A Special Pigeon


President Thomas S. Monson

A Special Pigeon

When President Thomas S. Monson was about 14, he loved raising pigeons. He captured them and kept them in a loft built from scrap lumber. Tom held the Aaronic Priesthood, and Harold Watson was the adviser of Tom’s priesthood quorum. Brother Watson raised pigeons too, but his were beautiful, expensive Birmingham roller pigeons that somersaulted through the air.

One day Brother Watson offered Tom a pair of Birmingham rollers. The female was a small pigeon that had lost an eye to a cat. “Keep your two pigeons inside for about 10 days,” Brother Watson said, “and then release them to see if they will remain at your house.”

Tom was thrilled. He followed the instructions. After a little more than a week, he released the pigeons. The male strutted about the roof of Tom’s pigeon loft and then ducked back inside to eat. But the female flew off immediately. Tom called Brother Watson to see if she had flown back to his loft.

“Come over and we’ll have a look,” Brother Watson said.

As the two walked to the loft, Brother Watson said, “Tom, you’re the president of the teachers quorum. What are you doing to help Bob come to church?”

“I’ll have him at our quorum meeting this week,” Tom answered.

They found the one-eyed pigeon. “Keep her for a few days,” Brother Watson said as he handed her to Tom. “Then try again.”

The same thing happened the next week. Again, Tom went to Brother Watson’s house. “Good job getting Bob to priesthood meeting,” Brother Watson said as they searched for the pigeon. “Now what are you going to do to help Bill come to church?”

Each week the pigeon flew back to Brother Watson’s house, and each week Brother Watson asked Tom about members of the quorum who weren’t attending church.

When President Monson grew up, he realized that Brother Watson was teaching him something more important than how to take care of pigeons. He was teaching him how to watch out for others and serve the Lord.

How Can You Help?

There are many reasons that people sometimes don’t come to church. Look at the people below and try to think of a way you or your family could help.

I’ve been sick for a long time.

I haven’t been to church very often, and I’m not sure what to do when I go.

I don’t have any friends at church.

My family doesn’t always go to church.

Following Tom

Here’s a map of President Monson’s neighborhood when he was a boy! Use the clues to unscramble the names of places in the neighborhood, and then find them on the map. Answers are on page 48.

neighborhood map(click to view larger)

Illustrations by Paul Mann and Dan Burr

  1. 1.

    BIABRT THUHC: Tom had several white, furry pets that lived here.

  2. 2.

    DOL OBB: Tom’s grandfather let this man live in the empty house behind his. (To read a story about this, look in the August 2012 Friend.)

  3. 3.

    GPENOI FOLT: This is where Tom kept the birds he collected and raised.

  4. 4.

    ALOC EHSD: One day Tom hid six stray dogs in the same place that his family kept fuel.

  5. 5.

    LABL RAAE: Tom and his friends often played here. (To read a story about this, look in the September 2012 Friend.)

Words from President Monson

“Step up to serve. Reach out to rescue.”

From “Heavenly Homes, Forever Families,” Ensign, Oct. 1991, 5.

1) rabbit hutch; 2) Old Bob; 3) pigeon loft; 4) coal shed; 5) ball area.