Bearing false witness against thy neighbor

The ninth commandment is neglected, being seldom discussed at any length. There are so many different ways to breach “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor” (Exodus 20:16). We can spread falsehood knowingly and maliciously rather than inadvertently. Perhaps that is the worst form of breaking this commandment. We can also spread falsehood by simply passing it along in the form of idle gossip without malicious intent, which is somewhat mitigating. Either way, the innocent victim usually experiences a double blow: first, damage to his self-image/self-confidence; second, the diminished regard of others. Additionally, the victim probably comes to have diminished regard, even anger, toward those who so traffic in untruth.

– Neal A. Maxwell, That Ye May Believe

This is an interesting example of King Benjamin’s admonition to avoid causing our neighbor to commit sin through sins or oversights of our own (Mosiah 4:28).

The victim ought not, perhaps, to be angry or respond in kind, but doing so is understandable, given human nature. Thus, while we ought not to excuse ourselves if we do so, we likewise cannot excuse ourselves if we cause another to do so.

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