Thursday, 24 July 2014

Sermon: The Value of Honesty

Honesty is the glue that holds our civilization together. It helps us remain true to ourselves and makes us men and women of integrity. Honesty builds trust and character in ourselves and in our dealings with others. And it is the thread that, when unravelled, tears human beings apart from one another, destroying families and individuals alike. In scripture, we learn of many powerful examples of honesty that illustrate honesty's importance and its ability to make our lives more whole and meaningful.
The Lord Jesus Christ taught that those are with "an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it," will "bring forth fruit with patience.” (Luke 8:15)

How, then, can we be less than honest, if the Lord commands it?

Heavenly Father tells us that He considers a lying tongue to be "an abomination" (Proverbs 6:19) and that the lips that tell truth are "established forever." (Prov. 12:19) In ancient Israel, God’s chosen Prophets often spoke honestly to warn of dangers - those that were hazards to both the moral and spiritual well being of God's people. The people of Nephi, the Book of Alma says, were "numbered among the people who were of the church of God." They were said to be "perfectly honest and upright in all things." (Alma Chapter 15; 27:27)

As Latter Day Mormons, we believe that God has never left us without Prophets - men of God who were tellers of Truth to God's people. These men told the Israelites, the Nephites on the American continent and the People of Light in the British Isles the Truth about God, and the need for God's people to be truthful. In the Book of Helaman, Nephi said he was an "honest man" sent "unto you from God.....And then shall he say unto you, that I, Nephi, know nothing concerning the matter save it were given unto me by the power of God. And then shall ye know that I am an honest man, and that I am sent unto you from God.” (Helaman Chapter 3; 9:36)

To the Gentiles in the Ancient Roman world, the Apostle Paul urged men to hold fast to honesty and honest dealings with men, saying, "Now I pray to God that ye do no evil; not that we should appear approved, but that ye should do that which is honest, though we be as reprobates.” (2 Corinthians 13:7) “Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.” (Hebrews 13:18) “Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.” (Romans 13:13)

The Latter Day Prophet Joseph Smith, in Doctrine and Covenants, calls upon us to seek honesty in our dealings with others, and to seek out honest men with which to associate. The Prophet Joseph calls for us to "let every man deal honestly, and be alike among this people, and receive alike, that ye may be one, even as I have commanded you.” (D&C 23:2; 51:9) And: “Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil.” (D&C 85:2; 98:10)

Today, in these latter days, I urge you to heed the Prophets and Apostles of old to provide for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men (2 Corinthians 8:21) and to reflect upon their holy words about the sacredness of honesty. All things of value are wrapped in honestly and truth. Those who tell the truth revere Heavenly Father and His Prophets. Those who shun truth shun God Himself. Be honest for the sake of Heavenly Father and His people, and blessings will be upon you.

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