The world has been divided into dispensations, or periods of time in which the gospel of Jesus Christ is ministered among the people of the earth through prophets of God. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often inadvertently referred to as the Mormon Church) believes that we are currently in the dispensation of the fulness of times, or the dispensation of the restoration of all things.
After Christ was resurrected and left this earth, the essential doctrines and truths that He taught were slowly lost to the world. Eventually the world fell into a period of apostasy, in which no full truth or any priesthood power could be found. The restoration of all things was prophesied by Peter when he spoke about “the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” Mormons believe that the restoration of all things began when God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith in 1820.
Several events will be a part of the full restoration: the re-establishment of Christ’s church as He organized it during His mortal life; the restoration of the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods; the restoration of sacred temple ordinances and priesthood keys; the translation and publication of the Book of Mormon, restoring essential gospel truths to the world; the gathering of Israel; the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and His consequent millennial reign on the earth; and the gospel of Jesus Christ accepted worldwide.
Several of these promised restorations have already happened. Peter, James, and John came to Joseph Smith to restore the power of the priesthood; The Church of Jesus Christ was officially established in these days in 1830; Moses, Elias, and Elijah appeared in the Kirtland temple to restore the essential priesthood keys of the gathering of Israel, the keys of the dispensation of Abraham, and the power of the sealing keys, which enables families to be sealed together forever.
God’s ultimate plan for this earth is coming together in the restoration of all things. This restoration includes worldwide missionary work and the building of temples all around the globe. The Lord seeks to make every one of His children aware of the truth so that they may have the opportunity to choose to follow Him.
The purpose of the restoration is to prepare the world and God’s children for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. God will not leave His children unprepared and has taken critical steps to ensure that His gospel will be made available to everyone through the restoration of all things. Without the restoration, the Savior could not come to reign on earth again, and truths crucial to our salvation would be out of our reach. Because of the restoration of all things, we can come unto Christ more fully and completely than we could before this restoration. The restoration of all things is evidence that God loves and cares for each and every one of His children and wants them to be happy both in this life and in the life to come.