Public Virtue


Called Unto Liberty, 20th Century Sermons, David B. Haight


Public virtue, which expects men to rise above self-interest and to act in the public interest with wisdom and courage, was so evident in leaders like George Washington, who, we used to declare, could never tell a lie, and Abraham Lincoln, known as “Honest Abe.” In the past few years we have seen “official after official—both on the national and the local political scene—put self-interest … above the larger public interest. …

“Men and women have … been removed from federal office and even gone to jail in our times because they exceeded the limits set by the framers [of our Constitution and God’s commandments]” (Charles A. Perry, “Religious Assumptions Undergird the Entire U. S. Constitution,” Deseret News, 27 Sept. 1987, p. A-19).

One reason for the decline in moral values is that the world has invented a new, constantly changing and undependable standard of moral conduct referred to as “situational ethics.” Now, individuals define good and evil as being adjustable according to each situation; this is in direct contrast to the proclaimed God-given absolute standard: “Thou shalt not!”—as in “Thou shalt not steal” (Ex. 20:15).


Source: David B. Haight, “Ethics and Honesty,” Conference Reports, October 1987. David Bruce Haight (September 2, 1906 – July 31, 2004) was the oldest member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).


Called Unto Liberty is a project of The Moral Liberal, researched, compiled, and edited (with occasional explanatory notes, commentary) by Editor In Chief, Steve Farrell, and Assistant Editor (beginning in August 2012 as to involvement with this project) Steve Montgomery. Copyright © 2009-2012  The Moral Liberal.