This LDS dispensations handout is based on the super cool walkthrough at http://gospeldoctrineplus.blogspot.com/2010/01/as-memory-aid-for-chronol… . Sister Jensen’s image and idea make it easy to visualize the major gospel dispensations.
I changed some of the dates and a few other typographical errors. I also added the definition of a dispensation from the Encyclopedia of Mormonism.
What is a dispensation?
“Dispensations” are … time periods in which the Lord placed on the earth the necessary knowledge, priesthood, and keys of authority to implement his Plan of Salvation for his children. This plan, along with priesthood, was first given to Adam, but as a consequence of later apostasy and fragmentation among his descendants, it did not remain constantly upon the earth. Hence, from time to time the Lord called new prophets and again revealed the plan and bestowed the necessary priesthood authority, creating a new dispensation.
Each new dispensation, or period of restored truth, presents men and women with a divine stewardship in performing the Lord’s work on earth. The recipients become custodians and coworkers with God in bringing to pass his purposes. They work according to his orderly and revealed design. His plan takes into account human weaknesses and provides for times of renewal following apostasy, just as it provides for a redemption from individual failings through repentance and obedience. …
Prophets are stewards who preach and organize the work of redemption in each dispensation. It has become traditional in some unofficial LDS commentaries to refer to seven major dispensations named after the principal prophet of each: Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus Christ (who led the dispensation of the meridian of time), and Joseph Smith (who introduced the dispensation of the fulness of times; see Acts 3:21.) However, this list does not take into account other dispensations, such as those among the Jaredites, the Nephites, and the ten lost tribes of Israel. …
Several fundamentals are common to all dispensations: priesthood authority, baptism by immersion and the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, the sealing power, and temple worship. Basic gospel doctrines, including the Fall of Adam, faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, and the need for an infinite Atonement, were taught in each era from Adam’s day onward whenever there were living prophets selecte by the Lord. (Encyclopedia of Mormonism)
We start under a TREE in the Garden of Eden with ADAM. Walking away from the tree we see a beautiful CITY. It’s the city of ENOCH.On the other side of the city we board an ARK and set sail with NOAH.Arriving on dry land, we gratefully set up an ALTAR, where we worship with ABRAHAM.Guess what? On the other side of the altar is more water — this time it’s the RED SEA, which MOSES has just parted.Huge waves disturb the sea, but they CALM as JESUS speaks the words, “Peace, be still.”Now we come to a barren DESERT. Nothing is growing here, because it’s the GREAT APOSTASY.After struggling through the desert, we see a green oasis. It’s the SACRED GROVE where JOSEPH SMITH has knelt to pray.