We also had a discussion recently about what if withholding information protects the faith of the weak.
Recognizing that the Church chooses to share certain parts of it's history and chooses to withhold other parts, my hope is we can shed some light on when complete and absolute forthcoming of truth is important and when it is ok to with hold info.
Some will jump in here and ask where the church has withheld information or truth. I will be a broken record and say that it is impossible to discover Polyandry (Joseph's sealings to already married women) from any of the following sources - LDS.ORG, Church lesson manual, Ensign, Liahona, New Era, Friend, General Conference Talk, or any other current LDS sponsored source of info. While some may have learned this in a church setting or from a class like seminary or institute, we must recognize that occured becasue a teacher or another student brought it up without any encouragement from the manual or the Church leadership
Complete honesty is necessary for our salvation. An Apostle of the Lord has said: “Honesty is a principle of salvation in the kingdom of God. … Just as no man or woman can be saved without baptism, so no one can be saved without honesty” (Mark E. Petersen, in Conference Report, Oct. 1971, p. 63; or Ensign, Dec. 1971, p. 72).
God is honest and just in all things (see Alma 7:20). We too must be honest in all things to become like him. The brother of Jared testified, “Yea, Lord, I know that thou … art a God of truth, and canst not lie” (Ether 3:12). In contrast, the devil is a liar. In fact, he is the father of lies (see 2 Nephi 9:9). “Those who choose to cheat and lie and deceive and misrepresent become his slaves” (Mark E. Petersen, in Conference Report, Oct. 1971, p. 65; or Ensign, Dec. 1971, p. 73).
To Lie Is Dishonest
Lying is intentionally deceiving others. Bearing false witness is one form of lying. The Lord gave this commandment to the children of Israel: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour” (Exodus 20:16). Jesus also taught this when he was on earth (see Matthew 19:18). There are many other forms of lying. When we speak untruths, we are guilty of lying. We can also intentionally deceive others by a gesture or a look, by silence, or by telling only part of the truth. Whenever we lead people in any way to believe something that is not true, we are not being honest.
The Lord is not pleased with such dishonesty, and we will have to account for our lies. Satan would have us believe it is all right to lie. He says, “Yea, lie a little; … there is no harm in this” (2 Nephi 28: . Satan encourages us to justify our lies to ourselves. Honest people will recognize Satan’s temptations and will speak the whole truth, even if it seems to be to their disadvantage.
We Must Not Excuse Our Dishonesty
People use many excuses for being dishonest. People lie to protect themselves and to have others think well of them. Some excuse themselves for stealing, thinking they deserve what they took, intend to return it, or need it more than the owner. Some cheat to get better grades in school or because “everyone else does it” or to get even.
These excuses and many more are given as reasons for dishonesty. To the Lord, there are no acceptable reasons. President Kimball taught that when we excuse ourselves, we cheat ourselves and the Spirit of God ceases to be with us. We become more and more unrighteous. (See Faith Precedes the Miracle, p. 234.)
We Can Be Completely Honest
To become completely honest, we must look carefully at our lives. If there are ways in which we are being even the least bit dishonest, we should repent of them immediately.
When we are completely honest, we cannot be corrupted. We are true to every trust, duty, agreement, or covenant, even if it costs us money, friends, or our lives. Then we can face the Lord, ourselves, and others without shame. President Joseph F. Smith counseled, “Let every man’s life be so that his character will bear the closest inspection, and that it may be seen as an open book, so that we will have nothing to shrink from or be ashamed of” (Gospel Doctrine, p. 252).
It places us in quite a predicament. on one hand the Lord and his apostles withheld info at times if they saw fit. He says as much in his reason for teaching parables and also on occasions where he asks the 12 not to share certain things he has told them.
On the other hand we are taught that absolute and complete honesty are crucial to salvation. We are taught that we can not only share partial truth or be silent. That these are just as dishonest as telling a lie.
When is lying (either telling something untrue, or withholding something true) ok?
If we are completely honest, we have to admit the Church lies at times at least in the sense it holds back information that might trouble it's members or keep investigators from looking into the Church. Even in the church we see milk before meat and yet on some level that is withholding information. Perhaps it is in their best interest, perhaps it protects the name of the Church but at the end of the day it is according to the quotes above dishonest. Is some lying or dishonesty justifiable? We each do it at time Ex: Santa Claus, Do I look fat in this dress, not narcing out a friend. But in the case of the Church the standard is higher.
I am not speaking of when an individual leader does this as that can be seen as an individual sin and not tied to the church. But when the church as a whole unitedly withholds info.......... or tells the story in a way that is not the whole story but teaches a principle like the cream and strippings with Bro. Marsh
When is dishonesty ok?
Edited by DBMormon, 07 July 2012 - 08:55 AM.