DOING THE RIGHT THING MATTERS! "Teach more people more truth, and they will improve their own lives."
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Cheating and dishonesty harms you and harms others as well. If you lie, steal, shoplift, or cheat, you damage your spirit and your relationships with others. 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. Be honest at home; your word, your children and your marriage are most important and you do not want to deal with infidelity cheating! 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.
Am I honest in all my conversations and dealings?
In keeping my marriage covenants?
Be honest with yourself, others,
and God at all times.
Being honest means choosing not to lie,
steal, cheat, or deceive in any way.
I couldn’t remember the answer to one question on the quiz. It would be so easy to dart my eyes toward my classmate’s answer.
As I tapped my pen furiously on my chair, it occurred to me that it would take just a moment to turn my head, give my hair a flip, and dart my eyes toward my classmate’s answer. “I could do this just once,” I thought, “and I’ll ace the quiz. Just once won’t hurt. Besides, it’s so unfair for me. I study hard, yet I get lower grades than my classmates because I don’t cheat!” Still, I felt uncomfortable. I fidgeted in my chair, trying to make a choice: to cheat or not to cheat.
Then a voice inside me said, “No! Cheating is wrong, and you know it!” Suddenly I realized that even if I got a perfect score on the quiz, I wouldn’t feel good about my score if I cheated. I must make the right choice—this choice was the real test.
DID YOU CHEAT?
I remember when two guys in front of me at school were quietly comparing answers to the test we were taking when one of them turned to me and asked, “What did you get for number six?” I quietly told them.
My friend then asked me, Did you cheat?
My heart sank to the very bottom of my shoes. The words didn’t register at first, with my head pounding so hard. “What was that?” I stammered, all the while looking for an explanation.
“I said, did you cheat, Robbie?” The question came from one of my best friends, Darla. We’d grown up together and were now in our junior year of high school. Over the years we’d always talked about everything, but at this moment she was the last person in the world I wanted to talk to.
There I was, Darla in front of me, her question aimed right at my heart. What could I tell her? I had cheated on a lousy exam just to please my friends. I could see the look on her face, as if she didn’t want to believe the possible answer. I respected Darla more than almost anyone. She was a good friend and had strong values. She knew I was a member of my Church and respected that. We agreed on a lot of issues and found strength in each other’s desire to do good. Usually.
“Yeah,” was all I could say, lamely.
“Oh, Robbie,” was all she said as she turned back to her work.
I can’t describe how much the disappointment in her voice and on her face hurt me. I had compromised my standards just to fit in with a couple of guys and ended up disappointing someone I really admired. Guilt washed over me. I kept thinking I had hurt the image of the Church in her eyes. I apologized to her for what I’d done and talked to the teacher afterwards. She wasn’t pleased either, but we worked things out.
I’ll never forget that day. I now know it isn’t worth compromising your values just to please other people. Since then I’ve tried to be honest and am much happier with myself. Thankfully, I can say I haven’t repeated that mistake again. I’ve felt the difference in doing what’s popular and in doing what’s right, and I know what makes me happy.
“The Lord … wants you to train your minds and hands to become an influence for good as you go forward with your lives. And as you do so and as you perform honorably and with excellence, you will bring honor to the Church, for you will be regarded as a man or woman of integrity and ability and conscientious workmanship. Be smart. Don’t be foolish. You cannot bluff or cheat others without bluffing or cheating yourselves.” PresidentGordon B. Hinckley
God is honest and just in all things (see Alma 7:20). We too must be honest in all things to become like Him. The brother of Jared testified, “Yea, Lord, I know that thou … art a God of truth, and canst not lie” (Ether 3:12). In contrast, the devil is a liar. In fact, he is the father of lies (2 Nephi 9:9). “Those who choose to cheat and lie and deceive and misrepresent become his slaves”. Honest people love truth and justice. They are honest in their words and actions. They do not lie, steal, or cheat.
