Mormon Jargon

by: hawkgrrrl

October 8, 2013

Whether you’ve been an investigator or are just a Mormon who doesn’t live in a complete Mormon bubble, you’ve doubtless discovered that some words we use are used differently by others.  There are many different reasons for this.  Sometimes we simply are using words, particularly religious words, that are commonly used in other faiths, but when we use them, they have a unique Mormon cultural context.  For example, sacrament to us conjures one image, but to a Catholic another.  Sometimes we use words that have no particularly religious context, that are common in everyday speech, but mean something specific to us.  The word “mutual” means “reciprocal” according to the dictionary, but to us it means a weeknight activity for youth.  These words mostly fit into the jargon category:  special words or expressions that are used by a particular profession or group and are difficult for others to understand.

If you’ve ever started a new job, you have heard jargon.  If you’ve been at that company for a while, you now use that jargon seamlessly.  If you change companies, you will discover that those words no longer carry the same meaning.

Some words are entirely unique to Mormonism, originating somewhere in the Book of Mormon or in Mormon history; these are words and phrases that are not commonly used anywhere outside the church (e.g. telestial or deseret).  Others are real words that have simply fallen out of common use outside of Mormonism (supernal, terrestrial or provident).  Sometimes it’s a phrase rather than a word that is uniquely Mormon.  An example of this is the phrase “ox in the mire.”  This is an apocryphal phrasing unique to Mormonism.  If you don’t believe me, go ahead and Google it.  I’ll wait.  Every single reference is an LDS one.  The actual scripture says:  “Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the a sabbath day?”  In order to be able to claim I’m honest in all my dealings, I am always careful to tell others that my “ass is in a pit” if I’m ever called out for buying Diet Cokes on the Sabbath.

A rhetorical device commonly used in church talks is to change the definition of an existing word to mean something else within the Mormon context.  We like to add a twist by pitting “the world’s definition” against “the Lord’s definition,” both of which are usually invented by the speaker.  This is a form of straw man argument as the definitions used on both sides are interpretive rather than actual definitions (at least I am unaware of a single so-called “World” Dictionary that consistently matches the definitions I’ve heard used). Speaking of which, another rhetorical device is to place the word “so-called” in front of a noun to jeer at the preposterous idea that is presented.

In high school, I read Ambrose Bierce’s The Devil’s Dictionary, a satirical lexicon giving truthful yet amusing definitions of words in common use.  For example:

Conservative (n.) A statesman who is enamoured of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others.

Lawyer (n.) One skilled in circumvention of the law.
In that vein, I am told that Orson Scott Card wrote his own Mormon version called Saintspeak.  While I haven’t read it, I have been working on a list of Mormon definitions of my own.  Additionally, a recent online discussion yielded several others, and prompted some new ones.  I’ve hand-picked a few of the best ones from that on-line discussion and added many of my own.

Addiction (n.) the state of having done something forbidden once

Almost engaged (adj.) the state of a relationship at BYU lasting longer than three weeks

Apostate (adj.) from any source other than Deseret Book or, (n.) dangerous person; liar; often found in the lobby of the ward building during meetings or making insightful and unwelcome comments in Gospel Doctrine

Appearance of evil (n.)  drinking root beer from a brown bottle or hot chocolate from a Starbucks cup

Appropriate (adj.) in compliance with my standards

Anti (adj.) any new information that scares me; (n.) person who votes Democrat

Bear testimony (v.) to get up at the pulpit and talk about random things, often while blubbering and apologizing

Bosom (n.) a place that burns when you feel the Spirit or eat jalapenos after 9pm

Break the sabbath (v.) do something on a Sunday that I wouldn’t do

Bridle your passions (v.) have none

Calling (n.) assignment given by inspiration where inspiration is defined as “willing member meets vacant assignment”

Contention (n.) having an opinion

Court of love (n.) hammer time

Curelom (n.) Mr. Snuffaluffagus

Cultural hall (n.) a basketball court used for cattle-like potluck feedings and shoestring-budget wedding receptions; neither a hall nor particularly cultural

Deacon tie (n.) when someone’s tie sticks up over their collar

Deseret (n.) I’m pretty sure we made this word up by adding an “e” to desert

Diet Coke (n.) gateway drug

Disappointed (adj.) word used when a family member thinks you’re going to hell

Doubt (v.) to desire to sin; conversely, parlaying a vague sense of being offended or bored into a one-way ticket to Hell

