Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Do Your Words Reflect Truth?

by Kimber Albrechtsen

Vocabulary is important. Words are powerful. We should do what we can to make sure our words reflect truth. Those destined for a telestial glory are described as "they who are liars ... and whosoever loves and makes a lie" (D&C 76:103). When we misuse words and distort God's truths, whether out of malice, willful ignorance, or complacency, we are liars. We show love for lies when we accept histories, teachings, and word usages that prop up our pride while concealing real truth.

Isaiah knew how to use words.

Jesus said, "Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man" (Matthew 15:11). We should use our words carefully. I realized that I had been using many words in ways that contradicted God’s truth. While the “what I used to mean” column certainly doesn’t represent everyone’s usage, I’d encourage you to honestly evaluate what you really mean when you use the same terms. I also don’t claim that my “what I mean now” column represents absolute truth. God is always refining my understanding.

What I Used to Mean

What I Mean Now
Loyalty to an organization.
Endurance through trials. Belief in God. Hope for temporal blessings.

A principle of action, focused in Christ. An assurance of things not seen.
What you really, really, really believe in.
What you know through undeniable experience.

The Spirit
Something you feel, usually “warm fuzzy.”
Something that reveals, teaches, enlightens. Is pure knowledge, not sentimentality or emotion.

Word of Wisdom
Only the no-no’s. A set of commandments from God. Important enough to affect temple worthiness.

All of D&C 89, never revealed as commandment.
President of the LDS Church.
Someone commissioned by God to deliver a specific message. Someone with the gift of prophecy.

Someone who disagrees with or is critical of church leadership.

Someone who rejects the gospel of Christ.
Feeling really bad when you do something really wrong.
Turning to God and His way. Requires forsaking sin. Involves gaining the light and knowledge necessary to overcome the sin.

A physical act that guarantees spiritual blessings.
A physical act that signifies internal commitments, and that is powerless without the ratification of heaven, as manifested through the presence of promised spiritual blessings and power.

God’s power, authority over others, restricted to men ordained to offices.
A fragile fellowship with heaven reliant upon righteousness and faith, never to be used to constrain or control others.

Ambiguous symbols of authority over murkily-defined spiritual stewardships and powers. Something that will never be taken away from LDS leadership.
Knowledge that instructs one how to qualify for and receive specific blessings. Stewardship over portions of God’s work. Something that can be lost through neglect, abuse, or disuse, regardless of any religious authority or succession claims.

Carnal security, comfort, feeling like my telestial life is in order.
A state enjoyed by the righteous who have been cleansed from sin.

A promise from God that you have secured exaltation.

Giving money to the poor, being nice.
The pure love of Christ. Cannot be feigned. Is a gift from God.

Speaking evil of the Lord’s anointed
Saying anything negative about church leadership, even if it is true.
Voicing false accusations against the Lord’s anointed (which group may be much smaller or larger than usually thought).

One of the LDS Quorum of the Twelve.
A literal witness of Christ’s resurrected body. One sent by Him to declare this witness.

People outside of church hierarchy who gain popularity and/or get paid for religious services/teachings.

Anyone who gains popularity and/or gets paid for religious services/teachings.
The Second Comforter
A literal visitation from Jesus Christ, bestowed upon all those who keep the commandments. An experience to be sought after diligently.

An ordinance in the temple that automatically binds spouses and families together forever.
Being sealed up unto God’s family, having your calling and election made sure (revealed by the voice of God) after the sacrifice of all things. Not applicable to marriage/family unless all parties have made their callings and elections sure.

An ordinance that washes away your sins.
An ordinance that symbolizes a commitment to Christ and accompanying repentance that qualifies you to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost which purges your soul of sin.

The Gift of the Holy Ghost
Something you get automatically after baptism and confirmation.
A spiritual gift/event, also described as the Baptism of Fire, qualified for by repentance and having a broken heart and contrite spirit. Followed by a marked increase in revelation, understanding, and personal righteousness. May occur before baptism, or even years afterwards.

False traditions
Something found in other cultures/religions.
False or vain religious teachings/practices that can occur in any church or culture. Consist of rules, practices, or doctrines that are the product of men, and not divine revelation.

Something inferred or alluded to by church leaders, usually about where a new temple should be built or what policy/program should be changed or implemented.
New knowledge about the work, ways, and will of God. Identified explicitly as coming directly from God, to be printed and disseminated to the church (D&C 104:58-59).

How much skin a woman covers on her body.
The practice of men and women in rejecting the practice of displaying wealth, beauty, or status for the purpose of gaining power or popularity.

Teachings of past prophets that can be contradicted or superseded by current LDS leadership. Current LDS leadership has the ultimate say on scriptural interpretation.
The words and deeds of God, as recorded by past prophets, which can never be contradicted or superseded. The Spirit has the ultimate say on scriptural interpretation.

Requirements for exaltation
Whatever is included in a temple recommend interview.
Being sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise (having your calling and election made sure, along with your spouse), membership in the Church of the Firstborn, having received the fullness of the Father (been in His presence-D&C 84:24).

Philosophies/teaching of men
Science, feminism, intellectualism, etc. that contradict the teachings of church leadership.
Any teaching that contradicts God’s words. Is especially harmful when presented as authoritative, binding, and of God in the absence of actual revelation.

Being less overtly wicked than others. Following external church rules.
Being obedient to God. Having a pure heart and clean hands.

An ordinance that involves renewing all my covenants; makes me "clean" if taken with a remorseful heart. Bread and water, partaken of by any who haven't been instructed not to by church leadership.
An ordinance that renews only the sacramental covenant. A sign that we will always remember God and keep His commandments. In return we are promised His Spirit. Should not be administered to those who have not been baptized (3 Nephi 18:5). Should be bread and wine (D&C 89:6).

Self-reliance A term that made me feel accomplished in my privileged economic circumstances and justified in judging those with less. The idea that financial prowess is valued by God. A principle that, when overemphasized, can lead to a preoccupation with worldly wealth, neglect of the poor, and pride. Can compete with the Lord’s teaching of God-reliance.
Zion Technically a future city in Independence, Missouri, but used to describe Utah, Mormondom in general, or a hypothetical state of being where everyone gets along. A city of refuge where the righteous will dwell in the last days, with no poor among them. All inhabitants will literally know the Lord, and be united in their obedience to God and love for one another.

SinBreaking a rule. Disobeying a commandment.Anything that separates us from God.

Mysteries of God
Esoteric knowledge about God that isn't relevant to salvation. Should not be sought after and can be dangerous or distracting.
Great treasures of knowledge. A blessing given to the faithful and soft-hearted (Alma 12:10). Knowledge to be sought after, vital to salvation and eternal life (D&C 6:7,11).

Good works.
Gifts of the spirit (miracles, visions, ministry of angels, prophecy, tongues, etc). True repentance.

Has God corrected the way you use any words? How do you form the definitions you ascribe to?


  1. This goes along with what I have been learning. I am to put together a gospel flip-it chart that has many of these words on there. Love this!

  2. This is an excellent list! Another word that could be added is "Gentiles." Used to mean to me: Those persons not belonging to the LDS religion. What it means to me now: The LDS are the Gentiles in the Book of Mormon (see D&C 109:60; Title Page of the BofM; 3 Nephi 21:5-6).
    Also, an additional definition of "fruit" in the context of Zenos' allegory of the olive tree (Jacob 5) are those who are spiritually begotten by Christ and become His sons and daughters (Mosiah 5:7-9) thus connecting to and enlarging the family of God.


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