What of the
Sharing the Gospel
From the New Zealand Auckland Mission
Joanne and I have had the privilege of know Herschel and Shirley Pedersen for many years. We love them and have learned much of value from them. The Pedersens were blessed with much success when they served in New Zealand where Herschel was mission president from 1987-90. I have never met any couple that have more genuinely warm and lovely smiles.
With a gentle boldness born of love, Herschel Pedersen has been an instrument in the hands of the Lord in helping rescue many less active members of the Church. As a young missionary, mission president, mission representative of the Twelve, and as a senior missionary with his wife, he has had similar success in sharing the gospel.
Here is the what Herschel wrote about the Fathers Presentation which was used extensively in the New Zealand Mission.
First, [here is] what I called the "Fathers Presentation." It was based on scriptures I had learned about the dead and the mission of Elijah. 2 Nephi 18: 19; D&C 98: 16; 1 Peter 3:18-21: 1 Peter 4:6 and D&C 138:57....Also the statement by Joseph Smith stating that in the last days angels and men would work together in accomplishing this great work. History of the Church vol. 2, page 260.
The first two verses we taught the missionaries were D&C 11:21 and 1 Nephi 13:37. It was the intent to motivate the missionaries that if they studied and prepared themselves they would have the gift and power of the Holy Ghost to accomplish all things. We then taught them verse 37 in D&C 105:37 that they would have power after many days, not weeks or years that if they were faithful in serving they would have success. We believed these verses were most important as young missionaries have had little or no spiritual experience and need to know that we were not teaching something we believed on our own but it came from the prophets and we were teaching them. We found that by using these scriptures the missionaries had immediate faith and applied themselves more readily to instruction and success followed which, in turn, began to snowball.
For inactive members and non members alike we would ask the missionaries to simply ask the people, gWhat is your grandfather or grandmother doing?h (Or go back another generation making sure it was a deceased progenitor.) Their answer would always be "I don't know; they are dead." The next question would be, "Would you like to know what they are doing?" To which they would say, gYes.h
If they had not been invited in, the missionaries would then ask if they might come in and talk about what they knew about their ancestors. They would then tell the people that they knew that their deceased relatives were praying for them. This often brought tears to their eyes. They would explain that their relatives on the other side of the veil had been taught in many cases by the very same missionaries that had taught them. (This depended upon the age of the inactive.)] Then they [the missionaries] would ask the family if they could remember the names of the missionaries they once knew. This allowed the inactive member to remember good experiences and they would often and also be encouraged to relate their fondness and love for those first missionaries which also brought rekindling of the spirit.
The missionaries would then tell thee inactives that their deceased relatives were praying that they would become active and do the work for their salvation in the temple as all had to be sealed to gain exaltation. If they were not members they would tell them that their relatives were praying that they would join the church and do their work for them in the temple because they had been taught in the spirit world and wanted them to be sealed together as families. They would then explain that they would be the first fruit and they would be the beginning and the means of salvation for their deceased ancestors. This was based on, Romans 11: 16 but we told the missionaries not to get into that at first as the main purpose was to motivate the people to simply pray and ask God if it was right that their ancestors wanted their temple work done.
They would then read from the Book of Mormon three references with a brief explanation. 2 Nephi 30: 3-5 [was first]. The missionaries would explain that it was the Book of Mormon and they were the ones that believed the book and brought or carried it forth to the people. [They would teach] that the book had been sealed and returned to Moroni, but because of the book they would know concerning their deceased ancestors and that they would all be restored to the knowledge of Christ and their ancestors and the importance of the sealing of families in the temples.
The next two references were read at the same time. Mormon 8:22-25 and Mormon 9:36-37. The missionaries would then explain that the dead were praying for their work to be done and that they had come as a partial answer to the prayers of the dead to give them [the inactives or nonmembers] the invitation to do the work for their dead in the temples. They would then give them a copy of the Book of Mormon and tell them they knew that what they had just told them may be somewhat confusing as they had never heard of such teaching. But as all had problems in their life if they would read the Book of Mormon as they pondered and prayed about their ancestors and relatives wanting their work done the Holy Spirit would come upon them and guide them in their problems and they would be filled with the spirit of revelation. They would conclude with reading or showing them 1 Nephi 1:11-12.
