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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 women 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 25:12; 108:7 (Our words can have a powerful effect on others)

Exodus 20:7; Matthew 12:34-37; 15:11; Luke 12:2–3; 1 Timothy 5:13; D&C 42:27 (Profanity, gossip, crude language, and insults are offensive to God and others)

Ephesians 4:29–32; 2 Nephi 32:2–3; D&C 63:61–64 (The language I use can affect my ability to receive guidance from the Holy Ghost)

Mosiah 4:30 (We should be careful about the words we use)

L. Tom Perry, “Thy Speech Reveals Thee,” Liahona, July 2007, 30–33

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

Ann M. Dibb, “Arise and Shine Forth,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2012, 117–19

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

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

Video: “No Cussing Club”

Share experiences

At the beginning of each class, invite the young women to share, teach, and testify about the experiences they have had applying what they learned in the previous week’s lesson. This will encourage personal conversion and help the young women see the relevance of the gospel in their daily lives.

Introduce the doctrine

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

  • Share the story of Joanna in Sister Ann M. Dibb’s talk “Arise and Shine Forth,” and ask the young women to share any experiences they have had living the Lord’s standards regarding language.
  • Write the following phrases on the board: Words we read. Words we hear. Words we write. Words we speak. Ask a young woman to read Ephesians 4:29–32 and explain how it relates to the four phrases on the board. Invite the young women 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 women understand the importance of using good language. Following the inspiration of the Spirit, select one or more that will work best for your class:

  • A few days in advance, invite the young women to bring to class a favorite inspirational quotation. Ask each young woman to share her quotation and explain the influence it has had on her life. Invite the class 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 women about the power their words can have on others?
  • As a class, read Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s talk “The Tongue of Angels.” Invite the young women to make note of things that impress them or that they want to change about the way they communicate with others. As appropriate, ask a few young women to share their impressions.
  • Show the video “No Cussing Club,” and look for reasons McKay created his club, how it influenced others, and how people reacted to it. Ask young women to share what they learned from the video. What can the young women do to influence others to use language that invites the Spirit of the Lord? 
  • Write on the board “If a man can control his tongue, he can control ________.” Invite the young women to search James 3:2–10 and fill in the blank. Assign each young woman 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 each young woman to prepare to teach the rest of the class what her analogy teaches about controlling our speech. Invite the young women to share what they can do to control their speech.
  • Assign each young woman a different scripture passage from the first set of scriptures in this outline. Invite her to draw a simple picture or diagram that represents the message from the passage. Have her show her picture, and invite the other class members to guess what it teaches about communication with others. What experiences can the young women share that illustrate the truths taught in these scriptures?
  • Ask the young women to ponder what they would do to help a friend who has a habit of using bad language. Invite them to look for answers as they read “Language” in For the Strength of Youth, and ask them to share their ideas. How would you imagine that the Savior would help someone overcome this kind of habit? Encourage the young women to role-play in pairs how they would help each other stop using bad language.

Ask the young women 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 helpful to spend more time on this doctrine?

Live what we are learning

Invite the young women to consider how they will live by what they have learned today. For example, they could:

  • Complete Integrity value experience 2 in Personal Progress.
  • Refrain from gossiping and remove bad words from their language and thoughts. Consider humming a favorite hymn when temptations arise.