Meridian readers have lots to say today in an effort to help an ex-sailor clean up his language. But first, we have a thank you letter from “Wounded,” who wants to let us know how much she appreciated your letters on forgiveness.
Will you please extend my gratitude to your readers for their sensitive, thoughtful, wise, honest, and spiritual comments to my question about how we learn to forgive others? I can't even begin to express the peace I felt when I realized that each of those people who responded, and quite possibly many who didn't, prayed for me. That knowledge has blessed me in so many ways, and their wise counsel has given me great hope and helped me to realize many things.
The Savior will take my burden. I loved that each person brought the process of forgiveness back to Jesus Christ and laid it at His feet. My testimony of Him has grown immensely and I felt the Spirit testify so strongly while reading those comments.
I am not alone in my challenges. Even though I sometimes feel that I am making this journey alone, the realization that many others have struggled and been so greatly blessed has given me hope. Each letter felt like a personal message of love, hope, and healing just for me.
Finding that peace takes time. I think sometimes I want the blessing and I want it now. But hearing so many say that it will take time has allowed me to look beyond this moment and not be so hard on myself.
I love the Lord, and I love that all of you helped me to feel His love as you honestly shared your own personal trials and helped me feel hope in mine. Thank you so much, and please know that I also prayed for each of you, asking the Lord to continue to bless you as you have so richly blessed me.
Thanks, Wounded. I’m sure the people whom you have thanked are glad to know that their time in writing wasn’t wasted, and that their advice found root in your soul. May God bless you on your journey.
Now, on to a lighter subject. Get out your bars of soap, and see what our readers have to say about four-letter words:
I have a swearing problem myself. Growing up I heard it all around me, but I did not succumb until I was in culinary school and became a chef. Sailors have nothing on chefs. When I converted I got rid of most of it, but there was some residual swearing that would pop up like an unwelcome visitor in times of stress.
When my kids started annoying me with the unacceptable responses of "So?" or "Whatever," I made them a deal. We had a white board above our kitchen table. Every time they caught me swearing they would put a mark by my name, and every time I caught them I'd put a mark by theirs. That way we could work on this together.
At that time we lived in an icy place with a driveway that sloped down. I had to back out of this driveway in a large SUV. Most of my verbal slips involved sliding backwards on ice. I thought I was off the hook because it was spring and there was no more ice. One day I was backing out fast and did not see the car parked behind me across the street. I backed right in to it and naturally I let fly a bit. My kids were overjoyed because they had caught me swearing. They were very cheerful while I went in and knocked on the door to find out whose car it was and exchange insurance information. I will never forget their joy at my slip-up.
I do think there may be a genetic component, which my daughter picked up. Her paternal great-grandfather was famous for giving talks with lots of long pauses because he swore so much it was difficult to speak in church. We even have a talk recorded, pauses and all. He was in a bishopric in Utah so I don't think it was a fatal flaw.
Only one of my kids, my daughter, has picked up a swearing habit. None of us has trouble with the Lord's name in vain because we know what it means — likewise the F word — but there are so many others out there. Sailor needs to know that lots of us struggle with this, and it is just part of our ongoing self-improvement. I think many other things are more important, and he sounds like a very good person. We can work on this like we would our food storage, one bit at a time with both progress and backsliding.
Formerly Foul-Mouthed in California
Because I watch a lot of cooking competition shows, Formerly, I can certainly attest that chefs may give sailors a run for their money.
I was most interested in the joy your teens got from the time you slipped up when you, well, slipped down(hill). It’s good for kids to see their parents aren’t perfect, especially when the parents repent afterwards and try to do better.
I like Zsa-Zsa Gabor's solution. She substitutes "bad word-bad word" for swear words. That still got her arrested in Paris where the police don't like folks "swearing" at them, but it is better that the actual words.
I use the word "rats" as a substitute. And I remind myself that I'm choosing to lose control when tempted to swear. That thought usually reins in my vocabulary.
Hope this helps others.
I confess to having used “rats” myself, Donna. But even more I like Zsa-Zsa Gabor’s “bad word-bad word.” It brings humor to a situation that would otherwise have none. Zsa-Zsa may be smarter than most people give her credit for.
When I think about swearing, a few things have surprised me — particularly that there is a Mormon version of swearing.
A friend went to live in a place with a high concentration of Mormons, loved it
We talked for ten or fifteen minutes, and the language used was an accurate equivalent and intonation of what the mainstream word would be. I was surprised to note that the conversation also felt pretty close to the equivalent verbal assault it would have been were this individual using the non-LDS version.
As Latter-day Saints, perhaps we might give pause to considering other words often used in our culture, and their root, or what we are trying not to say and how we are still indirectly or unwittingly saying it.
My nonmember uncle, whose conversations is liberally sprinkled with uses of Heavenly Father’s and the Savior's names both deliberately in vain, and as casual exclamation, once switched up and in the tone of an epithet, spat out "Joseph Smith!" In so doing, he unwittingly demonstrated that anything can be used in the tone of a curse, (though he may also have been attempting to cause offense by implying that Joseph is our Jesus).