They would then bear a simple testimony by addressing the people by name: "Brother and Sister_____, I bear you my testimony, in the name of Jesus Christ, that what we have taught you is true, Amen. They were to say no more-no less than this. This simple testimony was based on D.C.100:5-8 wherein the missionaries are promised if they do this the Holy Ghost will bear testimony of all things whatsoever they shall say.
Now when arriving home at their apartments they were told to offer a prayer thanking God for the opportunity to deliver the message and they had done it to the best of their understanding and had borne testimony of the truth and now depended upon him for the fulfillment of the promises made in the scriptures.
2 Nephi 18:19
19 And when they shall say unto you: Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep and mutter—should not a people seek unto their God for the living to hear from the dead?
16 Therefore, renounce war and proclaim peace, and seek diligently to turn the hearts of the children to their fathers, and the hearts of the fathers to the children;
1 Peter 3:18-21
18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us [not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,] by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
1 Peter 4:6
6 For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.
57 I beheld that the faithful elders of this dispensation, when they depart from mortal life, continue their labors in the preaching of the gospel of repentance and redemption, through the sacrifice of the Only Begotten Son of God, among those who are in darkness and under the bondage of sin in the great world of the spirits of the dead.
History of the Church Volume 2, page 260,
gAnd now, I ask, how righteousness and truth are going to sweep the earth as with a flood? I will answer. Men and angels are to be co-workers in bringing to pass this great workc..h
21 Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men.
1 Nephi 13:37
37 And blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion at that day, for they shall have the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost; and if they endure unto the end they shall be lifted up at the last day, and shall be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb; and whoso shall publish peace, yea, tidings of great joy, how beautiful upon the mountains shall they be.
37 And inasmuch as they follow the counsel which they receive, they shall have power after many days to accomplish all things pertaining to Zion.
Romans 11: 16
16 For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.
2 Nephi 30:3-5
3 And now, I would prophesy somewhat more concerning the Jews and the Gentiles. For after the book of which I have spoken shall come forth, and be written unto the Gentiles, and sealed up again unto the Lord, there shall be many which shall believe the words which are written; and they shall carry them forth unto the remnant of our seed.
4 And then shall the remnant of our seed know concerning us, how that we came out from Jerusalem, and that they are descendants of the Jews.
5 And the gospel of Jesus Christ shall be declared among them; wherefore, they shall be restored unto the knowledge of their fathers, and also to the knowledge of Jesus Christ, which was had among their fathers.
22 For the eternal purposes of the Lord shall roll on, until all his promises shall be fulfilled.
23 Search the prophecies of Isaiah. Behold, I cannot write them. Yea, behold I say unto you, that those saints who have gone before me, who have possessed this land, shall cry, yea, even from the dust will they cry unto the Lord; and as the Lord liveth he will remember the covenant which he hath made with them.
24 And he knoweth their prayers, that they were in behalf of their brethren. And he knoweth their faith, for in his name could they remove mountains; and in his name could they cause the earth to shake; and by the power of his word did they cause prisons to tumble to the earth; yea, even the fiery furnace could not harm them, neither wild beasts nor poisonous serpents, because of the power of his word.
25 And behold, their prayers were also in behalf of him that the Lord should suffer to bring these things forth.
1 Nephi 11-12
11 And they came down and went forth upon the face of the earth; and the first came and stood before my father, and gave unto him a book, and bade him that he should read.
12 And it came to pass that as he read, he was filled with the Spirit of the Lord.
5 Therefore, verily I say unto you, lift up your voices unto this people; speak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts, and you shall not be confounded before men;
6 For it shall be given you in the very hour, yea, in the very moment, what ye shall say.
7 But a commandment I give unto you, that ye shall declare whatsoever thing ye declare in my name, in solemnity of heart, in the spirit of meekness, in all things.
8 And I give unto you this promise, that inasmuch as ye do this the Holy Ghost shall be shed forth in bearing record unto all things whatsoever ye shall say.