Being Honest

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“Being Honest,” Friend, May 2000, 48

Being Honest

Repent ye, and believe the gospel (Mark 1:15).

In the fifth grade this past school year, we have had to memorize the names of the fifty states of the United States and each of their capitals. We started after spring break and took tests every week. Each test included ten to fifteen new states, plus all the states we had studied the week before. The tests got longer and longer.

This was very hard for me. I had to study a lot before every test. Even then, I made mistakes. Sometimes I missed so many that I had to retake the test to pass.

One day, another boy in my class was retaking a test at the same time that I was. He finished, and the teacher told him that he could go out to recess. When he put his book in his desk, he saw that I was struggling with one of the capitals. He whispered the answer to me. I quickly wrote it down and handed the test in. My teacher hadn’t seen or heard anything, so she told me I could go out to recess, too.

I thought I would feel good, because I knew I had passed. Instead, I felt horrible. Recess was not fun. All I could think about was what I had done. I tried to think of a way to tell my teacher.

Later that afternoon, I waited until most of my classmates had left the room to go home. I walked up to my teacher’s desk and told her quietly that I had not been honest and would retake the test again the next day. She thanked me for being honest. Telling my teacher the truth was very hard for me, but I felt so much better after I did.

When my mom was tucking me into bed that night, I told her, too. I thought she would be angry, but she was glad that I had had the courage to admit what I had done and had taken steps to correct my behavior. We talked about how the Holy Ghost helps us to know right from wrong and decided that the Holy Ghost had helped me that day.

The first part of the thirteenth article of faith is “We believe in being honest.” Honesty means always telling the truth, even when it is not easy. If I am going to be a good member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I have to do the things I say I believe in. I know that by correcting my mistake and by being honest, I am stronger. I pray we can all be honest when faced with hard choices.

Illustrated by Phyllis Cahill