Speaking Faith, Speaking Dogma: Choosing Language That Builds Rather Than Stifles Testimony

We’re all familiar with the humorous aspects of Mormonspeak. But it has a negative side in the way that it frequently leads us to slip into conventional patterns that discourage thought and encourage conformity. By selecting active, precise, and living language, we can force ourselves to question our assumptions, challenge our faith, and ultimately elevate our testimonies. This session explores the encroachment of institutional language into our faith expressions. It also includes several group exercises, including experiments with E-prime, a conventional form of English that forbids use of any conjugated form of the verb “to be.” Let’s see what a little experimenting can accomplish with common testimony phrases such as, “I know the Church is true,” if we can’t use the word “is”!

Rick Jepson and Becky Johns