Beckham Messages

Every once in a while, President Beckham will post messages he believes important for us to read and/or watch.  Please check back from time to time!

President Beckham's Remarks at Aspen Grove Reunion

September 30, 2016

What a thrill it is to be here and to look out over this amazing group.  I note that all of you missionaries have taken Ida Lee’s and my advice to “marry up.”

I’m glad you followed my example.  And I’ve done it twice. 

I would like to ask Janette to speak to you for a few minutes.

Many of you have inquired about my health.  I’m surprised I’m still around at 89.  When people ask how I am, I tell them that except for diabetes, prostate cancer and congestive heart failure, I’m doing great.  And I am.  I’m very fortunate to be vertical, active, mentally alert, and without pain.

Many of you have been looking at my book about my personal history, and some of you have even been kind enough to ask me for a copy.  I only printed a hundred copies for my family, but I had some DVDs made that you are welcome to.  It’s all there in living color, but you will need a computer to read it.  You can pick one up after the meeting.

As I have visited with you these past few hours, and listened to your incredible accomplishments since our time together in Canada some 40 years ago, my heart is full of pride, and joy, and memories, and a lot of gratitude.

I am also sad--sad for the 19 young missionaries and Sister Beckham and Sister McMullin who have passed away, and for a few who have left the Church.  I also remember the 29 wonderful couples who served with us, all of whom are now deceased.  Howard Lund was the last of our couples who passed away.  I was privileged to speak at his funeral just 5 months ago.  I think Randy has put my remarks on the mission website for those who might like to see what I said. 

But I guess my overwhelming emotion today is gratitude—gratitude for the many happy memories of our time together; gratitude for the many things you taught me and my family during those three very eventful years; gratitude for your many visits and letters and phone calls over the years; and gratitude for your taking the time to join us here for this reunion.

When I joined the Church in 1945 during World War II, there were only 38 missions and 400 fulltime missionaries.  Because it was wartime, nearly half of them were Sisters.

Thirty years later, when we were serving together in Canada, there were134 missions; today there are 418.

In our time as missionaries, some of you were called in 1972 with 7800 others; 9500 were called in 1973; 9800 in 1974; and then when President Kimball said that every worthy young man should serve a mission, 14,000 were called in 1975 and 1976.  We really felt that surge.  At one point in our mission, we had 310 missionaries.  

Today there are nearly 75,000 fulltime missionaries and 31,000 Church Service Missionaries.

There were 8 temples when I joined the Church.  There were 16 when you were missionaries, and, remember, we couldn’t go to the Temple because only ten missions had Temples and it “wouldn’t be fair” to let the missionaries in those missions go to the temple when missionaries in the other 124 missions couldn’t go. Today, there are 152 Temples, with another 25 under construction.  And missionaries are encouraged to attend regularly.

There were 153 Stakes in 1945, and only two outside the United States—one in Canada and one in Mexico.  When you were on your missions, there were 630; today there are 3200 Stakes scattered throughout the world—and more than 34,000 wards.

And the most amazing statistic of all:  at the end of World War II, we had about 900,000 members; 30 years later when you served in Canada, we had about

3 ½ million members; today we are at 16 million.

I cannot talk about this remarkable growth in the Church without thinking about those early Saints who kept the Church alive in the face of unbelievable persecution and hardship.

So that’s the topic for my message tonight.  Some of you will wonder why a mission president would talk about this at a reunion, but as I have thought and prayed about tonight, my gratitude to those early Saints has just overwhelmed me.

We wouldn’t be here tonight had it not been for those early Saints in New York, Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois--those who sacrificed everything to keep the Church alive under such unbelievable circumstances. 

Yes, we should be grateful for those who walked across the plains to Utah, and to those who suffered in Utah through the years of polygamist government prosecution. But even more so, we should be grateful to those who stood fast in the face of terrible persecution and violence when the light of the Restored Gospel flickered and was nearly snuffed out.

