Saturday, February 26, 2011

Almost gone...

The other day I received my MTC address and I put up a tab above with information and how to write me. Come to find out I will be in the MTC for 4 weeks, rather than the originally thought 3 weeks. I can only assume it'll be for my tour training. So anyway, for 4 weeks I will need support from people like YOU! Go check out that tab and see what is possible. Thanks!

In other news, my room here at home is a mess. I get to pack everything today because I think I finally have everything I will need. This is unreal. I keep thinking it's only like going away to college or something, and that will will "come to pass" really quickly. And in a sense, I think it will. Come August, I will have already been out 6 months, with only a year left, and August does not seem that far away for me. A lot happens in 18 months. A lot will happen in these next 18 months...

The agenda is this then: Pack a majority of everything today. Attend church tomorrow in our beloved St. Helens building. Be set a part as a full-time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints tomorrow night by the stake President. Get to the airport Monday morning and fly to SLC. Be a tourist... in missionary attire... around temple square and other really awesome places in Salt Lake. Report to the MTC Wednesday afternoon. And begin my mission service. I don't know what is going to happen after that. But please stay tuned here, because here is where you'll find the information needed to write to me and to see what I've been up to. It will be fascinating, I promise!

I better go start being productive with my day...

Oh, and side note, yesterday was a really good day.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Last Minute Changes...

I cannot lie. I do not appreciate a letter from the mission office one week before I leave telling me that I still need certain clothes and cannot bring some things I already purchased. It stresses me out! Slowly but surely I am packing up. My bedding is washed and in a box, almost ready to be sent to Missouri. I still need to go shopping for a few items. My parents are being so wonderful about it, saying we'll get things taken care of since I'm on the verge of tears due to the added stress of already having said goodbye to Derek with only a phone call to come, and soon to come goodbyes to his family and my family. Not to mention many other loved ones. I'm not very good at goodbyes. I'm getting better, but I still dislike them. I've never left home for this amount of time or situation.

God is teaching me, though. I gave my farewell address on Sunday and I got a lot of positive responses to it from people. Funny quote... A sister in the congregation was wiping her eye and when her daughter asked her if she was crying, she responded, "No, I have Vicki in my eye!". Hahaha. I love my home ward so much. I'm finding peace through the weirdest moments it seems. I can be on the verge of depression for a few minutes and the next few minutes perfectly fine with life. Go figure. But He is with me.

As I was blog stalking other missionaries (I can do that for another week!), one sent home the prophesy about Egypt found in Isaiah 19, and then in 2 Nephi 21:11-12. That's what's happening in Egypt right now. Mind blown!!!!! The gospel's true. End of story.

Keep updated! And just for the record, the picture is a test (if it worked...). I have yet to try to attach pictures to this blog through this email update thing. Trying to figure it out for when I'm in the field I can share pictures!

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Farewell Address Photos - February 20, 2011

The actual talk is below this post.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sister Moore's Farewell Address - February 20, 2011

Trust in God

Trusting in God is something that doesn’t come to us as human beings easily in today’s world. As we look around, we see many wicked things which have come about through years and years of wicked men. We suffer and go through trials, troubles, and afflictions. I’m sure everyone here has had a hard time in their life at one point or another. We are all unique as children of our Heavenly Father, having different desires, traits, talents, and even sufferings. These make us different; these make us special. However, the way we react to them says the most about a person.

If you would, please imagine with me a pot of boiling water. In one hand you hold an egg. In the other, you hold a carrot. What happens to an egg if you place it in the boiling water and let it set there? The egg will cook, leaving us with a hard-boiled egg, hard throughout, with a shell covering it. What happens to a carrot if you place it in the boiling water and let it set? The carrot will get soft throughout, pliable. Are you the egg or are you the carrot?

