“A Single Act of Honesty”
By Edem Umoh Edem
President Victor Bassey, the Stake President in Calabar Nigeria, said he was given one of his appointments in the University of Calabar based on a single act of honesty.
Richard J. Maynes of the Seventy said, “In today’s culture the principle of honesty at times seems to be seldom talked about and often abused. Although there are many honest people in the world, dishonesty and corruption exist in many facets of society, like government, politics, business, and athletics. Honesty often takes a back seat to the worldly aspiration of getting ahead at any cost.
We may wonder whether it is possible to succeed in such an environment and at the same time be true to our covenants. The big questions for each Latter-day Saint are these:
- Will I be true to the covenants I have made with the Lord in the waters of baptism and in the holy temple?
- Will I be totally honest with the Lord? (April 2010 Liahona)
President Bassey’s Story
Several years ago, I went for a work shop in Abuja with several men with the head of our team being a Professor. At the end, our money was enveloped and given to each and every one of us.
Interestingly, the money in my envelope was equivalent to that which the Professor had received, but not the other colleagues. When I opened my envelope, I counted my money, and realized that it was more than what my colleagues had received. I asked them to confirm that fact. Then I asked the Professor and his amount was the same as mine. I told them that this envelope was not meant for me. The Professor didn’t say anything. He was watching what was going on, but my colleagues said, “Is it not God that has blessed me? All you need do is to give us ₦10, 000 and then keep your money.”
The Professor didn’t say anything but I knew within me that that money was not meant for me, so I had to go back to the facilitators and report my experience to them. They were surprised, so they followed me to our table and asked who the leader was. They were told that the Professor was the leader. They told the Professor, “You are blessed with honest people. This man was given money three times the amount he should have received, and he brought it back”
President Bassey was being observed.
Little did I know that, at that time, the Vice Chancellor of my institution had approached the Professor and informed him that he was going to be a Director. As a consequence, he himself was searching for somebody who he was going to select to be his assistant. That evening, he called me to his room to say, “What you have done today shows how honest you can be. Please, would you like to be my assistant?” For four years and four months, I have been his assistant.
Honesty can be a missionary tool.
The story did not end there. As the Professor’s daughter was graduating from the school, he expressed his desire that she could find an honest man like President Bassey to marry. This Professor later came to a meeting and introduced his children to the Church. Although he was not baptized before his death, the seeds had been planted with his family because of this one act of honesty on President Bassey’s part.
As it states in Alma 27:27 “And they were among the people of Nephi, and also numbered among the people who were of the church of God. And they were also distinguished for their zeal towards God, and also towards men; for they were perfectly honest and upright in all things; and they were firm in the faith of Christ, even unto the end.”
President Bassey exemplified this scripture and learned for himself what a single act of honesty can bring to us, in our public places and private life.