INFIDELITY – To Lie Is Dishonest
What happens to people who are married,
but break it by adultery, with its
heart-wrenching agony and divorce?
The problem doesn’t occur in a simple process of leaping from the marriage altar to the divorce court. Instead, infidelity is a subtle process. It does not begin with adultery; it begins with thoughts and attitudes. Each step to adultery is short, and each is easily taken; but once the process starts, it is difficult to stop.
Professional counselors have learned to recognize many of the “warning signs” of infidelity—signs that every husband and wife should be aware of and should avoid.
One man, whom we’ll call Willard, came for counsel because he was frightened of his own feelings, which were inclining to an interest in other women. He and Wilma seemed to have a “good” marriage, but he had gradually become bored with it. It lacked excitement; their personal relationship was unsatisfying, their conversations were guarded and sterile, and Wilma didn’t seem to be interested in him anymore. What particularly frightened him was the realization that he flirted with women at his office and even playfully kissed one once. This forced him to realize imminent danger to his vows.
Willard was suffering from three myths that often plague modern marriage.
The first mythsays, “The marriage will take care of itself.” But it won’t. Marriage is a dynamic interaction between two growing, changing people, and it requires constant focus on the quality of that interaction if the marriage is to be close and meaningful. A marriage does not automatically guarantee a pleasant one.
The second myth says, “If the marriage is not successful, I should start over.” But success is not an instant achievement. By definition, marriage is a process, not a stage. Consequently, it will be more successful at some points than at others. Many people want or expect instant success in all dimensions of marriage; if any aspect seems less than perfect, one despairs and thinks, “I married the wrong person.” This attitude frequently turns one’s attention toward someone other than his marriage partner.
The third myth says, “Loving my spouse does not preclude the possibility of becoming involved with anyone else.” The task for every married person is to maintain loyalty and fidelity with one person: the spouse. It is inappropriate to feel and express to others the same love feelings one expresses to a spouse.
Many situations in work, in society, and in church assignments bring men and women together. Each of these occasions is also a time when emotional involvement with other people may ensue. Both men and women must be very clear about their marital commitments and must be committed to the process of maintaining fidelity within marriage.
Fidelity, like infidelity, is a process. Fidelity, the positive quality, is measured by the degree of loyalty, allegiance, and commitment between husband and wife. Infidelity, the negative quality, results from insufficient feelings of loyalty and allegiance. Any action that fosters inappropriate relationships with another person erodes fidelity.
Two souls, united in matrimony, can achieve spiritual and temporal unity only if they constantly increase their friendship, love, and loyalty by expressing their feelings verbally, by maintaining mutual respect, and by demonstrating concern for each other.
The commandment to our generation is: “Thou shalt not … commit adultery, nor kill, nor do anything like unto it.” (D&C 29:6.) “For the naturalman is an enemy to God”Mosiah 3:19
Infidelity and fidelity are mutually exclusive processes. As fidelity, loyalty, trust, and sharing increase, there is little room for infidelity to grow. The main dimension of the fidelity process is personal commitment—commitment to your spouse, to marriage as an institution and as a personal relationship, to gospel ideals and standards, and to an eternity of dynamic development together.
“All things need watching, working at, caring for, and marriage is no exception. Marriage is not something to be indifferently treated or abused, or something that simply takes care of itself. Nothing neglected will remain as it was or is, or will fail to deteriorate. All things need attention, care and concern, and especially so in this most sensitive of all relationships of life.” Richard L. Evans
Fidelity in Marriage: It’s More Than You Think
Fidelity includes refraining from physical contact—but that is not all. Fidelity also means complete commitment, trust, and respect between husband and wife. Inappropriate interactions with another person can erode fidelity.
“What does it mean to love someone with all your heart? It means to love with all your emotional feelings and with all your devotion.” President Ezra Taft Benson
We should be careful not to allow relationships even to begin to develop inappropriately. As Paul warned, “Abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22).