I believe those early Saints were hand-picked by God to come forth in that special time to make sure the Church survived against all odds.

So tonight I’m going to talk for about ten minutes about those early Saints in New York, Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois.  We celebrate July 24th in memory of the Mormon Pioneers who walked from Nauvoo to Salt Lake City, but (and listen carefully), that was an afternoon picnic compared with what the Saints went through in those earlier times.

I want to warn you up front.  This is an R-rated talk.  The violence and brutality and savagery that took place against members of the Church in the decade of the 1830s is even worse--much worse--than what we see in today’s R-rated movies.

Let me set the stage for you.  The Church was organized April 6, 1830, in Fayetteville, New York.  Within a month or two, mobs were physically preventing baptisms in that area, wagons were being destroyed, livestock was being run off, homes were threatened, and baptismal ponds were demolished. 

Within one year of the beginning of the Church, most of the Saints in the three branches in New York fled to Kirtland, Ohio, 250 miles away.  Another contingent went about 1,000 miles to Independence, Missouri--on the very edge of civilization.  The group going to Kirtland walked about the same as from here to St. George. The second group—going to Independence, Missouri, was like going from Provo to Kansas City—and there weren’t any roads.

Kirtland prospered.  Homes were built. The Kirtland Temple was finished.  Crops were planted.  About 150 converts a month were moving to Kirtland.  But the locals were getting worried.  Joseph Smith was tarred and feathered.  Mobs were threatening violence. By 1838, the Saints in Kirtland fled the thousand miles to join their fellow Saints in Missouri.

Meanwhile, in Missouri, things had gone well at first.  By 1833, about a third of the adults in Jackson County were Mormons. In April of that year, more than a thousand members gathered for a Conference.  Ten branches had been organized.  A temple site had been selected. 

But local citizens were fearful.  They wouldn’t let Mormons vote. Local authorities took away their guns and gave them to their enemies.  They were physically evicted from Jackson County and forced to go to two new counties in Northern Missouri, which they named Far West.

So in 1838 when the Kirtland Saints and Joseph Smith arrived in Missouri, the Mormon population swelled to more than 12,000.  But trouble had been brewing for nearly five years.  Kidnappings, burning of homes, mob violence, murders, and confrontations were commonplace.

Then in October of 1838, the Governor of Missouri issued an order to either drive the Saints from the state or exterminate them.  To avoid bloodshed, Mormon leaders agreed to leave.  But the state militia demanded that Joseph and other leaders be jailed; that all guns be turned over to the state; that all property be turned over to defray the costs of the extermination order; and that the Saints leave immediately.

Here’s what the Army commander said:  “If I must come again, you need not expect any mercy, but total extermination . . . I would advise you to scatter abroad and never again organize lest you excite the jealousies of the people, and subject yourselves to the same calamities that have now come upon you.  My advice is that you become as other citizens, lest you bring upon yourselves irretrievable ruin.”

So 12,000 refugees—without Joseph Smith and many of their leaders, who were placed in the Liberty Jail--packed up what little they had (no wagons, no horses, no food, many of them barefoot) and walked 450 miles in the middle of the winter to Quincy, Illinois. That’s about the same as walking from here to Denver through Wyoming in the middle of the winter.  To make matters worse, many Missourians harassed them all along the way.

Here’s how Sydney Rigdon described the plight of the Saints in Missouri:

“Our settlements were broken up, our towns plundered, our farms laid waste, our crops ruined, our flocks and herds either killed or driven away, our houses rifled, our goods, money, clothing, provisions, and all we had carried away.  Men were shot down like wild beasts, or had their brains bashed out. Women were insulted and ravished until they died at the hands of their destroyers.  Children were killed while pleading for their lives.  Men moving into the county with their families were shot down, and their wagons and teams taken by the plunderers as booty, and their wives and little ones ordered out of the state or suffer death as had their husbands, leaving them no means of conveyance except their feet and no means of subsistence except begging.  Many were thrown into prison to endure the insults of a mock trial.”

