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>Restoration of the Godpel of Jesus Christ

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by Don White

There is a group of people who feel there was an apostasy following the death of Jesus Christ and his apostles, that the world moved away from the true and unadulterated gospel that the Savior taught and that it remained in darkness for hundreds of years, some of which we call the “Dark Ages.”

Then came the the advent of the Gutenberg Printing Press and bibles available to everyone in their homes. There were holy men in the earth, men we call the reformers, John Knox, Martin Luther and others pointing to unholy practices fournd in all churches at that time. God saw that conditions were right in America, a place of peace and freedom, and the only place on the face of the earth at that time where this necessary ingredient, individual freedom(s), extended through the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence (and later the Bill of Rights), florished to the extent that it would be possible to restore His gospel on the earth.

Do you see the connection — America, land of the free and the restoration of the Gospel? It is something all men — especially presidents and ambassadors — should be proud of, especially when they meet with world leaders, kings and queens, monarchs, and dictators of the world. We have no reason to apologize for America or to deeply bow to potentates and kings. America is the greatest land on earth and our citizens can never consider America second to any country, can ever be apologetic for our values and what we have done to help feed and free the world.

First, our blood has been shed throughout the world in the cause of freedom for all mankind, whether they be Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus or whatever. And second, God chose America above all other lands for the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

After World War II, where we freed the world of the tyranny of three terrible dictators, we asked the French government for only one thing in return for defeating Nazi Germany — that was a plot of ground to bury our dead. Two million of our boys fought in that war and we lost more than 50,000 men. We have never taken territory or booty as a reward for being victorious in war.

America may be the only world power that has never been involved in wars as a means of annexing greater territory. The Greeks. the Turks nor the Romans can say that; neither the Babylonian or Asirian empires, or even Japan, Russia and China in our day. Our purposes have been honorable before God, and he recognizes that ideal by blessing this country greatly. So America was the right place, the only place, on the face of the earth in the early nineteenth century that the gospel of Jesus Christ could be restored. And, despite recent political problems and upheaval to the contrary, it continues to be the best place, the greatest nation on earth, and in my opinion it’s not even close. Shout it to the skies, because it’s true. That’s not arrogance, that’s the truth.

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The message of the Mormons is that God restored that gospel through the boy prophet Joseph Smith, then only 14, when the true and living God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to this boy Smith. At the time there was a lot of religious commotion in Palmyra, New York where Joseph and his family lived, and because some of his family joined one church and some another, Joseph was reading the Bible fervently to get some direction. He read in James 1:5 that “If any of you lack wisdom let him ask of God who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not and it shall be given him.” He concluded that God wanted him to pray to find out which of the churches of the day was true and which he should join.

For the first time in his young life Joseph Smith uttered a verbal prayer in a grove of trees near his parent’s humble home and God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him. The manifestation came with clarity and strength, and he was left with the sure knowledge that he should join none of them, for “they draw near to me with their mouths,” God told him, “but their hearts are far from me…”

Thus dawned a marvelous new era. The heavens were again opened and God and Jesus Christ had visited this humble, God-fearing, Bible-reading boy and had told him not to join any church, but that at a future time he would be instructed further. Though he didn’t then know, this would require much passage of time between heavenly manifestations and instructions of what he should do; and, ultimately, it would require his worthiness, devotion and leadership in a cause greater than his own interest in discovering which church to join, but that he would become instrumental in the cause of God, that is, the ultimate restoration of the true church of Jesus Christ in these latter days.

Today, upwards of fourteen million Mormons throughout the world proclaim that God’s true church was fully restored on April 6, 1830, a church known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints now headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah with missions, wards, stakes, and branches and temples and chapels throughout most of the world. These people are known as Saints, Latter-day Saints, LDS, and Mormons. But the official name of this church is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because it is His church, so the name must contain His name, that of Jesus Christ. Mormons believe that it is the only true and living church on the face of the earth, though all churches have some good principles and teachings. Mormons teach that God has restored a more perfect way, the plan of happiness, the gospel in its entirety, something that can add perfect principles to that which people now have to help them, to improve them, to perfect them and to assure them of eternal life with their families which Christ proclaimed.

Joseph Smith was taught by angels sent from heaven who not only restored the gospel, the teachings of the Savior, but the priesthood to act in God’s name. One of those powers was the Aaronic Priesthood restored by a resurrected John the Baptist, and later the Melchizedek Priesthood by Peter, James, and John, giving Joseph and his associates power to baptize and to confer the Gift of the Holy Ghost. This is a power so great that it requires total attention to righteous principles to activate. In other words, man must be obedient to wield the Gift of the Holy Ghost and its manefestations and blessings.

