10 And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land. 11 And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon: 13 Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee. 15 The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house. 16 And he entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels. 17 And the Lord plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram’s wife. 18 And Pharaoh called Abram, and said, What is this that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife? 20 And Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him: and they sent him away, and his wife, and all that he had.
This is an interesting and perplexing piece of Abram’s story. Abram stating that Sarai is his sister seems dishonest. At another part of the story he will explain that Sarai actually is his half-sister (daughter of his father Terah, but not of his mother), but not mentioning the fact that they are also married still fells like a lie of omission.
There is another account of these events in the Pearl of Great Price, where it states that calling Sarai his sister was an instruction given to Abram by God, Himself. Though obviously that record isn’t canonical to those who aren’t members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
So there are a number of different ways that one might interpret this story. For some it might be a sign of just how harsh an environment Abram was coming into, where such tactics were necessary for survival. For some it might be an indication that the men in Egypt wouldn’t stay their hands from violence unless they were first given a show of force from God. And for some this story might be evidence that Abram was flawed, imperfect in spite of being a prophet, still needing to improve like the rest of us.
But no matter which of these interpretations one holds to, there is a common message in them all, a message that things work out. Even if the world is dangerous, or the truth is difficult to speak, or our better parts fail us, all remains in God’s hands, and all works out according to His purposes. Though the road may be bumpy, so long as we strive with Him, we will ultimately get where we need to go.