Elder Dallin H. Oaks is a native of Provo, Utah (born in 1932). He and his late wife, June Dixon Oaks, are the parents of six children. She died July 21, 1998. On August 25, 2000, he married Kristen M. McMain in the Salt Lake Temple.
Elder Oaks is a graduate of Brigham Young University (1954) and of The University of Chicago Law School (1957). He practiced law and taught law in Chicago. He was president of Brigham Young University from 1971 to 1980, and a justice of the Utah Supreme Court from 1980 until his resignation in 1984 to accept his calling to the apostleship.
He has been an officer or member of the board of many business, educational, and charitable organizations. He is the author or co-author of many books and articles on religious and legal subjects.
“Recently our family was viewing what was supposed to be a wholesome movie on videotape. Suddenly, one of the actors used a vulgar expression. Embarrassed, we began to smooth this over for our ten-year-old daughter. She quickly assured us that we needn’t worry because she heard worse than that every day from the boys and girls at her school.
I am sure most LDS parents have had similar experiences. The nature and extent of profanity and vulgarity in our society is a measure of its deterioration.
I cannot remember when I first heard profane and vulgar expressions in common use around me. I suppose it was from adults in the barnyard or the barracks. Today, our young people hear such expressions from boys and girls in their grade schools, from actors on stage and in the movies, from popular novels, and even from public officials and sports heroes. Television and videotapes bring profanity and vulgarity into our homes.
For many in our day, the profane has become commonplace and the vulgar has become acceptable. Surely this is one fulfillment of the Book of Mormon prophecy that in the last days “there shall be great pollutions upon the face of the earth.” (Morm. 8:31.)
The people of God have always been commanded to abstain from language that is profane or vulgar.
One of Elder Oaks most memorable talks, “Good, Better, Best:”
A childhood experience introduced me to the idea that some choices are good but others are better. I lived for two years on a farm. We rarely went to town. Our Christmas shopping was done in the Sears, Roebuck catalog. I spent hours poring over its pages. For the rural families of that day, catalog pages were like the shopping mall or the Internet of our time.
Something about some displays of merchandise in the catalog fixed itself in my mind. There were three degrees of quality: good, better, and best. For example, some men’s shoes were labeled good ($1.84), some better ($2.98), and some best ($3.45).
As we consider various choices, we should remember that it is not enough that something is good. Other choices are better, and still others are best. Even though a particular choice is more costly, its far greater value may make it the best choice of all.
Consider how we use our time in the choices we make in viewing television, playing video games, surfing the Internet, or reading books or magazines. Of course it is good to view wholesome entertainment or to obtain interesting information. But not everything of that sort is worth the portion of our life we give to obtain it. Some things are better, and others are best.
Other Favorite talks
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You can listen to Whit on her podcast, The Mormon Mom-Cast. This week Whit interviews NY Times best-selling author, Brandon Mull. Or, read her personal blog, About Time.