealings bind forever. This blessing can be extended to those now living and also vicariously for those who have died, thus binding families for eternity. — President James E. Faust, Ensign, November 2003, p. 21
In the end, the purpose of this restoration is to reunite God and his children. The Atonement itself is not only a powerful process of union (at-one-ment), but of reunion. As Jacob said, “For [by] the atonement, . . . they are restored to that God who gave them breath” (2 Nephi 9:26). — John W. Welch, “New Testament Word Studies,” Ensign, April 1993, pp. 28-29
The God of heaven set up [this] kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, . . . and it shall stand for ever. (Dan. 2:44)
It grows because it satisfies the needs and desires of the human heart, regardless of age, sex, race, or language.
Speaking at this pulpit one hundred years ago, in 1886, Lorenzo Snow, then an Apostle and later the President of the Church, said: “A religious system is of but little account when it possesses no virtue nor power to better the condition of people spiritually, intellectually, morally and physically.” (In Journal of Discourses, 26:371.)
This gospel, when accepted and obeyed, meets the needs of men and women everywhere. It has the power to improve the individual in each of these categories – the spiritual, the intellectual, the moral, the physical. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Come and Partake,” Ensign, May 1986, p. 46
In general conference in October 1926, Elder Joseph Fielding Smith stated the following: I maintain that had there been no restoration of the gospel, and no organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, there would have been no radio; there would have been no airplane, and there would not have been the wonderful discoveries in medicine, chemistry, electricity, and the many other things wherein the world has been benefitted by such discoveries. Under such conditions these blessings would have been withheld, for they belong to the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times of which the restoration of the gospel and the organization of the Church constitute the central point, from which radiates the Spirit of the Lord throughout the world. The inspiration of the Lord has gone out and takes hold of the minds of men, though they know it not, and they are directed by the Lord. In this manner he brings them into his service that his purposes and his righteousness, in due time, may be supreme on the earth.
. . . I do not believe for one moment that these discoveries have come by chance, or that they have come because of superior intelligence possessed by men today over those who lived in ages that are past. They have come and are coming because the time is ripe, because the Lord has willed it, and because he has poured out his Spirit on all flesh. [Conference Report, October 1926, 117] — President Howard W. Hunter, “We Have a Work to Do,” Ensign, March 1995
This Church is the standard which Isaiah said the Lord would set up for the people in the latter days. This Church was given to be a light to the world and to be a standard for God’s people and for the Gentiles to seek to. This Church is the ensign on the mountain spoken of by the Old Testament prophets. It is the way, the truth, and the life. — President Marion G. Romney, Conference Report, April 1961, p. 119
I say of all these prophets, these apostles, these patriarchs, who have stood at the head of or figured in the dispensations of the past, that they are the friends of freedom, the champions of liberty, reflecting the light and power of Jesus Christ. And I say also that a measure of that same light and power, has rested upon other men, upon poets and philosophers, upon warriors and reformers, upon scientists, inventors and discoverers; who have played their parts according to the light given them, and have helped to prepare the way for the great consummation of the latter-days, then the restitution of all things is in prospect and in progress: when God has decreed to pour out His spirit upon all flesh and gather into one all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things upon the earth. — Elder Orson F. Whitney, Conference Report, October 1906
After centuries of spiritual darkness we solemnly announce to all the world that the spiritual famine is ended, the spiritual drought is spent, the word of the Lord in its purity and totalness is available to all men. One need not wander from sea to sea nor from the north to the east, seeking the true gospel as Amos predicted, for the everlasting truth is available. — President Spencer W. Kimball, Conference Report, April 1964, pp. 93-94
To you, this day, I affirm my witness of the calling of the Prophet Joseph, of his works, of the sealing of his testimony with his blood as a martyr to the eternal truth. Each of you can bear witness of the same thing. You and I are faced with the stark question of accepting the truth of the First Vision and that which followed it. On the question of its reality lies the very validity of this Church. If it is the truth, and I testify that it is, then the work in which we are engaged is the most important work on the earth. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, 178th Semiannual General Conference, October 2007
Either the gospel has been restored or it has not. Either the Savior’s original church and its doctrine were lost or they were not. Either Joseph Smith had that remarkable vision or he did not. The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ or it is not. Either the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ was restored to earth through God’s chosen latter-day prophet or it was not.
