In today’s world, it might appear that no one is really honest, virtuous or honorable anymore, said President Monson. Some seem to get ahead in life as a result of deceit, through false promises or by cheating others. They may think they can get away with anything.
“Being true to oneself is anything but easy if the moral standards of one’s associates conflict with his or her own,” he said. “The herd instinct is strong in the human animal, and the phrase ‘Everybody else is doing it’ has an insidious attraction. . . .
“Nothing takes more strength than swimming against the current. You, my friends, are strong and must at times decide to swim against that current.”
President Monson counseled the graduates to refuse to do or say anything that would damage their self-respect. What is the point of fame and glory, he asked, “if, in the end, we can’t look ourselves in the eye, knowing that we have been honest and true?” — “President Monson delivers Dixie Commencement Address,” Church News, May 14, 2011, p. 3
Ananias and Sapphira … “kept back” a portion instead of consecrating their all (see Acts 5:1–11). Some would never sell Jesus for thirty pieces, but they would not give Him their all either!
. . . We tend to think of consecration only in terms of property and money. But there are so many ways of keeping back part. One might be giving of money and time and yet hold back a significant portion of himself. One might share talents publicly yet privately retain a particular pride. One might hold back from kneeling before God’s throne and yet bow to a particular gallery of peers. One might accept a Church calling but have his heart more set on maintaining a certain role in the world. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Settle This in Your Hearts,” Ensign, November 1992, p. 66
George Albert Smith and his wife, Lucy, took seriously the divine mandate to “bring up [their] children in light and truth” (D&C 93:40). Their daughter Edith told of one occasion when her father took advantage of a teaching opportunity. She had taken the streetcar home from a piano lesson, and the conductor neglected to collect her fare. “Somehow he passed me by,” she recounted, “and I reached my destination still holding my nickel in my hand, and frankly quite elated that I had made the trip free.
“. . . I ran gleefully to Father to tell him about my good fortune. He listened to my story patiently. I was beginning to think I was a great success. . . .
“When I had finished my tale, Father said, ‘But, darling, even if the conductor doesn’t know about this, you know and I know and Heavenly Father knows. So, there are still three of us who must be satisfied in seeing that you pay in full for value received.’”
Edith returned to the street corner and paid her fare. She said later, “I am indeed thankful for a Father who was wise enough to kindly point out the error to me, because if it had been overlooked, I could have thought he approved.” (Teachings: George Albert Smith, 235) — Ted Barnes, “He Lived as He Taught,” Ensign, January 2012, p. 55
It should be the goal of every Latter-day Saint to become the kind of person of whom it can be said, “His word is his bond.” In all our words and deeds we should ask ourselves, “Is it right? Is it true?” not “Is it expedient, satisfactory, convenient, or profitable?” Just, “Is it right?” The wise will consider, “What is right?”; the greedy, “What will it pay?” — Elder Marvin J. Ashton, Ensign, May 1982, p. 11
President James Faust told of an examination at a medical school where the honor system was expected behavior. When the professor had passed out the examinations and left the room, students started to pull out cheat papers. A tall, lanky student in the rear stood up and declared, “I left my home town and put my wife and three little babies in an upstairs apartment and worked very hard to get into medical school. And I’ll turn in the first one of you who cheats, and you better believe it!
The cheat papers disappeared as fast as they had appeared, President Faust related. “The young, lanky medical student who challenged the cheaters was J Ballard Washburn, who became a respected physician and in later years received special recognition from the Utah Medical Association for his outstanding service as a medical doctor. He also served as a General Authority and is now the president of the Las Vegas Temple.”
