Pure religion: Learning humility through service

A prominent man who had considerable holdings in public utilities and merchandise found himself, in the latter part of 1933, financially embarrassed. He lost everything. He was nearly 80 years old and, like others during the Great Depression, was hit very hard.

He was a proud man and for the first time in his life he knew what it was like to be at the edge of charity. He had been very active in Church and civic activities and was considered a leader in the community.

At first he was humiliated and downcast when he was brought to the Church’s [bishops’] storehouse in Salt Lake City, but he was a willing worker. He entered into the spirit of his work and accepted his assignment as a grocery clerk behind the counter.

As Thanksgiving Day approached, he shared the enthusiasm of the others at the storehouse as they watched the turkeys arrive. He said it was the first time in his life that he really appreciated his Thanksgiving Day dinner because now he knew what it was like to earn his bread by the sweat of his brow and to work for that which he regarded as the necessities of life.

When Christmas came, he was one of the leading spiritual influences of the storehouse.

He threw his soul into his work and delighted all he came in contact with who heard his cheery and encouraging words. His “Merry Christmas” came from his heart. Then fortune smiled on him due to some oil [investments] in Wyoming and he was able to put himself once again on a sound financial footing.

This man often said that the happiest time of his life was the time he spent at the storehouse. Those days made him realize and appreciate what it was like to know how others lived. He learned to understand the struggles of men in the most difficult of times and he discovered that he appreciated the moments of his own struggles. — “Red Shoes” by Jesse M. Drury and Glen L. Rudd, pp. 32-33