Concise Dictionary of Mormonism: L

LDS: A highly addictive and very expensive drug that causes users to believe that happiness is found in obedience to someone else.

LDS Family Services: A department of the LDS church that provides counseling services to church members, along with other services such as adoption. For a fee, LDS counselors visit with church members to counsel them and provide discussions of BYU sports and gossip.

LDS Foundation: A department of the LDS church that calls church members asking them to will their money and property to the church when they die. Surviving family members will be comforted by the knowledge that their loved one has consecrated all that he or she had to build the kingdom of God.

LDS Student Association: An umbrella organization that sponsors activities for college-age church members, as well as a fraternity and sorority (these terms are used loosely).

Lamanites: Descendants of Lehi and Ishmael, two Israelite men who came with their families across the ocean to the Americas. The text of the Book of Mormon initially names as Lamanites the descendants of Laman and Lemuel, two sons of Lehi whose posterity was cursed “with a skin of blackness.” At various times, the term Lamanite refers to the wicked and unbelieving descendants of Lehi. Joseph Smith reported being told by an angel that “the Indians were the literal descendants of Abraham.” In 2006, the Correlation committee corrected the angel’s false information by stating that Lamanites were “among” the ancestors of Native Americans.

Last Days: The days leading up to 1891, when Joseph Smith said the Savior would return and “wind up the scene.”

Law: Rules and guidelines enforced in society to govern behavior. For church members, God’s law is higher than human law, but we assured that “he that keepeth the laws of God hath no need to break the laws of the land” (D&C 58:21). (Note: Does not apply to plural marriage, banking, or destroying a printing press).

Law of Adoption: All humans must belong to the House of Israel spiritually before they can dwell in God’s presence. Literal descendants of Israel, such as Jews and pure Ephraimite Joseph Smith, belong to the House genealogically but must become spiritually Israel. Gentiles who convert to the LDS church are adopted into the House of Israel.

Law of Chastity: Church members vow in the temple to keep the Law of Chastity, which is that husbands and wives are not to have “sexual relations” (previous to 1990, it was “sexual intercourse”) “except with [their spouse] to whom [they] are legally and lawfully wedded.” (Note: Does not apply to Joseph Smith.) Sexual relations include necking, petting, heavy petting, and intercourse. For gay church members, sexual relations also include holding hands, hugging, kissing, or having a friend of the same gender.

Law of Consecration: In the temple, church members covenant to obey the Law of Consecration, “that you do consecrate yourselves, your time, talents, and everything with which the Lord has blessed you, or with which he may bless you, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for the building up of the kingdom of God on the earth and for the establishment of Zion.” Although many Mormons believe the Law of Consecration has not been in force since the abandonment of the United Order, bishops, Primary teachers, and chapel cleaners know that it has.

Law of the Gospel: Church members covenant in the temple to observe and keep the Law of the Gospel, which is never explained but is contained in the Book of Mormon and the Bible. Along with this law, a “charge” is given “to avoid all lightmindedness, loud laughter, evil speaking of the Lord’s anointed, the taking of the name of God in vain, and every other unholy and impure practice.” Essentially, this law covers anything and everything not included in the other laws and covenants; this helps keep church members on their toes.

Law of Moses: The lesser law given to Moses at Mount Sinai, including the ten commandments and specific rules and ordinances, such as blood sacrifice. This was a temporal law suited to a people who were not ready to live the higher law, which would be brought by Jesus Christ. The New Testament informs us that Jesus’ coming and sacrifice fulfilled the Law of Moses; since that time, the Law of Moses has been abrogated and does not apply to Christian life, except when it condemns gays.

Law of Obedience: In the temple, church members covenant to obey God’s law. Before 1990, if you were female you covenanted that “you will each observe and keep the law of your husband and abide by his counsel in righteousness.” The change has led to no appreciable difference in the submission of men to their wives’ counsel.

Law of Sacrifice: In the temple, church members covenant to “acrifice all that we possess, even our own lives if necessary, in sustaining and defending the kingdom of God.” From the days of Adam servants of God sacrificed the firstfruits of the field and the firstlings of the flock, until the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, “which ended sacrifice by the shedding of blood.” (Note: The practice has been ended until it is practiced again before the Second Coming of Jesus.)

Lawsuits: Legal attempts to obtain justice in non-criminal matters. Lawsuits were a great blessing in early church life, as avoiding litigation compelled Joseph Smith to seek and obtain newer and more suitable gathering places for the Saints.

