In today’s marketplace—yes, in your own neighborhood, town, and cities—scheming, deceiving promoters are making available to gullible purchasers all kinds of enticing offers. We are sorry to report thousands within our ranks are being duped by the glib tongues of those who offer and solicit in whispers. “Once in a lifetime opportunities” and “Just for you” approaches are unusual no more. Such offerings and deals should be avoided like a plague.

I believe the Lord wants us to become alarmed and concerned when we see the wicked and unscrupulous taking unfair advantage of the weak and uninformed. No Latter-day Saint should exploit another man’s situation, manipulate, lie, steal, cheat, or deceive. Our responsibility is to assist each other in avoiding involvements that can be devastating to our welfare.

-Elder Marvin J. Ashton, from his talk “Give with Wisdom that They may Receive with Dignity”

I’ve seen any number of people express the regret that the brightest minds in our generation are devoted to inventing subtler financial manipulations and more addictive online ad platforms.

At a recent BYU devotional, Elder Rasband told the following story about his mentor, Jon Huntsman:

[Jon Huntsman’s] heart was not hardened by hardship or sin, wounds of the past, or imperfect people. Most important, his word was his bond.

Let me give you an example. Back in the 1980s, our young business was struggling. Earnings had plummeted in the recession. Jon decided to sell 40 percent of the company. He found a buyer, and after tough negotiations, the two fixed a price and shook hands on the deal. Six months went by while the necessary papers, contracts, and terms were completed to provide a legally binding arrangement.

During that period the market turned. Our company’s earnings climbed; sales exceeded all previous levels. Wall Street analysts advised that the 40 percent agreed to earlier was now worth five times the original amount, and the lawyers took the position that the oral agreement was not binding, since no papers had been signed.

The buyers, realizing the dramatic growth of the company, expected to pay a much higher price. There was no question that we needed that extra capital as the company expanded.

But Jon was a man of his word, and his handshake was no casual commitment. He informed the buyers of his decision to honor the original agreement and shocked the chemical industry. He would lose millions in the deal, but to him, a deal was a deal. His handshake was his bond.

That is extraordinary.  It is extraordinary to be an entrepeneur who starts from nothing and makes millions.  Very few people have that talent.  It is even more extraordinary to make millions but be willing to lose it to keep your word.  That second talent is universal.  Everyone has it.  It requires no luck, it ignores market conditions, it is immune to theft, no taxation can redistribute it.  Anyone can refuse to lie.

Other Posts from the Welfare Session of the October 1981 General Conference


Continue reading at the original source →