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What it is a lie?


dirtius maximus

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title should read "What is a lie?"

I read with particular interest a discussion in the Social Hall concerning an encounter with law enforcement; the author of the post question whether the officer was dishonest, several responses are that the officer was not being dishonest but was "fishing". Here is the dialogue in question:

Officer: I noticed you got your seat belt put on quickly after you parked.

Mudcat: I was wearing it when I came through the road block and haven't taken it off, I didn't just put it on.

The Officer is making a statement that Mudcat was not wearing his seat belt. Lets suppose the Officer watch Mudcat the whole time and in fact saw that Mudcat had his seatbelt on, would that knowledge of the Officer make his statement to Mudcat a lie? The officer might have thought he saw what he claimed which would just make the statement untrue rather than a lie.

Are some lies acceptable and not within the commandment "Thou shall not bear false witness"?

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IMO, God doesn't like even slight lies, if possible. I mean... if he commands you to lie in a certain instance (like he did with Abraham concerning Sarah), go ahead... but I think we should really try to be as honest with our fellow men as possible, for our whole life. It just seems like the right thing to do =).

Best Wishes,

TAO

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title should read "What is a lie?"

I read with particular interest a discussion in the Social Hall concerning an encounter with law enforcement; the author of the post question whether the officer was dishonest, several responses are that the officer was not being dishonest but was "fishing". Here is the dialogue in question:

Officer: I noticed you got your seat belt put on quickly after you parked.

Mudcat: I was wearing it when I came through the road block and haven't taken it off, I didn't just put it on.

The Officer is making a statement that Mudcat was not wearing his seat belt. Lets suppose the Officer watch Mudcat the whole time and in fact saw that Mudcat had his seatbelt on, would that knowledge of the Officer make his statement to Mudcat a lie? The officer might have thought he saw what he claimed which would just make the statement untrue rather than a lie.

Are some lies acceptable and not within the commandment "Thou shall not bear false witness"?

Yes, i think the officer would have been lying if he knew that mudcat had his seatbelt on. I just don't believe that the officer knew that.

I think he was unsure whether or not mudcat had his seatbelt on and was fishing to get mudcat to reveal he did or didn't.

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IMO, God doesn't like even slight lies, if possible. I mean... if he commands you to lie in a certain instance (like he did with Abraham concerning Sarah), go ahead... but I think we should really try to be as honest with our fellow men as possible, for our whole life. It just seems like the right thing to do =).

But Abraham didn't lie because Sarah is his half-sister. However, he said it in a way very similar to the officer in question, that is, he withheld other knowledge to create an effect.

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Your wife asks you,"does this new dress make me look fat?" Try not to lie.

1. No . this could mean that some other dress does and you failed to mention it.

2. Yes. Now you are in for it!

3. "That dress looks very nice on you" . Get ready for another question you can't answer.

4.

5.

6.

etc. Fill in answers at your peril.

That's why there are professional diplomats who are trained in obfuscation .

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Your wife asks you,"does this new dress make me look fat?" Try not to lie.

Assuming she does look fat in that particular dress, I can answer the question without any problem: "Honey, that dress does not do you justice," or even, "Yes, Dear, the dress makes you look fat. I think the pink one doesn't do that."

That's why there are professional diplomats who are trained in obfuscation .

When one understands the truth and the underlying structure of the questioner, it isn't hard. One need not obfuscate.

Lehi

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I think a person lies, when they knowingly report things they don't believe are true.

...to take it a step further...

I also think a person who fails to disclose what they believe is truthful information, for any reason, has also lied.

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title should read "What is a lie?"

I read with particular interest a discussion in the Social Hall concerning an encounter with law enforcement; the author of the post question whether the officer was dishonest, several responses are that the officer was not being dishonest but was "fishing". Here is the dialogue in question:

Officer: I noticed you got your seat belt put on quickly after you parked.

Mudcat: I was wearing it when I came through the road block and haven't taken it off, I didn't just put it on.

The Officer is making a statement that Mudcat was not wearing his seat belt. Lets suppose the Officer watch Mudcat the whole time and in fact saw that Mudcat had his seatbelt on, would that knowledge of the Officer make his statement to Mudcat a lie? The officer might have thought he saw what he claimed which would just make the statement untrue rather than a lie.