The truth really is not any more complicated than that. Either these things happened just as I have testified or they did not. As a latter-day Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, my testimony, and the testimony of millions of faithful members of the Church the world over, is that what I have told you this morning is true. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been restored to the earth through Joseph Smith and is administered today by a living prophet. These things I know! — Elder M. Russell Ballard, Conference Report, October 1994
In our day, when the predicted new revelation was to come as forecast in the scripture, again there was no prophet on the earth to receive it. No one believed in modern prophets. So what could God do? He raised up a new prophet in the person of Joseph Smith, who received the great new revelation. As part of it, he was visited by holy angels, as the Bible foretold. And why did angels come to Joseph Smith? Certainly not to satisfy his curiosity! Those angels came to him to ordain him and confer upon him divine authority and thereby qualify him to serve. In this way the restoration of the gospel was accomplished. — Elder Mark E. Peterson, Conference Report, October 1970
The reason why those of great mental ability, great God-given powers, may find their full soul’s satisfaction in the gospel, seems to me to be that the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ is not in the form of chunks or bits of truth, isolated truths, but in the form of great general principles or laws – principles which encompass thousands and tens of thousands of single truths – principles of truth that interpret and illustrate all the phenomena that we find as we journey through life. To know that the sun shines upon the earth, and in that way gives the earth energy, is an important and interesting fact, but it does not interpret the universe. The great law of gravitation, the law of the indestructibility of matter, and other such fundamental laws, however, do interpret not only the relationship of the sun to the earth, but innumerable of the varied facts of the universe. The basic principles of the gospel are of such comprehensive nature. They may be unyielding, they may never be departed from, but they point with certainty the road that men may travel to discover all the incidental truths that may be desirable in life. The mightiest intellect will never exhaust these great laws. Many religions upon the face of the earth rest upon one isolated truth. Each has taken a great, glittering, brilliant truth, and upon it has erected an elaborate system; but because it is only one truth of many belonging to a great principle – which principle is not understood in full – the system of religion is not likely to prevail forever among men. — Elder John A. Widtsoe, Conference Report, April 1921
The same Spirit of revelation that Moses had . . . has rested upon men that have held the keys of this Kingdom, whether it was during President [Brigham] Young’s life or at the present time – that same Spirit of revelation rests upon him who holds the presidency as senior apostle in the midst of the people of God. The apostles of this Church have all the authority, they have all the keys, and it is within the purview of their office and calling to have all the Spirit of revelation necessary to lead this people into the presence of the Lamb in the celestial kingdom of our God. . . . — Elder George Q. Cannon, Journal of Discourses, November 1879, 21:264, 268, 270, 271
There is only one plan of salvation. There is only one way for men to gain a celestial inheritance of eternal glory, and that is to forsake the world, have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, enter his kingdom through the door of baptism, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and then keep his commandments. We respect our Father’s other children of all sects, parties, and denominations, and have no desire except to see them receive the added light and knowledge that has come to us by revelation, and to become with us inheritors of the great blessings of the restoration of the gospel. But we have the plan of salvation; we administer the gospel; and the gospel is the sole hope of the world, the one way that will bring peace on earth and right the wrongs that exist in all nations. — President Joseph Fielding Smith, Ensign, September 1971, pp. 3-4
We are after the truth. We commenced searching for it, and we are constantly in search of it, and so fast as we find any true principle revealed by any man, by God, or by holy angels, we embrace it and make it part of our religious creed. — President John Taylor
