Mormon Jargon 2

Now in a slightly less abridged form!

One of my most popular posts ever was a Mormon version of Ambrose Bierce’s The Devil’s Dictionary, a satirical version of definitions of words according to Mormon culture. [1]  I thought it was time to expand that first effort.  I’ve included original definitions, a few reader suggestions, and added to the list with some more of my own.  With this preamble, I bring you Mormon Jargon the Sequel:  2 Mormon 2 Jargon.

Active (adj.) A person who sits inert for three hours every Sunday at the church rather than hiking, swimming, biking or running

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

Adult movies (n.) films not produced by Disney or Pixar

Adversary (n.) Satan, whose reign extends from Hollywood to the Huffington Post

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

“Any opposed, also manifest” A phrase meaning only raise your hand if you want to make everyone in the room incredibly uncomfortable and land in the bishop’s office for a fun chat

Apostate (adj.) for women, whatever your bishop says is apostate; for men, whatever your stake president says is apostate

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

Blessed (adj.) afflicted

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

Bread (n.) emblem of Christ used in the sacrament, usually purchased by a deacon’s father at the nearest 7-11 at 9:00 am on Sunday when the Young Men’s leader realizes he forgot to assign it (not to be confused with breaking the Sabbath)

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

Bridle your passions (v.) have none

Brother (n.) any man in the church who doesn’t hold a leadership calling

Bubble, the (n.) where someone who only knows Mormons lives

Buddhism (n.) a religion involving putting your legs in uncomfortable positions and chanting or something; incense might be involved; I think there are idols, right?

BYU (n.) where out of state Mormon parents send their kids to find spouses and stay out of trouble; like high school, but with less freedom

BYU-I (n.) where out of state Mormon parents whose kids’ grades didn’t pass the cutoff send their kids to find spouses and stay out of trouble; like BYU with less freedom

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

Casserole (n.) Mormon dietary staple, usually consisting of a can of grayish soup, government cheese, potatoes, potato chips, corn flakes, and possibly cut-up pre-cooked breakfast sausages

Catholic (n.) in Utah, any person who is neither Mormon nor atheist

Challenge (v.) to close the sale, pushing someone to perform of one non-challenging task such as praying or reading, implying that any remaining doubtfulness will be the result of incompetence or not being receptive to the spirit

Charitable giving (n.) to Mormons, paying tithing; to others, giving to charities

Christ-centered (adj.) frequently mentioning words referring to Jesus like “Christ” or “Savior” or “messiah”

Church Handbook of Instruction (n.) a manual that explains all procedures surrounding church members; given to all church leaders and none of the members

Church welfare (n.) a righteous version of welfare paid to members in times of need, unlike the crack hos and welfare queens on the dole in Satan’s version of welfare

Contention (n.) having an opinion

Commend (v.) to praise or recommend, used when the speaker wants to make it clear that s/he frequently attends the temple

Companion (n.) a partner in missionary work, randomly assigned yet often as uniformly irritating as if the assignment was intentionally malicious; this prepares missionaries for their “eternal companion” or spouse who will likewise be uniformly irritating but with the added advantage of sex

Court of love (n.) church disciplinary procedures, usually as a result of sexual sin, writing a controversial book, or losing leadership roulette

Creeds (n.) lists of set beliefs created by men to articulate and restrict the beliefs of other religious sects, an abomination; totally unlike our own Articles of Faith

Curelom (n.) Mr. Snuffaluffagus; maybe a woolly mammoth that survived the ice age

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

Dear John (v.) dump someone while they are on a mission or to be dumped while on a mission; the phrase is the same for both men and women

Deep doctrine (n) A phrase indicating an invisible boundary for discussion has been violated and the subject must be immediately changed to prevent loss of testimony

Delightsome (adj.) tasty or good looking, as in white people or fruit

Demonstration (n.) quietly asking leaders for answers to questions that haven’t been answered

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

Diet Coke (n.) gateway drug for which there is no demand at BYU

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

Discussion (n.) to a missionary, a prescribed set of teachings that are delivered to an investigator and then tallied and reported; to a gospel doctrine teacher, asking predictable questions and getting predictable answers

Dispensation (n.) length of time longer than the three hour block, but shorter than eternity; it’s not clear what exactly is being dispensed, whether medicine or frontier justice.

