Topic Study: Communication

(February 2002 TG Entry: Communication)

Overview

The scriptures tell us what:

  1. The Lord confounds the communication of the wicked
  2. Non verbal communication is important.
  3. Our communication should be:
    1. Plain and Sincere
    2. Pure and Civil
  4. If so it will become powerful

I             Lord Confounds Communication of the Wicked

Wickedness confounds our ability to understand and to be understood.

7 Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.

Gen. 11:7

We should pray to not be misunderstood.

34 And the brother of Jared being a large and mighty man, and a man highly favored of the Lord, Jared, his brother, said unto him: Cry unto the Lord, that he will not confound us that we may not understand our words.

35 And it came to pass that the brother of Jared did cry unto the Lord, and the Lord had compassion upon Jared; therefore he did not confound the language of Jared; and Jared and his brother were not confounded.

Ether 1:34 – 35

Our modern prophets also pray this way.  Elder Faust, in speaking in conference in 1993 said:

Brethren, I have never come before this great body of the priesthood with greater humility than I do this evening. I fervently pray, not only for understanding, but also that I might not be misunderstood. I earnestly seek the support of the Holy Spirit and the understanding of my brethren.  (James E. Faust, “Keeping Covenants and Honoring the Priesthood,” Ensign, Nov. 1993, 36)

II            Non Verbal Communication

Why do you think the Savior spoke to Moses “face to face?”  Might it have been because non-verbal communication is so critical?

2 And he [Moses] saw God face to face, and he talked with him, and the glory of God was upon Moses; therefore Moses could endure his presence.

Moses 1:2

  • Ex. 33:11 Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend

III           Plain and Sincere

The Savior told us that we should not have to make elaborate promises.  That when we say we will do something, we will do it.

37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

Matt. 5:37

Mike Wallace, the reporter, said he was impressed that President Hinckley did everything he said he would do as part of the interview process for the 60 Minutes segment.

We should be careful never to speak guile.

10 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:

1 Pet. 3:10

It will ultimately be detected, and destroys our trust.

  • Col. 4:6 let your speech be alway with grace

IV          Pure and Civil

If we eliminate unrighteous desires, particularly pride, we will be given a pure language—a language that cannot be misunderstood.

9 For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve him with one consent.

Zeph. 3:9

With such a language, we will find it easier to control our non-verbal communication as well.

33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.

1 Cor. 15:33

V           Powerful

If we are righteous, our words cannot be disbelieved.

16 Therefore, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts and the blindness of their minds—went forth among them in that same year, and began to testify, boldly, repentance and remission of sins through faith on the Lord Jesus Christ.

17 And he did minister many things unto them; and all of them cannot be written, and a part of them would not suffice, therefore they are not written in this book.  And Nephi did minister with power and with great authority.

18 And it came to pass that they were angry with him, even because he had greater power than they, for it were not possible that they could disbelieve his words, for so great was his faith on the Lord Jesus Christ that angels did minister unto him daily.

3 Ne. 7:16 – 18

What is it that would make our words unbelievable?  It is the power of the Holy Ghost.

1 AND now I, Nephi, cannot write all the things which were taught among my people; neither am I mighty in writing, like unto speaking; for when a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men.

2 Ne. 33:1

And what would the Lord have us do with such powerful words?  He would have us do that that is right.

32 And the Lord said unto Enoch: Go forth and do as I have commanded thee, and no man shall pierce thee.  Open thy mouth, and it shall be filled, and I will give thee utterance, for all flesh is in my hands, and I will do as seemeth me good.

33 Say unto this people: Choose ye this day, to serve the Lord God who made you.

34 Behold my Spirit is upon you, wherefore all thy words will I justify; and the mountains shall flee before you, and the rivers shall turn from their course; and thou shalt abide in me, and I in you; therefore walk with me.

Moses 6:32 – 34

But just because it is powerful, does not mean it is loud, or self-serving.  “Amen to the authority” of anyone who would use the Holy Spirit in that way.

1 A SOFT answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

Prov. 15:1

Summary

The major impediment to effective communication is not training or lack of communication skills.  It is unrighteousness.  In speaking to a group of college students one day, one of them asked me why trust was so important in business.  I said, “Because I have found that I can communicate something to my wife in 30 seconds when I have her trust that I cannot communicate in 30 hours when I don’t have her trust.”  Trust is simply one element of righteousness.

Related Hymns

Oh, May My Soul Commune with Thee (123)

Scriptures:    Alma 37:36-37; Doctrine and Covenants 19:23, 38

Verses 2 and 3

Oh, bless me when I worship thee
To keep my heart in tune,
That I may hear thy still, small voice,
And, Lord, with thee commune.

Enfold me in thy quiet hour
And gently guide my mind
To seek thy will, to know thy ways,
And thy sweet Spirit find.

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