Q&A: Questions and Answers


Answers are intended for help and perspective, not as pronouncements of Church doctrine.

I know it’s wrong to cheat. But so many kids at school do, that I’m afraid they’ll beat me out for scholarships. Don’t I deserve an equal chance?

New Era

When you stand before the Lord someday, you will be judged by what kind of person you have become, not by a transcript of your grades.

You may have heard the saying, “Cheaters never win,” but what you seem to be noticing is cheaters not only getting away with it but seeming to win by getting unearned good grades.

The truth is that cheaters really never do win. Dishonesty, in any form, can lead to much more serious problems, including a loss of spirituality, testimony, integrity, and reputation. Also, the subjects you are studying will be the education you rely on your whole life, not only the information you learn but the character you build by being honest. Other students may try to make excuses by saying that they really don’t need to learn a certain subject because they intend to follow a profession that doesn’t require that subject. But all types of learning help you in your life.

What if you are having a difficult time with the subject you are studying? Where can you turn? Go to your teacher and ask for assistance. Ask your parents to help if they can, or have a friend explain your homework to you, or sign up for a tutor. Most of all, turn to the Lord in prayer and ask for his help in understanding principles and recalling information.

A grade earned by cheating is hollow. Cheaters don’t know the information, so they cannot continue their studies in that subject until they go back and learn the material. In other words, if you copy answers instead of learning how to figure math problems or understand history or complete a science experiment, then you can’t go on. You will be continually frustrated learning new material since you never mastered the old. In the end, cheating hurts the cheater worst of all.

One of our readers who answered this question, Mirra Evans, 14, from Salt Lake City, Utah, had some excellent advice. “There are short-term and long-term consequences to cheating. A scholarship is a short-term reward, but it may be harder to cheat in college; and even if you do find a way, there’s no way to do so in real life. You will be a more valuable employee because you will have real knowledge.”

Cheaters pay a big spiritual price. It will damage your spirit. Even if you cover up the feelings of guilt, you will one day have to answer for all your actions before the Lord. Mirra mentioned, “Cheating is also a form of lying, and Jacob put it most bluntly in 2 Nephi 9:34 when he said, ‘Wo unto the liar, for he shall be thrust down to hell.’” [2 Ne. 9:34]

Part of our purpose in this life is to learn and progress while in a mortal state. But developing strong integrity will be one valuable asset we can take with us. Whatever reward cheating might appear to bring, it is never worth your eternal soul. Learn how to love learning. It will give you confidence and bring you happiness.

Readers

With hard work and study, you will be more successful than anyone who cheats. You will be blessed because of your honesty and integrity. Remember that scholarships are also given based on strong recommendations from teachers and high ACT and SAT scores, which need to be earned.

Tyler Vigue, 17 Pleasantville, New Jersey

A year ago I faced a teacher to tell him about the continuous cheating in our class. He decided to grade the class in a way that hurt those cheating as well as many who were honest. Though that lowered my grade point average, I know I need to be an example and stand for integrity. I know the Lord will help me.

Name Withheld

Remember that with the Lord at your side you can accomplish much more than you can accomplish on your own. And there’s no better way to assure that the Lord is on your side than by being obedient to his commandments. The grade that counts the most is the grade the Lord gives you.

Crystal Allen, 14 Farmington, Maine

We must pray in faith for success in whatever we try to do in school, in our families, and at church. If you cheat, you’ll only be cheating yourself of knowledge and peace of heart.

Elizabeth Cunha, 16 Kerman, California

The Lord will help you compete as long as you are honest. I’ve been in that situation before in school exams, and the only way I got through was by being honest.

Patrick Blackburn, 15 Belfast, Northern Ireland

You have no self-respect when you know you are not doing the right things. Even if someone who cheats seems to be doing well, in the end they will have gone nowhere. Choosing to be honest leaves you with peaceful assurance.

Lisa Krommenhoek, 14 Pleasant Grove, Utah

The 13th article of faith pronounces our belief in being “honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men.” If we truly apply these gospel principles in our lives, they will set us apart from the cheaters. [A of F 1:13]

Daniel J. Devine, 18 Lacey, Washington

In James 4:17, it says, “to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” Read and study hard, praying with faith that God will help you without having to cheat. If we cheat after knowing that cheating is wrong, it is sin.

Sister Patsy Erubani 23 Nigeria Enugu Mission

In Alma 7:20, it says that God “cannot walk in crooked paths … [or turn] from that which is right to that which is wrong.” We must be honest in all things to become like him.

Stephen Demetillo, 17 Pigcawayan, Cotabato, Philippines

[photo] Photography by Bryant Livingston; posed by models

[illustration] As a young man, Daniel, a prophet of the Old Testament, was brought to the king, who tried to persuade him to compromise his beliefs and righteous living. Daniel refused to do as the king ordered, and the Lord helped him. The Lord even went so far as to stop the mouths of lions to preserve Daniel (see Dan. 1; Dan 6).

Whenever we strive to do what is right, it pleases the Lord, even when it is overcoming the temptation to cheat. (Painting Daniel in the Lion’s Den by Clark Kelley Price.)