If I am tempted to speak an evil word, I will keep my lips locked together. Says one, “I do not know about that, that would be smothering up bad feelings, I am wonderfully tried about my neighbor, he has done wrong, he has abused me and I feel dreadful bad about it. Had I not better let it out than to keep it rankling within me?” No. I will keep bad feelings under and actually smother them to death, then they are gone. But as sure as I let them out they will live and afflict me. If I smother them in myself, if I actually choke them to death, destroy the life, the power, and vigor thereof, they will pass off and leave me clear of fault, and pure, so far as that is concerned; and no man or woman on earth knows that I have ever been tempted to indulge in wicked feelings. Keep them to yourselves. If you feel evil, keep it to yourselves until you overcome that evil principle. This is what I call resisting the Devil, and he flees from me. I strive not to speak evil, not to feel evil, and if I do, to keep it to myself until it is gone from me, and not let it pass my lips.1
While we have the privilege of speaking to each other, let us speak words of comfort and consolation. When you are influenced by the Spirit of holiness and purity, let your light shine; but if you are tried and tempted and buffeted by Satan, keep your thoughts to yourselves—keep your mouths closed; for speaking produces fruit, either of a good or evil character.
If persons think they have greater sorrow and affliction than any others, when they reveal that sorrow and affliction, it produces fruit. You frequently hear brethren and sisters say that they feel so tried and tempted, and have so many cares, and are so buffeted, that they must give vent to their feelings; and they yield to the temptation, and deal out their unpleasant sensations to their families and neighbors. Make up your minds thoroughly, once for all, that if we have trials, the Lord has suffered them to be brought upon us, and he will give us grace to bear them; and that they do not concern our families, friends, and neighbors, we can bear them off alone. But if we have light or intelligence—that which will do good, we will impart it; but our bad feelings, our desponding feelings, our dark hours, and disagreeable sensations we will keep to ourselves. Let that be the determination of every individual, for spirit begets spirit—likeness, likeness; feelings beget their likeness; and custom, custom. You know very well, by your own experience, that you are naturally inclined to more or less adopt the customs, feelings, and manners of the people you associate with. If, then, we give vent to all our bad feelings and disagreeable sensations, how quickly we beget the same in others, and load each other down with our troubles, and become sunk in darkness and despair! If you have anything good to say, speak it and comfort the hearts of the Saints. If you have that which tends to death, keep it to yourselves: we do not want it, for we already have plenty of it.
Frame your lives according to the precepts of the Gospel. Let your deal, walk, and conversation be that upon which an angel can look with pleasure. And in all your social communications, or whatever your associations are, let all the dark, discontented, murmuring, unhappy, miserable feelings—all the evil fruit of the mind, fall from the tree in silence and unnoticed; and so let it perish, without taking it up to present to your neighbors. But when you have joy and happiness, light and intelligence, truth and virtue, offer that fruit abundantly to your neighbors, and it will do them good, and so strengthen the hands of your fellow beings, even though you may be looked upon as an outcast, vile people, not worthy of the society of what are commonly deemed the intelligent portion of the world. 2