Marion G. (Pat) Robertson has reached the moment of truth.

As the longtime evangelist is thrust into the spotlight of a presidential campaign, he has been correcting a number of exaggerations and misleading statements about his life and career that appear in his resume, his books and his speeches. In some cases, he said, this has been a simple matter of rewording "imprecise language" about his educational achievements and the like. In other cases, Robertson said, the effort has been "painful" and "embarrassing for my family."

"I have never had this kind of precision demanded of me before," Robertson said in an interview yesterday, noting that his statements were not challenged during his religious career the way they have been since he entered politics. "I would ask a little mercy . . . . There's something in the Bible that says, 'Judge not that ye be not judged.' "

The most painful correction to emerge since he formally launched his Republican presidential campaign a week ago, Robertson said, was a report in The Wall Street Journal Tuesday that included new information about his marriage in 1954. The Journal reported that Robertson was married on Aug. 27, 1954, a date Robertson conceded yesterday is accurate. The Journal story noted that Robertson's first son was born 10 weeks later.

In an interview with The Washington Post late last July, Robertson indicated that he had gotten married on his birthday, March 22, in 1954. He was asked then, "When and where did you get married?" He replied, "We were married, we began, I'm trying to think, it was 33 years ago, March the 22, we celebrate, my birthday."

Asked about this yesterday, Robertson said, "I did give {The Post} an honest answer." He said he and his wife have always considered March 22, 1954, the day they were married because "our son was conceived on that day." He said he has always celebrated his anniversary on that day. The couple's legal marriage on Aug. 27 "to us, wasn't any big deal," he added.

Robertson said he has not previously revealed the actual date of his marriage because "this was a man trying to protect his family." But he said that when he decided to run for president, he expected the information would come out. He said he has no complaint with The Wall Street Journal because "they said exactly what happened."

Over the past few weeks, Robertson has also sought to distance himself somewhat from the autobiography he published in 1972, "Shout It From the Housetops." In the book, Robertson depicts himself as receiving precise guidance from God on many details of his personal life and his business, and arguing with his wife, Dede, in the early years of their marriage. In recent interviews, Robertson has been saying that the book is "somewhat hyped up."

"It was a highly stylized work," Robertson said yesterday. "It's essentially accurate . . . . {The book} set up conflict between Dede and me for dramatic purposes." As a result, he said, readers might well draw inaccurate conclusions about his life from the autobiography.

One passage in the book that clearly causes difficult memories for the candidate concerns a message he heard from God in 1966. In the originial edition of the book, Robertson wrote that God told him that a minister should not get involved in electoral politics. "The Lord refused to give me the liberty," he wrote. " 'I have called you to my ministry,' " he spoke to my heart, 'You cannot tie my eternal purposes to the success of any political candidate.' "

Last fall, after he had announced that he would consider running for president, Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network reissued the autobiography. That message from God had been excised. CBN officials said Robertson was not responsible, but they do not know who cut the passage.

Robertson wrote in 1982 that he had received a similar message in which God told him to stick to his ministry work. Today, Robertson said the guidance has changed and he has a "direct call and leading from God" to run for the presidency.

Since he began thinking about a race for the White House, Robertson has issued several different official resumes, each one revised somewhat to correct misstatements in the previous version. His resume used to say that he had done "Graduate Study" at the University of London. After questions were raised about the course he took there -- an introductory arts course for American students summering in London -- he changed the reference to read "studied briefly at the University of London."

Robertson said yesterday that such errors in his resume may have been the fault of imprecision on the part of his staff. But Robertson himself had said, in a CBS-TV interview, "I've been in school, in graduate school at the University of London." Reminded of this yesterday, he said the reference to "graduate school" was accurate because he was a college graduate when he took the art course. "I did it, I've been there," he said.

Robertson has described himself as a "member of the board of directors" of the United Virginia Bank in official resumes and in campaign speeches. The bank says he is not a member of the board. Robertson said yesterday he no longer claims to be a board member, but instead makes it clear that he is actually a member of a local advisory board that has no directorial authority.

Robertson told The Post yesterday, "I have never claimed to be on the board of the bank." He did say he was on the board of directors in campaign speeches this summer and in a videotaped legal deposition this spring.

Robertson said he has worked hard to make sure all the information he makes public about his life and his career is accurate now that he is a presidential candidate. "Before, it may have been a little sloppy," he said. "But it wasn't an attempt to deceive anybody."

The candidate said it would be a serious error to suggest that "there has been a pattern of . . . deceptions" in his writings and speeches. He said he may have occasionally said something "imprecise" because of inadvertence, and that he may have used a "malapropism" on occasion. But he added emphatically that "I have not lied . . . about my marriage or anything."

In his 1984 book, "Answers to 200 of Life's Most Probing Questions," Robertson defined a lie as "a deliberate attempt to deceive by use of any form of untruth. By words, gestures, circumstances, or silence an attempt may be made to convince another that there is a reality different from what we know to be true."

Robertson has made "integrity" and "moral values" the core issues of his presidential campaign. In the speech he wrote for his declaration of candidacy last week, he said that "We must . . . bring back the old-fashioned concept of moral restraint and abstinence before marriage."

Yesterday, Robertson said that his own conduct before marriage took place before he dedicated his life to Jesus. He said he feels strongly that young people should not repeat his conduct.