Remaining Restoration

There is a true religion, and it was revealed first to Adam. The process of the ascent of man into Heaven to commune with God was always the heart of the true religion. Adam not only received and practiced that true religion, but by practicing it he obtained the “keys” of the faith and therefore it is through him that every subsequent dispensation of the gospel has been revealed.

Adam and Eve lived with God, and after being cast out, they retained a memory of living in God’s presence. Adam taught the first eight patriarchs born after him the religion of the Fathers, which involved direct communion, contact, and connection between mankind and God. It enabled the faithful patriarchal fathers to hear directly from the Lord His promise of eternal life, to seal them by covenant into His Heavenly Family, and establish them as God’s messengers to their posterity.

Despite nearly universal apostasy and rebellion against God while Adam lived, for 15 generations from Adam to Shem (Melchizedek) and Abraham to Joseph, the first Fathers were taught they could walk and talk with God, receive answers from Him, and return to His presence. This line of first or Patriarchal Fathers preserved the true religion to teach it to others during their lives. Their religion was Adam’s religion, and their understanding reached back to the Garden of Eden. They experienced visions, ascended into Heaven, obtained promises of exaltation, and were transformed by their experiences from men into angels of God.  Accordingly, angels ministered to fifteen generations at the beginning.

The majority of Adam’s family abandoned the truth. From the time of Adam, most people who have been given the opportunity to receive the fullness of the gospel in their respective dispensations have dwindled in unbelief. What records remain do not give a full picture of how much was anciently included in God’s temple.

From the Scriptures, it is clear many of those involved with the Holy Order—the first Fathers, as well as dispensation heads and prophets—were taught truth far beyond the doctrine of Christ.  Their understanding reached into and contemplated the heavens.

When the Holy Order is established in its fullness, there is one Patriarchal head appointed to stand as the husbandman-father, occupying the same position as the first Father (or Adam). When God set Adam at the head, “The tasks given to Adam are of a priestly nature: caring for sacred space. In ancient thinking, caring for sacred space was a way of upholding creation. By preserving order, non-order was held at bay.” This priestly responsibility was what Abraham sought. He explained that he wanted to possess a greater knowledge, and to be a Father of many nations, a prince of peace, and desiring to receive instructions and to keep the commandments of God, I became a rightful heir, a high priest, holding the right belonging to the Fathers. The Lord offered to return this lost fullness in Joseph Smith’s day, but the required conditions were not met. Therefore, the fullness was not “restored again” and remains to yet be restored.

The restoration of the Holy Order will return lost knowledge to the earth. The specifics have been withheld from scripture, but the scope of that knowledge has been referred to often. Abraham had the records of the first Patriarchs, and he described some of what was included in the sacred texts:

But the records of the Fathers, even the Patriarchs, concerning the right of Priesthood, the Lord, my God, preserved in my own hands. Therefore, a knowledge of the beginning of the creation, and also of the planets and of the stars, as they were made known unto the Fathers, have I kept even unto this day.

The first Fathers had teachings and beliefs that included much more than what has been preserved from Joseph Smith’s day. If we are faithful, we should expect greater information to be passed along to us. Knowledge to be revealed through the Holy Order will include information about the religious significance of the planets and stars as “signs” to establish “seasons,” as well as information about the beginning of this creation. At the beginning, “The order that God brought focused on people in his image to join with him in the continuing process of bringing order, but more importantly on the ordering of the cosmos as sacred space.”

Restoration of this true religion has begun, preliminary to winding up God’s great work. God is very active at present and has offered to complete the Restoration. Every individual must be godly and practice virtue for God’s work to succeed; and even then, we are no better than any other people even if God bestows greater knowledge to us. The difference consists in God’s willingness to direct us forward as He completes the promises and covenants He made to the Fathers. It is God’s presence, not our worthiness, which distinguishes those who receive the promised fullness.

There are two opposing forces at work, and God’s light still remains productive and positive. Because there is a necessary opposition, darkness and light are both growing. As the Restoration continues to roll out, more and more of its teachings, commandments, rights, privileges, and honors will become  available, although much of it will not be made public. This will create a growing contrast between the darkness of the world, failed institutions, and ambitious pretenders. Ignorance damns people, and the effort to get light and truth requires study, obedience, prayer, and revelation from God. The fog of lies and the foolishness of society should not make you despair. Instead, now is the time for us to hope for a better world. It should make us want to help establish a better society.

There is a great work that at this moment is still undone, a project that remains for a faithful people. It will require revelation from Heaven to be able to accomplish, and therefore, it will require people willing to receive new revelation. Although we may understand some few things about the Lord’s plans, what we know at present is relatively small in comparison with the fullness of the revelations yet to be restored.