The Saints went to work in Illinois to build a new city, a new temple, and a peaceful way of life.  But Nauvoo became Missouri all over again and the Saints were forced to leave their homes again to come to the Salt Lake Valley.

But I ask you.  No, I ask myself:  Could I have walked 250 miles from Fayetteville, New York, to Kirtland, Ohio; then 1,000 miles to Independence, Missouri; then 200 miles to Clay County; then 450 miles to Illinois---all the time building new homes and new careers, watching my friends and family being harassed and murdered, starting all over again and again and again?  And that’s BEFORE being asked to leave Nauvoo and walk 1,500 miles to Salt lake City!

I’m not sure I could.  That’s why I want to pay tribute tonight to those thousands of early Saints who gave their lives, and to those thousands of early Saints who never gave up, who kept the light of the Gospel alive during those turbulent early years in New York, Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois—in the face of almost insurmountable odds and violent opposition.

I like what Elder Tad Callister, General President of the Sunday School, said recently in Ogden:  “We honor our pioneer ancestors by the lives we live.  This is the greatest tribute we can pay to those who paved the way with faith and courage.”

Today we are not asked to face violent mobs.  We are not asked to watch our homes burned.  We are not asked to walk 500 miles on frozen ground.  We are not asked to sacrifice everything we have, even our very lives.

We are asked to show our gratitude for the Church, and especially for those who sacrificed so much at a time when it would have been easier to just give up.

All we are asked today is to live the principles.

I pray that we will do it.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.



At the request of a few missionaries who attended the event, immediately below are the remarks President Beckham gave at the funeral of President Howard L. Lund in Morgan, UT.


President Beckham's Remarks at Funeral of Howard L. Lund

Saturday, May 7, 2016


I am honored to be here today; honored to have been asked to speak.  I was Howard & Betty’s Mission President in Canada when they came to Canada to serve a mission the first time.  Howard Lund was a giant in my life.  I loved him.  I loved Betty.  And believe me, they were quite a team.

I'd like to spend 3-4 minutes telling things about Howard that you probably don’t know.  Then. I'll spend 5-6 minutes reminding you of things you do know, which the family has specifically asked me to do.

Howard and Betty arrived in Canada in 1974.  Howard was only 48 years old—unusual because most of our senior couples were in their 60's & 70's.  I was their mission president, barely a year younger.  Howard is 90 years old; I am currently 89.

He was a Colonel in the Air Force; I was a Seaman 1st Class in the Navy (That’s equivalent to a Private 1st Class in the Army).  We were both ex-pilots, but he flew B-29s and I flew Piper Cubs.  Every time Howard walked in the room, I felt like standing and saluting!

They made an immediate impact.  Let me tell you just a couple of things they did.

We had a special problem in the Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Branch, located about 400 miles from Calgary.  There was a lot of contention among the three or four major families, and the rest of the Branch rallied around their favorite.  They were meeting in a rented hall, and didn’t want any missionaries “because they liked things just the way they were.”  Many members stopped coming to Church because they were tired of the infighting, or because they were opposed to whatever faction in charge.  

I had spent three or four days visiting with members of the Branch, listening to their complaints and their feelings.

I took the Lunds to Moose Jaw and installed Howard as the Branch President.  They were peacemakers.  In only a few months, the bad feelings among the members were gone.  Attendance at meetings more than doubled.  The Branch now wanted missionaries.  Baptisms soon followed.  When the Lunds left Moose Jaw after a few more months, we were making plans to build a new chapel there.  I had witnessed a miracle.

Another story about Howard and Betty was when I asked them to be in charge of a Visitors Center at the Calgary Stampede--Alberta’s largest annual celebration.  With help from the Stakes and wards, we bought a large house trailer.  With Howard’s previous experience as a building contractor, he remodeled it into a movie theater and exhibit hall.  A new film about Mormons in Canada, “Meet the Mormons,” was shown, and missionaries then discussed the Church and its doctrines.

