Old-fashioned, personal, practical integrity - doing what is right and good, regardless of the immediate consequences - was a theme of Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin's April 1990 general conference address.
Integrity "means being righteous from the very depth of our soul, not only in our actions but, more important, in our thoughts and in our hearts," said Elder Wirthlin, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve. "Personal integrity implies such trustworthiness and incorruptibility that we are incapable of being false to a trust or covenant. We all have within us the ability to know what is right and good."Elder Wirthlin said that Joseph, the son of Jacob, was a model of integrity. "Joseph's integrity placed him among the greatest of our Heavenly Father's sons. He did what was right and good; he was trustworthy and incorruptible, self-disciplined never to violate a trust.
"Because of his integrity and righteousness, Joseph was favored and blessed of the Lord in every circumstance. His life is evidence that `all things work together for good to
those whoT love God.' (Rom. 8:28.) His example is especially pertinent to us because most members of the Church have descended from his loins.
"The Lord revealed future events to Joseph in dreams. However, his brothers hated him, plotted to take his life, and then sold him as a slave. When he was carried captive to Egypt, the Lord was with him there. Joseph became overseer of the house of Potiphar, captain of Pharaoh's guard. When approached by Potiphar's wife, Joseph refused and fled from her improper advances because of his personal righteousness and because he would not violate Potiphar's trust.
"This refusal and the accusations it prompted caused Joseph to be imprisoned. Again the Lord was with him. Joseph became overseer of the prison. The Lord enabled him to interpret the dreams of Pharaoh's butler and baker and, later, Pharaoh's dreams of seven fat and lean cows and of seven full and thin ears of corn. Subsequently, Joseph became ruler over all Egypt, second in rank only to Pharaoh. He directed the storage of food during the years of plenty and the dispensing of it during the years of famine.
"During the famine, Joseph's brothers, who had sold him as a slave twenty-two years earlier, came to Egypt to obtain food. Not recognizing him, they bowed down to him because of his high office.
"In a tender, touching scene, Joseph identified himself to his brothers and forgave them. I suppose he could have retaliated for their mistreatment of him by making them slaves, having them imprisoned, or even having them put to death. But he did what was right and good. (See Gen. 45:4-8.)
Through Joseph, the Lord preserved the children of Israel and provided a place in Egypt for them to flourish and increase, Elder Wirthlin said.
"This story is well known, but I urge you to read it again, focusing your attention on the integrity of Joseph and on the blessings it brought to him," Elder Wirthlin continued. "He became the birthright son in the house of Israel and received an inheritance in the lands of the Americas. (See Ether 13:8.)