Chapter 18: We Believe in Being Honest

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At its surface, Howard W. Hunter Chapter 18: We Believe in Being Honest seems like a simple lesson- one that should be (and is) given in Primary. Why would it be included in an adult manual? As Howard W. Hunter said, "Why is it so many believe in the high and lofty principles of honesty, yet so few are willing to be strictly honest?" Many may profess to be honest but few are actually completely honest.


As adults we tend to rationalize honesty away. We justify silence when we should have spoken up. We even lie to ourselves! Think about your day or week for a minute. Can you honestly say as you went through your entire day that you were completely honest? Did you obey all traffic laws, rules and regulations, speak nothing but the truth and do exactly as you should have? 

Click the image above to print the handouts

Dishonesty is often glamorized in movies as the "only" way but it is not. We must be honest in our dealings with each other and ourselves. Those who think it is hard to be honest 100% of the time are those that aren't being honest. Once you are, it's completely freeing. 

Teaching Ideas

  • What a tangled web we weave when we are dishonest. Use the analogy of a spider web to demonstrate the importance of honesty. Now that Halloween is around the corner, you can grab spider web bags and cheap plastic spider rings. Spread it out in front of your class then talk about dishonest things we've either heard, seen or even committed ourselves. For each one you can either add more web to the board or add a spider. The above poster relates to this web concept.
  • Divide your whiteboard into 3 sections: Honesty in the Home; Honesty at Work/School; Honesty in the Car- or other places that are common in your area. Use the Pin It sheet to draw or write an example of honesty in one of those settings (or dishonesty). Ask them to add it to the correct section before class starts. Begin your lesson talking about different examples and definitions of honesty.
  • Honest people have a lot less weight on their shoulders. Use a balance to demonstrate this or try to balance blocks on top of an item for every dishonest act your class shouts out. When you are dishonest, you have to balance that act in order to delay the consequences. Eventually everything falls down and you have to pay the price. However, when an honest person sees a police car in a speed trap, they don't even worry. They are doing nothing wrong. It's a much more freeing way to live.
  • Use this Honesty lesson packet to help you teach this lesson. It includes a cute handout idea and posters. 
  • Use the key and square handout about to talk about the importance of integrity and how it leads to success. In the picture about the key is yellow- I made one sheet black and white so you can print it out on yellow paper instead and save some ink. You can use this analogy further by using door cut outs with questions on the door and scriptures or quotes behind the doors.
  • Use the key example again but this time with a cage. Inside you can put a doll or photo to represent each of us. We are the ones that trap ourselves in that cage. If we choose integrity instead, we set ourselves free.
  • Head over to this Primary lesson help and print out the traffic signs. Write quotes on the signs to hang in your room or break up into groups and have each group define honesty on the signs or for another discussion question. 
  • The quote included in the free poster above talks about how we don't choose good or evil when we act;  we choose once we start to think about those things. Even as an adult we should be making choices ahead of time so that when we are confronted with such temptations, it is an easy choice. Demonstrate this choice with placing webs on one side of the room or table and flowers or something else that signifies good on the other side of the table. What would you rather sit next to? Are your choices allowing you to sit where you would like?

Questions to Ponder

  • What does does being honest include? How would you define it?
  • What are some consequences of dishonest practices? 
  • What can the consequences mentioned in section 1 teach you about why the Lord emphasizes being honest?
  • Why is it just as important to be honest in the little things?
  • Are you honest with yourself? What does that mean?
  • How can you overcome the temptations to be just a little dishonest?
  • How can you make religion a part of everything you do in your daily life?
  • How can you improve in being honest?
  • What can you do to teach honesty effectively in your home?
  • What are some of the blessings for living an honest life with integrity? 
  • What is integrity?
  • How does someone develop integrity?
  • How have you been blessed for your honesty?
  • How can honesty bring you joy?
  • Why is it necessary to be honest in order to have the companionship of the Holy Ghost?
  • In what ways does honesty set you free?
  • Why is it dangerous to let the little dishonest acts go?
  • Why do so many believe in honesty but aren't willing to be honest?

Suggested Study Schedule

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Howard W. Hunter Chapter 18: We Believe in Being Honest


Job 27:5

Job 31:5-6

Psalm 15

Proverbs 20:7

Alma 53:20-21

D&C 10:25-28

D&C 42:20-21, 27

D&C 51:9

D&C 124:15

D&C 136:20, 25-26

Articles of Faith 1:13

Watch: "Be Honest" (about 1 minute)

Listen: "Do What is Right" (about 3 1/2 minutes)


"Honesty- a Moral Compass" by President James E. Faust "Honesty is more than not lying. It is truth telling, truth speaking, truth living, and truth loving."


"Be Honest" by Elder David A. Bednar "People of integrity and honesty not only practice what they preach, they are what they preach."


"I Believe in Being Honest and True" by Sister Ann M. Dibb "When we are honest in all things, big and small, we experience peace of mind and a clear conscience. Our relationships are enriched because they are based on trust."


"We Believe in Being Honest" by President Gordon B. Hinckley "We cannot be less than honest, we cannot be less than true, we cannot be less than virtuous if we are to keep sacred the trust given us."


"Ethics and Honesty" by Elder David B. Haight "Honesty is not only the best policy, it is the only policy!"