Located in midtown Manhattan and known as one of the most visited tourist attractions and “quintessential” places in New York for the past century, Grand Central Station has welcomed millions of New Yorkers, commuters and visitors to its architectural views and transportation hub.
What originally began on Feb 1, 1913, as a station to bring together the New York Central Railroad, the building and its purposes have become an important part of New York City. Built at the time when railroads were at their peak, the “engineering marvel” connected the city and provided underground transportation.
Not only is the engineering of the station impressive with the different lines of travel and underground platforms, the terminal’s intricate design — both inside and outside — brought noticeable detail and beauty to the station. Built of granite, the large building incorporates themes from ancient Rome and includes columns and sculptures. On the ceiling is a painted mural of constellations.
Over the years a decline in rail travel, a decrease in budgets, and improper upkeep of the station took a toll on the building. In the 1960s and 1970s, after years of wear and tear, the building no longer looked like the building it once was. Rather, it was filled with graffiti, unrepaired problems, vandalism and homeless men and women. Although the building was spared from destruction, it was full of problems and in need of work.
Amid challenges, work on the building began. Cleaning and repairing the building took time, effort, money and vision. It took an understanding of what the rundown building once was, and an understanding of what it could become.
More than 100 years after the construction of the original building, Grand Central Station stands as a witness of the restoration process — taking something that had, over time, become damaged or incomplete, and turning it into something beautiful and whole.
Visitors to New York City’s Grand Central Station cannot deny the great power of restoration — that of returning something to a former condition or influence. Likewise, Latter-day Saints cannot deny the great power the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ has on the earth today. The influence of the same Church the Savior established on the Earth during His mortal ministry has been restored to its former glory through the prophet Joseph Smith.
President Thomas S. Monson said, “Like a bright search light of truth, His gospel will direct our journey along the pathways of life. Oh how blessed are we to have this never dimming, always glowing hope and the eternal knowledge that belongs to us and that we share with the world: that the gospel has been restored to earth, that God lives, that Jesus is His son, our elder brother, our mediator with the Father, our Lord and our Savior, God’s greatest gift to us” (“God’s Gifts to Polynesia’s People,” Conference Report, Oct, 1966).
The restoration of the fullness of the gospel provides answers to questions and a more complete, enhanced understanding of truth.
“As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you can receive blessings that were absent from the earth for almost 2,000 years,” it says in True to the Faith. “Through the ordinances of baptism and confirmation, you can receive the remission of your sins and enjoy the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. You can live the gospel in its fullness and simplicity. You can gain an understanding of the nature of the Godhead, the Atonement of Jesus Christ, the purpose of life on earth, and the reality of life after death. You have the privilege of being guided by living prophets, who teach God’s will in our day. Temple ordinances enable you to receive guidance and peace, prepare for eternal life, be sealed to your family for eternity, and provide saving ordinances for your deceased ancestors” (True to the Faith, “Restoration of the Gospel”, 2004, p. 135).
A deep understanding of the restoration brings more than just knowledge; it changes a person’s behavior.
“For all, the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is that we can and must expect to become better as long as we live,” President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, taught in his October 2009 general conference talk, “Our Perfect Example.”
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency said, “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. It includes ‘all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal,’ and the ‘many great and important things’ that ‘He will yet reveal.’ [T]he exciting developments of today are part of that long-foretold period of preparation that will culminate in the glorious Second Coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ” (“Are You Sleeping through the Restoration?” May 2014 general conference).
Not only does an understanding of the restoration change a person’s behavior, it changes how he sees and treats others. As a person shares gospel truths with others, he is able to take part in the “long-foretold period of preparation” before the Savior comes again.
“To bring the message and the redemptive power of Christ and His Atonement to the people of the world, we need to declare with courage and clarity the events of 1820 and thereafter,” President Uchtdorf said during the 2006 seminar for new mission presidents. “These events, and the revelation that attended them, are what distinguish us from all other religions and from any other people with good intent.
“Therefore, be humble and testify of the Restoration of the gospel and of Joseph Smith as a true prophet of God. Joyfully live the gospel and be true to the covenants and commandments our loving Heavenly Father has given us. Be courageous. Have faith. Do not fear. Trust the Lord.”