Alma 36 in the Book of Mormon is a chapter that some scriptorians like to use as a chiasm. A chiasm is something described as a building tool to show the reader the most important part of a section. Some like to call the entire Book of Mormon a chiasm, with the very beginning and the very end having the same vague principle, coming together in the middle to give us the most important doctrine within this true book. This can be found in Alma 36. Verse 3 of Alma 36 reads, “And now, O my son Helaman, behold, thou art in thy youth, and therefore, I beseech of thee that thou wilt hear my words and learn of me; for I do know that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day.” We see that Alma describes three different sufferings. They are trials, troubles, and afflictions. What exactly are they? Let’s use the study tool of a chiasm to see what the parallel verse says. Verse 27 in Alma 36 reads, “And I have been supported under trials and troubles of every kind, yea and in all manner of afflictions; yea, God has delivered me from prison, and from bonds, and from death; yea, and I do put my trust in him, and he will still deliver me.” Alma describes being delivered from three separate things: prison, bonds, and death.

We go through sufferings. There are reasons we suffer, and when we look at the bigger picture it makes sense. As we study the scriptures, we see that we have been given commandments relevant to these types of sufferings. When comparing verses 3 and 27, the trials are prison, the troubles are bonds, and the afflictions are death. What are these sufferings and how can we overcome them?

Studying the life of Alma the younger in the Book of Mormon, we can see that he was cast into prison. However, the only times that happened was when he was preaching the gospel. Therefore, prison represents pains and sufferings, or trials, because of others’ actions. One reason why we suffer is because of other people’s agency.

We hear the term “iniquity” throughout the scriptures. We need to be delivered from the bonds of iniquity. We suffer because of the misuse of our own agency. We sin and we transgress.
Alma 36:5-14 shows Alma speaking of when he went through with the sons of Mosiah, seeking to destroy the church. Due to the appearance of an angel, he came to terms in the reality of what he was doing. As we see in the latter verses of this block, his iniquities caused him to be racked with eternal torment.

 5Now, behold, I say unto you, if I had not been aborn of God I should bnot have known these things; but God has, by the mouth of his holy cangel, made these things known unto me, not of anyd worthiness of myself;
6For I went about with the sons of Mosiah, seeking to adestroy the church of God; but behold, God sent his holy angel to stop us by the way.
7And behold, he spake unto us, as it were the voice of thunder, and the whole earth did atremble beneath our feet; and we all fell to the earth, for the bfear of the Lord came upon us.
8But behold, the voice said unto me: Arise. And I arose and stood up, and beheld the angel.
9And he said unto me: If thou wilt of thyself be destroyed, seek no more to destroy the church of God.
10And it came to pass that I fell to the earth; and it was for the space of athree days and three nights that I could not open my mouth, neither had I the use of my limbs.
11And the angel spake more things unto me, which were heard by my brethren, but I did anot hear them; for when I heard the words—If thou wilt be destroyed of thyself, seek no more to destroy the church of God—I was struck with such great fear and amazement lest perhaps I should be destroyed, that I fell to the earth and I did hear no more.
12But I was racked with aeternal  btorment, for my soul was charrowed up to the greatest degree and racked with all my sins.
13Yea, I did remember all my sins and iniquities, for which I was atormented with the bpains of hell; yea, I saw that I had crebelled against my God, and that I had not kept his holy commandments.
14Yea, and I had amurdered many of his children, or rather led them away unto destruction; yea, and in fine so great had been my iniquities, that the very thought of coming into the presence of my God did rack my soul with inexpressible horror.

Lastly, we come to afflictions, or death. Death is the most common pain due to us being mortal. Because we are mortal we are subject to illnesses, diseases, and death. I also like to think that the term “afflictions” refers to emotional distress as well.

Last weekend, I had an opportunity to attend a funeral. A loved one was lost. Before this loved one was taken back home, they suffered as their body was ill. We finally know they are not suffering anymore as their spirit has left their body. 1.25 million people suffer from heart attacks per year in the United States. 25.8 million people are living with diabetes. 1 in 4 deaths are from cancer. Merely because we are mortal, we suffer.

