The Apostle Peter prophesized unto the people, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”1 We realize that “the times of refreshing” will come in the last days and “the times of restitution of all things” refers to the Restoration of the Gospel.
The Restoration of the Gospel is the reestablishment of Jesus Christ’s true teachings and authority. This began in the year of 1820 with the First Vision when God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith. From there and through a succession of visits from heavenly beings, the gospel has been restored, allowing us supernal blessings. These come from the divine ordinances of the temple available to all faithful saints, from the Book of Mormon, another testament of Jesus Christ, and from the divine revelations revealed in the Doctrine & Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price, etc.
This year marks the bicentennial (200th year) anniversary of the Restoration. With this special event, President Russell M. Nelson has invited us to immerse ourselves in the glorious light of the Restoration and to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with others. He said to us, “You may wish to begin your preparation by reading afresh Joseph Smith’s account of the First Vision, as recorded in the Pearl of Great Price… ponder important questions such as, ‘How would my life be different if my knowledge gained from the Book of Mormon were suddenly taken away?’ or ‘How have the events that followed the First Vision made a difference for me and my loved ones?’” 2
I am incredibly grateful for the Restoration. By keeping the Lord’s commandments and walking on the covenant path, it has brought many blessings to my family and myself. We recognize that we are the children of Heavenly Father. We can joyfully confront any circumstances with faith, hope, and love in this world, even in frustration and despair. Through sacred proxy temple ordinances, we can provide eternal blessings for our ancestors. Families can remain together for eternity in the world to come because of Heavenly Father’s Pan of Salvation and the Atonement of His beloved son, Jesus Christ.
While the Restoration begun 200 years ago, it still continues. “We are living in it right now. It includes ‘all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal,’ and the ‘many great and important things’ that ‘He will yet reveal.’”3 The Restoration started with the Prophet Joseph Smith and has continued to the present through the work of the Lord’s living prophets. As part of this latter-day revelation, the First Presidency recently exhorted us to do a variety of things. These include to love God with all our heart, love our neighbor as ourselves, have faith in Jesus Christ and embrace the gift of His infinite Atonement, repent daily, regularly partake of the sacrament for the blessings of the Holy Ghost, and strengthen home-centered and church-supported gospel learning.
Elder M. Russell Ballard said, “When we hear the counsel of the Lord expressed through the words of the President of the Church, our response should be positive and prompt. History has shown that there is safety, peace, prosperity, and happiness in responding to prophetic counsel…”4 As in Lehi’s vision of the tree of life, we can live by every word of God just like the people who pressed forward who “continually holding fast to the rod of iron, until they came forth and fell down and partook of the fruit of the tree.”5. I testify that Jesus Christ lives and this Church is His restored Church. And with the on-going revelation from the living prophet, the Restoration of the Gospel continues to this very day. ■
1. Acts 3:19-21.
2. President Russell M. Nelson, “Closing Remarks,” General Conference, October 2019.
3. Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Are You Sleeping through the Restoration?” General Conference, April 2014.
4. Elder M. Russell Ballard, “His Word Ye Shall Receive,” Ensign, May 2001, 65.
5. See 1 Nephi 8:30.