Not only our actions relative to other people, but also our thoughts must be guarded “as our thoughts and words must be pure because we shall be judged for our thoughts as well as our actions, good or ill” (see Alma 12:12–15; see also 2 Nephi 9:39; Mosiah 4:30; D&C 88:109).
As we consider the sacred nature of being spiritually faithful to our spouses, we should remember the Savior’s counsel: “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matthew 5:27–28).
We should be careful not to allow relationships even to begin to develop inappropriately. As Paul warned, “Abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22).
Cheating via Pornography
Dealing with a spouse’s pornography addiction can be an emotional roller coaster for the injured partner. Often this partner’s needs go unmet as efforts are focused on the person with the problem. Church leaders and counselors may overlook the pain and suffering of the wife* as they attempt to help the husband control and overcome his problem. Wives are left with a variety of emotions and feelings to deal with. They may experience feelings of hurt, betrayal, anger, fear, guilt, shame, abandonment, and so forth.
Research indicates better success rates when spouses work together in overcoming pornography addiction. In order for wives to be supportive and helpful in the recovery process, they may need help and support in managing their own feelings. For many women, their spouse’s use of pornography is a form of infidelity, leaving serious emotional and spiritual wounds.
Beware, women are now just as vulnerable as men when it comes to pornography!
Seeking professional help should be considered if any of the above-mentioned issues are interfering with one’s ability to function or fulfill daily responsibilities. If feelings of depression, worthlessness, aggression, or hostility are persistent, seek help.
“He who cheats others is a knave,
but he who cheats himself is a fool.”
“I have been taught that there is one person in the world you never want to fool, and that is yourself, because that is plain stupidity.”
In the next decade, millions of young people will drop out of school and shortly thereafter will be seeking jobs—millions of unprepared young people competing for new jobs. Their pay will be less, their working conditions poorer, and their competition more overwhelming than for those youth who persist in making themselves ready for responsible employment. A good education is said to be an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity. To secure neither the ornament nor the refuge is a shortsighted approach to life.
“For of all sad words of tongue or pen, The saddest are these: ‘It might have been!’”
How often I have talked to men who have spent many years of their early lives in wanton waste of energy, time, and effort, and who have, in later years, found themselves. Always they have this lament: “What a fool I have been! Why couldn’t I have seen the joys of service long before I did? Oh, the many years I have wasted. I have cheated myself.”
There are many other ways we can cheat ourselves too. We may get angry with our parents, or a teacher and dwarf ourselves into nameless anonymity as we shrivel and shrink under the venom and poison of bitterness and hatred. While the hated one goes on about his business, little realizing the suffering of the hater, the latter cheats himself.
Proverbs 10:18 tells us: “He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool.” [Prov. 10:18]
And there are those who try to free themselves from moral obligations by claiming that they are atheists. The current generation has no monopoly on this self-deception. Thousands of years ago the psalmist observed that “God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God.” He then wrote that they had “altogether become filthy,” that there was “none that doeth good, no, not one.” And his profound chastisement at that time was this: “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.” (See Ps. 53:1–3.)
There have been so many people who have come to me and expressed their remorse for having cheated themselves. There was a young man who had postponed marriage for many reasons: to devote himself unhindered to advanced education, to accumulate material goods, and other reasons. After he finally married, he said, “My life is now so beautiful. Why did I waste so many years without these blessings? I have traded dollars for pennies.”
There was a young woman who had had a child while unwed. She had traded the child for care, hospital fees, and anonymity. Years passed, and she tried to recover her child but without success. Finally she married, and after a year or two with no children, her fears were confirmed by her doctor, and she came to weep. She would remain childless. Oh, how cheaply she had sold her one chance for motherhood.
There have been those who have finally found great joy in the gospel after having resisted it for years. Invariably they have said, “All these years we’ve spurned the missionaries. Why didn’t we listen sooner? We could have had many years more of the happiness we now enjoy.”