Doctrine (n.) a church teaching that is currently in favor, not to be confused with a policy which has fallen out of favor

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

EFY (n.) youth camps focused on obedience, modesty, pep talks, dancing to boy bands and superhero-themed water fights.

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

Elohim (n.) God the father, an individual being despite His name being a plural in Hebrew

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

Ensign (n.) a flag or banner, also a magazine so timeless that articles published last month are hard to distinguish from those written in the 1970s; otherwise, a low ranking Starfleet officer

Equal (adj.) not equal, but valuable as an unequal participant sort of like an employee is, so long as they don’t forget who’s in charge

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 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?”

Evil speaking of the Lord’s anointed  A scriptural phrase probably referring to speaking ill of Jesus but broadly interpreted by some leaders as never criticizing leaders, especially when it is true and they are the leader in question

Evolution (n.) a complex, proven scientific theory often reduced by ill-informed members to declaiming “I’m not descended from a monkey” much to the relief of monkeys everywhere

Exceedingly (adv.) very, but signalling to other Mormons that you are a “religious scholar” (a term meaning that you have read the Book of Mormon at least once)

Executive secretary (n.) the man whose duty consists of making appointments for the bishop and assigning people to give talks, usually without knowing anything about the meetings being scheduled; a phone number that strikes fear into the heart of every ward member when it appears on caller ID

Extend (v.) to offer a voluntary position of responsibility to someone, while secretly believing it is mandatory

Facebook police (n.) a bishop or ward member who trolls status updates for heresy

Fallen world (n.) the world; “help, it’s fallen, and it can’t get up.”

Family home evening (n.) a family night held on Mondays, or at least that’s what we tell everyone we do (wink, wink)

Family prayer (n.) an early morning family ritual often mentioned in talks, yet as rare as the fabled unicorn in real life

Family scripture study (n.) a recurring commitment made by parents to force the children to read the scriptures, usually resulting in repeatedly not getting further than the Isaiah chapters of the Book of Mormon.

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

Favors and blessings (n.) things we ask for, particularly in temple prayers; not to be confused with vain repetitions

Feel to thank (v.) nonsensical GA-speak meaning wanting to thank someone but tinged with rural Utah chorm [2]

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

Feminism (n.) a system of thinking based on the mistaken belief that there are literally zero differences between men and women, unlike the totally logical belief that there are no differences between women and no differences between men

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

Fiery darts (n.) scriptorial-sounding way of saying temptations of the devil, for people who like to sound poetic

Fireside (n.) additional church meeting held on a Sunday evening, when three hours in one day just isn’t enough; attendance signifies a litmus test for upwardly aspiring ward members

Food storage (n.) extra food to be eaten and protected from invading Mongol hordes in the case of an apocalypse or second coming [3]

“For cute! phrase meaning “I don’t really like you, so I’ll gush over you to show what a great person I am,” similar to Jane Austen’s Emma feeling obligated to throw Mrs. Elton a party to disguise the fact that she loathes her.

Fossils (n.) to some members, evidence that God built this planet from old broken down planets he found lying around in his backyard; by this reckoning, God either lives in a junk yard or is a hoarder.

Fun (adj.) strange or unattractive, as in “What a fun Hawaiian shirt!” or “Wow, what a fun haircut!”

Funeral potatoes (n.) potatoes laden with so much fat and preservatives that 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

Gay agenda (n.) anything that promotes the idea that gay people exist, have rights, and should not be discriminated against; this differs from the straight agenda in which gay people are encouraged to pretend they are not gay and marry straight people

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

General Conference (n.) a religious bait and switch:  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.) prior to 2014, a 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.  This meeting has been replaced by . . .

General Women’s Meeting (n.) beginning in 2014, a meeting for all females, age 8 and up, followed by cheap ice cream sundaes served in bulk.  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, but said in a Primary voice to include the younger audience.

