Thursday, January 3, 2013

Orson Pratt's Works Lesson by Pres. Pedersen

Herschel N Pedersen

Missionary, General Missionary Representative, Mission President, and couple missionary put together this presentation when he was on his mission in Demark as a young man, after WWII. 

He gained this insight from reading the works of Orson Pratt, which was written in the late 1800’s.  He used these to teach missionaries everywhere he went as a representative; he taught it to and used it to help others come to the gospel in New Zealand, and again on his mission with his wife, Shirley, as they served in Demark.  He is a great man of humble confidence that has inspired my husband, Dale E DeCoursey as he served under him in the New Zealand Mission.  May the words that are presented here be taken in the spirit in which they are prepared to do so, with Love.  For if this church is an imposture, than where is the church that has been restored?

Forward written by Tracy L Brown DeCoursey


Joseph Smith as a fourteen year old boy seeking to know which church, if any, was true prayer in a sacred grove of trees near Palmyra, New York.  He was visited by Jesus Christ and God the Father and told that there was not a true church on the face of the earth at that time.  He was told that he would be the one to restore the true church.

We find this experience to be the fulfillment of a prophecy by Peter the chief apostle at eh time.  He said: “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the lord;

“And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you.”

“Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his Holy Prophets since the world began” Act 3:19-21

This verse speaks of a time of refreshing that shall come from the presence of the Lord; Christ had been crucified and resurrected.  His return was to be a time of refreshing and it states it would be from His presence.  Christ would be there in person simply stated.  It was prior to the Second Coming of the Lord.

Peter then states that he, that is God the Father, shall send Jesus Christ which had been preached to them before. Christ was under the direction of God and came because he was sent by God. 

Peter then states: They would come at the time of the restitution of all things as prophesied by all the prophets.

The question then, to all, is when was this prophecy about Christ coming to restore all thins fulfilled? Can you think of or even heard of any church claiming that Christ came and restored anything to any of them? There is none. Joseph Smith is the only one.  This is evidence that he as a young boy could not have understood theses verses and the appearance of God and Christ to him was planned and prophesied for centuries to come.  For no present day minister can understand the verse because they deny any restoration of anything prophesied. 

In verse 21 it speaks of the restoration of all things as spoken by the mouth of all the Holy Prophets.  Therefore, there must be other tings prophesied by those prophets that either have been fulfilled or which must be fulfilled before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Joseph Smith relates the event when the Angel Moroni appeared to him three times in one night and again the fourth time the next day repeating exactly the same message four times.  The message was that were gold plates buried by him (Moroni) in a hill.  Joseph Smith was instructed to go to the hill and would one day have the power to obtain and translate those ancient records written by his father and deposited there by him.  The translation of those plates is now known as the Book of Mormon. 


Reference to the visit of the angel I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on earth and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people can be found in Revelation 14:6.  “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.”

How many churches claim that an angel brought them the everlasting Gospel or that an angel visited them as prophesied by John the Revelator?  Joseph Smith seems to be the only one to do so.  It is quite remarkable that an unlearned farm boy could find so many verses to support his testimony. 

There are other scriptures that refer to the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. Ezekiel was commanded of the Lord to write concerning this event.  “Moreover, thou son of man, take thee on stick, and write upon it, for Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions; the take another stick, and write upon it, for Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions”.

“And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand.”

“And when the children of Israel shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these?”

“Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hands.”

“And the sticks where on thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes.”

“And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God, Behold I will take the Children of Israel from among the heathen, wither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land.” Ezekiel 37:16-21

Ezekiel was to write two books or sticks as many books and documents were often written upon sticks in those days.  One was for Judah, the bible, the other to be written for Joseph but his book would be in the hands of his son, Ephraim.  The need for the two records was that they would be separated.  Judah remained in the Land of Israel while the descendants of Joseph migrated to the Americas.  The Book of Mormon being the record or account of the dealing of God with the tribe of Joseph. The Bible is the record of the dealing with God with the tribe of Judah.