How can one justify cheating himself? To postpone life for lesser values is to deny opportunity. To marry by civil ceremony when eternal covenants could be made is to take unreasonable chances with the future. To terminate activity in the Church just to spite leaders or to give vent to wounded feelings is to cheat ourselves. And Dr. Maeser said, “He who cheats himself is a fool.”
How can we receive of this grace and love from the Lord? The scriptures hold the remedy for man’s foolishness. The prophets are our guide to wisdom. The Master is our great example and the source of all true counsel. In Luke we read:
“… O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:
“Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?
“And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” (Luke 24:25–27.)
Cheating In Chastity
The Lord has spoken clearly, strongly, and repeatedly on this subject. Through his prophets he has indicated that premarital sexual relations “are an abomination in the sight of the Lord” (Alma 39:5), but that those who remain virtuous and keep the other commandments shall have their “confidence wax strong in the presence of God.” (D&C 121:45.)
The Lord gives us commandments because he knows what will bring us happiness, peace, joy, and fulfillment. President Spencer W. Kimball reminds us that he is not “an angry, cruel God who brings vengeance on people for not complying with His laws. … He organized a plan which was natural—a cause-and-effect program. It is inconceivable that God would desire to punish or to see His children in suffering. … But however he tries, a man cannot escape the consequences of sin. They follow as the night follows the day. Sometimes the penalties are delayed in coming, but they are sure as life itself.” (The Miracle of Forgiveness, pp. 140–41.) God has not detailed all the psychological and sociological reasons why we should be sexually abstinent until marriage. We know from history and experience, however, that fornication and adultery are spiritually harmful and that if the practice is widespread it is detrimental to nations and societies.
As I approach this question from a background of counseling and social psychology, I can assure all young people that my professional experiences continue to confirm the wisdom of premarital chastity.
Serious effects upon our personalities
First, the sexual experience is not a simple satisfaction of a physical need, like eating or drinking. Freud recognized that it has a very complex relationship with our entire personality. (New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis.) The prophets teach us that it is a beautiful means our Father in heaven has established to provide bodies for spirits. If used aright, procreation can elevate and sanctify: if abused, it will violate and degrade. Our use of this special power, and the processes associated with it, will have a great effect upon our self-concepts and upon our perception of ourselves as men or women.
It is generally accepted that those feelings of masculinity or
femininity have great impact upon our personality. In the most intimate of all relationships, our self-doubts, our fears, and our feelings of adequacy are all affected. Intimacies outside the covenants of marriage affect our self-image, which significantly affects our marital relationships.
Some of our current movies, magazines, and music further compound the problem by conditioning us to focus more upon our own sensual pleasure and less upon human feelings.
Those who indulge in immorality lose some of their capacity to relate to others on more intimate spiritual and emotional levels. President Kimball once explained: “When the unmarried yield to the lust that induces intimacies and indulgence, they have permitted the body to dominate and have placed the spirit in chains. It is unthinkable that anyone could call this love.” (Spencer W. Kimball, Faith Precedes the Miracle, p. 154.) From my experience in counseling, I have learned that what President Kimball has said is true. When a couple engage in premarital intimacies they act out of selfish interests (though they may neither recognize nor admit it), and when we act out of purely selfish interest, we begin to use people as things. The more we use people as things, the more we undermine our capacity to relate to others.
Because of the Vietnam War, we were bombarded for years with vivid television scenes of people being mutilated, tortured, and killed. At first, I was shocked and sickened, but it has become frighteningly clear to me that as time went by I was able to view the human carnage more and more with a dispassionate attitude. From this experience, I know that people can become accustomed, and then apathetic to things that should cause great concern. People have tolerated and then accepted as “just part of life” that which should offend their most basic human feelings. Some of our most violent motion pictures and TV shows have become the greatest moneymakers. Until now, I never understood how the Romans could come to enjoy seeing people fed to the lions.