At times, the Holy Ghost, who is the third member of the Godhead, makes impressions on people of all faiths. But to have the Holy Ghost as a constant companion, the Gift of the Holy Ghost, requires baptism by one having authority (which has been restored) and total obedience to God’s precepts. When we deviate from the chosen path, we lose the power of this great gift. However, because of the atonement of Christ, we can repent and come back into God’s good graces, receiving again the power of the Holy Ghost to lead and guide us through this dangerous, tempestous life.

The Holy Ghost is such a great power that all men and women everywhere should publicly and protectively proclaim its presence and yearn for this gift. It is not freely given, man must earn its power and companionship. But after being taught gospel principles, after having repented of past offenses, baptism is available to all of God’s children, followed by the bestowal of this marvelous gift by the laying on of hands by those in authority.

Some people yearn for world power, popularity, approval, and attention; some for worldly glory and the notoriety of man. Some work and strive for wealth, independence, every luxury and convenience contrived by man, and the power to come and go as they like. While wealth alone in human terms is not an unworthy dream, it pales in comparison to the power of the Holy Ghost, which has the ability to bestow upon the recipient peace of mind, healing, a faithful heart, genuine happiness and joy, a desire to keep all of God’s commandments, and to live in peace with one’s neighbors and love and exault one’s spouse and family members and to build up the Kingdom of God through service.

In other words, the Gift of the Holy Ghost is a gift of God and not of man’s making. It cannot be duplicated or bought with money, but must be earned by obedience to God’s will and by goodly deeds and strivings to become righteous and sanctified.

There are some men who obtain this gift and then fall away from the truth because of pride of the world, or that they cannot comprehend or accept the simplicity and beauty of this supernal gift which came without money or compulsion. It is such a wonderful yet simple gift that sometimes men devalue it and go for immediate and short-lived excesses and pleasures of the body rather than retain this gift which requires control of bodily passions and submission of body and mind to God’s will.

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I hope that this has been a useful prelude to what follows, the Teachings of the Prophet Wilford Woodruff __________________________________________

We should acquaint ourselves with the Teachings of Presidents of the Church. I will quote below those of President Wilford Woodruff, fourth president of the LDS Church in these latter days.

By President Wilford Woodruff

We should acquaint ourselves with the still, small voice of the Holy Ghost — the voice of revelation.
There is an appointed way . . . in which revelation from the Lord for the government of his church is received. There is but one man on the earth, at a time, who holds this power. But every individual member has the privilege of receiving revelation from the Lord for his guidance in his own affairs, and to testify to him concerning the correctness of public teachings and movements. 12
(Please refer to a previous article in this blog site which addresses this subject. We shall now pick up further teachings of President Woodruff below:
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Through the gift of the Holy Ghost, we receive blessings to guide our lives now and to prepare us for eternal life.
You may surround any man or woman with all the wealth and glory that the imagination of man can grasp, and are they satisfied? No. There is still an aching void. On the other hand, show me a beggar upon the streets, who has the Holy Ghost, whose mind is filled with that Spirit and power, and I will show you a person who has peace of mind, who possesses true riches, and those enjoyments that no man can obtain from any other source. 16
When we enjoy the Holy Spirit, when we are trying to live our religion here on the earth, we are the happiest people on God’s footstool, no matter what our circumstances may be. I do not care whether we are rich or poor, whether in happiness or affliction, if a man is living his religion and enjoys the favor and Spirit of God, it makes no difference to him what takes place on the earth. There may be earthquakes, war, fire or sword in the land, but he feels that it is all right with him. That is the way I feel. 17
Every man who receives that Spirit has a comforter within — a leader to dictate and guide him. This Spirit reveals, day by day, to every man who has faith, those things which are for his benefit . . . It is this inspiration of God to his children in eery age of the world that is one of the necessary gifts to sustain man and enable him to walk by faith, and to go forth and obey all the dictations and commandments and revelations which God has given to His children to guide and direct them in life. 18
Every man should get the Spirit of God, and then follow its dictates. This is revelation. It doesn’t make any difference what the Spirit tells you to do; it will never tell you to do anything that is wrong. 19
We are surrounded by . . . evil spirits that are at war against God and against everything looking to the building up of the kingdom of God; and we need this Holy Spirit to enable us to overcome these influences . . .
. . . This is the Spirit that we must have to cary out the purposes of God on the earth. We need that more than any other gift . . . We are in the midst of enemies, in the midst of darkness and temptation, and we need to be guided by the Spirit of God. We should pray to the Lord until we get the Comforter. This is what is promised to us when we are baptized. It is the spirit of light, of truth, and of revelation, and can be with all of us at the same time. 20
You will find if ever we seek to do something else besides carrying out the dictates of the Holy Spirit, we will get into the fog and into darkness and trouble, and we shall be ignorant of the way we are pursuing. Every day that we live we need the power of the Lord — the power of his Holy Spirit and the strength of the priesthood to be with us that we may know what to do. And if we will so live before the Lord, the Spirit will reveal to us every day what our duties are; I do not care what it is we are engaged in, we should first find out the will of the Lord and then do it, and then our work will be well done and acceptable before the Lord. 21
Through all my life and labors, whenever I have been told to do anything by the Spirit of the Lord, I have always found it good to do it. I have been preserved by that power. . . Get the spirit of revelation with you. And when you get that you are safe, and you will do exactly what the Lord wants you to do. 22
The thought that we can obey and be sanctified by the gospel, and be prepared thereby to inherit eternal life, is one of the most glorious principles ever reealed to man . . . We have a hope that the world knows not of, and it can not enter into their thoughts. Unless they are born of the Spirit of God they can not even see the kingdom of God, and they can not get into it unless they are born of the water and of the Spirit (see John3:5), hence they can not share in the joyous anticipations and hopes that we possess. Their eyes, ears and hearts are not opened to see and hear and feel the power of the gospel of Christ. 23
It is our privilege to follow the dictates of the Spirit of the Lord, and to have it for our guide and companion, and by doing this the blessings of the heavens will be upon us as fast as we are prepared to receive them. 24
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The constant companionship of the Spirit requires
our constant labor and faithfulness