So how can we overcome this sadness? How do we make these experiences stop hurting so we can continue progressing forward? We have been given commandments on how to overcome suffering. Unfortunately, not everyone is aware of these commandments.

We can respond in one of two ways. We can either show trust in God, or distrust in God. When we show trust in God and respond in the way He has commanded us to, God delivers us from our pains and sufferings.
When others cause us grief, most of the world becomes angry and tries to seek revenge. We need to seek the Godly response to these trials and forgive the offending individual or situation.

As Christ hung on the cross he looks up to the Father. Instead of him becoming angry, he says, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”. I think of the story of Joseph of Egypt. After the many trials others put him through, he still forgave them openly. By forgiving our offenders, we are showing we trust in God as we would believe in justice, and that they will pay for their actions one day. Until then, we forgive as He would command us.

Ephesians 4:32, “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

When we cause our own grief from sinning, we try to justify the means to avoid guilt. This will never get resolved. We are commanded to repent of our sins to have them remembered no more. As we repent, we trust in God because we will be forgiven and have a chance at eternal life.

In Mosiah 27:29 reads, “My soul hath been redeemed from the gall of bitterness and bonds of iniquity. I was in the darkest abyss; but now I behold the marvelous light of God. My soul was racked with eternal torment; but I am snatched, and my soul is pained no more.” 1 Nephi 10:18 reads, “For he is the same yesterday, today, and forever; and the way is prepared for all men from the foundation of the world, if it so be that they repent and come unto him”. Remember that chiasm? We used chapter 36 of Alma to find out how we suffer. If we use the entire Book of Mormon, the very middle of the book, or the most important principle reads as this: “16: And now, for three days and for three nights was I racked, even with the pains of a damned soul.   17: And it came to pass that as I was thus racked with torment, while I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins, behold, I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world.    18: Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death.    19: And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more: yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more”. Christ died on that cross so that we wouldn’t have to suffer in our sins. 3 Nephi 9:22, “Therefore, whoso repenteth and cometh unto me as a little child, him will I receive, for of such is the kingdom of God. Behold, for such I have laid down my life, and have taken it up again; therefore repent, and come unto me ye ends of the earth, and be saved.” All we are asked to do is repent. Christ died, so that we wouldn’t have to suffer.

Life isn’t fair. It was never meant to be. We know that simply because we are mortal that we are supposed to be fighting off that natural man and trying our hardest to overcome the afflictions that may or may not come our way. Unfortunately, the way many people try to deal with these sufferings is to blame God. We blame God because we think it’s His fault and that we don’t deserve what He’s given us. Think of it in a different way. We can be made strong through our weaknesses, but we must do it through Jesus Christ. Instead of blaming God, let’s show trust in Him. We are asked to endure, not knowing the things that are to come. But we trust in God when we endure that His plan is true and we will be rewarded for our efforts.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is about the Plan of Salvation, or what I like to call it is the Plan of Happiness. Before we came to earth, we lived with Heavenly Father as spirits. He presented a plan to us to gain a fullness of joy and we accepted. In doing so, He sent us to earth to gain mortal bodies, to learn, to progress, and to eventually make it back home to Him if we play our cards right. He has given us this incredible opportunity and all we are asked to do is to show faith in Him. He asks us to endure as best we can. So one day, when we leave this earth life, we can go back home to our Father in Heaven and know that we did everything we could. I trust in God and believe the gospel He has sent to us. I trust that if I remain faithful that I will find a fullness of joy and reach my greatest potential. I know that that is true.

3 Nephi 15:9 – “Behold, I am the law, and the light. Look unto me, and endure to the end, and ye shall live; for unto him that endureth to the end will I give eternal life.” It’s right here in the scriptures. This is a promise we have been given and will receive if we do our part.

