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Apostasy and Restoration
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First Thoughts

 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has many beliefs in common with other Christian churches. But we have differences, and those differences explain why we send missionaries to other Christians, why we build temples in addition to churches, and why our beliefs bring us such happiness and strength to deal with the challenges of life and death. I wish to write about some of the important additions our doctrines make to the Christian faith. My topic is apostasy and restoration.

When Joseph Smith was asked to explain the major tenets of our faith, he wrote what we now call the Articles of Faith. The first article states, “We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.” The Prophet later declared that “the simple and first principles of the gospel” include knowing “for a certainty the character of God” (“Conference Minutes,” Times and Seasons, 15 Aug. 1844, p. 614). We must begin with the truth about God and our relationship to him. Everything else follows from that.

In common with the rest of Christianity, we believe in a Godhead of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. However, we testify that these three members of the Godhead are three separate and distinct beings. We also testify that God the Father is not just a spirit but is a glorified person with a tangible body, as is his resurrected Son, Jesus Christ.

When first communicated to mankind by prophets, the teachings we now have in the Bible were “plain and pure, and most precious and easy” to understand (1 Ne. 14:23). Even in the transmitted and translated version we have today, the Bible language confirms that God the Father and his resurrected Son, Jesus Christ, are tangible, separate beings. To cite only two of many such teachings, the Bible declares that man was created in the image of God, and it describes three separate members of the Godhead manifested at the baptism of Jesus (see Gen. 1:27; Matt. 3:13-17).

In contrast, many Christians reject the idea of a tangible, personal God and a Godhead of three separate beings. They believe that God is a spirit and that the Godhead is only one God. In our view, these concepts are evidence of the falling away we call the Great Apostasy.

We maintain that the concepts identified by such nonscriptural terms as “the incomprehensible mystery of God” and “the mystery of the Holy Trinity” are attributable to the ideas of Greek philosophy. These philosophical concepts transformed Christianity in the first few centuries following the deaths of the Apostles. For example, philosophers then maintained that physical matter was evil and that God was a spirit without feelings or passions. Persons of this persuasion, including learned men who became influential converts to Christianity, had a hard time accepting the simple teachings of early Christianity: an Only Begotten Son who said he was in the express image of his Father in Heaven and who taught his followers to be one as he and his Father were one, and a Messiah who died on a cross and later appeared to his followers as a resurrected being with flesh and bones.

The collision between the speculative world of Greek philosophy and the simple, literal faith and practice of the earliest Christians produced sharp contentions that threatened to widen political divisions in the fragmenting Roman empire. This led Emperor Constantine to convene the first churchwide council in A.D. 325. The action of this council of Nicaea remains the most important single event after the death of the Apostles in formulating the modern Christian concept of deity. The Nicene Creed erased the idea of the separate being of Father and Son by defining God the Son as being of “one substance with the Father.”

Other councils followed, and from their decisions and the writings of churchmen and philosophers there came a synthesis of Greek philosophy and Christian doctrine in which the orthodox Christians of that day lost the fulness of truth about the nature of God and the Godhead. The consequences persist in the various creeds of Christianity, which declare a Godhead of only one being and which describe that single being or God as “incomprehensible” and “without body, parts, or passions.” One of the distinguishing features of the doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is its rejection of all of these postbiblical creeds (see Stephen E. Robinson, Are Mormons Christians? Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1991; Encyclopedia of Mormonism, ed. Daniel H. Ludlow, 4 vols., New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1992, s.v. “Apostasy,” “doctrine,” “God the Father,” and “Godhead”).

In the process of what we call the Apostasy, the tangible, personal God described in the Old and New Testaments was replaced by the abstract, incomprehensible deity defined by compromise with the speculative principles of Greek philosophy. The received language of the Bible remained, but the so-called “hidden meanings” of scriptural words were now explained in the vocabulary of a philosophy alien to their origins. In the language of that philosophy, God the Father ceased to be a Father in any but an allegorical sense. He ceased to exist as a comprehensible and compassionate being. And the separate identity of his Only Begotten Son was swallowed up in a philosophical abstraction that attempted to define a common substance and an incomprehensible relationship.