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

“Give a Talk” (v.) LDS term for what other denominations would call “preach a sermon” but with no guarantees relating to the quality of the speakers or gospel relevance of the messages

Gospel doctrine (n.) the adult Sunday School class, mostly focused on the philosophies of Fox News mingled with scripture

Gossip (n.) tale-bearing decried in General Conference, rewarded by the bishop, and enabled by the Visiting Teaching program

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

Happiness (n.)  The state of being in compliance with Mormon norms, regardless of one’s actual resulting emotional state

“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

Heavenly mother (n.) God’s wife, our literal spiritual mother; dubious role model for Mormon women in that she is an absentee parent, never mentioned or addressed, unlike Mormon women who are expected to be forefront in child-rearing

Heretofore (adv.) another word for “before” that lets other Mormons know you attend the temple frequently

High councilman (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; also someone who is told by the stake presidency what needs to be done, then tells someone else to do it

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

Hindrance (n.) more scriptural sounding word for an obstacle

Historic (adj.) forgettable

“Holding the priesthood”  For men, turning 12 and being automatically ordained; for women, cuddling with their husbands.

Home teaching (n.) the most forgotten and overlooked assignment given to men; according to leaders, if men paid half as much attention to their home teaching assignments as they did to porn, the ward would be translated

Honor code (n.) a code of behavior at BYU, similar to at other universities, but instead of focusing on academic integrity upheld by one’s personal commitment, it is focused on dress code, facial hair, and curfews, enforced by tattling on other students

Hose (v.) avoid a meeting when investigators do it (missionary lingo)

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

Humanist (n.) hedonistic moral relativist

Humanitarian aid (n.) charitable giving beyond tithing or fast offerings, yet still with the oversight and sanction of the church

Ideal (adj.) white and upper middle class, being straight and married with a wife at home full time, not having single or divorced parents

“I’d like to say these things” phrase meaning “I just said these things”

Ignorant (adj.) in rural Utah, rude; elsewhere, being unaware of the difference between ignorant and rude

Immoral (adj.) to Mormons, sexual; to non-Mormons, unethical

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”

Inactive (adj.)  a person who goes hiking, swimming, biking, or running in lieu of sitting on their duff for 3 hours of church

Inspiration (n.) a feeling that gives weight to whatever I want to do by making it seem divinely endorsed

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.”

Jehovah (n.) the immortal version of Jesus that also precedes his time on earth.  The God of the Old Testament is said to be Jehovah, although he thankfully lightened up a bit for the New Testament

Jello (n.) in Utah, a dessert made from animal hooves; elsewhere “Hey, wasn’t that wiggly thing on an episode of Bewitched?”

Judgmental (adj.) other people in relation to oneself; the reverse is seldom observed

Kirkland Temple (n.) a common mispronunciation for the Kirtland Temple; easy mistake given that the temple is like Costco:  you have to show your membership card to get in, and it’s full of Mormons

Kirtland Bank Failure (n.) an event in church history in which faithless and unworthy members criticized their leaders for no good reason and then apostatized; a cautionary tale for all members who care too much about not losing their life savings

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.

“Like unto”  A phrase meaning “like” but spoken by someone who is bucking for a promotion at church

Linger longer (n.) a now defunct post-church get together with finger foods in the gym in which people discover for the first time who is married to whom

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

Lock your heart  Frequently unheeded advice given to missionaries to repress all feelings of attraction to the opposite sex while serving

Lost sheep (n.) anyone not at church regularly

Loud laughter (n.) what people without a sense of humor call laughter, disparagingly

Magnify your calling (v.) to make your assigned job harder and more time-consuming than it needs to be.  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

Manifest (v.) raise your  hand, unless opposed in which case it would be social suicide to raise your hand

Meekness (n.) conflict avoidance

Mild drink made from barley or other grains (n) beverage referenced in the Word of Wisdom as being acceptable to consume that definitely cannot mean beer; perhaps an anachronistic reference to Postum which was invented in 1895.

