One year ago, President Russell M. Nelson recounted the experience of determining what to do in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the First Vision.
“As we considered the unique historic and international impact of that First Vision, we felt impressed to create a monument not of granite or stone but of words — words of solemn and sacred proclamation — written, not to be carved in ‘tables of stone’ but rather to be etched in the fleshy tables of our hearts,” he said during his Sunday morning general conference address.
He then presented “The Restoration of the Fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: A Bicentennial Proclamation to the World” in the form of a video recorded in the Sacred Grove outside of Palmyra, New York.
The proclamation, written by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, begins with the declaration of the love of God and Jesus Christ. It then details events of Joseph Smith’s First Vision, the appearance of the Father and the Son and the visitation of heavenly messengers to restore ordinances and priesthood authority; and testifies of the Book of Mormon, the prophet Joseph Smith and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints “is Christ’s New Testament Church restored.”
After sharing the proclamation, President Nelson invited all to study it, ponder its truths and “heed the commandments and covenants that accompany them.”
At the close of the session, Latter-day Saints in their homes around the world participated in a solemn assembly as President Nelson led the Hosanna Shout.
The bicentennial proclamation is only the sixth of issued proclamations by Church leaders.
Then-Primary general President Joy D. Jones, who was present during the filming of the proclamation video, told Church News, “I remember prior to the filming beginning when President Nelson looked up — just for a moment — but he looked up to the heavens,” said President Jones. “And at that moment, I thought, ‘The heavens truly are just as open as they were when the Prophet Joseph was in that grove.’”
Five months after its introduction, the bicentennial proclamation was the focal point of the Face to Face event for young adults where Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Melanie Rasband, answered questions and shared insights.
“Heavenly Father knows you. He loves you. You are His children,” Elder Rasband said. “He will respond to you in ways that are familiar and correct to you.”
The proclamation ends with the witness that “those who prayerfully study the message of the Restoration and act in faith will be blessed to gain their own witness of its divinity and of its purpose to prepare the world for the promised Second Coming of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”