Elder (n.) someone younger and less mature than most adults

Enrichment (n.) an evening of women making dust-collecting trendy crafts destined to die in the back of a closet unmourned 

Equal (adj.) not equal, but valuable as an unequal participant sort of like an employee is

Eternal companion (n.) the person to whom you are sealed for time and all eternity; in mission parlance, any companion you spend more than 100 days partnered with

Even (adj.) a needless affectation used to sound more spiritual while emphasizing an appositive.  Could be used interchangeably with “lo” or “verily.”  E.g. in prayer:  “We’re grateful for our prophet, even Thomas S. Monson.”  I recommend using this one more liberally:  “I would like a sandwich, even peanut butter and jelly.  Verily, on the wheat bread.  Lo, do we have any more Fritos?”

Fast Sunday (n.) slowest Sunday ever

Fast Sunday breath (n.) the most wretched, malodorous stench known to exist; like the crypt-keeper’s toothbrush soaked in dysentery then wrapped in kimchi

Fellowship (v.) befriending others with the sole purpose of changing their beliefs to accord with your own

Feminist (n.) unattractive angry woman who hates motherhood and men, is an enemy of the church, and wishes she had a penis

Funeral potatoes (n.) potatoes laden with so much fat they are likely to cause a funeral

Free agency (n.) the right to choose to do whatever you want so long as the majority of church members agree with it

Garments (n.) sacred clothing that makes Mormons instantly recognizable to each other at Disney theme parks; without these, Mormons would be largely indistinguishable from Catholics and really committed Protestants

Gender (n.) one’s biological sex and the stereotypes associated therewith

General Conference (n.) an event twice a year, often hailed as vacation from church, but in reality, exchanging 3 hours of church meetings for 8-10 hours

General Priesthood Broadcast (n.) meeting for males ages 12 and up followed by root beer floats.  Topics include the evils of porn, why men are perverts, and how to avoid porn.

General Relief Society Broadcast (n.) meeting for women, preceded by a light meal.  Topics include why women are special, why being a mother is the only important thing a woman should ever contemplate, and other fluffy kittens of doctrine.

Girls camp (n.) same as scout camp minus the adventure and budget plus three extra layers of clothing

Grateful (adj.) jealous, as in “I’m grateful that I’m here at church, not off doing [fun things] like [bad people].”  Alternatively, indifferent but vaguely nostalgic about farming, as in “We’re grateful for the moisture we’ve received.”

Guardians of virtue (n.) anyone with a still-intact hymen; however, the virtue they are guarding is generally understood to be someone else’s

Hanging out (v.)  an activity between the sexes that leads to being friends with benefits as opposed to the Lord’s way, neither being friends nor having benefits

“Harm or accident” (n.) things that befall us if we don’t remember to use the right phrasing in our prayers, not to be confused with vain repetitions

Haystacks (n.) oops, I forgot to shop, so let’s throw whatever random food we can find onto one plate and pretend it was intentional

High council (n.) guy who is mystified about being called to speak in other wards despite a personal and often self-fulfilling conviction that he has nothing of interest to say

High priests group (n.) the place where men are paroled when they become too old, infirm or important at work to help people move

Historic (adj.) forgettable

Hot drinks (n.) coffee and tea, iced coffee, iced tea, coffee ice cream; does NOT include hot cocoa

Humanist (n.) hedonistic moral relativist

Ideal (adj.) white and upper middle class, not having single or divorced parents

Intellectual (n.) a prideful person who stubbornly admits to lacking knowledge of the unknowable

“I promised myself I wouldn’t do this.”  A phrase meaning “I knew all along I was going to do this, and now that I’m up here I’m embarrassed because my nose is running.”

Inactive (adj.)  A person who doesn’t go to church and adeptly dodges phone calls and in person visits

Investigator (n.) every person a missionary has ever talked to

“I understand what you are saying but I really think that kind of thinking can be dangerous”  Phrase meaning, “I don’t at all understand what you are saying, and I am pretty sure you are going to Hell.”

Know (v.) believe or hope

“LDS women are amazing!” A phrase used to distract females whenever they try to leave the kitchen

Lengthen your stride.  A guilt inducing phrase used whenever someone tries to define boundaries on their involvement at church.

