But behold, your days of probation are past; ye have procrastinated the day of your salvation until its everlastingly too late and your destruction is made sure; yea, for ye have sought all the days of your lives for that which ye could not obtain; and ye have sought for happiness in doing iniquity, which thing is contrary to the nature of that righteousness which is in our great and Eternal Head.
— Helaman 13:38
Many years ago we lived in a rural part of northeastern California. We were active in our small branch and I had served as a counselor to the branch president, taught Sunday School, been chorister, etc., often all at the same time. My wife had similar
responsibilities. We tried to keep the commandments, but it seemed we were always finding there was more month left at the end of the money, and it wasn't all due to mismanaged funds. Most of the time, we were tithe payers and had a temple recommend. In other years we would miss one or more months, and December, with its additional costs of Christmas gifts and driving to Utah to have Christmas with the boys' grandparents, brought extra expense.
Our oldest son had gone to Ricks College to study and play football, and while there he prepared to go on a mission. We knew it was coming, had planned for it in most respects in financial matters, and were proud of his worthiness and desire to serve. Coming home from college, he had worked at hauling hay that summer. He was interviewed by the branch president, and some weeks later received a call to the Mexico Monterey Mission. The whole family was excited and his three younger brothers looked at him with real honest pride.
Then the bubble burst. We had missed a month on tithing and were not eligible for a current temple recommend. We were not able to go with him when he received his endowments — he went with the branch president. We were crushed. We sought our solace and answers in the scriptures. I thought of Malachi and knew I'd robbed God, but another scripture just jumped out of the pages at me. It was Helaman 13:38. I had procrastinated, but I did not want it to be "everlastingly too late" for me. We decided right then and there that our tithing would be the first check written each month, not the last, and that seemed to put our "destruction" on hold.
We've had a temple recommend ever since and went with the other boys to the temple and have been there when all four were married. We've served two missions and are temple workers but, although we repented, I'll never forget letting one boy down and being almost "everlastingly too late."
— Gerald L. Fowles, McMinnville, Ore.
"Living by the Scriptures" is another in a series of Church News reader response articles. Was there a time when a particular scripture touched you, when it offered comfort, guidance and much-needed support? If so, please describe your experience in 250-300 words, giving the scripture reference and telling how it affected you. Send your submission to Church News, P.O. Box 1257, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110. Fax No. (801) 237-2524. Internet E-mail: