The recent senate scandals here in Canada, which are ongoing debates bring to light a pandemic of dishonest and deceptive practices by those we should be able to trust to do the right thing. There are many people who we put our trust in and many trust without question. Doctors, teachers, police, our employers. Sadly many of the people in these position at one time or another fail us or demonstrate dishonest behavior.
Rob Ford mayor of Toronto has been under a lot of pressure and heat lately from media and the public over the crack video scandal. First he claimed that he does not smoke crack and that he is not an addict. Now after being caught in a lie, claims in a desperate effort to vindicate himself, says that he was not lying but the wrong question was asked of him. He is saying that he was asked if he smokes crack, he responded with no I do not smoke crack.
In an episode of Star Trek the next Generation, titled the first duty. Wesley crusher is under investigation by star fleet academy after participating in a illegal maneuver during a training exercise called the star burst maneuver. His flight leader gave him orders not to tell the investigators what happened. Captain Picard learns the truth of the matter. Previously Sito Jaxa one of the other cadets told Wesley “You don’t have to lie, just don’t… volunteer any new information.” Later when Wesley and Picard were having conversation about the matter he told Wesley “And you told the truth, up to a point. But a lie of omission is still a lie!…..The first duty of every Starfleet officer is to the truth, whether it’s scientific truth or historical truth or personal truth! It is the guiding principle on which Starfleet is based! And if you can’t find it within yourself to stand up and tell the truth about what happened, you don’t deserve to wear that uniform! I’m going to make this simple for you, Mr. Crusher: Either you come forward and tell Admiral Brand what really took place, or I will.”
I think we can replace some the worlds in this quote to read like this
“And you told the truth, up to a point. But a lie of omission is still a lie!…..The first duty of every Christian is to the truth, whether it’s scientific truth or historical truth or personal truth! It is the guiding principle on which Christ’s gospel is based! And if you can’t find it within yourself to stand up and tell the truth about what happened, you don’t deserve to Christian I’m going to make this simple for you, [insert you name here] Either you come forward and tell god what really took place, or I will.”
Our duty to the truth is not just to God, but our fellow man as well. We have a duty to the truth, to all the people we work with, have authority over, report to, and all we interact with. We have a duty to the truth and to be honest with ourselves as well as all others. In Terry Goodkinds book series the sword of truth, he lays out a series of guiding principles called the wizards rules, one of them reads as follows
“Willfully turning aside from the truth is treason to one’s self.”
The truth is what should motivate your life, not the lies, or you will fall victim to the first rule and if you ignore the truth you’re betraying everything that you believe in, because the lie is more convenient to you than reality. (see http://andrewsbookreviews.wordpress.com/great-quotes-from-great-books-2/ for a complete list or rules)
Honesty goes beyond simply telling the truth. It’s about integrity and holding our selves accountable. Have you ever been tempted at work to steel a pen, paper, pad or other office supplies. Are we completely honest in our work, meaning when we are at work are we focused on doing our job and not distracted by social media and other distractions while we are supposed to be working. Our employers are paying us to do our jobs, are we giving our full attention to it.
In the LDS church pamphlet, For the Strength of youth it states about honesty
“Be honest with yourself, others, and God at all times. Being honest means choosing not to lie, steal, cheat, or deceive in any way. When you are honest, you build strength of character that will allow you to be of great service to God and others. You will be blessed with peace of mind and self-respect. You will be trusted by the Lord and will be worthy to enter into His holy temples.
Dishonesty harms you and harms others as well. If you lie, steal, shoplift, or cheat, you damage your spirit and your relationships with others. Being honest will enhance your future opportunities and your ability to be guided by the Holy Ghost. Be honest at school; choose not to cheat in any way. Be honest in your job, giving a full amount of work for your pay. Do not rationalize that being dishonest is acceptable, even though others may think it does not matter.
Closely associated with honesty is integrity. Integrity means thinking and doing what is right at all times, no matter what the consequences. When you have integrity, you are willing to live by your standards and beliefs even when no one is watching. Choose to live so that your thoughts and behavior are always in harmony with the gospel.”
If you were to closely evaluate our behaviors I think that we all could find ways to be more honest to ourselves, our god and those we associate with. There is always room to improve. have we at any point told story’s that while based in some resemblance of fact may not be completely true. Or are even embellished even in the tiniest degree?
When Joseph smith told his story to pastors, priests, and evangelists of the time about what happened to him in the sacred grove, he was threatened, bullied, harassed, ridiculed for telling the truth of what he had seen and heard. Joseph smith history relates his story as follows vs 22-25
22 I soon found, however, that my telling the story had excited a great deal of prejudice against me among professors of religion, and was the cause of great persecution, which continued to increase; and though I was an obscure boy, only between fourteen and fifteen years of age, and my circumstances in life such as to make a boy of no consequence in the world, yet men of high standing would take notice sufficient to excite the public mind against me, and create a bitter persecution; and this was common among all the sects—all united to persecute me.
23 It caused me serious reflection then, and often has since, how very strange it was that an obscure a boy, of a little over fourteen years of age, and one, too, who was doomed to the necessity of obtaining a scanty maintenance by his daily labor, should be thought a character of sufficient importance to attract the attention of the great ones of the most popular sects of the day, and in a manner to create in them a spirit of the most bitter persecution and reviling. But strange or not, so it was, and it was often the cause of great sorrow to myself.
24 However, it was nevertheless a fact that I had beheld a vision. I have thought since, that I felt much like Paul, when he made his defense before King Agrippa, and related the account of the vision he had when he saw a light, and heard a voice; but still there were but few who believed him; some said he was dishonest, others said he was mad; and he was ridiculed and reviled. But all this did not destroy the reality of his vision. He had seen a vision, he knew he had, and all the persecution under heaven could not make it otherwise; and though they should persecute him unto death, yet he knew, and would know to his latest breath, that he had both seen a light and heard a voice speaking unto him, and all the world could not make him think or believe otherwise.
25 So it was with me. I had actually seen a light, and in the midst of that light I saw two Personages, and they did in reality speak to me; and though I was hated and persecuted for saying that I had seen a vision, yet it was true; and while they were persecuting me, reviling me, and speaking all manner of evil against me falsely for so saying, I was led to say in my heart: Why persecute me for telling the truth? I have actually seen a vision; and who am I that I can withstand God, or why does the world think to make me deny what I have actually seen? For I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it; at least I knew that by so doing I would offend God, and come under condemnation.
Joseph Smith stood for Truth despite the immense persecution that he suffered. He maintained his integrity and was committed to honesty regardless of the consequences of his honesty. He was later martyred for the truths he spoke. Let us be true to our principals and honest in our dealings with everyone, regardless of the consequences. While we may never be called upon to suffer such great persecutions as Joseph Smith and other martyrs let them stand as a example of the honesty and integrity we should strive to emulate