Saturday, May 7, 2011

Honesty (Gospel Principles Lesson 31)

I teach the 2nd second of every month in Relief Society, the Women's Organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (aka, Mormons). The following is an outline of what I will be teaching tomorrow. The subject is Honesty and the lesson can be found here. P.s., this is really isn't really meant to be read, more heard =)
Some may regard the quality of character known as honesty to be a most ordinary subject. But I believe it to be the very essence of the gospel. Without honesty, our lives and the fabric of our society will disintegrate into ugliness and chaos. –Gordon B. Hinckley

1. We all need to know what it means to be honest. Honesty is more than not lying. It is truth telling, truth speaking, truth living, and truth loving –James E. Faust
 A.  So, what is honesty? 
Elder F. Sheldon Tanner said: Honesty and integrity are not old-fashioned principles. They are just as viable in today’s world. We have been taught in the Church that:
                     When we say we will do something, we do it.
                          When we make a commitment, we honor it.
                              When we are given a calling, we fulfill it.
                                  When we borrow something, we return it.
                                     When we have a financial obligation, we pay it.
                                         When we enter into an agreement, we keep it.
  This is something that I am reminded of on a constant basis. My awesome hubby is not a member of the LDS church (or any church for that matter) and he frequently brings up the fact that the LDS people he knows follow these teachings and he is grateful to see someone practicing what they preach. I am grateful he notices =)

B. 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”                 -President Brigham Young
2. Forms of dishonesty: Lying, stealing and cheating. The manual goes over these, but I’d rather not focus on the ways we can be dishonest or the pain and discomfort it can bring us and others. 
               I’d rather focus on what it means to be honest and why it is so important. 
A. Honesty is a moral compass to guide us in our lives.
**At this point, I'd like to share a story I read by James E. Faust about a medical student who was about to take his first exam. The test was given on the honor system, no one would be in the room to make sure there was no cheating. As soon as the instructor had left the room and the medical students were to begin taking their test, this medical student noticed other students pulling out cheat sheets. He promptly stood in front of the room and stated he had left his hometown and put his wife and 3 babies in an apartment so he could be here and had worked very hard and that he would turn in the first person who cheated. They believed him and the cheat sheets went away. It's a great story, you can read it here. (The story starts about 1/3 of the way into the talk)

B. In reality, we are only in competition with ourselves. (That's a pretty great statement if you think about it!)  
            Others can challenge and motivate us, but we must reach down deep into our souls             and call forth our God-given intelligence and capabilities. We cannot do this when             we depend on the efforts of someone else.

C. 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. 
             Making the right choice, to be honest, is always the best choice....even if it’s hard.

**I have a personal story I am going to share here, about being honest and how it was really hard (and scary) for me to do so. 

**Here's another story (stories are a great way to teach!) about a boy who was participating in a gym class challenge. His goal was to beat the record of the fastest time to climb the rope. He had trained for years. He was so fast. It's a great story about a boy named Bobby and his honesty and how it affected others. This story can also be found here (the same talk I referenced above, about 2/3 of the way down).

D. Honesty is at the heart of at least four of the ten commandments—do not steal, do not commit adultery, do not lie, do not covet. Which would mean it’s pretty important right?
I love this: Honesty allows us to be unashamed before anyone. The honest are blessed with peace of mind and merit God’s love and care.

3. It is our responsibility to teach honesty to our children
       A. Many of our youth have either lost the knowledge of what is right and what is     wrong or were never taught these basic values. President Harold B. Lee’s classic statement that 
“the most important of the Lord’s work that you will ever do will be the work you do within the walls of your own home” 
is most certainly true today.

**2 more stories: One by James E. Faust and one by Joseph B. Wirthlin. Both can be found here (Titles of the stories:  "On My Honor" and "Two Inches Away")

I liked this quote about the rewards of being a person of honesty and integrity:
“The rewards of integrity are immeasurable. One is the indescribable inner peace that comes from knowing we are doing what is right; another is an absence of the guilt and anxiety that accompany sin. Another reward of integrity is the confidence it can give us in approaching God. … The consummate reward of integrity is the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. … Let us live true to the trust the Lord has placed in us.” -Joseph B. Wirthlin

In closing, President Gordon B. Hinckley summed it up best: 

I am confident the Lord will continue to bless us as we remain honest, faithful, and true to ourselves...We cannot be less than honest, we cannot be less than true, we cannot be less than virtuous if we are to keep sacred the trust given us.
Those who are living the principle of honesty know that the Lord does bless them. Theirs is the precious right to hold their heads in the sunlight of truth, unashamed before any man. On the other hand, if there be need for reformation in any member of this Church, let it begin where we now stand.
The Lord requires his people to be honest. May we desire with all our hearts to be honest in all our relationships and in all the things that we do. God will help us if we seek the strength that comes from him. Sweet then will be our peace of mind and our lives. Blessed will be those with whom we live and associate. And God will bless and guide us with his loving care.

Thanks for reading. I hope you learned something or were inspired by something or found something that you can use for a lesson you may be teaching =)
(Happy Mothers Day!!!!)


  1. pitterpatterchildrenMay 7, 2011 at 11:45 PM

    I teach the second sunday too. I am teaching on Tithing this week as we had one week of stake conference. The honesty lesson is amazing!

  2. Love it Em! You'll do great!

  3. Thank you for sharing this information. It has helped me in preparing to teach it.


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