Bicentennial Proclamation to the World
The Restoration of the Fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: A Bicentennial Proclamation to the World was presented during the Sunday morning session of the 190th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by President Russell M. Nelson in honor of the 200th anniversary of Joseph Smith's First Vision.
The new proclamation to the world outlines core Latter-day Saint beliefs including the supremacy of Jesus Christ in salvation, the divinity of Joseph Smith’s revelations and the Book of Mormon, the unique mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the ongoing nature of the Restoration that began with Joseph Smith’s First Vision of Deity in 1820. The proclamation invites people everywhere to know for themselves that God speaks and that this Restoration of truth is occurring to help them prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
President Nelson introduced and delivered the proclamation (authored by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles) in a previously recorded video from the Sacred Grove in Palmyra, New York, the site of Joseph Smith’s vision of God the Father and Jesus Christ.
He said, "This April 2020 general conference is our time to commemorate an event that changed the world. As we anticipated this 200th anniversary of Joseph Smith’s First Vision, the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles wondered what we might do to commemorate appropriately this singular event.
"That theophany initiated the Restoration of the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ and ushered in the dispensation of the fulness of times.
"We wondered if a monument should be erected. But 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.
"Now as we contemplate this significant time in the history of the world and the Lord’s charge to gather scattered Israel in preparation for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, we, the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles, issue the following proclamation. Its title is “The Restoration of the Fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: A Bicentennial Proclamation to the World.” It is authored by the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is dated April 2020. To prepare for today, I previously recorded this proclamation in the Sacred Grove, where Joseph Smith first saw the Father and the Son."
President Nelson Delivers The Restoration of the Fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: A Bicentennial Proclamation to the World
- “We solemnly proclaim that God loves His children in every nation of the world. God the Father has given us the divine birth, the incomparable life, and the infinite atoning sacrifice of His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ. By the power of the Father, Jesus rose again and gained the victory over death. He is our Savior, our Exemplar, and our Redeemer.
- “Two hundred years ago, on a beautiful spring morning in 1820, young Joseph Smith, seeking to know which church to join, went into the woods to pray near his home in upstate New York, USA. He had questions regarding the salvation of his soul and trusted that God would direct him.
- “In humility, we declare that in answer to his prayer, God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, appeared to Joseph and inaugurated the ‘restitution of all things’ (Acts 3:21) as foretold in the Bible. In this vision, he learned that following the death of the original Apostles, Christ’s New Testament Church was lost from the earth. Joseph would be instrumental in its return.
- “We affirm that under the direction of the Father and the Son, heavenly messengers came to instruct Joseph and reestablish the Church of Jesus Christ. The resurrected John the Baptist restored the authority to baptize by immersion for the remission of sins. Three of the original twelve Apostles—Peter, James, and John—restored the apostleship and keys of priesthood authority. Others came as well, including Elijah, who restored the authority to join families together forever in eternal relationships that transcend death.
- “We further witness that Joseph Smith was given the gift and power of God to translate an ancient record: the Book of Mormon—Another Testament of Jesus Christ. Pages of this sacred text include an account of the personal ministry of Jesus Christ among people in the Western Hemisphere soon after His Resurrection. It teaches of life’s purpose and explains the doctrine of Christ, which is central to that purpose. As a companion scripture to the Bible, the Book of Mormon testifies that all human beings are sons and daughters of a loving Father in Heaven, that He has a divine plan for our lives, and that His Son, Jesus Christ, speaks today as well as in days of old.
- “We declare that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, organized on April 6, 1830, is Christ’s New Testament Church restored. This Church is anchored in the perfect life of its chief cornerstone, Jesus Christ, and in His infinite Atonement and literal Resurrection. Jesus Christ has once again called Apostles and has given them priesthood authority. He invites all of us to come unto Him and His Church, to receive the Holy Ghost, the ordinances of salvation, and to gain enduring joy.
- “Two hundred years have now elapsed since this Restoration was initiated by God the Father and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ. Millions throughout the world have embraced a knowledge of these prophesied events.
- “We gladly declare that the promised Restoration goes forward through continuing revelation. The earth will never again be the same, as God will ‘gather together in one all things in Christ’ (Ephesians 1:10).
- “With reverence and gratitude, we as His Apostles invite all to know—as we do—that the heavens are open. We affirm that God is making known His will for His beloved sons and daughters. We testify 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.”
The Conclusion to His Conference Address
After President Nelson's video presentation, he concluded his remarks with, "Beloved brothers and sisters, that is our bicentennial proclamation to the world regarding the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in its fulness. It has been translated into 12 languages. Other languages will soon follow. It will be available immediately on the Church website, from which you may obtain a copy. Study it privately and with your family members and friends. Ponder the truths and think of the impact those truths will have on your life if you will hear them, hearken to them, and heed the commandments and covenants that accompany them.
"I know that Joseph Smith is the foreordained prophet whom the Lord chose to open this last dispensation. Through him the Lord’s Church was restored to the earth. Joseph sealed his testimony with his blood. How I love and honor him!
"God lives! Jesus is the Christ! His Church has been restored! He and His Father, our Heavenly Father, are watching over us. I so testify in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen."
He then led the worldwide congregation in the Hosanna Shout. This shout has biblical roots and goes back to the early days of the Church. It is a way for Latter-day Saints to give honor and praise to God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. This is an especially notable act to occur as the Church celebrates the bicentennial of Joseph Smith’s First Vision of Deity.
This is the sixth proclamation issued by the Church. The others were issued in 1841 (to the members only), 1845, 1865, 1980, and 1995. Some scholars consider some of the proclamations as statements rather than proclamations. The 1980 proclamation most closely resembles the one President Nelson introduced in April 2020. During the April 1980 general conference, the Church celebrated 150 years since its organization by issuing a proclamation from a reconstructed log home on the site of the Peter and Mary Whitmer farm in Fayette, New York. It was in the Whitmers’ original home that Joseph Smith translated some pages of the Book of Mormon in 1829 and formally organized the Church in 1830.