Skip main navigation

Language

Get answers to questions about the standards of the Church. Choose a topic above to see more.

  • Why is it important to use good language?

    “How you communicate should reflect who you are as a son or daughter of God. Clean and intelligent language is evidence of a bright and wholesome mind. Good language that uplifts, encourages, and compliments others invites the Spirit to be with you.” (For the Strength of Youth, 20).

    Close
  • My friends tell me that swear words aren’t bad unless you’re using them to offend someone. Are there times when swear words are OK?

    Elder Dallin H. Oaks said we should “never allow profane or vulgar words to pass [our] lips. The language we use projects the images of our hearts, and our hearts should be pure.” He added that “profanity and vulgarity . . . are sins that separate us from God and cripple our spiritual defenses by causing the Holy Ghost to withdraw from us” (“Reverent and Clean,” April 1986 general conference).

    Close
  • How can I break a habit of using bad language?

    “If you have developed the habit of using language that is not in keeping with these standards—such as swearing, mocking, gossiping, or speaking in anger to others—you can change. Pray for help. Ask your family and friends to support you in your desire to use good language” (For the Strength of Youth, 21).

    Close
  • My friends and I have a problem with gossiping. What can I do to stop and to help them stop?

    You can overcome gossiping by following the advice in For the Strength of Youth: “Help others improve their language by your example. Be willing to politely walk away or change the subject when those around you use inappropriate language.

    “Speak kindly and positively about others. Choose not to insult others or put them down, even in joking. Avoid gossip of any kind, and avoid speaking in anger. …

    “If you have developed the habit of using language that is not in keeping with these standards—such as swearing, mocking, gossiping, or speaking in anger to others—you can change. Pray for help. Ask your family and friends to support you in your desire to use good language” (20–21).

    “Slander, backbiting, evil speaking, faultfinding are all destructive termites that destroy the home. . . . Lies and gossip which harm reputations are scattered about by the four winds like the seeds of a ripe dandelion held aloft by a child. Neither the seeds nor the gossip can ever be gathered in. The degree and extent of the harm done by the gossip is inestimable” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball [1982], 262–63).

    Close
  • Is it OK to put people down if I am just joking?

    “Speak kindly and positively about others. Choose not to insult others or put them down, even in joking. Avoid gossip of any kind, and avoid speaking in anger. When you are tempted to say harsh or hurtful things, leave them unsaid.” (For the Strength of Youth, 20).

    Close
  • How do I get bad words and dirty jokes out of my head after I hear them at school?

    “The mind is like a stage,” said President Boyd K. Packer. “Except when we are asleep, the curtain is always up. . . . Always there is some act playing on the stage of the mind.

    “Have you noticed that, without any real intent on your part and almost in the midst of any performance, a shady little thought may creep in from the wings and endeavor to attract your attention? . . . If you permit them to go on, all other thoughts, of any virtue, will leave the stage. You will be left, because you consented to it, to the influence of unworthy thoughts” (That All May Be Edified, [1982], 38).

    “What do you do at a time like this, when the stage of your mind is commandeered by these imps of unclean thinking? . . . Let me suggest that you choose from among the sacred music of the Church one favorite hymn. I have reason for suggesting that it be a Latter-day Saint hymn, one with lyrics that are uplifting and the music reverent. Select one that, when it is properly rendered, makes you feel something akin to inspiration.

    “Now, go over it in your mind very thoughtfully a few times. Memorize the words and the music. . . . Anytime you find that these shady actors have slipped in from the sideline of your thinking onto the stage of your mind, think through this hymn. . . . It will change the whole mood on the stage of your mind. Because it is clean and uplifting and reverent, the baser thoughts will leave” (That All May Be Edified, 38–39).

    Close
  • What should I do if my friends always swear?

    “Do not let others influence you to use foul language. Instead, use clean language that uplifts and edifies others. Choose friends who use good language. Set an example that will encourage those around you to use clean language. If friends and acquaintances use profanity, good-naturedly encourage them to choose other words. If they persist, politely walk away or change the subject” (True to the Faith, 128–29).

    Close
  • What is the Lord’s standard for good language?

    “Speak kindly and positively about others. Choose not to insult others or put them down, even in joking. Avoid gossip of any kind, and avoid speaking in anger. When you are tempted to say harsh or hurtful things, leave them unsaid. …

    “Always use the names of God and Jesus Christ with reverence and respect. Misusing the names of Deity is a sin. …

    “Do not use profane, vulgar, or crude language or gestures, and do not tell jokes or stories about immoral actions. These are offensive to God and to others.

    “Remember that these standards for your use of language apply to all forms of communication, including texting on a cell phone or communicating on the Internet” (For the Strength of Youth, 20–21).

    Close