Leadership Training: All church members are well trained to perform their callings, usually by receiving a manual and attending a few meetings a year. Priesthood leadership training meetings are often broadcast from Salt Lake, where general authorities give inspired counsel. There is no truth to the rumor that these broadcasts are intended to be punishment for slothful servants.

Lectures on Faith: A series of seven lectures on the doctrine and theology of the LDS church originally given in the School of the Prophets in Kirtland, Ohio. The lectures were included in the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants as being representative of “our belief, and … the faith and principles of this society as a body” and accepted as canon by unanimous vote of a general assembly of the church in August, 1835. Accordingly, the lectures were deleted from the canon in 1921 because “they were never presented to nor accepted by the Church as being otherwise than theological lectures or lessons” and definitely not because the lectures conflicted with current doctrines.

Lee, Harold B: Eleventh president of the church, Lee is notable for setting up the church’s welfare program and for blocking an attempt to rescind the church’s “Negro” doctrines and policies in 1969. As Delbert Stapley noted, such an attempt to contravene the will of the Lord would have resulted in Lee’s premature demise; Lee served a term just short of eighteen months and died at age 74.

Lehi: An Israelite man who brought his family to the Americas some 600 years before Christ. Although Lehi inexplicably doesn’t mention them, there were at the time millions of Native Americans inhabiting the land, and Lehi and his family were quickly assimilated such that no trace of them remains.

Lehi, Book of: A record of Lehi, abridged by the prophet Mormon and translated by Joseph Smith using seer stones. Unfortunately, the wicked scribe and honest Book of Mormon witness Martin Harris allowed his even more wicked wife to see the manuscript, which disappeared. Miraculously, God had been prepared for this event, and when Joseph Smith was unable to retranslate the book, he was given a different version written by Nephi, thus thwarting the efforts of evil and conspiring men to alter the manuscript.

Levitical Priesthood: The priesthood held by Levites not descended from Aaron, making the Levitical priesthood the “lesser part of the Aaronic Priesthood.” Since no priesthood holders are known to be descendants of Aaron, this is a meaningless distinction, but nevertheless one important for the restoration of all things.

Liahona: A compass, or director given to Lehi to guide him in his journeys through the wilderness and to the promised land. Described as a brass ball with two spindles, the Liahona pointed the way the family should go and also provided written messages, such as “Lehi U there? Nephi S tied ^ agn, bt dats OK coz he lyks it. totL perv.” Plastic liahonas are available at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City; for the more discriminating prophet, metal liahonas with working compasses are avaiable for much more.

Liberty Jail: For five months in late 1838 and early 1839, Joseph Smith and some of his colleagues were imprisoned in a miserable jail cellar on charges of treason stemming from the Mormon attack on a unit of the Missouri state militia in what became known as the Battle of Crooked River. In a long letter to the Saints in March 1839, Smith discussed the injustice of his imprisonment and his expectation that he would be exonerated. Portions of this letter were later canonized as revelations (D&C 121, 122, and 123). Today, a partially reconstructed Liberty Jail stands as one of Mormonism holiest of sacred spaces.

Libraries and Archives: The church has long followed the revealed instruction to keep records (D&C 21:1) of God’s dealings with His church in the latter days. The main repository of these records is the Church Historical Library in Salt Lake City. In the spirit of openness and accountability, church archives have long been open to the public, except for information that might be embarrassing to the church or that might contain truths that are not very useful. Rumors that the First Presidency maintains a private vault are just that: rumors.

Lifestyle: A choice involving how you approach life. Church members are free to choose an acceptable lifestyle, preferably one that looks like a Leave It To Beaver episode. It is important to remember that heterosexual desire is, like gender, ordained of God and provided naturally to all humans. Homosexual attraction is a lifestyle choice for those who choose the easy way out and invite ostracism, scorn, and bullying.

Light and Darkness: All light comes from God, and darkness comes from the devil. Light from our sun is borrowed ” from Kolob through the medium of Kae-e-vanrash, which is the grand Key, or, in other words, the governing power, which governs fifteen other fixed planets or stars, as also Floeese or the Moon, the Earth and the Sun in their annual revolutions.” Sadly, modern science has not advanced as far as this revealed truth. Mentions of white and dark skin in the scriptures are purely metaphorical, as prophets such as Brigham Young and Spencer Kimball have taught since the early days of the church.

