Happy 94th Birthday, Grandma Mooney!

こんにちは! How is everybody doing in their various locations? I am doing quite well here in 日本 (Japan)!

Happy Birthday, Grandma Mooney! I got you a card last week, but still need to send it (hopefully today). Sorry it’s late! I hope your birthday is wonderful.

This week has been rather wonderful. We did something with our investigator, Satoru, almost every day. We had a lesson Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, he came to 英会話 (English class) Wednesday, we went to institute together (it was his first time going) on Thursday, and on Friday we had another lesson with him. He has a baptismal date for May 10th. However, even though he is 金人 (golden person), our lessons are still not without difficulties. In our last lesson he said that currently he does not intend on being baptized on the 10th, it is mainly just a goal. At first we were a bit shocked, but then he said why. For various reasons, at this point he does not know whether or not he will be able to come to church every Sunday after baptism, and if he is baptized he wants to do it 100%. So, his decision is either all or nothing – either be baptized and keep all the commandments, or do not be baptized if he cannot keep all the commandments. I certainly think that is a good viewpoint. Certainly we should not be baptized – or enter into any covenant – if we do not intend on keeping the covenant (or at least intend to try). So, we just need to help Satoru desire to keep the covenants more than anything else. In other words, he needs to build a testimony. In that most recent lesson we taught about keeping the Sabbath day holy, which is currently the most pressing commandment since his baptismal date is set for May 10th, and he has not been able to come to church yet. As we talked about the commandment and his current work situation, he mentioned that if he were to find the job that he wants and is required to work on Sundays, then he would accept the job regardless of what anybody says, even God. This statement reminded me that he had actually mentioned in a previous lesson that his current priorities (in order of importance, from greatest to least) are work, family/friends, religion. So, again, we just need to continue to help him build his testimony and realign his priorities. I am certain that he can do it; he can change. Satoru has already said that since the time he started meeting with the missionaries he has seen a change in himself, and we have certainly seen that change as well. As long as he continues studying the scriptures and praying and starts coming to church (which he committed to work his hardest to adjust his schedule accordingly), then his testimony will strengthen, his priorities will adjust, and he will change through the power of Christ’s Atonement. That is one of the great miracles of the Atonement: not only can we be cleansed, but we can also be purified; not only can our sins be washed away, but our very desires can be changed so that "we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually". (Mosiah 5:2) The Atonement is miraculous! I love it!

I also love General Conference! Last week Kimmie mentioned that she remembers that as a missionary General Conference always felt like Christmas. It is definitely true! It is so wonderful! It is nice to have Christmas more than once a year. 🙂

Every General Conference talk was wonderful; they are all my favorites! However, if I were to select my most favorite, I would probably have to choose The Music of the Gospel, by Elder Wilford W. Andersen. I suppose that for each of us, our favorite talks are either the ones that hit us the hardest or the ones with which we relate the most (or both). I love music, so Elder Andersen’s relating of the gospel to music and dance was wonderful! Coming from a family of musicians, I can especially relate to his statement, "…if the basses in your family choir are too loud and overbearing, or if the string section in your family orchestra is a little too shrill or a little bit sharp, or if those impetuous piccolos are out of tune or out of control, be patient. If you’re not hearing the music of the gospel in your home, please remember these two words: keep practicing. With God’s help, the day will come when the music of the gospel will fill your home with unspeakable joy." One of the things that I have learned as a missionary is the importance of practicing, and never giving up. As missionaries we practice all the time! And it certainly is never perfect; every time I practice teaching a lesson or contacting somebody on the street, I realize how much I can improve. The improvement may seem slow, even imperceptible, but it is incredibly important to never give up. As long as we are practicing, there will be improvement and progression.

I learned so many other great things from General Conference! I am always sad when it ends. It always seems to go by too quickly, especially as a missionary. 🙂

I am so grateful to be a missionary! I am very imperfect. I have many things that need to improve. But I know that I can improve, and despite my imperfections the Lord will still utilize me as His instrument.

Well, I am just about out of time. I love you all, and hope that you have a wonderful day, a great week, and a fantastic year!