There were long lines every day for ten days.  It was so successful that the Lunds took the trailer and exhibits to nine other celebrations throughout Alberta and Saskatchewan during the following months.

I could go on and on.  They were great missionaries.  When the Church divided our Mission in 1976 (the Canada Calgary Mission was then the largest geographic mission in the church), putting Saskatchewan in a new mission to be headquartered in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Howard was called to be the President of the new mission.  He and Betty had been home only three weeks from their service as a mission couple when they were called back to Winnipeg to preside.

We received notice from Church headquarters in Salt Lake City of the division only a few weeks before its effective date.  It's normal for the Church to freeze all missionary transfers, but Howard immediately came to Calgary to make sure he had the right missionaries in Saskatchewan.  He knew all of our missionaries because he and Betty had worked all over the mission with them.  He wanted one of my Assistants and about 8-10 other missionaries.  (There were also a few he didn’t want, and he asked me to take them back to Alberta.  I said, “Howard, we can’t do that, it's against the rules.  Look at this letter of instructions I received.”  But we did it--He was a very persuasive man, and I wanted him to have every possible opportunity to succeed.  And succeed he did!

I see several of his missionaries here today.  Could all those who served with the Lunds please stand.   

Ten years later, my wife and I and the Lunds spent a month together traveling in Europe throughout 12 countries.  We have been great friends ever since our missionary days together.  This particular trip was not one of your normal trips--it was the "cheapie" version, where we had rented a very small car, stayed in various Youth Hostels and cooked our own food on pots and pans we had brought with us in our various tiny rooms throughout our self-guided adventure.  It was fun and so very memorable--one of the best trips I've ever taken.

Now let me spend the next few minutes talking about a question on my mind.  The question is, “What is this life all about?”

To find the answer, we turn to the scriptures and talk about what happened to us before we came to this life on this planet.  I know I’m talking to the choir here but bear with me as I remind all of us of the great Council in Heaven.  Howard was there.  All of you were there.  You are here today because you were there.  It was there that we listened to our Father, Elohim, talk about His plan for us to come to earth.  We all listened as Jehovah and Lucifer offered to assist in carrying out the Plan.  According to the Plan, Free Agency was essential to our growth.  Our choices also required a chance to learn and to change, to repent, to try again.  This required an Atonement to make up for our mistakes, as proposed by Jehovah. All of us accepted  this plan.  You, Howard, and I made the choice to come to this earth.

So, back to the question:  “What is this life all about?”

#1.  We came to get a physical body to go along with our spiritual body. Part of Elohim’s Plan for us was that we also came here to die at some point, where the physical body and the spiritual body would be separated for a time--until the resurrection--when every person born on this earth will be resurrected.

#2.  We came to be tested by the choices we make—to have joy, yes, but also to go through trials and tests of faith, where we could show our obedience and grow spiritually.

#3.  To repent, to be baptized, to receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost, to join an earthly family, and endure to the end.  (Those who have not heard the Gospel will have the chance later, but that’s a whole new story.)

Howard Lund knew about the plan.  Knowing Howard, he was probably even one of the cheerleaders in the pre-mortal life.  He knew what this life was all about, and he was eager to be a part of it.  I know he knew the plan because he lived it every day of his life. 

Now, is this the end of the Plan?  Not at all.  There is a Third Phase.

I like what Elder Boyd K. Packer said about this: “There are three parts to the plan. We are in the second or the middle part, the one in which we will be tested by temptation, by trials, perhaps by tragedy. . . .

“Remember this!” he said:  “The line ‘And they all lived happily ever after’ is never written into the second act [of a play]. That line belongs in the third act, when the mysteries are solved and everything is put right . . . .”

I am reminded of the analogy of a camera—back in the day when cameras used film.  Film took a long time in the dark to be manufactured.  Then it went into the camera in darkness. Then it was exposed for 1/1000th, 1/500th, or another brief fraction of a second.  Then the film went back into darkness and eventually into a darkroom where it was developed.  During its entire life, it was exposed to daylight for 1/500th of a second, but the image was permanent.  So it is with life.  We are only here on the earth for a fraction of a second in the eternities of time, and yet the way we lived here is engraved forever.  (But thank heavens for today’s PhotoShop...!)

