Profanity

"It's the same mouth you use to pray, to bear testimony, or to bless the sacrament. Be careful to keep it clean."
-Robert K. Dellenbach-


Consider a few scenarios:

It's 2am and you wake up and decide to go to the kitchen to get a drink of water. It's dark and you can't see where you are walking and, as a result, you end up banging a toe into a chair (or a toy, cabinet, or any other number of things that are in a home). We all know the pain of smashing a toe and many of us react by letting loose a curse word.

Another scenario, one that is my weakness: You're playing in a baseball game and the umpire makes a TERRIBLE call. A call that you take personally, thinking he just doesn't like you, so you resort to cursing.

How many times do you later repent for resorting to such language? In the past, I never even considered the need for repentance over such a thing. President Russell M. Nelson recently spoke on repentance and how we should make repenting a regular, daily focus and I decided to do my best to take this to heart.

As I've been browsing social media, I have seen fellow followers of Christ casually use words that are profane, vile, or sacred. They say the Lord's name in vain or they resort to cursing at others who disagree with them. I, myself, have been guilty of this. 

Profanity is not something new in society, but has existed, in some form, ever since the fall of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden.

In 1887, The First Presidency of the church said the following:

"The habit, which some young people fall into, of using vulgarity and profanity is one which should receive attention...The practice is not only offensive to all well-bred persons, but is a gross sin in the sight of God and should not exist among the children of the Latter-day Saints."

Man, was this quote ahead of its time or what? Profanity has become so casual in the world today, even among "the children of the Latter-day Saints" that many people see nothing wrong with it.

I would argue that profanity is one of satan's greatest tools in leading followers of Christ astray. 

LDS.org says the following:

"Foul language is both degrading and harmful to the spirit. We should not let others influence us to use foul language. Instead, we should use clean language that uplifts and edifies others."

Imagine how much more of a "peculiar" people we Latter-day Saints could be, if we refused to use such language. If instead, we used uplifting words towards others and showed them kindness when they wrong us. It could make a huge impact in the world and in bringing others to know the Gospel.

 In terms of using the Lord's name in vain, Mosiah 13:15 says the following:

"Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain."How about Matthew 12:36:

"But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgement."

Every word, good or bad, we will be held accountable for. I don't know about you, but that makes me want to work on correcting all my bad habits (including language at bad calls on the baseball field!)

Joseph Fielding Smith, in Doctrines of Salvation, said the following on profanity:

"Profanity is filthiness. A person is known as much by his language as he is by the company he keeps ... Filthiness in any form is degrading and soul-destroying and should be avoided."


Soul destroying. What is satan's goal in this life? To pull us away from the gospel path, to destroy us. He will use any tool available to do that, including lulling you into believing profanity is somehow ok.

Profanity doesn't stop just at certain words. The world today loves to speak of sexual exploits, of the sexiness of men and women's bodies they pass on the street. I don't know how many times I've overheard guys speak of a woman who walked past them: "Oh man, look at her.." you can imagine the rest.

A few years ago, we had a certain guy on our baseball team. Most of us go to church together and therefore our conversations never go to such topics as "sexual exploits". One game, he started bragging about the things he did with a girl the night before, casually bragging about it without any consideration of those around him. Finally one of our teammates spoke up and told him nobody wants to hear that. He had allowed such talk to become so commonplace, he didn't even think how others would react to the things he said.

Fellow saints, I want to challenge all of us to be better examples of Christ. I challenge all of us to be more mindful of the words we say, whether it's profanity or otherwise. We are to be a light to the world, as if we are on a hill for all to see; this includes being on a hill for all to hear.

I know if we all strive to be a better example of Christ in all we do, we will become an even more spiritual people and will bring others to know of our Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and this gospel. 


"The man or [woman] .. who must resort to [foul] language immediately says that he is poverty ridden in his vocabulary. He does not enjoy sufficient richness of expression to be able to speak effectively without swearing or using foul words."
-Gordon B. Hinckley-

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