Living prophets (n.) God’s chosen direct reports that he hasn’t yet killed, but like an Agatha Christie novel, you can see the writing on the wall

Magnify your calling (v.) for women:  bring a lace doily, centerpiece and fancy attractive snacks and/or hand-made magnets when you teach; for men:  show up when it’s your week to teach

Meekness (n.) conflict avoidance

Miracle (n.) everyday common experience where something went at least half right; in reference to mission age change for women: minor policy change, now stop asking

Mission field (n.) to people from Utah, any place outside of Utah

Moisture (n.) a thing we are grateful for, even if we live in a tropical rainforest, see also vain repetitions

MRS degree (n.) Mormon equivalent of a dowry or bride-price; roughly the same as two semesters’ tuition at BYU

Modest (n.) 1. for females: wearing clothing with a minimum of cap sleeves and 15 inch inseams; 2. for males:  wearing clothing

Motherhood (n.) a spiritual gift possessed by all females, regardless of whether or not they have given birth or adopted children

Natural man (n.) craven perverts made in the image of God

“Nourish and strengthen our bodies” A phrase invoking the miraculous transubstantiation of sugary donuts and red punch into a nutritious substance.

Obedient (adj.) unquestioning; entitled to specific blessings, including curtailing the free agency of investigators in the case of missionaries

Participate (v.) for women:  to make insightful comments during the lesson; for men: to stay awake during the lesson

Peculiar (adj.) not worldly; Scientologist-like to non-Mormons

Personal Revelation (n.) a gift whereby I may receive confirmation that your opinions are correct, or absent this, I am bound to obey anyway; similar to a Magic 8 ball, but only with Yes answers

Petting (n.) something the youth are told not to do, the leaders are too embarrassed to explain, and people outside the church don’t call by that name.

Plural marriage (n.) marriage between one woman and one man that is simultaneous to marriage between that same man and as many other women as he can convince

Politically correct (adj.) lacking the virtue of intolerance

Ponder (v.) think about it until you conform to the party line

Pornography (n.) whatever object a sexually aroused person happens to see; hence the phrase “I know it when I see it.”  Bazinga!

“Pray and study” (v.)  A cure-all solution for doubts

Preside (v.) 1. for fathers, assign prayers; 2. for ward leaders, sleep on the stand in front of the congregation while holding the highest church title among all present

President (n.) the leader of an organization in the church; an honorific title used for presidents, unless they are women

Priesthood (n.) a mysterious power which somehow totes the bread and water around to the pews of its own accord, and must be thanked for it; it also stacks chairs and opens the overflow curtain; NOT synonymous with male church members

Primary voice (n.) a melodic yet quiet way of speaking that doesn’t cause hearing aid interference and is high pitched enough to be inaudible to men over the age of 65; the tone used by females who wish to advance in the church

Procreative power (n.) sex, whether procreation is involved or not

Prompting (n.) trump card of justification to do whatever I think best

Provident (adj.) having a garden, a bunker full of canned food, and 100 pounds of wheat in drums under your bed; not to be confused with cold war paranoia

Release (v.) to be let go from a calling; it’s not you, it’s us

Relief Society (n.) the world’s oldest organization of women, under the supervision and budgetary oversight of men

Religious freedom (n.) the right to discriminate against others on the basis of your beliefs

Reverent (adj.) silent; alternative meaning when applied to hymns:  played at half tempo

Rest hymn (n.) a hymn that interrupts your rest

Righteous (adj.) passive-aggressively judgmental

RM (n.) Mormon man just entering the marriage market

Satan’s plan (n.) a devious strategy proposed by the evil one to force obedience and guarantee that all will be saved, in complete contrast to today’s church culture which does the same without such guarantees

Scones (n.) shapeless donut fried in lard, not to be confused with the delightful English confection served with clotted cream and jam

Scout camp (n.) supervised pyromania and jackass-style stunts in the wild

Scouts (n.)  boys playing basketball in the gym, then getting awards

Self-abuse (n.) self-love

Seminary (n.) a pathway to spiritual enlightenment through sleep deprivation and cheesy object lessons

Sister missionary (n.) pre-2012, future lesbian and/or mustachio’d sweet spirit; post-2012, female church member who has passed the ripe old age of 19 without getting married

So-called (adj.) I sneer at whatever word follows this adjective

Softened heart (n.) the quality possessed by someone who has finally succumbed to my haranguing and now agrees with me

Soul kiss (n.) romantic kiss, not to be confused with Soul Train or the Dementor’s Kiss

Sparingly (adv.) all you can eat spare ribs

Special (adj.) mundane

Special number (n.) amateur musical performance designed to wake up the slumbering congregation; followed by profuse thanks from every subsequent speaker

Study (v.) read only approved materials, demonstrate no intellectual curiosity

Sunday best (n.) business dress for men; skirts of whatever type for women, even if worn with a tee shirt

Supernal (adj.) a word used in a talk when one has already exhausted the words heavenly and celestial or in order to create alliteration.

