Sometimes I feel like swearing. Is it really so bad?

L. Tom Perry

Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

From “‘Thy Speech Reveals Thee,’” New Era, Aug. 1986, 6–7.


L. Tom Perry
Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shares some of his thoughts on this subject.

Sometimes I feel like swearing. Is it really so bad?

Church leaders have instructed and counseled and pleaded with us to use the right language.

Our speech reflects the kind of person we are.

Have the courage to keep your speech clean and wholesome.

Many times in our effort to refrain from improper speech, we find words to substitute. Sometimes they are so close to vulgar phrases everyone probably knows that we are substituting words and have not really improved our vocabulary.

How to Stop!

To anyone who has followed the practice of using profanity or vulgarity and would like to correct the habit, could I offer this suggestion? First, make the commitment to erase such words from your vocabulary. Next, if you slip and say a swear word or a substitute word, [think about] the sentence without the vulgarity or substitute word and repeat the new sentence aloud. Eventually you will develop a non-vulgar speech habit.

Illustration by Mark Robison