Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Joseph Smith is quoted in several places as saying "I do not govern the people. I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves." (Erastus Snow, June 24, 1883 Parowan, UT)

Karl G. Maeser said, "I have been asked what I mean by word of honor. I will tell you. Place me behind prison walls-- walls of stone ever so high, ever so thick, reaching ever so far into the ground-- there is a possibility that in some way or another I may escape; but stand me on the floor and draw a chalk line around me and have me give my word of honor never to cross it. Can I get out of that circle? No. Never! I'd die first.

Integrity is more than being honest. Integrity is all about acting according to internal moral principles as opposed to mearly keeping outward rules and requirements. It's the difference between keeping the letter and the spirit of the law. Now most people talk about the spirit of the law in terms of justifying why there should be an exception made for their not living up to the letter of the law. But in reality, living the true spirit of the law more often goes beyond the letter. I do recognize that there are exceptions to every rule, however, I believe that "it should only be the exception when I am the exception."

Even thought the Pharisees were criticized for creating a bulky hedge around the law, Christ taught that although the law forbids adultry, "whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart" (Matt. 5: 28). However, A man who lets "virtue garnish his thoughts unceasingly" doesn't need to worry about committing adultry; he has caught the vision and power of the principle which is the foundation of the commandment.

Zion, the city of God, will be filled with people who aren't trying to take advantage of all the loopholes in the rules in order to get ahead of their neighbors. They will govern themselves according to moral prinicples. They will be great neighbors who are dependable and predictable. Just imagine what spiritual and temperal growth such a cooperative society would enjoy. Unfortuanately, because of rampant dishonesty, our current society is bogged down by complex laws, beurocracies, and red tape to prevent those who would seek to take advantage of their neighbor under the pretense; "I didn't break the law."

"For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward. Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;" (D&C 58: 26)

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