LESSON FIVE - Personal Honor and Integrity
To increase understanding of personal honor and integrity and inspire participants to be true at all times.
- This lesson is designed to be approximately 20 minutes unless more time is available.
- Seek the spirit in deciding which sections to emphasize. It is not critical that you cover all the material provided.
- Prayerfully study
- Consider the needs of the participants and prepare additional questions that promote discussion and connect the principles to apartment and family life.
- Be prepared to bear your testimony throughout the lesson at any time the spirit prompts.
- Integrity is being "true at all times" and under all conditions regardless of the immediate consequences (see Alma 53:20).
- Personal honor is integrity in fulfilling commitments, responsibilities, and covenants.
- Personal honor begins with willing obedience and is fully developed when we consistently govern ourselves by true principles.
- Personal honor and integrity increase spiritual strength through the ministry of the Holy Ghost.
- A person of integrity will assist others to be honest.
What is integrity?
"To me, integrity means always doing what is right and good, regardless of the immediate consequences. It means being righteous from the very depth of our soul, not only in our actions but, more importantly, in our thoughts and in our hearts. Personal integrity implies such trustworthiness and incorruptibility that we are incapable of being false to a trust or covenant" (Joseph B. Wirthlin, "Personal Integrity," Ensign, May 1990, 30).
Obedience in All Things
"My dear young brothers and sisters, the honor and dress codes are not obstacles designed by out-of-touch old people to hassle you during your time on the [BYU-Idaho] campus. Rather, the honor code is a lesser law preparation to enter the house of the Lord and make sacred covenants, and the dress code is a lesser law preparation for how you will dress and should act after you have entered into those covenants. If you struggle at [BYU-Idaho] to obey the lesser and preparatory guidelines contained in the honor and dress codes, then may I candidly suggest that you will not be prepared to make those covenants in the temple" (David A. Bednar, "In the Path of Their Duty," BYU-Idaho Devotional Address, Sept. 1, 1998, see p. 21 in the Student Living Guidebook). "Obedience to the small things creates a spirit of obedience in all things, and thus protects against evil and invites the blessings of heaven (President Kim B. Clark, "Out of Small Things Proceedeth That Which is Great," BYU-Idaho Devotional Address, Jan. 10, 2006, see p. 34 in the Student Living Guidebook ).
"Oh, brothers and sisters, don't leave the wounded on the battlefield! Stick together. You don't need to be a more 'righteous-than-thou' person. We are all sinners. We all have troubles. We have all been wounded spiritually. But you who have felt the redeeming power of Christ, you who know His love and His grace, you know He can heal all wounds. If you reach out in a spirit of love and humility, you can help the spiritually wounded find the Savior. If you need to, call for the medics: talk to your bishop, call the Dean of Students, tell someone who can do something that you have a friend in trouble. Don't be silent. Don't leave the wounded on the battlefield!" (Kim B. Clark, "The Power of the Holy Temple," BYU-Idaho Devotional Address, Jan. 15, 2008, see p. 29 in the Student Living Guidebook).
- Alma 53:20 "True at all Times"
- D&C 64:33-34 "Out of Small Things"
- Alma 37:6-7 "Small and Simple Things"
- Mosiah 2:41 "Blessed and Happy State"
Activity: Comparing Case Studies
Divide the group in half. Have one group read the scenario about Rachel. Have the other group read about Jared. Activity Resource
Scenario #1: Rachel
Rachel is a new freshman and is excited to be on campus for what she hopes will be a great year at BYU-Idaho. She really felt the Spirit at freshman orientation and was particularly impressed by a forum she attended in which she learned more about the Honor Code, personal honor, and the commitments she had promised to keep while attending the university. Rachel's roommates, Alea, Jennifer, Mandy, and Becca, are seniors and are living together for the third semester in a row. The first Friday of the semester the four seniors invited a bunch of friends over for a movie. They started the movie a bit later than planned, so it didn't end by curfew and their friends, including guys, finally trickled out around 1:30 a.m. The next morning Rachel approached Becca about the situation. She reminded Becca that boys and other guests were supposed to be back to their own apartments by 1 a.m. on Friday night. Becca just laughed and said, "Oh, it's no big deal!" Rachel, surprised by Becca's response, decided it was probably just a one-time thing. But it happened again two weeks later, and this time one of the guys spent a few minutes back in Becca's bedroom.
Scenario #2: Jared
As a transfer student, Jared is ecstatic to be at BYU- Idaho where he can live with people who share the same standards. The other five guys in the apartment have known each other for two semesters. They all seem cordial enough as they welcomed Jared into the apartment. Their first night together, Jared's roommates invited Jared out into the living room for a "roommate meeting." Jared's roommate, Andrew, begins by telling Jared how the other guys have grown accustomed to doing things a certain way over the past couple semesters. They have established their own apartment rules and they're not exactly congruent with the Honor Code. "We're adults now," Andrew reasoned, "and are old enough to govern ourselves. Plus, it's not like we break any of the big rules." In a way it made sense to Jared, yet he remained quiet and merely nodded his head. It can't be that bad, he thought. His mind changed, however, when one of the other roommates concluded by staring straight into Jared's eyes and said: "Basically, we'll have a great semester as long as we're loyal to one another and no one tries to be the Honor Code rat."
Questions for discussion
- How are these scenarios similar? How are they different?
- Have you experienced either disregard or contempt for the Honor Code among roommates, classmates, or neighbors?
- In which zone would you place Rachel's roommates?
- What about Jared's roommates?
- What can you do to help others move from zones of ignorance, hypocrisy, and/or rebellion to the zone of discipleship?
- Where do you find yourself on this map?
- Joseph B. Wirthlin, "Personal Integrity," Ensign, May 1990, 30. Kim B. Clark, "Out of Small Things Proceedeth That Which is Great," (see p. 34 in the Student Living Guidebook). BYU-Idaho Principles of Personal Honor and Honor Code (see p. 67 and p. 69 in the Student Living Guidebook). BYU-Idaho Apartment Living Standards (see p. 71 in the Student Living Guidebook).
A lesson is not complete until a challenge or invitation is extended which inspires and motivates participants to apply what they have learned. "It's in the doing, not just the thinking, that we accomplish our goals" (Thomas S. Monson, "A Royal Priesthood," Ensign, Nov. 2007, 59-61).
As a result of the lesson, each participant should feel an increased desire to change an attitude or behavior and become a stronger disciple of Jesus Christ. Include the following steps as part of the application process:
- Summarize what has been learned or ask a member of the group to do so.
- Invite participants to write goals specific to what they have felt and learned. How will they apply the principles to their personal lives and apartment life (including roommate relationships)? How will they act on what they have learned as a means of preparation for marriage and family life? In short, what will they do about what they have learned?
- Follow-up with participants on goals they have set. Regular and consistent follow-up will increase the likelihood that participants actually execute their plan of action.