These descriptions of a religious philosophy are surely undiplomatic, but I hasten to add that Latter-day Saints do not apply such criticism to the men and women who profess these beliefs. We believe that most religious leaders and followers are sincere believers who love God and understand and serve him to the best of their abilities. We are indebted to the men and women who kept the light of faith and learning alive through the centuries to the present day. We have only to contrast the lesser light that exists among peoples unfamiliar with the names of God and Jesus Christ to realize the great contribution made by Christian teachers through the ages. We honor them as servants of God.

Then came the First Vision. An unschooled boy, seeking knowledge from the ultimate source, saw two personages of indescribable brightness and glory and heard one of them say, while pointing to the other, “This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!” (JS—H 1:17.) The divine teaching in that vision began the restoration of the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. God the Son told the boy prophet that all the “creeds” of the churches of that day “were an abomination in his sight” (JS—H 1:19). We affirm that this divine declaration was a condemnation of the creeds, not of the faithful seekers who believed in them. Joseph Smith’s first vision showed that the prevailing concepts of the nature of God and the Godhead were untrue and could not lead their adherents to the destiny God desired for them.

After a subsequent outpouring of modern scripture and revelation, this modern prophet declared, “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit” (D&C 130:22).

This belief does not mean that we claim sufficient spiritual maturity to comprehend God. Nor do we equate our imperfect mortal bodies to his immortal, glorified being. But we can comprehend the fundamentals he has revealed about himself and the other members of the Godhead. And that knowledge is essential to our understanding of the purpose of mortal life and of our eternal destiny as resurrected beings after mortal life.

In the theology of the restored church of Jesus Christ, the purpose of mortal life is to prepare us to realize our destiny as sons and daughters of God—to become like Him. Joseph Smith and Brigham Young both taught that “no man … can know himself unless he knows God, and he can not know God unless he knows himself” (in Journal of Discourses, 16:75; see also The Words of Joseph Smith, ed. Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook, Provo: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1980, p. 340). The Bible describes mortals as “the children of God” and as “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:16-17). It also declares that “we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (Rom. 8:17) and that “when he shall appear, we shall be like him” (1 Jn. 3:2). We take these Bible teachings literally. We believe that the purpose of mortal life is to acquire a physical body and, through the atonement of Jesus Christ and by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel, to qualify for the glorified, resurrected celestial state that is called exaltation or eternal life.

Like other Christians, we believe in a heaven or paradise and a hell following mortal life, but to us that two-part division of the righteous and the wicked is merely temporary, while the spirits of the dead await their resurrections and final judgments. The destinations that follow the final judgments are much more diverse. Our restored knowledge of the separateness of the three members of the Godhead provides a key to help us understand the diversities of resurrected glory.

In their final judgment, the children of God will be assigned to a kingdom of glory for which their obedience has qualified them. In his letters to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul described these places. He told of a vision in which he was “caught up to the third heaven” and “heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter” (2 Cor. 12:2, 4). Speaking of the resurrection of the dead, he described “celestial bodies,” “bodies terrestrial” (1 Cor. 15:40), and “bodies telestial” (JST, 1 Cor. 15:40), each pertaining to a different degree of glory. He likened these different glories to the sun, to the moon, and to different stars (see 1 Cor. 15:41).

We learn from modern revelation that these three different degrees of glory have a special relationship to the three different members of the Godhead.

The lowest degree is the telestial domain of those who “received not the gospel, neither the testimony of Jesus, neither the prophets” (D&C 76:101) and who have had to suffer for their wickedness. But even this degree has a glory that “surpasses all understanding” (D&C 76:89). Its occupants receive the Holy Spirit and the administering of angels, for even those who have been wicked will ultimately be “heirs of [this degree of] salvation” (D&C 76:88).

The next higher degree of glory, the terrestrial, “excels in all things the glory of the telestial, even in glory, and in power, and in might, and in dominion” (D&C 76:91). The terrestrial is the abode of those who were the “honorable men of the earth” (D&C 76:75). Its most distinguishing feature is that those who qualify for terrestrial glory “receive of the presence of the Son” (D&C 76:77). Concepts familiar to all Christians might liken this higher kingdom to heaven because it has the presence of the Son.

