This past summer I visited the Sacred Grove in Palmyra, New York. This is where Joseph Smith, a young boy who was seeking gospel truth, went to pray after reading James 1:5. I was able to go into the trees and experience the same area where Joseph knelt in prayer. It was a very special experience. I imagined what it would have been like to be Joseph Smith, and have God appear to me. The impression of the Holy Ghost I had was so strong, that it left me no doubt in my mind that the Restoration of the gospel was real, and that I am a member of the true church of Christ. I know that through Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon was translated as a part of the restoration, and that it testifies of Christ.
One of the most important times in the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was the Restoration of the gospel. Through the powers of scripture study, prayer, revelation, and most of all faith, the true church was brought back to the earth in these latter days. The Restoration would require three things: a restoration of truth, a restoration of authority, and a restoration of the organization of the church.
The Restoration began when the young boy, Joseph Smith, was searching for truths among the many faiths of his time. In his search, he turned to the Bible. He read in James 1:5, “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 them.” Joseph went to a grove of trees near his home to pray, and as he did, God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ appeared to him. He said, “I saw a pillar of light exactly above my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. When the light rested upon me, I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake to me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other – This is My Beloved Son, Hear Him!“
In answer to Joseph Smith’s prayer, Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him. Jesus then revealed to the boy the truth; that there was no true church on the earth at that time, but that he was to be the one to restore the true church of Christ. Joseph later was called as a modern-day prophet, translated the Book of Mormon and received revelation (to restore truth), participated in the restoration of the Priesthood (to restore God’s authority), and led the restoration of Christ’s church on the earth (the organization).
The knowledge of this restoration has made a big difference in my life. When he had a question, Joseph Smith decided to ask God, and I know I can do the same. Revealed gospel truths, priesthood authority, and the church of Jesus Christ bless my life every day. For that I am very grateful.