Honesty in Mormonism

Honesty in Mormonism

from morm-hist mailing list:

>>> Another interpretation of the language of the Church in that period is in Mormon Enigma. Avery and Newell suggest a carefully constructed system of code words, designed to make it possible to deny without lying. I find their interpretation a bit forced, but they do show a fair amount of consistency in the early statements. Church leaders denied practicing specific things (like “spiritual wifery”) but made no comment which used the actual name they were using. This way, they were essentially denying without denying. What do you think of this? <<<

I think this constitutes lying.

“We all need to know what it means to be honest. Honesty is more than not lying. It is truth telling, truth speaking, truth living, and truth loving.”

So said Br. Faust in the Fall 96 conference after quoting the 13th article of faith – “We believe in being honest…” He goes on to say:

“There are different shades of truth-telling. When we tell little white lies we become progressively color blind. It is better to remain silent than to mislead. The degree to which each of us tells the whole truth and nothing but the truth depends on our conscience.”

Unfortunately for Br. Faust, applying his definition of honesty to the church inevitably leads one to conclude that church officers do not, at least at times, follow this same standard. Clearly, the above example is one of those instances.

Here’s another. This is taken from Br. Hinckley’s priesthood address. He is quoting from his interview with Mike Wallace which aired on 60 minutes. Question: ”Are there any conflicts between your convictions about families and women’s roles with the family and the aspirations of some women to occupy leadership positions in your church?”

Reply: ”We have a few women who feel that women should hold the priesthood. We have a great women’s organization. I believe it is the largest women’s organization in the world — our women’s Relief Society. They have their own officers who preside over their own organization. They carry forward a tremendous program of education among women. I think they are happy. They are doing a great work . . . ”

…. Mr. Wallace: ”Why must only men run the Church?”

Reply: ” ‘Only men’ do not run the Church. Men have their place in the Church. Men hold priesthood offices of the Church. But women have a tremendous place in this church. They have their own organization. It was started in 1842 by the Prophet Joseph Smith, called the Relief Society, because its initial purpose was to administer help to those in need. It has grown to be, I think, the largest women’s organization in the world with a membership of more than three million. They have their own offices, their own presidency, their own board. That reaches down to the smallest unit of the Church everywhere in the world.”

Mr. Wallace: ”But they don’t have the power.”

Response: ”They have office. They have responsibility. They have control of their organization.”

Question: ”But you run it. The men run it. Look, I’m not being . . . ”

Answer: ”The men hold the priesthood, yes. But my wife is my companion. In this Church the man neither walks ahead of his wife nor behind his wife but at her side. They are co-equals in this life in a great enterprise.”

End Quote.

I found it quite ironic that, in the very same session of conference Br. Faust first speaks about the need to be honest, to not even indulge in shades of dishonest, and to then have Br. Hinckley say the above. Certainly Br. Faust’s remarks were obviated by prophetic example.