In contrast to traditional Christianity, we join with Paul in affirming the existence of a third or higher heaven. Modern revelation describes it as the celestial kingdom—the abode of those “whose bodies are celestial, whose glory is that of the sun, even the glory of God” (D&C 76:70). Those who qualify for this kingdom of glory “shall dwell in the presence of God and his Christ forever and ever” (D&C 76:62). Those who have met the highest requirements for this kingdom, including faithfulness to covenants made in a temple of God and marriage for eternity, will be exalted to the godlike state referred to as the “fulness” of the Father or eternal life (D&C 76:56, 94; see also D&C 131; D&C 132:19-20). (This destiny of eternal life or God’s life should be familiar to all who have studied the ancient Christian doctrine of and belief in deification or apotheosis.) For us, eternal life is not a mystical union with an incomprehensible spirit-god. Eternal life is family life with a loving Father in Heaven and with our progenitors and our posterity.

The theology of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is comprehensive, universal, merciful, and true. Following the necessary experience of mortal life, all sons and daughters of God will ultimately be resurrected and go to a kingdom of glory. The righteous—regardless of current religious denomination or belief—will ultimately go to a kingdom of glory more wonderful than any of us can comprehend. Even the wicked, or almost all of them, will ultimately go to a marvelous—though lesser—kingdom of glory. All of that will occur because of God’s love for his children and because of the atonement and resurrection of Jesus Christ, “who glorifies the Father, and saves all the works of his hands” (D&C 76:43).

The purpose of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is to help all of the children of God understand their potential and achieve their highest destiny. This church exists to provide the sons and daughters of God with the means of entrance into and exaltation in the celestial kingdom. This is a family-centered church in doctrine and practices. Our understanding of the nature and purpose of God the Eternal Father explains our destiny and our relationship in his eternal family. Our theology begins with heavenly parents. Our highest aspiration is to be like them. Under the merciful plan of the Father, all of this is possible through the atonement of the Only Begotten of the Father, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. As earthly parents we participate in the gospel plan by providing mortal bodies for the spirit children of God. The fulness of eternal salvation is a family matter.

It is the reality of these glorious possibilities that causes us to proclaim our message of restored Christianity to all people, even to good practicing Christians with other beliefs. This is why we build temples. This is the faith that gives us strength and joy to confront the challenges of mortal life. We offer these truths and opportunities to all people and testify to their truthfulness in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Reasons for the Restoration

The great message of the Restoration, which came through the Prophet Joseph Smith, was actually prophesied centuries in advance. The words used to characterize it are interesting: “restitution of all things” (Acts 3:21), meaning restoration of all things. The times of restitution would also be “times of refreshing” (Acts 3:19), and also, as the Doctrine and Covenants tells us, it was done “that faith also might increase in the earth” (D&C 1:21). These are underlying descriptions of and reasons for the great Restoration. Interestingly, centuries before Peter, Enoch was told that the Restoration would especially testify of Jesus and of the Resurrection (see Moses 7:62). These are the central things.

Therefore, we as Latter-day Saints cannot regard Jesus, as some do, as merely a “great moral teacher,” though He was the greatest, or even as a “minor prophet.” He is the Lord of the universe, as well as our Redeemer!

Even so, we must make no mistake about the cultural context into which you will deliver this great message. One eminent historian described today’s context when he said: “Among the advanced races, the decline and ultimately the collapse of the religious impulse would leave a huge vacuum. The history of modern times is in great part the history of how that vacuum had been filled. … In place of religious belief, there would be secular ideology.” 2

No wonder the “restitution” is to have constituted a time of “refreshing.” No wonder that increased faith in Jesus is so sorely needed!

A Refutation of Secular Society

Thus, the great Restoration is also a refutation of our increasingly doubting and secular society. Our society has its jaded cynicism, humdrum hedonism, and pleasure seeking, and it is swamped in situational ethics. No wonder some, unaware, fulfill Peter’s great prophecy by saying, in effect: “Where is the promise of [Christ’s] coming? … All things must continue as they are, and have continued as they are from the beginning of the creation” (Joseph Smith Translation, 2 Pet. 3:4).

