The Parable Of The Uncirculated Coin

(June 2009. First told at Joliet Stake Youth Conference around the camp fire, June 2009.  Initial writing finished June 21st, 2009 Journal Entry.  Updated November 2012.)

There was a grandfather, and he had two grandsons, cousins to each other.  As he was getting old he had a conversation with each of them.  He collected coins, and said his collection would be going to their parents, but that he wanted them to have something to remember him.  He gave them each an un-circulated rare coin.  He told each that although the coins had value just because they were money, they had more value because they were rare; they have even more value because they are uncirculated.  However, maintaining that value required care.

The grandfather instructed each to never remove the coins from the protective cloth covers unless wearing gloves.  Even the oil on their hands would damage them.  Of course they must not store them in any other way except in the cover.  Allowing them to have direct contact with anything hard, even other coins, would scratch them.  He suggested because of their value, it would be unwise to show them to others.  They were for their private enjoyment, to be kept safe and not talked about.  If they would do this, these coins would become more and more valuable with the passage of time.

One of the young men was a bit skeptical.  It seemed a bit silly—a bit old fashioned—this coin collecting.  Besides, others he knew and read about used their money to get what they wanted when they wanted it.  They enjoyed the pleasures they could buy now.

One day he took the coin out of the protective pocket to look at it without gloves.  He held it around the edges with his bare fingers, thinking that couldn’t damage them much.  Besides, he could wipe it off and no one would know.

Another day he took it to school to show his friends, only one or two at first but then showing it more widely and with less care.  Finally, with it simply stored in his pocket while on his way home, he decided he wanted some gum.  So he went into a store, picked out the gum, and realizing he didn’t have enough money without it to make the purchase, he handed the clerk the coin.  She looked at it, winked, and said, “Boy that sure is shiny,” then dropped it into the cash register.  Suddenly it seemed, in exchange for a “mess of potage” if you will, it was no longer uncirculated.  The value of the rare, uncirculated coin, worth much more than its face value, was gone.

The other young man listened more closely, wanting to follow his grandfather’s instructions.  He put them in his treasure box with other things that had quiet meaning to him.  Consistent with his desire to be obedient, as he grew he followed his parents’ guidelines about dating.  In time he met a young woman, they fell in love, and were married.  In the excitement of marriage and starting a family, except for moving them into the new home, the treasures in the box were largely forgotten.

Later, while visiting his parents on business one day, his parents gave him the inherited coin collection, one-half the grandfather’s collection.  Upon receiving it, he thought of the coin in his treasure box.  He went home and found the treasure box.  It had now been many years since his grandfather had given him the coin.  As he put on some gloves and carefully opened the pouch holding the coin and inspected it, he noted how it complemented his grandfather’s coins.  He searched the Internet, and was surprised to learn how much more valuable the incomplete collection was with the addition of just one coin.

Excited about his discovery, he wanted to share it with his wife.  He called to her to come to the room, and to bring some gloves.  As she came in, she saw the coins, and immediately thought of her own treasure box, also long quietly guarded.  As she pulled from it and displayed the rare coins she had inherited and similarly treasured, they were both astonished to learn her coins completed his collection, creating a new, full set of un-circulated, pure, protected coins.

The value of the full set of treasured coins was nearly unbelievable.  Through the years together they continued to quietly treasure it, within their family and home, marveling at the continuously increasing value comprehended only by them.  It brought security, knowing that no one else knew of the treasure they found in each other.  With time, it even allowed them to grow the collection to include other coins.

At length they taught their children that the value of the collection was much more than the total face value of all the coins, or the momentary pleasure they might buy.  The value would not be understood by those who had never beheld the purity of an uncirculated coin, those who come to their marriage only to find they sold what they should have treasured, and thus are bankrupt.  They testified that the ever growing value comes from the power and protection of personal purity.

 

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