As a missionary, we are to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with everyone we can.  What is the gospel of Jesus Christ? I turned to Preach My Gospel.  There are five principles of the gospel. One, faith in Jesus Christ. Two, repentance. Three, Baptism by proper authority, or our first covenant with Heavenly Father. Four, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost through the proper authority. And five, endure to the end. Once we have faith in Christ and repent of our sins, we are baptized and show our Father in heaven that we will obey His commandments for the rest of our lives. Enduring to the end is keeping that promise for the rest of our lives.  We find peace and joy by enduring. Our rewards will come in the end, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t rewarded in the process.

1 Nephi 13:37, “…and if they endure to 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 mount shall they be.”

So, what are you? Are you the egg or are you the carrot? Will you be hard like the egg, full of anger, trying to justify your actions, and blaming God? Or will you be soft and pliable like the carrot, forgiving all others, repenting of your sins and transgressions, and enduring to the end?

President Henry B. Eyring, the 1st counselor of the First Presidency of the Church, spoke about trusting in God, and then going and doing in the last General Conference address. “You show your trust in God when you listen with the intent to learn and repent and then you go and do whatever He asks. If you trust God enough to listen for His message in every sermon, song, and prayer … you will find it. And if you then go and do what He would have you do, your power to trust Him will grow, and in time you will be overwhelmed with gratitude to find that He has come to trust you.”

I’m going to tell you a couple of stories. About three years ago I was investigating the church. I really had no desire to seek out anything religious, but I found a friend who I grew to trust. As I started making those judgments and decisions to continue with the missionaries and the other Mormon practices, I realized I was doing what my Father in heaven wanted me to do. In return, I felt a peace in me that I had never been able to find before. I had found faith in Jesus Christ, and I had repented of my sins, because I wanted to. It felt good. I was then baptized by the proper priesthood authority, and I received the Holy Ghost as a constant companion. Nothing is better than having that spirit with you, and I testify to you that you cannot receive his constant companionship in any other way except through the proper priesthood authority of this church. I have been on both sides, and I can’t even begin to fathom life now without the spirit. I would rather sit in prison for the rest of my life with the spirit with me than live in even the best of society without it. I trusted in God, because in His holy scriptures, He promised that if I showed and practiced faith in Christ and repented of my sins, and was baptized, that I would receive such blessings as peace and joy.

A couple years passed. I had a few semesters of college under my belt from BYU-Idaho and was feeling good about life. I was happy. I was confident. I was able to make friends and build healthy relationships with some amazing people from throughout the world.  I came back to Oregon for break and welcomed Elder Claridge home. Before I went back out to school, one of the most spiritual experiences happened to me, right back home in our beloved St. Helens’ building. I sat in a pew with two good friends in the pew behind me. We had stayed late for a St. Helens ward as a missionary had just returned home and was reporting. She was speaking about having real intent and receiving answers to prayers. As she spoke, I felt an overpowering wave come upon me; one so important that my heart started racing and there was a warm burning within my chest. I pulled out my journal and started writing everything I was feeling. I’d like to share a part of that with you today.

“I want to know. I want to have that knowledge of the gospel in order to be confident in my words, rather than just my feelings. I think of what I would have to do to accept a mission call and the decisions and sacrifices I’d have to make. I turn 21 in approximately 5 months. I would have to find funds, miss the family reunion, and leave behind friends. ...  I see the changes [missions have] had on the RM’s around me. It’s intoxicating. It’s something to think about. Would this be something Father would want for me? Would it be in my best interest?”

Obviously at the time, I did not trust God enough. I didn’t understand.

As the speaker ended, we closed the meeting with “Called to Serve”. While the congregation sang, one of the young men behind me leaned forward and whispered, “I like your book”. He had been reading over my shoulder. Irritated, I turned to the other man behind me and asked, “Did you read it, too?” I will never forget his response. He said, “No, but I already know what it says.” The spirit had been there and it had manifested unto us what Heavenly Father’s next plan for me was.

