Gospel Principles 17: The Church of Jesus Christ Today

by Kelly Ann

“Chapter 17: The Church of Jesus Christ Today,” Gospel Principles, (2009),94–100

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.


  1. Thanks for the great questions, they will be helpful in brainstorming.

    Wow, Maria, your lesson plan sounds fantastic! The sisters in your ward are in for a great lesson on Sunday. I might use some of your ideas.

  2. I was just asked to give this lesson. HELP I too would like a copy of Maria’s time line. I agree, we need to stick with the lesson manual. Thanks for your input.

  3. Yes – please share the time-line. I too have asked a new convert to share her testimony. I also made Joseph Smith Tribute quilt last year which I will display. Google it. Very wonderful story quilt of his life. I also found a lot of help in the Preach my gospel book. In fact, this lesson follows almost exact and adds a lot of detail. I want to use the 8 truths as discussion points – giving them out to be read and then discussed. Should be fun!

  4. 0 Christ is born
    33 Crucifixion
    1700 People becoming interested in God and Religion.
    1820 New Revelation from God
    1829 Priesthood Restored
    1830 Book of Mormon published
    April 6 1830 Church was organized
    2010 The Church today

    Here is my timeline. The lesson can be broken up every easily under these dates.
    Sharyn the sister in your ward are going to have a very special treat when you share your quilt. I would love to make one

    • Additional dates:
      (taken from a General Conference Talk: Robert D Hales, Oct 2005)
      1300s John Wycliff translated the Bible from Latin into English
      1455 Johannes Gutenberg invented the press– the Bible was one of the first books he printed
      1492 Christopher Columbus set sail for a “new path to the far East”
      He said “God gave me the faith, and afterwards the courage.”
      early 1500s Martin Luther – 95 points of error in the church of his time
      early 1500s Hulrich Zwigly – 67 articles of reform
      same time, John Calvin, John Knox, similar
      mid 1500s William Tyndale translated the New Testament and a portion of the old testament from Hebrew and Greek into English.
      He said (speaking to a learned man), “If God spare my life, ere many years I will cause that a boy that driveth the plough shall know more of the scriptures than thou dost.”

      Tyndale, like others was killed for his efforts.

      President Robert D. Hales said (about bringing us out of the spiritual dark ages), “We express gratitude to all who lived in England and throughout Europe who helped kindle that light. By God’s grace, the light grew brighter. Aware of the divisions within his own country, English King James I agreed to a new official version of the Bible.”

      Also: the manual states “Teach only what is supported by the scriptures, the word of Latter-day prophets and apostles, and the Holy Spirit.”
      Personally I use only the manual, the scriptures, and General Conference talks.

      • It’s on page 2:

        Teach the Doctrine

        Before you teach from a chapter, study it thoroughly to be sure you understand the doctrine. Also study the additional scriptures listed at the end of the chapter. You will teach with greater sincerity and power when the teachings in the chapter have influenced you personally. Never speculate about Church doctrine. Teach only what is supported by the scriptures, the words of latter-day prophets and apostles, and the Holy Spirit (see D&C 42:12–14; 52:9).

        If you have been called to teach a quorum or class using this book, do not substitute outside materials, however interesting they may be. Stay true to the scriptures and the words in the book. As appropriate, use personal experiences and articles from Church magazines to supplement the lessons.

        For more on this subject, see Teaching, No Greater Call, pages 50–59.

  5. Our ward boundaries were just realigned a couple of weeks ago. I am still teaching this lesson. I do not know many of the new women in our ward. I have send them an email with several questions to ponder this week and also the 8 truths that are listed in the lesson. I think it will help break the ice if we have an more open discussion lesson. There is so many good things in this lesson. I hope that I will be able to present it to them as I have outlined. There is several god questions for this lesson. Thanks

  6. Thank you for all of the great comments. They have helped me a great deal in preparing this lesson. I also am going to use some of the interview of President Gordon B. Hinckley and Mike Wallace on 60 minutes. It is a great example of how we can “Stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things and in all places” and fear not when sharing what we know to be true.
    It is in the Nov. 1996 Ensign and the title of the article is “This Thing Was Not Done In A Corner”

  7. This is part of a letter that we received from our daughter who is serving a mission in Texas. I plan to share it in the lesson…if I can get through it. Every time I read it, tears come to my eyes.

