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The Continuing Restoration

On October 30th of 2018, the Church Newsroom released a video featuring President Russell M. Nelson and Elder Gary E. Stevenson. This video interview was recorded during a nine-day tour President Nelson took of South America in which he dedicated a temple in Chile. The video, for your convenience, is below:

Starting right at the six-minute mark President Nelson makes the following claim:
''If you think the Church has been fully restored you're just seeing the beginning. There's much more to come. Wait till next year and then the next year. Eat your vitamin pills, take your rest. It's going to be exciting."
For the past 9 months, this comment has been brought up in one form or another over and over again in various Church classes and sacrament meeting talks. We seem to have latched onto it as if this is a revolutionary idea, which it is.

Often, and for too long, a lot of our well-intentioned language in the Church has betrayed us. Meaning, our language often doesn't really reflect the realities we actually believe. Quick examples of how Chuch Leaders are trying to purify our language and understanding are how we are to minister instead of home teach; we are to teach people not investigators; we are to help people instead of less-actives or inactives; or, as referred to above, understanding we are a part of a continuing restoration instead of intensely believing in something that happened 100+ years ago. The purpose of this article is to show the claim that President Nelson made is not something new.

The following is a non-exhaustive comb over of statements of the brethren from the beginning of the restoration until now about the topic:
"Sometimes we think of the Restoration of the gospel as something that is complete, already behind us—Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon, he received priesthood keys, the Church was organized. In reality, the Restoration is an ongoing process; we are living in it right now." - (Then) President Dieter F. Uchtdorf (Are You Sleeping through the Restoration?, April 2014 General Conference)
 "The Restoration started with the Prophet Joseph Smith and has continued to the present through the work of the Lord’s living prophets." (Guide to the Scriptures, Restoration of the Gospel)
“In the dispensation of the fulness of times,” as Paul promised, the Lord will “gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth” (Eph. 1:10). All of the rivers of the past have or will flow into the ocean of the present; already all of the keys and powers have fallen to our lot; in due course all of the doctrines and truths will be manifest to us." - Elder Bruce R. McConkie ("This Final Glorious Gospel Dispensation," Ensign, April 1980, 21, bold added for emphasis)
"Remember, the Restoration is not an event, but it continues to unfold." - Elder M. Russell Ballard (To Whom Shall We Go?, October 2016 General Conference)
"We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God." - Joseph Smith (Article of Faith #9)
In short, in our efforts to show zeal for the Restoration we have perhaps looked back too often and not appreciated the truth that the Lord "will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God". Even further, this has perhaps facilitated in the nonsensical idea that asking questions is heretical when it comes to the Restored Gospel. A knowledge of what Joseph Smith did is vital for our initial testimony, but if we are to be active participants in the restoration than we must hunger and thirst for every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. We must be willing to ask and, therefore, receive.

An honest student of the scriptures will understand this idea intuitively:
"Yea, verily I say unto you, in that day when the Lord shall come, he shall reveal all things—
Things which have passed, and hidden things which no man knew, things of the earth, by which it was made, and the purpose and the end thereof—
Things most precious, things that are above, and things that are beneath, things that are in the earth, and upon the earth, and in heaven." (D&\C 101:32-34)
Many other things in the scriptures have had their restoration prophesied but have yet to see their fulfillment. A shortlist for your convenience:

1. The Restoration of the Brass Plates (see Alma 37:3-4 and 1 Nephi 5:17-19)
2. A Bestowal of the Keys of Resurrection (see 'Our Great Potential', April 1977 General Conference)
3. Creation and the Earth to be Restored to original Paradisical State (see Ether 13:9 and D&\C 29:23-25)
4. The Restoration of Enoch and his city, which also includes the keys of translation (see JST Genesis 9:21-25)
5. The Restoration of Covenant lands of Jerusalem and the New Jerusalem; as well as all lands of inheritance ever promised since the world began (see 2 Nephi 9:2, notice the plural usage of lands)
6. The Restoration of Theo-Democratic government (see D&C 43:29)
7. The Restoration of the Holy Order (aka the Patriarchal Order) in its full function
8. The Restoration of the pure economic law of consecration (see D&C 105:5)

Other things can be added to this list, but this shows me that the things that will be revealed when the Lord does come will not all be thrown at us overnight. In fact, it might be one of the many reasons the Millennium will take one thousand years. It will take some time to school all of us in the knowledge to come forth during this continuing restoration.

With that thought, the following quote from Dr. Spencer Fluhman (director of the Maxwell Institute at BYU) might, in fact, be true:
“Just when your strength is flagging, you’ll catch the glint of some gleaming tower off in the distance and you’ll sense that God is there…. The ride will not end, the restoration will not conclude, until every daughter and son of God who will come has been safely gathered into his extended, covenantal embrace.” (The University and the Kingdom of God)
In reverential conclusion, it appears that the very word 'Restoration' has a reference to restoring the human family to their original condition in the pre-earth life. We are not only restoring a gospel that was lost in previous dispensations, but the large proliferation of temples ought to suggest to us the above statement is true. The dispensation of the fulness of times is a title that suggests the same. We need to expand our vision; increase our literacy of these things; and understand that we have a Savior and a loving God who are really waiting on us to make it happen (see JST Genesis 9:21-25).


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