What It Means to be the ‘The Salt of the Earth’
Excerpt from the talk titled: Salt of the Earth: Savor of Men and Saviors of Men by Carlos E. Asay
See: D&C 101:39–42
“Ye are the salt of the earth,” Jesus told His followers in Palestine, “but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted?” (Matthew 5:13). Men cannot teach and testify to others of the truths of God, if they themselves do not believe and follow them.
Salt is important to the life of humankind. It has been used through the ages as a preservative, as a condiment, and as a religious offering (see Leviticus 2:13). Salt that lost its savor, or its saltiness, would no longer be useful. The same is true of those who embrace the gospel and then lose their faith through sin or slothfulness.
Elder Carlos E. Asay explained the imagery of salt and its savor:
“When the Lord used the expression ‘savor of men,’ he was speaking of those who represent him. He was referring to those who have repented, who have been washed clean in the waters of baptism, and who have covenanted to take upon them his name and his cause. Moreover, he was speaking of those who would share by covenant his priesthood power. He was speaking of you and me.
“A world-renowned chemist told me that salt will not lose its savor with age. Savor is lost through mixture and contamination. Similarly, priesthood power does not dissipate with age; it, too, is lost through mixture and contamination.
“When a young man or older man mixes his thoughts with pornographic literature, he suffers a loss of savor.
“When a priesthood bearer mixes his speech with lies or profanity, he suffers a loss of savor.
“When one of us follows the crowd and becomes involved in immoral acts and the use of drugs, tobacco, alcohol, and other injurious substances, he loses savor.
“Flavor and quality flee a man when he contaminates his mind with unclean thoughts, desecrates his mouth by speaking less than the truth, and misapplies his strength in performing evil acts. King Benjamin cautioned, ‘Watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God’ (Mosiah 4:30).
“I would offer these simple guidelines, especially to the young men, as the means to preserve one’s savor: If it is not clean, do not think it; if it is not true, do not speak it; if it is not good, do not do it (see Marcus Aurelius, ‘The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius,’ in The Harvard Classics, Charles W. Eliot, ed., New York: P. F. Collier and Son, 1909, p. 211).”