In January 1841 there was a revelation reminding the LDS church it had forfeited the "fulness of the priesthood" (D&C 124:28), the Lord confirmed upon Hyrum "the office of Priesthood and Patriarch" (D&C 124:91). In Hyrum, like the prophets of old, God gave us a "prophet, and a seer, and a revelator unto [God's] church" (D&C 124:94). Hyrum was a man who could "bind on earth, bind in heaven, loose on earth, and loose in heaven" (D&C 124:93). He was the means to preserve the restoration, had he lived. By June 1844, it appears to me only Joseph and Hyrum were equal to fulfilling the Lord's requirements.
But Joseph and Hyrum were brothers, and therefore both "pure blooded Ephriamites" (JD 2:269; see also Ensign, January 1991, Of the House of Israel). The ancient covenants required this bloodline to bring forth the Book of Mormon and commence the restoration. However, they, and the priesthood line through them, needed to end before other covenants could be fulfilled. Zion will come through both Judah (king) and Joseph (priest), to fulfill the promises of our Lord (D&C 113:5-6; Isa. 11:10). Accordingly, both Joseph and Hyrum were taken, Hyrum the first to fall.
Hyrum's line was to be kept "in honorable remembrance from generation to generation, forever and ever" (D&C 124:96). Even after the Patriarch's office, held by Hyrum's descendants, was discontinued in 1979, the church still held some tenuous claims. In 1979 Eldred G. Smith was released and never replaced, but he lived on for decades. The office has now altogether ended according to church publications.
Upon his death in April 2013 at 104 years of age, the sign of the passing of the fourth generation was given. By April of the next year the Lord concluded His work through the LDS Church and set His hand to begin something new, now underway. You don't put wine into old bottles. Joseph Smith declared
"It is in the order of heavenly things that God should always send a new dispensation into the world when men have apostatized from the truth and lost the priesthood; but when men come out and build upon other men's foundations, they do it on their own responsibility, without: authority from God; and when the floods come and the winds blow, their foundations will be found to be sand, and their whole fabric will crumble to dust." (TJS Chapter 44, Or History of the Church, 6:478–79; from a discourse given by Joseph Smith on June 16, 1844)Further Joseph stated, "If there is no change of ordinances, there is no change of Priesthood." (TJS Chapter 8). The fulness of the priesthood being forfeited meant there was a "change of ordinances". Isaiah told us in the last days they would have "changed the ordinance, [and] broken the everlasting covenant". (Isaiah 24:5) Therefore a new dispensation is required to usher in a renewal of the everlasting covenant (given as part of the fullness of the priesthood) and a new offer for Zion having fallen into apostasy. If Zion was successful, the fullness of the priesthood would have remained. "Without the ordinances thereof [pertaining to the fullness of the priesthood], and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh" and "no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live." (D&C 84:21-26). This priesthood is required to see God the Father and live.
All the prophets seek to bring men into the presence of god as did Moses (vs 24). When the fullness is rejected they are left in the wilderness to wander for "40 years", being unworthy to live in the Lords presence or the promised land. Consequently the Lord "took Moses [and Joseph] out of their midst, and the Holy Priesthood [Fullness of the Priesthood] also". When a group rises up to be worthy of his presence (Second Comforter) and successfully teaches their children to do likewise they have Zion.
Despite these failures, it never prevents individuals from rising up and receiving what was collectively rejected.
The first process of fellowshipping in local groups today is saving souls. It is a required first step, and therefore anyone who claims to have faith in Christ must now come and receive their baptism as a sign of faith in Christ through this required manner. Even if the recipient chooses to continue activity in the LDS Church, or any other church or group, all people of faith must receive the baptism now being offered.