Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Ultimate Lie Detector Test

I went through the process of joining the Houston Police Department, interviews and then more interviews. They scheduled me for a lie detector test and asked me all manner of questions which would, if shown to be untruthful, end the hiring bid.

The first part of the lie detector test was fairly simple, a chance for the fellow giving the test to establish how the indicators reacted to my answers. “Is your name Thomas Stern?” “Do you work in the Hardware Department of Montgomery Ward?”; questions which are sure fire yes or no and which the tester already knows the answer.

The questions got more bizarre considering the fact that I was trying to join the police, not a suspect in some kind of auto theft ring that side lined in strange sexual urges. I had to wonder; did some of the applicants ever answer yes to any of those rather odd questions or lie in order to try covering up some kinks in the armor?

I noticed the electrical outlet on the wall across from where I was strapped in, the banding so tight as to cut off the circulation in my arm; the places where the prongs go in started to get fuzzy and look more like a “smiley face”. I mentioned this to the tester and he said it was time to take a break. He told me to go down to the snack machines and we’d finish the test when I got back, “Try to remember anything, anything at all that you might have done that needs to be considered.”

Anything I’d ever done; that covers a lot of territory. I went over and got a can of soda and looked at the marks in my arm where the straps had dug in while thinking of all the rotten things I’d done growing up. I forgot all about blowing up the center support of my dad’s garage with a home made bomb, torturing turtles, throwing snow balls and hitting a police officer whose window happened to be down; none of that came to mind. I never thought of the time I took nickels and dimes out of my brother’s coin collection to buy baseball cards; none of those things came to mind as I searched my evil past.

The only thing I could remember was a candy bar I’d eaten at the grocery store while mom was shopping. I thought I’d gotten away with it; but mom found the wrapper and made me own up to my theft to the store manager; that was embarrassing to the point of tears for a five year old.

I went back into the lie detector room, got strapped in once more and told the detective all about how I’d stolen that candy bar, a Milky Way if memory serves. I watched the eyes in his head roll up just a bit, “You’re kidding me, right? That’s your big confession? What, did you live in a closet all your life?”

I guess the lie detector test showed I was telling the truth because I got to the next level of the process, more interviews. A week later they called to tell me to report to the academy and to make sure to shave off the mustache and the rest, as they say is history.

This afternoon in Sunday School the discussion was centered on chapter 5 in Alma. Starting in verse 16:

“I say unto you, can you imagine to yourselves that ye hear the voice of the Lord, saying unto you, in that day: Come unto me ye blessed, for behold, your works have been the works of righteousness upon the face of the earth?

Or do ye imagine to yourselves that ye can lie unto the Lord in that day, and say—Lord, our works have been righteous works upon the face of the earth—and that he will save you?

Or otherwise, can ye imagine yourselves brought before the tribunal of God with your souls filled with guilt and remorse, having a remembrance of all your guilt, yea, a perfect remembrance of all your wickedness, yea, a remembrance that ye have set at defiance the commandments of God?”

It’s just a guess; but most folks would rather be looking at their shoes or the floor when explaining what went on during their mortality; anything but having to look the Lord in the eye. I don’t think there will be a lie detector device, won’t need one.

The rest of the chapter goes on to explain the time to repent should not be procrastinated; oh, and some good news, our Savior will take up the slack on our short comings. This is a good chapter to read every now and then, a chance to take stock of your progress; either toward becoming a better person or to acknowledge a needed course correction.

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