A divorced sister with a handicapped child had moved out of the ward, I was told, because unkind things continued to be circulated about her among a few of the sisters. I asked, “How could this possibly be in a good, strong LDS ward where the sisters all seem friendly, sociable, caring, and filled with concern for one another? How could this happen?” But it had.
Destructive conversation, like a virus attacking the heart, can be life-threatening to any sister. “Did you know . . . ?” “Have you heard . . . ?” “Can you believe . . . ?” and on and on. Elder Bruce Hafen writes of this concern, “If LDS women criticize each other rather than connect with and support each other, the adversary wins the day by driving wedges into natural, womanly relationships of strength. Because women can give so much never-failing charity to each other in relationships, one curse of the modern world has been to isolate and alienate women—including LDS women—from one another by making them more competitive” (“Women and the Moral Center of Gravity,” 300).
What do the scriptures say on this matter? We read one admonition contained in the writings of Paul to Timothy: “Be thou an example of the believers in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12). In the introduction to James 3, we are told, “By governing the tongue, we gain perfection.” In James 3:10, we are counseled, “Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.” This thought gives reason to ponder. Is the mouth I have used all day appropriate for my evening prayer?