Sunday, October 16, 2011

My talk on Honesty.

Good afternoon, brothers and sisters.  My name is Symone Stout, for those of you that don’t know me.  Today I will be talking about something that most of us have been taught since we were little… the principle of honesty.

“Honesty is the best policy.”  We have all heard that saying, right?  But what exactly is honesty?  According to the dictionary, it is “the quality or fact of being honest; uprightness and fairness; truthfulness, sincerity, or frankness; freedom from deceit or fraud.”  President James E. Faust also added to this, saying, “Honesty is more than not lying. It is truth telling, truth speaking, truth living, and truth loving.”  Honesty is an important aspect of life.  Not only do we have to be honest with those who we associate with, including family, friends, ward members, and anyone else you may come in contact with during your life, but we have to be honest with ourselves and with the Lord.  Every action, every choice made is known by yourself and the Lord.  Whether you are honest about what occurred or not, you will know exactly what happened.

In the society that we live in today, it is easier to lie, to deceive, and to justify various actions.  Elder Marcos A. AIDUKAITIS said, “Scriptural teachings on honesty are clear, but unfortunately the world seems to be much more flexible. The world even classifies people according to different levels of honesty. Sometimes we hear of people who are ‘very’ honest, ‘mostly’ honest, or even ‘a little’ honest.” (Honesty in the Small Things)

 When it comes to being dishonest, it is easier to lie about little things than the big things.  Kinda like when you were late to a meeting… or late to anything, for that matter.  Why you don’t have an assignment.  Why you don’t want to go on a date.  Why you don’t want to see a friend.  I know that I have been dishonest in one, if not most, of the things mentioned.

While you may not think that you have been dishonest, chances are that, at one point, you weren’t being completely honest with yourself or those around you.  President Brigham Young said, “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.”
If it is so easy to lie, cheat, deceive, or justify now-a-days, then why should we be honest?  What is so important about being honest? 

In True to the Faith it says, “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.”  Howard W. Hunter, before he was President, stated, “We often speak of that scriptural reference, ‘Man is that he might have joy.’ There is a joy that comes to one from being honest. Let me tell you how. By this means you can have the companionship of the Master and you can have the Spirit of the Holy Ghost. Violations of the code of honesty will deprive you of these two great blessings. Could you believe that one who would lie or cheat or violate the Word of Wisdom could have the companionship of the Master or have the Spirit of the Holy Ghost?”

That is why it is so important to be honest.  Being honest leads us to happiness, allows us to keep the companionship of the Holy Ghost, and have the Lord’s guidance with us at all times.  By being honest, we will be open to blessings and better willing to do the work of the Lord.  Being honest allows us and lets us feel good about ourselves and our life.  Being honest with those around us leads us to have better relationships.  The Lord wants us to be happy while going through this life. 

Doctrine and Covenants section 97 verse 8 says, “Verily I say unto you, all among them who know their hearts are honest, and are broken, and their spirits contrite, and are willing to observe their covenants by sacrifice—yea, every sacrifice which I, the Lord, shall command—they are accepted of me.”

Now, if I can be completely honest (given my topic), there have been times where I made mistakes.  And, instead of fixing them right away or telling the truth about it, I found a round-about way to deal with them.  I chose to not talk about them, or to not tell the whole truth when I needed to.  Instead of making things better, it actually ended up making things worse.  I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t fun, and I wasn’t willing to listen to others because I really felt like I knew what I was talking about.  When I chose to be honest, when I chose to tell the truth, everything included, I felt relieved.  I felt better.  I felt like I could be happy again, and that I could live a life full of happiness.  I just needed to be honest with myself, with the Lord, and with those around me.

Brother and sisters, I know that, in this world, it is easier to lie.  It is easier to be dishonest, especially when bad decisions and mistakes are made.  It is easier.  But, being honest in all your doings, and with all those around you will not only lead to happiness here on Earth, but eternal happiness in the next life.  I can testify to the truth of this.  The Lord wouldn’t ask us to be honest is all our doings if He didn’t provide a way and if it wasn’t important to Him.

Elder Richard J. Maynes said, “Remember, the Lord expects us as members of His Church not only to appear to be good but also to actually be good.”

Please start today to be more honest, if you feel like you aren’t.  Allow the Spirit to guide and direct you.  Heavenly Father won’t lead you astray.  He wants you to be happy, and wants you to feel like you can have good relationships.  All you need to do is start being honest.

I know that this Church is true, and that the Lord is watching over us.  I know that the scriptures are true, and that they hold guidance to help us get through our everyday life.  I know that the Spirit is there to help us and guide us.  I know that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet, and that he is leading us in the way the Lord desires us to be led.  I know that we can be happy while on Earth and that we can do right, even when it seems easier to do wrong.  Of this I testify in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.

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