Let Your Conscience be Your Guide
~by Shauna

The most important blessing, tool, and attribute I can think of that will aid all of us to successfully navigate life in our changing world in the months and years to come is the Light of Christ and the Holy Ghost. The recent headlines we are forced to confront are frankly alarming and can evoke fear for the future. Through this forum as well as others we can teach, share, and confirm our learning and understanding of these and other basic principles that aid and provide support to our own lot of earthly issues we must attend to.

I was drawn recently to the posting of a suggested “must read” by someone on Facebook, I printed and reviewed a talk given by the late Stephen R. Covey at BYU in May 1975. He speaks mainly to the differences in the functions of the Holy Ghost as “differentiated from the functions of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.” He deftly explains the differences and also suggests steps to the students he was speaking to which would enable them to more fully be aware of how and when they are spoken to by the Spirit.

The most impactful phrase to me throughout his remarks is “an educated conscience,” which is the title of his talk.

Upon birth, all of us born are gifted with the Light of Christ, or a conscience. Following the basic commandments, literally the 10, we will be able to follow the right path for us individually. This path ultimately will lead all of us to the opportunity at some point to a more full understanding of righteousness, aka “the covenant gospel” as Covey states through baptism and reception of the Holy Ghost. We then add upon our conscience thereby “educating” it.

We all know the more we “listen” to the Spirit or conscience, the more we will hear. Each one of us will receive direction and guidance particular to our personalities and circumstance, but I think we can agree, for the most part, the voice of the Holy Ghost specifically contains soft quiet impressions of the mind and heart. We do need to study and learn our own unique paths of communication from Heavenly Father. The building blocks of basic activities such as scripture study, church attendance, temple covenant keeping, and regular heart felt prayer will build the foundation we need, but Covey suggests the following to further aid and train our listening skills and responses to the Holy Ghost guidance.

  • #1-Pray, then Listen. How simple and yet how difficult we make this.
  • #2-Commit to obey what promptings and direction you hear. Trust me, even if you don’t want to or it doesn’t make sense, do it.
  • #3-Keep the commitment to do, or act, or change, or whatever action you have chosen.
  • #4-Return and give an accounting. Your Heavenly Father is awaiting an enriched relationship with each one of us. He yearns for a give and take and conversation that is never ending. That’s where we should desire to be. Moment by moment direction and conversation are what we should aspire to. Nephi was there. His mind and soul were so connected to the direction of the Spirit he virtually dialogued about the necessity of killing Laban.

There’s not one of us, that I’m sure isn’t aware at some level of the story of Pinocchio. Daydreaming of the day I can shepherd grandchildren in front of Disney’s version of the story, I often find myself humming Jiminy Cricket’s song about conscience in my head. Pinocchio was an innocent young boy venturing out into a world full of new experiences, new people, and new places. The opportunity for positive experiences for Pinocchio was relative to the chance of negative ones. The Blue Fairy new and understood the potential of agency and accountability and gifted him with a wise guide to aid in his exercise of agency. As I look back on my life, I like Pinocchio, am saddened when I did not following promptings of conscience and the Holy Ghost. I also am grateful for the times I have listened and have been protected, strengthened, and have more educated my conscience.

We are Mormon Women who desire to do what the Lord needs us to. We want for the day we are with family members and the family of man surrounded by the hosts of heaven engaging with our Father and the Son. For now, we ponder, prepare, and pray for what we need to serve, teach, and educate those that yearn to know more. We can accomplish all with the guidance we seek by and through the Light of Christ and the Holy Ghost.