He begins by testifying of the mission and ministry of Jesus Christ.
- The mortal ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ was comparatively brief. He lived only thirty-three years, and His ministry was only three years. But in those three years He taught the human family everything that is necessary to receive all of the blessings our Father in Heaven has in store for His children. He concluded His mortal ministry with the single most compassionate and significant service in the history of the world: the Atonement.
He speaks about the difficulty that the apostles had to run a religious organization after the Savior died and that eventually the truth was lost from the earth. Truths and simplicity of doctrines were desired by the direction from a living prophet on the earth was lost. Man started to decide the teachings of God by majority vote instead of inspiration from God.
- The beautiful simplicity of Christ’s gospel was under attack from an enemy that was even more destructive than the scourges and the crosses of early Rome: the philosophical meanderings of uninspired men. The doctrine became based more on popular opinion than on revelation. This period of time was called the Dark Ages. They were dark largely because the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ had been lost.
The world was ready for a restoration of a living prophet and the simple truths that had been lost from the earth.
- By 1820 the world was ready for the “restitution of all things” spoken of by Peter and “all [God’s] holy prophets since the world began.”
Joseph Smith went to a grove of trees with a simple question and received an answer that would change the world then and forever.
- On a beautiful, clear spring morning, Joseph retired to the woods. He paused when he arrived at a quiet, secluded spot. He looked around to make sure he was alone. Then he knelt and began to pray. No sooner had he done so than an overwhelming feeling of darkness swept over him, as if some evil power was trying to dissuade him. Rather than surrender, Joseph intensified his pleas to God—and God Himself responded.
- I testify those Beings were God, our Heavenly Father, and His resurrected Son, Jesus Christ, in one of the most supernal spiritual manifestations of all time!
No longer were the heavens closed to personal manifestations of the Savior. Joseph Smith was called to be a living prophet and to establish the church of Jesus Christ on the earth again.
- Perhaps the most important lesson young Joseph learned in the Sacred Grove is this significant eternal truth: the heavens are not sealed. God does communicate with mortals. He loves us today just as much as He loved those who lived anciently. What comfort that sweet assurance provides in a world filled with confusion and discouragement! What peace and security come to the heart that understands that God in heaven knows us and cares about us, individually and collectively, and that He communicates with us, either directly or through His living prophets, according to our needs.
Elder Ballard shares his personal witness to the restoration through the prophet Joseph Smith.
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been restored to the earth through Joseph Smith and is administered today by a living prophet. These things I know!
He instructs us on the way for each of us to know that the truth has been restored by the Prophet Joseph Smith. The Book of Mormon contains Moroni's promise that if we will ask God, He will tell us for ourselves that the truths of God are found in His church.
- Moroni urges us to go directly to the Source of Truth for answers to our questions. If we seek Him humbly and sincerely, He will help us discern truth from error.
These simple truths have been restored and since we have learned the truth for ourselves, we have an obligation to share this message with others.
- We know the truth. Because we do, we are expected to share it with all of our Heavenly Father’s children. To our dear friends of the Church, please do not let pass this opportunity to receive personal revelation from God. Consider what I have said. Weigh it carefully. Measure it against the things you believe. Hold fast to all that is true, and add to that the fulness of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Take into account what you have felt as you have listened. You can know if these things are true by asking God. Listen for His answer; then respond to what you feel.
- If you will do so, I believe you will come to know as I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God’s true church upon the earth.
Just as Elder Ballard testified, I too know that the truths of God have been restored to the earth through the prophet Joseph Smith. The heavens are open and the church contains the authority of God to ask in His name. The light of Christ is available to all men and that light will grow within each of us as we sincerely seek to know the truths of God. We have the truth and we wish for all of God's children to have the truth as well. Share your testimony with someone soon that you know these things have been restored. The Lord will bless you in your efforts to share His gospel with those that are not aware.