Super Saturday (n.) an event for women including enrichment crafts at 4x the cost and 3x the time investment

Sweetheart (n.) if said by someone over age 80, wife; if under age 80, a candy exchanged on Valentine’s Day

Sweet spirit (n.) unmarriageable spinster; conversely, what is brought into the meeting by the performance of special musical numbers

Talk (n.) sermon

Teach (v.) read verbatim from the manual

Telestial (adj.) glory reserved for the people who spent all their fun on earth

Temple divorce (n.) if you are a woman, something you have to convince your indifferent or possibly hostile ex to give you so you can remarry in the temple; if you are a man, something totally unnecessary because you can be sealed to an unlimited number of wives

Temple marriage (n.) something all Mormon girls are taught to dream of from birth

Tender mercy (n.) small thing that went right when you were in a bad mood

Terrestrial (adj.) glory reserved for nice protestants whose eternal reward will be neutered puttering around, doing gardening; similar to Del Boca Vista (where Jerry Seinfeld’s parents went to retire)

The world’s definition (n.) the actual definition

“The thinking is done”  A phrase usually meaning it never began.

Tithing settlement (n.) 20 minutes of your life you will never get back.  It could be worse.  The bishop has to sit through all of them.

Traditional (adj.) a set of ideals imagined in the 1950 that never really existed

Uchtdorf (n.) silver-haired male apostle that has every female member twitterpated, and most of the men too

Ungrateful (adj.) what I would be if I didn’t get up and cry in front of you all today; in other words, relieved

Unity (n.) end of discussion

Unnatural (adj.) things I don’t want to think about

Unrighteous dominion (n.) abuse of power

Vain repetitions (n.) prayers written down beforehand and used in other, wrong-headed churches, unlike our spontaneous prayers that still somehow sound nearly identical

Virtue (n.) 1. the ability to ignore or neutralize all sexual impulses; 2. hymen

Ward council (n.) a weekly hour-long meeting of ward leaders consisting of a late start (7 minutes), opening and closing prayers (10 minutes), a song (10 minutes), devotional thought (15 minutes), reviewing minutes from the last meeting (15 minutes), and gossiping about absent ward members in a spirit of love and service (3 minutes).

Water (n.) a substance ruled by Satan on Sundays, except when it’s in sacrament cups

“We’d like to end with a message.” Phrase signaling the end of the normal conversation portion of the evening during a visit from home or visiting teachers

“We missed you at church today!” A phrase meaning “Where the hell were you?! Are you inactive?”

World (n.) a dangerous place existing outside of Utah, everything bad/not Mormon

Worthiness interview (n.) creepy fishing expedition, in some cases creeping out even the apologetic interviewer

Worthy (adj.) not visibly disobeying any commandments

Zion (n.) to people from Utah this refers to Utah, to people from elsewhere, this is a national park overrun by skinheads


What definitions would you add?  What words would you like to be defined in future installments?


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61 Responses to Mormon Jargon

  1. MH on October 8, 2013 at 8:20 AM

    This. Is. Awesome!

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  2. Hedgehog on October 8, 2013 at 8:42 AM

    Hilarious! I needed to laugh.

    Add ‘or Relief Society’ to the apostate definition though. That’s where my remarks get ‘the look’.

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  3. GBSmith on October 8, 2013 at 9:14 AM

    “Personal Revelation (n.) a gift whereby I may receive confirmation that your opinions are correct, or absent this, I am bound to obey anyway; similar to a Magic 8 ball, but only with Yes answers”

    Very true. It’s the reason I don’t bother to ask anymore.

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  4. Will on October 8, 2013 at 9:20 AM

    Absolutely Hilarious….

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  5. meems on October 8, 2013 at 9:51 AM

    I have that Saintspeak book and this is WAY better!

