Don’t you think the truth is sometimes overrated? Everyone knows, of course, that the Church, Joseph Smith, Gordon B. Hinckley (the “B” is mandatory), the Republican Party, Especially for Youth (for teens), and roommates (for BYU students), are all true. And that’s all well and good. But what about truth when it comes to how one went about offering a proposal for marriage?

In his autobiography Leading with My Chin, Jay Leno relates an embarrassing experience he had on the old Dinah Shore TV show. What Leno doesn’t disclose is that the experience did not actually happen to him, but to another comedian, Jeff Altman. Leno thought Altman’s story was amusing, so he paid Altman $1000 so that he (Leno) could claim the experience as his own. (John Leo, “This Story is Mostly True,” US News and World Report, December 16, 1996)

I have no problem with this. Most people reading Leno’s autobiography expect to be entertained—and he is merely obliging them. This approach provided a perfect solution to a nagging problem I’ve dealt with for years.

I do not have an interesting engagement story. Had I known how often I would be asked to recount how I went about proposing to my wife, I would have certainly tried to be more creative. But I began to realize that people ask about engagement stories for the same reason people read Leno’s autobiography: to be entertained. So, following Leno’s lead, I decided to oblige them. Fortunately, I have not yet published my engagement memoirs, so I haven’t had to pay anyone for the fabricated story I now share when people ask how I proposed. It’s a fascinating story, compiled partly from a couple of interesting ways I’ve heard other people have proposed, and partly from my imagination.

Admittedly, at first, I felt a little awkward telling a bold-faced lie to people. But as I reminded myself of the greater good it served, my conscience was gradually set at ease. My false proposal story has brought a lot of joy to people over the years, and I can’t help but feeling an inner peace and satisfaction knowing that my lie has touched others’ lives for good.

So don’t forget to ask me sometime about my most embarrassing moment. I can’t promise it will be true, but I can assure you’ll be entertained.