An Honest Boy

(Adapted from an October 1977 conference address. See Ensign, November 1977, pages 36–38.)

A boy entered a pharmacist’s shop and told the owner that he was Bob Brown, son of Mrs. Helen Brown. He asked if there was any possibility for him to work at the pharmacy so that he could pay for medicine that the store owner had supplied the family but that hadn’t been paid for. Mr. Jones didn’t really need any additional help, but he was so impressed by the unusual conscientiousness and honesty of this seventeen-year-old boy that he made arrangements for Bob to work at the store on Saturdays.

Bob’s work that first day greatly impressed the store owner, and at the end of it, he handed the young man an envelope containing twelve dollars. The boy took two one-dollar bills from the envelope and asked Mr. Jones to give him change for one of them. Bob put the other dollar bill and twenty cents in his pocket. Then he put the eighty cents change in the envelope with the ten-dollar bill and handed it back to Mr. Jones to apply against the family account. Mr. Jones urged Bob to keep a larger portion of the money. “You’ll need some money for school,” he said.

“No, sir,” said the seventeen-year-old. “Maybe later I could keep a little more, but today I would like to pay the ten dollars and eighty cents on our bill.”

At that moment some of Bob’s friends came by and asked him to attend a movie with them. He said that he couldn’t, that he had to go home, and that he didn’t have any money. One of the boys playfully jostled him and heard the twenty cents rattle in Bob’s pocket. The teasing began again because he obviously did have some money.

Bob finally said quietly, “Look, guys, I do have a little money, but it isn’t mine—it’s my tithing.”

Early in his life Bob had learned to be honest with his fellowmen as well as the Lord. Can anyone doubt that he will be an equally fine man, a good husband and dad, and a concerned leader who will help many others?

[illustration] Illustrated by Larry Winborg