Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when the rising generation is taught that honesty is the best policy. The importance of honesty is shown by the fact that God included two commandments about honesty when He gave Moses the Ten Commandments. God commanded honesty when He stated, “Thou shalt not steal” and “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor” (Exodus 20:15-16). The fact is, some sort of dishonesty is included in the breaking of many commandments; one such example is “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” which forbids cheating on a spouse. Honesty involves integrity, truthfulness, and sincerity, and it is related to honor and honorable.
Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stated: “Honesty is the quality or condition of being truthful, sincere, candid, and worthy of honor. The word honesty is related to other words with the same root such as honor and honorable. These expressions share the notion of being genuine, trustworthy, upright, respectable, and decent.”
Elder Bednar then quoted President James E. Faust, second counselor in the First Presidency, who stated: “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.”
Honesty – or the lack thereof – is front and center in our nation at the present time. The current President of the United States is a habitual liar; in fact, his lies go back many years. Snopes.com lists fifty lies told by Barack Obama – and that was in 2008! He has lied so many times since then that even the media is beginning to acknowledge that he lies! Obama has lied so many times that no one can tell if and when he is being honest; therefore, no one believes anything he says and no one can trust him.
When the word of the President of the United States cannot be trusted by citizens, allies, or enemies, it puts our nation at risk. It is much like the young boy who shouted “wolf” too many times. When he first cried “wolf” all the villagers came to help him protect the sheep; when the wolf really came, the villagers did not believe him. Americans need to be able to believe their President, and allies and enemies alike need to know that he means what he says!
In addition to breaking a commandment, people who lie destroy trust in everyone around them. The first lie makes people stop and wonder; succeeding lies cause disbelief. Eventually, people do not believe anything a liar says because they cannot tell the lies from the truths.
My youngest daughter had an experience where she learned the importance of being honest. When she was in middle school, she witnessed some students getting into some packages belonging to another student. When they were confronted about the situation, they lied. The teacher mentioned the problem to another teacher, who suggested that the first teacher ask my daughter. She said, “She will tell you the truth.” My daughter was questioned about what she had seen and gave honest answers; the teacher was able to clear up the matter, and my daughter learned the value of being known as an honest person.
There is so much dishonesty in the world today that the rising generation will automatically accept it as normal IF they are not taught the importance of honesty. When children and youth understand that honesty is the best policy they mature into honest adults, and families, communities, and nations are strengthened.