I returned to school a few weeks later, met my new Bishop, and started my missionary papers. Throughout the entire couple months filling out information, making appointments, and finally sending in those papers to Salt Lake City, I fought. I fought hard. I did not want to serve a mission. I never wanted to. I wanted to go to school, get my degree, get married in the temple, and start my family. I want that more than anything, and I still do. Don’t get me wrong, missionaries have and will always have a special place in my heart, for if it weren’t for the several young men who taught me the basics of this gospel I would not be standing in front of you today. I had just never foreseen it in my own future. I prayed for understanding for nights and for days, just hoping that I would soon understand.

One night in my apartment, as I had anger in my heart, trying to make sense of what Heavenly Father wanted of me, I read in the Doctrine and Covenants, section 31. I would like to read these 13 verses to you, substituting Thomas B. Marsh’s name for my own.

1 Victoria, my daughter, blessed are you because of your faith in my work.
 2Behold, you have had many afflictions because of your family; nevertheless, I will bless you and your afamily, yea, your little ones; and the day cometh that they will believe and know the truth and be one with you in my church.
 3Lift up your heart and rejoice, for the hour of your mission is come; and your tongue shall be loosed, and you shall declare agladtidings of great joy unto this generation.
 4You shall adeclare the things which have been revealed to my servant, Joseph Smith, Jun. You shall begin to preach from this time forth, yea, to reap in the field which is bwhite already to be burned.
 5Therefore, athrust in your sickle with all your soul, and your sins are bforgiven you, and you shall be laden with csheaves upon your back, for the dlaborer is worthy of his hire. Wherefore, your family shall live.
 6Behold, verily I say unto you, go from them only for a littleatime, and declare my word, and I will prepare a place for them.
 7Yea, I will aopen the hearts of the people, and they will receive you. And I will establish a church by your hand;
 8And you shall astrengthen them and prepare them against the time when they shall be gathered.
 9Be apatient in bafflictionscrevile not against those that revile. Govern your dhouse in meekness, and be esteadfast.
 10Behold, I say unto you that you shall be a physician unto the church, but not unto the world, for they will not receive you.
 11Go your way whithersoever I will, and it shall be given you by the aComforter what you shall do and whither you shall go.
 12aPray always, lest you enter into btemptation and lose yourcreward.
 13Be afaithful unto the bend, and lo, I am cwith you. These words are not of man nor of men, but of me, even Jesus Christ, your Redeemer, by the dwill of the Father. Amen.

I finally understood why.

Brothers and sisters, I finally trust in God enough to know why I am being sent to Missouri. It is not an easy process, and I am still on the path to discovering what potential I am capable of. Brigham Young, the 2nd president of the church said, “Those who desire the celestial kingdom must battle every day.” We are in a constant war of good and evil. The beauty of this is that we are promised to never walk alone. Joshua 1:9, “Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”

Trust in God. He loves us. He is here, stretching forth His hand to us. All we have to do is reach out for it. For once we do, we can do anything. In the sacred name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Change of plans

Change of plans.

My farewell talk will be held Sunday, February 20th, in Portland, OR at the St. Johns building at 2pm. There will be an open house following in Scappoose, OR, from 7 to 9 pm if you would like to come and wish me off well.

Email me at if you have any questions. Thank you everyone for your support.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Zion: center of all

I just made a really cool connection. I'm here studying for my seminary lesson for tomorrow and we are on Doctrine & Covenants 97. We see here that the people must be like Zion, or the pure in heart. Zion can also be a place, rather than just a state.

Joseph Smith taught that Zion is to be America as a whole from north to south, and that Zion is to be where the mountain of the Lord should be, and that it should be in the center of the land. Independence will be Zion; it has been prophecised.

I was looking at my giant wall map of the United States the other day and made an awesome discovery: Independence, MO, is the center of America.

I don't know about you, but my mind was blown! The connection brought me joy.