The Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ

The Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ

Joseph Smith First VisionMormons believe Jesus Christ established a church during His ministry in New Testament times to teach people and allow them to receive His gospel on earth. The priesthood of God existed in the Church. When Jesus Christ ascended to heaven, His apostles were given the priesthood power, and they continued to receive revelation from the Lord on how to direct the work of His Church. The Church continued to exist under the authority of the priesthood, and the apostles recorded much in the scriptures and taught the gospel of Christ to the people. However, the apostles were increasingly rejected, and the Church of Christ began to fall away from the teaching of the true gospel. Many of the apostles of Christ were killed by the wicked. The priesthood, along with the true Church of Christ, was taken from the earth.

Christians began to be persecuted heavily during the first century and the time of the Roman Empire. By the end of the third century, all true Christians were extinct. The Lord could no longer speak to His people because there was no one on earth to receive revelation. The world was in a state of spiritual darkness. Mankind could not receive instruction from God, so people began to interpret the scriptures in their own false ways. Man was left to his own wisdom. This caused much confusion and many wrong ideas about God, Christ, and the true Church of the Lord.

Mormons believe that this does not mean Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ completely ignored mankind. The Lord is forever conscious of His children on earth. There were events in history that prepared the world for the return of the Church of Christ to the earth. Mormons believe that Christopher Columbus and other explorers were led to the Americas as part of God's plan. The new land provided a place where a just government could arise--a government that had built into its framework a tolerance for all religion.

Mormonism teaches that the restoration of Christ's Church came about through Joseph Smith, Jr. In 1820, at the age of fourteen and living in New York, Joseph was confused about the many different religions in existence. There was turmoil between various sects, and Joseph decided to find out for himself which was the true religion of God. He read in the New Testament,

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.(James 1:5)

Joseph decided to take the advice in this chapter: he went into the forest behind his home and knelt and sought the Father in earnest prayer. At that time, the Restoration of the Christ's Church began. According to the record of Joseph Smith and Mormon belief, God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph, instructing him that none of the churches on earth were correct. From that point on, what is known today as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gradually came into existence. The Prophet Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon by the power of God, and the official priesthood of the Lord was renewed to the earth; this authority allowed Joseph to organize the Church.

Mormons believe the authority to act in God's name has truly and fully been restored. There are again apostles on the earth, and a prophet of God leads the Church through revelation and the power of the priesthood. Mormonism teaches that the Church was restored to prepare the world and its people for the Second Coming of the Savior Jesus Christ to the earth. Mormons believe that mankind today is living in the 'latter days,' meaning that there is not much time left before Jesus Christ will come again to the earth and reign as King of kings and Lord of lords. The priesthood of God and His Church will never again be taken from the earth.