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Young Men Lesson 21: Pure Thoughts: Clean Language

Manual 1; Excerpt from "The Tongue of Angels," by Jeffrey R. Holland

May 18, 2012

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"Our words, like our deeds, should be filled with faith and hope and charity, the three great Christian imperatives so desperately needed in the world today." -Jeffrey R. Holland

Discussion Questions
• What are some sources of bad thoughts that can lead to bad language or behavior? (see D&C 88:121).
• What are some sources of good thoughts? How do good thoughts lead to good language or behavior?

Excerpt from "Tongue of Angels" by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, April 2007 General Conference:

The Prophet Joseph Smith deepened our understanding of the power of speech when he taught, “It is by words … [that] every being works when he works by faith. God said, ‘Let there be light: and there was light.’ Joshua spake, and the great lights which God had created stood still. Elijah commanded, and the heavens were stayed for the space of three years and six months, so that it did not rain. … All this was done by faith. … Faith, then, works by words; and with [words] its mightiest works have been, and will be, performed.” 1 Like all gifts “which cometh from above,” words are “sacred, and must be spoken with care, and by constraint of the Spirit.” 2

It is with this realization of the power and sanctity of words that I wish to caution us, if caution is needed, regarding how we speak to each other and how we speak of ourselves.

There is a line from the Apocrypha which puts the seriousness of this issue better than I can. It reads, “The stroke of the whip maketh marks in the flesh: but the stroke of the tongue breaketh the bones.” 3 With that stinging image in mind, I was particularly impressed to read in the book of James that there was a way I could be “a perfect man.”

To read the full talk, click here.

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