“The Voice of the Spirit,” Ensign, Aug. 1978, 3
First Presidency Message
The Voice of the Spirit
President Brigham Young once said:
“It was revealed to me in the commencement of this Church, that the Church would spread, prosper, grow and extend, and that in proportion to the spread of the Gospel among the nations of the earth, so would the power of Satan rise.” (Discourses of Brigham Young, Deseret Book, 1954, p. 72.)
We are presently witnessing a fulfillment of this prediction.
The fact that in 1938 there were in the Church 126 stakes, 36 missions, and 784,764 members, and that by the end of 1977 there were in the Church 885 stakes, 158 missions, and close to 4,000,000 members, is conclusive proof that the Church has spread, prospered, grown, and extended during the last forty years.
In fulfillment of President Young’s declaration that Satan’s power would likewise rise, we see on every hand evidence of his frantic efforts to thwart the accomplishment of the Church’s mission.
Among his most effective weapons are pornography, perversions, prostitution of procreative powers, and every other immoral and unholy practice.
Practices which have been from time immemorial considered obnoxious, immoral, degrading, and in some jurisdictions illegal, and which are now and will always be soul destroying, are being advocated and evermore widely tolerated as acceptable in our decaying society.
We must not—and we need not—be deceived nor corrupted by these evil teachings and practices. And we shall not be affected by them if we keep in mind who we are and use the means with which the Lord has endowed us to discern and avoid them.
Let us never forget—
That we are souls—immortal spirits tabernacled in mortal bodies of flesh and bones;
That our spirits are the begotten offspring of heavenly, immortal parents;
That a principal purpose for our being here on earth in mortality is to be proved to see if we will do what the Lord directs us to do (see Abr. 3:25);
That we are here subject to opposing influences—the influence of Satan and his followers on the one hand, and the influence of Christ and his followers on the other hand;
That as we are being acted upon by these two influences, we are free “to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil.” (2 Ne. 2:27.)
It is important that we keep in mind that the choices we make as we decide what is good and what is evil are the most important decisions we will ever make. Upon them depends our happiness or misery throughout time and eternity.
It is self-evident, just, and true, that God our Father in heaven and His Beloved Son Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, would not put us in this position, where so much depends upon our choices, without giving us the means with which we can distinguish good from evil. The means he has given us is the voice of the Spirit, and we shall all be held responsible for the way in which we heed it.
The Lord has instructed us on this matter as follows:
“And I now give unto you a commandment to beware concerning yourselves, to give diligent heed to the words of eternal life.
“For you shall live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God.
“For the word of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is light, and whatsoever is light is Spirit, even the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
“And the Spirit giveth light to every man that cometh into the world; and the Spirit enlighteneth every man through the world, that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit.
“And every one that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit cometh unto God, even the Father.
“And the Father teacheth him of the covenant which he has renewed and confirmed upon you, which is confirmed upon you for your sakes, and not for your sakes only, but for the sake of the whole world.
“And the whole world lieth in sin, and groaneth under darkness and under the bondage of sin.
“And by this you may know they are under the bondage of sin, because they come not unto me.
“For whoso cometh not unto me is under the bondage of sin.
“And whoso receiveth not my voice is not acquainted with my voice, and is not of me.
“And by this you may know the righteous from the wicked, and that the whole world groaneth under sin and darkness even now.” (D&C 84:43–53; italics added.)
Mormon tells us specifically how to distinguish between good and evil.
“Take heed, my beloved brethren,” he said, “that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil.
“For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night.
“For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.
“But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.
“And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged.
“Wherefore, I beseech of you, brethren, that ye should search diligently in the light of Christ that ye may know good from evil; and if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not, ye certainly will be a child of Christ.” (Moro. 7:14–19; italics added.)
In the light of the foregoing and companion scriptural teachings, ancient and modern, every honest soul who will acquaint himself or herself with the teachings of Jesus and his prophets will know that the corrupt practices referred to in this message are reprehensible and abominable in the sight of God, as are all things which are out of harmony with the Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount, and the modern revelations.
Safety lies in knowing and complying with the teachings of Jesus and his prophets, and in discerning and strictly heeding the guidance of the spirit of Christ which “giveth light to every man that cometh into the world; and [which] … enlighteneth every man through the world, that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit.
“[For] every one that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit [escheweth every unnatural, unholy, and impure practice, and] cometh unto God, even the Father.” (D&C 84:46–47.)