BYU-Idaho Online Programs Director Steve Adams talked about integrity in the first devotional of the summer session.
He started with a definition of integrity, as told by former Sunday School General President Tad R. Callister.
“Integrity is a purity of mind and heart that knows no deception, no excuses, no rationalization, nor any coloring of the facts,” Callister said. “It is an absolute honesty with one’s self, with God, and with our fellow man.”
Adams, a former member of the U.S. Marine Corps and the mayor of Sugar City, talked about various times when he has had to choose between doing what’s right and doing what’s easy.
As a Marine, Adams had a drill instructor who frequently challenged him for his beliefs as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
One day, the drill instructor ordered Adams’ company to take out their coffee MRE packets, open them, and tilt their heads back. Adams complied, at which point the drill instructor pour the coffee into Adams’ mouth.
The drill instructor commanded the troops to eat the coffee, at which point Adams tilted his head forward and responded that he could not comply, as it was against his religion. Another drill instructor noticed what was going on and ordered Adams away for punishment, but instead of punishing him he gave him an opportunity to spit out the coffee and wash his mouth out.
Several weeks later, the drill instructor approached Adams while he was cleaning the barracks, letting him know that he’d started reading the Book of Mormon and that he was impressed at how many “good Marines” were in it.
Adams shared several other stories of times when was rewarded for his integrity, but he also warned that integrity is not always rewarded by others.
“These stories may lead you to believe each time we choose to keep our integrity we will receive some kind of earthly reward,” Adams said. “I am sorry to say that is not true. Many times you will pay a real price for choosing to maintain your integrity. In the stories I chose to share, the other individuals involved chose to maintain their integrity by respecting mine or correcting their actions. When this is not the case, bad things can happen. You may lose your standing at work, or maybe even your job. Friends may walk away, not wanting to be colored by their association with you. You may lose business opportunities, or much more.”
Adams continued, saying that even when others may not have rewarded him for his integrity, the Lord always has.
“The Lord does not promise us worldly success if we keep His commandments, but he does promise blessings,” Adams said. “In my experience, blessings always came when I chose to keep my integrity. The blessings were not always what I expected but they were what I needed.”
In closing, Adams shared his testimony along with an admonition and a scripture.
“My friends, the Lord loves you and desires to bless you,” Adams said. “He stands with open arms to receive you. I pray you will dedicate yourself to His cause and accept His love. Allow his grace to build your integrity until you receive this commendation, ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.’”
To watch the recorded version of this devotional or to stream future devotionals, visit the BYU-I website.
The school will continue to hold devotional at 11:30 a.m. Tuesdays throughout the summer session. They are held in the chapel of the Gordon B. Hinckley Building, rather than the BYU-Idaho Center.