One of the ten commandments (Exodus 20) is “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” Often, this commandment is used to support the admonition to avoid profanity.
For example, Dallin H. Oaks said the following in the April 1986 conference:
>This scripture [using D&C 63:61-62 to expound on Ex. 20] shows that we take the name of the Lord in vain when we use his name without authority. This obviously occurs when the sacred names of God the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ, are used in what is called profanity: in hateful cursings, in angry denunciations, or as marks of punctuation in common discourse.
Last year, President Hinckley said the following in the April conference:
>To each of you I say, be clean in your language. There is so much of filthy, sleazy talk these days. Failure to express yourself in language that is clean marks you as one whose vocabulary is extremely limited. When Jehovah wrote on the tablets of stone, He said to the children of Israel, ?¢‚Ç¨?ìThou 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.?¢‚Ç¨¬ù
As I was pondering this last night, I was thinking that if taking the Lord’s name in vain means to speak profanity than why isn’t the commandment: Thou shalt not say the name of the Lord thy God in vain?
Maybe taking the Lord’s name means something deeper than just speaking it.
In a March 1994 Ensign article, Robert L. Millet, an ancient scripture professor at BYU, stated that the word “take” is a translation of the Hebrew word Nasah, which can mean: to lift or lift up, raise, bear or carry (as we carry a burden), and take or carry away (unjustly).
Thus we see that it is more than simply using it without meaning. In fact, Millet goes on to list 3 ways we can take the name of the Lord in vain. Unsurprisingly, the first on the list is related to profanity.
1. His children take his name in vain through profanity and vulgarity.
2. His children take his name in vain through the breaking of oaths and covenants.
3. His children take his name in vain through being flippant, sacrilegious, and irreverent.
One need only read Mosiah 5 and the sacrament prayers for just 2 examples of covenants we make involving our taking upon us the name of Christ. When we don’t do our part ?¢‚Ç¨‚Äù such as keeping the commandments and always remembering him in relation to the sacramental covenant ?¢‚Ç¨‚Äù then that is one way we end up taking his name in vain.
Likewise, using Millet’s definition above, it is also interesting to understand that taking Jesus’s name upon us isn’t just about being faithful. It’s also about raising his name up,