In the year 1950, Elder LeGrand Richards of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles published a remarkable volume titled “A Marvelous Work and a Wonder”. This extensive work chronicled the restoration of the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ in these latter days, from the First Vision of the Prophet Joseph Smith to the growth and worldwide expansion of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As we reflect on the history and doctrine contained in this book, there are many invaluable lessons and perspectives to be gained that are applicable for disciples of Christ today.
A prevalent theme throughout Elder Richards’ work is the love, wisdom and foresight of God for all of His children on earth. The Lord in His infinite wisdom prepared a way for the gospel message to be restored in its fullest form in the latter days, through the instrumentality of the prophet Joseph Smith. This restored gospel encompasses God’s plan of salvation and exaltation for all who will receive it. Elder Richards repeatedly emphasizes that this message is intended for all people across the world, regardless of religion, geography, culture or ethnic background.
– God is mindful of all His children and desires to bless them with further light, knowledge and opportunity. This is evidenced by the First Vision and subsequent restoration brought about by Joseph Smith.
– The Lord knew there would be an apostasy and loss of priesthood authority after the death of Christ’s original apostles. Thus, He carefully prepared for the full authority and complete church organization to be brought back again.
– Heavenly messengers like Moroni, John the Baptist and Elijah were instrumental in conferring essential priesthood keys and authority to Joseph Smith, enabling temple blessings.
– The Book of Mormon serves as a second witness of Jesus Christ and the truthfulness of the Bible, providing a powerful means for conversion and lifelong faith.
– Temple blessings provide the opportunity for all to receive the highest ordinances of exaltation through sacred covenants with God. Families can be together forever.
A second overarching theme is that while times change, and technology and societies progress, core gospel truths remain fixed and unchanging. The same principles that led early Latter-day Saints to sacrifice and rejoice in the gospel apply today. Elder Richards declares:
“The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not only good for the people who lived in the day of the Savior and the Apostles of old but it is good for the people who live today. The Gospel is not only good for the people of America but it is good for the people of all nations. The laws of health revealed from the Lord are not limited in their application to people of one period of time or one nationality. The wisdom of God is universal in its application.”
– While modes of transportation and communication have drastically changed, core commandments to love God and neighbor remain constant.
– Modern conveniences and distractions should not detract from personal devotion and charity. There is still a vital need for faith and repentance.
– Temple covenants, family relationships and service to others maintain central importance in an ever-changing world.
– Despite medical and scientific advances, the Word of Wisdom remains crucial. Addictive substances should be avoided.
– Technology provides opportunities to accelerate missionary work and gospel study, but should not replace person-to-person ministry.
– Applicable for All People, in All Nations
Elder Richards emphasizes how the restored gospel transcends cultural boundaries and blesses people of all nationalities. Temples continue to dot the earth, allowing people across the globe to receive sacred ordinances. The Book of Mormon prophets saw our day and the global scope of the Lord’s kingdom. As modern apostles strive to spread the gospel worldwide, we know God is mindful of His children in every corner of the earth. Revelation continues to guide the Church in an international capacity.
In summary, LeGrand Richards’ comprehensive work on the restoration of the gospel stands as a marvelous testimony and history for seekers of truth today. The doctrines, principles and practices contained therein are anchored in Jesus Christ and provide guidance and hope for all people. While traversing an ever-changing world, disciples of Christ can look to eternal truths to be their iron rod. I invite all to study “A Marvelous Work and a Wonder” and gain an appreciation for God’s love and the central role of the Savior. Link to the original: A Marvelous Work and a Wonder
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