Quotes by Gordon B. Hinckley

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Be Clean in Language

"President George Q. Cannon, who served long and faithfully as a Counselor in the First Presidency, said on one occasion:

'Do angels take the Lord's name in vain? The idea is so ridiculous that we scarcely like to ask the question...How dare we do that which angels dare not do? Is it possible for us to argue that that which is forbidden in heaven is praiseworthy on earth?... Though we are sure no boy can tell us any advantage that can arise from the abuse of God's holy name, yet we can tell him many evils that arise therefrom.

To begin,' Bro. Cannon said, 'it is unnecessary and consequently foolish; it lessens our respect for holy things and leads us into the society of the wicked; it brings upon us the disrespect of the good who avoid us; it leads us to other sins, for he who is willing to abuse his Creator is not ashamed to defraud his fellow creature; and also by so doing we directly and knowingly break one of the most direct of God's commandments.'"

Juvenile Instructor, 27 Sept., 1873, p. 156


"Cultivate the art of conversation. It is a tremendous asset. For me there is nothing more delightful than to listen in on the conversation of a group of bright and happy young people such as you.

Their dialogue is witty. It is scintillating. It sparkles and is punctuated by laughing even when dealing with serious subjects. But, I repeat, it is not necessary in conversation to profane the name of Deity or to use salty and salacious language of any kind.

And let me add that there is plenty of humor in the world without resorting to what we speak of as dirty jokes. I challenge each of you to avoid all such. During the coming week as you talk with friends and associates, see if you can do so without speaking any words that you might regret having said."

"True to the Faith," Salt Lake Valley-Wide Institute Fireside, Jan. 21, 1996


"Be clean in language. There is so much of filthy, sleazy talk these days. I spoke to the young women about it. I speak to you also. It tells others that your vocabulary is so extremely limited that you cannot express yourselves without reaching down into the gutter for words. Dirty talk is unbecoming any man who holds the priesthood, be he young or old.

Nor can you as a priesthood holder take the name of the Lord in vain. Said Jehovah to the children of Israel, 'Thou shall not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain' (Ex. 20:7).

That commandment, engraved by the finger of the Lord, is as binding upon us as it was upon those to whom it was originally given. The Lord has said in modern revelation, 'Remember that that which cometh from above is sacred, and must be spoken with care, and by constraint of the Spirit' (D & C 63:64).

A filthy mind expresses itself in filthy and profane language. A clean mind expresses itself in language that is positive and uplifting and in deeds that bring happiness into the heart."

"Be Ye Clean," Ensign, May 1996, p. 48


In a conference talk in 1987 when he was First Counselor in the First Presidency, President Gordon B. Hinckley reported that in our society such profanity is becoming all too prevalent. He read from a First Presidency general epistle issued a hundred years earlier, dated 8 April 1887 which stated:

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

In addition President Hinckley recounted the story of the son of the Israelitish woman who was stoned to death for blasphemy (see Leviticus 16) and said "While that most serious of penalties has long since ceased to be inflicted, the gravity of the sin has not changed."

From the book: The Ten Commandments For Today, p. 64