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  6. Howard on October 8, 2013 at 11:12 AM

    This is so funny because it’s so true! Which isn’t so funny!

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  7. stevenwhopkins on October 8, 2013 at 11:24 AM

    Mild drink made from barley or other grains (n) definitely not beer

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  8. Aaron Brown on October 8, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    Happiness: “The state of being in compliance with Mormon norms — a state possibly only achievable in the next life — regardless of the mental or emotional state such compliance (or attempted compliance) creates in a given person in the present.”

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  9. Diana Blackham on October 8, 2013 at 12:33 PM

    Prophetess: A word not defined in the Bible Dictionary. See also Deborah, a judge in Israel, and Miriam, Aaron’s sister.

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  10. Gordon on October 8, 2013 at 12:47 PM

    I’m pretty sure you’re going to hell…unless you repent of course. :)

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  11. John Moore on October 8, 2013 at 1:19 PM

    I would propose an expansion to “Talk”…My definition: “Give a Talk” LDS term for what other denominations would call “Preach a Sermon” but without any presuppositions relating to the possible presence of talented speakers OR uplifting messages.

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  12. PaulM on October 8, 2013 at 1:24 PM

    I would suggest adding the following two words to the beginning of your definition of “unrighteous dominion”:

    “a mythical”

    I’ve never actually heard anyone apply this phrase to any incident outside of a marital relationship.

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  13. Larrin on October 8, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    Excellent list and definitions. I recommend adding stake, tracting, and scriptorian.

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  14. Roger on October 8, 2013 at 2:18 PM

    Re #11. ……..Usually with minimal or less preparation

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  15. Joe on October 8, 2013 at 2:59 PM

    No “Loud Laughter” definition?

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  16. BrianJ on October 8, 2013 at 4:05 PM

    Please add “Sunday School”—a phrase where one word is accurate and the other is the opposite.

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  17. Chelsea on October 8, 2013 at 4:10 PM

    Perfect definition of Girl’s Camp, and it’s the reason for why I stopped going to it!

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  18. Mel on October 8, 2013 at 4:54 PM

    Here is the definition of prophetess in the LDS “The Guide to the Scriptures” on lds. org, but it works perfectly for here:
    “A woman who has received a testimony of Jesus and enjoys the spirit of revelation. A prophetess does not hold the priesthood or its keys.” Just add, “but every man identified as prophet has the priesthood and is the mouth piece for the Lord, unlike the ladies.”

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  19. cornponebread on October 8, 2013 at 5:24 PM

    Active (adj.) A person who sits on their duff for 3 hours every Sunday
    Inactive (adj.) A person who goes hiking, swimming, biking, running etc. in lieu of church

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  20. Couldnt Help Myself on October 8, 2013 at 5:44 PM

    “Scriptorian” (n) Someone who has read at least one chapter of the Book of Moses and is thereby qualified to pontificate about “deep doctrine”; provided, of course, it falls squarely within current orthodoxy. Otherwise, see “prideful.”

    “Deep doctrine” (n) A subject that must be immediately changed as soon as someone asks a trouble question about it (i.e., “That falls in the category of deep doctrine, so let’s reserve that for the scriptorians and instead, bear our testimonies of Joseph Smith’s shoe size. I know that he was a size 10, but with a narrow instep.”

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  21. Molly on October 8, 2013 at 6:28 PM

    I would also add: True Happiness: a state unattainable to anyone outside the church or living a lifestyle outside Mormon approved norms, regardless of how attractive, full and wonderful their life may seem.

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  22. ScottHeff on October 8, 2013 at 6:37 PM

    Wow. These are REALLY good.

    We’ve been posting “Saintspeak” (with permission) over at Modern Mormon Men letter by letter:

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  23. Michelle Glauser on October 8, 2013 at 8:30 PM

    Thank you. This made me laugh out loud.

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  24. RyGuy on October 8, 2013 at 8:51 PM

    Brilliant!I’d like to bear my testimony having just returned to “The Bubble” a year ago,that the definitions are true. Bravo.

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  25. Ems on October 8, 2013 at 9:44 PM

    The definition of self abuse as self-love was very poignant. I would add the inverse: the definition of self love in the church is actually self abuse.

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  26. Thomas A. Leek on October 8, 2013 at 11:12 PM

    Unanimus: A word used to indicate membership approval of a person who has been called to a leadership role, no matter if the membership approval was less than 100 percent.

