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Kathryn H. Kidd
Monday, April 04 2011

When is Honesty Not the Best Policy?

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We have a new topic today — one that increasingly comes into play as our society’s traditional values are in question.  Is it possible to be too honest?

But before we get to that, we have a letter from a district president in Afghanistan, who wanted to let Latter-day Saints know how their members are being served in this war-torn area of the world.  Let’s see what he has to say:

Greetings from Kabul, Afghanistan. I serve as the district president. I just completed reading your article in the Meridian Magazine, "Military Families Find Solace in the Church." Thank you for a wonderful article and for all those who contributed. I wanted to share with you what is happening on the war front.

By way of background information:

There are more than 1100 members from 16 countries from around the world currently deployed at over 80 locations throughout Afghanistan. There are five military branches (Bagram, Kandahar, Kabul, Salerno and Camp Leatherneck). There are also over 35 service member groups located throughout Afghanistan. 

In June 2008 I was called by the First Presidency of the Church to serve as the first District President of Afghanistan. The Kabul Afghanistan Military District was organized on July 1, 2008. I serve as the ecclesiastical leader for the country of Afghanistan. I report directly to Elder Bruce D. Porter and Elder Paul B. Pieper of the Seventy and the Middle East / Africa North Desk at Church headquarters. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve serves as our adviser. I also report to the Church Military Relations Division. I am in daily contact with these brethren as we administer the affairs of the Church in this war torn country.

I reside in Kabul. I am a retired U.S Air Force officer and serve as a deputy program manager for a nationwide support contract to the Afghanistan Ministry of Defense and Afghan National Army. I have been serving in Afghanistan since February 2006. President Trevor Rosenberg serves as the First Counselor. He is an Air Force Lieutenant Colonel currently serving as an advisor to the Deputy Minister of Security for the Afghan Ministry of Interior (Afghan National Police). President Lloyd D. Oaks serves as the Second Counselor. He is an Army Colonel currently serving as the senior legal advisor to the Afghan National Army Judge Advocate General.

Each week the members of the military district receive a weekly devotional message from the district presidency. Our goal is to reach out to every member with a message of hope and inspiration as they serve in harm's way. The district Relief Society presidency also sends a weekly devotional message to every sister serving in Afghanistan. We are a "band of brothers and sisters" united in serving the Lord, our country, and the good people of Afghanistan. Our prayers are for each us to succeed in our mission and to return home with honor. We appreciate the support and prayers from our families and friends on the home front. We pray for peace and for our families at home.

Below is a message with attached photos that I sent to the members of the district last week.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

This has been an historic week for the members of the Kabul Afghanistan Military District.

1. The Middle East Military District Conference is being broadcast via the Church website to members of the Kabul Afghanistan Military District, the Baghdad Iraq Military District and to families and friends around the world. The webcast of this historic conference can be viewed now and for the next two months at the Church website link.  Elder L. Tom Perry presided at the conference and was the concluding speaker. Elder Perry pronounced an apostolic blessing upon the members and their families. I was invited to speak along with President Gus Checketts of the Baghdad Iraq Military District. The members of the military district will each receive their own DVD of the conference.

2. The Kabul Afghanistan Military District Presidency was reorganized on March 13th. President Winn Noyes, First Counselor in the District Presidency was released. President Noyes was called as the First Counselor when the district was organized on July 1, 2008. He has served faithfully for three years in Afghanistan. He will now return home with honor to Sister Noyes and his family in Mesa, Arizona. President Trevor Rosenberg, Second Counselor (Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Air Force) was sustained as the First Counselor. Lloyd Oaks (Colonel, U.S. Army) was sustained as the Second Counselor. (President Oaks is the son of Elder Dallin H. Oaks). Attached is a photo of the new district presidency. We look forward to serving the Lord, the members of the military district and the good people of Afghanistan. President Rosenberg currently serves an advisor to the Deputy Minister of Security for the Afghan National Police and President Oaks serves as the senior legal advisor to the Afghan National Army Judge Advocate General. I currently serve as the Deputy Program Manager for the new nation wide Afghanistan Technical Equipment Maintenance Program.

3. Elder Bruce A. Carlson of the Seventy and retired Air Force General made the historic visit as the first General Authority to Afghanistan on March 16th. During his visit with the senior military leadership military at the Kabul headquarters for the International Security Assistance Forces he set aside time to conduct a special fireside for the members of the Church residing in Kabul. The district presidency and 58 members attended this special fireside at HQ ISAF. We were honored to have Elder Carlson visit with us. Attached is a photo of this historic meeting. 

Our thoughts and prayers are with our families on the home front, the good people of Afghanistan, the people of Japan and that peace may prevail in the countries in the region of northern Africa and the Middle East.  Thank you for your support and prayers.

Eugene J. Wikle

District President

Kabul Afghanistan Military District

AfghanistanThanks for telling us what’s going on in Afghanistan, President Wikle. Thanks, too, for sending the picture.  I quickly scanned it in hopes of seeing at least one of our friends there.  Sure enough, there was a familiar face.  Please tell Allen “Tree Killer” Nelson that Clark and Kathy Kidd bid him a fond hello.

Now let’s move on to today’s topic.  F.J.R. from Sugarland writes this:

I have always tried to pay attention when checking out of a store to make sure the purchases are recorded accurately.  And when errors occur (either overcharges or undercharges), I have always brought them to the attention of the cashier.  This honesty used to be met with gratefulness, but more and more I’m finding that it generates indifference (at best) or outright annoyance (at worst).  The employees will act surprised and then roll their eyes, and I can almost hear them thinking, “What’s the matter with this clown?  Just get out of my line so that I can check the next person out and then go on my break.” 

I have also had employees perpetuate outright acts of dishonesty on my behalf, such as scanning coupons for items that I did not buy (in a grocery store), or intentionally not adding items that I ordered to the bill (in a restaurant).


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