Forerunners and Foundation Stones


Restoration, Foundation Stones, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, LDS


In 1819 the Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote, in a flash of prophetic insight and historical analysis, that “the great writers of our own age are, we have reason to suppose, the companions and forerunners of some unimagined change in our social condition or the opinions which cement it. The cloud of mind is discharging its collected lightening, and the equilibrium between institutions and opinions is now restoring, or is about to be restored.” [1] Gordon K. Thomas, Brigham Young University English professor emeritus, has stated that “Shelley scholars have never known quite what to make of all this.” [2] They are not aware of any historical events in the weeks or months following Shelley’s declaration that fulfill his prophecy of “unimagined change” or “restoring.” [3] Latter-day Saints know through the help of inspired interpreters, however, that Shelley’s prescient rumblings presaged the monumental religious revolution of 1820 and that he was one of several other scholars, sages, and savants who anticipated and helped prepare the world for the restoration of all things that began with Joseph Smith’s First Vision.

Original Publication Citation

“Forerunners and Foundation Stones of the Restoration,” in Prelude to the Restoration: From Apostasy to Restoration. Thirty-Third Annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium (Deseret Book Company), pp. 1-23.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Religious Studies Center




Religious Education


Ancient Scripture

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor