With General Conference coming up I thought it would be fun to talk about Mormon vernacular – you know, the quirky language we Mormons slip into whenever we walk through the church doors. So I’ve compiled 20 common phrases or sayings that Mormons can’t get enough of (in no particular order). Some of these may be indigenous to Utah, but some of them are surely known worldwide. Maybe you can use them for conference bingo this Sunday. Or not.
20. “I love my mom and dad” and/or “I love my family” – these are staples in the testimony of a youth or child (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
19. Read your scriptures, say your prayers, and go to church (aka the primary answers) – someone will be sure to mention these every Sunday, guaranteed.
18. “When the bishop called me last week…” – you will hear this (or something along these lines) at the beginning of a talk in Sacrament meeting 90% of the time. We love to tell the story of how the assignment came about!
17. “I know that I don’t know a lot of you, but I love each one of you so much, especially my roommates” – this is often heard in a singles ward talk or testimony.
16. “Apply this lesson to our daily lives…” – mostly said in prayers
15. “May we” or “may you” – this prayer language is used all the time and it’s often heard in the conclusions of conference talks (“may we apply this lesson to our daily lives”, “may we take what’s been said into our hearts”, etc.)
14. Okay, this one’s not really a phrase or saying, but isn’t it funny how we always use the middle initial when naming general authorities? I’m sure it originally started in an effort to distinguish all the Smiths.
13. “Without a shadow of a doubt” or “beyond a shadow of a doubt” – either way WIN!
12. “Please bless the food that it will nourish and strengthen our bodies…” – even donuts and cookies? Yes! CHOMP CHOMP!
11. “Please bless that we’ll return home in safety” – this has worked for me so far. Still alive!
10. “Even” (i.e. “…even the Son of God”; “…even Jesus Christ”) – usually in a general authority talk
9. “I’d like to bear my testimony” – who hasn’t said this?
8. “We’re grateful for the moisture we’ve received…” – you have your bases covered here: snow, sleet, rain, or hail.
7. “Tender mercies” – before April 2005 this phrase was never heard; but after Elder David A. Bednar’s conference talk in April, it spread like wildfire. Everything became a tender mercy!
6. “My great, great, great, great, grandmother was the 30th wife to Brigham Young” – dropping pioneer lineage to get street cred
5. And then there are all the curses that aren’t curses: gosh, heck, hecka, shiz (my personal fav), what the fetch, what the freak, what the eff, and what the H.
4. “I would be ungrateful if I didn’t stand today and bear my testimony” – every first Sunday you will hear this. Every. First. Sunday.
3. “With every fiber of my being” – I remember the missionary guide told us specifically not use this language (but all good if you’re a GA!).
2. Quoting someone quoting someone else. You have to listen carefully for this one in General Conference.
1. I could actually only think of 19 phrases/sayings, so this last one is for our readers to fill in! Share your favorite Mormon lingo that you think should be on this list in the comment section!
***This has been one of our more popular post so we decided to add a little fun for this conference weekend. We Mormons in general try to keep our kids busy during conference, which is nearly impossible. In most cases we have to “keep our heads down and power through, you know, and sacrifice.” (Michael Bluth, Arrested Development, Episode Staff Infection) One of the ways we keep our kids busy is of course a game of conference bingo ready to go each session. We all have played it! So with some help from this post and the brilliant mind of Jerilyn Pool, we have the first ever Rational Faiths conference bingo game! Enjoy!! For the printable PDF format click here.
I was wondering about the way “even” is used in talks (usually given by General Authorities). What does it mean exactly? So, I decided to look up the word “even” in a dictionary to see if there was a definition that fit the way it is used in our Mormon lexicon. Here is the definition that I believe fits this usage:
indeed (used as an intensive for stressing the identity or truth of something): He is willing, even eager, to do it.
I’m still laughing.
You forgot the line “is there anything we could do for you before we leave.” Famous HT line.
Ha Good one!!!
Oh man…so true!
McKeehan and I used to do what we called “the unnecessary clarifier” using even. For example, “I was having dinner with my wife, even Kelly, the other night…” or “I was asked to give a talk by our bishop, even the father of our ward…”
I have to be careful with how I say this one. I am reading a book by Elder Bednar. The first part is so painful to read because there are too many of the “even” statements. He could have used a better editor. I am not exaggerating here, one paragraph had that darn “even” in there two times. Two times!!!