Honesty is a principle and we have our moral agency to determine how we will apply this principle. We have the agency to make choices; but ultimately, we will be accountable for each choice we make. We may deceive others, but there is One we will never deceive. — President James E. Faust, Ensign, November 1996
Honesty = Truth telling
Integrity = Truth doing
— Mark McConkie, BYU Education Week, August 1997
President Hinckley emphasized the destructive power of dishonesty by telling how one man apologized for his wrongdoing by sending a check to reimburse the Hotel Utah for an ashtray he had taken in 1965. “I can imagine that during those 26 years, each time he tapped his cigarette on the rim of that ashtray he suffered a twinge of conscience. I do not know that the hotel ever missed the ashtray, but the man who took it missed his peace of mind for more than a quarter century, and finally ended up paying far more for the stolen tray than it was worth.” — Church News, January 31, 1998, pp. 3-4
The principle of honesty is a close relation to that of integrity. Our 13th Article of Faith begins with the statement “We believe in being honest.” We do not believe in honesty merely as a matter of policy. Honesty is a principle of salvation in the kingdom of God. — Elder L. Tom Perry, “Staying Power,” Ensign, July 2003, p. 43
People of integrity and honesty not only practice what they preach, they are what they preach. And the Savior stands as the finest example. — Elder David A. Bednar, “Be Honest,” New Era, October 2005, p. 7
Honesty is the basis of a true Christian life. For Latter-day Saints, honesty is an important requirement for entering the Lord’s holy temple. Honesty is embedded in the covenants that we make in the temple. Each Sunday as we partake of the holy emblems of the Savior’s flesh and blood, we again renew our basic and sacred covenants – which encompass honesty. As Latter-day Saints we have a sacred obligation to not only teach the principles of honesty, but also to live them. . . . Honesty should be among the most fundamental values that govern our everyday living.
When we are true to the sacred principles of honesty and integrity, we are true to our faith, and we are true to ourselves. — Elder Richard C. Edgley, Ensign, November 2006, p. 74
This is a question that my father taught me to carefully consider years ago. As I was growing up, my parents assigned me chores around the house and paid me an allowance for that work. I often used that money, a little over 50 cents a week, to go to the movies. Back then a movie ticket cost 25 cents for an 11-year-old. This left me with 25 cents to spend on candy bars, which cost 5 cents apiece. A movie with five candy bars! It couldn’t get much better than that.
All was well until I turned 12. Standing in line one afternoon, I realized that the ticket price for a 12-year-old was 35 cents, and that meant two less candy bars. Not quite prepared to make that sacrifice, I reasoned to myself, “You look the same as you did a week ago.” I then stepped up and asked for the 25-cent ticket. The cashier did not blink, and I bought my regular five candy bars instead of three.
Elated by my accomplishment, I later rushed home to tell my dad about my big coup. As I poured out the details, he said nothing. When I finished, he simply looked at me and said, “Son, would you sell your soul for a nickel?” His words pierced my 12-year-old heart. It is a lesson I have never forgotten. — Elder Robert C. Gay, “What Shall a Man Give in Exchange for His Soul?” Ensign, November 2012
I have tried to suppress dishonesty in individuals, and have tried thereby to make them honest. If I hire a carpenter and pay him three dollars a day, and he is three days in making a six-panel door that a good workman can make in one, or even a door and a half, I do not want to pay him three dollars a day for that labor. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 6:73
We have to humble ourselves and become like little children in our feelings – to become humble and childlike in spirit, in order to receive the first illuminations of the spirit of the Gospel, then we have the privilege of growing, of increasing in knowledge, in wisdom, and in understanding –– Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 3:192
We believe in being true. This is different than honesty. It means that we stand tall, look the world straight in the eye, and march forward. It means that we are true to the faith of our fathers. . . . I have mentioned before the experience of my youth when my brother and I would sleep outside during the summertime. We would lie down in the bed of a big farm wagon and gaze into the heavens. The whole sky seemed to move – all but the North Star, which remained in its permanent and predictable place.
It was a thing of stability in a world of shifting values. It became an expression of a desire to pattern one’s life after the Polar Star, this astronomical wonder, to be true and dependable – true to God, true to self, and true to fellowman. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “True to the Faith,” BYU Devotional, September 18, 2007
We need to learn, practice, study, know and understand how angels live with each other. When this community comes to the point to be perfectly honest and upright, you will never find a poor person; none will lack, all will have sufficient. Every man, woman, and child will have all they need just as soon as they all become honest. When the majority of the community are dishonest, it maketh the honest portion poor, for the dishonest serve and enrich themselves at their expense. — Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 232