Cosmopolitan South Africa

What makes a compulsive liar?

as she sat before the man, her legs dangling below the armchair – not yet long enough to reach the floor – Grace’s* heart began to pound. The lamp above her felt like a spotlight. The Bishop, a man in his mid-forties in a dark suit, gazed across the table between them and into what felt like her soul. But she wasn’t going to let that deter her. The Bishop smiled, deep-set creases eroding the plains of his face. She hadn’t noticed those before. And then he spoke.

‘Do you have faith in and a testimony of God the Eternal Father, His Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost?’ he began.

‘Yes,’ replied Grace, quickly.

‘Have you ever had impure thoughts?’

‘No.’ She chewed her lip a little.

‘Do you smoke or drink alcohol, coffee or tea?’ probed the Bishop.

‘No,’ Grace responded. She had established a rhythm now.

‘Do you steal?’ he quizzed.

‘No,’ Grace said solemnly.

It was in this ‘worthiness’ interview, a common practice for young people in the Mormon faith, that Grace first learned to lie. And she’s been doing it ever since.

In an age where our lives are viewed through the prism of social media, is adored by millions and the US President cries ‘fake news’ at the first sniff of criticism, the lines between fiction and reality are more

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