The book now has gotten quite good now. I would recommend just the latter part of it however.
My dear brothers and sisters
That one is usually said very slowly with the voice dipping down in pitch towards the end. My brother has men in his ward that use that “General Authority” voice. It’s an interesting social phenomenon that occurs in our popular Mormon culture, even the mimicking of General Authorities’ tones.
I’m still practicing that voice so one day I can be a GA.
Ya! That’s a good one. It is so obligatory and insincere (usually).
Doesn’t number 14, using the middle initial, also go back to how we used to say some U.S. President’s names? It’s John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. Except we stopped using our presidents’ middle initials in the 60s (G.W. Bush is the exception but that was to distinguish him from his father.)
You might have a point, but I think it occurred when we had the second “Joseph” prophet, even Joseph F. Smith. Then we get Heber J. Grant, etc., etc.
“We are thankful for this opportunity to be gathered today…”
One of my favorites is, “Our dear, kind, and gracious Heavenly Father…” at the beginning of a prayer. Always the same three adjectives, always in the same order. You can also sometimes drop the latter adjectives and say “dear, kind” or even just “dear”.
After reading all of these… I need to adjust my speech and prayers!
“Can’t you just be reverant for one minute?” Okay. Granted, that is me every Sunday, but I know that I can be heard for miles so it counts.
Yes! Add to that the SHHHH!!!!!
Dude, when is your book review coming? One other thing, Jerilyn did bingo cards for us for this post that Paul is going to attach here in a little while. Be sure to check back!
Mormons never just “do” something. Instead, they have the “opportunity” to do something. I think the next time someone says to me “I recently had the opportunity to go….” I’m going to follow up with “well, did you take the opportunity and go, or did you just stay home?”
Ha ha… I’m sure you will get some looks.
Its sad…i know there are so many things that would fit on this list but I’m drawing a blank. All I can think about is hemlines, knees and shoulders…lol
“I’m going to pass around a sign up sheet” –
Always a sign up sheet!
Don’t forget the ever popular “sweet”. For example, “I felt the sweet spirit of all those that participated in the meeting.” Or when talking about a widow “sweet sister”.
Also we can’t forget edify. We have all been edified by this awesome blog.
My mission president used “sweet” like it was going out of style. Edify… can’t believe I missed that one!
How can we forget about the weekly elders quorum family move…next Tuesday we will be moving the “x” family at 6pm. Refreshments will be provided for all those who attend. By a show of hands, who can make it?
Or how about “that we might be able to”? It is way over used. Once is way over used.
But then you’ve got people like Frederick G. Williams, Heber C. Kimball and Parley P. Pratt, all called by 1835. We didn’t just go back at the turn of the century and rename everyone for consistency, did we?
Among Presidents, we’ve got James K. Polk (1845-1849), then a break until Ulysses S. Grant (1869-1877). Then I count 12 Presidents between Grant and Ford that feel normal using a middle initial, 6 with just a first and last name, and 2 (Taft and FDR) that used a full middle name.
I’m probably thinking too much about this.
I wonder what they called those people when they were still alive.
I’d be ungrateful if I didn’t leave a comment, so here goes (and this one amuses me with every fiber of my being). It is a temporary one (or I thought it was four years ago but it’s back) “now, I’m not going to get political, but (followed by why we all need to vote for Mitt).”
Did you see the fast for Mitt movement before the debate? Awesomeness!
And by awesomeness, I mean weird!
Come on Paul…you didnt fast? I call you to repentance now. If you choose to not repent I will dust my feet off at you.
“For those who don’t know me, my name is _____” Um, pretty sure that’s your name even for those who do know you!!
Ha ha nice Rebecca!
This is a fun post! Here are a couple more….
“The Brethren” — I wonder what The Brethren would say. Always hear that in ward council. I always mumble under my breath and when asked what I was saying I always say I was just wondering what The Sisteren would say…..
“We gather here this Sabbath day…”– opening prayer phrase. I always wonder what we are gathering, but we never seem to gather anything, except maybe the kids.
