“Moses and Elias Each Appear and Commit Their Keys and Dispensations”

Doctrine and Covenants 110:11–12

11 After this vision closed, the heavens were again opened unto us; and Moses appeared before us, and committed unto us the keys of the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth, and the leading of the ten tribes from the land of the north.
12 After this, Elias appeared, and committed the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham, saying that in us and our seed all generations after us should be blessed.

President Joseph Fielding Smith wrote:

“After the close of this manifestation [of the Lord Jesus Christ], once more the heavens were opened and Moses, the great Lawgiver of Israel, stood before Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery and committed to them the keys of his dispensation, saying that these keys were committed to them for ‘the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth, and the leading of the ten tribes from the land of the north’ [D&C 110:11].

“This is also the dispensation of the gathering. In it Israel is to be reestablished in the land given to Abraham. Moses predicted both the scattering and the gathering of Israel. Before the children of Israel were privileged to cross the Jordan and receive their inheritances, Moses gave them ample warning regarding the destructions, punishments, and scattering that would overtake them if they failed to keep the commandments of the Lord when they entered the promised land. He said unto them: [See Deuteronomy 4:23–24, 26–27, 29–31.]

“All of the prophets in ancient days predicted the scattering; they also predicted the gathering again which was to take place in the latter days, and when the Jews had been sufficiently punished for their transgressions they were to return to Palestine. Moses held the keys of the gathering of Israel. He led Israel out of Egypt into the land of Canaan. It was his appointment in this dispensation to come and restore those keys for the modern gathering. The Lord, shortly after the Restoration of the gospel, gave commandment to the Church that Israel should be gathered. In September 1830, He said: [See D&C 29:7–8.] Again, in November 1831, the Lord directed by revelation that all those not of Judah should flee from among the nations unto Zion, and those of Judah should flee unto Jerusalem (Palestine), preparatory to the restoration of blessings to the tribes by the children of Ephraim, before the Savior should come [see D&C 133:10–13].

“After the restoration of these keys and after the gospel message was carried forth among the people of Europe and other countries, they got the spirit of gathering and could not be denied. Immediately they commenced plans for joining the body of the Church. After the Saints came to Utah, the Church instituted the Perpetual Emigrating Fund to assist the poor members in Europe to come to America. This continued for a number of years. . . .

“After the departure of Moses, Elias, who held the keys of the gospel in the days of Abraham, appeared and conferred the keys of his dispensation, saying ‘that in us and our seed all generations after us should be blessed’ [D&C 110:12]. By this expression, reference is not made to the ‘seed’ of Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery but to the ‘seed’ of all faithful members of the Church. We know that the Lord called Abraham and made some very important promises to him and his posterity. His descendants through Isaac and Jacob constitute the house of Israel, the people to whom the Lord entrusted the covenants and delivered His word through prophets for the guidance of the whole world. What prophet this Elias is that was sent to restore these keys is not definitely known. The title ‘Elias’ has been given to several prophets who have been appointed to important work in different dispensations. The work of an ‘Elias’ is the work of a forerunner, or one who goes before a greater to prepare the way. John the Baptist was an Elias; Noah was an Elias [see D&C 27:7]. The Lord has declared that Elias shall restore all things spoken of by all the holy prophets [see D&C 27:6]. This may have reference to all the prophets who were sent with keys of authority to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery.”

(Church History and Modern Revelation, 2 vols. [1953], 2:48–49.)