By the end of October, we will be celebrating Halloween. Costumes and masks are a part of those celebrations. It is all in fun.

There are other times when costumes and masks are not about fun. In the age of Internet communications, it seems like we assume anonymity, as if no one will know who we are if we write things that we would not do publicly

because it would go against our values. We think we can “get by” with behaviors that shame would normally keep us from doing. Some of those behaviors can be quite hurtful to others.

It is interesting to note that ancient and primitive cultures had rituals and celebrations that al- lowed people to break normal social taboos while costumed to provide anonymity. So secret sins are not new. But is there ever a time when it is alright to hurt others? I think not, but it seems like we think we may if we don’t get caught.

Our scriptures, however, talk about doing other things in secret: prayers and good deeds. It is why character is defined as what we would do when no one is looking. What a concept!

So, I have these wild “what if” ideas. What would it be like if politicians did not need to worry about stolen emails or secret servers or hiding the contents of conversations? What would it be like if we wore masks so we could do good deeds without needing to receive credit for them? What if costumed people came up to your door on Halloween and gave you a treat instead of demanding one?

What if secrets were not bad things or the cover for bad things? What if we could assume that even hidden behaviors were helpful and good? Wild, huh?

page1image30990464 page1image30987968