This is a pretty easy one, to see how the world would be better without lying, cheating, slander, gossip, and all of those negative forms of communication. Just think of elementary school alone. How much better would everyone’s self esteem be, if there were no put downs, no name calling, no teasing. I can think of several unfortunate episodes right off the bat that would no longer harrow my memory.
The commandment is to not bear false witness against thy neighbor. One questions, put to rest right here, is ‘Who is my neighbor’? Obviously, according to the parable of the good Samaritan, our neighbor is everyone else. To bear false witness, is to give wrong testimony, to lie.
A lie is a deliberately false statement. We could get into technicalities of what would constitute a lie in this or that situation, but let’s be real, here. A lie is when we don’t tell the truth. These commandments are trying to get us to act like God. (As was commanded us, see Matthew 5: 48 and 3 Nephi 12: 48) God does not lie. The manner of speaking for the Godhead (Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit) is that of truth (see Jacob 4: 13). There would be no deception, our courts would be much emptier, things would cost less for lack of law suits against doctors and business, we could trust strangers. A movie came out recently in which people only speak the truth, and apparently have to say what they are thinking, even if it is blunt and cruel. Well, the main character discovers the lie, something unthinkable. The movie is about how he uses, misuses, and abuses the lie. I didn’t see the movie, but I doubt that it ends well (rated PG-13, which means inapropriate jokes about sex, probably some nudity, and more than likely a defunct moral outcome. All good reasons to avoid it.)
Some other thoughts and scriptures on being honest and not lying:
Proverbs 19: 22 – The poor man is better than a liar. I’m poor (relatively speaking), so I find comfort in this scripture. I try hard to be honest, so even if I’m poor, at least I’m better than a liar.
Acts 5: 4 – When you lie, it is against God.
2 Nephi 2: 18 – Lying is the language of Satan. Who wants to be like him?
2 Nephi 9: 34 – And my favorite, it’s always fun to say this scripture. A liar’s place is hell, not pushed, not shoved, not kicked, but thrust.