Gospel Principles 17: The Church of Jesus Christ Today
by Kelly Ann
Note: Please feel free to add your thoughts, stories, or examples surrounding Chapter 17 in the comment section below, as these thoughts and questions (some taken from the manual itself) are not intended to be a full outline).
The Church of Jesus Christ Was Taken from the Earth
• Why was the Church of Jesus Christ removed from the earth shortly after the Savior’s death and Resurrection? What do we mean when we use the phrase “the Great Apostasy? How does that view differ from other religious traditions? What can we learn from the comparison of the apostasy to a famine (Amos 8:11–12)? How does hungering for the word of God affect people? Is it essential that the spirit and authority were lost? Why do you think God allowed people to live without the church for so long?
The Lord Promised to Restore His True Church
• What were some of the conditions in the world that prepared the way for the Restoration of the gospel? Why do you think it happened when it did? How is it a marvelous work and wonder (Isaiah 29:14)? What do we mean when we say that it is “true”?
New Revelation from God
• When Joseph Smith received his First Vision, what did he learn about God? What do his different accounts of the first vision teach us? How were other creeds “an abomination” (Joseph Smith—History 1:19; see also verses 7–18, 20)? Why is such importance placed upon the First Vision? What is the importance of ongoing revelation?
Authority from God Was Restored
• Why was the restoration of the Aaronic (see D&C 13; 27:8). and Melchizedek (see D&C 27:12–13) Priesthoods necessary? Why is important the restoration was foretold (Acts 3:19–21; Revelation 14:6; Daniel 2:44–45; Isaiah 2:2–4; 2 Nephi 3:6–15 )? What was the importance of additional keys restored by heavenly messengers (see D&C 110:11–16)? What is the importance of ordinances? How does your understanding of the restoration affect your understanding of the gospel (D&C 110; 128:19–21; 133:36–39, 57–58)?
Christ’s Church Was Organized Again
• What events led to the organization (see D&C 20:1) of the Church on the earth again? Why is the the church called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (see D&C 115:4, Ephesians 2:20)? Do you think Christ is still well pleased with the church despite its imperfections (see D&C 1:30)? What is the importance of the hierarchal organization (see D&C 20:2–4, Articles of Faith 1:6, D&C 20:38–67)? What role does the prophet play in the church today (see D&C 107:65, 91)? How has the church evolved as it has grown? If you were to quickly describe how the church works to a friend, what would be your key points?
Important Truths Were Restored
• What important truths have been brought back with the Restoration of the Church? What is the importance of ordinances (see Articles of Faith 1:4)? Discuss the following list of truths that have been restored. How have these truths influenced you and others?
- 1. Our Heavenly Father is a real being with a tangible, perfected body of flesh and bones, and so is Jesus Christ. The Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit.
- 2. We existed in premortal life as spirit children of God.
- 3. The priesthood is necessary to administer the ordinances of the gospel.
- 4. We will be punished for our own sins and not for Adam’s transgression.
- 5. Children do not need to be baptized until they are accountable (eight years old).
- 6. There are three kingdoms of glory in the heavens, and through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, people will be rewarded according to their actions on earth and according to the desires of their hearts.
- 7. Family relationships can be eternal through the sealing power of the priesthood.
- 8. Ordinances and covenants are required for salvation and are available for both the living and the dead.
The Church of Jesus Christ Will Never Be Destroyed
• What is the mission of the Church? Why is it important that it spreads to all the world (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:31, Matthew 24:14, Daniel 2:44)? Do you think the promise of it never being destroyed suggests that it is a perfect institution? What is our role in the church? How have you helped in the work of the kingdom of God? How do you think we can hinder the work of God? What is our outlook based on the promise the church will never be destroyed.
Links of Interest
Note: This lesson was originally written for the Relief Society audience in 2010-2011, when the Gospel Principles manual was temporarily used as curriculum for Relief Society, Elders Quorum and High Priest classes. The lesson may require adaptation for Gospel Principles classes, which are mixed gender and primarily serve new members and investigators of the church.