To return a complete Restoration, a temple will be required. As the Lord revealed to Joseph, a temple is always required of God’s people:

For your oracles in your most holy places wherein you receive conversations, and your statutes and judgments for the beginning of the revelations and foundation of Zion, and for the glory, and honor, and endowment of all her municipals, are ordained by the ordinance of my holy house, which my people are always commanded to build unto my holy name. (T&C 141:12)

Knowledge that will unfold the mysteries of godliness and instruct in God’s path is designed to be embedded in the House of God. At this point, the prophecy waiting to be fulfilled states:

…when the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, and he will teach us of his ways and we will walk in his paths. For out of Zion shall go forth the law… (Isaiah 1:5)

The required temple in Nauvoo was never completed. The fullness was not restored during Joseph Smith’s lifetime.

We have a daunting challenge before us. It will require minds, hearts, hands, and backs to accomplish it. Preparation needs to begin now. It will be followed by an orderly gathering—not in haste but with guidance from above.

There are great calamities soon to befall the world. God’s people are to escape the tribulation which shall descend upon you, that you may stand independent above all other creatures beneath the Celestial world (T&C 70:4) by the work they accomplish beforehand. God will instruct. But we must do the work.

The Lord is offering an opportunity. He has promised to labor alongside to help us reach the prophesied Zion. With His help, Zion is possible. But we can fail—and Zion be left for another people in another time.

Preparing people to welcome God remains the Restoration’s great objective. That will require all of us to humble ourselves before God and eagerly respond to the opportunity He offers us. When God sends a messenger, the message is God’s. Messengers, even if regarded as ‘angels’, are only mortal men and no better than any other. What matters is the message.

When the Lord returns to rule, everyone is going to be gathered into the governance of the Zion or Jerusalem; no one is going to be left out. And during the time that the nations of the earth are shaken until there’s a full end of all nations, what the Lord is intending to do is to protect all of those—wherever they are—that are His sheep, wherever they’re located, those individuals are as the Lord describes it: as if they are kept in the very palm of God. He’s going to look over them. There are going to be a lot of things that happen that seem very random, very disorganized, very chaotic, very fortuitous. It will seem like there’s nothing going on except bedlam. However, despite that, God’s hand will watch over and protect all of those that He holds in His hand. 

The Lord cares about everything, everywhere, all the time. And we are in an extraordinarily delicate balance—everywhere, everything that goes on. You may think your life doesn’t matter. However, your life reverberates everywhere—what you do, what you choose, how you live. Sodom would have been spared had there been a handful more to leaven. You’re supposed to be the leaven! You’re supposed to be the preservative. What you do, how you fight against individual compromise, what you do to hold on within yourself—however faint and flickering that candle is—everything you do to hold onto that matters! Everywhere—in the whole world!

God intends to re-establish the civilization on the other side of the Second Coming that will finally be a civilization in which men are at peace with one another, and men are at peace with nature. And that accomplishment needs to be achieved with a population of people that He preserves, that He has watched over, and that He intends to use to rebuild His kingdom on Earth. So, don’t think—wherever you are—that you’re not in plain sight of the Lord and that the Lord isn’t keenly aware of you, with an intention to include you in what His future plans are—because God is more aware of you individually than maybe you are even of Him.

This is the time that was promised thousands of years ago when God might gather together in one all things in Christ (both which are in Heaven and which are on earth), in him (T&C 140:4). 

To keep the promises, God will lead faithful people from all over the world to be gathered into one body of believers who will be commanded to begin building up of the New Jerusalem, which is hereafter to be revealed, that my covenant people may be gathered in one in the day that I shall come to my temple (T&C 26:8). 

The religion of the Fathers involved direct communion, contact, and connection between mankind and God by Adam and Patriarchs for fifteen generations. The Holy Order is an important part of the return of that direct association and communication. The original religion of the Patriarchs enabled the faithful to hear directly from the Lord His promise of eternal life. God would seal them by covenant into His Heavenly Family. We can, if faithful, obtain all that the original Fathers received from God at the beginning. Joseph Smith alluded to this in his comment, There are many teachers, but perhaps not many fathers. There are times coming when God will signify many things which are expedient for the well-being of the saints, but the times have not yet come, but will come as fast as there can be found place and reception for them. (T&C 139:12) The failure in Nauvoo was a failure that lost the offered restoration of the Holy Order.

As a servant of God, I say with His authority that these promises are true, and He intends to fulfill them for His covenant people Israel. The Lord’s “strange act” is approaching completion. The promises made to the first Fathers are being and will be vindicated. The Restoration has recommenced, and if we are faithful, it will not be paused or interrupted again. But there is much yet to be taught, and therefore much yet to learn.