Keep It To Yourself? Why What We Say Matters

Words have become even more powerful today simply because their ability to travel and span the continent is almost unimpeded. In the 19th Century there was much fear over the lower classes being literate in large part because the upper class feared the power of words. Many ideas over the centuries have begun their germination in reading some material or in listening to a powerful orator.

And now, what I say, or you say can travel the globe, reaching hundreds or thousands of people, whom we don't even know but who may hear our words.

I've been thinking a lot about this in light of the recent media uproar about John Dehlin's excommunication from The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints. Not only did Mr Dehlin increase the media coverage by making public his letter of excommunication, social media was covered with various thoughts, opinions and rantings on what had occurred. One thread I read, someone kept insisted over and over that The Church required all of its members to "color in the lines" or get out. There was also much disputing again over The Church "kicking people out for asking questions or stating what they think."

When Kate Kelly was excommunicated last year, I wrote a post about questioning that can be found here - Its Not About Questioning - The Excommunication Uproar. So I'm not going to re-address that issue. It is important to understand that what Kate Kelly and yes, John Dehlin were doing was not just questioning. And important part of our journey in life is to ask questions, and yes The Church encourages those questions and for us to learn for ourselves. But I don't want to rehash this whole issue again. There is another matter - the issue of why what we say matters.

As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints we have a responsibility with our words and what we say and share. As Alma 31:5 states: "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 to them - therefore, Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God."

While in the previous chapter of Alma we read of Korihor, and verse 18 tells us: "And thus he did preach unto them, leading away the hearts of many, causing them to lift up their heads in their wickedness..."

What we say can affect others - especially the more persistent we are in what we say - for good or ill. As members of The Church the ultimate question we should ask ourselves is:

Does what I'm sharing, saying, stating encourage people to come unto Christ?

Now perhaps it would be argued that Kate Kelly or John Dehlin were not encouraging people away from Christ. We could probably debate that issue for some time. But I venture to say where we have to be careful and aware in what we are sharing is who is the spotlight on in what we are sharing or stating? Is it to direct others to the Savior or does it shine the spotlight on us.

If we set ourselves up as the light, we are not helping people come unto Christ who is The Light. If I begin to say I know what is right and wrong and how things are to be and then try and convince others of this, chances are my motives are not to help others come unto Christ.

There is much power in the words we share. So what are you you sharing and why?

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