“the only true and living church.” One day my oldest yelled out in astonishment when this common phrase registered with him, “You mean the church is alive?!” then another time years later my youngest leaned over and whispered, “Mommy, do the dead people go to the other churches?”
“My eternal bride.” “My eternal companion.” A friend who wasn’t a member came one day and heard one of these — can’t remember which. She asked, “What’s that?” I explained. “Well why don’t they just say my wife?” Good question.
“Non-member” — My daughter’s boyfriend, who is Catholic, was over for dinner. During conversation I made reference to someone being a non-member. The BF spoke up, asking for clarification of the term. I explained. He cleared his throat, took a breath and bravely raised his chin, “Mrs. P., I am a Catholic. I may not be a Mormon, but with all due respect I am not a ‘non’ anything.” I wasn’t talking about him, but his point was well-made and taken. Whoever heard of a “I’m a non-member commercial?” lol
“The mission field” — which is anywhere outside Utah. When we lived in CA, where there are more Mormons than Utah, people would move in from Utah and get up to give a testimony or talk and express the faith it took to move to “the mission field.” they hoped their children would be strong, and get this, they prayed that the Lord would use them to strengthen us here in the MF. Bwa-ha-ha-ha!
We ARE a peculiar people, aren’t we?
Oooh. I like the non-member one. I never thought of that. You have called me to repentance!!
Haha forgot about this one:
“It felt like X was talking right to me!”
Usually said in testimony meetings the week after general conference
Just heard that today!!
Funeral potatoes! As a convert, I had no idea what I was supposed to do the first time I was asked to bring ‘funeral potatoes’ to a meeting. I called a “sweet sister” who, once she stopped laughing, explained it to me.
Yes! Yummy funeral potatoes. Jerilyn (she made the bingo cards) texted Paul and I during church and gave us a few more; today was Fast & Testimony meeting in Jerilyn’s and my ward. So, we have already started a new list for GC this coming April. Loa, how did you find our blog? We are always looking for guest bloggers. If you think your funeral potatoes experience is has enough material for a blog post, we would welcome it!
Would you be interested in some funny experiences regarding emergency preparation? I have collected some of the weirdest comments I’ve received as the e-prep specialist for the ward and stake.
I’m new to the blog and am intrigued. I appreciate the thoughtful commentary on some of the posts, but this post and a few others (like the worst of the pants posts) disturb me. The original post and the responses have taken on a mocking tone that moves beyond self-deprecating humor. You point out how people are not careful enough with their words, are not thoughtful enough, not sincere enough, are trite, etc. If you begin with the premise that the church is a hospital for sick people, or to use another beautiful metaphor from this board that it is a forest with room for each of the trees, strong or sapling, straight or dinosaur necked, then mocking fellow patients or cutting at fellow saplings or crooked trees is, well, unhealthy and mean. It creates an us-them motif that colors our interactions. We are thoughtful, intellectually curious, unafraid to ask hard questions, contemplative. They are incurious ostriches who are so unaware that they are becoming caricatures that they don’t even know we are laughing at them. Many of these posts have expressed a sense of isolation as misunderstood doubters, feminists, liberals, etc. If you are not careful, you will create a new division, but this one of your own making. Will you continue to be mocked by others within the Church? Yes, but where will your ad homonym reciprocity get you? I am uninterested in coming to a board which mocks my fellow sinners, each of us with hideous, obscuring beams in our eyes. May I respectfully request that you keep this forum a safe place that does not devolve into snideness or superiority?
I am requesting quite a challenge. You are bright people and we as members of the church will give you big, fat easy targets for mockery. But that is sort of the point of church. In all the metaphors of marriage in the scriptures, Christ does not find a beautiful bride ready for eternal matrimony. He does not find, but must make all of her loveliness, as C.S. Lewis observes. We are backsliding, cheating, unfaithful adulterous whores. Therein lies the beauty of the gospel. Even as mock-worthy, disdainable as we are, Christ believes he can make something eternal and glorious of our sorry lot. That thought should inspire awe at the bold prospect . . . and forgiveness along the way if we hope to receive that seemingly impossible redemption ourselves.