People have lost much of the capacity to believe. No wonder today’s permissiveness and immorality resemble symptoms of an earlier time: “And thus [Korihor] did preach unto them, leading away the hearts of many, causing them to lift up their heads in their wickedness, yea, leading away many women, and also men, to commit whoredoms—telling them that when a man was dead, that was the end thereof” (Alma 30:18).

Without the acceptance of the Restoration, it will become increasingly as it was in ancient Israel when “every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judg. 17:6; Judg. 21:25). Already in our time, as prophesied, “every man walketh in his own way, and after … the likeness of the world” (D&C 1:16).

Removing Stumbling Blocks

Such skeptical, secular people soon fall into the trap of “looking beyond the mark”—and the mark is Christ (see Jacob 4:14). No wonder, for instance, many fail to notice the sprouting leaves on the fig tree signaling that summer is nigh (see JS—M 1:38-39; D&C 45:37).

Very importantly, therefore, the great Restoration removes stumbling blocks which prevent our seeing “things as they really are, and … things as they really will be” (Jacob 4:13; see also 1 Ne. 14:1). When stumbling blocks are removed, we see the purposes of life clearly. We see ourselves differently, clearly, and correctly.

For instance, the words “plan of salvation” are not found in the precious Holy Bible, but the plan is noted over a dozen times in Restoration scriptures (see, for example, Alma 12:28-30). But without those important truths, life is like seeing only the middle act of a three-act play. We don’t see act one. We don’t know about act three. Here people struggle and strain to make sense out of act two. Only with a knowledge of the plan of salvation is that kind of dilemma resolved.

Joseph Smith, for instance, was told that “man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be” (D&C 93:29; see also Abr. 3:16-18). Brothers and sisters, you have been you for a long, long time!

We existed as individuals well before our mortal births. We are now and have been accountable for our choices!

Thus the doctrines of premortality and foreordination overturn incorrect traditions which hold that mortals were created “out of nothing” in an instant.

The Plurality of Worlds

In June 1830 the first chapter of Moses was revealed. Joseph Smith called the first chapter of Moses a “precious morsel.” 3 This precious morsel expanded upon the Bible’s meager but still helpful verses concerning the plurality of worlds (see Gen. 1:1; Heb. 1:2). Our planet, we know from the revelations, is but one among “worlds without number” (Moses 1:33), which “worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God” (D&C 76:24).

How many planets are there with people on them? We don’t know. There appear to be none in our own solar system, but we are not alone in the universe. We see the universe differently and correctly. God is not the God of only one planet! We see how the perspective we have is expanded dramatically by the revelations of the Restoration.

God’s Character and Capacity

Because of the Restoration, we see God’s character and capacity differently and correctly.

Joseph Smith taught that God sees the past, the present, and the future as if they were an “eternal now.” God foresaw human wickedness, and He has made “ample provision” for that wickedness so that He is still able to bring to pass His purposes. 4 There are a lot of people who believe in a kind of god, but they are not sure he has the character or capacity to do anything that matters. Because they lack an understanding of God’s character and purposes, their faith is weak.

Through the Restoration we learn the following:

• Joseph Smith said, “If men do not comprehend the character of God, they do not comprehend themselves.” 5

• God’s capacity is such that two times in two verses in the Book of Mormon, He reassures us in a very polite but pointed way, “I am able to do mine own work” (2 Ne. 27:20-21). Is He ever!

• We are told in the book of Abraham about divine determination. “There is nothing that the Lord thy God shall take in his heart to do but what he will do it” (Abr. 3:17). In the times that lie ahead, this should be part of our faith in His capacity. It is part of our faith in His character. It is part of our understanding of His purposes.

• God’s attributes include perfect goodness and perfect mercy. We can come to have a knowledge of His goodness and His mercy. This is why Nephi, in the very first verse of the Book of Mormon, speaks of how he had “a great knowledge of the goodness … of God” (1 Ne. 1:1). May I submit to you that people who don’t know that fact are terribly deprived doctrinally. They call into question the purposes and trials of life. When we know that God is perfect in His goodness, it will sustain us through the vicissitudes of life.