Love,

マドセン 長老
Elder Madsen

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One thought on “Happy 94th Birthday, Grandma Mooney!

  1. Dear Elder Madsen,
    This week will be another long email. We had a wonderful devotional with Elder Zwick and I also thought I would share some personal insight on my study of intelligence. I leave tomorrow for a one month trip to Asia. We will start in Japan and be in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. I wish I could see all of our MTC missionaries. Sister Daniels will meet me in Tokyo and then we proceed to Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Hong Kong and China. These trips are always adventures and we love to return to our home in Asia where we lived for almost 20 years.

    Here are the notes from Elder Zwick:
    W. Craig Zwick DC 101:22 gather together and stand in holy places. The MTC is a holy place. The atonement is infinite means that we will never understand it completely in this life. It must be personal. It must be real in our lives. PMG the atonement is the triumph of Jesus Christ over spiritual death. It is to be one with him. The supreme expression of the love our father in Heaven has for his only begotten son. alma 7:11,12. He paid our debts that we couldn’t
    pay. Released us from debtor’s prison. The atonement blesses us in three ways:1. it cleanses us, it is a process not a one time event. Repentance is the key that unlocks the cleansing power of the atonement. Repentance is about change, not only actions but your heart. Christ is the power behind all repentance. We need to accept the grace the Lord offers through repentance. 2. It Consoles and strengthens – deals with discouragement, loneliness, disappointment, challenges and adversity. Endure trials, sickness and pain. We all face trials. How do we exercise trust – it requires attitude and action. Not my will, but thine be done. We need to be sustained by his strength when we feel weak and inadequate. 3. It perfects. Moroni 10:32. Who are we becoming – disciples of Jesus Christ. Do we remember him in all that we do and how we use our time? Remember him as you follow precisely and with exactness the white handbook. Be not afraid, only believe Mark 5:36. You have no need to fear. Elder Zwick’s handicapped son bore testimony of his love for missionaries and Jesus Christ.
    Jan Zwick with the infinite power of hope we can make it. When we have hope, we trust God’s promises. All things will work together for our good. 2 Nephi 31:20. Hope fortified by faith creates a force as strong as steel. as we develop faith in Jesus Christ, our hope is increased. Have your eyes fixed on where you are going and not on where you are now. Focus on eternal life. The pruning, nurturing and growing must take place before the harvest. If we cling to hope, it will be our safeguard forever.

