Bats and Rats

Bishop Hanks, thank you for speaking so fondly of Salt Lake City.

I was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, the third son of Helen Ruth Jones Shelton, who passed away peacefully a couple of months ago at age 97.  She enjoyed great health, along with peace and happiness, in spite of facing many family challenges. About 30 minutes before she passed, she called me to say that she wasn’t feeling up to lunch. When I arrived at her room about 40 minutes later, she was slumped over in her chair, with a peaceful expression.

How could she have enjoyed such peace in life? I wondered . . . until I examined her financial records:  everything was kept in meticulous order, including her monthly payment of tithes and offerings, and other donations to dozens of worthy charities.

I testify that tithing is the price of peace—not as the world defines peace, as freedom from all conflict, but peace of mind, of conscience, of soul, knowing you are right with God.

I testify that investing in Zion is the best investment you can make . . . because in days soon to come, Zion will be your best and perhaps last hope for peace and safety.

Last Thursday I played golf with a friend at Soldier Hollow in the cool of the evening. Often we paused and looked out over the scenic, peaceful Midway-Heber valley. “The one thing this place is missing is Moroni on top of a temple,” I said.

“The temple will come,” my friend said, “The Brethren in Salt Lake are just waiting for more people in Heber to pay their tithing.”

I don’t know if that’s true, but I know that tithing is a big factor in temple decisions.  And I know that nothing blesses a community like a temple—the best defense against destruction.

I appreciated the opening prayer today—the reminder that the Priesthood needs to “man up” in defense of our homes, our possessions, and our families.

Home defense is something I get to practice often living in Snake Creek canyon, where bugs, insects and animals abound, including bats.  I can tell you, nothing disrupts a good night’s sleep like a bat flying six inches from your nose. So, I pretty much live with Ortho Home Defense spray—not that it keeps everything out. I can also tell you—if your home is not sealed tight, some critter (or cable) will find a way inside.

And if we open a window, we experience another kind of BAT:  Beer-Amplified Talk (drunk, loud-mouthed neighbors, aka, rats).

I testify that if we can keep out the bats and rats from our homes and pay tithing, we will see a temple in this valley—and this valley will become a place of refuge for those seeking peace and safety—now and in days to come.

Note:  This is not a transcript but a recollection and reflection of what I said, as written one day after the meeting; thus, it may contain words/ideas not spoken in the meeting.

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