"Honesty is more than not lying.
It is truth telling, truth speaking,
truth living, and truth loving."
James E. Faust
Honesty, It should be the only policy. This past Sunday, the lesson in Relief Society (the women's meeting) was on honesty. It was a very good lesson. It is one that has made me rethink my own stand. You see, I have always believed in honesty. Sometimes, I was naive enough to think that everyone else expected and admired that trait. Years later, and a life lived much longer has taught me how much the culture we live in does not admire or want honesty. Think for a moment about the advertising that you see all around you.
The advertising world would have us believe that everyone worthwhile is skinny, or beautiful, or sexy, or single, or married, or childless, or wealthy. And hopefully, if we really think about it, we will realize that all of those things are actually an endorsement of dishonesty.
If you are old like me, you will remember the days when cigarettes were advertised on TV. When the man smoking them was always a rugged "man's type of man". When he was a cowboy, rough, lean and totally physically fit. The Marlboro man comes to mind. Yet, they did not tell you in those long ago days, just what cigarettes could do to your body. They did not tell you the risks, only the perceived benefits. I am sure that is the way with many things today. When you want to know about those things, you really have to ask yourself is, "do they care about me? Or are they trying to sell a product or service?" If you answer, yes, to the second question, take a longer and closer look at what you think you want in your life.
There is an old saying: "A half truth is a whole lie."
In our lesson we talked about three ways of being dishonest. The first was telling a lie, the second was stealing, and the third was cheating.
Lying is intentionally deceiving others. This can be with the spoken word as well as the unspoken silence. We can intentionally deceive with a gesture or a look, by silence, or by only telling part of the truth. Whenever we lead people to believe something that isn't true, we are guilty of dishonesty.
The scriptures teach us, "Thou shalt not steal." Stealing is taking something that doesn't belong to us. It can also be copying pictures, poetry, CD's, movies, or written words. I found this one interesting because of all the stealing of photography that is going on over the internet right now. I know photographers who have found their work on another's site, advertised as someone else's work. It seems to be a big problem. Taking words or thoughts that aren't yours and claiming that they are.
Cheating is also dishonest. Cheating is more than when we get something we don't deserve. Some people cheat their employers by not giving a full day's work for a full day's pay. Maybe they extend their lunches, or take extra breaks, or check their email, or write on their blog. Yet, those employees are more than happy to accept full pay for their less than stellar performance. Some employers are not fair to their employees (hence, I have lots of extra work to do with grievances).
One of the things I found most interesting in all of this is that we must never excuse our dishonesty. To the Lord, there are no acceptable reasons for being dishonest. When we excuse ourselves, we cheat ourselves, and we become more and more unrighteous.
The promise is that if we work on becoming completely honest, we cannot be corrupted. We are true to every trust, duty, promise, and agreement, even if it costs us money, status, friends, or our very lives. By being honest, we know where we stand. We know our own character. We know what we have done, what we will do. We know that we will have nothing to be afraid of.
We talked about being dishonest about our own feelings, our faults and our desires. How many of us receive complements, that we worked really hard for, we deserve them, but we cannot take them. We have to offer and excuse, we have to put ourselves down. Part of honesty is accepting the good as well as the bad. Part of honesty is being able to look at yourself, with all your faults and failings, and still know who you are and what you want to become.
The 13th Article of Faith states:
We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.Today, let us all reflect and find a few more ways to improve our honesty with our fellow men (and with ourselves). Remember just who the "father of lies" really is. I don't know about you, but I want to stay as far away from him as possible.
"Once it was said among our people that a man's word was as good as his bond. Shall any of us be less reliable, less honest than our forebears?" Gordon B. Hinckley