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  27. Angela C on October 8, 2013 at 11:58 PM

    cornponebread: classic!

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  28. nate on October 9, 2013 at 10:55 AM

    This is brilliant, you’ve got quite a sense of humor Hawgrrl!

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  29. fbisti on October 9, 2013 at 11:57 AM

    I enjoyed your list immensely…more than any previous, similarly extensive, list of such Mormon jargon. I most appreciate the bitingly sarcastic bent!

    I remain convinced that the baby shouldn’t be thrown out with the bath water. However, as I grow older the bath water grows more bothersome–especially the lack of any awareness of just how narrow and close-minded our culture is. One symptom of this cloister mentality is the extent of our jargon and how that speaks to how long is the tail of tradition we are dragging.


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  30. greedy reader on October 9, 2013 at 11:57 AM

    ” Magnify your calling”: to make your assigned job harder and more time-consuming than it needs to be.

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  31. Mark on October 9, 2013 at 12:41 PM

    Bread : Something purchased by a Deacon at nearest 7-11 at 9am on Sunday when the Young Mens leader realises he has left the sacrament on the kitchen table

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  32. hawkgrrrl on October 9, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    Mark 31, not to be confused with breaking the Sabbath!

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  33. Tracy LeCheminant on October 9, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    The world: reality
    The gospel: a big con
    They say not to choose over (Insert scary anecdote.)
    But it’s probably better to choose over

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  34. Tracy LeCheminant on October 9, 2013 at 2:22 PM

    Oops, what I meant was,
    The world: reality
    The gospel: a big con
    They say not to choose ‘the world’ over ‘the gospel’ (Insert scary anecdote.)
    But it’s probably better to choose ‘reality’ over ‘a big con.’

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  35. Roger on October 9, 2013 at 6:42 PM


    There are aspects of the Church, it’s culture and traditions that must have changed during my 30+ years of inactivity/ lapsed activity/borderlands dwelling.

    You are the perfect example. I got two degrees from BYU and never met any women like you. I served a mission south of the Pyrennes and there were no sister missionaries like you. And there were certainly no students in the Tanner building like you.

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  36. NDM on October 11, 2013 at 2:18 PM

    High Councilman (n.) Someone who is told by the stake presidency what needs to be done, then tells someone else to do it.

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  37. Ziff on October 12, 2013 at 10:23 PM

    This is brilliant, Hawkgrrrl!

    Saddened (adj.) irritated or angry at another’s unorthodoxy, but expressed passive-aggressively. “I am deeply saddened that so many of my fellow so-called Saints do not sustain the Prophet in the hymns he was inspired to choose for our hymnbook.” Often intensified with “deeply.”

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  38. Mormon Heretic on October 13, 2013 at 10:02 AM

    Ziff, I nominate this post for your “funniest posts/comments of the year” post that you do.

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  39. […] with this video on home teaching? Or these dramatic teachings of Brigham Young? Or this amusing jargon? The church has how much money…? The Dutch Mormon keeps trying to convince his fellow LDS to […]

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  40. Angie on October 14, 2013 at 11:47 AM

    OMG…so funny.

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  41. Tracy LeCheminant on October 23, 2013 at 3:00 AM

    Challenge (v.) to push performance of one unchallenging task, implying that doubtfulness is a result of incompetence. Example: “I challenge you to pray about this scripture, that you may know the truthfulness of the gospel.”

    Come to think of it, in the MTC, don’t they teach a lot of lingo that’s generally known to be useful for hard sales?

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  42. HM on November 3, 2013 at 1:26 AM

    The most important thing is that Jesus is the Christ. There are definitely a lot of quirks and, frankly, hypocritical aspects to LDS culture and phraseology. Especially in Utah (where I grew up), you see and hear things like this all the time. However, despite how disappointing people’s actions can be, don’t you think this post is a little harsh? Latter-day Saints make mistakes (and many times they’re big ones) just like every other person on the planet. Is there a way that the issue can be brought up in good humor instead of being bitingly sarcastic?

    Incidentally, I think it’s wonderful when people take responsibility for what other people understand about what they themselves have said. I’ve had some amazing university professors who have helped me to learn a lot that way :)

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  43. Douglas on November 3, 2013 at 10:46 AM

    Every Cult(ure) has its jargon and UNSPOKEN expectations.

