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Keeping Your Language Clean

by Lara Goold

Materials needed: scriptures, Oreos (store bought or homemade with recipe below), tape or glue for ―Zip Your Lips‖

Purpose: To teach family members that when they use bad words (whether they be swear words, potty language,
taking the Lord’s name in vain, or just speaking unkindly to others) that they are offending other people
and more importantly the Lord.

Scripture: “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain‖ (Exodus 20:7), 13th Article of Faith

Opening song: ―Choose the Right Way,” Children’s Songbook, page 160


Attention Activity: Have someone volunteer to help you out. Give them a chocolate Oreo cookie with white frosting in
the middle. Have them twist off the top. Tell everyone that when good (uplifting, clean, correct....) words
are used, it is like eating the white part of the cookie. Have the volunteer then scrape off the frosting and
eat it. Then have them smile big for everyone. There will be no discoloration.
Then tell your family that when they choose to use words that are profane, vulgar, demeaning, .... it is like
eating the dark cookie. Have the students eat the chocolate part of the cookie (both sides), then smile big.
Their teeth will be stained dark. Not so attractive! This is like their reputation; like their soul..... It
becomes stained and unattractive.

Story: ―Garbage Mouth‖ with visual aids. Afterwards discuss how offensive it is to be around someone who
uses garbage words.

Activity: Zip Your Lips: Tell the story of Pres. Hinckley about when he was a young boy, then do the
accompanying activity. With the slips of paper (and any other things you would like to add) tape or glue
each boxed word inside of the folded lips and talk about how we should zip our lips against bad words
and negative language.

Enrichment Activity:

Read and Summarize: Have older children read one of the articles included on the ―Resource‖ page and
write a paragraph or two in summary and present it to the family.

Trash Bad Language: Have your family write words or language that they struggle with onto scraps of
paper then crumple them up and take turns tossing them into the trash can.

Display: Hang up the little posters during the week to help you to remember your quest to clean up your

Closing song: “Let Us Oft Speak Kind Words” Hymns, page 232

Closing Prayer:

Refreshments: see recipe below
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Homemade Oreo Cookies

2 chocolate cake mixes (dry)
1 cup butter
4 eggs

1 pkg. (8-oz.) cream cheese
1-3/4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbs. butter

Combine cake mixes, butter, and eggs and roll into small evenly sized balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheet
and bake at 350° for 6-8 minutes. When cool spread with filling and then sandwich them together like an Oreo!

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Garbage Mouth—story by Judy Allen
―Here come Garbage Mouth…” moaned Garrett.

―Oh no!‖ said Eve. ―The last time Garbage Mouth came around e sprayed me with gooey leftover spaghetti with

―Well, he hit me in the head with a drippy rotten egg!‖ shuddered Logan.

―Hi, guys!‖ shouted Garbage Mouth.
―Too late now,‖ whispered Garrett.

Garbage Mouth began telling everyone about his family reunion at the lake. Garbage fell from his mouth with every other
word and landed in a pile on the park’s green grass. First came a useless inner tube, then a rusty tin can and an old holey
sock, followed by an apple core.

The longer Garbage Mouth talked, the more ill at ease everyone felt and the more his garbage piled up, but Garbage
Mouth wasn’t finished yet. Out of his mouth came:
*a crinkled up candy wrapper,
*some moldy cheese,
*a worn-out shoe,
*and a disgusting wad of A.B.C. (Already-Been-Chewed) bubble gum.

The gum is what did it, you know; the straw that broke the camel’s back. First Eve spoke, “Garbage Mouth, I’ve listened
to your garbage long enough. I’m going home.”

―Me too,‖ said Logan, ―I think I’ll do my chores.‖

―Yeah, I’ll be seeing you around,‖ said Garrett.

―Gee, what did I do?” asked Garbage Mouth.

Eve pointed to the pile of garbage littering the park in front of Garbage Mouth and said, ―It’s that! Your mouth is so full
of garbage it’s hard to listen to what you have to say. Some of your garbage might rub off onto us and we don’t want
that. So, unless you get rid of your garbage mouth, we’re staying away from you.‖

Garbage Mouth knew Eve and the others were right. He only used garbage words to try to impress his friends. He
thought it made him sound tough and important. Now he realized that his garbage mouth was actually driving his friends
away. The only thing his garbage mouth attracted was flies.

Garbage Mouth said, ―If I promise to clean up my mess and never make another one, can we still be friends?‖

―Well sure!” everyone said.
And so Garbage Mouth did (take the Garbage Mouth head off the boy).

His friends still call him GM, but now it stands for Great Mouth because GM only says Great things now.

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Garbage Mouth visuals —print onto cardstock, laminate, place opposite sides of Velcro on the face of the
boy sitting on the rock and on the back of the head with the garbage can over the mouth (or use tape).

(Nice) Garbage
garbage face
over this one to
begin with Garrett

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Garbage Mouth visuals –print and cut



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Garbage Mouth visuals –print and cut

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Zip Your Lips—tell this story about President Hinckley’s experience before completing the
Zip Your Lips activity below.

When I was in the first grade, I experienced what I thought was a rather tough day at school. I came home,
walked in the house, threw my book on the kitchen table, and let forth [some bad words] that included the name
of the Lord.

My mother was shocked. She told me quietly, but firmly, how wrong I was. She told me that I could not have
words of that kind coming out of my mouth. She led me by the hand into the bathroom, where she took from the
shelf a clean washcloth, put it under the faucet, and then generously coated it with soap. She said, ―We’ll have
to wash out your mouth.‖ She told me to open it, and I did so reluctantly. Then she rubbed the soapy washcloth
around my tongue and teeth. I sputtered and fumed and felt like swearing again, but I didn’t. I rinsed and rinsed
my mouth, but it was a long while before the soapy taste was gone. In fact, whenever I think of that experience,
I can still taste the soap. I have tried to avoid using the name of the Lord in vain since that day. I am grateful for
that lesson.

If you have the habit, how do you break it? You begin by making a decision to change. The next time you are
prone to use words you know to be wrong, simply stop. Keep quiet or say what you have to say in a different
way. As you practice such restraint, it will become easy.

Remember that it is the same voice which prays to the Lord on the one hand which, on the other hand, may be
[tempted] to speak language foul and filthy.

Don’t swear. Don’t profane. Avoid so-called dirty jokes. Stay away from conversation that is sprinkled with
foul and filthy words. You will be happier if you do so, and your example will give strength to others.

Photo of Gordon B. Hinckley at age 12

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Zip Your Lips
by Sharon Kiser, Friend, Mar. 2001, 36
Instructions: Print onto white cardstock and cut out the lips on the heavy black lines. Fold the lips in half on
dotted line #1, then fold the upper part of the lips back along dotted line #2 (see illustration).

Cut out the boxed words. Use the boxed words to discuss other things you should avoid—zip your lips against.
Then tape or glue each boxed word inside the folded lips.

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Displays for the week:

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Other Resources:
Profanity and Swearing by Ted E. Brewerton, May 1983 Ensign

Profanity by Elder Robert K. Dellenbach, September 1996, Ensign

“Sin—On the Tips of Our Tongues,” John S. Tanner, Feb. 1991, Ensign

Standing up to profanity by Paula K. Boothe, Apr. 2001, Ensign

How to stop swearing

Trash and Treasure Talk by Sally Cary

“The Clean Voice of Youth,” President Boyd K. Packer, Jan. 1976, New Era

“President Kimball Speaks Out on Profanity,” President Spencer W Kimball, Feb
1981, Ensign

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