“As you are honest in all you do, you will feel happier. You will feel more full of light. You will feel more confident and more comfortable in your relationships with others,” said Elder Matthew L. Carpenter, a General Authority Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as he delivered Tuesday morning’s devotional.
Inviting all to strive to be more honest and have more integrity, Elder Carpenter reminded the audience that “the enemy of our souls not only tempts us to sin, but when we sin, he also tries to maintain power over us by suggesting we should hide our sin, to cover it up and not seek the healing that comes from God.”
Stressing the fact that all things we do will be brought to light by the Lord, Elder Carpenter quoted President Howard W. Hunter, who said, “There is no darkness that can conceal the things we do.”
As he pondered President Russell M. Nelson’s invitation to begin to “think celestial,” Elder Carpenter asked the question, “What are the characteristics of those who live in the celestial kingdom?”
“The scriptures tell us that those who live in that kingdom are ‘those who are just and true.’ They personify the attribute outlined in the 13th article of faith: ‘We believe in being honest.’”
Elder Carpenter taught that God is always completely honest and is all-powerful. Because of this, He has the capacity and the character to completely keep His promises and covenants.
“When He says we are His child, a child of God, we can believe it,” Elder Carpenter said.
This same assurance extends to repentance, and when God says we are forgiven, Elder Carpenter promised that we can believe it.
“As with Enos, our guilt relating to a sin we confess and forsake can be swept away, for we know that God cannot lie.”
Acknowledging that some may think being honest only means not telling lies, Elder Carpenter clarified that being honest is also about not being deceiving or misleading or stating half-truths.
“Each time we lie or mislead others, studies have shown that with each consecutive lie, participants feel less and less bad. In short, we become ‘past feeling,’ and we become prey to the adversary of our souls, who “leadeth them by the neck with a flaxen cord until he bindeth them with his strong cords forever.”
Inviting those in attendance to do a self-evaluation of their honesty, Elder Carpenter asked three questions to help individuals reflect on their own integrity.
1. During interviews with your bishop/stake president, are you completely honest?
He acknowledged many are scared of confronting the truth of their sins because of embarrassment or the fear of appearing imperfect.
“Dear brothers and sisters, if we lie and enter the mission field unworthily, or lie and obtain a BYU endorsement unworthily, or lie and enter the temple unworthily, we compound our sins. We act contrary to the Light of Christ in us. We push away the Holy Ghost.”
2. As you represent yourself on social media, are you completely accurate?
“It is natural for each of us to want to have others like us, think highly of us and respect us. We want to say the right things, make a good impression or look our best. These desires and efforts are normal and acceptable as long as we are honest.”
Elder Carpenter stressed the importance of always being honest in all relationships, especially in marriage. If one approaches their spouse with vulnerability, humility and transparency, seeking their spouse’s help in utilizing the grace of Jesus Christ's Atonement to overcome weaknesses, their spouse can offer loving encouragement and support throughout this journey.
3. When taking exams or completing school assignments, do you always follow the instructions of the professor and refrain from cheating?
As final exams are coming up and can bring a lot of pressure and sleepless nights, Elder Carpenter urged students to remember that school is about much more than getting a grade. It is also about shaping students to be men and women who are honest and true.
“As the adversary of your soul tempts you to cheat on school assignments or on an exam, or anywhere or anytime in life, I invite you to consider Jesus Christ. Do you think that the Savior of mankind cheated going through the Atonement?”
“He did not take a shortcut,” Elder Carpenter continued. “Jesus Christ is not a cheater. [He] stands ready to lift and empower you as you are honest with Him and follow His direction.”