Tell the truth: What Wonder Woman–and God–Really Want

Tell the truth: What Wonder Woman–and God–Really Want July 31, 2013

How can you tell if someone is telling the truth?

In ancient Egypt, raw rice was put in the mouth of those who were being asked questions. If, after the questioning was over, blood appeared, then the inquisitors judged that a falsehood had been told.

How did this work? If you lie, presumably your mouth goes dry, with little saliva to lube the rice granules.

When my kids lied as children, they would look up and away. Dead give-away.

When I tell a lie my lip quivers. I know, because I can feel it. Can you see it?  And to be honest here, I’ve not always been a truth teller, more concerned with reputation than character. I’ve lied to family members, bosses, pastors and friends at various times. I’m not proud of bending the truth – and in the moment it made sense. But now, it seems silly, because usually I was found out anyway.

The terrible thing is that we aren’t taught how to lie. It comes naturally to the smallest of children.

The Lasso of Truth

The modern polygraph is interesting. It was created by William Marston, who had observed behavioral characteristics associated with lying, such as increased blood pressure, avoiding eye contact and fidgeting. So he created a crude machine to monitor and record certain aspects of human physiology. They still use his technology today.

Marston later went on to create something even – ahem – more impactful. He created the Marvel character, Wonder Woman. And one of her weapons was the “Lasso of Truth,” that would ensnare the guilty and free the innocent.

Susan Etole told me that she had a poster that said this. “The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable.”

God posed a question to Adam in the garden. “Where are you, Adam,” after he and Eve had taken a bite more than they could chew. Hiding in the trees, naked, ashamed and afraid, God knew exactly where they were. He knew what they had done. He knew the consequences. And still, He asked.

I still get asked those kinds of questions from God:

What are you doing?

Where are you going?

What are you thinking?

What is your direction?

Are you lying to others? Lying to God? Is truth easy or hard for you?

 What He Said. Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”




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  • Amy

    You had me at “lasso of truth!”

  • Never read WW but do know the dangers of lying. Not sure if I’m able to sit down still. :) I always told my girls to tell the truth. You have no worries then of trying to remember what you said the last time.

  • Good words, David. Really good words. Thank you.

  • Great thoughts. Being a student of human behavior can allow anyone to learn about body language, which an allow us to see if someone is telling the truth or not.

    • DLE

      @ Dan Black,

      Actually, social scientists are noting in an age of cell phone texting and subsequently diminished face-to-face communication that we are rapidly losing the ability to interpret body language and vocal inflection. Studies have shown that young people are increasingly incapable of making sense of body language, especially when it conflicts with what is said.

  • DLE

    I think the biggest issue is not so much flat-out lying but almost perpetual exaggeration. We Americans always like to pump up anything we say or do, and adding “huge-ifying” adjectives and adverbs to everything we say makes it sound more impressive. Or when we mean “eleven” we instead say “a dozen,” because what’s wrong with a little rounding up?

  • Haven’t thought of WW and the lasso of truth for years…