The Still, Small Voice of Conscience - Sunday, October 22, 2017
About 45 years ago, the Watergate scandal led to the resignation of a United States president and shook the nation to its core. A young law clerk, fresh out of law school, saw the details of this tragedy unfold as he worked for the judge who presided over the Watergate trials. This law clerk, D. Todd Christofferson, recently shared his experience with the faculty and students at Oxford University.
“The life lesson I took away from this experience,” he said, “was that my hope for avoiding the possibility of a similar catastrophe in my own life lay in never making an exception—always and invariably submitting to the dictates of an ethical conscience. Putting one’s integrity on hold, even for seemingly small acts in seemingly small matters, places one in danger of losing the benefit and protection of conscience altogether.”1
Perhaps we think such a catastrophic failure of character would never happen to us. But so many catastrophes happen gradually. They can start with just a small compromise of integrity. And the path away from danger lies in small, daily decisions to do what we know is right.
And we do know what is right. Each of us has, deep in our soul, a moral compass—an innate attraction to purity, truth, and goodness. Sometimes we call it a conscience, and it speaks to us, not surprisingly, in a “still small voice.”2 When we live true to that voice, that’s what we call integrity.
Integrity, however, does not mean a life of perfection or a life free of mistakes. No one is perfect, and we all make mistakes. It does mean, however, that we strive never to take even small steps down the road of dishonesty. It means we focus on doing good and blessing those in need—for, to use D. Todd Christofferson’s words, “a life devoted to service to others allows conscience to flourish.”3 If we listen, that still, small voice of our conscience can help us live a life of integrity, knowing and doing the right thing.
-Lloyd D. Newell
1. In Tad Walch, “At Oxford, Elder Christofferson Says His Watergate Experience Revealed the Importance of Conscience, Integrity,” Church News, June 16, 2017, lds.org/church/news/at-oxford-elder-christofferson-says-his-watergate-experience-revealed-the-importance-of-conscience-integrity.
2. 1 Kings 19:12.
3. In Walch, “At Oxford.”
October 22, 2017
Broadcast Number 4,597
Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Orchestra at Temple Square
Let All the World in Every Corner Sing
Morning Has Broken
Gaelic melody; arr. Mack Wilberg
How Wondrous and Great
Johann Michael Haydn; arr. Neil Harmon
Lead, Kindly Light
John B. Dykes; arr. Mack Wilberg
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty
German hymn tune; arr. Mack Wilberg