Question: It seems that an old boyfriend of yours has ungallantly gone public in the tabloids about the fact that you were intimate with him some 25 years ago. The article called you a hypocrite for now being against unmarried sex, when you yourself did it. I don't know what to think. I'm a big fan of yours, but this bothers me.

- New York, N.Y.Dr. Laura: A hypocrite is someone who says, "Do as I say, not as I do." Someone who says, "Do as I do, not as I did," is a teacher.

I have been quite open about the fact that being in college in the '60s had some impact on me - secular feminism was the religion of the day. Since I came from an "inter-faithless" marriage, I was not brought up with the concept of divine absolute morality, to which I have evolved only as an adult, culminating in the conversion of myself, my husband and our son to Orthodox Judaism.

On my radio program and in public discourse about God and morality, I have used myself as an example of the difference an acceptance of divine authority makes to one's thinking and behavioral choices. Had I in my 20s had the perspective I now embrace, I would not have had sex outside of marriage. I have deep respect for the profound meaning that a covenantal relationship with God brings to marriage and sexuality - and this is what I teach in my books, columns and on my radio program. I am proud of the journey I have taken toward living a more holy life, and realize I have miles and miles to go before I sleep.

Question: I have gossiped about someone for no other reason than my jealousy of that person's success. I felt no guilt about it for the longest time, mostly because I felt exhilarated from the sense of power. Now my guilt wakes me at night, and I wish I could take everything back. I'm too ashamed and, frankly, gutless to own up to this. How can I make this feeling stop?

- San Diego, Calif.

Dr. Laura: I have begun to look at a guilty conscience as God's whispers, calling one to repentance, without which, I'm afraid, you will feel tortured for as long as your memory is intact. Covetousness is addressed in great length in my new book, "The Ten Commandments - The Significance of God's laws in Everyday Life." When we are not grateful for the blessings we have, or feel magically entitled to someone else's life, it can lead us to break other commandments: lying about others to hurt them (You shall not bear false witness), spreading rumors to assassinate character (You shall not murder) and trying to take what is theirs (You shall not steal).

In order to make it right in your soul (with God) you must fix what you've done to the person you've hurt. That requires you to own up to that person and to try to repair the damage. While this admission may seem difficult, imagine the relief you'll feel, the blessing you will give the person you've wronged and the step forward you'll be taking toward God.

It is not enough for you to feel bad or remorseful. It is necessary that you confess and repair - then you will find the peace you seek.