Elder Neil L. Andersen urges students to be honest in all things

By Marianne Holman

Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 13 2011 10:51 p.m. MDT

PROVO — Honesty, integrity and truth are essential principles that significantly shape an individual's destiny, Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said during a packed campus devotional Tuesday in the Marriott Center at BYU.

"(Honesty) is a principle you all believe in, but I promise you that if you will think about it more intently, pray about it more specifically and embrace it more fully, it will bring an abundance of blessings to you now and throughout your life," he said.

Speaking of the need to be completely truthful in all areas of life, Elder Andersen said that honesty is crucial to an individual's spiritual growth and spiritual gifts.

"The Savior constantly rebuked those who professed one thing publicly but lived differently in their hearts," he said. "He praised those who lived without deception. Can you see the contrasting difference? On the one hand, there is truth and light and honesty and integrity. On the other hand, there is lying, deceiving, hypocrisy and darkness. The Lord draws a sharp distinction. …

"The world would tell us that truth and honesty are difficult to define. The world finds humor in casual lying and quickly excuses so called 'innocent' deception. The contrast between right and wrong is dulled, and the consequences of dishonesty are minimized."

In order to constantly receive the spirit of truth, individuals must fill their lives with truth and honesty. As they do, their spiritual eyes will be opened to increased enlightenment, he said. Honesty also includes keeping commitments and following through with one's word.

"There are times we honor commitments simply because we have agreed to honor them," he said. "You will have situations in your life after your university years when you will be tempted to disregard an agreement you have made. You will initially make the agreement because of something you wish to receive in return. Later, because of a change in circumstances, you will no longer want to honor the terms of the agreement. Learn now when you give your word, when you make a promise, when you sign your name, your personal honesty and integrity bind you to your word, your commitment, your agreement."

The challenge to be honest also comes in the small temptations on the edge of being completely honest or when the consequences of telling the truth could be detrimental, Elder Andersen said. But, it is in those moments that individuals are able to — through being completely honest — gain spiritual power .

"There is enormous spiritual power in remaining true and honest when the consequences of your honesty could appear to be a disadvantage," he said. "Each of you will face such decisions. These defining moments will test your integrity. As you choose honesty and truth — whether or not the situation works out the way you hope — you will realize that these important crossroads become fundamental pillars of strength in your spiritual growth."

EMAIL: mholman@desnews.com

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