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How do the things I say affect me and those around me?

How we communicate reflects our understanding of who we are as children of God. Our language can either uplift and encourage others, or it can hurt and offend them. When we use uplifting language, we invite the Holy Ghost to be with us.

Prepare yourself spiritually

What scriptures and talks will help the young men feel the significance of the words they use to communicate with others?

Proverbs 15:1–4; 16:24; 1 Timothy 4:12; James 3:2–10; Alma 31:5; D&C 108:7 (Our words can have a powerful effect on others)

Matthew 12:36; 15:11; Ephesians 4:29–32; Mosiah 4:30 (We should be careful about the words we use)

Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Tongue of Angels,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2007, 16–18

W. Craig Zwick, “What Are You Thinking?Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 41–43

Language,” For the Strength of Youth (2011), 20–21

Profanity,” True to the Faith (2004), 128–29

Videos: “No Cussing Club”; “Bullying—Stop It”; “Texting Truths”

Let the young men lead

A member of the quorum presidency (or an assistant to the bishop in the priests quorum) conducts the quorum meeting. He leads the young men in counseling together about quorum business, teaches them their priesthood duties (from the scriptures and the Duty to God book), encourages them to share their experiences fulfilling their duty to God, and invites an adviser or other quorum member to teach a gospel lesson. He could prepare by filling out a quorum meeting agenda during a presidency meeting.

Begin the learning experience

Choose from these ideas or think of your own to review last week’s lesson and introduce this week’s lesson:

  • Invite several young men to share what impressed them about the lesson last week.
  • Write the following phrases on the board: Words we read. Words we hear. Words we write. Words we speak. Ask the young men to read Ephesians 4:29–32 and explain how this passage relates to the four phrases on the board. Invite the young men to ponder these questions: How do you feel about the kind of language that you read, hear, and use? How do words invite or discourage guidance from the Holy Ghost? 

Learn together

Each of the activities below will help the young men understand the importance of using good language. Following the inspiration of the Spirit, select one or more that will work best for your quorum:

  • Write on the board “If a man can control his tongue, he can control ________.” Invite the young men to search James 3:2–10 and fill in the blank. Assign each young man to read one of the analogies used by James (horse bit, verses 2–3; ship, verse 4; forest fire, verses 5–6; poison, verses 7–8; pure fountain, verses 10–11). Invite the young men to prepare to teach the rest of the quorum what their analogy teaches about controlling their speech. Invite them to share what they can do to control their speech.
  • A few days in advance, invite the young men to bring to quorum meeting their favorite inspirational quotation. Ask each young man to share his quotation and explain the influence it has had on his life. Invite the quorum to find examples in the scriptures that illustrate the powerful positive influence our words can have on others (for example, Captain Moroni and the title of liberty [see Alma 46:11–22], the Savior and the woman taken in adultery [see John 8:1–11], or Abinadi and Alma [see Alma 5:9–12]). What do these examples teach the young men about the power their words can have on others?
  • Assign each young man a different scripture passage from the first set of scriptures in this outline. Invite him to draw a simple picture or diagram that represents the message from the passage. Have him show his picture, and invite the other quorum members to guess what it teaches about communication with others. Ask the young men to share experiences related to the message of the scripture passages. 
  • Give each young man a section of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s talk “The Tongue of Angels,” and invite him to highlight the main message from that section (do not give the young men the title of the talk). Have each young man list on the board what he highlighted and explain why. Ask the quorum members to suggest possible titles for the talk based on the main messages they identified. Invite a few young men to share a time when they said something that uplifted another individual or when someone uplifted them.
  • Show one of the videos in this outline, and ask the young men to share what they learn from the video. Invite them to ponder what they can do to influence others to communicate in ways that invite the Spirit of the Lord. For example, how might they help a friend who has a habit of using bad language? Or how can they use electronic communication to uplift and encourage others? Invite them to look for answers as they read “Language” in For the Strength of Youth. Ask them to share their ideas.
  • Invite the young men to read 1 Nephi 5:1–7 and share what they learn from the examples of Sariah and Lehi about how our words affect ourselves and others. Ask them to read Elder W. Craig Zwick’s comments about this account in his talk “What Are You Thinking?” What further insights do the young men gain from this talk? Encourage them to share ways they can follow Lehi’s example in their interactions with family members and others.

Ask the young men to share what they learned today. Do they understand the importance of using clean, uplifting language? What feelings or impressions do they have? Do they have any additional questions? Would it be worthwhile to spend more time on this doctrine?

Invite to act

The young man who is conducting concludes the meeting. He could:

  • Share his testimony about how using appropriate language can uplift and encourage others and invite the companionship of the Holy Ghost.
  • Commit the young men to use language that reflects their sacred calling as Aaronic Priesthood holders.