The Earth's History is Divided Into 7 Church Dispensations

Each Dispensation Begins With a New Prophet and the Restored Gospel

Joseph Smith actor translating Book of Mormon
Actor portraying the Prophet Joseph Smith in the Church's 2005 movie, "Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration." Joseph Smith was the founding prophet of the dispensation of the fullness of times. Photo courtesy of © 2014 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Since the time of Adam, there have been periods on the earth when the gospel and The Church of Jesus Christ have been found among righteous people. These periods of time are called dispensations.

There have also been times when Christ's gospel has not been upon the earth, because of the wickedness of the people. These periods of time are called an apostasy.

Former apostle, Elder L. Tom Perry taught that a dispensation is:

... a period of time in which the Lord has at least one authorized servant on the earth who bears the keys of the holy priesthood. When the Lord organizes a dispensation, the gospel is revealed anew so that the people of that dispensation do not have to depend on past dispensations for knowledge of the plan of salvation.

In His own due time after each apostasy, Heavenly Father has called a prophet to start a new dispensation and to restore His truth, priesthood, and church upon the earth. There have been at least seven dispensations.

There Are 7 Separate and Distinct Dispensations

Below is a list of all the founding prophets of each of the seven dispensations:

  1. Adam
  2. Enoch
  3. Noah
  4. Abraham
  5. Moses
  6. Jesus Christ
  7. Joseph Smith

The Last Dispensation is Special

The seventh dispensation, in which we now live, is the last dispensation. It will not fall into an apostasy like all the other dispensations before it have.

 This dispensation will continue on. It will conclude when Jesus Christ returns.

After restoring His priesthood authority to the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord said this dispensation would be the last and that Joseph Smith received all the priesthood keys.

This last dispensation has numerous prophecies and promises connected with it.

Additional Promises and Prophecies of the Last Dispensation

Many prophecies about this dispensation come from Isaiah, the Old Testament prophet. In the D&C we are told that all the keys available in past dispensations will be restored during this last dispensation.

Other terms used to apply to this dispensation are the restoration of the gospel, the restitution of all things, the last days, signs of the times, etc.

This time period is marked by many astounding events. The restoration of the gospel was just one of them.

The gospel will be preached to the entire world. We have built temples and will continue to build them all over the world. Heavenly Father's spirit is being poured out upon the earth and this will continue until Christ comes.

There will also be tremendous destruction, both natural and man made. We know it will be a glorious time; but it will also be a terrible time, because the earth will be cleansed of all unrighteousness.

How Can You Measure Up During This Dispensation?

We are all on this earth at this time because we have responsibilities. This last dispensation is not for sissies.

We are told that we must make all our required covenants and receive all the gospel ordinances, including temple ordinances.

Once received, we must keep them.

In addition, we must do our part to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and bring souls to Him. We must build up the Church and always be anxiously engaged in a good cause.

We must keep all the commandments ever given and follow Jesus Christ's example of how to live our lives. We must repent of all our sins; so that we can be caught up to meet Him when he comes again. Also, we must help others do the same.

Where You Can Learn More About This Dispensation

So much is involved in this final dispensation, you may want to study it in detail. The following will help you do so:

Remember, once you learn it, you must live it!

Updated by Krista Cook.

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Bruner, Rachel. "The Earth's History is Divided Into 7 Church Dispensations." ThoughtCo, Mar. 2, 2017, thoughtco.com/earth-history-7-church-dispensations-2159218. Bruner, Rachel. (2017, March 2). The Earth's History is Divided Into 7 Church Dispensations. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/earth-history-7-church-dispensations-2159218 Bruner, Rachel. "The Earth's History is Divided Into 7 Church Dispensations." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/earth-history-7-church-dispensations-2159218 (accessed November 20, 2017).