Your deeply flawed brother,
We gotta a former AP here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am not a Mormon, but I came across this page after googling “Mormon phrases” trying to figure out where this “as a family” phrase came from. I’ve noticed so many Mormon mommy bloggers using it… “We got hot cocoa as a family,” “We ate breakfast as a family,” “We went to the zoo as a family.” Just curious if this phrase is used to encourage family time in the denomination since I don’t really see non-Mormons using it.
Holy crap. I’ve never noticed that we say that, but you are right. I think we should write a funny blog post about that phrase.
A family member (who is a convert) always refers to the hymn “Let Us All Press On” as “the ironing board song”. And the hymn “Who’s on the Lord Side, Who?” he calls “the hoot-owl song”. I am quite certain that what is in my mind while singing those hymns is quite different from what is in the minds of others in the congregation!
One other thing. I’ve been a member for over 30 years, and there’s another expression that still drives me up the wall! On Fast & Testimony Sunday, when the Bishopric is about to turn over the time for individual testimonies, the person conducting always lets us know how much time we have left for testimony bearing with an expression like, “We will conclude our testimonies at fifty-five minutes past the hour.” Huh? Who talks like that? How about “We need to conclude testimony bearing by 9:55.” Or “five minutes before ten” – at least that’s how I learned to tell time back in grade school. “Fifty-five minutes past the hour”? Are you kidding? It just takes too much mental energy to figure that out!
I have always found the language spoken by members of the LDS Church (me included) to be “peculiar.” Most of the people I have worked with as they have learned about , and/ or joined the church have remarked on the new language that sometimes need some explanation, and often don’t make sense even after that.
While I often find it humorous, I think most people use some of these phrases without any thought of what it will sound like to the uninitiated ear. I have no problem with that.
Listening to a Miamaid, a Deacon, or even an adult share their testimony, and describing being affected by using phrases like “every fiber of my being” or “from the depth of my heart” is okay; many of us struggle to find phrases that describe the depth of our feelings. Standard English speaks only to what the masses feel or experience, and if you feel you have experienced something deeper than that, how would you describe it?
I remember one of my daughters privately sharing her testimony with me, and it was rife with phrases that are almost cliche, yet the Spirit touched my heart, and I could feel (to the core of my being 😉 her sincerity, and the deep impact of some of her experiences on her faith.
We speak a different language, and as many newer members will attest, it is a huge change in lifestyle for many. Few of the wonderful people I have worked with were “ready-made” Mormons; most had major changes that had to be made in their lives, and many needed help in acclimating to the lifestyle, and to the lingo.
“My wife” vs “My eternal companion”; when you value something or someone, and you want to differentiate the level of love and respect you have for them, why wouldn’t you refer to them with a poignant honorific?
“Our dear, kind, gracious Heavenly Father” is something that some members of my family say, but who am I to judge between vain repetition and so heartfelt that is is like a spiritual mantra? Judge not…
Interesting blog. Interesting thoughts and repartee. Thank you.
In Sacrament meeting at the end of prays, “We say this in the name of Thy son …” — I’m pretty sure Jesus isn’t the son of anyone in the congregation.”
“We lay our hands upon your head …” (Person receiving the blessing, setting-apart, or ordination) “Oh! I had no idea you had your hands on my head until you said that!”
“We take this infant into our arms …” (If the baby could understand and talk back) I think there are are hands holding me and not arms. Oh! I was doing just fine until y’all started bobbing me up and down. (Baby Wailing) Is bobbing babies up and down a required part of baby blessings? If so, where’s it written?
“We come before Thee, Lord …” Uh … aren’t we always before Him? After all, “The Lord knows each and every one of us personally. He is aware of your …”
“Bless the hands that prepared the food (we are about to eat).” I suppose only the hands of the person(s) making the food are worth blessing. Forget about the rest of the person’s health or needs.
“… my patri – article blessing.” I guess your blessing a from a “fatherly article” or there is some tree that bears “pay” fruit. BTW, is your article published online or in a magazine? Perhaps some of you may remember the character (Steve) Urkel. Wouldn’t something that belongs to him be an Ur-ticle?
How about …”I’m grateful for the ‘opportunity’…… “