The Ethics of Desmond Doss Article Worksheet

The worksheet below is a complement to the article “The Ethics of Desmond Doss” by Peter DeMarco which can be downloaded as a PDF using the buttons above. You may also print this page or save as a PDF using the buttons above.

To strengthen your conscience consider these questions:

  1. Many people when facing a difficult ethical situation will view it as simply a dilemma requiring a choice of this or that. The person with a well formed conscience does not see things in black of white, up or down, right or left. We must explore our options. What inspiration do you draw from Desmond Doss’ carefully staked out position as a conscientious cooperator?
  1. Ethics is about choice, not kind sentiments and warm feelings. Desmond saw two competing goods: love of country and love of God and found a way to serve both. How often do you go binary when both goods can be achieved?
  1. Think about taking an inventory of your conscience. Consider writing a checklist. What questions might you ask yourself to see if your conscience is functioning correctly? Who else might you ask for feedback on the choices you make?
  1. Some leaders express regrets about how they achieved their success or wealth. They discovered that the actions one chooses to make money are what nag our conscience. If we are exercising our conscience, most of us will experience conflict. What is driving your conflict and how will you deal with it?
  1. Courage is not the absence of fear. Healthy people have healthy fears. Doss overcame his fears to show courage in small and big situations. What are your fears?
  1. Doss knew he was going into combat to fight evil but he did not anticipate the fight from his officers and fellow soldiers. What battles await you in your life? Are you prepared for them?

Remember, a well formed conscience prompts us to choose good and avoid evil.

No one can make the choice for us. A mature high functioning person understands this reality and seeks to maintain his or her free choice of will from corruption and abuse.

All healthy human relationships are built on this essential dynamic. Building an ethical organizational culture requires educating and holding team members individually accountable for the choices they make and actions they take.