Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Restoration of the Gospel Lesson

Sister and Elder DeCoursey,
Do you remember Pres. Pedersen's experience with the minister that they had come to a zone conference and how Pres. Pedersen was able to help the minister feel the holy ghost and accept the witness of the holy ghost to him to be baptized.

Stories from my Life Book by Herschel N Pedersen -Dale's Mission President from New Zealand

The story goes like this,

"Oscar conducted the meeting. We had a song and a prayer, and then the man was introduced to the group. He turned out to be a retired Methodist Minister.
"I looked at the missionaries. I looked down at my wife, my daughters, and my inlaws. And my heart fell. I prayed, 'Lord, I have really put you on the spot. I'd like to apologize right now. But there are 240 young men out there. Here's a retired Methodist Minister. (He was still being introduced.) I have promised that the Holy Ghost would witness to him that the Church is true. I had no right to do that, but I've done it. For the sake of these 240 missionaries, and for the sake of this man's soul, you're going to have to forgive me and help me today. I don't deserve help, but this couple does. Please overlook my mess up and take care of me one more time.'
The man was now standing on my right. 'Brother McMurrow, you are a retired minister.'
'would you say something to these young men?'
He spoke for about two minutes while I stood by him, something about his ministry and what he'd done.
My old heart was heavy. Again I prayed, 'Lord, I've got to have some help here.'
On my mission in Denmark, we didn't have any set lesson, but I had prepared one special lesson. I'd read the first fifty pages of so of the Orson Pratt's works, where he wrote about Joseph Smith in a way that I'd never heard before. (insert by Tracy- to see the whole lesson go to the entry in this blog dated Jan. 3rd 2013 'Orson Pratt's works') 
'Brother McMorrow, you have read the story of Joseph Smith. It sounds like a fairy tale, doesn't it? It's a remarkable story."
"That's right. I don't believe it.'
"But the Holy Ghost is going to witness to you that it is true. I would like you to start reading the Joseph Smith story. As you read, if you don't mind I'll interrupt you here and there along the way, not to be rude, but to emphasize something from the scriptures"
"Okay, we’ll do that” he said.
So he started to read the Joseph Smith story. When he came to the place where Christ and God the Father appeared to Joseph, I interrupted: “Now, Brother McMurrow, did you know that the apostle Peter prophesied that that would happen?”
“Would you like to read that prophecy?”
“I’d be interested in that.”
So we turned to Acts 3:19-21, where it says that the heavens must receive Christ until the restitution of all things. I read him those verses, then said, “Christ is now dead, when Peter say this, and the heavens will received him until the time of restitution of all things-so that has to be a time other than his crucifixion.”
He agreed.
I continued: “If Peter said Christ was going to come, He’ll be in heaven until there’s a time of restitution. Christ will be coming back to earth, and something will be restored.”
“That’s right,” he said.
“Do you know of any other church, other than what Joseph Smith founded, which teaches that Christ came and restored anything?”
Than the minister talked a little about John the Baptist, from Matthew 17:1-12. John as Elias would come and restore all things. Again, I asked if he knew of any church that claimed John the Baptist would come as prophesied by Christ. He said he didn’t.
I’d been teaching this doctrine to nonmembers for forty years.
Eventually, we began talking about the Book of Mormon. I quoted to the minister from Ezekiel 37, and then about the Belfour Act, which established the land of Israel.
Finally, I said, “Brother McMurrow, there’s no sense in going any further. The Hold Ghost is witnessing to me now that it has already witnessed to you that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is true.”
“That’s the case,” He confirmed. “I would like to be baptized into this church.”
Oscar had timed the dialog- 16.5 minutes.
“Thank you, Brother McMurrow, would you now please go over and sit down?” By now, his wife was crying-not with sorrow, but about how the Spirit had got hold of her and wrenched her heart. I was now crying myself.
I addressed the elders and sisters: “This is the way conversion happens” I turned to D&C 100 and read them 5-8, where elders are counseled, “For it shall be given you in the very hour, yea, in the very moment, what ye shall say.” (D&C 5:16 also)
“You simply bear your testimony” and that’s what I did.
“Brother McMurrow, I bear you my testimony in the name of Jesus Christ that the spirit has witnessed to you the truth of the restored gospel.”
I turned again to the missionaries: “This is the pattern the Lord has set in the scriptures, and this pattern also applies to home teaching. Pres. Harold B Lee once said “Home teaching means watching over the Church as the scriptures have defined it. Home teaching is nothing more than missionary work to those who are not members and to those who are members of the Church.”
About half an hour had now passed, so I announced “This meeting is adjourned.” Pres. McConkie asked, “What are we going to do now?”
“That’s up to you. You’re the mission President.”
He called some missionaries to come forward and speak, because he didn’t want them leaving early. That would have been anticlimactic-after their seeing this minister being taught and converted the way he had been.
By the way, Brother McMorrow was baptized that next Friday.
Since then, whenever I meet missionaries from that time, that’s all they remember from me; they don’t remember anything else I ever said or did, even though I’d been in that mission on and off for three years.
I don’t think what I did was courageous; it was just audacious. I’d been hoping the missionaries would bring in someone from off the street who had never gone to a church. That’s the kind of people I usually had ended up talking to. Yes, I was bold, but I just do whatever comes to my mind.
Sister and Elder DeCoursey this is an example of Simple Faith, Simply relying on He who can never fail you. I pray as often as I can to be able to hear what He would have me do and say, and the courage to do it. Pray for courage. Than just start trying. You will fail, but you will succeed also.
I love you.

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