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

MLMs or Multi-Level Marketing Schemes (n.) business opportunities that work like a chain letter but with scented candles or skin care products; the golden rule of these pyramid schemes is to sell to ten ward members before they sell unto you

Modest (adj.) showing off one’s righteousness and superiority by wearing extra clothing as opposed to showing off one’s body by wearing less clothing

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

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

Moral agency (n.) what we now call “free agency” to remind people that with agency comes great responsibility.  Similar to renaming French fries “freedom fries” after 9/11.

Mormon Doctrine (n.) a book by Bruce R. McConkie containing over 1,000 errors at its first unauthorized publication; this book is generally considered a staple for those considered “scriptorians” by average members

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

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

Murmur (v.) to complain about something that doesn’t affect me

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

1978 (n.) the year in which the church’s race-related mental gymnastics finally stuck the dismount

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

Nursery (n.) a tiny two-hour jail for toddlers and adults who are being punished by ward leadership; its inhabitants subsist on stale crackers, cereal pieces, fruit snacks, and the fragrance of full diapers

Nursery stink (n.) the smell of one’s hair after a shift in the nursery

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

Opportunity (n.) something unpleasant, often used to draw attention to how good-hearted one is by pretending to enjoy it; a challenge is something unpleasant issued to another person; an opportunity is the unpleasant thing one accepts

Outside sources (n.) something all teachers in the church are prohibited from using, but are used routinely in General Conference addresses

Over-zealous (adj).  zealous

“Ox in the mire a non-scriptural phrase used by Mormons to excuse Sabbath breaking as a necessary action due to extenuating circumstances; the actual phrase is “ass or ox fallen into a pit” which is unacceptably racy for most Mormons, but scriptural purists should consider saying “Sorry bishop.  My ass was in a pit.”

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

Passive voice (n.) a manner of demonstrating meekness by removing all action verbs from stories and talks; e.g. “Hearts were gladdened, tears were shed, passive voice was used.”

Patriarch (n.) an elderly man who dispenses blessings as requested to youth and converts in a stake; if the blessings come true, the patriarch is inspired and attuned; if not, the recipient is unworthy

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

Pertaining to (adj.) a way to say “of” while also demonstrating to the listener that you read your scriptures

Petting (n.) something the youth are told not to do, the leaders are too embarrassed to explain, and people outside the church use baseball references to describe

Philosophies of men (n.) pejorative referring to people’s personal opinions about doctrinal topics, as opposed to the personal opinions of the correlation committee that comprise our teaching materials

Plan of Happiness (n.) formerly known as the Plan of Salvation; the happiness promised may or may not be made available in this lifetime

“Please manifest” Raise your hand to indicate you approve of someone’s calling or leadership position, or at least that you don’t care to make a public fuss about it if you do have reservations

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 persuade

Policy (n.) a doctrine that has fallen out of favor

Politically correct (adj.) lacking the virtue of intolerance

Political neutrality (n.) a desirable state for retaining tax exempt status, maintained by not endorsing specific political candidates or parties (wink, wink)

Polygamy (n.) a topic that despite being outlawed for discussion in all church curriculum is still the one thing nearly all non-LDS know about Mormons

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!

PPI or Personal Priesthood Interview (n.) a meeting in which a higher ranking priesthood leader can use his gaze of discernment to assess the worthiness of a lower ranking priesthood holder and discuss his “stewardship” (see Stewardship definition).  No female equivalent exists.

“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

Prideful (adj.) lacking the humility required to defer to the opinion of the person calling you prideful

Priestess (n.) what women are destined to be according to Mormon theology without ever actually holding the priesthood

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

Prophetess (n.) A woman worthy of mention in the Bible, despite not having the priesthood (like all male prophets do) or being in a position of authority (despite the Bible’s indication to the contrary)

Protest (v.) do anything that questions cultural norms and the status quo

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

Quad (n.) a physical book including all four of the Mormon books of scripture:  Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants and Pearl of Great Price; at BYU, the place in front of the library where students stand rock still while the national anthem is played

Quorum (n.) a group of men of the same age or authority level; there is no female equivalent as all women are lumped into one big woman

Refreshments (n.) straight carbs containing enough sugar to cause type 2 diabetes

Release (v.) to be let go from a calling; it’s not you, it’s us, but don’t be sad.  Nursery leader is the equivalent of stake president in the eyes of God.