    “I had the most fascinating experience this week. This woman came up to us in our apartment complex and asked if we could come by and teach her more about God. Of course! So, we went and taught her and her two kids. I think our visits may be in great part to bless the life of this woman’s daughter-Sadie, who is ten. Sadie just loved every word and was so excited to read the Book of Mormon. Anyways. So we taught the lesson of the restoration. It got to my turn where I was supposed to tell the story of Joseph Smith and recite the first vision. Everything was going as usual. I got to the part where Joseph goes into the sacred grove to pray for the first time out loud. I told Sadie and her mom that I would tell it to them in Joseph’s words how he saw it. “I saw a pillar of light. Exactly over my head..” And right there I got the most overwhelming feeling that words honestly cannot explain. This has never happened to me before. It filled every inch of me, and these crocodile tears just started streaming down my face. I felt this stirring in my heart talked about in the scriptures. It was warm all over and I could hardly finish the recitation of the first vision. I went on amidst streams of tears- “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 unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other- Joseph, this is my beloved son. Hear him.”
    I know Joseph saw what he said he saw. I know that The God of the Universe knew Joseph personally and appeared to Joseph and called him by his name. I will never be able to deny the witness I received in that small apartment, sitting on the floor, telling these strangers about the most important message on the face of the earth. That we have Christ’s gospel again restored on the earth. We can all have access to the atonement in as profound a way as the woman who touched the Savior’s robe, virtue went out of him, and she was healed through her faith in him.

    When I was having these ‘swelling motions’ within me as I explained the first vision to them, a thought went through my head–“it’s all true, isn’t it?” And with astounding confidence, the answer came back–“Yes. It is.”
    I know the Lord is willing to pour us out blessings so great that we don’t have room enough to receive them. He is so willing to give us these spiritual confirmations of truth as we just continue trying to build our testimonies everyday. I had recited this vision probably ten times and been in a lesson where the message of the restoration was being shared many times. I think as we just continue to try to build our testimonies with others and share them with others, the Lord will continue to pour out His spirit to testify to us that it really is all true. I have a testimony that it is. That Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. That Jesus Christ is the Savior and that He lives. That The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has God’s authority and with it, the power to save all who will accept the gospel. I know Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers and that He knows the desires of our hearts, our hopes and dreams, our troubles and concerns. He is real. We are His children. His beautiful children.”
    I love you all. Have a great week!
    Your Missionary

    • As a side note, I would also add to the timeline the dates mentioned by Elder Ballard – the Nicaea Council in 325 a.d. and the Martin Luther inspired Protestant Reformation that challenged the Roman Emperor in 1517 a.d.

  8. Sisters, thank you so much for this great website! I taught this lesson today and thanks to the Lord and many of the suggestions here, I felt it went very well. Please continue this wonderful resource for those of us who are new to this calling. Thank you! Thank you!

    • Brenda,
      I am teaching this lesson on Sunday. I am also using some of the great ideas from here. Did you use the timeline, if so how did you go about it? I am also new to this calling and it is Fast Sunday so I have less time to teach, so I am trying to figure out how to fit it all in.
      Any other suggestions would greatly be appreciated. Thanks a bunch!!!

  9. I feel very alienated from the RS organization when political agitators are quoted. Please for the sake of others like me refrain from using Glenn Beck as a source.

    • Katy, I agree that Glenn Beck should not be used as a source for an RS or Priesthood lesson, but I wouldn’t consider him a “political agitator” either. You make him sound like a Communist or a Nazi propagandist, someone out on the streets firing up the rioters to burn down the halls of democracy. If you have ever really listened to him, that’s not what he is about.

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