I am anxious . . . that we as people may do our duty, may live our religion, may keep the faith, may so walk before the Lord that the Holy Ghost may be our constant companion to lead us in the days that lie before us. This is my prayer and my desire. 25
I know that it requires constant warfare, labor and faithfulness before the Lord in order for us to keep in fellowship with the Holy Spirit, and to live in such a manner that we may obtain these blessings. 26
There is nothing that we ought to labor more to obtain while in the flesh than the Spirit of God, the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, which we are entitled to receive by reason of our having obeyed the requirements of the Gospel. 27
The great promise which accompanies the preaching of the Gospel, as revealed from heaven in our day, is that the Holy Ghost will be bestowed upon the sincerely penitent who obey its holy ordinances. Through the Holy Ghost a knowledge of things past, present and to come is communicated and the mind and will of the Father made known. In this way the Almighty reveals His purposes to those who obey His commandments and whose lives are pure and acceptable fore Him, so that they can be prepared for all the events and trials that may lie in their pathway.
If there are any members of the Church who do not know by their own experience that this is true, they may be assured that they do not live up to their privileges. All Saints should be in close communion with the Holy Ghost, and, through it, with the Father, or there is danger of their being overcome of evil and falling by the wayside.
We, therefore, say to the Latter-day Saints: The Holy Ghost will not dwell in an unholy tabernacle. If you would enjoy the full powers and gifts of your religion, you must be pure. If you are guilty of weaknesses, follies and sins, you must repent of them; that is, you must thoroughtly forsake them. In no other way can we please God, “Man of holiness” is His name [see Moses 6:57], and He delights in the efforts of His children to be pure. 28
If we do not have revelation, it is because we do not live as we should live, because we do not magnify our [callings in the] priesthood as we ought to; if we did we would not be without revelation, none would be barren or unfruitful. 29
Let us lay aside all eveil practices, all those habits which will prevent our communing with God. . . If these little things have a tendency to hinder our enjoyments and debase us in the eyes of the Lord, we ought to lay them aside and manifest a determination to do the will of our Father in Heaven, and to accomplish that work which is laid upon us to perform. . . When I do anything that prevents me from enjoying the Spirit of the Lord, as soon as I ascertain that, I immediately throw it aside.30
We are trying to abide the celestial law of God; we are preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and endeavoring to carry out its principles. Now the question is, will it pay us to do so? Will it pay us to be faithful? Will it pay us to pass through whatever trials or afflictions, or persecutions, or even death itself, for the kingdom of God, for salvation and eternal life, the greatest of all gifts which God can bestow on the children of men? I say it will, and I hope that the Latter-day Saints, that all men in authority — that we will all be faithful before the Lord, that we will remember our prayers, labor for the Holy Spirit, labor to know the mind and will of God, that we may know the path to walk in, that we may obtain the Spirit of the Lord and the Holy Ghost, and that we may overcome the world and magnify our calling till we get through this probation. 31
Notes
12. The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, 54
16. The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, 5.
17. Deseret News. Semi-Weekly, July 20, 1875, 1.
18. The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, 7-8.
19. The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, 293-94.
20. Deseret Weekly, Novemer 7, 1896, 643.
21. Deseret News, March 4, 1857, 411
22. In Conference Report, April 1898, 31.
23. Deseret News. Semi-Weekly, March 4, 1873
24. Deseret News, December 26, 1860, 338.
25. Deseret Weekly, March 6, 1897, 371
26. Deseret News: Semi-Weekly, July 20, 1875, 1.
27. Contributor, August, 1895, 637
28. “Epistle,” Woman’s Exponent, April 15, 1888, 174; From a letter written by President Woodruff in behalf of the Quorum of the Twelve.
29. The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, 51
30. Deseret News, February 26, 1862, 274.
31. The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, 129.


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