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

Remiss (adj.) a more spiritual sounding word for thoughtless or careless that demonstrates to other Mormons that you listened to General Conference

Revelation (n.) doctrine that comes directly from God to the prophet and is binding on all members; since nothing is actually labelled as revelation as it happens, members assume everything is revelation until disproven and discarded a hundred years later

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

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

Righteous (adj.) passive-aggressively judgmental while being outwardly observant

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

Roadshow (n.) a now defunct talent show (emphasis on the former, no guarantee of the latter) held at the stake level, showcasing 15 minute musical plays performed by ward members; these gave excellent insight into the moral character of wards, whether boring and uptight or downright bawdy

Sacred (adj.) secret; conversely, off limits for discussion or disagreement, although I’m not sure if we agree or not since we can’t discuss it.

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.”

Same sex attraction (n.) a state of being attracted by members of one’s own sex, feelings that would go away if one only ignored them like a craving for chocolate cake, and married heterosexually, despite all scientific and anecdotal evidence to the contrary; seemingly confirmed by the fluidity of sexual orientation apparent in the belief that gay people can persuade otherwise straight people to switch teams merely by coming to dinner

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

Satan’s version (n.) anything that is essentially equivalent to a church program but done outside the church (for example, see United Order)

Saturday’s Warrior (n.) an LDS musical popular in the 1970s with catchy tunes that perpetuated lasting false doctrinal beliefs like pre-destination, proving yet again that people remember catchy songs more than they remember what they hear in General Conference

Scantily clad (adj.) For women, revealing shoulders or  knees in public, including when swimming, rendering the woman walking pornography; there is no equivalent for men because nobody wants to see that

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 dodgeball in the gym, then getting awards

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.”

Scrud (n.) Mormon expletive used primarily in Utah to avoid saying a different word that starts with S; however, nobody ever claims having taken a scrud

Self-abuse (n.) self-love (the reverse definition is also true)

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

Service (n.)  For women, giving chicken enchiladas to someone who has just had a baby; for men, helping another Mormon family move in or out of the ward boundaries; for youth, singing in a rest home or raking leaves

Set apart (v.) be given a blessing before starting a new calling or a mission; in the case of missionary service, it is similar to the setting apart of a eunuch’s sex organs prior to service

Sister (n.) any woman in the church, even if she is the president of an organization

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 or pregnant

Small family (n.) any family with three or fewer children

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

Socialism (n.) form of government based on pooling resources for the common good of society; completely unlike the united order and the law of consecration

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

So stinking (adv.) colloquial superlative in Utah added to another adjective for emphasis.  E.g. “That kid so stinking cute” or “That guy was so stinking spiritual.”

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 and drag the spirit kicking and screaming into the meeting; followed by profuse thanks from every subsequent speaker

Stake dance (n.) where young Mormons go to awkwardly dance with people they know far too well; like a school dance, but with brighter lights, more childish themes, and leaders occasionally joking about whether they can fit a Book of Mormon between dance partners

Standard works (n.) the four books of scripture Mormons recognize:  Bible, Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price and Doctrine & Covenants; they are standard because we use the same version; they are works because of the mental gymnastics required for literal belief in some of the stories therein.

Stewardship (n.) Area of responsibility covered by a “calling”; like a job description except that it exists only in the mind of the leader who extended the calling and has generally never been articulated since

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

Stumblingblock (n.) something that is a negative influence on people; this word is preferred when the speaker wants to demonstrate that s/he reads the scriptures a lot

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

Sunday School (n.) a phrase in which one word is accurate and the other is the opposite

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 of a normal enrichment activity

Sustaining vote (n.) like democracy in countries where only one candidate is running for office; if you don’t like the result, you have no one to blame but yourself, sort of.