Without this vital knowledge about God’s character and purposes, skepticism swells! President George Q. Cannon (1827-1901) identified one root cause of today’s skepticism, saying, “There is in the plan of salvation, which God our heavenly Father has revealed, perfect love; mercy and justice, and every other attribute which pertains to the character of Deity are perfectly illustrated in the plan of salvation which he has revealed for man’s guidance.” 6

However, President Cannon lamented, “The difficulty to-day is, that the people do not believe that God is a being of this character.” 7 We are so blessed to know so much more about not only His purposes but His character.

The Book of Mormon

The Book of Mormon sits in the center of the Restoration as part of the great message of the Restoration.

Ponder this powerful yet frequently ignored quotation from the Prophet Joseph Smith concerning the title page of the Book of Mormon: “I wish to mention here that the title-page of the Book of Mormon is a literal translation, taken from the very last leaf, on the left hand side of the collection or book of plates, which contained the record which has been translated, … and that said title page is not … a modern composition, either of mine or of any other man who has lived or does live in this generation.” 8

A marvelous testimony! The Book of Mormon is beyond the capacity of Joseph Smith or any other individual to have written. Why? Because it was not only translated by “the gift and power of God”; it was written and transmitted by “the gift and power of God.” It is special in so many ways that we in the Church have yet to inventory and appreciate fully. One of the reasons for its superb quality is explained by King Benjamin in his great sermon: “And the things which I shall tell you are made known unto me by an angel from God” (Mosiah 3:2). Such speech writing!

The Book of Mormon is thus infused with angelic excellence. But it tells us something further. The Book of Mormon also says, “Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ” (2 Ne. 32:3). How powerfully important the gift of the Holy Ghost is if we would be tutored.

The process of translating the Book of Mormon was absolutely remarkable. Who was closest to the process besides Joseph? Oliver Cowdery. He was Joseph’s mortal helper. Though he left the Church for a while, he came back to the Church, seeking no status. He gave strong testimony of the Book of Mormon. In fact, Oliver’s final testimony, on his deathbed, spoke about the Book of Mormon. Of that experience, one of his family said: “Just before he breathed his last, [Oliver] asked to be raised up in bed so he could talk to the family and friends and he told them to live according to the teachings in the Book of Mormon, and they would meet him in Heaven. Then he said, ‘Lay me down and let me fall asleep in the arms of Jesus,’ and he fell asleep without a struggle.” 9

This last witness of Oliver Cowdery, who sat day by day having the Prophet dictate to him, was about the Book of Mormon.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has pointed out how Joseph Smith has brought forth more printed pages of scripture than did any other mortal. In fact, though untrained in theology, he accomplished something remarkable. Elder Holland has also observed that more pages came through Joseph Smith than from Moses, Paul, Luke, and Mormon combined!

“Plain and Precious” Truths Revealed

Not only is the Restoration’s quantity highly impressive; its quality is stunning! Dazzling truths came through the Prophet Joseph, including key truths lost for centuries during the prophesied doctrinal famine as to the word of the Lord (see Amos 8:11). Furthermore, this famine, along with false doctrines, has caused many to “stumble exceedingly,” just as the Book of Mormon prophesied (see 1 Ne. 13:34). By faulty transmission, many “plain and precious things” were “taken away” or “kept back” from reaching what later composed our precious Holy Bible (see 1 Ne. 13:34, 39-40). I testify to you, brothers and sisters, that these “plain and precious” doctrines were restored in this, the dispensation of the fulness of times, a time of refreshing.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is also in the unique position of knowing that there were different gospel dispensations. These dispensations began with Adam. One scripture says, “And thus the Gospel began to be preached, from the beginning, being declared by holy angels sent forth from the presence of God, and by his own voice, and by the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Moses 5:58).

Ponder this wonderful insight from President Joseph F. Smith (1838-1918), which underscores this uniqueness: “Undoubtedly the knowledge of this law and of other rites and ceremonies was carried by the posterity of Adam into all lands, and continued with them, more or less pure, to the flood, and through Noah, who was a ‘preacher of righteousness,’ to those who succeeded him, spreading out into all nations and countries, Adam and Noah being the first of their dispensations to receive them from God. What wonder, then, that we should find relics of Christianity, so to speak, among the heathens and nations who know not Christ, and whose histories date back beyond the days of Moses, and even beyond the flood, independent of and apart from the records of the Bible.” 10

This is why we sometimes find fragments of the whole truth in various cultures. The gospel was once a whole and precious totality, and then came the dispersion, diffusion, and distortion of these truths.

