Mormonspeak (Mormon dictionary)
Learning to talk like (and understand) a Mormon
Elder: 1) A title used in addressing Apostles of the Mormon Church; 2) a title used in addressing full-time male missionaries of the Church, since the office they hold is that of elder; 3) an office in the Melchizedek Priesthood which has the power and responsibility to bestow the Holy Ghost, and lead the Church in spiritual matters. Elders are particularly responsible for the welfare of Church members and serve as home teachers to the membership.
Endowment: An ordinance performed in Mormon temples. Through symbolic presentations and the making of sacred covenants, Mormons learn the Plan of Salvation, and receive spiritual power and promises from God. Endowed members of the Church wear sacred garments as symbols of these covenants.
Enrichment: Monthly meetings held by the Relief Society in which female members of the congregation meet for cultural, spiritual, and service activities.
Ensign: The official English language magazine of the Mormon Church. It contains speeches and articles about gospel topics as well as news of the Church. Its international counterpart is the Liahona.
Eternal Life: Eternal life is to live with God and Jesus Christ in the Celestial Kingdom and to come to know them, as they know us. It also refers to the life that God leads. Mormons believe that Eternal Life is a gift given to the faithful, but their faithfulness alone does not earn it. Grace is necessary for exaltation and salvation.
Excommunication: Being stripped of one’s membership in the Church. Those who are excommunicated are those who have sinned grievous sins such as adultery or apostasy and refuse to repent. The purpose of excommunication is threefold: protect the innocent, help the sinner repent and ultimately be re-baptized, and protect the Church from wicked people who seek to destroy it from within.
Family History: See Genealogy.
Family Home Evening: Mormon families set aside one day a week, usually Monday evenings, for Family Home Evening in which they study the Gospel together, read scriptures, play games, and discuss items of importance to the family.
Families Can Be Together Forever: A phrase often heard among Mormons referring to the Mormon doctrine of eternal marriage.
Fast: To go without food or water for a period of time, typically twenty-four hours (or two meals). Mormons believe that fasting coupled with prayer is a powerful way to gain spiritual strength (see Fast Offering and Fast Sunday).
Fast Offerings: Donations made to the Church when a person fasts, equal to or exceeding the cost of the meals skipped during a fast. The Mormon Church uses this money to help the poor and needy.
Fast Sunday: One Sunday a month, typically the first Sunday unless shifted to accommodate a special conference or event, each Mormon congregation fasts together for two meals, donates money to the poor, and holds a fast and testimony meeting where members share their testimonies about God and the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Fireside: Special extra meetings typically devoted to a particular theme or targeted to specific age group like teens, young adults, new parents, etc. In the Mormon Church these are usually held on Sunday evenings and generally have guest speakers.
First Vision, the: Joseph Smith’s first vision, which he experienced in 1820 in Palmyra, New York, and in which he saw God the Father and Jesus Christ. This was the beginning of his prophetic mission and remains an important event for Mormons as well as a source of doctrine about the Godhead.
Font: A baptismal font, located in most Mormon churches, except in places with a high concentration of Mormons such as in Utah where only certain churches, called stake centers have them.
Food Storage: Members are counseled to have food stored in their homes for emergencies. This includes a 72 hour kit and a year’s supply of food, clothing, fuel, and medicine in case of job loss, health or other emergencies, including natural disasters and wars.
Friend, the: The English language magazine of the Mormon Church aimed at young children under 12 involved with the Primary program.