Friday, January 22, 2021

Remarkable Experiences in the Life of Elder Glen L. Rudd #22 - Great Events in the Life of Matthew Cowley, as Told by Elder Glen L. Rudd (Part 1)

 (Compiled by Dennis B. Horne)

 Matthew Cowley’s First Mission

            [Editorial Note: This material begins a sub-series of posts relating highlights from Elder Matthew Cowley’s faith-promoting and interesting life experiences, as shared by Elder Rudd. There is some limited unavoidable repetion:]

             I soon learned that my mission president, Matthew Cowley, was a genuine, lovable man—there was nothing very strict or demanding in his way of life. He was a very special president. During his first mission 20 years before, he had served in New Zealand for five full years. He arrived in that mission just as he turned 17 years of age and was 22 when he returned home and had not yet finished high school. His mission was very eventful.

            The young Elder Cowley started out among the Maori people and spent most all of his mission with them. He learned the Maori language quickly and well. In fact, it was said he spoke the language better than any of the Maoris and had a more excellent vocabulary than anyone. His English vocabulary exceeded anything I had ever known, and I was in a position to know that his Maori must have been equally as good.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Remarkable Experiences in the Life of Elder Glen L. Rudd #21 - Elder Rudd Reminisces about the WWII Evacuation of U.S. Missionaries from New Zealand

(Compiled by Dennis B. Horne)

            On the 15th of October 1940 a cable was sent from Church headquarters to President Matthew Cowley. The cable instructed him to send all missionaries home on the next possible ship leaving the country. For almost fourteen months, New Zealand had been at war.

            The government allowed sixty-five missionaries from out of the country to labor there. This number included President and Sister Cowley and their daughter, so the most we could ever have in the mission at any one time was sixty-two missionaries. After war was declared, we received fewer and fewer new missionaries, and almost monthly one or two elders would return home. Consequently, the missionary work was gradually being curtailed. Fortunately, there was excellent local priesthood leadership in the thirteen districts and eighty-four branches of the mission.

            During the months after New Zealand went to war, all sorts of defense measures were taken. The missionaries laboring at the mission home became air raid wardens and we were instructed what to do in case of a raid.

Monday, January 18, 2021

Remarkable Experiences in the Life of Elder Glen L. Rudd #20 - Elder Rudd Reminisces about a Maori Friend, an Evil Spirit, and Cannibalism

(Compiled by Dennis B. Horne)

           While serving in Gisborne, I lived in the home of a fine Maori man named Henere Hamon, or "Pop," as he was better known to everyone. He was nearly seventy years old and lived alone; his wife had passed away and his children were all married, with the exception of one boy who was serving in the war.

            For years, missionaries lived in Pop's home. One room in the front of the house, which housed only a double bed and a large chair, belonged to the missionaries. There was also a large table and two benches in the kitchen. Other than that, the house was virtually empty, except for Pop's small bedroom, and bed which was almost on the floor. As far as I know, he had only one pair of pants, one pair of boots, a couple of shirts, one old coat, and a funny old hat that he wore everywhere.

            Pop was the district president. He rode his bicycle all over the east coast visiting the saints and carrying out his Church responsibilities. If he had to travel more than thirty miles, he was generally able to arrange for a member to take him in the car.

            Pop was a man of great faith and appreciated his priesthood. Once I asked him if he wouldn't like to be a high priest someday. And he replied, "Oh no, I'm not good enough to even be an elder, let alone a high priest." To me, Pop was one of the greatest and most humble priesthood holders I ever knew.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Remarkable Experiences in the Life of Elder Glen L. Rudd #19 - Elder Rudd Goes Fishing with President Cowley

(Compiled by Dennis B. Horne)

            Between the north and south islands of New Zealand is a very rough body of water known as Cook Strait. Out of this rough water are many small and beautiful islands, one of which is D'Urville Island, where lived a large group of wonderful Maori people, mostly members of the Church. They comprised an excellent branch of the Church and lived the gospel well. All were related to one another and were mainly professional fishermen.

            The missionaries were allowed to visit the island once a year during the Christmas holidays, but two of my companions and I were unable to go. Some months later, however, President Matthew Cowley gave me that opportunity, while he and I were on a trip to perform a rather distasteful duty [interviewing and disciplining a wayward missionary that had to be sent home]. When we had finished our work in the city of Wellington, both of us felt spiritually down. He said to me, "Let's go fishing!" I immediately agreed. I had never had the chance to go fishing as a young boy because of my bad headaches which came when least expected.

