Elder Matthew L. Carpenter invites students to be honest in all dealings and doings

Elder Matthew L. Carpenter of the Seventy gives a BYU devotional message to students. He testified of the importance of honesty and following the example of Jesus Christ. (Reihana Wilson)

Elder Matthew L. Carpenter of the Seventy discussed and testified of the importance of being honest and striving to follow Jesus Christ in a campus devotional on Dec. 5.

To begin his address, he shared a story of a missionary completing his mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who chose to be honest and truthful in his dealings with money that his mission president gave him.

He could have used it for personal gain or to help his family in Liberia, he said, but instead chose to use it only for travel purposes, giving the remainder to his Church leader at home. He chose honesty despite his difficult circumstances.

Elder Carpenter quoted President Howard W. Hunter when he said, “We should always remember that we are never alone. There is no act that is not observed; there is no word spoken that is not heard; there is no thought conceived in the mind of man that is not known to God. There is no darkness that can conceal the things we do.”

To understand more of what God and Jesus Christ are like, Elder Carpenter taught about Their truth and divinity. They are beings with no darkness in Them, he said.

Because God and Christ are full of light, “It is contrary to Their nature to lie or hide some dark deed in a shadow,” he said.

He mentioned it is sometimes difficult to feel worthy or successful because Satan seeks to lie and make us believe these things. Elder Carpenter said that God will keep His promises.

“When He says we are His child, a child of God, we can believe it,” he said. “When God says we are forgiven, we can believe it.”

During the devotional, Elder Carpenter put a QR code on the large screen for students to complete a short survey about their religious interviews, social media accuracy and academic integrity. This allowed students to take this survey and answer how honest they are to Church leaders, how accurate they are in presenting themselves on social media and how often they refrain from cheating during exams and assignments.

The results were shown on the screen, and Elder Carpenter talked about what it means to be honest.

“While not telling lies is certainly a component of being honest, honesty is not just about not lying. It is also about not deceiving, misleading or stating half-truths,” he said.

He gave a life example from each of these three categories.

When Elder Carpenter was a stake president, a young man was preparing to serve a mission. After a couple of interviews, he ultimately confessed a sinful addiction he’d had for a long time.

“If we lie and enter the mission field unworthily, or lie and obtain a BYU endorsement unworthily, or lie and enter the temple unworthily, we compound our sins.”

Elder Carpenter said lying pushes the Holy Ghost away, and “we are not thinking celestial” when dishonest behavior occurs.

Regarding how people represent themselves online, Elder Carpenter said it is acceptable and normal to make a good impression and look the best as possible, “as long as we are honest.”

He stressed the importance of honesty in relationships, especially in marriage, and mentioned President Nelson’s teaching of salvation being a personal matter but exaltation being a family matter.

Elder Carpenter shared an experience from when he was a BYU professor years ago. He was speaking to another professor about students who cheat. This professor explained that students “rob themselves of the opportunity that school was designed to be” when they cheat.

“If you are honest, you do not cheat,” Elder Carpenter said.

He related this concept to the Savior performing the Atonement. Christ suffered for everyone, taking no short cuts, he said. Jesus did not cheat while performing the Atonement, “bypassing anyone with the last name that begins with the letter ‘A’ or ‘Z.'”

Elder Carpenter closed his devotional message with an invitation to “follow Jesus Christ and be honest in all you do.” He promised that as one is honest, one is happier and full of light.

He testified to students that Christ did not skip over them, or anyone on earth, and invited them to be true, honest disciples of Jesus Christ.

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