Thus the Restoration was part of God’s generous and “ample provision” for His children. God’s overarching purposes have been clearly revealed, including in that “precious morsel,” Moses 1, where we read, “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39). You cannot find that kind of plain and precious verse in the wonderful book we know as the Holy Bible.

Not only has much more scripture come to us through the Restoration, but as we all know, “many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God” will yet be revealed (see A of F 1:9). Among those things yet to be revealed one day will be the full book of Enoch. We have already, in the Restoration, received 18 times more than the meager data in the Bible concerning this great and prophetic figure of Enoch. Without the Restoration, we would not even know there was a city of Enoch!

Furthermore, one day the Bible and the Book of Mormon will be joined by the witnessing words of scripture from the lost tribes of Israel (see 2 Ne. 29:13). There will eventually be three witnesses, and we know this, again, from the revelations in the great Restoration.

The Prophet Joseph Smith

The Prophet Joseph Smith, of course, is the conduit for the things I have described. He, like another prophet, served “notwithstanding [his] weakness” (2 Ne. 33:11). In fact, “out of [Joseph’s] weakness he [was] made strong” (2 Ne. 3:13). The Prophet, in what must have been a wistful moment, said to the members of the Church in Nauvoo, “I never told you I was perfect; but there is no error in the revelations which I have taught.” 11

Ponder now these witnessing words of President Wilford Woodruff (1807-98) about the Seer Joseph Smith. These were given in March 1897, in the very sunset of President Woodruff’s ministry. He said with an aged but powerful voice: “I bear my testimony that in the early spring of 1844, in Nauvoo, the Prophet Joseph Smith called the Twelve Apostles together and he delivered unto them the ordinances of the Church and the kingdom of God; and all the keys and powers that God had bestowed upon him, he sealed upon our heads. … I am the only man now living in the flesh who heard that testimony from his mouth, and I know this was true by the power of God manifest to him.”

President Woodruff continues: “At that meeting, he stood on his feet for about three hours and taught us the things of the kingdom. His face was as clear as amber, and he was covered with a power that I have never seen in any man in the flesh before.” 12

Joseph Smith, as Elder B. H. Roberts wrote, lived “in crescendo!” 13 Indeed he did. Near the mortal end, looking back upon his stress-filled, task-filled years, the Prophet said: “I don’t blame any one for not believing my history. If I had not experienced what I have, I would not have believed it myself.” 14 In your testimonies of Joseph, therefore, make allowance for how much came through him, more at times than he could have immediately and fully comprehended. Make allowance for the fact that his enemies, even in today’s world, produce a constant pattern of accusation, but it is followed by eventual vindication regarding the work of the Prophet Joseph Smith. He began as “an obscure boy … of no consequence in the world … doomed to the necessity of obtaining a scanty maintenance by his daily labor” (JS—H 1:22-23). Now, however, just as prophesied, “the ends of the earth shall inquire after [his] name” (D&C 122:1).

Blessings of the Restoration

Sobered and humbled by the grandeur of the Restoration and all that it brings to us, there should be times when you and I leave tears on our pillows out of gratitude for what God has given us. We know about the three-act dimension of the plan of salvation—and more. We are blessed to bear testimony of the great Restoration and to bear testimony of the Book of Mormon and of the work of the Prophet Joseph Smith. And so it should not surprise us that the most faithful among us are, indeed, the quietly meek and submissive souls who meet the challenges of life buoyed up by the doctrines of the Restoration.

We are blessed to know things that simply transform the landscape of life. In the felicitous words of Jacob, this knowledge enables us to see “things as they really are” and “as they really will be” (Jacob 4:13). There must be not only the Spirit as we deliver the message of the Restoration but also the enthusiasm of our own testimonies. By that I do not mean emotional extravagance but rather the quiet enthusiasm in which people, as did Brigham Young, can feel your testimony like fire in their bones.

We must go forward in such a great cause, borne up by our own witnesses and with the enthusiasm which can prove to be contagious for this, the work of the great Restoration—a time of refreshing, a time of restitution, and a time of quiet faith. This is His work, of which I give apostolic witness.