I may choose to ignore anonymous comments. I consider this type of anonymity dishonest. Also, I don't post regularly. I post when I have something worth writing and something worth reading. I explain all this in: Don't Let Telling Tales Trip Up Your Truthfulness.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Mormons and Honesty: Part 4: Honesty and Others

Most people are too stupid to lie convincingly. There is always going to be some sort of inconsistency in any lie. Someone, somewhere is going to pick up on the inconsistency and detect the lie. Lying simply isn't worth it, on a moral or rational level.

Most deceit is small, often called "white lies" because they are seen as harmless. But lies are never harmless. If the truth has somehow been skewed then there will be consequences.

Some of Christ's strongest condemnations were directed at hypocrites. Hypocrisy is intentional deception. You obviously know what is right and you want to make people believe you do what is right even though you know you don't.

The first time I encountered hypocrisy was memorable. It was in Primary. We were supposed to find a non-Mormon schoolmate and bring them to Primary. I asked a friend to come with me. She consented.However, it turns out she was a member after all, just inactive. Quite distressed, I explained to the teacher, during class, that I'd found out on the way to Primary that my guest was Mormon. I told her, "Everybody I know is Mormon except the blacks and the Mexicans." She responded with, "Well, for Heaven's sake, leave them alone."

My explanation was no more politically correct than hers but at least I was a kid. I was silenced thinking, "But everyone is a Child of God, that includes the blacks and the Mexicans. We should value them equally, shouldn't we?" I was perplexed because her remark contradicted what I had been taught about the gospel. Later on in the class period she directed her remarks to me once more and said she was sorry for her remark and that everyone was equally a Child of God.

I didn't know what to make of her. I remember thinking to myself, "She's towing the party line now but I think her first comment was the honest one."

Overt hypocrisy is unmistakable. Society often rewards it because society values niceness more than honesty. This is a nice move on Satan's part. Elevating niceness over honesty sells much better than many of the alternatives.

My honesty has lost me dates, relationships and a myriad of other things. Instead of taking what I said at face value people seem to decide there is a hidden message. They assume my meaning from what their meaning would be if they said the same thing. I'll give you an example. I've told guys that I'm too tired to continue with a date and that I need to go home so I can sleep. They thought I was blowing them off. Instead, I was entirely truthful. Many times, I said something like, "Oh, can we postpone doing that when we would have more time to enjoy it?" I meant what I said. But, they assumed something else because honesty is so rare.

Going down the scale from hypocrisy is rationalization. And here is where most of us trip up. We try and rationalize our mistakes or behavior to others so they will think better of us. It is simply weakness on our part because people always think better of us when we admit mistakes rather than try and escape them.

Much of our deceit comes from trying to be funny. Stories are embellished and exaggerated to get more laughs. Have you ever tried to be honest and funny at the same time? It isn't easy. I don't change my stories but I sure get a lot of mileage out of them. If you move a lot, you've got a whole batch of new people to try them on.

A good chunk of what we are guilty of is unintentional deception. Verbal communication is imperfect. Non-verbal is even worse. People are going to interpret our miscues and misfires inappropriately. It says more about them than it does about us.

I assume people are honest unless I have reason to believe otherwise. Yes, it gets me into trouble. Once I detect a deception, I hone in on it and am extra vigilant with that person.

Why are we so unwilling to let others know we detect their deceit? There goes the "niceness" again. If you do let them know then the mask comes off and they are their true self. I prefer it. At least I know what I'm dealing with -- an enemy for life.

Let people know they are too stupid to lie convincingly. Nice.

Mormons and Honesty: Part 1: Introduction

Mormons and Honesty: Part 2: Honesty and the Church

Mormons and Honesty: Part 3: Honesty and Society

Mormons and Honesty: Part 4: Honesty and Others

Mormons and Honesty: Part 5: Honesty and Ourselves

Mormons and Honesty: Part 6: Conclusion

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