Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.
On occasion we open our mouths out of turn or say something which may surprise or offend people.
In Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s renowned talk ‘The Tongue of Angels,’ he says:
“Husbands, you have been entrusted with the most sacred gift God can give you—a wife, a daughter of God, the mother of your children who has voluntarily given herself to you for love and joyful companionship. … Today, I speak against verbal and emotional abuse of anyone against anyone, but especially of husbands against wives. Brethren, these things ought not to be.
“In that same spirit we speak to the sisters as well, for the sin of verbal abuse knows no gender. Wives, what of the unbridled tongue in your mouth, of the power for good or ill in your words? … Sisters, there is no place in that magnificent spirit of yours for acerbic or abrasive expression of any kind, including gossip or backbiting or catty remarks.
“May I expand this counsel to make it a full family matter. … Be constructive in your comments to a child—always. Never tell them, even in whimsy, that they are fat or dumb or lazy or homely. Praise each child individually for what that child is, and help him or her escape our culture’s obsession with comparing, competing, and never feeling we are 'enough.'
“In all of this, I suppose it goes without saying that negative speaking so often flows from negative thinking, including negative thinking about ourselves. We see our own faults, we speak—or at least think—critically of ourselves, and before long that is how we see everyone and everything. No sunshine, no roses, no promise of hope or happiness. Before long we and everybody around us are miserable.”
If we are in the process of perfecting ourselves, training (or muzzling) our tongues may be something we should work at.