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TitleLesson 56 - The Priesthood Restored
Publication TypeManual Lesson
Year of Publication1898
Corporate AuthorsDeseret Sunday School Union
Manual TitleDeseret Sunday School Union Leaflets
PublisherGeorge Q. Cannon & Sons Company
Place PublishedSalt Lake City
KeywordsAaronic Priesthood; Early Church History; John the Baptist; Priesthood; Scripture Study; Smith, Joseph, Jr.; Translation

The work of translation proceeded rather slowly, Martin Harris acting as scribe and writing from the Prophet’s dictation. It is impracticable here to enter into all the details of this labor. During the progress of the work Martin brought very deep trouble upon both himself and Joseph by allowing the first 116 pages of manuscript to be lost. For a time it seemed that Joseph would lose his calling for having allowed Martin to take the manuscript away, but by his sincere repentance he regained the favor of God, although his error cost him great sorrow and much additional labor. Martin Harris, however, was never permitted to be his scribe again. His place was filled temporarily by Emma, the wife of Joseph, but she was so bowed down with sorrow with the death of her babe that she could render but little assistance.

It was at this time that Oliver Cowdery, a young school teacher who had received a testimony of the divinity of Joseph’s mission, came and offered to act as a scribe. This offer was most willingly accepted, and the work of translation was resumed April 7, 1829.

While proceeding with their work, they came to a passage in the record referring to baptism for the remission of sins, and desiring light on this subject, on the 15 of May, 1829, they went into the woods to pray. As they were thus engaged, an angel appeared to them, announcing himself as John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ and the one who baptized Him. Laying his hands upon their heads, he said, "Upon you my fellow-servants, in the name of Messiah, I confer the priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels and of the gospel of repentance and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord In righteousness.”

He then gave them instructions as to the powers of the Aaronic Priesthood, and told them to baptize each other for the remission of their sins. After John the Baptist left them they followed out his instructions and experienced such joy as they had never before known.

During the month following this event the work of translation proceeded, and many persons became convinced of the truth of Joseph’s teaching. Eleven of these were chosen as witnesses to the record, and their testimony is found in the commencement of the Book of Mormon. This record was at last completed and published, and the plates were given back to Moroni.

In the month of June, 1829, Peter, James, and John, three of Christ’s apostles appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, and bestowed upon them the Melchisedek Priesthood, giving them instructions as to its powers. Thus the Holy Priesthood, in all its glory, was restored to the earth in our day.

Scripture Reference

Alma 13:8-9
Exodus 28:1