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, being sure not to introduce any new ideas or thinking

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, willing or unwilling though they may be

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

Temporal (adj.) literally time-bound, usually referring to financial blessings; to the non-LDS, a word used primarily in science fiction to mean related to time, space-time or time travel

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)

Testify (v.) to end a conversation, usually by claiming religious knowledge that implies the other person’s moral inferiority

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

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

Thorn of the flesh (n.) homosexual feelings, phrased so obliquely that most people don’t know what is being referenced

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

Transfer (v.) leave one randomly assigned mission companion for another; this process enables a whole new set of missionaries to attempt to teach the same set of investigators who have dodged you all month

Translate (v.) write scripture; conversely, be changed to a state of immortality due to extreme righteousness

Triple (n.) the uniquely Mormon scriptures in book form:  Doctrine & Covenants, Book of Mormon, and Pearl of Great Price; with the popularity of digital scriptures, this term will go the way of “quad”

True happiness (n.) a state unattainable to anyone outside the church, regardless of how attractive, fabulous, full and wonderful their life may seem

Twinkling of an eye (n.) the length of time it takes to change from death to immortality, unlike resurrection which takes a lot longer and resembles a zombie apocalypse

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

Unanimous (adj). officially sanctioned for a leadership role, no matter what the actual membership approval was

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

United Order (n.) a community based on shared property and social programs, not to be confused with socialism or communism which are Satan’s plan

Unity (n.) end of discussion

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

Unrighteous dominion (n.) abuse of power; apparently it is the nature of all with power to abuse it, but we only notice it when the person is fairly low level in the power structure since higher ups have transcended all human frailty

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

Visiting teaching (n.) random people visiting each others’ homes on the last day of the month so they can get righteousness points

Vote of thanks (n.) Literally the least you can do to thank someone who has volunteered their time in service to the ward

Ward (n.) a group of Mormons brought together by proximity if nothing else

Ward choir (n.) a collection of diversely talented singers, brought together using guilt trips, to sing the same ten songs everyone sings in the same types of arrangements always done:  one verse with women only, one verse with men only, one verse sung slowly and thoughtfully, one sung triumphantly

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).

Ward directory (n.) contact information for the members of a ward, not to be used for business purposes unless it is a really really good deal like insurance, scented candles or Pampered Chef products

Ward family (n.) an alternate term for ward used when a leader wants to remind people to get along; like your own family, you didn’t choose these people, but here you all are, dammit, so get along

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

Wax (v.) to become, as in to “wax fat” or “wax dull.”  Wax as a verb is generally only used by CES employees, Brazilian spa workers, and Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid

Way (adj.) very, or “wicked” to Bostonians

“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 or the missionaries

Welfare (n.) a government program to give assistance to tax payers; unlike God’s true welfare system, this is Satan’s alternative, giving people handouts instead of . . . giving people handouts the Lord’s way . . . ish

Well-behaved (adj.) Saying, doing and being nothing so as not to upset others or draw attention to issues

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

“With every fiber of my being” A meaningless phrase possibly indicating a subconscious obsession with fiber; as with “and it came to pass,” the phrase could be omitted entirely with no impact to the meaning of the sentence.

Word of Wisdom (n.) a health code of prohibitions given by Joseph Smith in the 1830s, not enforced until the 1920s when its terms were redefined, and still hotly debated in many Mormon circles

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

Would be (adj.) the new so-called

Year’s supply (n.) A supply of weevil-infested foods you would never eat except in a zombie apocalypse that would probably cause you gastrointestinal distress, greatly testing the limits of your chemical toilet if you did

Young ambassadors (n.) a group of singing, dancing BYU students who tour the world; unlike the majority of male singers and dancers, all the men are totally heterosexual (wink, wink)

YSA (n.) Young Single Adults, anyone unmarried over the age of 18 and under the age of 30; focus is on Disney-themed parties designed to cause young singles to find a marriage partner; beyond age 26, women of this age group are pitied as wallflowers and spinsters while men are vilified as irresponsible Peter Pans and closet homosexuals.  Outranked and chaperoned by the much more mature married individuals of this same age category.

Zion (n.) to people from Utah this refers to Utah; to non-LDS people from the Western US, this is a national park overrun by skinheads; to others, this is how French people pronounce the name of the boxy car


[1] Bear in mind that as with any satire, it has a tendency to sound more caustic than I may actually feel.  That’s just how satire works, exaggerating bad qualities for comedic effect.  Plus, they can’t all be winners.  Some are better than others.  Deal with it.

