Wednesday, April 25, 2012

"Outside the Temple"

In yesterday’s Deseret News, Timothy R. Clark, who writes the weekly column, “On Leadership,” gave me a new perspective on profanity. The headline for his column read, “Profanity is overused and overrated.”

I liked several of his quotes, such as:

“I listened to Howard Stern once for about two minutes and that was two minutes too long. Take out the profanity and he’s dead air.”

“Shock jocks use it [profanity] as the ‘weapon of the witless’ because they have no real talent, but that doesn’t matter to a market that has no real taste.”

“Profanity has become a crutch for those who can’t write.” [And I would add that sex scenes are another crutch for bad writers, including screen writers. But I digress.]

But the quote that really made me sit up and take notice was this:

“The term profanity comes from Latin roots that mean before or outside the temple, thus referring to language that is irreverent or indecent.”

It’s one thing to have profanity inflicted upon us against our will, as when we are standing in line at the grocery store or strolling through the park or some other public place, or perhaps our boss or co-workers habitually use profanity. It’s an unwelcome assault on our sensitivities as it defiles the temple of our consciousness, but we are innocent victims because we did not consent to the profanity, neither do we condone the profanity.

But let’s think about when indecent or irreverent material appears in a book we are reading, or in a movie or during a TV program that we have chosen to view. If we continue to consume indecent or irreverent material after it turns profane, are we not consenting to and condoning the profanity? Maybe we have continued because we hoped that the first appearance of profanity would be the only example of it in the entire book or show. How often has that been true in the past?

How many profanities will we have to hear or read before we say, “that’s enough!”? When will we have crossed the thin gray line in which we have gone beyond tolerance and have begun “enjoying” the indecent and the irreverent?

The phrase “outside the temple” caused me to imagine myself being prohibited from entering any of the Temples of God. And I thought how devastating it would be to desire to enter God’s presence, but because I had chosen profanity, I could not enter. Since profanity is “outside the temple,” if I choose it by continuing to read it or watch it, am I not also choosing to BE outside the temple? Am I not choosing unholiness over holiness? Am I not choosing to be unclean and unworthy?

The Holy Ghost departs when irreverence or indecency is chosen over goodness and virtue. When can I afford to be without the Holy Ghost? Is not “now” the crucial moment of my existence?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

New Leaders

I went to the Church website this morning to see photos of the new General Relief Society Presidency. As I looked at them, I felt comforted – surely the Lord has selected them and they will be guided and strengthened with powers beyond their own. Yesterday when the releases of the then current presidency happened, I felt sorrow and loss. Sister Beck was a wonderfully inspiring and courageous woman. 

Happily, the new ones look quite fresh and vigorous!

Sister Linda K. Burton was serving as a member of the Relief Society general board when she received her call to serve as the organization’s president. In her Church callings, she spent three years serving with her husband as he presided over the Korea Seoul West Mission. They returned from Korea in 2010. She also served on the Primary general board, and in various callings in the Young Women, Primary, Sunday School and as a seminary teacher.

She studied elementary education at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and is married to Craig P. Burton. They have six children and 19 grandchildren.

Sister Carole M. Stephens was also serving on the Relief Society general board when she accepted the call to serve as first counselor in the general presidency. She has also served as stake and ward Relief Society president, ward Relief Society counselor, teacher and homemaking leader, ward Young Women president, member of a ward Primary presidency, Primary teacher, Cub Scout leader, Church-service missionary and seminary teacher.

She attended Weber State University in Ogden, Utah and is currently a member of the Daughters of Utah Pioneers, where she serves as the Farr West camp captain.

She is married to Martin R. Stephens. They are the parents of six children and 15 grandchildren.

Sister Linda S. Reeves was serving as the first counselor in her ward’s Relief Society when she was called to serve in the Relief Society general presidency. Previously she served with her husband when he was president of the California Riverside Mission. She also served as stake Relief Society president, ward Young Women president, ward Young Single Adult advisor, Sunday School teacher, and Primary chorister.
She graduated from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in special education. She is married to Melvyn K. Reeves and they are the parents of 13 children.