The Church of Jesus Christ Restored

    The Rise of the Church of Christ in These Last Days

    Introduction

    “This is the work of God,”1 Joseph Smith declared to the small group gathered for the organization of the Church on Tuesday, April 6, 1830 in Fayette, New York. That day those assembled received “glorious manifestations of the powers of the Priesthood.”2 3  Many were “brought to repentance, were immersed in the water, and were filled with the Holy Ghost4 by the laying on of hands.”5

    Thus began the “marvelous work” of the latter days6 to bring souls to a knowledge and testimony of the Savior.

    As the Saints7 matured in gospel understanding, the Prophet Joseph advised, “Let every man, woman and child realize the importance of the work, and act as if success depended on his individual exertion alone.”8 The Prophet Joseph called for each member to exert “fresh zeal and energy in the cause of truth”9 and to push forward “the interests of the Church and Kingdom of God.”10 11 “For, behold,” the Lord revealed, “I will bless all those who labor in my vineyard with a mighty blessing.”12

    Quotes

    Joseph Smith Quotes

    “To find ourselves engaged in the very same order of things as observed by the holy Apostles of old; to realize the importance and solemnity of such proceedings; and to witness and feel with our own natural senses, the like glorious manifestations of the powers of the Priesthood, the gifts and blessings of the Holy Ghost, and the goodness and condescension of a merciful God unto such as obey the everlasting Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, combined to create within us sensations of rapturous gratitude, and inspire us with fresh zeal and energy in the cause of truth” (History of the Church, 1:85–86).

    “After a happy time spent in witnessing and feeling for ourselves the powers and blessings of the Holy Ghost, through the grace of God bestowed upon us, we dismissed with the pleasing knowledge that we were now individually members of, and acknowledged of God, ‘The Church of Jesus Christ,’ organized in accordance with commandments and revelations given by Him to ourselves in these last days, as well as according to the order of the Church as recorded in the New Testament” (History of the Church, 1:79).

    Witnesses

    John Taylor, Third President of the Church, 1880–1887

    “We are engaged . . . in a great work; in the work that prophets and seers have gazed upon and prophesied of, namely the gathering together of the Lord’s elect, the building of temples for the redemption of the living and the dead; in fine the establishment of the kingdom of our God. These things have been more or less understood according to the power of the spirit and the light of revelation that has rested upon his prophets ever since the world began” (Deseret News, Jan. 28, 1880, 818).

    John Reid, Friend of Joseph Smith

    “The first acquaintance I had with [Joseph] Smith was about the year 1823. He came into my neighborhood, being then about eighteen years of age, and resided there two years; during which time I became intimately acquainted with him. I do know that his character was irreproachable; that he was well known for truth and uprightness. . . . After the [Book of Mormon] was published, he came to live in the neighborhood . . . about four miles from me, and began to preach the Gospel, and many were pricked in their hearts, believed and were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. He soon formed a church at Colesville, his meetings were numerously attended; the eyes of all people were upon him with astonishment” (History of the Church, 1:94).

    Questions

    How did the Church get its name?

    Joseph Smith did not choose the name of the Church. He followed specific instruction received by revelation, manifesting the Lord’s approval of “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased” (Doctrine and Covenants 1:30). The Church received the name by which it is known today, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, by revelation (see Doctrine and Covenants 115:4).

    What is the destiny of this Church?

    “The Standard of Truth has been erected,” said Joseph Smith. “No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; . . . the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done” (History of the Church, 4:540).

    Why was it necessary to organize a new church?

    “Many objections are urged against the Latter-day Saints for not admitting the validity of sectarian baptism, and for withholding fellowship from sectarian churches,” explained Joseph Smith. “Yet to do otherwise would be like putting new wine into old bottles, and putting old wine into new bottles. What! new revelations in the old churches? New revelations would knock out the bottom of their bottomless pit. New wine into old bottles! The bottles burst and the wine runs out!” (History of the Church, 4:426).

    Readings

    Online Resources at ChurchofJesusChrist.org

    Organization of the Church”—in “Establishing the Foundations of the Church,” Our Heritage: A Brief History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (1996), 14–16

    The Church Was Organized”—in “Joseph Smith: First President of the Church,” Presidents of the Church Student Manual (Church Educational System manual, 2004), 11

    A Day to Be Remembered”—in “Organization of the Church of Jesus Christ,” Church History in the Fulness of Times Student Manual (Church Educational System manual, 2003), 67–69

    Online Resources at BYU

    Priesthood Restoration Documents”—Brian Q. Cannon, BYU Studies, vol. 35, no. 4 (1995–96), 162–207

    All known statements (over 70) before 1850 about the restoration of either the Aaronic or the Melchizedek Priesthood.