On Bearing False Witness
From the heights of Sinai, the voice of Yahweh commanded Moses, the Israelites, and all people to keep the Ten Commandments. One of those commandments was against lying. “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” This is a commandment broken almost constantly by everyone, both purposefully and unintentionally. People tell non-truths all the time, “No it doesn’t make you look fat” (intentional), “Um, the answer is b”, even though the answer was a. They answered honestly about what they thought, but untruthfully about what the answer was. But there is a certain ugliness when the person knows the answer isn’t true. Because of the vicissitudes of humanity, we must be careful about whom we believe, and I’ve never met anyone who believes everyone. I believe those who have built up a history of telling me truthful things. Those who constantly tell me things which I know to be untrue, I learn to not trust. There are people I trust with knowledge of science that I do not trust with knowledge of God, or with knowledge of “how to treat people”. There are people with knowledge of God that I do not trust with knowledge of science.
But it is not an “extreme viewpoint” to believe someone or not. Those who set this up as an extreme option are really showing their own delusional thinking. Every day, each of us makes a conscious decision of whom we’ll choose to believe and who we won’t. It is neither extreme nor unexpected.
Nor does disbelieving someone have anything to do with whether not someone believes another is a liar. There are other options. For instance, someone who insists that the squareroot of 26 is 5 doesn’t necessarily have to be a liar. No matter what, they’re wrong. But in their head, they could honestly believe that 5×5=26. Let’s set this up.
Grandma says: “5×5=26, therefore, 5 is the squareroot of 26”.
PC: “Um Grandma, I don’t believe you.”
Now at this moment, one’s siblings could start breaking in with judgemental and arrogant comments such as, “PC, you’re calling grandma a liar.” But that’s just not true. Know, if I knew that grandma new better, and said, “Grandma, you’re lying” then that statement would have been true. Instead, I was stating a fact, “I don’t believe Grandma, she’s mistaken.”
Now my personal reasons in thinking how Grandma is mistaken here are personal, and I don’t think it’d be fair to express. But there’s nothing inappropriate, extreme, or incorrect in expressing disbelief.
Now, to change the subject a bit.
I don’t have much patience for those who bring up accusations in vague, unverifiable ways. Hugh Nibley’s daughter came out with a book after her father passed away. During his life, he had refuted her accusations, but didn’t have a chance to refute her written record. Of course, the sisters who had slept in the same room with the girl did refute her “recovered memories”, which fits in good accord with modern science which has shown that most of these “recovered memories” are merely falsities suggested to supposed victims.
Mackenzie Phillips also came out with accusations after her fathers death. While I tend to actually believe her infinitely more than Beck, I do find the tactic of waiting until after someone has passed on to be unforgivable. I mean, it is now absolutely IMPOSSIBLE to verify most of her stories. Of course, that won’t stop the weak minds from thinking they know the absolute truth. Sad.
So here’s what I’m asking. Be willing to provide some evidence so that your story can be verified or invalidated. Provide some evidence and details. Be specific. Let’s hear your name, your age, your mission, so we can go find out who the mission president was, and confront him. Let’s extract some verifiable truth rather than abstract accusations. Let’s see a sealed testimony with an affidavit.
Is that really too much to ask?
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