How Can I Tell the Difference Between Promptings from the Holy Ghost and My Own Thoughts?

Yesterday, I wrote about the importance of learning to recognize the Holy Ghost. Today, I’d like to explore a related question: How can I tell the difference between the Holy Ghost and my own thoughts?

Elder David A. Bednar and his wife, Sister Susan Bednar, discussed this question during a “Face to Face” online event on May 12, 2015:

I love the fact that both Elder and Sister Bednar referenced this passage from the Book of Mormon:

Behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God (Moroni 7:13).

Elder Bednar: “I think we over-complicate this. I think we over-analyze it. Moroni teaches that all good emanates from Christ. So if you have a thought to do something good, it’s prompted by the Holy Ghost.”

Sister Bednar: “If we’re being enticed to do good and to love God, then that’s definitely from the Holy Ghost.”

Sister Bednar went on to say that, one day, when we have the opportunity to look back on our lives, we will be amazed at how often we were being guided by the Holy Ghost without realizing it.

That reminds me of another Book of Mormon passage. When the Savior spoke to the people on the American continent following His death, He told them that the Lamanites had been “baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not” (3 Nephi 9:20).

Today, I will focus on doing good. I will not “over-analyze” the source of my thoughts but will simply act on thoughts which lead me do good and to love God. I will recognize that the influence of the Holy Ghost in my life may not always be perceptible to me, that I may not always recognize it, but that it is real.

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