Are some lies acceptable and not within the commandment "Thou shall not bear false witness"?

Funny you ask because the lessons today in Priesthood/RS was chapter 31 in the Gospel Principles manual all about honesty. This is what is says about lying:

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.

I think these are good guidelines in judging between what's being honest and dishonest.

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I think lying is underrated. Come on. You have to lie. "Does this make my butt look big?" Of course it does. "No, uh... not at all."

A serious answer? Lie-a blatant attempt to deceive.

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Nephi lied to Zoram, implicitly or explicitly. The Lord lied, or at least changed His mind, with Abraham. The Lord doesn't see black or white. He sees a lot of gray in everything we do because none of us have perfectly pure motives most of the time, and hence even our right choices are grey to Him.

Some lies I think are fantastic to tell. If I was harboring a family of Jews and some Nazis knocked on my door, I would swear on anything they want that there were no Jews in my house. What would you do??

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I like to think the intent of the lie is what matters. Are you trying to cover something up or are you trying not to hurt someone else's feelings, or even keeping a surprise for someone. If a lie isn't hurting someone or meant for malicious intent, there has to be some leeway there.

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Some lies I think are fantastic to tell. If I was harboring a family of Jews and some Nazis knocked on my door, I would swear on anything they want that there were no Jews in my house. What would you do??

I used to believe that in such a situation, God would be alright with lying, but after reading the book "The Hiding Place" by Corrie Ten Boom about her families experiences in Nazi Occupied Netherlands (i believe that's where she was), i'm not so sure.

The Ten Boom family was Christian but did not agree with the Nazis and did all they could to hide Jewish people who came to them. The family was very strict in their observance of the commandments but Corrie and others did not think it was wrong to lie under such circumstances while another relative believed that God required perfect honesty in any circumstance and refused to lie no matter what question was asked of her. She taught her children to do the same.

Eventually there came a time when she was asked point blank by a Nazi whether a girl working for her was Jewish and she answerd plainly that she was. This woman and the Jewish woman were arrested. When Corrie was able to speak to her relative again she berrated her a bit for putting the life of the jewish woman at risk, as well as her own life and the lives of her children, by telling the truth. The woman proclaimed that she knew that God would not allow anything to happen to the Jewish woman just because she had told the truth. She also believed that God would protect her and her family as well. Corrie was not so sure.

Eventually the woman was released, though there was no logical reason that she should have been considering what the germans were doing to those who were aiding the Jews (Corrie and her sister eventually would spend time in a concentration camp, and her sister would die in one, for hiding Jews in their home). The relative's family was also kept safe and IIRC, none of them were imprisoned again.

Later, it was discovered that the jewish woman the relative had turned in also made it out of prison a short time after she went in with no harm done to her. If I remember right she never even made it to a concentration camp.

I personally don't know that i would have the courage or faith to believe what the relative did concerning telling the truth under all circumstances. But this story gives me pause in thinking about exactly how God views honesty and His children.

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This is simple: if lying is the lesser of two evils, then lie. The above example of harboring fugitives from evil oppressors is a good one. This is the same scenario as the housemaid in A Tale of Two Cities, who swears to the searching gendarmes that there is no one in the house, and thereby saves the lives of innocent people. We should always try our best to achieve as much good as possible, and truth is the ultimate good. But truth is not always possible if evil is out to take advantage of truth to perpetrate injustice....

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Lying is any willful deceit on the part of the giver and unknown of the receiver.

Examples:

a. Poker isn't lying because everyone knows ahead of time the other guy is going to bluff.

b. My wife looks fabulous no matter what she wears because she knows I'm going to compliment her either way.

There, I think we can close the thread now.

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Lets not hold ourselves to such a standard where we rather be right than alive.

Examples.

Nephi lied to save his, his brothers, and his family's lives.

Peter lied to save his own life after the Savior's death.

Some leaders lied about the Mountain Meadows Massacre to avoid outright invasion of Utah.

My grandmother once said 3 conditions should be met to say somethings. 1. True. 2. Kind. 3. Necessary.

I think actually 2 out of 3 is fine.

Examples.

True and Kind but not necessary.

