(February 25, 2015)
I cannot speak for everyone, but for myself I have a massive capacity for self-deception. I am clever enough to rationalize myself into any situation I choose and make myself feel like I am morally justified. It is only in the past couple years that I have genuinely become aware of the depth of this issue and begun to fight it tooth and nail (and, by so doing, come to see just how common such self-deception is amongst all of us).
So knowing the truth is an important skill. The scriptures are one tool, and prayer is another. But this chapter highlights another way that we can know the truth and avoid self-deception – the truth will always fill us with a desire to do good. When I am lying to myself, I find myself falling down a rabbit hole of rationalization and justification which leaves me willing to ignore the obvious consequences of my actions (that they lead to less charity, less forgiveness, less kindness, and so forth). But when I am facing the truth squarely, even if that truth is uncomfortable or painful, I find it provides me with a great deal of power and desire to do good for those around me. Thus this desire to bless others, escape from selfishness, and do good becomes a key of sorts to show me when I am being honest with myself and others.