When the people asked Ezekiel what the two records meant, he explained that after the two records came together it was a sign that the gathering of Israel back to the land from which they had been dispersed would take place.   As the children of Israel returned to their home lands the two records would be the evidence that the tribes of Israel had the same teachings and ordinances.

In 1917 the Balfour Act in Britain established the land of Israel for the return of the Jews, or tribe of Judah as they were then known, to their native land of Israel.  In 1945 the United Nations voted for the repatriation of the Jews and Israel became an independent nation again.

The question then is: We know the Jews are returning to Israel but where area the two records written for the tribes that were separated? Does anyone have any evidence of two such records other than Joseph Smith? There is none.  Yet the Jews were not to gather  until after the two sticks must exist somewhere.  Once again Joseph Smith is the only person who can fulfill that prophecy.  Yet he was unlearned as to these prophecies. 

We find a strange account of a book written in the Book of Isaiah, “And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot, for it is sealed.”

“And the book is delivered unto him that is not learned, saying, read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned.” Isaiah 29:11-12

When Joseph Smith was translating the Book of Mormon he copied some of the ancient hieroglyphics and the translation.  Martin Harris took them to New York to a professor Charles Anthon.  Who said the translation and characters were true.  When told the book was sealed he replied that he could not read a sealed book.  Joseph Smith the unlearned translated the book saying that he was not learned.  There is no other account about any person on the earth having such an experience.  Joseph Smith is the only one.  This would be further evidence that an unlearned boy having such experiences was guided by the Lord. 

In Matthew chapter fourteen, John the Baptist was beheaded by King Herod.  When you turn to Matthew chapter seventeen we find an unusual statement made by Jesuch Christ as he was teaching the apostles about what had taken place on the mountain of transfiguration.  The apostles, not fully understanding, asked Jesus: “Why then say the scribes that Elias must come first?” Matthew 17:10

The answer Jesus gave was very unusual, He said: “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall come first and restore all things.”

“But I say unto you, that Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed.  Likewise shall the son of man suffer of them.  Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.” Matthew 17:11-13

John the Baptist was referred to by Jesus as Elias and the disciples understood that.  Yet when Christ said in verse 11, of chapter 17, that he would come and restore all things and that statement was made after John was beheaded in chapter 14.   Is there any record or any person or church that has any evidence that John the Baptist has returned and restored anything since his death?”  There is only one, Joseph Smith.

Joseph Smith on 15 May 1929 reported the return of John the Baptist and he instructed Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery to baptize one another and he restored the Aaronic Priesthood upon them.  (See Doctrines and Covenants, section 2, verse 13.)  Once again we see the events in the life of a young unlearned man fulfilling the prophecies of the Bible without any knowledge of such prophecies. 

We find another prophecy given by Malachi that indicated another event to take palce before the Second coming of the Lord.  “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and dreadful day of the Lord.”

“And he shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” Malachi 4:5-6

On April 3, 1936 Elijah the prophet appeared to Joseph Smith in Kirkland temple and fulfilled the prophecy of Malachi.  Do you know of any other church or person that even has a suggestion or claim to the fulfillment of that prophecy?  There is none.  Once again the history of an unlearned young man is fulfilling prophecies found in the Bible that there is no other church nor person on the face of the earth that even offers a suggestion as to their fulfillment or who it might be other than Joseph Smith. (See Doctrines and Covenants, section 110, verse 13-15.)

There is a little known doctrine taught by Paul that no church can understand or explain the meaning of the verse other than The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and was revealed to Joseph Smith.  It is the vicarious doctrine of performing baptisms for the dead. “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead?” 1 Corinthians 15:20.

Again we find a very unique thing about Joseph Smith in the organization of the church.   He is the only founder of any church that has all the officers found in the church founded by Jesus Christ.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is founded upon the foundation of apostles and prophets as stated in Ephesians, Jesus Christ being the chief corner stone. See Ephesians 2:20-21. We find in Ephesians the mention of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teacher.  Ephesians 4:11-12, Elders are mentioned in many scriptures James 5:14, Titus 1:5, Deuteronomy 31:9 seventies are referred to.  In Exodus 24:1 & 9, Numbers 11:16, Luke 10:1 & 17, High Priests are found many places also Leviticus 21:10, Psalms 110:4, Hebrew 3:1 and 5:10.

