In the vision of the three degrees of glory in Doctrine and Covenants 76, the first description of those receiving the Telestial Kingdom is:
These are they who are liars, and sorcerers, and adulterers, and whoremongers, and whosoever loves and makes a lie.
Section 76 reiterated what the Lord taught in section 63.
Wherefore, I, the Lord, have said that the fearful, and the unbelieving, and all liars, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie, and the whoremonger, and the sorcerer, shall have their part in that lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.
As I’ve studied the Doctrine and Covenants recently, I’ve noticed patterns in phrases about lying and falsehoods and hypocrites, and pondered on why “lying” would rank so high on the lists of pernicious sins.
I’ve been taught my whole life to not lie. Acquiring a temple recommend requires a declaration of honesty. I avoid white lies. I rectify lies that “slip out” by retracting what I said or clarifying what I meant to say. What you see is pretty much what you get with me. I have no hidden agenda.
Still, these verses rang loudly as I read them so I knew they could teach me something beyond the surface meaning I gave them.
Liars Don’t Do
As I pondered lying and its impact, several verses came to mind. I began to understand “lying” in a broader sense.
…“they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”
This verse is basically saying, “You say you believe, but you either don’t really believe or don’t do or become what you say you believe.” Belief requires action—a doing, becoming, remembering, relinquishing. If I say I believe and don’t do, I lie.
Well, that applied to me more than I was comfortable with. As I pondered lying and lips and hearts, I needed to examine how I keep my covenants. I’ve made a covenant
…to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;
Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—
I fall short in keeping this covenant when my heart and lips are out of sync.
Liars Lose Light
Another verse that enlightened my understanding was this verse from Doctrine and Covenants 93:
And that wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth, through disobedience, from the children of men, and because of the tradition of their fathers. But I have commanded you to bring up your children in light and truth.
Disobedience and incorrect traditions reduce truth and light. Doctrine and Covenants 93 equates light, truth, intelligence, and knowledge of things as they are, as they were, and as they are to come.
And truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come;
And whatsoever is more or less than this is the spirit of that wicked one who was a liar from the beginning….
He that keepeth his commandments receiveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things.
And that wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth, through disobedience, from the children of men, and because of the tradition of their fathers.
God is a god of truth and light.
God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
As I studied this section, I really saw that false traditions, limiting beliefs, and disobedience betray our true natures as intelligences organized by our Heavenly Father. We’re infused with His light and our actions receive or reject His light until we’re either full of darkness or “that light [that] groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.”
Beliefs and traditions become a lie when they justify inaction and perpetuate false identities of ourselves, others, and the Lord. These kinds of lies lead to defensive posturing, victimhood, or aggressive pride. Thus, they negate the power available to God’s children—the power of faith and priesthood, the power to ask and receive, the power to seek and to find, and, ultimately, the power of Jesus Christ’s grace to return exalted into the Father’s presence.
So I learned that along with telling lies and fibs, liars lose light through disobedience and false beliefs because they reject their divine light and the real truth. They relinquish agency by diminishing divine power. They’ll stand in the presence of God in that altered form with their garments stained.
Zeezrom was a liar.
Now Zeezrom was a man who was expert in the devices of the devil, that he might destroy that which was good…
And Zeezrom said unto him: Behold, here are six onties of silver, and all these will I give thee if thou wilt deny the existence of a Supreme Being.
Now Amulek said: O thou child of hell, why tempt ye me? Knowest thou that the righteous yieldeth to no such temptations?
Believest thou that there is no God? I say unto you, Nay, thou knowest that there is a God, but thou lovest that lucre more than him.
And now thou hast lied before God unto me. Thou saidst unto me—Behold these six onties, which are of great worth, I will give unto thee—when thou hadst it in thy heart to retain them from me; and it was only thy desire that I should deny the true and living God, that thou mightest have cause to destroy me. And now behold, for this great evil thou shalt have thy reward.
Alma also addresses Zeezrom’s lies.
Now Alma, seeing that the words of Amulek had silenced Zeezrom, for he beheld that Amulek had caught him in his lyingand deceiving to destroy him, and seeing that he began to tremble under a consciousness of his guilt, he opened his mouth and began to speak unto him, and to establish the words of Amulek, and to explain things beyond, or to unfold the scriptures beyond that which Amulek had done.
Now Zeezrom, seeing that thou hast been taken in thy lying and craftiness, for thou hast not lied unto men only but thou hast lied unto God; for behold, he knows all thy thoughts, and thou seest that thy thoughts are made known unto us by his Spirit;
We next find Zeezrom cast out of his town and burning with a fever under the weight of his sins. He felt the pains of those who had been killed because of his lies and he suffered. He sent for Alma and Amulek to come to him. They did and Zeezrom asked them to heal him. He’d peeled back his lies, false beliefs and traditions, and recognized his sins.
And it came to pass that Alma said unto him, taking him by the hand: Believest thou in the power of Christ unto salvation?
And he answered and said: Yea, I believe all the words that thou hast taught.
And Alma said: If thou believest in the redemption of Christ thou canst be healed.
And he said: Yea, I believe according to thy words.
And then Alma cried unto the Lord, saying: O Lord our God, have mercy on this man, and heal him according to his faith which is in Christ.
And when Alma had said these words, Zeezrom leaped upon his feet, and began to walk; and this was done to the great astonishment of all the people; and the knowledge of this went forth throughout all the land of Sidom.
And Alma baptized Zeezrom unto the Lord; and he began from that time forth to preach unto the people.
Zeezrom’s story shows that a liar can shake off lies and be redeemed. As it’s true for Zeezrom, it’s true for everyone. As I forsake my false beliefs, sins, and darkness, I reclaim and receive more light, until one day I am full of light and in me, there is no darkness at all.
About Delisa Hargrove
I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have moved 64 times and have not tired of experiencing this beautiful earth! I love the people, languages, histories/anthropologies, & especially religious cultures of the world. My life long passion is the study & searching out of religious symbolism, specifically related to ancient & modern temples. My husband Anthony and I love our bulldog Stig, adventures, traveling, movies, motorcycling, and time with friends and family.