those crazy mormon's: the restoration of the gospel through joseph smith

"Those Crazy Mormons" is a blog series dedicated to answering common questions about Mormon beliefs, culture, and history. If you have further comments or questions, please feel free to 
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When the circumstances were right, God again called a prophet to open a new dispensation. This prophet was Joseph Smith and through him, the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ was restored to earth. 

Where did Joseph Smith live?

He lived in the United States, which was perhaps the only country to enjoy religious freedom at the time. It was a time of great religious excitement, and even Joseph's family was deeply religious and were constantly seeking truth.

What prepared Joseph to be the vessel with which God could restore his church?

Many ministers claimed to have the true gospel. Joseph desired “to know which of all the sects was right,” The Bible taught there was “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5) which confused Joseph because there were so many churches teaching so many different things.
Joseph's Own Words: 
“So great were the confusions and strife among the different denominations, that it was impossible for a person young as I was … to come to any certain conclusion who was right and who was wrong. … In the midst of this war of words and tumult of opinions, I often said to myself: What is to be done? Who of all these parties are right; or, are they all wrong together? If any one of them be right, which is it, and how shall I know it?”
Joseph often turned to the Bible for guidance. And when he read James 1:5, he found his answer. He read, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." This passage led Joseph to ask God what he should do. In the spring of 1820 he went to a nearby grove of trees and knelt in prayer. 
What happened when Joseph asked God which church he should join?
He described his experience:
“I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. … When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!” 
What did Joseph learn in this vision?
In this vision God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, appeared to Joseph Smith. The Savior told Joseph not to join any of the churches. Even though many good people believed in Christ and tried to understand and teach His gospel, they did not have the fullness of truth or the priesthood authority to baptize and perform other saving ordinances. 
The state of apostasy had led to changed in the doctrines and in ordinances such as baptism. Just as God had done with other prophets, he showed His gospel to Joseph.
After the appearance of the Father and the Son, other heavenly messengers, or angels, were sent to Joseph Smith and his associate Oliver Cowdery. 
Who else came to visit Joseph Smith? 
John the Baptist appeared and conferred upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery the Aaronic Priesthood, which includes the authority to perform the ordinance of baptism. Peter, James, and John (three of Christ’s original Apostles) appeared and conferred the Melchizedek Priesthood upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. The priesthood restored the same authority given to Christ’s Apostles anciently. 
What did Joseph do with this authority?
With this priesthood authority, Joseph Smith was directed to organize the Church of Jesus Christ again on the earth. Through him, Jesus Christ called twelve Apostles to help run the church in these days.
Why do Mormon's refer to our time as "the latter days?"
The time in which we live is referred to by Bible prophets as the last days, the latter days, or the dispensation of the fulness of times. It is the period of time just before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. It is the final dispensation. This is why the Church is named The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Is there still a prophet now?
A living prophet directs the Church today. This prophet, the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is the authorized successor to Joseph Smith. He and the present Apostles trace their authority to Jesus Christ in an unbroken chain of ordinations through Joseph Smith.
The prophet today is Thomas S. Monson. He leads and guides the church under authority from God. And although we do not worship our prophets (We worship God), we revere our prophets for their sacrifices, love and guidance.
Other Posts in This Series:

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1 comment:

Jessica Cook said...

Hey Brooklyn! I found your blog through From A to Z and I love it! I'm very curious about your church and feel a pull to it. I've started reading the Book of Mormon in the mornings and find reading yours, Ashley's, and a few other blogs is really opening my eyes to how beautiful your church is! The reason I'm writing to you on this post is because I'm curious about your president/prophet. How is he chosen? Is it via election like the US president or is it just something that people know because God has decided who will be next? Thanks so much for take the time to answer, when you have a chance! ~Jessica