As Good As Our Bond


Sheldon F. Child
(Adapted from an April 1997 general conference address. See Ensign, May 1997, pages 29–30.)
We believe in being honest (A of F 1:13).

I was raised on a small farm in northern Utah. We were blessed to have some land—not enough to make a living, but enough to make work for a young boy. My parents were good, hardworking people. In order to make ends meet, my father took an outside job. Each morning before he left for work, he made a list of chores I was to finish before he came home that evening.

I remember that on one occasion, one of the items on the list was to take a small, broken part of some farm equipment to the blacksmith shop to have it repaired. I was uncomfortable about going. My father hadn’t left any money, and I wondered what I should do. I put off going as long as I could. When all my other chores were finished, I knew that I couldn’t avoid it any longer. Father expected the broken part to be repaired when he came home, and it was my responsibility to see that it was done.

I can still remember walking the mile or so to the blacksmith shop. I even remember how uncomfortable I was watching the blacksmith weld the part. As he finished, I nervously told him that I had no money but that my father would pay him later. I’m sure that he saw how uneasy I was. He patted me on the shoulder and said, “Son, don’t worry. Your father’s word is as good as his bond.” I remember running all the way home, relieved that the part had been repaired and grateful that my father was known as a man whose word was as good as his bond.

As a boy, I didn’t fully understand what that meant, but I knew that it was good and something to be desired. It was years later when I recognized that a person whose word is as good as his bond is a person of honesty and integrity, a person to be trusted.

We are all familiar with the saying, “Honesty is the best policy.” For members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, honesty is the only policy. We must be honest with other people. We must be honest with Heavenly Father. We are honest with Heavenly Father when we keep the promises we make with Him. These important promises are called covenants. We make covenants when we get baptized. We renew those covenants each week when we take the sacrament. In these covenants, we promise to remember Christ and keep His commandments. In return, He promises us that His Spirit will always be with us.

Let us be examples of honesty and integrity in our dealings with God and our fellowmen. Let us do as Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin counsels us—“live true to the trust the Lord has placed in us.” If we do so, someday it will also be said of each of us that “our word is as good as our bond.”

[illustration] Illustrated by Paul Mann