Emmy gave a talk at New Beginnings tonight. (New Beginnings is a welcoming for the girls turning 12 this year and moving into the young women’s program.) The leaders and some of the older girls give talks to introduce the new girls to the young women’s theme:
And teach them about the virtues listed in the theme. It also helps reaffirm them to the older girls, it’s a good review for everyone.
Each virtue has a color associated with it:
EmmaLece was asked to give a 3 minute talk on one of these virtues. Em gets really nervous speaking in public and she really didn’t want to do it, but she sat down and started to research and write her talk. She got a good start. Her dad read it over and said he would look up a few talks on the subject that she could read and maybe use some of one to add to what she had written.
When she got home from school, her dad had found a good talk for her to read and hopefully use in her talk. She read over it and when I arrived home, I helped her pick and choose parts of the talk then she typed it up. After reading it through she had about a 5 min talk ready to go.
We arrived at church and she was becoming nervous, trying to remember to breathe deeply and be brave. The leaders gave their talks and then the young women got up in turn and gave their talks. EmmaLece continued to have increasing nerves as the other girls gave one and two minute talks. She really didn’t want to do it, but we smiled at her and gave her encouragement.
She got up and shared her talk:
I was asked to speak on integrity. In a talk titled “True Blue, Through and Through” by Sheri L. Dew, she says: “Today I want to talk with you about a virtue that is just plain smart and that will have as much impact on your happiness, your peace of mind, and your ability to fulfill your life’s mission as any virtue I can think of.
It is a virtue that will ultimately make you or break you. It will make or break you as a husband or wife, father or mother, brother or sister, colleague or friend or leader. It will make or break your career. And most significantly, it will make or break your efforts to achieve exaltation. For it will define your relationship with God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost.
This is a virtue that every man or woman of God must come to possess in increasing degrees. It is a virtue found in every true follower of Jesus Christ.
It is the virtue of integrity.
We tend to define integrity as honesty. And without question, it includes that. But telling the truth is just the beginning of integrity.” Close quote.
The dictionary defines integrity as the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. What are moral principles? Moral principles are good standards. So, integrity means the quality of being honest and having good moral standards.
Integrity is the foundational virtue upon which all other virtues are dependant. It is the first rung on the character ladder. Where there is integrity, other virtues will follow. Where there is no integrity, other virtues have no chance of developing. (Sheri L. Dew- True Blue, Through and Through)
President Joseph F. Smith called integrity “the cornerstone of character” (4 April 1897 General Conference). And President Gordon B. Hinckley spoke of integrity this way: “Men and women of integrity understand intrinsically ( in an essential or natural way) that theirs is the precious right to hold their heads in the sunlight of truth, unashamed before anyone” (Standing for Something, 29).
Sheri Dew has seven suggestions to help us become men and women of integrity:
“1. Decide today, once and for all, that you will be worthy of trust-the trust of family and friends, colleagues and business associates, and most of all, the Lord. The more the Lord trusts you, the more knowledge and power He will give you. The Holy Ghost is not able to inspire or endorse the words or actions of someone who is not true and who can’t be trusted. So decide now, today, once and for all, that at all cost you will be a man or woman of integrity who can be trusted.
2. Have faith that the Lord can and will help you, and then diligently seek His help. Challenges that test our faith are almost always opportunities to strengthen our faith. So believe the Lord will help you, and then diligently seek after His help.
3. Make covenants and keep them. In other words, do what you say you will do. This begins with keeping the covenants you made at baptism and again in the House of the Lord, and then being precisely, completely true to those covenants.
But it also includes being fair and square with others. Here is a sample checklist: Do you do what you say you will do, or do you often make excuses for not coming through? Will you rationalize taking advantage of someone else if it is to your advantage? Are you doing your own classwork? Do you give your best effort at work or just put in time? Do you pay a full tithe? Are you really living the Honor Code? Would you date your best friend’s boyfriend behind her back? Are you honest with those you date, or are you leading someone on because no one better has come along and you don’t want to sit home Friday night? Are you straight with your parents about how you spend their money? If you could improve your chance for graduate school by cheating, would you do it? What DVDs do you watch and web sites do you visit when you’re alone? Are you honest and moral in the dark of night as well as broad daylight? Are you true to those who have trusted you with their love and confidence? Are you living worthy of the kind of man or woman you hope to marry, and of the children whom our Father will entrust to your care?
4. Stand up for what you believe. In fact, look for every opportunity to do so. Don’t be showy or loud about it, and please don’t ever criticize or judge others in the process. But relish every opportunity to stand for something, to be true to what you know is right.
5. Expect your integrity to be challenged. Metaphorically speaking, be on the lookout for Potiphar’s wife. She will show up again and again. Be ready to leave your cloak in her hand and flee again and again, because Satan won’t tempt you just once. Moses had to resist Satan’s temptations four times. And he had to tell Satan to beat it four times before he finally left–and that was after ranting and raving, weeping and wailing, and exposing Moses to the bitterness of hell (see Moses 1:19-22).
6. Don’t give up. This is a lifelong process. No one except the Savior will live a perfect life, and no one is perfected in a day. It takes time and sheer work to develop and refine our integrity. Heber J. Grant said it this way: “I know of no easy formula for success. Persist, persist, PERSIST; work, work, WORK–is what counts in the battle of life”
7. Covenant–or perhaps I should say, renew your covenant–with our Father and His Son to do what you came here to do. For doing what we agreed to do premortally is the ultimate expression of our integrity.
There is no such thing as slightly breaking a law–whether a law of the land or a law of God–because even a slight breach of integrity opens the door for Satan.” Close quote.
The color that was chosen for this value is purple, so when ever you see the color purple, think of integrity. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ amen.
By the time she made it to the last point, she was a bit teary but she made it through to the “amen” and ran for the bathroom. I followed her as did one of the leaders and her best bud. They gave her hugs and told her what a great job she had done. Everyone was impressed with her ability to do just what she had been asked to do. She is working on developing the virtue of Integrity! We are so pleased with her accomplishments.