Likewise, as we are bombarded with sensual, carnal stimuli that in years past embarrassed us, it becomes easier to ignore it or perhaps even accept it. In movies it has become so common that many persons can very dispassionately see immorality on the screen. Norman Cousins warned, “The danger is not that the exploitation of sex may create sex fiends, but that it may spawn eunuchs. … People who insist on seeing everything and doing anything run the risk of feeling nothing. … Our highest responses are being blunted without our knowing it.” (“See Everything, Do Everything, Feel Nothing.” Saturday Review, January 23, 1971, p. 31.)
I fear that, whether we realize it or not, if we engage in premarital sexual conduct we are using the other person as an object or defining him or her in terms of bodily functions or in terms of our own selfish needs instead of by his or her eternal value. This not only destroys meaningful, fulfilling relationships with them, but it also cuts us off from the most important relationship of all—that with our Father in heaven. When we disobey commandments, we sin against our relationship with our Father in heaven. We sin against people and our relationships with them. We sin against our own true nature as sons and daughters of Deity.
I urge you sons and daughters of God, who are in the image of your creator, to put your minds in the image of his, and to discipline and mold your spirits after the pattern of the Only Begotten. If you will do so, the Lord has promised that joys will follow eternally, and you need never fear of having cheated yourself of what might have been.
President Spencer W. Kimball
There are several other ways of cheating such as sports, gambling, Politics, not paying your taxes and you bills or even the Lord with His tithes. If you think you are getting away with it, you are only kidding yourself. Someone is always watching! Just remember when you make choices, to always ‘choose the Hard Right instead of the Easy Left’ and you will always be happy and successful!
“Do unto others . . . as you would have them do unto you.”
When the Savior spoke of weightier matters he referred to personal relationships between people. It is significant that he made those relationships a vital part of his gospel. It is indeed remarkable that the nature of our dealings with our fellowmen will determine, in large measure, our status in the kingdom of heaven.
We may attend to rites and rituals and yet overlook the weightier matters such as brotherly kindness, honesty, mercy, virtue, and integrity. Let us never forget that if we omit them from our lives we may be found unworthy to come into His presence.
Think for a moment of the second great commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves. (Matt. 22:38, 39.) How many observe it? Keep in mind that the Lord said it is of like importance to the first great commandment, which is to love God with all our heart and soul.
Consider, too, his commandment to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. How many live that law?
So what are we to do? We are to “seek … first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.” (3 Ne. 13:33.)
It is better to be honest than get a good score on a test.
Life is a test.
If you are not honest in this life, when you get to the day of judgement, do you think you will get a good score?
You can fix it.
“We believe in being honest.”
In giving the Ten Commandments, the Lord declared: “Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness.” To be honest means to be sincere, truthful, and without deceit at all times.
When we are honest in every way, we are able to enjoy peace of mind and maintain self-respect. We build strength of character, which allows us to be of service to God and others. We are trustworthy in the eyes of God and those around us.
On the other hand, if we are dishonest in our words or actions, we hurt ourselves and often hurt others as well. If we lie, steal, cheat, or neglect to give the full amount of work for our pay, we lose our self-respect. We lose the guidance of the Holy Ghost. We may find that we have damaged relationships with family members and friends and that people no longer trust us.
Being honest often requires courage and sacrifice, especially when others try to persuade us to justify dishonest behavior. If we find ourselves in such a situation, we can remember that the lasting peace that comes from being honest is more valuable than the momentary relief of following the crowd.
What would society be like if everyone were perfectly honest?
“We believe in being honest.”
The scriptures tell us about a group of people who were “distinguished for their zeal towards God, and also towards men; for they were perfectly honest and upright in all things; and they were firm in the faith of Christ, even unto the end” (Alma 27:27). Because of their honesty, these people were noted by their fellowmen and by God. It is important to learn what honesty is, how we are tempted to be dishonest, and how we can overcome this temptation.
