“I don’t think there’s any intent on the part of the Lord that we compartmentalize how the Spirit is used so that it’s only in purely religious areas,” says Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Speaking at a seminar hosted by the Church’s Human Resources Department, he answered questions about being influenced by the Spirit in our daily work.
Asked about the role of the Spirit in his professional career, Elder Scott said, “[In my work] it just seemed natural to turn to the Lord to ask for guidance. I’ve never separated church, professional life, family life, or personal life into little compartments; I’ve just felt that the Spirit can guide in all of those.” He said he believes that the Lord is “absolutely aware and very interested in giving us support in whatever we do in life, our professional life included.”
We Should Believe
Elder Scott taught that we should believe that the Lord wants to inspire us through the Holy Ghost and that we need to be confident in His ability to do so. He said that we’ll gain confidence in recognizing the Spirit as we follow the promptings we receive and observe the results. When action is required and we’re still uncertain what to do, he said, begin to act and “the Spirit will prompt you if you’re on the wrong path.”
He said we face two particular obstacles in being prepared to receive direction. The first is when we do not believe that daily inspiration is available to us. Instead of looking at ongoing guidance as something available only to leaders and prominent members, we need to truly believe that we too can access inspiration for our regular lives. “The second thing, of course, is worthiness. The Spirit is not going to help an unworthy person,” he said.
These two factors can affect our ability to receive inspiration we aren’t actively seeking. “There are times when we don’t even know the Lord is trying to communicate something to us. . . . We just need to be sensitive,” he explained. “The Lord knows what we need, and when we’re living worthy of it, we’ll have impressions.”
Prepare for Inspiration
Elder Scott said that sometimes he needs to evaluate what he’s doing that could be inhibiting the Spirit. “There are things that impact the full and open guidance of the Spirit. And I think that we wouldn’t be honest with ourselves, if that’s true in our life, if we don’t recognize that and try and change it, try and improve it,” he said.
Another part of being prepared to receive inspiration is doing your homework. “The mind can’t work in a vacuum,” he told his listeners. “If you want to come to an understanding about something, you’ve got to [have] facts to work with, information. And sometimes as you’re pondering a problem you realize you don’t have all the data, you don’t have the facts. You need to go back and get more. Or some of the facts may not have been accurate. . . . Be sure that the data you’re working with is accurate.”
We also need to be humble, he said. “Someone that is humble is accessible by the Spirit to be taught. . . . When we are humble in that sense, we can be prompted by the Lord.”
Invite the Spirit
As we prepare ourselves to receive inspiration, we are able to invite the Spirit into all facets of our life, Elder Scott said. Regarding using the Spirit in our professions, he said, “If I approach [my job] with the attitude and vision that I can be inspired in the implementation of that work, I’m going to get help and the work’s going to improve.”
He shared experiences where he felt that the Spirit guided him in his professional life, and he said, “I sought guidance of the Spirit in everything I did, professionally as well as what I did in Church and my own family life and my personal life. . . . You don’t have to be President of the Church to be guided professionally in what you do each day. The Lord’s aware of you and wants to help you, just like He’ll help President Monson.”
Elder Scott bore his testimony of the gospel and the Savior’s Atonement and then said, “I love [Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ] both, and I humbly bear witness that They live. They guide the work of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints throughout the world. I know that.”