    I recall many moons ago when involved in (sc)Amway our ‘organization’ had its meetings on Tuesday evenings (coincidence?). My then wife and I sat through an hour of what was about an hour of “rah-rah” (testimonies to encourage the slackening ones, I guess), and about thirty minutes of actual product demonstration and presentation advice. We then began to leave when our “upline” got in our faces with a pained look in her face. “WHERE are you going?” she demanded. I replied that since the meeting was over and the hour late, we were going home. She replied, “You CAN’T do that! This was JUST the meeting, you need to stay for the meeting AFTER the meeting!”.

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  44. Mormon Heretic on November 3, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    I thought this was humorous and not bitingly sarcastic.

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  45. sifubear on November 4, 2013 at 1:08 PM

    Some of this was quite funny, but a lot of it seemed as though it was bitter and biting. Just remember, people are people, and all of us make mistakes. some are even hypocritical and fit in the definitions above, but not all of us do. Anyway, I appreciate the funny definitions, and just hope people realize that not all of these are completely true.

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  46. T Riddel on November 4, 2013 at 4:41 PM

    Our capacity to see our own shortcomings and laugh about them makes us uniquely human and humble, but sarcasm is not humor and is not valuable except to the originator of the comment and their acolytes. While I am amused at a number of the comments and observations, I am nevertheless “deeply” aware that our view of our Savior’s church is not
    so important as His view of us.

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  47. Zoe Gillenwater on November 5, 2013 at 7:00 AM

    I agree that much of this was too bitter and sarcastic to be very funny to me, though I love making fun of Mormons! But some of it was quite clever. Here’s another definition:

    Service: 1) If you’re a woman, giving chicken enchiladas to someone who has just had a baby or who is very, very sick. 2) If you’re a man, helping another Mormon family move in or out of the ward boundaries.

    There should also be something on here about temples, baptisms for the dead, and single wards (aka, the church’s official dating service).

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  48. Eric on November 5, 2013 at 9:14 AM

    One phrase I’ve never heard outside the LDS church:

    We welcome you out: We welcome you.

    Don’t know this is Mormon or just Utah:

    Tending: What people do to children instead of sheep.

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  49. Ben on November 6, 2013 at 10:38 PM

    Now my intellectual crush on hawkgrrrl is complete. Great list!

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  50. michael on November 24, 2013 at 7:53 PM


    I know I am late, but you need “Policy” and you need “doctrine”

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  51. Mark on December 3, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    Relatives twice removed: Two organ recipients of organs removed from the same organ donor.

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  52. Tarefic-Wheaties Nominations 2 | Wheat and Tares on December 23, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    […] Hawkgrrrl, Wheat & Tares:  ”Mormon Jargon“ […]

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  53. Wheaties-Tarefic Update | Wheat and Tares on December 30, 2013 at 1:01 AM

    […] Hawkgrrrl, Wheat & Tares:  ”Mormon Jargon“ […]

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  54. […] Hawkgrrrl, Wheat & Tares:  ”Mormon Jargon“ […]

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  55. […] cornponebread, commenting on hawkgrrrl’s post “Mormon Jargon” at W&T: […]

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  56. annegb on January 15, 2014 at 9:09 AM

    Well done. I’m going to run this off and take it to church with me to refer to often while I condemn others.

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  57. CraigHyatt on February 22, 2014 at 5:05 PM

    What is the translation for “fun”? My guess is something like “interesting” in air quotes: Wow! Your new Hawaiian shirt is fun!

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  58. CraigHyatt on February 22, 2014 at 5:19 PM

    Another word I’ve heard is “sad”; a passive aggressive way of expressing disapproval. For example, I was telling a friend at work that I enjoy going to Mass and have spiritual feelings, but I can’t really say exactly what I believe. He said “That is so sad. What I believe is ….” The judgemental tone kinda pissed me off, but I let it pass.

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  59. Cassie on May 23, 2014 at 7:18 PM

    How would you explain the phrase “of the world” to someone not fluent in our mormon jargon?

    This is great by the way! :)

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  60. TJ on August 6, 2014 at 8:28 PM

    THIS IS SO FREAKIN HILARIOUS, AT TIMES APOSTATE BUT ALL THE MORE FUNNY…. I think I’m going to go talk to my bishop

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  61. Charlie on September 17, 2014 at 9:24 PM

    Home Teaching – intelligence gathering.

    Visit Teaching – intelligence gathering with cookies.

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