So Howard is now living in the Third Act.  He has died a physical death, but his spirit is still very much alive.  He and Betty are now reunited.  They are in a state of Paradise where they will remain until the morning of the First Resurrection—at which time their physical body and their spiritual body will be reunited for time and all eternity.

My testimony is that God lives, and that He loves each of us--his children. His Plan provides the way, and His son, Jesus Christ, provides the means whereby we can be exalted to join our loved ones in the life to come. May we all have the courage and the faith to do this, I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.



Immediately below are remarks given at the 2014 gathering in Provo.  At a similar gathering in Arizona with former missionaries there a few weeks later, he gave these similar remarks.


Remarks by President Raymond E. Beckham

Canada Calgary Missionary Gathering

October 3, 2014


Older peoplelike mehave a tendency to look at the past.  Let me tell you one story about me and how it affected my life.

I was 17 years old and in the military.  World War II was still raging in Europe and the South Pacific.  The Battle of the Bulge had just ended in Europe, and General MacArthur had just been placed in command of U.S. forces in the South Pacific.  I had just finished boot camp, and was in downtown Oakland, California, standing across the street from a donut shop.

My father had been dead for three years.  I had lived with an aunt and uncle for a year, and then had lived alone for two years—while I was finishing high school and going to collegeto play football, not to learn anything.  I was facing an uncertain future, knowing full well that I would be shipping off to the South Pacific war zone in a few weeks.  I had been to college for one quarter, but my only interest in life was football.

I had no future.  I had no purpose.  I had filled the requirements to be a civilian pilot.  I had joined the military to become a military pilot, but all the flight schools had been closed.  As I look back on that moment at the donut shop, I was discouraged, lonely, uncertain of the future, without a purpose—and a little bit scared. You hear stories about people “being adrift.”  Well, I was adrift—not knowing, not caringjust drifting along with the current of events surrounding me.

Most of my buddies in boot camp were drowning their sorrows in neighboring bars.  My father had been an alcoholic, so I had grown up hating alcohol.  That evening, I was going to drown my sorrows by gorging on donuts.

As I stared at that donut shop from across the street—with my mouth watering at the thoughts of what was about to comeI saw some lettering engraved in the marble exterior over the front entrance.  It wasn’t painted on.  It was engraved right into the marble.

As I walked across the street, dodging the cars in traffic, the lettering became more visible and the words darted out at me:

As you wander on through life, brother,

Whatever be your goal,

Keep your eyes upon the donut,

And not upon the hole. 


A simple little ditty.  At a donut shop surrounded by bars.  On a busy Oakland street, in a run-down part of a city in which I had never been.

But to me, at that moment, in my state of mind, it became a life-changing miracle.

I felt as though that sign had been placed there just for me.  As I sat at the counter, eating donut after donut after donut, I reflected on my past life.  It had really been a pretty good life.  Sure, I was alone, but I had a family that loved me; I had good friends, but they were in the army scattered all over the world; I had good health, and no bad habits; and I had enough money for three more donuts and the bus fare back to the base.

And then my thoughts turned to the future—and that little ditty. For the first time I decided that I should be doing something about my life rather than just drifting with the tide.  I had never prayed by myself, but sitting on that bar stool in that donut shop—with people all around me—I closed my eyes and asked God to give me some direction.  So what happened?

Ten months later I was baptized.  Six months after that I enrolled at BYU.  And a year after that I married Ida Lee Jackson, and my life became stable and goal centered. 

And all because of a simple little ditty that most people wouldn’t even think twice about.  But because of that little ditty, I took a good look at myself and asked God for help.  God answered my simple prayer.  He gave me the direction I asked for.

