I wonder how often we take the time to consider the effects of the things we say in our conversations. Do we alter how we speak with our family in comparison to our co-workers, bosses, friends and even total strangers?
In the scriptures we read how powerful the prophets words were in doing good. In Alma 31:5 it says:
5 And now, as the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just—yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them—
We know how strongly speaking of the gospel can affect people, but on the flip side our words can do even great harm. When we choose to sow discord among those with whom we associate we cause harm not only to ourselves, but to those around us.
We live in a contentious world and it is very easy to get caught up in sharing or spreading those contentions. Satan would like nothing better than all of us to be unhappy with our lives and everything in them.
In Preach My Gospel pg 3 it states:
“Satan is attacking the family on many fronts and too many families [and individuals] are being destroyed by his efforts…”
Romans 1:28-31 says:
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31 Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
Do we want to put ourselves in a position to go against our Heavenly Father? To have him ‘give us over to a reprobate mind’ because of our choices? This is relevant in our personal lives as well as in our dealings with each other at church.
The Lord has given warnings to us across the ages. Ephesians 4:31-32 says:
31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
In Mosiah 2:32-33 King Benjamin counseled:
32 But, O my people, beware lest there shall arise contentions among you, and ye list to obey the evil spirit, which was spoken of by my father Mosiah.
33 For behold, there is a wo pronounced upon him who listeth to obey that spirit; for if he listeth to obey him, and remaineth and dieth in his sins, the same drinketh damnation to his own soul; for he receiveth for his wages an everlasting punishment, having transgressed the law of God contrary to his own knowledge.
Doctrine and Covenants 20:54
54 And see that there is no iniquity in the church, neither hardness with each other, neither lying, backbiting, nor evil speaking;
Doctrine and Covenants 88:124
124 …cease to find fault one with another;
Doctrine and Covenants 136:23
23 Cease to contend one with another; cease to speak evil one of another.
This counsel should be foremost in our minds when we are associating with our friends and families, but it also needs to be prevalent in our dealings and support of our church leaders.
In this month’s Ensign there is an article entitled We Sustain Our Leaders. It talks about how and why leaders are called in the church and how we should support them. It says:
Latter-day Saints believe that Jesus Christ Himself is the head of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He calls, through inspiration, prophets and apostles to lead His Church. The Lord has given these leaders authority to call others to serve in the Church, such as members of the Seventy. Apostles and Seventy extend callings to stake presidents, who call bishops, who call members to serve in various positions in their wards. Thus priesthood authority and revelation guide Church callings from the Church-wide level to local congregations.
We have an opportunity to sustain—support, help, pray for—each of these people in their callings. We indicate our willingness to do so by raising our right hands when their names are read to us in general conference, stake conference, ward or branch conference, or sacrament meeting. Raising our hands is a sign to us, to them, and to the Lord that we will sustain them.
Raising our hands to sustain someone is not like voting that person into office. The person has already been called by the Lord to serve in that calling by one who has the priesthood authority to extend such a calling. Our sustaining is a vote of confidence in the person, because we recognize that he or she has been called of God through priesthood leaders we sustain.
We can sustain the General Authorities and our local leaders and officers in several ways:
By our faith and prayers in their behalf.
By following their counsel.
By helping when they ask us.
By accepting callings they extend to us.
Sustaining our leaders is evidence of our goodwill, faith, and fellowship.
When we sustain these members and leaders in their callings it is like making a covenant with them and the Lord that we will support and help them even if we don’t always agree with their decisions. When we sow discord among other members because of things we don’t like or agree with we are breaking that covenant and trust and should repent.
It can be very difficult to support leaders and ward members who you feel aren’t fulfilling their callings in the way you think best and I think it is important to discuss those feelings, with the Lord.
If we go to our Heavenly Father with our discontent, maintaining an open heart and mind, he will help us understand any situation. Thus we can avoid the pitfall of evil-speaking or speaking discord that can only lead to unhappiness for ourselves and those we pull in with us.
Most of us have seen this Mormon Ad about gossip. When we share our discontent among our fellow men it has a similar effect except our simple disagreement can turn into a cankerous sore that will do more harm to our souls and minds if left unattended.
We must remember that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can find peace. Preach My Gospel pg 3 says:
I know these things are true and I am grateful for the power of the Atonement and how it blesses my life and allows me to repent and be clean again.