This is the 160th post in the General Conference Odyssey. We’re covering the Sunday morning session of the April 1982 General Conference.
Although there were a couple of great talks in this session, the one that stood out to me was Elder Faust’s talk, Integrity, the Mother of Many Virtues.
Integrity is the value we set on ourselves. It is a fulfillment of the duty we owe ourselves. An honorable man or woman will personally commit to live up to certain self-imposed expectations. They need no outside check or control. They are honorable in their inner core.
I immediately recognized this teaching from my childhood. Although not using those words, this is the lesson more than any other that my father taught me when I was growing up, and I’ve always been grateful for his example of what integrity looks like.
The statement above—that “integrity is the value we set on ourselves” is just the first of the three principles of integrity that Elder Faust talked about. It is about, as Elder Faust put it, “dealing justly with oneself.” It forms the foundation for the second, “dealing justly with others.”
Those who unjustly profit at the expense of others may gain a fortune, but they forfeit something more important, which is their own integrity. Taking advantage of others is a counterfeit form of true success and honor.
The third aspect of integrity is the one that I found the most interesting. It is “recognizing the law of the harvest.” It made sense as Elder Faust explained it, however, saying that “Working for what we receive is a cardinal, timeless principle of self-respect.”
My favorite part of the talk came at the end, however.
There need to be some absolutes in life. There are some things that should not ever be done, some lines that should never be crossed, vows that should never be broken, words that should never be spoken, and thoughts that should never be entertained.
After this stern admonition, Elder Faust followed it up with, “Yet there is a place for mercy, for equity, and for forgiveness.” This is one of those perennial paradoxes of Christianity. The standards are pluck-out-your-own-eye high, but failure is treated with gentle tenderness as long as we’re sincerely trying.