The Search For An Honest Man

April 19, 2009

In ancient Greece it is said that Diogenes went about all of his life in search for an honest man and could not find one. We Latter-day Saints place a high value on personal honesty, whatever that is. We all know the passage, “Wo unto the liar, for he shall be thrust down to hell.” (2 Nephi 9:34) And every interview for a temple recommend includes the question: Are you honest in your dealings with your fellow man? So why don’t we get more instruction on just exactly what this virtue is? Is complete honesty commanded? I never heard of honesty requiring that we tell the whole truth when our wife asks, “How do I look” or “Do I look fat?” Are there other situations when incomplete honesty, or in other words dishonesty, are desirable or even required? I for one would like to know more about what honesty actually is.  There seems to be a wide variety of opinion among the members of the Church, and even some of our Church leaders seem to be confused on this subject. It would be useful if the definition of honesty was as well understood as the definition of chastity, don’t you think?