Mormons consider honesty to be an important virtue, and who doesn’t?  I learned pretty quick that my mom

would punish me for lying → could read my mind → so I might as well tell the truth

When I told a whopper, my mom made me suck on a bar of Ivory™, perhaps in the vain hope some of that 99.44% pure would rub off on me.  It was in those crucial formative years that I honed the lying skills that have served me so well in life. “Learn quick or suck soap” about summed it up.

Credit:  Public domain/fair use/Ivory is a trademark of Proctor and Gamble Co.

As I grew up, I discovered l was surrounded by lies.  My dad bought and assembled all those toys, not Santa and the elves.  Thunder wasn’t God moving furniture.  Touching the radio buttons didn’t blow up the car.  And what a shock to learn that even Sunday school teachers told lies.  I mean, what higher moral authority was there?

My brothers and sisters gleefully informed me I was never going to see my cat Frisky or my grandma in Heaven.  Also, not everything I learned in Sunday School was true.  The Earth grew all by itself like a giant snowball, people were really animals, and all animals developed from simpler animals.  So, not only were humans mere animals, God didn’t even make the whole world in a week.  Turns out everything is literally a lie.

Credit:  Public domain/fair use/Sistine Chapel fresco by Michelangelo

As I wended my weary way through the public school system, I learned stuff.  It turns out that the world as we experience it actually happened just under a tenth second ago.  Not only that, but the objects we consider solid are 99% empty space and made of a kind of boiling foam that pops in and out of existence.  Turns out everything I knew was a lie, and everything I experienced was a lie.

Then I met my wife, somehow tricked her into marrying me, and started my real education.  The first thing I learned was that my wife

will punish me for lying → can read my mind → so I might as well tell the truth

Somehow, being married brings everything into focus.  It separates all that philosophical stuff from bare reality.  When your wife asks if a dress makes her look fat, the truth is that she is drop dead gorgeous.  The best way to win every argument is to say “I was wrong”.  A little love every day beats a giant fancy anniversary card. Turns out, being married taught me the truth with perfect clarity.

So what about you?  What have you learned about truth and honesty during your spiritual journey?  Is there a disconnect between religious teachings about honesty and what we learn in real life?  How do we cope with a disconnect between what we believe and what we know?  Do our spiritual leaders and teachers have an obligation to be completely honest?