Honesty and Self Reliance: A Great-Grandfather’s Lesson 


'The money given by the government did not have to be accounted for, as it was a grant, however, my great-grandfather decided to go back to the mayor and return the unspent money.' 

If we are to become fully self-reliant spiritually and temporally there are some Christlike attributes we need to develop in order to receive divine help. Honesty and integrity are among the most important characteristics we should develop to reach this condition.

In the 13th Article of Faith we find the following: “We believe in being honest, true…”

One must then learn how to be honest and true among men — but mainly with God.

Honest with Men

A story of honesty of one of my ancestors has made a great impact on the lives of thousands of people who knew him — and still echoes in our family members’ minds and hearts after 128 years. My great-grandfather, Georg Wolf, was the leader of a group of Hungarians who immigrated to Brazil in 1891. Upon arriving at the designated Brazilian port, the mayor of that city gave him two thousand réis (the local currency at that time) and some machetes. With those resources this small group of people expected to open a 60km way through the dense Atlantic forest, where they would find the piece of land granted by the government for them to settle.

The money given by the government did not have to be accounted for, as it was a grant. However, since it was not all used to buy the necessary supplies for the group’s journey and settlement, my great-grandfather decided to go back to the mayor and return the unspent money. Everyone in the community was quite surprised, as this group was starting a new life from ground zero in a different land and probably the unused money would bring them much more immediate comfort in their travels. But being honest and having peace of mind was more important to my great-grandfather.

Years later, that settlement became a prosperous region of the country with subsequent great spiritual and temporal blessings that continue in the lives of thousands today —including my own family.

I learned from my great-grandfather’s integrity that there are special temporal and spiritual blessings that can only be obtained as we are honest with men.

Honest with God

If being honest with our fellowmen fosters self-reliance, being honest with God will multiply the possibilities of achieving such a standing. In effect, we will only receive God’s best blessings if we bring to His altar our best efforts!!

When the Lord states in Malachi 3:10: “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse…and prove me now…I will open you the windows of heaven”, He is actually saying to us, “Pay an honest 10% tithe, study and work hard, have faith, and I will bless you immensely — both spiritually and temporally.”

In conclusion, I invite all of us to be fully honest with men and — above all — with God. As we do so we will be blessed with the capacity to fulfill this important objective of our Area Plan: “Become Self-Reliant to Better Serve Others”.