Friday, May 20, 2011

The Worth of Integrity and Honesty

Sometimes temptation rears its head in the most unexpected ways. Think of the times you have been given too much change back, by mistake.  Or perhaps when the cashier forgot to charge you for an item and you were already home before you realized it. Doing the right thing can be hard, or inconvenient, rationalization could get the best of you and you could easily conclude that it wasn’t your fault you ended up with a sudden win fall.   Integrity could be easily sold in the face of monetary gain.  This wasn’t the case with Josh Ferrin.

Josh Ferrin, an artist for the Deseret News in Salt Lake City, had just purchased his first home for his family in Bountiful Utah and was excited to finally have a place that he and his wife and children could call their own.  Upon receiving the keys to his new place, Ferrin walked into the garage and saw a piece of cloth that hung to an attic door.  He opened the hatch and climbed up the ladder.  He noticed a metal box that looked like a World War II ammunition case and pulled it down.  Imagine his shock when he discovered it was stuffed full of tightly wound rolls of cash bundled together with twine.  But that was not all; he found seven more boxes with the same contents in them, totalling over $40,000.

Ferrin was faced with a decision.

"I'm not perfect, and I wish I could say there was never any doubt in my mind. We knew we had to give it back, but it doesn't mean I didn't think about our car in need of repairs, how we would love to adopt a child and aren't able to do that right now, or fix up our outdated house that we just bought," Ferrin said. "But the money wasn't ours to keep and I don't believe you get a chance very often to do something radically honest, to do something ridiculously awesome for someone else and that is a lesson I hope to teach to my children."

The previous owner of the home was Arnold Bangerter, a simple man who had worked as a biologist for the Utah Department of Fish and Game.  He had died in November and left the house to his children.  Both he and his wife had purchased the home in 1966 and had lived there with their family, his wife passing away previously in 2005.  

"I could imagine him in his workshop. From time to time, he would carefully bundle up $100 with twine, climb up into his attic and put it into a box to save. And he didn't do that for me," Farrin said. So with that Ferrin called Bangerter’s sons with the news of the discovery.  

Kay Bangerter said he knew his father hid away money because he once found a bundle of cash taped beneath a drawer in their home, but he never considered his dad had stuffed away so much over the years.

"He grew up in hard times and people that survived that era didn't have anything when they came out of it unless they saved it themselves," Kay Bangerter, the oldest of the six children, told the Deseret News. "He was a saver, not a spender."

Bangerter called the money's return "a story that will outlast our generation and probably yours as well."

I believe that we will all be given opportunities to prove ourselves worthy of the trust and confidence the Lord desires to have in us. Who knows, perhaps this is just a part of the Abrahamic test that Ferrin was given to prove his faithfulness, allowing him to receive greater blessings from his Father.  I believe you can’t put a price on that one! 

Read more about the discovery and watch a video here. 


  1. Great story of faith, honesty and integrity!


  2. I was just talking about integrity with my husband! While in England, we have become well acquainted with new members of the church from all over the world -- all amazing. However, one sister in particular, from Nigeria, has impressed me forever with her integrity - which she takes very seriously. Her example has given me much cause for musing and self-analysis.