            We left Wellington on the inter-island steamer that sailed between the north and south islands. The only way to get off the ship anywhere near D'Urville Island was to climb down a rope ladder lowered from the side of the ship at about two o'clock in the morning, when it was the calmest. This little maneuver didn't frighten me too much until the time to perform it approached.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Remarkable Experiences in the Life of Elder Glen L. Rudd #18 - Elder Rudd Shares Examples of Repentance and Forgiveness Among the Maoris

 (Compiled by Dennis B. Horne) 

            [Editorial Note: Below are experiences told by Elder Rudd and Elder Cowley about the Maori people (and others) repenting quickly and sincerely. If readers would like to watch Elder Cowley’s general conference talk where he discusses the same subject, copy and paste the following link into your browser: https://catalog.churchofjesuschrist.org/assets?id=33ed0c94-1a66-4c72-947e-d7caf824a051&crate=0&index=0 ]

             Living among the Maoris of New Zealand was an educational and faith-promoting experience for me. I soon learned a little bit about transgressions and a lot about repentance. I also discovered that forgiveness is a gift possessed in great measure by the Maoris.

            One of my best Maori friends, the father of ten children, deserted his wife and family and ran away with another married woman. This was a staggering blow for the branch of the Church they were both members of. My friend was divorced from his wife and he and the married woman were both excommunicated. They continued to live in the same Maori village, only a few houses from where his former wife and children lived. While he had done a terrible thing he was not ostracized by the Church members, which included nearly the whole village.

            He continued to attend Church though he was no longer a member. After a period of time he truly repented. He was rebaptized into the Church and eventually received a restoration of his priesthood blessings. He worked doubly hard in the branch to make up for his transgression. Most  everyone forgave him and they continued to love him.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Remarkable Experiences in the Life of Elder Glen L. Rudd #17 - Some of Elder Glen L. Rudd’s Early Missionary Experiences

(Compiled by Dennis B. Horne) 

            [Editorial Note: The below is a selection from the autobiographical writings of Glen L. Rudd, a former member of the First and Second Quorums of the Seventy, now deceased. The setting is the beginning of his first mission to New Zealand, where he learned many important spiritual and life lessons. His mission president was Matthew Cowley, who was later called into the Quorum of the Twelve.]

             Very early in my mission, an old Maori man met me on the street of Hastings, New Zealand, and tried to give me a New Zealand coin worth about 50¢. I had more than $50 in my pocket, and was a rich American boy without a knowledge of who I really was. I refused to take the money. When my companion caught up with me, I told him about the old Maori man, and he said, “Go get him and take the money.” I said, “I don't want his money. I've already turned him down, and I think I made him feel bad.”

            Elder Dastrup said, “Run down the street, catch up with him, hold out your hand, and do the best you can to tell him you want that money.” I reluctantly did what he said. The old brother gave me his coin which was the last money he had in the world. He was happy and shed a tear. When I got back to Dastrup, I was embarrassed. He said, “What you just did is let him give a servant of the Lord the last money he had. He now has faith that the Lord will take care of him.” That was one of the first experiences I had in finding out I was not just a former cheerleader from Utah, but a respected servant of the Lord. . . .

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Remarkable Experiences in the Life of Elder Glen L. Rudd #16 - Glen Rudd with Elders Matthew Cowley and John A. Widstoe

 (Compiled by Dennis B. Horne) 

            While serving as a bishop, I went to the temple to be a witness for a young couple who had been raised in my ward. I had known them a good many years and was delighted to give them their temple recommends and to attend the temple with them. Neither of their parents were able to go and so it was a great privilege for me to go with them.

            Elder John A. Widtsoe of the Council of the Twelve had agreed to perform the marriage. After speaking to the young couple he began the sealing ceremony. Almost immediately I recognized that he had left out an important part of the ceremony. I looked around the room and no one else seem to have noticed the error. I wondered what would happen if I stopped him. I did it anyway. He turned to me and said, "Bishop, have I made a mistake?" and I said, "Yes, I think you left out part of the ceremony." He immediately apologized and said, I will start over. After, he thanked me for being brave enough to interrupt him. I am grateful and so were the couple.

 

***

            One day in 1952, Brother Cowley called me and asked if I would be willing to drive him and Elder John A. Widtsoe to Delta, Utah. They had been assigned to reorganize the stake presidency and neither of them felt like driving. I arranged my affairs and drove them down on Saturday morning. We had a lovely ride. I had met Brother Widtsoe a few times and knew him to be a delightful person, but I did not realize what a fine sense of humor he had.