Of Restoration, Dispensations and prophets
From its very first page, Preach My Gospel teaches us about our purpose as missionaries. The first item on the back cover reminds us again, “Your purpose is to bring souls to Christ” (PMG inside back cover). We fulfill that purpose by cultivating faith in Christ which leads to repentance, baptism and confirmation. We encourage those we teach to endure in their faith.
Central to our role to cultivate faith in Christ is teaching the truths of the restoration. Preach My Gospel instructs us, “Whatever your initial approach, refer quickly and simply to the Restoration of the gospel, for this is our unique message to the world” (PMG p. 159). By teaching the truths of the gospel we help individuals return to God and we gather scattered Israel. We do this through our first covenants of Baptism and Confirmation.
The period of time when all things are restored is known as the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times (Eph 1:10). A dispensation is a time when, “the Lord has at least one authorized servant on the earth…who has the divine commission to dispense the gospel to the inhabitants of the earth” (Bible Dictionary p.657). Well known are those who ushered in some of the key dispensations of the Bible including Adam, Enoch, Noah, Moses, Abraham and Jesus Christ. Because of The Book of Mormon we are aware of non-Biblical dispensations and Christ spoke of even more which were, “not of this land (American Continent), neither of the land of Jerusalem…” (3 Nephi 16:1). I can only imagine how the ancestors of the people we now teach in Japan were influenced by previous dispensations of truth.
Dispensations are simply periods of restoration! The truths of the gospel having been lost through disobedience, the priesthood was also taken from the earth along with prophets. When prophets were taken there were no longer authorized servants to dispense the truths and ordinances of the gospel. New dispensations restored truth, authority and prophets.
This pattern of dispensations where God selected a prophet and restored all truth and priesthood authority is well established in the Scriptures. Sincere seekers of truth acquainted with the Bible should be looking for a new dispensation of truth restored through a prophet selected by God. They should be looking for Joseph Smith! Men selected as THE Prophet are given all priesthood keys which entitles them to govern the Kingdom of God on earth. There are also lower case “p” prophets. The scriptures teach that such prophets teach men about the character of God. All who have a testimony from the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ are lower case “p” prophets. Above all, these prophets are preachers of righteousness (Bible Dictionary p.754).
Doesn’t that sound like missionaries? Preachers of Righteousness. Men and women with a testimony of Jesus Christ. Young people who teach the world the lost truths associated with the character of God who is our Father and who has a plan for our happiness and our salvation.
Does that sound like you? Is your testimony confirmed to you by the Holy Ghost? Do you open your mouth and preach righteousness? Do you bring others to Christ by helping them to know both Him and His Father?
I am inspired by you! I stand in awe of you! You are great prophets of the restoration! You have a dispensation of truth from modern and living prophets and through the Holy Ghost. To the new Mission Presidents Elder Packer also taught the importance of a relationship with the Holy Ghost. "I worry sometimes a bit that we can be too well organized and too directed, too regimented so that we do not leave ourselves in the position where we have to be rescued by the Spirit."
There it is. In the end, we have all the tools we need. God has helped us to see some things in Preach My Gospel on which we should focus in the Japan Nagoya Mission. After that bit of insight, He asks us through His modern Prophets to be guided by the Spirit. To rely on the Spirit. To be rescued by the Spirit. When the desire for the salvation of those we are called to teach burns in our souls, when want to be successful in His work, let us turn to the Spirit for guidance. Let us turn to the Spirit for answers.
“The Spirit is the most important single element in this work. With the Spirit magnifying your call, you can do miracles for the Lord in the mission field. Without the Spirit, you will never succeed regardless of your talent and ability” (PMG 176).
I pray that our hearts and minds will be turned to heaven. I pray that we will seek the spirit in the conduct of His work. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.