Question: Does the Church teach that it is okay to "Lie for the Lord"?

Table of Contents

Question: Does the Church teach that it is okay to "Lie for the Lord"?

There is no Church doctrine related to "lying for the Lord": Honesty and integrity are foundational values to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Some insist that Church leaders believe that deceiving others in a "good cause" for the sake of the Church is not a sin, and may even be laudable. Critics of Mormonism have long charged the LDS with organizationally and systematically “lying for the Lord,” equating such with a policy of using any means necessary to achieve some “good” goal. This claim is false, and a biased reading of Church history. One must not use ethically questionable tactics because one believes the “end justifies the means.”

Honesty and integrity are foundational values to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In fact, the success which critics have in troubling members of the Church with tales of deception or supposed "lying for the Lord" is, in a way, a backhanded compliment to the Church.

If the Church as an institution typically taught its members to have a casual disregard for the truth, the charge that some Church leader had deceived someone else would be no great shock. But, because the Church (contrary to the suggestions of some critics) really does teach its members to aspire to live with honesty and integrity, accusations of deception can be troubling, especially if the critics can selectively report such instances without providing the context or difficulties which might have underlain such decisions.[1]

Notes

  1. A thorough treatment of the historical, ethical, and moral issues surrounding "deception" by Church leaders in the practice of plural marriage is available: Gregory Smith, "Polygamy, Prophets, and Prevarication: Frequently and Rarely Asked Questions about the Initiation, Practice, and Cessation of Plural Marriage in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." FairMormon link PDF link. The interested reader is encouraged to consult it for a much more in-depth discussion.