When the Prophet Joseph was taken he had remained faithful and true, and he had the keys of the latter-day dispensation, and he has them today. And if you think that he has departed from this people, if you think that his influence and power are withdrawn from the brethren here whom God has appointed to preside over us in the Church, you are sadly mistaken. The spirit and power of Joseph are in this Church and with this Presidency. Joseph the Prophet, although he has gone from our midst, holds the keys of the last dispensation, and will hold them till the Lord comes. But there were others appointed to act in his stead, in the place he occupied in the flesh, and he still holds his priesthood and power and authority and the keys of the dispensation behind the veil. He is doing a far greater work there than he could accomplish in the flesh. He has a wider sphere of labor, and more power and influence, now that the infirmities of the flesh are gone. He is clothed with the power of the holy priesthood, and the keys thereof abide with him. And he is with this people, for “the powers of this priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers behind the veil;” and they, united together, will prevail over every power and influence that may be brought against them. — Elder Charles W. Penrose, General Conference, October 1905
Great was the Prophet Joseph Smith’s vision. It encompassed all the peoples of mankind, wherever they live, and all generations who have walked the earth and passed on. How can anyone, past or present, speak against him except out of ignorance? They have not tasted of his words, they have not pondered about him, nor prayed about him. As one who has done these things, I add my own words of testimony that he was and is a prophet of God, raised up as an instrument in the hands of the Almighty to usher in a new and final gospel dispensation. — President Gordon B. Hinckley,”Praise to the Man,” Ensign, August 1983, p. 6
May we live worthy of the glorious endowment of light and understanding and eternal truth which has come to us through all the perils of the past. Somehow, among all who have walked the earth, we have been brought forth in this unique and remarkable season. Be grateful, and above all be faithful. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Dawning of a Brighter Day,” Ensign, May 2004, p. 84
This Zion of the Lord, in all its beauty, power and glory is engraven upon the hands of Almighty God, and it is before his face continually; his decrees are set and no man can turn them aside. There never was a dispensation on the earth when prophets and apostles, the inspiration, revelation and power of God, the holy priesthood and the keys of the kingdom were needed more than they are in this generation. There never has been a dispensation when the friends of God and righteousness among the children of men needed more faith in the promises and prophecies than they do today, and there certainly never has been a generation of people on the earth that has had a greater work to perform than the inhabitants of the earth in the latter days. That is one reason why this church and kingdom has progressed from its commencement until today, in the midst of all the opposition, oppression and warfare which have been waged against it by men inspired by the evil one. If this had not been the dispensation of the fullness of times – the dispensation in which God has declared that he will establish his kingdom on the earth never more to be thrown down, the inhabitants of the earth would have been enabled to overcome the kingdom and Zion of God in this as well as in any former dispensation. But the set time has come to favor Zion, and the Lord Almighty has decreed in the heavens that every weapon formed against her shall be broken. — President Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses, 15:8-9
In many ways the gospel of Jesus Christ is like a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle. When Joseph Smith came on the scene, perhaps 100 pieces were in place. Then Joseph Smith came along and put many of the other 900 pieces in place so that people could say, “Oh, now I understand where I came from, why I am here, and where I am going.” As for Joseph Smith’s role in the Restoration, the Lord defined it clearly: “This generation shall have my word through you (D&C 5:10).” — Elder Tad R. Callister, “Joseph Smith – Prophet of the Restoration,” Ensign, November 2009, p. 37
We know that it is not a popular thing to teach that a backwoods boy from Vermont, reared in New England and trained on the frontier, was a prophet. But, popular or not, it is a fact! Joseph Smith was a prophet, and all of the calumny and aspersion to the contrary cannot controvert that fact. Anyone who has concern for the welfare of his eternal soul should give attention to this message. Every man who has lived since the days of Joseph Smith is subject to accepting him as a prophet of God in order to enter into our Heavenly Father’s presence. — Elder A. Theodore Tuttle, “The Message of the Restoration,” Ensign, June 1971, p. 70
From the revelations, we can see that a stake has at least four purposes:
1. Each stake, presided over by three high priests and supported by twelve men known as a high council, becomes a miniature Church to the Saints in a specific geographic area. The purpose is to unify and perfect the members who live in those boundaries by extending to them the Church programs, the ordinances, and gospel instruction.
