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, October 2, 2011

Mormons and Honesty: Part 5: Honesty and Ourselves

We know Satan tries to get us to lie to others. It makes sense that he also tries to get us to lie to ourselves as well. It don't think this point gets enough attention.

When I've heard people express lies, I've often observed them closely. It is evident to me that sometimes they believe their own lies. How is this possible? How does this happen? I can only guess.

Self-deception often takes the shape of rationalization. Somehow we have reasoned things out to the point where we convince ourselves that we haven't done anything wrong.

I had a friend who worked as a prosecutor. He was telling me about a child molester he was prosecuting who had been operating unhindered for over thirty years. They found dozens, perhaps hundreds of pictures, videos, materials etc. in his home. They were able to locate about 100 victims, over 30 of which were willing to testify against him.

I had two questions for my friend: After all this time how did he get caught and second, how did he justify his behavior? To the first question, my friend told me that finally a little boy reported him to his parents because they had taught him that no one should touch certain parts of his body, even if they were a grown up.

To the second question, he told me the man said, concerning all his victims, "I was just sharing my love with them!"

Molestation, abuse, damage, exploitation and everything else was just sharing his love with them? Surely this man could lie to himself quite well.

I once heard a woman justify abortion with the rationale: "If I give the baby back to Heavenly Father, it will be so much better off."

What lies are you telling yourself? Perhaps one of the following . . .

I'm a good Church member despite the fact that I rarely attend Church, read the scriptures or do anything for anyone other than myself.

I'm a good Christian despite the fact that I yell at my employees and otherwise verbally mistreat them.

I'm honest despite the fact that I don't pay all my taxes and lie about my kid's age so that I can get a better price at the movie theater.

I'm a nice person although I'm constantly stabbing other people in the back.

I'm a good worker even though I waste my employers time and trust in playing video games on my office computer and visiting my Facebook page.

I'm a law abiding citizen although I exceed the speed limit, lie to cops about why I was speeding and try and get the judge to reduce or dismiss my ticket.

The examples I've given so far are pretty large and obvious. What about the small self-deceptions we engage in every day?

Tomorrow I will make it to work on time.

I'll make up for punching in on time today when I really wasn't.

I won't use work materials for personal use.

I won't phone that friend on company time.

I won't do my child's homework for him next time. 

I won't tell someone they look nice when I don't think they do.

I won't act interested in my friend's conversation when I'm really not.

Clearly, few of us could survive socially if we were truly honest. But, can we survive in the hereafter if we aren't?

If you truly want to be honest in this life then you are going to have to work on your character. If you want to just appear honest, then work at being a good actor. There are many examples around you.

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