Complete honesty is necessary for our salvation. “If we accept salvation on the terms it is offered to us, we have got to be honest in every thought, in our reflections, in our meditations, in our private circles, in our deals, in our declarations, and in every act of our lives”. (B Young)
God is honest and just in all things (see Alma 7:20). We too must be honest in all things to become like Him. The brother of Jared testified, “Yea, Lord, I know that thou … art a God of truth, and canst not lie” (Ether 3:12). In contrast, the devil is a liar. In fact, he is the father of lies (see 2 Nephi 9:9). “Those who choose to cheat and lie and deceive and misrepresent become his slaves” (Mark E. Petersen).
Honest people love truth and justice. They are honest in their words and actions. They do not lie, steal, or cheat.
To Lie Is Dishonest
We are going to discuss three forms of dishonesty: lying, stealing, and cheating.
Lying is intentionally deceiving others. Bearing false witness is one form of lying. The Lord gave this commandment to the children of Israel: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour” (Exodus 20:16). Jesus also taught this when He was on earth (see Matthew 19:18). There are many other forms of lying. When we speak untruths, we are guilty of lying. We can also intentionally deceive others by a gesture or a look, by silence, or by telling only part of the truth. Whenever we lead people in any way to believe something that is not true, we are not being honest.
The Lord is not pleased with such dishonesty, and we will have to account for our lies. Satan would have us believe it is all right to lie. He says, “Yea, lie a little; … there is no harm in this” (2 Nephi 28:8). Satan encourages us to justify our lies to ourselves. Honest people will recognize Satan’s temptations and will speak the whole truth, even if it seems to be to their disadvantage.
To Steal Is Dishonest
Jesus taught, “Thou shalt not steal” (Matthew 19:18). Stealing is taking something that does not belong to us. When we take what belongs to someone else or to a store or to the community without permission, we are stealing. Taking merchandise or supplies from an employer is stealing. Copying music, movies, pictures, or written text without the permission of the copyright owners is dishonest and is a form of theft. Accepting more change or goods than one should is dishonest. Taking more than our share of anything is stealing.
To Cheat Is Dishonest
We cheat when we give less than we owe, or when we get something we do not deserve. Some employees cheat their employers by not working their full time; yet they accept full pay. Some employers are not fair to their employees; they pay them less than they should. Satan says, “Take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor” (2 Nephi 28:8). Taking unfair advantage is a form of dishonesty. Providing inferior service or merchandise is cheating.
We Must Not Excuse Our Dishonesty
What happens to us spiritually when we excuse our dishonesty?
People use many excuses for being dishonest. People lie to protect themselves and to have others think well of them. Some excuse themselves for stealing, thinking they deserve what they took, intend to return it, or need it more than the owner. Some cheat to get better grades in school or because “everyone else does it” or to get even.
These excuses and many more are given as reasons for dishonesty. To the Lord, there are no acceptable reasons. When we excuse ourselves, we cheat ourselves and the Spirit of God ceases to be with us. We become more and more unrighteous.
We Can Be Completely Honest
What does it mean to be completely honest?
To become completely honest, we must look carefully at our lives. If there are ways in which we are being even the least bit dishonest, we should repent of them immediately.
When we are completely honest, we cannot be corrupted. We are true to every trust, duty, agreement, or covenant, even if it costs us money, friends, or our lives. Then we can face the Lord, ourselves, and others without shame. President Joseph F. Smith counseled, “Let every man’s life be so that his character will bear the closest inspection, and that it may be seen as an open book, so that he will have nothing to shrink from or be ashamed of”.
In what ways does our honesty or dishonesty affect how we feel about ourselves?
I just saw Courageous tonight with my wife. We have eight sons and want them all to take their wives and kids to see this movie. Men need to be Men! Have the Guts to be their creation! Everywhere in every nation be a family!!! I applaude Pastor Alex Kendrick and the Sherwood Baptist Church for the Courageous venture of their money that is touching many lives for good! God lives and so do father and son relationships if they keep God and Morals in their lives. I give this movie a major thumbs up and encourage all young fathers and mothers to go and see this!!! Alan Osmond