Thursday, October 3, 2013

Joseph Smith and the Doctrinal Restoration

The Impact of the Doctrinal Restoration: How the World Was Different after Joseph Smith

Andrew C. Skinner, “The Impact of the Doctrinal Restoration: How the World Was Different after Joseph Smith,” in Joseph Smith and the Doctrinal Restoration (Provo: Brigham Young University, Religious Studies Center, 2005), 9–33.

Andrew C. Skinner was dean of Religious Education at Brigham Young University when this was published.

“Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it” (D&C 135:3). What a statement! Thought stunning to some, and even shocking to others, it is not exaggeration. The Prophet Joseph Smith single-handedly changed the theological landscape of the world. It was he who, after a long period of apostasy, reintroduced the world to a true knowledge of God the Father. It was he who made known to the world the full and far-reaching saving potential of Christ’s atoning power. It was he who taught the doctrine and put back into operation the powers that enable all who so desire to reenter the Father’s presence.

The Impact of Joseph’s Personal Tutors

Latter-day Saints are not the first group of people to comprehend the greatness of Joseph Smith. From the beginning of time, God and His many prophets have known of declared the coming of Joseph Smith to inaugurate and establish this, the dispensation of the fulness of times. President Brigham Yong’s well-known statement on this topic has become a classic but is well worth repeating because it is so mind-expanding! He said:
It was decreed in the counsels of eternity, long before the foundations of the earth were laid, that he, Joseph Smith, should be the man, in the dispensation of this world, to bring forth the word of God to the people, and receive the fulness of the keys and power of the Priesthood of the Son of God. The Lord had his eyes upon Joseph, and upon his father, and upon his father’s father, and upon their progenitors clear back to Abraham, and form Abraham to the flood, and from the flood to Enoch, and from Enoch to Adam. He had watched that family and that blood as it has circulated form its fountain to the birth of that man. He was fore-ordained in eternity to preside over this last dispensation.[1]
Therefore, it is not surprising that Joseph Smith was personally tutored in mortality by God as well as the many prophets who foreknew of him and his mortal sojourn. Many of the ancient prophets and patriarchs, and all of the heads of gospel dispensations, appeared to Joseph and either instructed him one-on-one or laid their hands upon his head and bestowed keys, powers, and knowledge that they had gained from Deity themselves. 

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