Updated on September 12, 2022
Doug Tales 83: Ten Instead of Five, Redux
Doug Mendenhall had $12 in his pocket when a beggar asked him for some of it. Doug gave $5 unhesitatingly, despite not knowing when and if he would get more money or food himself. Then Doug describes another event a month before, when Doug gave all of the $10 he had to another person for food, even though he had hoped to keep the money for himself later in the day. These experiences and Doug’s perspectives on them are shared by him in Possibilities: Lessons From the Spirit (2001), on pages 55-59:
We have … learned that one reason angels are here is to provide us the opportunity to see if we will follow our Savior’s admonition to be like Him. On Christmas Eve 1999, our kids asked us if we could go out and eat as a family. We had spent all of November in the hospital with Denise. December was filled with physical and occupational therapy and all the unusual experiences. It was a very hard month. We literally had no money. We checked all our pockets and came up with forty dollars, all that we had to our name. So I said, “Why not? Let’s go to Temple Square to see the lights and then we can go to a fast food restaurant.”
The lights were incredible! It was fun to see how Denise responded to them. It was as if she was seeing things for the first time in her life. I have never heard so many “wows” or “holy cows” in my life. I guess, in a different way, she was seeing all of this for the first time.
After seeing the lights we ended up at a fast food restaurant. It was around 7 PM, Christmas Eve. They were going to close the restaurant at 8 PM. We ordered our food and sat down. The bill came to $28.00. After I paid the bill I had two fives and two ones left in my pocket.
We were talking, having a great time, when all of a sudden a man stuck a card in my face. I took the card and turned to look at him. He was older and appeared to be down on his luck. The card stated that he was deaf and a mute, and asked if I would give him “$2 to $5” to help him out. I turned the card over and saw there was sign language on the back.
It was Christmas Eve and we were feeling good, so I took a five dollar bill out of my pocket and handed it to him and told him to have a Merry Christmas. We watched as he went to the table next to us. The people were dressed very nice, leather coats and all. They shooed the man away. He then went to some firemen by the opposite door, and they gave him some money.
As he left the restaurant, the Spirit told me to ask my daughter if the man had a “white aura.” “Hey Denise,” I said, “did that man we gave the money to have a white aura?” She looked at him going out the door.
“Yea, Dad. How much money did you give him?” came the reply.
“Five bucks,” I answered.
“You should have given him ten,” was her response.
I later talked to her about the man. “Yes Dad, he was a translated being just testing people,” was her answer to my questioning. My mind went to Hebrews 13:2 where it states: “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”
I wondered how many times I had turned a “beggar” away in the street that wasn’t really a beggar. At that moment I resolved to not judge anyone. If I had the means, I would take care of or help them. I doesn’t matter if they are angels or just someone in need. I have learned that we are here to help each other. If they petition us for help, we should give it. It has nothing to do with worthiness. There are no “worthy or unworthy poor,” just brothers and sisters in need.
“And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish. Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.
“For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?” (Mosiah 4:16-19).
I asked Denise why she had said that I should have given the man ten bucks, instead of the five I had given him.
“You’ll see,” came the cryptic reply.
The next Sunday after church, a man from our congregation showed up on our doorstep. My wife answered the door. “Sister Mendenhall,” he said, “I was sitting in church today and for some reason opened up my wallet. In it was a fifty dollar bill. Now I never have any money in my wallet, so I don’t know where it came from. But then the Spirit whispered to me to take it to the Mendenhalls and give it to them. So here you go, it’s yours.” He then handed the money to my wife.
Denise was right, I did see. I came home a short time later and Dianne related what this dear man had said and done. I am sure the Lord smiled love at Br. Tanner that day and welcomed him into His arms when he passed away a short while later. We were so grateful as it was money sorely needed for food.
The incident made me reflect on something we had experienced the month before while Denise was still in the hospital. Our oldest daughter had spent the night with Denise at the hospital, so I was able to stay home. We got up the next morning and got the kids off to school. As we were heading out the door, Dianne asked if we had enough money to eat at a local restaurant. I was so tired of the hospital food that said yes. We had twenty dollars between us.
As we walked into the restaurant, we went by a woman in a stocking cap, sitting drinking her coffee. The Spirit told me to buy breakfast for her. I groaned inside. We barely had enough for us to eat, and then I was to spend the entire day and night at the hospital. I would have no money.
After we sat down, I told Dianne what the Spirit had told me. “Well,” she said, “you had better do what it said.” Dianne’s faith astounded me, always has. She just does. I don’t even know if she thinks about it. In my mind I started adding up the cost of three breakfasts and wondering if I could keep a few dollars to spend at the hospital for food. The numbers didn’t come out in my favor.
We ordered two specials, ate, and left the tip. On the way out, after paying the cashier for our food, we left the remaining ten dollars at the register and told the hostess that it was to pay for the woman seated by herself, pointing to the woman in the stocking cap. We then walked out.
Out in the car I started to whine a little. “Dianne,” I said, “now I don’t have any money for food at the hospital. I have to stay there all day and night. You won’t be up until tomorrow morning some time. Besides, we have no money at home.” All I got out of her was that “It will all be OK.”
We drove by a friend’s home to drop off some papers on the way up to Primary Children’s Medical Center. I ran them to the door and said hello to both friends, then ran back to the car as we were late.
As I was pulling out of the driveway, our friend came running out of her house. I thought I had forgotten to give her something and started to look in the back seat for more papers. She was yelling, “I’m supposed to give you this,” waiving something in her hand. I stopped and she ran up to the car window. Was I ever surprised as she handed me a one hundred dollar bill and told us how much she loved us. I drove to the hospital in humbled silence, realizing that God uses even us as His angels at times….
The Lord calls those who serve others His disciples. Since all of us in one way or another are servants of the Lord, I believe this scripture can apply to all of us: “Whoso receiveth you receiveth me; and the same will feed you, and clothe you, and give you money. And he who feeds you, or clothes you, or gives you money, shall nowise lose his reward. And he that doeth not these things is not my disciple; by this ye may know my disciples.” (D&C 84:89-91)
As I said before, my family has been blessed by many angels, which are also disciples of the Lord. We appreciate and love each one of them.