This I Believe


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Gordon B. Hinckley

Fourth, I believe that honesty is still the best policy. What a destructive thing is a little dishonesty. It has become a cankering disease in our society. Every insurance adjustor can tell you of the soaring costs of dishonest claims. Cheating in the payment of taxes robs the treasury of millions and places undue burdens on those who pay. Employee theft, padded expense accounts, and similar things bring tremendous losses to business institutions. The institution may be able to stand the loss of money, but the individual cannot afford the loss of self-respect.

A year ago the media of a neighboring state made much of the acts of a group of legislators who succumbed to the temptation of a sting operation. Men and women with good reputations evidently ruined their lives and good names over a few paltry dollars that they really did not need and for which they have paid a terrible price.

A letter and an old ash tray came to the office of the Presiding Bishop the other day. The letter reads: "Dear Sir, I stole the enclosed ash tray from your hotel in 1965. After these many years, I want to apologize to you and ask for your forgiveness for my wrong doing. I have enclosed a check that attempts to reimburse you for the ash tray."

The check was in the amount of $26.00, one dollar for each year he had kept the ash tray. I can imagine that during those twenty-six years, each time he tapped his cigarette on the rim of that tray he suffered a twinge of conscience. I do not know that the hotel ever missed the ash tray, but the man who took it missed his peace of mind for more than a quarter of a century and finally ended up paying far more for it than it was worth. Yes, my brethren and sisters, honesty is the best policy.