Q&A: Questions and Answers


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

Some of my friends lie about their age at the movie theater so they can get in for children’s prices. I’m afraid my friends will think I’m silly if I don’t go along. How should I handle this?

New Era

In this situation—whether or not to admit to your correct age and pay more for a movie ticket—there is no gray area. You should choose to be honest and pay the correct amount for your ticket.

The problem comes when your friends decide to try to cheat and get away with paying less, then give you a hard time for not joining them. It’s easy to start thinking that being honest in this instance isn’t very important. You may even start rationalizing, making up excuses such as, It’s only a couple of dollars that the movie theater won’t miss, or I don’t have much money anyway because I’m just a kid and it’s not fair to charge adult prices.

But rationalizing can never make cheating right. And the value of being honest in all your dealings, even in small things, is that it becomes a good habit and becomes part of your character. Just because your friends think it’s funny or cute to try to get away with something can put pressure on you. But if you start standing up for yourself at this early age, it will become easier for you to keep the covenants you’ve made to follow Christ. You will likely have to face even more difficult situations in the future.

How much would it cost for someone to buy your reputation for honesty? Would you sell your honesty for $5,000 or $10,000? If you wouldn’t sell for any price, then why would you give it up for two dollars at a movie theater?

If the clerk in a store gave you too much change, would you just keep it because it’s a little bit of money and it wasn’t your fault the clerk made a mistake? Of course not. When you get in the habit of correcting mistakes when you notice them, and being honest even when the amount of money isn’t large, then you will find it easy always to choose honesty.

Again, your friends may give you a bad time because you refuse to go along with them, and it is not pleasant to have people make fun of you or ridicule you. But you don’t have to say much back. Let your actions speak for you. At this young age, your friends may still be learning what it means to be a person of integrity. They will see you growing up into the kind of person your parents and your Heavenly Father—and you yourself—want you to become. Then when you are interviewed by the bishop for a recommend in preparation for a temple trip, you can answer yes with confidence to his question about being honest.

Readers

We all know that lying is bad and wrong. You may be able to get away with it, but then you will have a guilty conscience. I think you should always stand up for what you believe, even if it means losing a friend. You will be rewarded in the end if you do this, and your friends might even look up to you and follow your good example.

Stacie Larson, 12 American Fork, Utah

It doesn’t really matter about a few extra dollars to go to the theaters. It’s worth more to know you have obeyed a big commandment in life. Don’t worry; just tell your true age.

Heath White, 12 Cowpens, South Carolina

Though this may be hard now, you should tell the truth and do what’s right. It took me a long time to realize how important the Church is to me, and now that I do, I want to do everything I can to be worthy of this privilege. This will help you make difficult decisions like this one.

Heather Dahlquist, 16 Hamburg, Germany

It doesn’t matter how much it costs; you shouldn’t lie to save money.

Jared Brunner, 13 Buena Park, California

I know sometimes my friends do that, but I just buy the adult ticket. When they ask me why, I say, “I don’t need to buy a kid’s ticket because I’m an adult.” Don’t worry what your friends have to say. Try to be honest.

Haley Hurst, 13 Coppell, Texas

If your friends are good friends, then you shouldn’t have any problems. If you keep doing what is right, then maybe it will rub off on them and they will stop being dishonest about their age and other things.

Nathan Philpott, 16 Hoehne, Colorado

While you’re waiting in line, have the full amount ready. When it’s your turn, don’t look at your friends. It may discourage you. Pay the money and answer honestly all questions your friends may ask. Most importantly, ask your Father in Heaven for strength to do what is right.

Kristi Ryan, 13 Brooks, Alberta, Canada

In this situation or any, ask yourself, What would Jesus do? Then, as our prophet has challenged us, have the courage to act upon it. If you don’t feel silly about yourself, your confidence will show and your friends will see that.

Jamie Hynes, 16 West Jordan, Utah

Do what you know is right, and everything else will fall into place.

Renee Carey, 13 Warrenton, Missouri

[photo] Photography by Matt Reier; posed by models

[illustration] In answer to a letter asking about the Church’s beliefs, the Prophet Joseph wrote the Articles of Faith. The thirteenth states, “We believe in being honest.” A question about being honest is part of the interview for a temple recommend. As Church members, we place great emphasis on being honest with those we have dealings with. (Painting by Dale Kilbourn.)