DOCTRINE &COVENANTS 88:121I have heard these word's "light mindedness and loud laughter" mentioned quite a few times lately. The first time it stood out to me was during General Conference, and I have also heard a caution or admonition in the Temple to avoid these things. So I wondered if light mindedness was related to feeble mindedness? And what about that loud laughter? I wondered about the context of the loud laughter. What if you normally had a very distinct and highly pitched laugh? Should you learn to giggle instead? Seriously, I have pondered this and even asked questions. I also wondered if light mindedness meant indulging in "silliness" or just having a good time joking around with your friends. I wondered if God had a sense of humor. So when challenged with this admonishment, it is easy to allow "pride to rule our will", when we respond.
121 Therefore, cease from all your light speeches, from all laughter, from all your lustful desires, from all your pride and light-mindedness, and from all your wicked doings
Eccl 5:22 Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.Here are some key words in this verse: Cease; lustful desires; pride; wicked doings
We can safely say that "light speeches" go beyond a funny joke with friends, or telling funny stories when appropriate. Light speech seems to imply one whose general demeanor in conversation is irreverent, possibly disrespectful.I saw a commercial advertising a popular beverage, where the "mascot" for the beverage was described as one who shares "inside jokes" with complete strangers and the strangers got it. This is a guy you want at a party, right? But this commandment was for the "saints" of the church. Not just any guy off the street.
We are commanded to "cease from loud laughter that results from these light-speeches or triviality.What kind of laughter is not good? You know, laughter is a form of communication that can either be joyful and uplifting or it can be subversive. Sometimes laughter can be used to influence the behavior of others, either in a group setting or alone. It's like being a guest on a television show, someone comes out to warm up the audience with jokes, and even if the jokes aren't funny, you are encouraged to laugh anyway.
The next three words seem to describe a downward spiral or crisis if you will, when indulging in this behavior constantly; lustful desires,pride and wicked doings. What are some lustful desires? A person can crave the constant "adulation" that comes from being the center of attention.
Proverbs 16:18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.Have you met those who "have the gift of gab"? For every subject, you can bet this person will give a long winded dissertation that literally sucks the air out of the room. Afterwards, the original context of the conversation has been forgotten. Maybe the word for this is "opinionated". Its good to have a strong opinion about a good many things, but there's an old joke "When I want your opinion, I"ll give you one". Ouch!!
I found two marvelous talks that really shed a illuminating light on these subjects. It is easy to be offended by these verses when we lack the understanding of the true meaning.
DOCTRINE &COVENANTS 43:34-3534 Hearken ye to these words. Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. Treasure these things up in your hearts, and let the solemnities of eternity rest upon your minds.
35 Be sober. Keep all my commandments. Even so. Amen.(Click to read more)
THE TONGUE OF ANGELS Elder Robert Wood of the Seventy
In latter days, the Lord has emphasized again how, in the words of the Book of Mormon, our “outward performances” (Alma 25:15), are defiling or edifying. What we say and how we act will create an atmosphere welcoming or hostile to the Holy Ghost. In the 88th section of the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord counseled us to avoid “light speeches” and an “excess of laughter.” He associated such expressions with defects of the heart—“lustful desires,” “pride,” and “”—that finally proceed to “wicked doings” (D&C 88:69, 121). I take “light speeches” to refer to irreverent and demeaning language and “” to what the Lord has called trifling with sacred things (D&C 6:12).
IF WE CAN LAUGH AT IT, WE CAN LIVE WITH IT/Brian Wilcox-
Spirituality does not always equate with solemnity. For example, the Prophet Joseph Smith valued “careful and ponderous and solemn thoughts” but also described himself as “playful and cheerful.” Likewise, President Heber C. Kimball (1801–68), a counselor in the First Presidency, taught that God “is a cheerful, pleasant, lively, and good- natured being.”
So, what is to be learned from this? I love telling jokes and funny stories and sometimes if I am not carefully reigned in, I can go on a tangent. But when I heard these scriptures in the context of which they were presented, in the solemn assembly of a Temple setting, during General Conference, even sacrament meetings, then I realized that these admonitions would help me and any one with ears to hear, keep on that strait and narrow way, and hopefully not stumble too much.Let virtue garnish our thoughts, ever more......