[2] I assume this is how rural Utahns say “charm”

[3] or worse, Obamacare


  1. Unto an archaic and word used in lieu of “to” so the speaker will seem righteous rather than awkward.

  2. I nominate “even” for the best definition. Man, that was funny.

  3. an archaic and awkward word used in lieu of “to” so the speaker will seem righteous rather than awkward.

  4. This is brilliant. While “even” was great, “addiction” and “girls camp” are my favorites.

  5. A Turtle Named Mack says:

    My mission experience had me thinking you would go a different direction with Fiery Darts.

  6. Left Field says:

    I have to disagree with the definition of “Ensign.” Ensign articles from the ’70s were good.

    What the scrud are “haystacks”? Never heard of ’em.

  7. Kevin Barney says:

    Great stuff!

  8. Worthy of Ambrose Bierce!

    The only one that disappointed was the definition (when applied to women) of “holding the priesthood”, there should be a (wink, wink) after “cuddling her husband”. If you know what I mean, nudge nudge, say no more.

  9. andrew h says:

    “the philosophies of Fox News mingled with scripture” sums up pretty much every Church meeting I attended during the two years that we lived in small town Idaho

  10. Ma’am. I know that obtaining that CPA was a lot of work and that you doubtless excell at your worldly endeavors, but you missed your calling. Put down that calculator, rev up your keyboard and don’t stop!!

  11. Never heard “for cute” before, and I’m pretty sure I don’t want to.

  12. Love this! Thanks for the laughs.

  13. Most of these definitions are apostate, but some are genuinely for cute. (Wait, am I allowed to call you apostate? I’m not your Stake President, just his equal.)

  14. Mike R. says:

    Also, “Counsel (v.): to command.”

  15. Angela C says:

    Well, for cute, Steve.

  16. “Impressed to say”=prompting=trump card interjection to undermine entire lesson/comment/question just uttered

  17. Turtle–yep. Fiery (cough cough blue) darts indeed. That first week of the mission taught me that most elders are more like 14-year-old boys than actual adults.

    andrew h–small town Idaho is still the same, meaning that pretty much all of these definitions are not exaggerations, at least around here. The Bishop deciding to play a Glenn Beck video for the entirety of a joint PH/RS meeting? Fox News mingled with scripture indeed.

  18. John Moore says:

    As I said before: 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.

  19. “Linger longer (n.) a now defunct post-church get together with finger foods in the gym in which people discover for the first time who is married to whom”

    I was kicked off the activities committee because I started a linger longer by telling everyone to put their keys in a bowl.

  20. Oh, “dispensation” is not a particularly Mormon word.

  21. I really wish that “take a scrud” would enter the vernacular.

  22. I read these out loud during our commute this morning and my husband laughed out loud at “almost engaged” and “cultural hall.” Thanks for the morning amusement!

  23. “Any opposed, also manifest” — I expect to see the day before I die when this is responded to. Sure would liven things up a little.

  24. Michael says:

    I opposed once, when I was about 10. The deacon in question was swiping his dad’s cigars and smoking them, and I thought the question “Any opposed?” was serious.

    The bishop pulled me aside afterwards, I explained what I knew, and the next day I got a serious beatdown on the bus.

    Elder’s Quorum (n.) – An unpaid, non-union labor force, pressed into service even when the family moving has been given a substantial relocation check from their employer.

    Smut (n.) – Salacious, arousing material, including but not limited to JC Penney catalogs, newspaper ads, unfiltered internet, pay-TV, Cosmo, romance novels, and the Song of Solomon.

  25. Lots of people use Webster’s Dictionary definitions to begin a talk in Sacrament Meeting, but the next time I’m called to give a talk, I’m referencing at least one (possibly more) of the definitions given here… and I’m going to do it in the same tone and attempt to convey as much authority as people do to Websters. Haha!

