The following is taken from Daniel Tyler, "The Gospel Principles: The Gathering Dispensation", Juvenile Instructor 13/12 (15 June 1878): 136.
There never was but one dispensation that was not a gathering dispensation. In the commencement of the Christian era those who embraced the gospel did not gather together. This was because they could not. They made an effort to live as a united body, under the direction of the Apostles in Jerusalem, but after the death of Ananias and Sapphira this order of things was broken up, and no one sought a temporal union after. They were content on the one hand to look after their own varied interests; and, on the other hand, the persecutions without and discords within were such that it was not possible for them to live in large bodies together. Yet the Apostles looked forward to a period when there should be a "dispensation of the fullness of times." In that dispensation all things that were "in Christ" were to be gathered in one.
The great dispensation which was to exceed all others, is referred to in the Lord's prayer as the kingdom of God, wherein His will is to "be done on earth, as it is in heaven."
In the 21st chapter of Luke, Jesus speaks of this same kingdom as one of the signs of His second coming. From the 5th to the 24th verse He speaks mainly of the signs which were to precede the destruction of Jerusalem. From the 25th to the 36th He speaks of His second coming, and says that all the signs, including the setting up of the kingdom of God, which shows that the church must be gathered to form a kingdom, should all take place in the generation in which He would come; that is, the generation who should then be living would not all pass away until all should be fulfilled. By this we may perhaps infer that the most of those living when the signs began to show themselves would pass away, but a few would remain until all was fulfilled. It needs no argument to prove to us that the signs spoken of here have been showing themselves for more than forty years, and that they are every year more visible. In this generation, then, we must look for the kingdom of God. When we find it, as was shown in a former article, we must find Apostles at the head and all other grades of priesthood, the same as delineated in the 4th chapter of the Ephesians, 12th chapter of 1st Corinthians, and other places in the scriptures.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only church in all the world that has all the offices and gifts in it. It is the kingdom spoken of.
John the Revelator, in the 14th chapter and 6th and 7th verses of his prophecy, shows that this new and last dispensation should be ushered in, in the midst of the signs spoken of, by the administration of a holy angel. This was fulfilled when the angel Moroni delivered the plates, from which the Book of Mormon was translated, to Joseph Smith, and when he exhibited them to the witnesses, Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer and Martin Harris. The kingdom spoken of is the same as that figuratively represented by a little stone, in Nebuchadnezzar's dream, mentioned in the 2nd chapter of Daniel. The little stone, represents the rock of revelation, upon which Christ said He would build His church - by which the prophecies will be fulfilled, and the dispensation of the fullness of times accomplished; when "the knowledge of God shall cover the earth as the waters cover the great deep."
John says, in the 18th chapter of the Revelations, "I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues." The whole burden of scripture, ancient and modern, shows the last dispensation to be one of gathering the righteous to escape the calamities which are to befall the wicked and to learn the ways of the Lord in His house (see Micah, 4th chapter and 2nd verse, also Isaiah, 2nd chapter and 3rd verse).