And here I am tonight, in the twilight years of my lifehappier than I ever thought I could be; surrounded by family and beloved friends; in a setting that most people can only dream about; and with a testimony of Jesus Christ and the Restored Gospel that has given me indescribable joy.

Compare this with the words of the Apostle Paul when he said to the Philippians:

                        But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind,

                        and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

                        I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God

                        in Jesus Christ. (Philippians 3:13-14)

So, don’t look back (in Paul’s words, “those things which are behind”), but look ahead (in Paul’s words, “unto those things which are before”), and then focus on the donut (in Paul’s words, “press toward the mark”).

That all of us may keep our eyes focused on the really important things in life and not on the frivolous, worldly, unimportant things that clutter up much of our time, (the holes in the donuts), I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.



President Beckham gave the following message at our 2012 gathering.  It can be read below, or viewed at the following link:


Remarks by President Raymond E. Beckham

Canada Calgary Missionary Gathering

October 5, 2012


It isn’t often that I get a chance to speak to you, so bear with me for a few minutes while I reminisce.

I was asked to speak at BYU Commencement last April, and I dusted off some remarks I had given my family at my 85th birthday party in February.  So, I thought I would dust them off again and share them with you today.

Charles Lindberg was the first person to fly non-stop over the Atlantic Ocean the year I was born---1927.   Bread was 5 cents a loaf, and gasoline was 12 cents a gallon.  The future looked as bright as it had ever looked---new inventions, new highways, new music, new schools, new almost everything.

Were those the good old days? 

Absolutely not!  Today is the best there ever was---because it’s your day.  Yes, we’re surrounded with evil and heartbreak and poverty and war---but I promise you that there is a wonderful future ahead.

Because your generation will make it so.  This is your day, and your children’s day. And the forces for good are going to win over the forces of Satan.

As I look back on my life of 85 years, I sometimes wonder what I would have changed. Except for a few really low points, my life has been really good.

So, as I look back, let me do it by asking myself three questions.

First Question:  What have I learned in my 85 years that I wish I had known when I was younger?

Well, I have learned that you can’t be happy until you have tried to make others happy.  That’s #1.

I have learned that the place to be happy is here.  The time to be happy is ­now.  The way to be happy is to make someone else happy.

#2 is that I have also learned that the most miserable people are those who are all wrapped up in themselves.

And #3 is that I have learned that life is not always a bed of roses.

A newspaper columnist once said that anyone who imagines that total happiness is normal is going to be very unhappy.  “Most golf putts don’t drop. Most beef is tough. Most children grow up to be just people. Most marriages require a lot of mutual toleration. Most jobs are more dull than exciting.”  Life is like an airplane trip—delays, long lines, long walks between gates, bumpy air pockets, lost luggage, hard landings, and occasionally beautiful vistas from 30,000 feet and sometimes even arriving on time. The trick is to look for the positives and to be grateful that you have the ride.  

Don’t look back on the negatives---remember the positives.

Second Question:  What was the greatest thing that happened to me in the past 85 years?

Now that’s a really tough question.

I vividly remember July 1, 1973 arriving at the airport in Calgary to begin a grand adventure in missionary service---and the three years that followed, serving with some of the finest men and women I have ever known.  I could spend the next several hours talking about some memorable experiences in Alberta---one of which occurred at a Zone Conference in Edmonton when my son telephoned me out of a meeting to tell me I had just become a grandfather.  The mission field is full of happy memories.

But as a 14-year-old kid, I remember scoring the winning touchdown against North Phoenix high school as a sophomore, with only seconds left to play.

I remember the end of World War II and what it meant to the World.  I celebrated in downtown San Francisco with thousands of other sailors.  You’ve probably seen pictures of this.  I was there.  But, I was not the one kissing the blonde woman that made headlines around the world.

I remember the first time I flew an airplane by myself.

I remember the first and only time I parachuted out of an airplane. It was at the dedication of our new airport in Safford, Arizona.  I was 17 at the time.  They couldn’t find anyone else to do a parachute jump, so I volunteered.  I wet my pants all the way down.

