Treasures of Testimony
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“Treasures of Testimony,” New Era, May 2005, 44

Special Issue: The Times and Seasons of Joseph Smith

Treasures of Testimony

From an April 2001 general conference address.

Sometimes we attach less value to familiar things because they are so common to us. I challenge you to stand tall and proclaim loudly the treasured teachings of our common heritage.

Elder L. Tom Perry

Photograph by Eldon K. Linschoten

When I was in junior high, I was honored by the school administration when I was asked to become a member of the student hall patrol. On the days we were assigned to be on hall patrol, we were instructed to bring our lunch to school and eat it together. It was always a special treat, and there was always a lot of competition to see whose mother had prepared the most desirable lunch. Often we traded lunch items among ourselves.

One day when I was assigned to be on hall patrol, I forgot to tell Mother I needed a lunch until I was almost ready to leave for school. An expression of concern came over Mother’s face when I requested a lunch. She told me she had just used up her last loaf of bread for breakfast and would not be baking until that afternoon. All she had in the house to make a lunch was a large sweet roll left over from the previous night’s supper. Mother made delicious sweet rolls. She always arranged them in a pan so there was one large one across the top of the pan and then rows of smaller ones down the length of the pan. Only the large one remained. It was about the size of a loaf of bread in length but, of course, not in thickness. I was embarrassed to take just a sweet roll for lunch when I imagined what the other patrol members would have, but I decided it was better to go with the sweet roll than go without lunch.

When it came time to eat lunch, I went to a far-off corner so I wouldn’t be noticed. When the trading of lunches started, my friends wanted to know what I had. I explained what had happened that morning, and to my dismay, everyone wanted to see the sweet roll. But my friends surprised me—instead of making fun of me, they all wanted to have a piece of the sweet roll! It turned out to be my best lunch trading day of the entire year! The sweet roll I thought would be an embarrassment to me turned out to be the hit of our lunch hour.

As I have reflected on this experience, it has occurred to me that it is often part of human nature to attach less value to familiar things simply because they are so common to us. One of these familiar things could be our membership in the restored Church.

What the members of the Church possess is a “pearl of great price” (Matt. 13:46), yet sometimes this priceless gem is so familiar to us that we do not appreciate its true value. While it is true we should not cast our pearls before swine, this does not mean we should not share them with people who will appreciate their value. One of the side benefits of missionary work is watching the value that others who have not previously heard about our beliefs attach to them. There is a great benefit in seeing one’s treasures through someone else’s eyes.

My concern is that we often take for granted the unique and valuable blessings that we have of membership in the Lord’s Church, and in such a state of under-appreciation we are more likely to be complacent about our Church membership and are less valiant contributors to building a community of Saints.

We are blessed with a great and noble heritage that offers a pathway to truth that veers dramatically from the so-called ways of the world. We need to remind ourselves about the value of our heritage so we do not underestimate its worth. I challenge the Saints to stand tall and proclaim loudly the treasured teachings of our common heritage, not with a spirit of pride or boasting but with a spirit of confidence and conviction.

Illustrated by Scott Snow