Why did the Lord leave the earth without prophets for almost two thousand years during the great apostasy and the dark ages? In previous ages whenever his people fell away into forbidden paths, he always sent prophets to warn them and scourges when they refused to repent and remember him. Why did he not continue to do so throughout the dark ages? Why withdraw the prophets completely for so long? What was the benefit to leave so many people in darkness for so long?
The Lord does not abrogate the free agency of man. He sent prophets to the earth after the great apostasy from the church that was organized by Christ during his mortal ministry just as soon as they had any chance of being successful. Had prophets been sent at any time earlier, they would have been put to death with no chance for success in restoring the gospel of Jesus Christ. Many were so badly treated for suggesting even minor changes in the prevailing beliefs of the time. Galileo (1546-1642), for instance, was put in prison for the rest of his life for suggesting a heliocentric rather than the prevailing notion of a geocentric universe. The most despicable tortures and murders throughout throughout the dark ages for any deviation from the status quo were common. As a matter of fact, the first prophet of the restoration, Joseph Smith, was also assassinated, but not before he had been able to establish the Church with all its doctrine and authority.