These few verses are sufficient evidence that Joseph Smith was inspired as he restored the only true church on the face of this earth.



Current Address Sister D letter 12.31.12 - Meeting the Trainer

Preface by Me-
Amicherie called on Christmas saying that she was sure having a challenge with following so many rules, mostly the ones that should be followed by the "spirit" of the law.  She is learning a few of the hard things that new missionaries learn.  I had hesitated putting this in the blog, but this is really the challenges missionaries face.  We are a real family- so we have a real blog. 
Also when she says that she talked with Eph and Gpa Brown she means that she was able to email back and forth with them.  She can only call at Christmas and Mother's day.  Just so you know.


I guess you weren't able to be on today. I was able to talk with Eph, we were both on at the same time. I talked with Gpa Brown as well. Love you ma. Hope all is well. I'm still having a hard time with my comp. Things have gotten better. I'm able to joke more with her about the way she goes about rules. She told me earlier that she appreciates how calm I am, in the sense of that I just go with whatever. She said that she was the calm one in her last companionship and that I would not have gotten along very well because she is even more strick with the rules than her. To which my mouth dropped and I thanked the Lord for not that companion. (that sister went home so it's all good) I guess my biggest thing with being exactly obedient is that I don't want to turn into those super self righeous return sister missionaries that I have met at school so I feel like following exactly will make me be that horrible to be around person. I don't know. What do you think? Maybe if you could write me a letter this week. I would really appreciate some help mom. I have had thoughts this week about how in the world am I going to do this for the next year and a half. I don't know if you thought those things when you were out.

My address is
2017 Blackberry Lane
Wayzata, MN 55391

And I did get that letter that you sent me through dearelder about the girl that you meet. How cool! I'm so glad you shared that with me. You have always been such a great example of being willing to go and do when prompted.

Sister sister
Email sent to Amicherie from Me.

My darling. 

You will not have to worry about being that person that you don't want to be.  There is a special power that happens when you give up all that you want and do all that is asked of you.  That is why there are so many rules.  The leaders of the Gospel understand that putting our trust in Him, completely, we will have blessing given to us in ways we never even dreamed of. 

Dad remembered and found letters sent to him each month in the field from his mission president.
We want to send you these once a month and we are starting with the Jan. issue.  Below is something that was on it that completely applied to your situation.  So I am including it.

The Challenger- New Zealand Auckland Mission, January 1989 Pres. Herschel N Pedersen
"As we go through the experiences of life we find that our lives take drastic turns and shocking experiences are encountered which we never contemplated.  Our carefully planned lives, the hopes and dreams we built are shattered from time to time.  We are led to believe that some things are one way when in actuality they are the opposite.   We wonder and ponder why those relating the experience did not tell the truth. 

A mission is sometimes that way.  We hear the glowing reports of returned missionaries, and their spiritual experiences and feel of the spirit and we desire to serve and experience those same things.  Then when we get to the mission field we find that our conduct is restricted by many rules that we find difficult to accept.  Some seem trivial, uninspired and unreasonable.  We find ourselves being held responsible for records, cleaning the flat, fixing meals, being told to be obedient.  We even have rules as to when to get up and go to bed.  This sudden change in the lives of people is not the easiest thing to adjust to.

As we consider this area and begin a new year, I would like to write about a few experiences that are personal and I hope will give enlightenment, hope and above all a spiritual understanding of some of the reasons “Why?”

When I went on my mission to Denmark I experienced the same frustrations and difficulties you do.  I found that the first few months were an eternal hell as I fixed my meals, made the bed, washed my clothes by hand, and never in that 30 months time did I ride in a car of any kind.  All my missionary work was done on a bike, and when we transferred it was by train or boat from island to island.  The greatest frustration came from tracting six hours every day and being told where to go and how to get there.  This became a burden and I had a terrible struggle as did my companion in trying to answer all the little questions I could ask.  He became so frustrated with my incessant questions that he finally gave up and said “I do not know why it has to be this way, so just forget it and be obedient and everything will work out.” I was always obedient, but I still wondered why this or that?