    My top 10 list:

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

    2. Gospel doctrine (n.) the adult Sunday School class, mostly focused on the philosophies of Fox News mingled with scripture

    3. Happiness (n.) The state of being in compliance with Mormon norms, regardless of one’s actual resulting emotional state

    4. Politically correct (adj.) lacking the virtue of intolerance

    5. 1978 (n.) the year in which the church’s race-related mental gymnastics finally stuck the dismount

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

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

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

    9. BYU (n.) where out of state Mormon parents send their kids to find spouses and stay out of trouble; like high school, but with less freedom

    10. Young ambassadors (n.) a group of singing, dancing BYU students who tour the world; unlike the majority of male singers and dancers, all the men are totally heterosexual (wink, wink)

  26. Kevin Rex says:

    Also, “Do you have a message for us?” . . . something you say if you’re polite to help the Home Teachers know you’ve heard enough out of them and you want to get back to your TV watching; conversely, “I’d like to be on the ‘no contact’ list” is something you say if you’re not polite and want the home teachers to leave before they get in the door. And, because everyone will need a definition of “no contact” . . . here it is . . . contacting inactive members (see ‘active’ above, antonym of,) every 3-5 years based on your new calling (see ‘calling’ and ‘inspiration’ above) where you’re not given the list of ‘no contacts’ from whomever held your calling previously so that you have something important to do in your calling, i.e., make a new list.

  27. MDearest says:

    I gave up a most unladylike snort in two places —
    “…much to the relief of monkeys everywhere.”
    and “Sorry bishop. My ass was in a pit.”

    Also, “fluffy kittens of doctrine” is a fiery dart of bullseye that describes correlated lesson materials, especially those associated with Relief Society. (As opposed to an actual forthright survey of the real problems associated with being female and Mormon.)

    Artisanal-quality dark satire is my favorite.

  28. Guillaume says:

    The art of the contemptuous sneer perfected. Well done.

  29. Naismith says:

    This would actually be helpful to new converts, both the explanations and the attitude with which some view things.

    When I joined the church, “The Brethren” was what threw me for a loop. I started taking Book of Mormon at BYU within a month of my baptism in Europe, and the teachers would toss of such phrases. I thought they were talking about the sons of King Mosiah for the longest time. I nearly flunked that class because of not grokking the lingo.

  30. Secret Combination – a shadowy evil group who’s aim is to deprive all mankind of its right to shop at Wal-Mart 24 hours a day. Widely known to be comprised of the Mafia, Communists and the entire Obama administration.

  31. BYU Hawaii: No body cares about; victim of the “BYU Idahol Model”, penis envy of BYU Provo.

  32. Freaking brilliant, Ang.

  33. I love this, Angela! The original was excellent. I love the new expanded version even more!

  34. The definition for evolution reminded me of Douglas Adams’ style.

  35. Very funny stuff. The thing about the mental gymnastics and race relations bothered me a bit, though, because I’ve read Ed Kimball’s biography in which he describes in great detail the process that led to that revelation. Perhaps the joke wasn’t meant to reflect on President Kimball.

  36. Angela C says:

    “Perhaps the joke wasn’t meant to reflect on President Kimball.” No, not at all. There were plenty of mental gymnasts working hard to defend the ban. That’s why Mitt Romney claims he wept like a baby next to the freeway when we finally quit justifying it. Sheer relief, I’m sure.

  37. “Lo, do we have any more Fritos?” made me laugh out loud. Well done, Angela; very well done.

  38. blueridgemember says:

    OK, love all of John’s “top ten” above… but in my case, the guffaw inducer was:

    1978 (n.) the year in which the church’s race-related mental gymnastics finally stuck the dismount

  39. Lew Scannon says:

    Some were very funny, some just snarky, but I must admit, we do have one of the weirdest cultures on earth. Our vocabulary proves it. We are a peculiar people, and I don’t mean that as a compliment. This list ought to be required reading for any “Gentile” planning to move to Utah.

  40. I found the juxtaposition of these two phrases filled with meaning: A meaningless phrase possibly indicating a subconscious obsession with fiber; as with “and it came to pass,”

    If that was intentional, it was pure genius. If it was unintentional, it was – well, still pure genius. :)

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