Living Prophets Lesson 16: Thomas S. Monson

by | Sep. 09, 2013



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Purpose: To encourage family members to develop personal interests and talents

Gospel Principles: Talents, self-improvement, work

Scripture: D&C 82:18

Music: “Improve the Shining Moments” (Hymns, no. 226), “Every Star Is Different” (CS, 142)


President Monson has worked diligently to develop many different talents. One of his talents is being a pigeon keeper. At about age eleven, young Tommy Monson began what would become a lifelong fascination with pigeons. Using a simple box trap, he and his friends caught some common pigeons (called “commies”) in the backyard. Later, neighbor John Fife gave Tommy his first pair of Birmingham rollers, a popular breed of domesticated pigeons that can do rapid backward somersaults while in flight. Tommy worked hard to build a coop for his pigeons from  scrap wood. And he bought more pigeons by earning money from sweeping up leftover kernels of wheat lodged in the nooks and crannies of boxcars. Tommy did all this despite the fact his father considered the hobby to be too expensive and a waste of time.

Eventually Tom began showing his pigeons at county and state fairs, winning ribbons as he became more proficient at breeding and raising Birmingham rollers. In 1964, in his late thirties, his rollers swept the county fair, winning the trophy for the most superior young pigeon and a rosette for the most outstanding old bird.127 Throughout his life President Monson has continued his hobby of pigeon keeping and still enjoys visiting the county and state fairs to meet with other pigeon fanciers. No matter what the talent, President Monson has taught, “Don’t forget: one of the saddest things in life is wasted talent.”


1. Print a copy of “Homing Pigeon Maze.

2. Have each family member prepare a talent he or she can share with the rest of the family during family home evening. Take the opportunity to praise and encourage each other for efforts made to develop these talents.

Additional Resources:

1. Chapter 34 of the Gospel Principles manual is all about developing talents; similar lessons are found in the Young Women and priesthood manuals.

2. The Faith in God program for Primary children gives a number of suggested activities for children to help develop their talents. To earn the Faith in God award, children must accomplish two of these during the course of each year between ages eight and twelve.

3. The parable of the talents (see Matt. 25:14–30) is a great scripture story illustrating the importance of developing talents. A coloring page of this parable can be found on the website www.sermons4kids.com.

Get the entire FHE lesson series on "Living Prophets."

11127All lessons are excerpted fromthe new book Follow the Prophets: 52 FHE Lessons from Latter-day Prophets.

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