A short thought about words

March 4, 2012

Words have always been an interesting thing. My brother often tells me, “if you control the definition of a word you control the conversation”. Its scary how true that is. We use words to tell others how we feel, to express our self. “if you control the definition of the word you control the conversation”. This simple phrase changed my life. Realizing that words are created by people, has the power to turn your head to new horizons. To open your mind to a much wider realm of perception. Words have become a form of bondage the shackles of definition cause us to second guess all that we do. We use words to define other words making it literally impossible to explain ourselves to others. that is of course without the spirit. Without the spirit as a medium of communication words will get us no where. “and if ye receive not the Spirit ye shall not teach.” D&C 42:14.

what do you think??…


8 Responses to “A short thought about words”

  1. Rob said

    It’s a good point…is there anything recently that got you thinking about this?

    As an example, how about the word “Honor”

    Most people have no idea what this word even means. People really need to read the dictionary or wikipedia. A man defending a woman’s honor or Bushido, the samurai’s code might come to mind.

    People in a religious context often think of “Honor thy Father and thy Mother,” the bible. That’s a great one. But most everyone that has thrown me that scripture are out of it. They think honor = respect/obey…Nope. Not sure why people think that. My guess is because in our Christian dominated society/history, people abuse Christianity/The Bible to help themselves out. It’s like the race card where it trumps a conversation. Kinda like flipping the last card over in your draw pile and it’s an Uno (you just won).

    So what does honor mean? Here’s a great definition.
    Dr Samuel Johnson, in his A Dictionary of the English Language (1755), defined honour as having several senses, the first of which was “nobility of soul, magnanimity, and a scorn of meanness.”

    “Nobility of soul” segways into the idea that the “Father” it speaks of is your physical parent, the guy who hooked up with your mom and 9 months later you pooped out.
    “And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.” Matthew 23:9 Jesus said it (another trump card).

    So honor your Father in Heaven. That makes sense when thinking of the definition of honor as nobility of soul.

    But then how do we honor God? look at the next part of honor “Magnanimityis the virtue of being great of mind and heart. It encompasses, usually, a refusal to be petty, a willingness to face danger, and actions for noble purposes.”

    It has to do with the saying, “return with honor.” That is pertinent to where you are at in life. I’ll bet it is an issue brought up with you coming home early.

    • yeah the words i love you haha girlfriend… things… thanks for the advice rob.. but im real content with where i am right now being home from my mission. right now im livin homeless and goin to a different ward every sunday. its the bees knees… i dont want to go back. i finished my work in south africa.

  2. Rob said

    True, that is fun. I forgot about that part. Since I already put in extra effort enjoying ward hopping and dating, I’m done with it. But that is an important and very fun part of life. If you end up in Utah, I have some fun date ideas in the Salt Lake/Provo area. Good luck with I love you girlfriend thing…haha…see how that works out.

  3. Scott Windes said

    Words are perhaps my favorite topic to ponder. No word is more misused, misunderstood, and misappropriated than the word word itself. After all, in the beginning was the word. Many seem to forget that we will be judged for our words. And the only thing that can truly satisfy our hunger… matthew 4:4. Need I say more? Probably not. For “empty words doth have no stay in the hearts of men who pray.”

  4. Heres another word; Strait. as in ‘strait’ and narrow path. Its not spelled ‘straight’ like we generally assume. This one change of spelling alters the entire meaning and picture we see when we attempt to walk the strait and narrow or view the what that path might look like! a bit more bumpy and watery, even percarious.

  5. Jethreaux the Hoodoobilly Mormonite said

    What do I think? I think this sounds about like what everyone says…you know, that words are expressions of the mind, revealing the mind…like a computer language…indeed this is one of the arguments being made in the Oracle v. Google case…that programming languages are an “expression of thought.” I don’t know about you, but how many people do you know that are like computers? How about this for a change? Some say that thought is just another genre of speech, and that certain thoughts are not even possible except as we have words to speak.

    Language can prevent our minds from dealing with heavenly things, and so we need to take great care with the words we use, as they can beguile us into believing the false images they create in our minds. And as the BoM teaches, it all starts with belief. It is a strange truth that the things we believe become very real to us (take the words “the church” for example), so the real question is, “what words do we choose to use; what stories do we begin to believe, and thus breath life into?” How about the brother of Jared, the one great Gentile example int he BoM? What did he choose to believe? The fruits of those seeds planted in our minds can help us decide.

    The problem with most words used by Mormons today? They refer to intangible abstractions, whose referents have been successfully shown to have shifted with time, according to the notions of the day, many being formed in the image of our own cultures and ways, thus giving us gods who appear very much to us like creditors, say, operating in a system of “justice” and economics much as we ourselves have chosen to live, where the BoM would have us believe something entirely different, if we would but read it without bringing along the baggage of all those Christian traditions pronounced “all wrong” by two personages almost 200 years ago.

    • “we need to take great care with the words we use, as they can beguile us into believing the false images they create in our minds.” love that phrase, serves to teach me a valuable lesson.

    • Rob said

      I had a professor at UW who was against religion, because to him it stopped real thinking and growth. He would speak a lot about Jesus and Siddhartha. He really loved Jesus’ teachings especially about loving your enemies. Something he would say was, “What is God? God is nothing. It is just a three letter word. Is Jesus God? Jesus is just a mask that we put on God. We have to go through the mask and experience God.” Even the teachings and ideas we have about Jesus, they are legends, stories, books…how much is actual truth? We accept these ideas about Him, while we should do as Christ taught in D&C to see His face and know Him.

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