Brothers and Sisters I hesitate to openly discuss this important topic because I know that there will be those who have not yet reached the spiritual maturity to fully understand what I am about to say. These individuals may be tempted to mock or make light of my words and I do not wish to cause any to sin in such a vile manner. Because of this I would ask that only mature members of the Church who have been through the temple read this faith promoting article. If you have not yet been through the temple please refrain from reading further until through your faithfulness you reach this honoured level.
I would like to start by quoting from the chapter entitled “Honesty” from the Gospel Principles manual that can be found on the official Church website at this link:
The manual reiterates that “We believe in being honest” and states that “Complete honesty is necessary for our salvation”.
We learn from this chapter that “the devil is a liar” and that “Those who choose to cheat and lie and deceive and misrepresent become his slaves”. It is important to understand that “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 learn why people lie, “People lie to protect themselves and to have others think well of them. To the Lord, there are no acceptable reasons.”
Speaking of those who will be in the
the scriptures testify “these are they who are liars…” (D&C 76:103) Telestial Kingdom
But we must keep in mind the audience for which the book “Gospel Principles” was intended. As per lds.org “This course is for investigators, new members, members returning to activity, and others who need basic gospel instruction.”
As leaders in the Lord’s Kingdom upon the earth it is important that we learn to live by a higher law which unbeknown to the investigator or new member in fact justifies that in certain instances it is better to lie than to be truthful. This gospel precept is often known as “lying for the Lord” but I prefer to use the more scriptural based terminology of “giving milk before meat” or “not casting our pearls before swine”. After all we are at war with the adversary and must ever be watchful to not represent the Church or its teachings in such a manner that would turn away those who through correct initiation practices would become Christ’s strongest followers.
In a nutshell lying for the Lord consists of selectively giving unto the receiver the information that will help him view the Church, its history and its leaders in the most favourable light possible. True disciples of Christ know that this is to be done line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; never revealing all at once.
This is perfectly demonstrated by the prophet Joseph Smith in 1844 when he made the following statement:
"What a thing it is for a man to be accused of committing adultery, and having seven wives, when I can only find one." (History of The Church 6:410-411)
At this time the Church was young and many in and out of the Church were unaware of Joseph’s polygamous practices. Joseph with his spiritual foresight could see the many problems that would arise if the general membership and neighbouring communities were to find out that he had several wives, so under the influence of the Lord he denied the charge saying “I can only find one.”
Now we all know that according to Church owned website familysearch.org Joseph was married to the following sisters when he made that statement in 1844 http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Search/AF/individual_record.asp?recid=7762167
1827 - Emma Hale
1841 - Zina Diantha Huntington
1841 - Prescendia Lathrop Huntington
1842 - Mary Elizabeth Rollins
1842 - Eliza Roxey Snow
1842 - Sarah Ann Whitney
1842 - Martha McBride
1843 - Sarah Lawrence
1843 - Helen Mar Kimball
1843 - Lucy Walker
1843 - Rhoda Richards
1843 - Malissa Lott
1843 - Fanny Young
So the question that may come to mind amongst the less valiant is “Was Joseph Smith in fact an outright liar?” In answer to this concern we, the faithful, know that Joseph was a prophet of God and could not make such a bold statement without being guided by the spirit of truth. His statement which had the obvious intention of not casting pearls (polygamy being at that time a pearl of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ) before swine likely helped to silence the critics for a short time and allowed the truth of the gospel to roll forward and penetrate the hearts of the meek and lowly. Clearly brothers and sisters Joseph was not lying but was practicing the art of giving line upon line, precept upon precept, in order to further the work of the Lord upon the earth.
We see similar qualities in our current Church leadership. When Apostle Jeffrey R. Holland was interviewed for a show called "The Mormon Candidate" which was aired recently in the
we see a slightly different approach to the principle of lying for the Lord. I call it the ‘lie and cover’ procedure where we immediately deny or deny knowledge of an event followed by a reluctant admittance. This takes the sting out of the accusation and is done in the hopes that the faithful will not falter in their sacred testimonies of the gospel. To see this technique in action please click on the following link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ws4vgihE3Q0 where Elder Holland was asked by the reporter “As a matter of historical fact, was Joseph Smith convicted of being a con man in 1826?” UK
As an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ and defender of the faith Elder Holland’s response was so simple but profound it actually brought tears to my eyes. He simply replied “I have no idea”.
went on to basically admit that he did know about this when he said “this is an incidental matter to the character and integrity of the man”. Holland
Our beloved Elder Holland is then asked if Mitt Romney would have sworn an oath saying that he would not pass on what happens in the temple, lest he slit his throat.
’s reply is succinct and shows by perfect example precisely how to lie for the Lord when he states: “That’s not true, that’s not true”. Holland
When pushed by the crafty English reporter
goes on to admit that we did in fact “used” to have such penalties in the temple (thus Romney having entered the temple before the changes in 1990 did make that specific oath). Holland
Here we have two examples in the first 1 minute and 17 seconds of the video where Holland represents the Church in the best possible light but then quickly retracts so as to not become a servant of Satan as per the Gospel Principles manual where it states that “Those who choose to lie and deceive and misrepresent become his slaves”
Brothers and Sisters it is my prayer that the Lord will bless each of you to understand the distinct spiritual difference between lying and lying for the Lord, and I leave these thoughts with you in the sacred and holy name of Jesus Christ, amen.