That Spirit Which Leadeth to Do Good

L. Tom Perry
(Adapted from an April 1997 general conference address. See Ensign, May 1997, pages 69–70.)
We will hear it, and do it (Deut. 5:27).

I remember a critical time in my life when a still small voice gave me direction to make an important decision. My family lived in Boston, Massachusetts, at the time. I had been with a retail firm for a number of years. To expand the business, we merged with a larger firm. Within a matter of months, I found myself in a very difficult situation. The new owners wanted me to violate a trust. I felt that I just could not do it. They continued to insist, and I continued to refuse. Finally, in order to solve the disagreement, I agreed to leave the company. The timing for me was devastating. I had a wife who was seriously ill and required a lot of medical attention, a daughter away at college, and a son on a mission. I spent the next year getting just enough consulting work to pay our expenses.

After struggling for about one year, a company called me from California and invited me to come out and talk to them about working for them. I went and was delighted with the opportunity. I told them that I had to return home and discuss it with my family before I could give them an answer. I returned home and convinced my family that it was the right thing to do. As I was calling the firm to accept the offer, a voice just as strong and powerful as I have ever heard came to me and said, “Say no to the offer.” I could not ignore the voice, so I turned the offer down, but I couldn’t understand why I had been told to do such a thing. I went upstairs to my bedroom, sat on the bed, and opened the scriptures. They fell open to the Doctrine and Covenants, section 111. These words in verses 5 and 7 jumped out from the page and met my eye: “Concern not yourselves about your debts, for I will give you power to pay them. …

“Tarry in this place, and in the regions round about.”

A great peace came to my soul. Within just a few days, I was offered a fine position there in Boston. A few months later, I had the great privilege of hosting a conference in which President Harold B. Lee, then First Counselor in the First Presidency, was the featured speaker. The following July, President Joseph Fielding Smith passed away and President Lee became the prophet. Three months later I was asked to come to Salt Lake, where I received a call to become a General Authority.

We need to live worthy of the continued companionship of the Holy Ghost and have the courage to follow the promptings that come into our lives. May the Lord bless us that we may ever be mindful of this great and precious gift, even the gift of the Holy Ghost.

[photos] Photos by Jed Clark and John Luke