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Restoration (Latter Day Saints)

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Restoration (Latter Day Saints)

In the Latter Day Saint movement, the restoration refers to the return of the priesthood and the Church of Christ to the earth after a period of apostasy. While in some ways the term may refer solely to the early history of the religion, in other contexts the term is used in a way to include the time that has elapsed from these early days until the present. Especially in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) "the restoration" is often used as a term to encompass the religious messages of the church down to the present.[1]

The restoration is associated with a number of events that occurred which are understood to have been necessary to re-establish the early Christian church found in the New Testament, and to prepare the earth for the Second Coming of Jesus.[2] In particular, Latter Day Saints believe that angels appeared to Joseph Smith and others and bestowed various priesthood authority on them.


According to the LDS Church, the Great Apostasy in Christianity began not long after the ascension of Jesus Christ.[3] It was marked with the corruption of Christian doctrine by Greek and other philosophies,[4] with followers dividing into different ideological groups,[5] and the martyrdom of the Apostles[6] which lead to a loss of priesthood authority to administer the church and its ordinances.[7]

With all priesthood authorities either martyred, taken from the earth, or teaching impure doctrines, there was a break in apostolic succession, and what remained was a mere fragment of the church established by Jesus.[3] The Christian believers who survived the persecutions took it upon themselves to speak for God, interpret, amend or add to his doctrines and ordinances, and carry out his work without proper authority and divine direction from God. During this time, important doctrines and rites were lost or corrupted. Latter-day Saints specifically reject the early ecumenical councils for what they see as misguided human attempts to decide matters of doctrine without divine assistance, substituting debate and politics for divine revelation.

Latter-day Saints claim that various Old Testament and New Testament scriptures, including teachings of Christ himself, prophesy of this "falling away" or "apostasy."[8][9][10] Thus, Latter-day Saints refer to the "restitution of all things" mentioned in Acts 3:20-21 and claim that a restoration of all the original and primary doctrines and rites of Christianity was necessary.[11] Adherents believe that important historical events such as the Protestant Reformation and the establishment of the United States Constitution, which explicitly allows for freedom of religion in its First Amendment, were necessary antecedents to the restoration.


A 19th-century drawing of Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery receiving the Aaronic priesthood from John the Baptist.

Joseph Smith, founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, originally prayed about which church to join. In a vision in 1820 near Palmyra, New York, two personages (generally believed to be God the Father and Jesus Christ) instructed him not to join any churches, for "all their creeds were an abomination." Smith described another vision in 1823 as being visited in his bedroom by an "angel Moroni", who told him of a record of an ancient people written in an ancient language on golden plates. After repeated visits by this angel in successive years, Smith described receiving and translating this ancient record and publishing the translation as the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon provided many teachings about the atonement of Christ that were not as clear in the Bible, as also teachings about the House of Israel and the baptismal covenant. When Smith prayed in May 1829 about the need for baptism, he and Oliver Cowdery were visited by the resurrected John the Baptist, who by the laying on of hands gave them priesthood authority to baptize.

Coinciding with the restoration of the priesthood, Mormons believe that Smith received many revelations, visions, and visitations of heavenly messengers to instruct him in order to enable him to fulfill his responsibilities in propounding doctrine and re-establishing ordinances and temple covenants. These instructions came to Smith often in response to specific questions he asked in prayer. The majority of this history is recorded in one of the standard works, the Doctrine and Covenants. Additional details and background of the church in Smith's era is presented in the LDS Church's seven volume History of the Church.

In regard to the restoration of priesthood authority, Smith dictated the following passage found in Doctrine and Covenants 128:20–21:

In reflecting upon the responsibilities of teaching the constant revelations he received, Smith stated:

Personages who appeared to Joseph Smith

As part of the process of the restoration, Joseph Smith claimed that a number of personages appeared to him to deliver messages, priesthood authority, or other instruction from God. These personages appeared either as resurrected beings or as translated beings. According to H. Donl Peterson, the following 50 personages appeared to Smith:[12]

# Personage References
1 God the Father JS–H 1:17; HC 1:5; D&C 76:20
2 Jesus Christ JS–H 1:17; HC 1:5–6; D&C 76:20–24, 110:2–10
3 Moroni JS–H 1:30–49; JD 17:374
4 Elijah D&C 110:13–16; JD 23:48
5 John the Baptist D&C 13; HC 1:39–40
6–8 Peter, James, John D&C 128:20; HC 1:40–42; JD 18:326
9 Adam (Michael) HC 3:388; D&C 107:53–57, 128:21; HC 2:380; JD 9:41, 18:326, 21:94, 23:48
10 Noah (Gabriel) D&C 128:21; JD 21:94, 23:48
11 Raphael D&C 128:21
12 Moses D&C 110:11; JD 21:65, 23:48
13 Elias D&C 110:12; JD 23:48
14 Abraham JD 21:94, 23:48
15 Isaac JD 21:94
16 Jacob JD 21:94
17 Enoch JD 21:65, 94; HC 3:388; D&C 107:53–57
18–26 The Twelve Jewish Apostles (Peter, James, and John counted above) JD 21:94
27–38 The Twelve Nephite Disciples (including the Three Nephites) JD 21:94
39 Nephi JD 21:161
40 Seth JD 21:94; HC 3:388; D&C 107:53–57
41 Methuselah JD 18:325; HC 3:388; D&C 107:53–57
42 Enos JD 18:325; HC 3:388; D&C 107:53–57
43 Mahalaleel JD 18:325; HC 3:388; D&C 107:53–57
44 Jared HC 3:388; D&C 107:53–57
45 Lamech JD 18:325
46 Abel JD 18:325; HC 3:388
47 Cainan HC 3:388; D&C 107:53–57
48 Zelph the Lamanite TS 6:788
49 Alvin Smith HC 2:380
50 Mormon JD 17:374

Significance and impact

According to the LDS Church, all early Christianity were originally called "saints", and the church reestablished by Smith is believed to be Christ's church in the last days prior to the second coming of Jesus.[13]

Members of the LDS Church believe that their church is the "only true and living church upon the face of the earth" because of the divine authority restored through Smith. They claim that the LDS Church is the restoration of Jesus' original church, has the authentic Priesthood authority, and all doctrines and ordinances of the Gospel, fulfilling many of the prophecies of Daniel, Isaiah and Malachi in the Old Testament and also the prophesies of Peter and Jesus in the New Testament.

Latter-day Saints maintain that other religions have a portion of the truth, mingled with inaccuracies. They also maintain that many other religions advance many good causes and do much good among the people insofar as they are led by the light of Christ, "which lighteth every man that cometh into the world" (John 1:9).

See also


  1. ^ Mormon messages by L. Tom Perry where he uses the term in this way
  2. ^ Comparative Christianity: A Student's Guide to a Religion, Thomas Arthur Russell, 2010: "MORMON RESTORATIONISM: Mormon Restorationism is the largest indigenous religious movement found in North America. Among its member churches are the approximately 100 or so groups that trace their roots."
  3. ^ a b  
  4. ^  
  5. ^  
  6. ^  
  7. ^  
  8. ^ Galatians 1:6-8
  9. ^ 2 Thessalonians 2:3
  10. ^ Isaiah 2:2,3; 5:13,24,26; 10:20-22; 11:11,12; 24:5; 27:6; 28:11; 29:4,10-14; 35:10; 49:6-26; 51:11, 54; 60:2
  11. ^  
  12. ^ H. Donl Peterson, Moroni: Ancient Prophet Modern Messenger, pp. 139–41
  13. ^  

External links

  • "The Restoration of the Truth" at - Official LDS Church website explaining Mormon belief
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