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Listen to Conscience

A university in Arizona recently had what they called a "Religion in Life Week." I was invited to be a religious representative of our Church along with other representatives of other churches. The second night there I was invited to speak to a sorority-fraternity exchange at the Chi Omega house on the subject of the new morality. I basically gave our Church's approach to it: that chastity is an eternal law, that the "new morality" is really the old immorality, and so forth. I felt very alone because there seemed to be considerable difference in thinking. Two individuals were very articulate in expressing their opposition to my position. One, sitting in front, said basically, "Well, I don't know. It seems to me that true, mature love gives more freedom than you're giving it."

I tried to reason and indicate what would happen if one were to take poison, even if he were unaware of it, and how also if one violated the law of chastity he would suffer great consequences. He argued against this, indicating that this didn't give the kind of freedom that a careful, mature, responsible love would give people. I prayed and remembered the scripture in Revelations, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man will hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him and will sup with him, and he with me" (Revelations 3:20). So I asked them, "Would you listen for just a minute? Inwardly sense what might happen, what the real answer is to this question that we have tonight. I'll ask a question, and you be still and listen. I'll promise you, you will sense inwardly—you won't hear it in your ear—that what I've been speaking about is true on this principle of chastity." They became still. Some of them were looking around to see who was going to take it seriously. And I really pressed the point: "Just listen for one minute." During that quiet minute I asked the question "Now, is chastity, as I have explained it tonight, a true principle or not?" Then I paused. At the end of a full minute, I turned to the fellow who had been the spokesman in front and I asked him, "My friend, in all honesty, what did you feel? What did you hear?

He said, "What I heard is not what I've been saying."

I asked the other, "What did you hear?"

He said, "I don't know. I just don't know any more." One stood up in the back independently, spontaneously, on his own, and said, "I want to say something to my fraternity brothers that I've never said before. I believe in God. BYU Devotional "An Educated Conscience, Stephen R. Covey, 27 May 1975