Thursday, June 16, 2011

Lying Liars . . .

I’ve read a lot about Richard Nixon. The man and the story he’s inevitably tied to – I don’t even have to mention Watergate and you know what I mean – fascinate me. Here we have an intelligent, powerful man who easily wins a second term to the highest office in the land brought down by a lie.

Begins to sound familiar, doesn’t it?

News is today that Rep. Anthony Weiner resigned this week over the story he’s inevitably tied to – I don’t even have to mention Weinergate and you know what I mean. Here again when have an intelligent, powerful man who is being brought down by a lie.

It’s easy to say in Weiner’s case that it was the cover-up, not the initial act, that brought about his downfall. (Not the same with Nixon, however. His lie made his situation worse, but the initial act was worse than the lie.) I’ve got to admit that I don’t really care if the man sent naughty pictures of himself to the ladies. That’s a matter between him and his wife to sort out. But when he lies about it and tries to blame it on anyone from “hackers” to Andrew Brietbart, well, a big part of me has to ask: What else is he willing to lie about, and what has he lied about in the past?

Yes, we all lie. He who says he has never lied is by default a liar. But here’s the part of the lying that gets me, and it goes right down to what Homer Simpson says about lying: “It takes two to lie. One to lie, and one to listen.” I know Homer says it in a half-serious jest, trying to shift some of the blame for his own lies onto his wife Marge, but there’s a lot of truth in what he says. If the other person believes the lie, that person aids and abets the liar, thus encouraging further lies.

We ought to examine what those in power tell us. I know it is human nature to be trusting, but that, perhaps, is one of the weaknesses we are to work out while we have the faculties to do so. We are, in fact, urged to examine what those in power tell us, even in matters of the gospel. Moroni’s promise in the last chapter of the book that bears his name comes to mind. He offers his evidence, and then urges us into action:

And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere hears, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

Reminds me as well of something that I read this week for the BYU-Idaho class I’m teaching (you knew that had to come into the fold at some time, didn’t you).

Here’s what John D. Lamb says concerning “voodoo science” at a forum given at BYU-Idaho in November 20003:
Voodoo science can jump out and hit anyone at any time from any direction. You may have a sister-in-law who wants to sell you some new “alternative medicine” that cures your tendonitis, or you may hear on the news that using cell phones will give you cancer. You must decide: Are these claims reliable? Should I buy from my sister-in-law? Should I quit using my cell phone? Make the wrong choice, and you’ll feel like someone has stuck a voodoo doll of you full of pins!
It’s up to us to decide, when we are lied to, whether we’ll participate in the lie or not.

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