At the October 1976 general conference, President Spencer W. Kimball spoke to young men in the congregation.
President Kimball asked if they could think of themselves as Nephi when his father found "a round ball of curious workmanship" made "of fine brass" outside the door of his tent. (1 Ne. 16:10.) The ball had two spindles or pointers designed to indicate the direction or movement of the party as they went forward. It had writings upon it and worked "according to the faith and diligence and heed" which were given unto it concerning the way they should go. (1 Ne. 16:28.)
The ball led the family to more fertile fields in parts of the wilderness where supplies could be had. Nephi had a fine steel bow and arrow but, as he went out to kill wild animals for food, he broke the bow. His brothers, whose wooden bows had lost their springs, spoke harshly against Nephi.
President Kimball said, "Suppose you [as Nephi] were then obliged to sit in the camp and listen to your older brothers 'murmur exceedingly, because of their sufferings and afflictions in the wilderness' with definite criticisms of their father and yourself and even the Lord for having led them into this dry wilderness. (1 Ne. 16:20.) Food was getting very scarce. Suppose in these difficult hours of criticism and complaint from your brothers that you made a bow and used a straight stick for an arrow, and that you had armed yourself with your new bow and arrow and with stones and a sling. Then you asked your father where you should go — in what direction — to find meat, and felt the inspiration of the faithfulness of your beloved father.
"But suppose that even your father had begun to murmur against the Lord for leaving the family in these desperate straits. How would you feel to know that your father, as well as your brothers, were chastised by the voice of the Lord for their lack of faith and humility?
"Can you imagine yourself with your older brothers, your father, and all the family looking intently at the ball and its pointers to see what it would say when your father was instructed by the voice of the Lord to 'look upon the ball, and behold the things which are written?' " (1 Ne. 16:26.)
President Kimball said, "The ball — or Liahona which is interpreted to mean a compass — was prepared by the Lord especially to show unto your father the course which he should travel in the wilderness. Wouldn't you like to have that kind of a ball — each one of you — so that whenever you were in error it would point the right way and write messages to you . . . so that you would always know when you were in error or in the wrong way?
"That, my young brethren, you all have. The Lord gave to every boy, every man, every person, a conscience which tells him every time he starts to go on the wrong path. He is always told if he is listening; but people can, of course, become so used to hearing the messages that they ignore them until finally they do not register anymore.
"You must realize that you have something like the compass, like the Liahona, in your own system. Every child is given it. When he is eight years of age, he knows good from evil, if his parents have been teaching him well. If he ignores the Liahona that he has in his own makeup, he eventually may not have it whispering to him. But if he will remember that everyone of us has the thing that will direct him aright, our ship will not get on the wrong course and suffering will not happen and bows will not break and families will not cry for food — if we listen to the dictates of our own Liahona, which we call the conscience."