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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

"Utah Speak" Part 2 - Will Learn Quickly

So now that you know the basics, here is a list of words you come to know quickly when you live here in Utah. My definitions come from friends and websites and of course I added my own commentary.

Angel Moroni – Book of Mormon prophet who gave Joseph Smith the gold plates from which he translated the Book of Mormon. His statue tops many Mormon temples (no comment)

Brother – used to address male church members (makes me think of Desmond from Lost)

Calling – invitation to accept an office or assignment

Deseret –Book of Mormon word meaning “honey bee” often used by LDS institutions and businesses

FLDS – Fundamental LDS (Polygamists like the ones in Texas)

General Conference – General assemblies of Church members in Salt Lake City, regularly convened every April and October.

Gentile – non-Mormon (Huh, since when is a nice Jewish girl a gentile?)

Heavenly Father – term for God

Inactive – member of Church who no longer attends services(my “inactive friend hates this word – she claims to exercise regularly)

Jack Mormon – member of Church who attends services, but doesn’t follow all the rules (Has a beer on the weekend)

Molly – really devout Mormon

Pioneer Day - a July 24, celebration of the anniversary of the arrival of the Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake Valley in 1847. (Even most banks are closed in Utah!)

Polygamy - The practice of having more than one wife (like in Big Love, one of my favorite TV shows)

Priesthood – power of God given only to men; boys can receive priesthood at 12 years of age

Relief Society – Adult women’s auxiliary organization

Sacrament – water and bread distributed at ward meeting that symbolize the body and blood of Christ (no wine? Wasn’t one of Jesus’ first miracles changing water to wine?)

Sister – female church members use this to address one another; also a female missionary

Temple Recommend – certificate of worthiness to enter the temple

Tithe – 10% of all gross income donated to the church required to be considered in good standing(no tithe, no temple recommend!)

Years Supply – church leaders encourage members to store a supply of food to sustain life for one year in preparation for an emergency. (Homes in Utah have loads of storage space to accommodate for this practice)

Zion – Utah (What????? I thought Israel was Zion, crazy me!)


Erica Passey said...

Hey Jill! I'm an active LDS woman, and also the sister of one your friends there in UT, who sent me the link to your blog. It's very enlightening to know what kinds of things are a little 'foreign' to non-members. When I'm talking to my non-member friends and say words like 'ward' and 'young womens' and 'relief society' I instantly catch myself and think: she has no idea what I'm saying or what these words mean! We certainly have our own language! Ha! And you do a great job explaining some of those words. I'm so glad that you have had good experiences with Mormons there in Utah. I grew up in CA as well, and then went to BYU for a year, then got married and lived in UT for 3 more years. I freely admit,I'd rather not live in UT because the members are a little different there than anywhere else. I agree with you about the counter culture. However, here in GA, my teenagers will have to get up for seminary class that starts at 6am! Man, what I wouldn't give to have it a class during school! But I for sure think that there should be real options for those who aren't members of the church. But I guess that if I were in your situation, I would be a bit put off by that seminary thing in my kids' schedule too. And I think it's great that you make this a Bash Free zone. Thanks! But I think that you might consider filling us in a little on Judaism...I've read some books like My Name is Asher Lev and The Chosen, and loved them. You're faith is very interesting. But there were a lot of words and vocabulary in those books that were unfamiliar to me, and I'd love to see you go into that as well! Keep it up, it's a great site! I know why Deidre likes you so much!

Meta said...

Active / Inactive / Jack Mormon is rather a continuum. An "active" member attends church, pays tithing and accepts callings. An "inactive" individual doesn't attend church and may or may not pay tithing. And, the lowest of the low, the "Jack Mormon" doesn't attend church, doesn't pay tithing, and may have, as you suggest, an occasional beer, smoke (or worse, have a "hot drink").

I've noticed that "gentiles" seem to operate on a continuum as well; "active gentiles" tend to be a bit paranoid regarding the prevailing culture: watch for garment lines underneath clothing, worry about what goes on in those "secret" temple ceremonies and shushes the missionaries off quickly when they occasionally come by. The "inactive gentile" tends to have a "I could care less as long as they leave me alone" attitude while recognizing the rather queer (if that is the proper term to use in these latter days of Proposition 8)components of the culture. When the missionaries come by, the inactive gentile just doesn't answer the door.

Erica is right on, however, in speaking of the noticeable differences of Mormons as a majority (in-Utah) as opposed to outside Utah (a minority). Interesting, especially in light of the group's self-acknowledged founding and early years as a persecuted minority.

Meta said...

And one more thing ... yes, you have to be a native Utahn to understand that here Jewish folk are gentiles and that Utah (and ultimately, Jackson County, Missouri) is Zion ... as opposed to "zionism" of course ...