Sounds Like Scripture (But Isn't)

by | May 30, 2014



Sometimes it’s easy to mistake inspirational quotes with scripture.

For example, “Every human life is worth the same, and worth saving” sounds like something straight out of general conference, right? Wrong. It’s from Harry Potter. 

Or what about “Curiosity is not a sin . . . But we should exercise caution with our curiosity”? Nope. Also Harry Potter.

A friend of mine used this quote in his mission homecoming talk: “It’s not about how fast I get there. Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side. It’s the climb.”

Sound familiar? 

What’s funny to me is when someone uses a profound quote from a book, song, or movie in a talk, and someone sitting next to me whispers, “Wow, that’s great!” and write it down in their notebook, along with the date, time, and location, as if the quote was just said for the very first time. I’m tempted to nudge them and say, “No, no. Miley Cyrus said it first.”

If it even vaguely sounds like a proverb, people will assume it is one, and attribute it to either the scriptures or a general authority.

“Spare the rod, spoil the child.”

"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."

“Cleanliness is next to godliness.”

“The past can hurt. But the way I see it you can either run from it or learn from it."

I’ve even heard some people call the “Footprints in the Sand” story a parable found in the New Testament.

I’m guilty of this, too. I remember once using “With great power comes great responsibility” in a lesson, when what I really meant was “For of him whom much is given, much is required” (D&C 82:3). 

The scriptures are vast, after all! We’re not expected to have every verse memorized. Sometimes we accidentally confuse pop culture with doctrine. Sometimes we intentionally use pop culture to teach doctrine.

If a saying or quote from an outside source helps to strengthen someone’s testimony of the gospel, then (in my opinion) by all means, we should use it!

Obviously we should make sure to give credit where it's due and not try to pass catchy song lyrics as Church doctrine, but it's nice to consider how much good there is in the world, that we can find so much supplementary material in pop culture to use in our sacrament talks and Sunday School lessons.

What are some funny misquotes you’ve heard (or used yourself)? Share in the comments!

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