I remember marrying Ida Lee in the Mesa Temple.  I remember the day and the minute and the place when we got engaged.

I remember when the births of my children. I remember all of their marriages and the births of their children.

I remember some wonderful Christmas mornings with my family as we gathered together to share our love with one another.

I remember the day Janette accepted my proposal for marriage nearly 17 years ago.

My life is really full of a lot of wonderful memories.

But I will have to say that the single most important event in my life took place on November 3, 1945, when I was baptized into the Church.

Most of my other “great happenings” have come as a result from that single event.  I want all of you to know that I have a testimony of Jesus Christ; that He is my Redeemer and my Savior, and that the Book of Mormon is Another Testament of Him.

My Third and Last Question:  What advice do I have for you?

Get involved.

I think most of us want to assist the poor, to give comfort, and hope, and help to those who are in trouble or pain.

But it’s not enough to just “want to.”  We need to serve others.

Not just the poor and the needy, but think about ways to . . .  

Do things for your neighbors.

Do things for your communities

Encourage others

It is not enough to just be good.  You want to be good for something.  Helping others will make someone’s world a better place---and will bring to you that “feel-good feeling.” 

Janette was in charge of training Church volunteers for the 2002 Olympics.  We had about 5,000 Church members volunteering to host visitors at Temple Square, at Church headquarters, and at information centers around the city. 

She took as the theme of her training a statement by President Gordon B. Hinckley:

This is the essence of civility---to extend, without price, a helping hand to those in need; to anxiously look for ways to help those who may have less than we do.


That’s the secret---doing things for others without expecting a reward.

I read a story once about a young boy who was out running, and saw an envelope on the ground.  He picked it up, and read:  “Pick me up!  I’m all yours.”  Inside was a hundred dollar bill. 

What would you do if someone gave you a hundred dollars?

Well, this boy thought about all the things he could do with that hundred dollars:  a new basketball, running shoes, a tennis racquet, new clothes . . . .

He said, “Finding that money really made my day.”

And then he began thinking about how he could help others feel that way about their day.

So he decided to share it with 100 others.  He spent the next few weeks giving one dollar each to 100 friends and strangers.  He loved hearing them say, “You’ve made my day!”

But it doesn’t take money to serve others.  Here are some ideas:

Smile.  Hold a door open for someone.  Give your extra clothes or DVDs to charity.  Write a note to someone to thank them for their friendship.  Pick up litter.  Visit someone in the hospital. 

Thousands of little things that become BIG things for someone else.

After the hundred dollars were gone, this young man was on Cloud Nine.  He said, “It’s opened my eyes to see how easy it is to make a difference.  It has made me less selfish.  I have learned a lot about service, and it can help others.”

Service helps us overcome selfishness.  Selfishness, whether it’s lying, cheating, stealing, immorality, covetousness, or idleness is all about me, me, me.  Service, on the other hand, is unselfish and is about others.

Service changes people. It refines, purifies, and brings out the best in each one of us. It gets us looking outward instead of inward. It prompts us to consider others’ needs ahead of our own.

It is by serving that we learn how to serve. When we are serving others, not only do we help them, but we put our own problems in a fresher perspective.

Janette and I have a ton of awards and trophies and citations for giving service to our communities.  But these are nothing compared with the good feelings we have when we do something to make the world a better place.

That’s the most important advice I can give you.  If I could sing, I would sing you the song from the hymnbook:

Have I done any good in the world today?

Have I helped anyone in need?

Have I cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad?

If not, I have failed indeed.

Has anyone’s burden been lighter today

Because I was willing to share?

Have the sick and the weary been helped on their way?

When they needed my help was I there?


I close with the wise words of King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon: “When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.” (Mosiah 2:17)

You know I love all of you.  Some of my happiest memories were with you in Canada---where all of us were serving FULL TIME in the service of our Savior and others.  That’s why it felt so good.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.