President Grant emphasizes the profound connection between duty and conscience. He asserts that neglecting one’s duty results in a punishment of conscience, while emphasizing that the true reward lies in knowing one’s heart is pure.
If a man has the assurance within his own heart that he is worthy, and that he is laboring to the best of his ability to do good, he can stand up under the condemnation, the criticism, and the censure of those by whom he is surrounded.
The reward of a man’s conscience is far better than the praise of those who cannot read his heart.
We have come upon the earth for the purpose of gaining an experience.
“Reward of Conscience” (Heber J. Grant, Improvement Era, February 1943, p. 74)
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Reward of Conscience
By Heber J. Grant
We never neglect our duty without there comes to us a punishment of conscience. But, on the other hand, there is a joy, a happiness, a peace, and a satisfaction that comes to the human heart through the fulfilment of the duties devolving upon us that brings a great deal of comfort.
If a man has the assurance within his own heart that he is worthy, and that he is laboring to the best of his ability to do good, he can stand up under the condemnation, the criticism, and the censure of those by whom he is surrounded. But if a man does not know within himself that his conscience is void of offense, he is not happy, he is not satisfied, although perchance he may have the praise, the commendation, and the support of all his associates and of the community in which he lives.
Far better, my friends, that we shall be able so to order our lives that we will have consciences void of offense, that we can supplicate our Heavenly Father to guide and direct us in all the walks of life, and can feel that we are blessed of the Lord, than it is for us to have the praise and approval of the community in which we live. The reward of a man’s conscience is far better than the praise of those who cannot read his heart.
I know that some of the labors that I have endeavored to accomplish have brought upon me the criticism of the Latter-day Saints; yet, knowing that these labors were in the interest of the Church of God, I was willing, rather than to step aside and not try to accomplish that which I felt assured was for the good of the community, to stand up under the criticism many times of some of my dear friends.
We have come upon the earth for the purpose of gaining an experience. We have been placed upon this earth because of our faithfulness in having kept our first estate. The labors that we performed in the sphere that we left before we came here have had a certain effect upon our lives here, and to a certain extent they govern and control the lives that we lead here, just the same as the labors that we do here will control and govern our lives when we pass from this stage of existence.
It has been revealed to us, through the Prophet Joseph Smith, that whatever degree of intelligence we shall attain to in this life, the same will rise with us in the life to come. It is because of this knowledge that we will have an advantage over those that are negligent, in the life to come. It is now explained to my mind how some come into this world without any particular degree of energy or desire to labor for their fellows and for the spread of righteousness; in many instances it is because of their failure to have kept their first estate with diligence and with fidelity. It will be explained in like manner in the life to come that those who are faithful will have this promise that I have referred to fulfilled upon their heads, and that the degree of intelligence which we attain unto here will give us the advantage there.
I would urge upon us all to labor with zeal and with all the power that we possess, so that we may have the approval of our labors by our own conscience and by our Heavenly Father, and that we shall be prepared and qualified to enter into His presence, and there to have wisdom and intelligence to press forward in the labors that will devolve upon us in the life to come.