Sharing the First Vision in comfortable ways

A few weeks ago I was sitting in a high council meeting of the Shadow Mountain Stake. I always look forward to these meetings where I can sit with this council. They’ve become such good friends and a critical support for me. 

Each time we meet, I invite the members of the council to add any agenda items that they would like to cover while together. This particular meeting, one of the council members wanted to say a few words about how he was answering the invitation of President Nelson to learn more about the restoration in preparation for General Conference. 

“Select your own questions. Design your own plan. Act on any of these invitations to prepare yourself for sharing the important messages of the ongoing Restoration.”

He told us about his own hobby of collecting coins. He had a picture of a penny minted in 1820, the same year as the First Vision, in which Joseph Smith saw and conversed with God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.

Then, despite never writing poetry, he mentioned that he had written a poem and would like to share it with us. With his permission, I share it with you here:

A Penny In His Pocket

I had a thought the other day that really made me wonder,
What if Joseph had a penny that he had earned from mother?

What if he had a penny in his pocket when he bowed on his knees,
On that beautiful Spring morning secluded in the trees?

A penny in his pocket, what an interesting theory.
It really make a lot of “cents” if you’re thinking clearly.

To me it begs the question, is it still around today?
If so, what would it want to share with us? What would it like to say?

Humor me for just a moment as we explore this simple notion.
If it could speak, I do believe it would with strong emotion!

“Some will say that a coin like me should be spent, not heard.
But I have a message of great importance which must not be detoured.
I was once owned by Joesph Smith (it is my claim to fame)
I was nestled in his pocket when he knelt and prayed that day.
Joseph Smith conversed with God in answer to his prayer.
I know it’s true, there is no doubt for I was really there.
I was actually in the presence of God the Father and His Son!
Of all the pennies ever made – I’m the Lucky One.
A one cent coin from eighteen twenty of copper, then freshly minted.
I stand a witness of that great visit, best day of my existence!
I’ve seen so much over my many years, I’ve had a lot of owners.
But none compare to the good old days when I was Brother Joseph’s.”

Now if I’m being completely honest the truth I must concede.
The contents of his pocket that day will always a mystery be.

But it doesn’t hurt to imagine, if by the prophet a coin was stored,
A penny his his pocket then, now a witness to all the world.

Pennies cannot talk of course, of this we know for sure,
But people can, and talk we must, of this I do implore.

From this day forth with firm resolve, may we carry on that penny’s mission,
To share the news of the truth restored, and Joseph Smiths First Vision

-Larry G Jensen, Las Vegas, NV, February 16, 2020 (Image of poem)

After he finished reading the poem, he brought up a collection of little brown boxes. He passed the collection around the table and we each took a box. Inside was an invitation and also an 1820 penny. We were completely floored. 

What an incredible gift from a good friend. 

A couple thoughts I had since this meeting:

  1. I love that Larry found a way to use his own interests and hobbies to share the message of the restoration. It made for a very natural and kind way to tell others of his beliefs. It also made it very easy to picture this penny in the pocket of the prophet.
  2. In church leadership, we are instructed to meet often with our presidencies and other small councils to “counsel together for the benefit of individuals and families. Council members also plan the work of the Church pertaining to their assignments. Effective councils invite full expression from council members and unify their efforts in responding to individual, family, and organizational needs.” These councils are too often overlooked. Doing them in the right spirit will lead to great insights and also help you form very special friendships. 

Each of us should create more good for the world. Whether it’s a poem, a blog post, an image, a joke, or anything else that can be shared. In this world, there are too many consumers and not enough creators. I’d love to see more friends creating and sharing goodness, no matter how simple. Even as simple as a penny.