This experience goes well with the account in the Book of Mormon where Laman and Lemuel tell Nephi that he is the “bad guy” (1 Nephi 17:20-21; 18:10) – or when the priests of Noah tell Noah that Abinadi is “judging them” (Mosiah 12:9-12; 17:11-12)… so many places where this story would fit!
I wish all boys could have had a mother such as I had. One day I came home eating an apple. Mother asked me where I got it. I told her I found it. She soon discovered that I had “found” it in Mr. Goddard’s grocery store, and Mother insisted I take it back.
I protested that it was partly eaten, but at her urging I took the partly eaten apple back to Mr. Goddard and shamefully told him I had robbed his store. He phoned Mother to tell her I had brought it back and said he had seen me take it, but it was such a little thing he hadn’t bothered to say anything about it. It wasn’t a little thing to Mother. She loved us too much to have a thief in the family.
There is a phenomenon that accompanies dishonest persons. Before long they become very critical and tend to find fault with leaders who call their attention to their unrighteousness. Instead of repenting and changing their lives for the better, they tend to justify their own misdeeds by finding fault with their leaders. The Prophet Joseph Smith said:
“I will give you one of the Keys of the mysteries of the Kingdom. It is an eternal principle, that has existed with God from all eternity: That man who rises up to condemn others, finding fault with the Church, saying that they are out of the way, while he himself is righteous, then know assuredly, that that man is in the high road to apostasy; and if he does not repent, will apostatize, as God lives.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, comp., Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 156-57.)
Elder Theodore M. Burton, Conference Report, April 1970, p. 91.