Pure Thoughts, Part 4

Some of the impurities that can enter our minds include: profanity, vulgarity, and pornography. I’ll first focus briefly on profanity. We learn the meaning of profanity from John S. Tanner: “Profanity…means literally, outside (pro) the temple or shrine (fanum). Profane language drags sacred words out of the sanctuary and into the marketplace, making a mockery of holy things. It uses in a thoughtless, sacrilegious, or impious way terms usually graced with sacred significance, thus violating the Lord’s injunction: ‘That which cometh from above is sacred, and must be spoken with care.’ (D&C; 63:64). Profanity, a close cousin to blasphemy, describes the kind of speech that is often called ‘swearing'” (Ensign, Feb. 1991, p.30). So, profanity is treating the sacred as if it were secular; it is being light-minded in contrast to pure-minded. We must do as King Benjamin taught, we must watch our thoughts and not take or treat spiritual things lightly.

Joseph F. Smith condemned profanity among the members of the Church when he said,

“We should stamp out profanity, and vulgarity, and everything of that character that exists among us; for all such things are incompatible with the gospel and inconsistent with the people of God. Language, like thought, makes its impression and is recalled by the memory in a way that may be unpleasant if not harmful to those who have been compelled to listen to unseemly words. Thoughts that in themselves are not proper may be exalted or debased by the language used to express them. If inelegant expressions should be eschewed, what shall be said of profanity?

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

“I say to the fathers and mothers of Israel, and to the boys who have been born in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: I say it to men and boys throughout the world, as far as my words may go—I plead with you, I implore you not to offend the Lord, nor to offend honorable men and women, by the use of profanity” (Teachings, Joseph F. Smith, p.374).

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