The Lord Jesus
Christ called Joseph Smith as a prophet to prepare the way
for His coming in glory. Joseph Smith's life is a testimony
to the reality of that calling. "I was called of my
Heavenly Father to lay the foundation of this great
work and kingdom in this dispensation, and testify of
His revealed will to scattered Israel."1
'dispensation'" is our time—the time prophesied when God
will "gather . . . all things in Christ."2 Ancient prophets foretold
a final gospel dispensation and prophesied of Joseph Smith,
who would lead it. Jesus Christ3 and His prophets
Joseph of Egypt6 are just a few that spoke
of a great prophet to come.
Joseph Smith was
God to restore His work from all previous
dispensations. "Every man who has a calling to
minister to the inhabitants of the world," taught Joseph
Smith, "was ordained to that very purpose in the
of heaven before this world was. I suppose that I was
ordained to this very office in that Grand
History of the Church, 5:516.
2. Ephesians 1:10; see
also D&C 27:13.
3. See 3 Nephi 21:9–11.
4. See Moses 1:40–41.
5. See Mormon 8:1–16,
23–25; Ether 5:1–4.
6. 2 Nephi 3:7.
History of the Church, 6:364.
A gospel dispensation is a period of time in which the Lord has at least one authorized servant on the earth who bears the keys of the holy priesthood. Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith, and others have each started a new gospel dispensation. When the Lord organizes a dispensation, the gospel is revealed anew so that the people of that dispensation do not have to depend on past dispensations for knowledge of the plan of salvation. The dispensation begun by Joseph Smith is known as the "dispensation of the fulness of times" (The Guide to the Scriptures, "Dispensation," 67).
The meeting in heaven in which Heavenly Father announced the plan of salvation and chose Jesus Christ as our Redeemer (Gospel Principles, 377).
Callings given by Heavenly Father to His children to come to earth at a specific time and place to help with His work in a particular way (Gospel Principles, 378–79).
Learn of the events surrounding Joseph Smith's call as a prophet.
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