I was baptised on the 14th of May 1955 in Liverpool, when the Branch was meeting in Summerfield, a grand old house which stood on Mill Bank where the Stake Centre now stands. The following year Spencer W Kimball, then an Apostle, visited Summerfield because he was in the area.
Even as a very young teenager, I could tell that there was something special about him. I remember him walking down the aisle. We had been in the Church for less than a year and I was part of the choir along with my mother. I was seated at the front and had the advantage of watching him come down the aisle towards the stand.
He stopped and stood in front of the pulpit. He said he wanted someone to help him. He had taken the trouble to find ten three-penny coins (small gold-coloured coins with many sides resembling our current 50-pence piece) before coming to the meeting. He then called on a young a Primary boy named Geoffrey Nugent to come to the front and said, “I want you to help me. Hold out your hand.”
Geoff held out an open hand as Elder Kimball counted the ten coins, one by one, into it. Then he asked him, “What have you got there?” “I have ten threepenny pieces,” Geoff replied. Elder Kimball then said, “Yes. Now will you do something for me, will you give me one coin back?”
Geoffrey gave him one back, and Elder Kimball said, “Now see this one which you have given back to me. How many have you got left?” Geoffrey counted them and said, “Nine.” “You’ve got nine and I’ve got one. That’s all the Lord wants from you. He wants one out of every ten of the pennies you have. Would you do that for the Lord? We call it tithing. Would you pay your tithing?”
Geoffrey said he would, and Elder Kimball said, “Well, I am giving you this one back. I am trusting you to pay it in Tithing.” He then gave the coin he was holding back to Geoffrey.
I have never forgotten that lesson. Geoffrey went on to give that same lesson to one of his friends, Roy. Elder Kimball taught him, and the rest of us, about tithing, in a simple yet profound way. I was just a young teenager then, but that experience has stayed in my mind and heart all these years.