Complements to children, spouses, coworkers. Not necessary, but they sure are good pick-me-ups.

Necessary and True but not kind.

Dealing with coworkers and families, sometimes criticism must be said, and its ok if it is true and necessary, if it isn't necessarily the easiest thing for them to hear (still try to say it in a good way).

Necessary and Kind, but not true.

Me to my students, you guys have learned a lot and I impressed with how you did on the exam (from my point of view, this exam was identical to the practice exam and they have no excuse for the 60 percent average and the huge curve I am throwing them), but I need to keep morale up.

Do I look fat (8 months pregnant and wearing horizontal stripes, we must answer NO without pause). Don't become Abe Lincoln from the Geico commercials.

Are there Jews in your house? I bet way more people died who answered honestly to this question. I would lie to save a life without thinking about it.

Are you mommy and daddy there? Imagine your 12 year old babysitting and answering the phone when you aren't home. Do you really want to say, they can't come to the phone? I would have the say, my dad is busy cleaning his guns, can he call you back in a bit.

Do you leave your lights on your house to give the appearance of being home to scare away burglars? Is that not deception?

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Funny you ask because the lessons today in Priesthood/RS was chapter 31 in the Gospel Principles manual all about honesty. This is what is says about lying:

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.

I think these are good guidelines in judging between what's being honest and dishonest.

Pet peeve alert!

That's all well and good in a society where people mind their own business but with so little privacy left in the world, I frequently tell only part of the truth because people often ask questions that are none of their business. We live in a world with fewer and fewer personal boundaries and an increasing number of people who have no discretion. They go on t.v. to discover who their baby daddy is, they pronounce themselves a hoarder, a walking fashion faux pas, or a witchy bride for international audiences. The post intimate pictures on facebook, myspace, and other social sites and they discuss everything from the gastrointestinal issues brought on by a big lunch to the most private of relationship details with virtual friends and real life strangers. And even many who wouldn't do these things, still have no problem sharing in ward or neighborhood gossip for no reason other than to have something to talk about.

So when these same people want details about my life, I feel no obligation to answer in a truthful manner. I give technical answers.

Busybody: Where are you going?

Mercy: To my car.

Busybody: I mean where are you headed?

Mercy: South.

Busybody: To do what?

Mercy: Personal Business.

Busybody: Like what?

Mercy: Well, for starters, I thought I'd buy you a dictionary so you can look up the word "personal".

Other times, I flat out lie.

Nosy neighbor: I haven't seen your husband around this week, where is he?

Military wife: Buried in the back yard. He was worth more dead than alive.

Nosy lady at the grocery store: Are all these kids yours?

Harried young mother: No. The older ones I bought in the Philipines because I needed extra help around the house.

Nosy lady at church: Why aren't you married yet?

YSA: Because your husband likes his mistresses unencumbered.

I guess I'll be lifting my eyes up in hell with the rest of the liars.

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I guess I'll be lifting my eyes up in hell with the rest of the liars.

Man: Your not putting him [infant son in stroller parked at the trunk of the car] are you?

Me: Not right this time, there are too many people watching.

I would have to say I do not believe in "half-truths". What many people label a half-truth is meerly the result of a poor phrased question.

Take MG example "Where are you going" response "South", that is the truth, if the questioner wanting more than that a better question should have been asked.

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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.

Silence: Matthew 27:12

Telling part of the truth: Mark 1:44

It seems as if withholding information and attempting to deceive are different.

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Assuming she does look fat in that particular dress, I can answer the question without any problem: "Honey, that dress does not do you justice," or even, "Yes, Dear, the dress makes you look fat. I think the pink one doesn't do that."

When one understands the truth and the underlying structure of the questioner, it isn't hard. One need not obfuscate.

Lehi

I think I will take this advice for the future. Hope you don't mind. ;)

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But Abraham didn't lie because Sarah is his half-sister. However, he said it in a way very similar to the officer in question, that is, he withheld other knowledge to create an effect.

True True. I believe this should be avoided whenever possible too. It's like, you want to be as honest to your fellow men as possible. There are times when you can't be, yes, but to be honest to them is a nice thing to do indeed, and I think the Lord likes it somewhat.

Best Wishes,

TAO

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