Concise Dictionary of Mormonism: H

Handcart Companies: A disastrous attempt by the church to save money getting immigrants to Salt Lake City in the 1850s, costing the  lives of 250 church members. Miraculously changed into a faith-promoting event that is commemorated by youth “Pioneer Trek Re-enactments.”

Hands, Laying on of: Performing priesthood ordinances by placing the hands on someone’s head. Also, what happened when Joseph Smith locked the office door.

Happiness: See Obedience.

Harris, Martin: A sober, upstanding citizen whose testimony is powerful evidence of the existence of the golden plates. Also known for having a conversation with Jesus, who appeared in the form of a deer.

Hate: Saying and doing hurtful things toward a person or group, such as when Lawrence O’Donnell talks about Mormonism. Does not apply when Mormons talk about gays.

Healing: A gift of the spirit provided to priesthood leaders to make the sick and injured whole. When the person is healed, it is because of the person’s faith; if the person is not healed, it is either a lack of faith or that it wasn’t God’s will that they be healed. Does not apply to amputees.

Heaven: Any of the three kingdoms of God. Can also refer to Sundays when all meetings have been canceled.

Heavenly Father: Another name for God the Father, who is the Father of our Spirits and who directed the creation of the universe.

Heavenly Mother(s): The exalted wife/wives of Heavenly Father and His partner(s) in creation and procreation. She/They are to be revered for Her/Their perfection and glory, but don’t make too much mention of Her/Them, or you might be excommunicated.

Hebrew: Any of a group descended from an ancient Semitic people, including Jews and Native Americans.

Hell: The state of being cut off from the presence of God. Not a place of literal fire and brimstone, though some have suggested that it consists of an eternal sacrament meeting with music by Janice Kapp Perry.

Helpmeet: A misunderstanding of “help meet” which means an appropriate partner in marriage; in other words, the woman must be subservient to her husband.

High Council: A group of high priests who periodically visit wards and branches to make sure there are appropriate levels of boredom.

High Priest: Where elders go to die.

Historian, Church: Person charged with maintaining the official version of church history. Joseph Fielding Smith was the prototypical historian, insisting that anything that was not faith-promoting be suppressed and/or destroyed. During the 1970s, the church flirted with real history, hiring Leonard Arrington. After he published The Story of the Latter-day Saints, which wasn’t sanitized enough for some of the Brethren, he was exiled to BYU, and the historian’s office was thereafter occupied by general authorities.

Historical Sites: Sacred sites preserved by the church and staffed by missionaries, who teach the approved version of the history. In no way related to the shrines and pilgrimages of apostate religions.

History: Episodes from the past that promote a positive and faithful view of the church.

History of the Church: A seven-volume work containing the faith-promoting history as seen by nineteenth-century church historians. Not to be taken literally, except in those places where it makes Joseph Smith look good.

Holy Ghost: Either the influence of God the Father’s spirit-body (1835) or a personage of spirit separate from God the Father (1843).

Home Teaching: The assignment for priesthood holders to visit assigned families once a month to provide a spiritual lesson and inquire about the families’ welfare. So important an assignment that most priesthood holders don’t do it.

Homosexuality: A delusion people have about who they are, caused by Satan.

Honesty: Presenting milk before meat and making sure you don’t answer the questions asked but the questions that should have been asked.

Horse: 1) A tapir or some other nocturnal, water-dwelling, soft-footed creature that could conceivably have been large enough to pull chariots, or 2) miniature ceremonial animal effigies carried on the king’s wheel-less sledge (see Chariot). Not an anachronism in the Book of Mormon.

Hosanna Shout; A part of the temple dedication when an elderly apostle stands in front of the congregation and leads them in a quiet, mumbled, and dignified “shout” of Hosanna.

Hospitals: From early in church history, members and leaders recognized the importance of meeting the physical needs of members, as well as spiritual needs. In this spirit, fifteen hospitals were built and operated by the church.  In 1974, the church decided it could better provide for its members by divesting itself of the hospitals.

Humility: Recognizing your limitations and faults. Should not be used in apologetics.

Humanitarian Aid: Material and financial aid to the poor and needy given by the church. This is such a crucial mission that, according to British LDS records, almost 2% of the church’s income goes to humanitarian aid.

Husband: Leader of the home, as permitted by the wife.

Hyde, Orson: Apostle who dedicated the land of Palestine for the gathering of Israel while Joseph Smith was having sex with Orson’s wife back in Nauvoo.

Hymns: Music sung in church to invite the proper spirit and to wake people up (this is called the “rest hymn”).


7 Responses to Concise Dictionary of Mormonism: H

  1. pollypinks says:

    We always called high counsel day “dry counsel.” Mormons are close to being exclusive when it comes to topics people choose to talk about during sacrament meeting. I’ve listened to anything from a woman’s orthodontics to a man’s inability to sing hymns properly.

  2. melvinwalker says:

    I worked with a guy who was a bishop who used to tell me the surest cure for insomnia were the words, “I bring you greetings from the Stake Presidency.”

  3. GBSmith says:

    Arrington did “The Mormon Experience” and Allen and Leonard did “The Story of the Latter-Day Saints”. The Story of the Latter-Day Saints was getting ready or in the midst of either a second edition or an added printing of the first edition when someone told Elder Benson that it contained the word “communitarian”. To close for comfort so Elder Benson called Deseret Book and the run was cancelled. It was another 10-15 years before it was re published.

    • runtu says:

      You are correct, GBSmith. I will correct this. The connection to Arrington is that the coauthor of “Story” was James Allen, who worked in the Historian’s office under Arrington.

      • GBSmith says:

        The two books were actually published in conjunction with each other. Arrington’s was published by Knopf and it’s audience were non LDS and the other by Deseret book for members. It’s interesting that Arrington had the last laugh by assuring that all of his research and papers went to USU after his death.

  4. […] B C D E F G H I J K L M (part 1) M (part 2) N […]

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