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Question

 

Gramps,

Is it okay to say “Oh my gosh” or is that taking the Lord’s name in vain?

Kelly

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Answer

 

Kelly,

Kelly, I am going to give you an answer you are probably not expecting. Although words like fetch, heck, gosh, even darn and dang are crass and reflective of a weak vocabulary and social mimicry, they are not a direct violation of the third commandment. The third commandment states,
“Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” (Exodus 20:7)
It is commonly understood that this commandment speaks to the specific use of the name of God in non-holy contexts and generally of language vulgarity in communication; it actually has little to do with that. To better understand the commandment, Allow me to insert some clarifying words, “Thou shalt not take upon you the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taken his name upon him in vain.”
President Gordon B. Hinckley once explained:
So serious was violation of this law considered in ancient Israel that blasphemy of the name of the Lord was regarded as a capital crime. There is an interesting account in the book of Leviticus:

The son of an Israelitish woman “blasphemed the name of the Lord, and cursed. And they brought him unto Moses. …

 

“And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

 

“Bring forth him that hath cursed … and let all that heard him lay their hands upon his head, and let all the congregation stone him.

 

“And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, Whosoever curseth his God shall bear his sin.

 

“And he that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him” (Lev. 24:11–16).

 

While that most serious of penalties has long since ceased to be inflicted, the gravity of the sin has not changed.  Take Not the name of  God in Vain

In the sacrament prayer over the bread, we witness that we are “willing to take upon [us] them the name of thy Son.” Taking His name upon us is a commitment that we will (1) proclaim our devotion to him and (2) act in ways that will be consistent with His discipleship. The third commandment warns all those who act hypocritically or who do not act in ways consistent with discipleship that they will not be held guiltless. Coming back to your question, “Is it okay to say “Oh my gosh?'” The actual speaking of the word “gosh” or even “God” is not as much a third commandment issue as the question of whether or not someone who has covenanted to take upon themselves the name of Christ would talk like that.

 

Gramps

 

 

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