Skip to main content

Five Principles for Educating Your Conscience (Covey)


How do you educate your conscience? I suggest five principles. 

First, if you really want an educated conscience, feast regularly upon the words and the love of Jesus Christ. What does that mean? Seriously make a daily program to study the scriptures. Ponder the scriptures and meditate upon them. Be still. Perhaps you will read only one verse a day, but you're going to read the word of the Lord. Memorize some of the scriptures. It's like programming a computer. Get them into your heart. If you feast upon the words of Christ, then the Holy Ghost will bring to your remembrance the things you need to do, based upon the guidance that you have received on a moment-by moment basis. The Church will teach us principles, and the Holy Ghost will teach us specific practices and specific applications.

Second, when you pray, listen. Look on your prayers, not as a time to counsel the Lord, but as a time to take counsel from him. I really believe too many times we go down a checklist, in a sense, telling the Lord who, how, where, and when to bless and directing him around the universe and the heavens, instead of being still, sensing a relationship, listening, and then responding to what you hear. Feasting on the words and the love of Christ will instill the desire to listen.

Third, covenant. Commit to obey what you hear. Unify and marshal the will and the energy within you to say, "I take this stewardship. I will do these things."

Fourth, keep the covenant. Keep the commitment.

Fifth, return and report. Give an accounting of your stewardship. You will feel the still voice say within you, "I commend you for your integrity. Very good, my son or my daughter. This labor is acceptable." Then you progress to the next level and the next level.

If you have temptations toward impure thoughts, try these steps. Feast on the words and the love of Christ, then ask the Lord to give you a heightened awareness or sensitivity toward any tempting environments, and then commit to the Lord that the moment that sensitivity is given to you you will turn from it and do some worthy thing. Then keep your commitment.

One student said to me, "All my mature life I've had trouble with bad thoughts—even during my mission. Whenever I was asked the question 'Are you morally clean?' I answered yes because I was considering my practices. But I always had some plaguing feelings about my thoughts." We were walking into a final examination one day when he said, "Brother Covey, I can look you in the eye today and say, 'I am morally clean, right to my core.'" What did he do? For a period of several months he feasted on the words of Christ, asked the Lord for a heightened awareness of temptation, turned immediately at the very first onset of that temptation and did worthy things, went back to his divine purposes and his work. Elder Packer said, "Hum a hymn. Memorize a scripture." And this young man did it. The Holy Ghost. I believe, purged much of that other disposition right out of his nature.

I express my testimony, dear brothers and sisters. With all my heart I believe that we are immersed in the revelations of the greatest dispensation, the restoration dispensation. I believe that we have available to us at any moment the whisperings of the still, small voice, the Holy Ghost, and that if we will take pains regularly to educate it and to train it, it will be a continuing source of personal revelation to us. My testimony is borne out of the Spirit of the living God to my soul. I know that this is true. I know that the Father and the Son appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith and established the Church that teaches the gospel. I also know that it is possible to be active in the Church, in one sense at least, and not to be active in the gospel. To be active in the gospel is a continuous responsibility and stewardship of seeking and living by the Holy Spirit. I bear witness that you are God's covenant children. We are all children of the promise. Our life is a mission, not a career. The Holy Ghost is to be used to bless all of our Father in heaven's children. I testify also of Jesus Christ. I love the words: "I believe in Christ as I believe in the rising sun—not because I can see it, but because by it I can see everything else." He is truly the life and the light of the world. He speaks to his prophet...and to each of us if we will but listen and educate our consciences.

Stephen R. Covey, BYU Devotional, May 1975

http://speeches.byu.edu/?act=viewitem&id=948

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The God of the 4th Watch (S. Michael Wilcox)

The scriptures are our Father in Heaven’s letters; only He knows more than I did as a father what you and I would need.  There are times in our lives when we need to open the letter and communicate with our Father in Heaven, and understand what He is like and His concern for us.  I would like to share this morning, with you, four letters from my Father in Heaven that have been very important to me—that I hope will be indicative of the power that the scriptures can be for us as we face different trials and challenges of our lives.  The first letter is called "The Fourth Watch." That letter comes from the sixth chapter of Mark.  The Savior has fed the five thousand that day, and in the late afternoon, early evening, He is sending his apostles down into the ship. He will dismiss the multitude. He wishes to pray that evening, and then He will meet the apostles a little later on the shore and they are to pick Him up.  In late afternoon, early evening, the apostles get on the shi…

Bread or Stones: Understanding the God We Pray to (W. Michael Wilcox)

Amazing talk about the nature of God, answers to prayer, adversity, etc.:

https://devotionalarchive.byuh.edu/node/332.html
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dR2xdzkEIQk&feature=youtu.be

Bread or Stones: Understanding the God We Pray toDevotional Talk Given at 
Brigham Young University-Hawaii 
March 31, 2009
S. Michael Wilcox 
Religion Instructor & Author
CES Institute of Religion
A number of years ago when my daughter was about your age, she was just out of high school, she went to one semester at BYU and then she got an opportunity to go to the Soviet Union (former Soviet Union) and teach English in Russia. Now this was before e-mail and cell phones, and communications between the United States and the Soviet Union were not going to be really good. She was eighteen; we were a little bit worried that there might be moments or times when she would need to talk with a parent, and not be able to because of communication difficulties.  So I decided that I would write her a series of letters…

Other Books Will Come Forth (Welch)

Let me share a personal story to illustrate this point. During my time in law school at
Duke University, I attended a class in the Duke Divinity School from James Charlesworth. He was a very prominent Dead Sea Scrolls scholar working at that time on a translation of Jewish and Christian texts from around the time of Christ that had never been translated and published in English.

In this class, we were charged with reading a certain text. Charlesworth presented it as one of the most puzzling texts he had ever run across. His question was: Is it Christian or Jewish? He had no idea where it might have originated, because it was quite unlike anything else that he had ever seen.

He explained to this seminar that it tells a story about a man named Zosimus who leaves Jerusalem. He goes out into the desert, wanders and gets lost in a big mist of darkness. He then arrives at the banks of a big ocean or river. He cannot move. He is afraid because he wants to know the way to a life of righteousn…