Then one day my mind went back to home and what my uncles and relatives would be doing at that time of year.  I remembered the times we had gone to the western desert to catch wild horses.  We would make corals and lock them so the horses could not get into the water holes.  After several days of thirst the horses would be weak, and we would open the gate to the water hole and then at night the horses entered to drink.   A long rope tied to the gate would permit us to close the gate and trap the entire herd.

With the coming of daylight the horses would want to return to the desert in search of food.  In finding no exit and people around they would panic and run against the wire and poles that kept them entrapped.  Many were cut and bruised badly as they fought against the enclosure.  Then we would rope them, tie them down, place a hackamore on them, and then a team of horses would literally drag them from the corral and force them into a truck.  They squealed, whined, kicked, bucked and tried to jump out, but there were secured.

At home we placed them with tame horses and little by little they accepted the feed and water and lost their fear of us.  The wounds healed and they accepted being led around and fed and seemed to enjoy their new life.  Then came the day to begin breaking them.  This brought a closer association with us as we would spend several hours each day with each individual horse. Finally they could be trusted to refrain from bucking and could be used as cow ponies or a cutting horse and became beneficial to the farm. 

Those thoughts had a profound effect on me as I realized that the rules and questions and frustrations I was experiencing were a training and breaking period for me and that the more I fought against the inspiration of the Lord and His ways of doing things the more I would be injured and the longer it would take for my wounds to heal.  This was the day I finally learned to understand John 7:16-17 wherein Christ spoke of knowing if the doctrine, whether it was from God or from man, by doing.  I resolved to do rather than fight against it.  My life was immediately blessed. 

I found that many times in my life I was discouraged and thought there was no way I could succeed but I was always blessed, and gradually I learned that the seed spoken of by Alma in Alma 32 applied to many things, not just faith.  We overcome gradually and it may take weeks, months, and sometimes years before we realize the results we hope for.  

(Skipped area) Paul kicked against the pricks as did Alma and the sons of Mosiah.  Each has had times when they had many problems and fought to overcome.  My favorite happens to be Peter in the 22nd chapter of Luke.  It was the last supper, and Christ was addressing the apostles.  He looked at Peter and said “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”  Peter was chagrined and told the Lord he was ready to die and go to prison for him, upon whom the Lord told him that, he would deny Him thrice. 

If you can imagine the thoughts that have been in my heart over the many years concerning this scripture.  Peter was the Chief Apostle, the President of the Quorum of the Twelve and was to be the President of the Church.  He had been with Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration and had seen Moses, Elijah, and had witnessed all the miracles, and then to be told, “When thou art converted…” Many of us are in the same position.  We have testimonies; we have witnessed many blessings and evidenced; but somewhere we still struggle as did Peter.  Think how Peter must have felt when he realized that Christ had been crucified and that he was now alone to guide the Church.   Christ was no longer there to give the daily direction; there would be questions and problems, and he was not converted.  

In Chapter 19 of Matthew, the Lord was speaking to the rich man and after the conversation the Apostle then asked, “Then who can be saved?”  Christ answered that with men things are sometimes impossible, but with God all things are possible. 

The change in companionship, working with missionaries from many parts of the world, disciplining yourselves in areas never before necessary are all shock and designed to help you learn about yourself and what you have the potential for.  Peter never knew how to be an effective missionary and had little success until he understood on the Day of Pentecost when he and John baptized 3000 souls that day.

During the year 1989 (or for us 2013) let each labor to understand him or herself and recognize the power of godliness in each of us.  We commend you and love you.   It is a joy to see each of you grow spiritually and we know that you are all growing in the Lord.  Do not despair because of the trials or difficulties, and do not feel failure or quilt; but read Alma 32:42-43 and know this, that we commend you to God and know that many of you have already reached great heights and will continue doing so. 

You will all succeed, and we hope and pray that God will bless all of us as we continue.  Sincerely, Herschel N Pedersen.  "

Your mother, father, and brothers love you.  Keep on keepin on.  Fake it until you make it (or learn it, or understand it.)