Mormon Messages

Gordon Hinckley: Lessons I Learned as a Boy


President Gordon B. Hinckley recalls a story of an older boy and his young companion as they find an old coat and a badly worn pair of shoes by the roadside.


    We sang together. We prayed together. We listened quietly while Mother read Bible and Book of Mormon stories. Father told us stories out of his memory. I still remember one of those stories. I found it recently while going through a book he had published some years ago. Listen to it:

    "An older boy and his young companion were walking along a road which led through a field. They saw an old coat and a badly worn pair of men's shoes by the roadside, and in the distance they saw the owner working in the field. The younger boy suggested that they hide the shoes, conceal themselves, and watch the perplexity on the owner's face when he returned. The older boy ... thought that would not be so good. He said [this] owner must be a very poor man [from the looks of his clothes].

    So, after talking the matter over, at his suggestion, they concluded to try another experiment. Instead of hiding the shoes, they would put a silver dollar in each one and ... see what the owner did when he discovered the money. So [that's what they did].

    Pretty soon the man returned from the field, put on his coat, slipped one foot into a shoe, felt something hard, took it out and found a silver dollar. Wonder and surprise [shone] upon his face. He looked at the dollar again and again, turned around and could see nobody, then proceeded to put on the other shoe; when to his great surprise he found another dollar. His feelings overcame him. ...

    He knelt down and offered aloud a prayer of thanksgiving, in which he spoke of his wife being sick and helpless and his children without bread. ... He fervently thanked the Lord for this bounty from unknown hands and evoked the [blessings] of heaven upon those who had given him this needed help.

    The boys remained [hidden] until he had gone." They had been touched by his prayer and felt something warm within their hearts. As they left to walk down the road, one said to the other, "Now really, don't you have a good feeling?"