Lesson 34: Avoiding Dishonesty

Young Women Manual 3, (1994), 123–25


Each young woman will avoid dishonesty and its consequences.


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

Suggested Lesson Development

We Are Commanded to Be Honest

Teacher presentation

  • Have any of you seen a trap or snare used with animals? What did it look like?

Explain that for centuries, men have used traps, snares, and pits to capture and possibly kill animals. Satan also uses various types of traps, snares, and pits to capture us and eventually kill the influence of the Holy Spirit within us. One of his most common traps is dishonesty.


Ask the young women to name some of the many forms of dishonesty. You may want to write these in a column on the left side of the chalkboard. Possible responses include lying, cheating, deceiving, not making the best use of time, violation of traffic laws, not giving a day’s work for a day’s pay, not paying financial obligations, not telling the whole truth.


Read the following quotation by Elder Gordon B. Hinckley: “On Mount Sinai the finger of the Lord wrote the law on tablets of stone: ‘Thou shalt not steal.’ (Exodus 20:15.) There was neither enlargement nor rationalization. And then that declaration was accompanied by three other commandments, the violation of each of which involves dishonesty: ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery.’ ‘Thou shalt not bear false witness.’ ‘Thou shalt not covet.’ (Exodus 20:14, 16–17.)” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1976, pp. 91–92; or Ensign, May 1976, p. 61).

Explain that honesty is one of the most basic principles of the gospel. Many people say that honesty is the best policy, but honesty is more than a policy—it is a happy way of life.

Dishonesty Has Many Negative Consequences

Chalkboard discussion

  • What are some of the consequences of dishonesty?

You may want to write the young women’s responses in a column on the right side of the chalkboard.

Case studies and discussion

Describe the following case studies to the young women. Allow them to discuss each one and decide what will be the consequences of dishonesty in each case. Add their comments to the list on the right side of the chalkboard.

Case Study 1

You are living away from home in an apartment with a very close friend. You have always shared things with her that she has asked to borrow. Lately you have noticed that she is using items that you haven’t given her permission to use. She keeps them for a long time, and when she returns them, they are often torn and dirty. How would this behavior affect your relationship with your roommate? If you were to do things like this, how would others’ opinions of you change?

Case Study 2

Sally heard some unkind gossip about Carma. She knew the story was false but did not speak in Carma’s defense. How could Sally be considered dishonest? If Sally repeats the lie, how would she be affected? How would Carma be affected? How might Sally feel if she comes forth with the truth?

Case Study 3

Beth’s family never seems to have enough money for all the things she wants. Almost every day she asks her parents for something new that she has seen someone else enjoying. Because they will not provide everything she asks for, she is beginning to think of ways to obtain the things by herself. How can coveting lead to dishonesty? What might be the consequences of coveting in Beth’s life?

After the discussion, the chalkboard list may include the following:

  • People do not trust you

  • Conscience becomes dull

  • Loss of reputation

  • Damaged relationships with family members and friends

  • Bad habits established

  • Loss of respect

  • Holy Ghost departs

  • Self-respect lessens

  • Who suffers when a person is dishonest? Let the young women discuss.

Emphasize that many people suffer, including the person who is dishonest.

Honesty Brings Happiness


Read the following quotation from Elder Howard W. Hunter:

“We often speak of that scriptural reference, ‘Man is that he might have joy.’ There is a joy that comes to one from being honest. Let me tell you how. By this means you can have the companionship of the Master and you can have the Spirit of the Holy Ghost. Violations of the code of honesty will deprive you of these two great blessings. … If we would have the companionship of the Master and the Spirit of the Holy Ghost, we must be honest with ourselves, honest with God, and with our fellowmen. This results in true joy” (“Basic Concepts of Honesty,” New Era, Feb. 1978, p. 5).

  • In what ways does being honest help us to have the companionship of the Savior and guidance of the Holy Ghost?


Tell the following story about an African young woman who blessed herself as well as others because of her honesty:

“Early in the morning today I went to the municipality offices in Dombo Tombo, and while we were in line a woman dropped a $20 note on the ground. I saw it fall and told her about it. She picked it up and said, ‘Thank you.’

“Many of the other people in line said to me, ‘You are stupid. You are foolish. Why didn’t you take the money and buy your own things?’

“But I said, ‘No, I shall never do that because I am a child of God.’

“When the others calmed down, an older man who was standing behind me said quietly, ‘Do you go to church? It seems as if you are a good girl.’

“And I said, ‘Yes, I go to church.’

“And he said, ‘What is the name of your church?’

“I said, ‘It is called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If you want to, you can come to the Dombo Tombo Hall on Tuesday nights at 5:30 p.m. or on Sunday at half past ten and I will meet you there.’

“And the man said, ‘Oh, yes! I will come!’

“So I am very happy about what I did today” (Esinath Mutumanji, “Today in Dombo Tombo,” New Era, May 1992, p. 44).

  • How did this young woman bless her own life by her honesty? How did she bless the lives of others?


Tell the following story about how one of the Lord’s leaders in South America learned to be honest:

“When Ben Pantoja of Santiago, Chile, was six years old, his parents went to a nearby city to buy groceries for the family. After they had gone, Ben’s eight-year-old brother said, ‘Let’s go get an ice cream cone.’

“Now, an ice cream cone for Ben and his little sister Mercedes was a special treat. They asked their brother what they would do for money. He said their father had told him if they wanted a treat he could take the money from the chest where they kept the family budget. Ben knew in his heart that was not the truth, but the anticipation of the ice cream overwhelmed his sense of what was right.

“They had their ice cream cone. When their parents returned home, Ben’s mother went to the chest to return the change from their trip to the market and noticed that money was missing. The children were questioned and the truth discovered.

“Ben Pantoja made up his mind that night that he would never be dishonest again, that he would never go contrary to what he knew to be right. Today he is one of the Lord’s chosen leaders in South America because he has kept his resolve” (Lynn Mickelsen, “Stretching the Truth,” New Era, Apr. 1992, p. 4).

Class member stories

Ask the young women to share experiences they have had that show that honesty brings happiness.

Thought question

Ask the young women to look carefully at their own lives and decide whether there is something they need to stop doing today in order to be honest. Explain that we can each resolve today to be better throughout the rest of our lives.


Quotation and chalkboard

Elder Marvin J. Ashton has given us a guide by which we can determine whether something is honest. Simply ask yourself: “‘Is it right? Is it true?’ not ‘Is it expedient, satisfactory, convenient, or profitable?’” Then follow your honest answer. (In Conference Report, Apr. 1982, p. 13; or Ensign, May 1982, p. 11.)

Write the following two questions on the chalkboard: “Is it right? Is it true?”

Encourage the young women to ask themselves these questions when they have questions about whether something is honest.