To help the mainstream media better understand Mitt Romney’s religion, I thought I’d provide definitions for common Mormon terms. (And if you’re offended, remember what Elder Bednar said, ” It ultimately is impossible for another person to offend you or to offend me. Indeed, believing that another person offended us is fundamentally false. To be offended is a choice we make; it is not a condition inflicted or imposed upon us by someone or something else.”)
Aaronic Priesthood: The power and authority for young boys to pass out bread and water, collect money for the church, and sit together telling fart jokes in sacrament meeting.
Abinadi: Stock martyr character in the Book of Mormon who was burned at the stake. For some reason, this name has not caught on among Mormons.
Abominable Church: See Church of the Devil. Any organization that fights against the true church, specifically the Catholic Church, the Democratic Party, and Oprah’s Book Club.
Abortion: A grievous sin that is “like unto” murder, except in cases of incest, rape, or when the mother’s life is in danger.
Abraham: Ancient prophet who made great covenants with God and would have killed his son if an angel hadn’t made a timely intervention. Revealed such mysteries of God as the origin of black people, advanced astronomy, and how to turn Egyptian hieroglyphs into Kolob and enish-go-on-doshling.
Accountability, Age of: The age (8) at which a child is now ready to make informed decisions and promises about how they will live their lives.
Activity: The level of participation and commitment among church members. Generally speaking, attending meetings makes one “active,” though this is optional as long as one is paying tithing. Those who cease activity generally do so because they were offended or desired to sin.
Adam: First man on earth and star of the endowment ceremony. Also the God of this world, the Father of Jehovah, and the only God with which we have anything to do.
Adam-God: The teaching (by Brigham Young and in the Lecture at the Veil in the temple) that Adam is our God. Acceptance of this teaching means one is in a state of abominable apostasy and is subject to excommunication.
Adam-Ondi-Ahman: Empty field in Missouri where Adam will return to bless his children.
Adamic Language: The pure, undefiled language that Adam spoke. Very few remnants have survived. Among them is “pay lay ale,” which is apparently so sacred that it was removed from the temple endowment.
Adultery: Having sexual relations with someone who is not your wife. (Note: does not apply if your name is Joseph Smith.)
Agency: Freedom to choose good or evil, such as wearing sleeveless dresses or having two earrings in one ear.
Ahman: The Adamic word for “God.” Combined with the Adamic word “Son” in “Son Ahman” to signify the Son of God.
Alcohol: A pernicious substance invented to enslave humanity and which God prohibits. (Note: does not apply if your name is Joseph Smith.)
Alma the Younger: Book of Mormon knockoff of Paul, only more successful.
Alms: Money given to the LDS church to care for the poor. Should not be confused with volunteering at homeless shelters or giving food or money to beggars.
Amen: A word expressing gratitude that the talk is over.
Ammon: Nephite who ministered to the Lamanites, which was a disarming experience.
Angels: Messengers from God. Can be distinguished from demons by asking them to shake hands or tell you who won the 1943 World Series.
Antichrist: Anyone who opposes Christ or passes a healthcare bill including an individual mandate.
Apostasy: When other churches change their beliefs or practices. See Continuing Revelation for the Lord’s pattern of change.
Apostate: A knowledgeable church member who does not keep his or her views a secret.
Apostle: In ancient times, a witness of Christ; in modern times, a bureaucrat who dissembles in BBC interviews.
April 6: The date the church was organized in 1830. Also the true birthday of Christ, as reaffirmed by modern prophets, including Harold B. Lee and Spencer W. Kimball.
Archaeology: A field of study involving studying ancient cultures based on their material remains. Extremely useful in placing Biblical accounts in context. Not applicable to the Book of Mormon.
Ark: The sailing vessel Noah built to preserve all animals from the Great Flood; according to apologists, this is not to be taken literally.
Armageddon: The final battle when the faithful will battle the forces of darkness arrayed against them: the United Nations, Planned Parenthood, and the Girl Scouts.
Articles of Faith: Thirteen points of LDS belief that are so important that all children must memorize them before age 12 and forget most of them by age 13. These also appear on missionary cards sold in the BYU Bookstore.
Ask, Asking: The act of praying for confirmation of what you already believe.
Astronomy: The study of the true relationships of the planets and stars, including Kolob, Shinehah, and Kokaubeam.
Atonement: Jesus’ suffering for all sins, except for apostasy and any other sins that require the blood of the sinner to be shed. (Note: Jesus’ suffering is not valid atonement until we have suffered excruciating and lasting pain; see also The Miracle of Forgiveness.)
Authority: Power given to young boys, missionaries, church leaders, and high-level bureaucrats to act in the name of God. Not available to women, non-Mormons, and apostates.
Auxiliary Organizations: Organizations such as the Primary and Relief Society that exercise considerable authority as long as they answer to the priesthood.