Restoration of the gospel, Elder Duncan shares personal testimony

Missionary couples ponder blessings of restored Church


Like the glow of the morning sun coming over Y Mountain east of the Provo Missionary Training Center is the Restoration of the gospel, said Elder Kevin R. Duncan of the Seventy in his Jan. 11 address at the Seminar for New Missionary Training Center Presidents and Visitors' Center Directors.

Elder Kevin R. Duncan
Elder Kevin R. Duncan | Photo by R. Scott Lloyd

"To me that is what is what the Restoration has been like," he said. "There were moments of darkness, there were moments when the glow was beginning to shine, as reformers were learning more and preparing the way for the Lord's Church to be restored. I love the Restoration with all my heart."

Elder Duncan shared two stories he said have impacted him and "help us to understand as MTC presidents and as directors of visitors' centers what we might do to help young missionaries."

The first story was related by President David O. MacKay, the ninth president of the Church, about his father's answer to a mission call. As he bore testimony of the Restoration in his native land of Scotland, he noticed that people turned away from him, bitter about Mormonism. He concluded to preach simple principles about Jesus Christ. Within a month or so, he became downcast and depressed and could not enter into the spirit of the work.

In the privacy of a cave, he poured out his soul to the Lord and asked what to do. He heard a distinct voice utter the words "Testify that Joseph Smith is a prophet."

With that realization, he went out and testified of the Restoration and enjoyed great success.

The other story was about a modern-day missionary who initially did not have a very strong testimony of the Restoration and almost decided to end his mission and return home. Eventually, he began to grow in that testimony. Previously unwilling to look people in the eye and testify, he now boldly declares Joseph Smith is a prophet. "This testimony will stand for or against me at the last day," he tells contacts. "Are you willing to testify that Joseph Smith is not a prophet?" he asks. He reports that not one person he has encountered has been willing to testify against Joseph Smith.

Elder Duncan referred to a lesson from the missionary guide Preach My Gospel and said it helps missionaries to understand the Apostasy, including the following:

"If divine authority and power are lost through corruption and apostasy, could human intervention bring it back, or would a [divine] restoration be required?" Elder Duncan asked.

Several of the reformers over the ages felt human intervention would suffice and tried to bring authority back, "but we know that the Restoration came, that God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ appeared to the boy Joseph, and the Restoration, that bursting of light, the coming forth of knowledge, this is the rejoicing we feel in our hearts, knowing God once again has come."

He invited the couples in the seminar to contemplate individually the fruits of the Restoration and how they can help the missionaries under their charge feel those fruits and invite their investigators to do so.

Asked to name some of those fruits, some mentioned temple sealing power, revelation, correct knowledge of the Godhead, priesthood and the Book of Mormon and modern scripture.

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