2. Members of stakes are to be models, or standards, of righteousness.
3. Stakes are to be a defense. They do this as stake members unify under their local
priesthood officers and consecrate themselves to do their duty and keep their covenants. Those covenants, if kept, become a protection from error, evil, or calamity. We only build temples in stakes. The blessings and ordinances of the temple prepare one for exaltation. Of course, it is not possible for every stake to have a temple, but we are presently witnessing some remarkable – yes, miraculous – developments in the building of temples in different parts of the world. Such a program permits members of the Church to receive the full blessings of the Lord.
4. Stakes are a refuge from the storm to be poured out over the earth. — President Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, January 1991, pp. 4-5
No man of himself can lead this church. It is the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ; he is at the head. . . . He chooses men and calls them to be instruments in his hands to accomplish his purposes, and he guides and directs them in their labors. But men are only instruments in the Lord’s hands, and the honor and glory for all that his servants accomplish is and should be ascribed unto him forever. If this were the work of man, it would fail, but it is the work of the Lord, and he does not fail. — President Joseph Fielding Smith, Conference Report, April 1970, p. 113
I feel certain that the devil chuckles whenever this false opinion is expressed, for it pleases him that the minds of men have been so blinded to revealed truth by his cunning craftiness and deceit that they will believe any religion to be acceptable to God regardless of its tenets and ordinances or how or by whom those ordinances are administered. — Elder Delbert L. Stapley, Conference Report, April 1958, p. 115
On the day the Church was organized, and shortly thereafter, the word of the Lord came to the prophet-leader of this dispensation. After the announcement of the establishment of the church of Christ in these latter days, the Lord gave to the President of the Church commandments and “gave him power from on high,” first, to bring forth “a record of a fallen people, and the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ” (D&C 20:8-9); then, to be a light to the world and a standard for Church members and for those who are not members to seek for it (D&C 45:9); third, to prepare a people ready to receive the coming of the Lord; and finally, to teach the fullness of the gospel with power unto all nations (see Documentary History of the Church, vol. 4, p. 537). — President Harold B. Lee, “Teach the Gospel of Salvation,” Ensign, January 1973, p. 60
Jesus foretold that in our day there would be false Christs and false prophets, meaning that false religions bearing his name would arise, and that false doctrines and false teachers would be everywhere.
Amid it all may we raise the one voice which echoes the mind and will and voice of the Lord. Our voice is one which testifies of a true and living Christ; it is one which says that the Lord Jesus has revealed himself and his gospel anew in modern times; it is a voice which invites all men to come to Him who died on Calvary, and to live his laws as he has given them to modern prophets. — Elder Bruce R. McConkie, “Come, Know the Lord Jesus,” Ensign, May 1977
We are ofttimes charged with being very exclusive, and we admit the charge; we are exclusive, but in a rational sense. How can we solemnly testify that this is the Church of Jesus Christ and then ascribe that same high title to other organizations that have been formed not under the direction of Jesus Christ, but according to man’s thoughts and plans? Some people say that we are illiberal because we do not admit that all other churches are what they profess to be, when their profession is based on facts. Now when we say that the Lord is not pleased with those churches, we do not mean that he is not pleased with the members thereof. We hold that God is no respecter of persons, but, on the contrary, that he will acknowledge good in any soul, no matter whether that person belongs to a church or not. But the Lord is not pleased with those churches that have been constructed by men and then labeled with his name. He is not pleased with those doctrines that are being taught as being his doctrines when they are only the effusion of men’s brains, undirected by inspiration and utterly lacking in revelation. — Elder James E. Talmage, Conference Report, October 1928, p. 120
What is the first thing necessary to the establishment of his kingdom? It is to raise up a Prophet and have him declare the will of God; the next is to have people yield obedience to the word of the Lord through that Prophet. If you cannot have these, you never can establish the kingdom of God upon the earth. — President John Taylor, The Gospel Kingdom, 214; Journal of Discourses 6:25