Sunday, January 8, 2012

Reflections on integrity

Integrity. I have only to click on this word in this blog and my computer pulls up the definitions:
the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness; the state of being whole and undivided:
These definitions clearly make this attribute crucial to our lives. Several events of recent date have brought me to reflect on this attribute of integrity, not the least of which was the excellent devotional given here at BYU by Elder Tad R. Callister which I have placed below for any who have not had the chance hear it.
Integrity to me is or should be the very makeup of who we are. Our experiences in life shape us into the people we are with morals, beliefs, and values. Our adherence to these, not simply having them, is a matter of integrity. I can believe something all day long, and I mean really believe it, but unless that belief has an effect upon my actions and interactions I don't have integrity. As seen in the dictionary on my computer integrity is not only being honest, nor is it only having strong moral principles, it is both these things while being in a state of wholeness, being undivided. It is an attribute of God, in whom "there is no shadow of changing." This is not to say that we as imperfect beings should never change, that would go against the doctrine of repentance, but we should not changed based on "every wind of doctrine, by the slight of men, and cunning craftiness" or even simply because the people around us are doing or want us to do something. Our change should be based on the gospel principles which will eventually lead us to perfect unchanging integrity that God has.My reflections on integrity have been spurred this week week by the numerous discussions of academic honesty in my first classes of the semester. This is a common item on every syllabus at BYU. This seems to be necessary only because of a lack of integrity, all students at BYU have signed the honor code, and for the vast majority of them they really believe it, but when it comes down to it, when they're really between the rock and the hard place their integrity gives way. As their integrity fails their actions separate from their beliefs. This is what Satan is watching for, a chink in a persons mantel of integrity gives place for Satan to slip in a fiery dart.These thoughts on integrity have caused me to reflect on an experience that may seem unrelated but it is part of what has made my experience with integrity. As young teenagers Gordy and I used to play a Star Wars video game in which we would participate in a capture the flag style battle using tanks mounted with laser cannons a proton torpedoes. The point of the game was to destroy the other players base thus bringing down his ability create weapons for counter attack. You spent a great deal of time fighting the other players tanks and walkers in the battle field, but you were never close to winning until you were actually attacking the base and you heard the computer say "Structural Integrity Failing." This was the first time I remember hearing the word integrity used this way. The thought that something is destroyed when its integrity fails has stuck with me ever since.

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