Tuesday, 20 May 2014

A Packet of Mints

     I must have been about 10 years old.  I went through the supermarket with my mother and my older brother. I dragged my heals as deep as I could into the tile floor and begged my mother to buy me every snack, sweet, and sugary morsel I could see.  Eventually we came to the checkout line and that seemed to be the straw on the camel's back.  My mother told my brother and I that we could pick 1 item each.  Those clever marketing and psychology specialists who put all the chocolate and chewing gum in the checkout line.... I'll have a rant about them in another blog post possibly... But for now, my young heart leapt for joy and I felt I had just had a momentous victory.  I scanned through the many choices several times and then grabbed a packet of mints that I thought were amazing.  Somehow, I made it through the line and accidentally held on to the packet of mints without having them scanned by the cashier.  In other words, before I knew it I had become a shoplifter as I followed my mother out of the shop.
     Thoughts raced through my 10 year old heart.  "I am a villain" and then I thought, "I wonder how long they will put me in prison for," last of all I thought, "This is all my mom's fault!"  Months passed by, I never said anything, but about six months later the guilt from this experience weighed deep into my soul.  For some reason I could not seem to forget something as simple as stealing a package of mints that probably would have cost no more than 60 cents.  One day, I was sick, and after staying home from school I confided in my mother about the horrible guilt that I felt from my dishonesty.  We drove back to the shop around 6 months after I took the packet of mints and paid for them.  I'm sure the manager had a laugh later that I cried my eyes out as I admitted my guilt over 60 cents.
      But I am reminded of the story of Karl G. Maeser, a prominent member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  He was quoted to say,
     "I have been asked what I mean by “word of honor.” I will tell you. Place me behind prison walls—walls of stone ever so high, ever so thick, reaching ever so far into the ground—there is a possibility that in some way or another I might be able to escape; but stand me on the floor and draw a chalk line around me and have me give my word of honor never to cross it. Can I get out of that circle? No, never! I’d die first.”
     Being perfectly honest is something that I strive towards everyday.  As we live by our "word of honor"  we can be blessed with increased peace of mind in our lives, others around us will trust us more, and we will feel more accountable for the things we do and say. This increased accountability will increase our performance in all areas of our life.  We will also have the spirit more in our life as we follow Jesus Christ's example of honesty.  If we mess up, we can make use of the atonement through sincere repentance.

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