Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Truth Brings Freedom

                    The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is the simple fact that the truth will make you free.  An oft-quoted scripture states:  "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32).  Jesus Christ was talking about His gospel when He made this statement; He taught that the truths of His gospel will make all mankind free from the sins of this world.  Christ's statement that truth shall make us free is also true regarding honesty.  When we are honest and make telling the truth a way of life, we are free.  We don't have to worry about when or where the truth will come out - and the truth always comes out sooner or later.

                    "Truth is tough.  It will not break, like a bubble, at a touch, nay, you may kick it all about all day like a football, and it will be round and full at evening" (Oliver Wendell Holmes, The Professor at the Breakfast Table).

                    "Truth, like gold, is to be obtained not by its growth, but by washing away from it all that is not gold" (Leo Tolstoy).

                    Most of us have at one time or another told a lie.  Besides being dishonest, telling a lie is just plain dumb.  In the first place, in order for the lie to never be discovered, we have to remember the lie we told and possibly repeat it.  The truth is easy to remember, but a lie is difficult to keep straight in our minds.  Secondly, quite often we have to tell another lie to cover up the first lie, and then maybe a third lie to cover up the second lie, etc.  I learned at a very young age that telling lies was harder than facing up to the truth.  It seems that this experience must be repeated in generation after generation.

                    My sweet, precious five-year-old granddaughter made a mistake on her first day of school.  She decided to change seats on the school bus while the bus was still moving.  The bus driver corrected her, and the little girl got off the bus in tears.  Thinking that her mother would also be upset with her, she decided to lie when her mother started asking questions about why she was so upset.  She answered every question with a lie and soon was telling lies to cover up lies that were told to cover up other lies.  Well, her mother became very concerned about the safety of her daughter at school and sent a note to the teacher asking for more information about the situation.  The teacher sent a note home saying that she knew nothing about the alleged incident.  The mother asked the little girl more questions, and finally the truth came out.  In the end, the little girl had to apologize to the teacher, a very embarrassing situation.  She thought she could get away with the lie without anyone at school knowing of it, but it would have been much easier and smarter to be honest with her mother!

 My little granddaughter is far from alone in thinking that lies will make things easier.  We live in a world today where lies are more common than honesty.  Mainstream media lies to the public either directly or indirectly by not reporting true happenings.  Politicians lie to cover up their own greed and crimes or to convince the people to do something that they would not ordinarily do.  Even Presidents lie under oath!  Witnesses swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, but they often lie and send innocent people to prison and possibly to their deaths.

                    Truth!  What is truth?  Why is it so important?  Truth is a fact, a state of being.  Truth doesn't change for convenience or time.  Facts are facts.  Truth remains the truth.  Truth is knowledge of things as they were, as they are, and as they are to come.  We need to know what is true in order to avoid confusion and dangers.  Truth is important in order for us to know who we can trust.  

                    A hymn entitled "Oh Say, What Is Truth?" beautifully describes what truth is and why it is important to speak the truth and to stand for the truth.  The following words were written by John Jaques (1827-1900) with appropriate music by Ellen Knowles Melling (1820-1905) (Hymns, 272).

"Oh Say, what is truth?
'Tis the fairest gem
That the riches of worlds can produce,
And priceless the value of truth will be when
The proud monarch's costliest diadem
Is counted but dross and refuse.

"Yes, say, what is truth? 
'Tis the brightest prize
To which mortals or Gods can aspire.
Go search in the depths where it glittering lies,
Or ascend in pursuit to the loftiest skies:
'Tis an aim for the noblest desire.

"The scepter may fall from the despot's grasp
When with winds of stern justice he copes.
But the pillar of truth will endure to the last,
And its firm-rooted bull-works outstand the rude blast
And the wreck of the fell tyrant's hopes.

"Then say, what is truth? 
'Tis the last and the first,
For the limits of time it steps o'er.
Tho the heavens depart and the earth's fountains burst,
Truth, the sum of existence, will weather the worst,
Eternal, unchanged, ever-more."

Determine to always tell the truth for it is a compliment to be known as someone who is honest and trustworthy.  The truth will make you free. 

My youngest daughter saw some students bothering another person's belongings at school.  When the mischief was discovered, the responsible students lied.  The teacher didn't know how to handle the situation until she discussed the problem with another teacher.  The other teacher said, "Ask [my daughter].  She will tell you the truth."  My daughter was asked, she told the truth, and the responsible students had to suffer the consequences for their behavior.  I was happy to know that my daughter was known for being honest.

                    How can we know the truth when we don't know who or what we can trust?  We can always turn to God because He is a God of truth.  The Book of Mormon - Another Witness of Christ carries within it a promise of how to know the truthfulness about the book.

                    "And when ye shall receive these things [meaning you have listened, read, studied, and pondered about the Book of Mormon], I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
                    "And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things" (Moroni 10:4-5; italics added).

                    When there is no one else that we can trust to help us find out what is true, we can ask God, and He will give us an answer through the power of the Holy Ghost.  He wants us to study out the problem, decide what we believe is the truth, and then ask Him to confirm our belief.  If our belief is true, we will feel that it is right.  If our belief is wrong, we will feel it is wrong.

                    It may not always be easy to be honest, but it will in the long run be easier than trying to lie.  The truth will make us free when we are honest, truthful, and trustworthy.

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