We believe in being Honest, True and chased by an elephant.
Ok not really. I know it’s a cheesy and lame, and corny joke to start off this final installment of the articles of faith series. But then again I am a cheesy, lame and corny guy.
This is how the 13th article of faith really goes.
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.
This article of faith really talks about one’s character and integrity. Highlighting some important character traits that we all should strive to have within our personal lives.
Honesty is a critical part of being Godly people. This goes along with being true. This is also something that is sorely lacking in our world in all aspects of people’s lives. I work in customer service and have heard every story and alibi in existence for not paying bills and trying to avoid the penalties of contract termination. People will say and do anything to avoid doing something they do not want to do. Honesty however is more than just telling the truth. Even truth can be twisted to deceive and lead one to a conclusion that is not true. Just look at your average political campaign as an example of this.
When I was a kid I would often take money to school to buy food and not take a lunch. The question I was often asked was “What are you taking for lunch?” Typically without fail my response would be “There are sandwiches at the school store.” While that statement is true, the intent was to lead one to believe that I was planning on buying a sandwich for lunch when in fact I would usually purchase junk food and pop. This was not being honest as while I stated a truth the message delivered was not truth.
Chaste can be defined as free from obscenity and decent. We believe in living lives that are pure and decent in all that we do, say and in how we dress and present ourselves. We must live so that we can stand before God on that final day and say “I have lived a pure and holy life”. Living a chaste life in this world is increasingly more difficult as we are bombarded with unchaste media, clothing, attitudes and ideologies. This idea of Chaste goes hand in hand with being Virtuous. Leading by example and living a pure life in harmony with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Being benevolent and doing good to all man is pure charity. We as Latter day saints should be anxiously engaged in a good cause and helping those in need and we should have charity in our hearts at all times. When we live so that we can look on others with compassion we will be blessed beyond measure. The prompting to help others can come at the most inconvenient times.
I recall a day when I was waiting for the bus at a transit center in town. A young man was on the payphone talking to what apparently was his brother. Though I only got one side of the conversation it was clearly a situation I could have helped in, however I failed to act on the prompting. I could hear the desperation in this man’s voice as he said to his brother
“Please man, I have nowhere to go or stay, I don’t want to sleep on the streets tonight , we’re brothers why won’t you help me out. Please my bus does not leave till the morning and It’s so cold out tonight I can’t sleep on the street”
Overhearing this conversation I felt the urge to offer to go downtown with this man and pay for a hotel room for the night. I did not have the courage to act on it and by the time I finally decided to act on the prompting it was too late, he left and I could not find him again. To this day I regret not acting on the prompting and help this man. How sad for me and how sad for him. I hope that next time I will have the courage to act and not push it aside.
Believing hoping and enduring to the end are key components of this article of faith as well as the gospel.
We are sent here to be tried and tested and to see if we can endure to the end. Enduring many things and hoping to endure all things is the trials we will face and have faced in this mortal life. It is through the trials of life that we not only grow and mature physically and mentally but also spiritually. Trials like the refiners fire bring out the best in us. After all carbon does not become a diamond without immense pressure first.
If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things. Seeking the good in life should be a goal for all of us. When we focus on the uplifting and the positive we will be happier people and live a longer and healthier life. This is not to say that we should ignore the bad. However if we focus on the good we can then take the positive mindset to focus on changing the bad into the good.
I know that I am certainly far from perfect when it comes to following this article of faith in its entirety. I have fallen short of it many times. It is not in our failings however that we are measured in God’s eye but in our successes. God will look upon our hearts and actions and all he asks is that we work hard to live his gospel and seek continual improvement. This article of faith is about living the best and most righteous life we can. That is all God really expects of us. It is all we can expect of ourselves.
And that is the Gospel according to Andrew