Question: Why do Latter-day Saints not swear?

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Questions: Why do Latter-day Saints not swear?

Introduction to Question

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints try not to swear. Why is this?

This article will offer scriptural, ethical, and pragmatic reasons for not swearing.

Response to Question

Scriptural Reasons

Proverbs teaches us that “[d]eath and life are in the power of the tongue; and [we] that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”[1] Jesus taught that “every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgement. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”[2] He also taught that it is “[n]ot that which goeth into the mouth [that] defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth[.] This defileth a man.”[3] Paul taught the Corinthians that “evil communications corrupt good manners.”[4] Paul taught the Ephesians to “[l]et no corrupt [σαπρὸς (sarpos) "unwholesome"] communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”[5] The author of 1 Peter says “[b]ut as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation.”[6] King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon teaches us that if we do not watch our words then we will perish.[7] The prophet Alma in the Book of Mormon taught that, at judgement day, “our words will condemn us, yea, all our works will condemn us; we shall not be found spotless; and our thoughts will also condemn us; and in this awful state we shall not dare to look up to our God[.]”[8] Doctrine and Covenants 136, given to President Brigham Young, told the Saints to “let your words tend to edifying one another.”[9]

Ethical Reasons

Swearing can foster enmity between people. As a body of people that have been commanded to love our neighbor as ourself,[10] we should be exemplary in how we treat others and avoid language that leads to fractured relationships.

Pragmatic Reasons

Swearing can be a sign of an unrefined mind. There are many other things that we can say in any given situation to be funny, to speak clearly, and to speak professionally.

Little Rules

We may think that Christ didn’t care about little rules but he did. Prior to performing the atonement, he told those living under the law of Moses and its 613 little rules that “[w]hosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”[11]

Conclusion

The scripture and reason tell us to watch our mouths. We should do our best to follow these commandments and see the blessings that come from it.

Notes

  1. Proverbs 18:21
  2. Matthew 12:36-37
  3. Matthew 15:11
  4. 1 Corinthians 15:33
  5. Ephesians 4:29
  6. 1 Peter 1:15
  7. Mosiah 4:29-30
  8. Alma 12:14
  9. Doctrine and Covenants 136:24
  10. Matthew 22:39
  11. Matthew 5:19