Lesson 36: Honesty

Young Women Manual 2, (1993), 138–40


Each young woman will realize the importance of being honest in all her relationships.


Assign young women to present any scriptures, stories, or quotations you wish.

Suggested Lesson Development

Honesty Brings Happiness


Ardeth G. Kapp, former Young Women General President, told about an experience she had with honesty. When she was a student at Brigham Young University, she accidentally left her wallet in a telephone booth. The wallet contained ten dollars, which was all the money she had at the time. She never found the wallet, but nine years later, she received a note from a woman who said she wanted to “settle some unfinished business at BYU.” Sister Kapp called the woman and found out what had happened to the wallet.

“I learned that this young woman, now a wife and mother, had been in nurses training at BYU. She had worked to put herself through school, but she needed an additional ten dollars for tuition, so she turned to her boyfriend for help. She had promised to return the loan by the following Friday. When Friday arrived, in spite of her earnest prayers, she was still short ten dollars.

“Seemingly without reason, she had walked into the telephone booth and found an old worn wallet. She explained how her heart started to pound since she’d never been tempted like this before. She held her breath as she opened it to find a single ten dollar bill. Then the question: Was this indeed an answer to her prayer?

“She interrupted her steady flow of words to explain that since then she had learned that Satan knows when we are being tested and when under pressure we might weaken. We can be sure, she explained, that he will be there if there is a chance we might fall.

“And then picking up the story again, she told of paying her boyfriend, whom she later married, graduating in nursing, and now raising a beautiful family and rejoicing in the blessings of the gospel.

“Her voice choked with emotion as she painfully related the details about the old wallet. She emphasized how she had been taught right from wrong and how she was well acquainted with the principle of honesty. Her conscience had prompted her, but she listened to the wrong voice and acted contrary to that which she knew was right. She explained how taking the money had seemed justified at the time and hardly seemed like a sin at all. But for nine years her faithful conscience had never been at peace in that particular matter. …

“For nine years, through many moves, the old burden had lain deeply tucked away in her top dresser drawer. It seemed impossible for her to throw away the wallet, though she’d considered it many times. There is no way you can throw away a wrong, and yet, there was no way, as far as she knew, to return the wallet.

“One day while she was straightening the drawer, the old wallet surfaced again. This time she felt she must get rid of it, but only the right way. She had learned many valuable lessons over the years, and she had a quiet assurance that even this had served a purpose.

“She thoughtfully opened the old wallet once again, and while examining it this time her fingers uncovered a small, orange card tucked away in a tiny compartment not previously noticed. This orange card would prove to be the key to unloading her burden. The card gave the address of the Calgary Clinic in Alberta, Canada, where the medical exam for a student’s visa had been given. She became excited with the thought that this time she might clean her top drawer in every detail.

“With a prayer in her heart she took a chance and sent a letter ‘to whom it may concern’ to the Calgary Clinic to be forwarded if possible. It was forwarded first to my parents in Canada, and then back to Utah where it finally reached its intended destination. Contact had been made, but the wallet was yet to be returned. During the telephone conversation she indicated the wallet would be mailed that very day.”

Sister Kapp asked the young woman to come to her office and deliver the wallet in person, which the young woman did.

“As though she had rehearsed this experience in her mind a hundred times, she reached out her steady hand, looked me squarely in the eye, and handed me the wallet. Her steady gaze reflected the radiance of a good and honest life.

“Then her eyes dropped as she whispered, ‘Will you please forgive me? I want to be honest.’ Words would not come. I could only reach for her hand and nod affirmatively. From my office, I watched her walk away from my desk and out the front door.

“‘Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.’ (D&C 58:42.)

“I went to the window to watch her with her shoulders square, head erect, and with a lilt in her step as she turned the corner out of sight. Returning to my desk I again heard her words, ‘Will you please forgive me? I want to be honest’” (Ardeth G. Kapp, “Will You Please Forgive Me? I Want to Be Honest,” New Era, July 1976, pp. 7–9).


  • Who suffered most because of the stolen wallet? Why?

  • In what ways does being honest bless our lives? (Others can trust us; we have a clear conscience and peace of mind.)

  • Why is it important to be able to trust those you associate with at home, school, and work?

  • Why do you want others, including your parents, to be able to trust you?

Ask the young women to share experiences they have had with choosing to be honest. Ask: How did the choice to be honest bring you happiness?

We Should Follow the Savior’s Example in Being Honest


  • How might we define honesty?

President Marion G. Romney used the following definition: “Honesty implies freedom from lying, stealing, cheating, and bearing false witness” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1976, p. 50; or Ensign, Nov. 1976, p. 36).

  • Have you ever told someone you would do something and then, for one reason or another, you did not do it? Is this being honest? In what other ways are we tempted to be dishonest?


Explain that a truly honest person loves the truth and seeks the good in life as explained in the thirteenth article of faith. Have the thirteenth article of faith (found in the Pearl of Great Price) read aloud.

Scripture discussion

Explain that we should each be striving to become more like our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Ask the young women to locate the following scriptures and discuss what they teach about the Savior.

Alma 7:20

Ether 3:11–12

Moses 4:30

Help the young women understand that the Lord is totally honest. Whatever he says he will do, he does.

Teacher presentation

Emphasize that to be honest, we must be true to our principles and standards. There may be times in each young woman’s life when it will not be popular to be honest, times when a young woman may be shunned for being true to her standards. Everyone needs to be accepted and loved. However, a young woman does not gain lasting respect by giving in to social pressure and violating her personal standards. She may gain temporary popularity, but never lasting respect.

Ask the young women to describe times when they have maintained their standards against social pressure. Ask how they felt about the experience.


  • Why do many people not of our faith respect us when we maintain our standards?

  • How can you hurt yourself and others when you fail to maintain your personal standards?

Scripture discussion

Have the young women read Doctrine and Covenants 3:7–8. Discuss the message.

  • How is giving in to social pressure fearing “man more than God”?

Teacher testimony

Explain that a young woman need not be untrue to her principles to be popular and loved. Integrity and the determination to think and act for herself will cause others to respect her. Personal integrity is of far greater value than social acceptance. As a young woman works to become honest, she can always call upon the Lord for help, and he will bless and support her.



Read the following statement by President Gordon B. Hinckley:

“The Lord requires his people to be honest. May we desire with all our hearts to be honest in all our relationships and in all the things that we do. God will help us if we seek the strength that comes from him. Sweet then will be our peace of mind and our lives. Blessed will be those with whom we live and associate. And God will bless and guide us with his loving care” (“We Believe in Being Honest,” Ensign, Oct. 1990, p. 5).