    Here are my study notes on Intelligence:
    In the King Follet sermon ( Joseph Smith’s talk at a funeral) He said that Intelligence is eternal and exists upon a self-existent principle. It is a spirit from age to age and there is no creation about it. All the minds and spirits that God ever sent into the world are susceptible of enlargement.
    The first principles of man are self-existent with God. God himself, finding he was in the midst of spirits and glory, because he was more intelligent, saw proper to institute laws whereby the rest could have a privilege to advance like himself. The relationship we have with God places us in a situation to advance in knowledge. He has power to institute laws to instruct the weaker intelligences, that they may be exalted with Himself, so that they might have one glory upon another, and all that knowledge, power, glory, and intelligence, which is requisite in order to save them in the world of spirits.
    Intelligence has several meanings, three of which are: (1) It is the light of truth which gives life and light to all things in the universe. It has always existed. (2) The word intelligences may also refer to spirit children of God. (3) The scriptures also may speak of intelligence as referring to the spirit element that existed before we were begotten as spirit children.
    We co-existed with God as intelligences. In each phase of our existence, there are eternal principles that transcend phases such as truth, light, agency, laws, limitations and consequences. As intelligences, we had the ability to choose, to grow and develop. However, there were limitations on how far we could progress to become like God in that specific sphere. God organized our intelligence and placed it in the form of a spirit that allowed us to progress to the next level. We were able to think, reason, make choices, perform good works and have deep faith (Alma 13:3,4) Once we reached our limitation in that phase of existence, God created the world and our physical bodies through his son, Jesus Christ. That allowed us to gain additional experiences that would enlarge our intelligence and prepare us to not only return to God but to become like him.
    DC 93:29 Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be.
    30 All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence.
    36 The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.
    DC 88:40 For intelligence cleaveth unto intelligence; wisdom receiveth wisdom; truth embraceth truth; virtue loveth virtue; light cleaveth unto light; mercy hath compassion on mercy and claimeth her own; justice continueth its course and claimeth its own; judgment goeth before the face of him who sitteth upon the throne and governeth and executeth all things.
    Three things from mortality that will continue with us into the eternities are intelligence, experience, and relationships.
    DC130:18 Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection.
    19 And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come.
    Joseph Smith expanded his intelligence and prepared to restore the gospel by meeting and interviewing with Angel Moroni over a course of four years. He received instruction but also increased his capacity to learn and understand by enlarging his intelligence.
    JSH 54 Accordingly, as I had been commanded, I went at the end of each year, and at each time I found the same messenger there, and received instruction and intelligence from him at each of our interviews, respecting what the Lord was going to do, and how and in what manner his kingdom was to be conducted in the last days.
    Abraham 3:19 And the Lord said unto me: These two facts do exist, that there are two spirits, one being more intelligent than the other; there shall be another more intelligent than they; I am the Lord thy God, I am more intelligent than they all.
    20 The Lord thy God sent his angel to deliver thee from the hands of the priest of Elkenah.
    21 I dwell in the midst of them all; I now, therefore, have come down unto thee to declare unto thee the works which my hands have made, wherein my wisdom excelleth them all, for I rule in the heavens above, and in the earth beneath, in all wisdom and prudence, over all the intelligences thine eyes have seen from the beginning; I came down in the beginning in the midst of all the intelligences thou hast seen.
    22 Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones;
    23 And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born.
    Light and Truth. As part of our mortal progression, we were all given the light of Christ. I believe the breath of life that Adam received in the Garden of Eden was the light and life of Christ. Laws were given to govern the truth.
    DC 88:7 Which truth shineth. This is the light of Christ. As also he is in the sun, and the light of the sun, and the power thereof by which it was made.
    8 As also he is in the moon, and is the light of the moon, and the power thereof by which it was made;
    9 As also the light of the stars, and the power thereof by which they were made;
    10 And the earth also, and the power thereof, even the earth upon which you stand.
    11 And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings;
    12 Which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space —
    13 The light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God who sitteth upon his throne, who is in the bosom of eternity, who is in the midst of all things.
    14 Now, verily I say unto you, that through the redemption which is made for you is brought to pass the resurrection from the dead.
    15 And the spirit and the body are the soul of man.
    16 And the resurrection from the dead is the redemption of the soul.
    88:66 Behold, that which you hear is as the voice of one crying in the wilderness — in the wilderness, because you cannot see him — my voice, because my voice is Spirit; my Spirit is truth; truth abideth and hath no end; and if it be in you it shall abound.
    67 And if your eye be single to my glory, your whole bodies shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in you; and that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things.
    68 Therefore, sanctify yourselves that your minds become single to God, and the days will come that you shall see him; for he will unveil his face unto you, and it shall be in his own time, and in his own way, and according to his own will.
    93:9 The light and the Redeemer of the world; the Spirit of truth, who came into the world, because the world was made by him, and in him was the life of men and the light of men.
    88:6 He that ascended up on high, as also he descended below all things, in that he comprehended all things, that he might be in all and through all things, the light of truth;
    Necessary conditions to expand intelligence: laws, truth,
    What we must do to increase:
    Diligence and obedience
    Received instruction, interview
    Cleaveth. Associate with people with same values, goals
    sanctify yourselves that your minds become single to God,
    Teach doctrine
    Eye single to my glory

    What we receive:
    enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings;
    Comprehendeth all things
    You shall see him
    Bodies quickened
    Bodies will be filled with light

    Intelligence: wisdom comes from experience,
    knowledge comes from learning,
    power comes from increased capacity/understanding/abilities
    真理、力、容量、理解、能力

    Love Always,

    President Daniels

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