Heavenly Father wants you to be honest and truthful at all times and in all places. It is not always easy. If you do something wrong, you might be ashamed to admit it or afraid of what will happen to you if you do. When you are honest about the mistakes you make, you can repent and be forgiven.
Even when you have not done anything wrong, sometimes it is hard to defend what is true or right. It takes courage to stand up for what you know is true when others do not believe as you do. It is not always easy to express your testimony of Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ. But when you are honest about your feelings and express your testimony, the Holy Ghost will strengthen you.
As a young man just nineteen years old, Joseph F. Smith was traveling from California to Utah with a small group of Latter-day Saints. As they set up camp one evening, a group of drunken men rode into their camp on horseback. The men had guns, and they threatened to kill any Mormons who came across their path. Some of the Saints hid in the bushes by the creek. Joseph F. Smith, who had been gathering wood, boldly approached the fire. One of the drunken men, pointing his pistol at Joseph, said that it was his duty to kill every Mormon he met. He then demanded, “Are you a ‘Mormon’?”
Without a pause, Joseph F. Smith looked the ruffian in the eye and answered, “Yes, siree; dyed in the wool; true blue, through and through.” The angry man was so surprised by Joseph’s honest answer that he grabbed Joseph’s hand and said, “Well, you are the … pleasantest man I ever met! Shake, young fellow. I am glad to see a man that stands up for his convictions.” The drunken men then rode off and did not bother the Saints again. (Life of Joseph F. Smith, Joseph Fielding Smith, pages 188–189.)
You can be like Joseph F. Smith. You can be honest and truthful at all times and in all places.
Color the camp scene and the figures of Joseph F. Smith and the ruffians. Glue or paste the colored page on a sheet of heavy paper or lightweight cardboard. Carefully cut out the scene and the figures. Accordion-fold the paper strips on the dotted lines. Attach the folded strips to the back of the figure of Joseph F. Smith and to the back of the ruffians. Attach these figures to the scene by gluing the tabs to the places indicated. When properly in place, the men can “reach out and shake hands”. Use this action scene during family home evening to tell your family the story of Joseph F. Smith.
1. As each child enters the room, give him or her a number from 1 to 4. Discuss with the children what it means to be honest and truthful. Explain that there are many examples in the scriptures of people who were honest and truthful, even when it was dangerous or difficult. Divide the children into four groups. Give each group a scriptural account of honesty to discuss, then have a representative from each group share with all the children what they have learned. Some suggested stories: Joseph Smith is persecuted (see JS—H 1:21–25), Paul is called mad (see Acts 26:13–25), Abinadi preaches to King Noah (see Mosiah 13:1–9), Jesus Christ is put on trial (see Matt. 26:63–67).
2. Explain to the children that Satan has many names. At least one of them tells us something about him. Have the children look up the following scriptures to find names for Satan: Moses 4:4, 2 Ne. 9:9, Ether 8:25, John 8:44. Explain that the scriptures also help us understand that God does not lie. Discuss the following scriptures: D&C 62:6, Enos 1:6, 3 Ne. 27:18, Ether 3:12, Titus 1:2, Heb. 6:18. Help the children understand that God is honest and Satan is dishonest. “Who is the source of all truth?” could be written on a slip of paper for each child to take home. Encourage the children to discuss this question with their parents.
3. Invite an adult leader to discuss honesty with the children. Have him point out that being honest is part of “My Gospel Standards” on the back of the Achievement Days booklet. Have him relate a personal experience having to do with honesty. Pass out a copy of “My Gospel Standards” to each child and have each underline the phrase, “I will be honest with Heavenly Father, others, and myself.” Suggest that they place their copies of “My Gospel Standards” in their homes.
4. Place two large paper strips on the blackboard or wall. On one, print True; and on the other, Not True. Prepare one set of statements that are true and another set of statements that are not true. Example(s): Snow is white. Rain is wet. People need water to live. Salt is sweet. The sun is dark. Ice cream is hot. Arrange the chairs in the middle of the room with one less chair than there are children. Have the children march around the chairs as they sing “I Believe in Being Honest” (Children’s Songbook, page 149). When the music stops, have the child who does not have a chair choose one of the statements and place it under the True or Not True sign. Ask the children what truth is and what it means to be honest. Remind them that we believe in being honest (see A of F 1:13).
5. Prepare a list of situations such as: (a) David found a dollar bill on the floor at school. What should he do? (b) Mary was riding her sister’s bike and ran into a tree. Now the bike is broken. What should she do? (c) Anne wrote on the wall with a crayon. Her mother asked who did it? What should Anne say? (d) Jimmy ate all the cookies mother made for dinner. Mother asked who did it? What should Jimmy do? (e) Susan sees some girls teasing a younger child. What should she do? Clear a space in the middle of the room. Have the children sit on the floor. Pass a beanbag around while singing “I Believe in Being Honest” (Children’s Songbook, p. 149). When the music stops, have the child holding the beanbag suggest an honest way of dealing with one of the situations. Make a list of the situations for each child, and suggest that they play this game with their family.
6. Invite a family or a group of older Primary children from your ward to dramatize the story of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:1–10. Explain to the children the setting for the story. Tell them that though people rarely die because of a lie, we can never hide a lie from Heavenly Father.
7. Explain to the children that being dishonest is wrong. Tell them that when they are dishonest, they lose the companionship of the Holy Ghost and feel very sad. Remind them that when they make a mistake, they can repent and feel good again. Read “Pumpkins and Candles” (Friend, Oct. 1994, pp. 27–29) or “Candy Bar” (Friend, Sep. 1993, pp. 44–46). Discuss how the child in the story felt.
8. For additional sharing time help on honesty, see “I Believe in Being Honest” (Friend, Sep. 1993, pp. 36–37).