Opening the Heavens: The Restoration of the Priesthood (Chapter Only)

Opening the Heavens: The Restoration of the Priesthood (Chapter Only)

Author Brian Q. Cannon Author

This PDF includes "The Earliest Accounts of the Restoration of the Priesthood" and "Documents of the Priesthood Restoration."

Here are seventy-one early Church documents that recount all the known direct statements from the first twenty years of Church history specifically concerning the restoration of the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods. The collection includes excerpts of revelations, statements by Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, and accounts by contemporaries of Joseph and Oliver up to the time of Cowdery’s death in 1850. These statements help to reveal early Church members’ understanding of the restoration of the priesthood and show how they described the priesthood restoration to others.

The introduction explains that while the historical record is clear on the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood, the date of the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood is uncertain. Clues from the documents and surrounding events suggest that the Melchizedek Priesthood was restored around the end of May 1829, but that dating remains speculative. The documents strongly show that Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery repeatedly testified that they received power from on high to perform ordinances, first from John the Baptist and then from Peter, James, and John.