Nothing is needed more than truth, and in relation to it everything else has only second-rate value." This unconditional will to truth-what is it? Is it the will not to allow oneself to be deceived? Or is it the will not to deceive? For the will to truth could be interpreted in the second way, too-if only the special case "I do not want to deceive myself" is subsumed under the generalization "I do not want to deceive." But why not deceive? But why not allow oneself to be deceived? Note that the reasons for the former principle belong to an altogether different realm from those for the second. One does not want to allow oneself to be deceived because one assumes that it is harmful, dangerous, calamitous to be deceived. In this sense, science would be a long-range prudence, a caution, a utility; but one could object in all fairness: How is that? Is wanting not to allow oneself to be deceived really less harmful, less dangerous, less calamitous? What do you know in advance of the character of existence to be able to decide whether the greater advantage is on the side of the unconditionally mistrustful or of the unconditionally trusting?
He felt all the torment of his and her position, all the difficulties they were surrounded by in consequence of their station in life, which exposed them to the eyes of the whole world, obliged them to hide their love, to lie and deceive, and again to lie and deceive, to scheme and constantly think about others while the passion that bound them was so strong that they both forgot everything but their love.
The idea of sin being able to deceive us, suppressing truth so that we believe a lie, should send shivers down our spines. It is one thing to deceive other people. That is scary enough. It is even more frightening when we realize that each lie we tell leaves us more self-deceived. All practiced sin teaches us to believe lies. WE don't often consider the boomerang effect of our deception. In the end it will get us.
Edward T. Welch
But it seems to me that a man cannot and ought not to say that he loves, he said. Why not? I asked. Because it will always be a lie. As though it were a strange sort of discovery that someone is in love! Just as if, as soon as he said that, something went snap-bang - he loves. Just as if, when he utters that word, something extraordinary is bound to happen, with signs and portents, and all the cannons firing at once. It seems to me, he went on, that people who solemnly utter those words, 'I love you,' either deceive themselves, or what's still worse, deceive others.
In order to deceive others, it is necessary also to deceive oneself. The actor playing Hamlet must indeed believe that he is the Prince of Denmark, though when he leaves the stage he will usually remember who he really is. On the other hand, when someone's entire life is based on pretense, they will seldom if ever return to reality. That is the secret of successful politicians, evangelists and confidence tricksters-they believe that they are telling the truth, even when they know that they have faked the evidence. Sincerity, my dear Julia, is a quality not to be trusted.
Honesty is a principle, and we have our moral agency to determine how we will apply this principle. We have the agency to make choices, but ultimately we will be accountable for each choice we make. We may deceive others, but there is One we will never deceive. From the Book of Mormon we learn, "The keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for he cannot be deceived, for the Lord God is his name." [2 Nephi 9:41]
James E. Faust
What do Americans know about morality? They don't want their presidents to have penises but they don't mind if their presidents covertly arrange to support the Nicaraguan rebel forces after Congress has restricted such aid; they don't want their presidents to deceive their wives but they don't mind if their presidents deceive Congress- lie to the people and violate the people's constitution!