My Mormon Experience - Glossary of Terms

aaronic priesthood

The Priesthood given to young men once they turn 12, named after the biblical figure of Aaron. The offices include Deacon, Teacher, Priest, and Bishop. More information can be found here.

age of accountability

The age when a person becomes accountable for their actions. Mormon scripture dictates this to be the age of eight and that children should be baptized at this age. It is believed that a person cannot sin until then and that if they die before turning eight years old, they go directly to heaven. More information can be found here

bishop

The leader of a local Mormon congregation, or ward.

bishopric

A bishop calls two other men to be what are called his counselors. They assist him in his duties as a bishop.

brigham young university

A Mormon owned and administered university located in Provo, Utah. More information can be found here.

companion

The missionary with which you are assigned to proselyte with during your mission. Missionaries are to stay with their companion at all times. Companionships can change frequently.

deacon

The lowest office of the Mormon Aaronic Priesthood. Typically held by young men ages 12 and 13. They are responsible for passing the sacrament.

EFY

An acronym that stands for "Especially for Youth". It is a Church-sponsored summer camp that happens on college campuses around the world where youth ages 14 - 16 get together and attend doctrinal seminars, dances, and other activities. I have sometimes heard it jokingly referred to as "buy your kid a testimony week" because the concentration on the gospel and feeling the Spirit is so strong. More information can be found here.

elder

The lowest office of the Mormon Melchizedek Priesthood. Typically held by men ages 18 to their middle ages. Elder is also used to refer to all male Mormon missionaries.

exmo

Someone who has disassociated themselves with the Mormon Church.

general authority

The corporate leaders of the Church. They are sent on assignment all around the world to verify that activities and practices in different areas are in compliance with Church standards. These leaders are comprised of the General Area Seventies, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and the First Presidency. An exhaustive list of all General Authorities can be found here and more general information can be found here.

heavenly father

Likely the most common term used in Mormonism when referring to God.

high priest

An office of the Mormon Melchizedek Priesthood. Typically held by older men anywhere from their 40s to 90s. Unless a man becomes a Genearl Authority, they hold this office until death.

honor code

A strict set of rules that is implemented at all Mormon run universities. It essentially requires all students to comply with Mormon standards regardless of religious affiliation. It also imposes things such as a strict curfew and no individuals of the opposite gender in dorm rooms at certain times. More information can be found here.

investigator

The term used by Mormon missionaries to refer to those they are teaching. They are called this because they are "investigating" the Church.

melchizedek priesthood

The Priesthood given to men once they turn 18, named after the biblical figure of Melchizedek. The offices include Elder, High Priest, Seventy, and Apostle. More information can be found here.

nevermo

Someone who has never been baptized into the Mormon Church.

premortal life

The Mormon doctrine that we all lived with God before coming to earth. There was a war in heaven in which we all fought against the devil and his followers. More information can be found here

priest

The third highest office of the Mormon Aaronic Priesthood. Typically held by young men ages 16 and 17. They are responsible for blessing the sacrament.

priesthood

In Mormon doctrine, the power of God given to men on earth in order to perform his will. The Priesthood also acts as authority within the church and only certain offices in the priesthood can perform certain functions. For example, you must be a Deacon to pass the sacrament, a Teacher to prepare it, and a Priest to prepare it. Joseph Smith claims to have receieved the Priesthood from John the Baptist and Peter, James, and John in spiritual visitations. However these visitations and claims are controversial for many reasons, including the fact that Joseph did not tell anyone after the visitations until five years after he claimed they happened. For more information on the controversy read here. For more information on the Mormon Priesthood in general read here.

primary

Sunday school classes for children ages 3 to 11.

sacrament

A practice performed every Sunday in Mormon congregations. Members of the priesthood break bread into peices and pour water into tiny cups. The bread and water is then passed around the congregation for all to eat and drink. The sacrament is considered a privilege and your right to partake of it can be taken away from your bishop. More information can be found here

the spirit

A common term in Mormonism used when referring to the Holy Ghost.

TBM

Acronym for "true believing Mormon" or "true blue Mormon". Used to refer to believing members of the Mormon Church.

teacher

The second lowest office of the Mormon Aaronic Priesthood. Typically held by young men ages 14 and 15. They are responsible for preparing the sacrament.

war in heaven

The Mormon doctrine that the followers of Lucifer and the followers of Jesus fought against each other in defense of each leader's respective plan of salvation. Lucifer wanted to deprive all of their agency and force them to return to God in the after life while Jesus wanted to provide everyone their agency and allow them to learn and grow by making their own decisions. Jesus' army won and Lucifer was cast out. More information can be found here and here.

ward

A local Mormon congregation typically made up of a few hundred people.