Light of Christ: The conscience, or knowledge of right and wrong, given to all humans. According to some Mormon apologists and prophets, the great test of this life is to overcome the Light of Christ and obey one’s church leaders, even if they tell you to do something that is wrong.

Light-Mindedness: Trivializing the sacred, such as telling Jesus jokes or waving off a question about man’s potential godhood with “I don’t know that we teach it.” This concise dictionary is an excellent example of light-mindedness.

Literature: Members of the church have a rich tradition of artistic and literary achievement, from the homespun poetry of Eliza Snow and Orson Whitney to the usefully true novels of Gerald Lund and the inspired musicals My Turn on Earth and Saturday’s Warrior. President Boyd K. Packer has called for a renaissance in LDS literature, which seems to have been answered in the teen-vampire novels of Stephenie Meyer and the homophobic rantings of Orson Scott Card.

Lord: A confusing term in the scriptures that may refer to God the Father or to Jesus Christ. Thankfully, Joseph Smith has clarified that “less ambiguous term[s]” are Ahman for God the Father and Son Ahman for Jesus Christ. Use of these terms should eliminate any confusion, though they may provoke bemused chuckling among non-Mormons.

Lord’s Prayer: A prayer given by Jesus as an example of how to pray; apostate Christianity has unfortunately turned the prayer into a vain repetition of the kind that Jesus condemned. True Christianity does not involve rote prayers or ordinances, except for the sacrament, baptism, blessings, ordinations, or temple ceremonies.

Lost Scripture: Prophetic and inspired writing that has been lost but, if discovered, would completely support LDS beliefs and practices.

Lottery: A state-sponsored exercise inspired of God. When jackpots are high enough, large numbers of Utah Latter-day Saints drop what they are doing and congregate in long lines in Southern Idaho and Northwestern Arizona as a practice run for their eventual exodus to Jackson County, Missouri.

Love: The foundation of true religion. Jesus taught that we are to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Love is kind and long-suffering, humble, “seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things” (Moro. 7:45; cf. 1 Cor. 13:4-7). Above all, true love is conditional. For example, God’s love is conditional on our doing what we are told. The belief that God’s love is infinite and unconditional is a “false ideology … used by anti-Christs to woo people with deception” (see Russell Nelson, Ensign, February 2003).

Love Bombing: An outburst of friendly visits from ward members who hardly know you, random deliveries of baked goods or crafts, and letters, emails, and visits from church leaders. Love bombing usually begins when someone hasn’t been to church in a few weeks and ends the second they show up in sacrament meeting.

Lucifer: A name meaning “light-bearer” that by the third century AD was given to Satan because of a mistranslation of a passage in Isaiah. This mistranslation appears to have been inspired of God, as modern revelation indicates that Satan was known as Lucifer as far back as the Garden of Eden.

Lying for the Lord: Also known as “theocratic ethics,” this doctrine taught by Joseph Smith explains that prophets and apostles are not bound by earthly laws or ethics but by a higher law. Among the ethical behaviors that were not to be respected was honesty, exemplified by Joseph Smith denying his plural marriages both publicly and to his wife, Emma. Recent prophets and apostles have been diligent in following this commandment, such as when Gordon Hinckley and Hugh Pinnock denied knowing Mark Hofmann, or when Dallin Oaks denied Boyd Packer’s involvement in the excommunication of Paul Toscano.

Lyman, Amy Brown: Founder of what later became LDS Family Services. Served as Relief Society General President from 1940 until 1945, when she asked to be released because of her marriage problems.

Lyman, Richard: Ordained an apostle in 1918. In 1903. after the birth of their second child in 1903, Lyman’s wife, Amy, “informed Richard that their relationship from that point on would be celibate, living in amiable harmony.” During the 1920s, he was tasked with helping Anna Jacobsen, who had been excommunicated for unauthorized polygamy, to return to the church. A strong bond grew between the two, and Lyman suggested that, when one of them died, the survivor should be sealed to the other in a postmortal polygamous union. On November 11, 1943, apostles Harold Lee and Joseph Fielding Smith accompanied Salt Lake City police officers to Jacobsen’s apartment. Breaking down the door, they discovered Lyman in bed with Jacobsen. Lyman is the last apostle to be excommunicated to this date.

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3 Responses to Concise Dictionary of Mormonism: L

  1. L is the best one yet. The very first line is priceless:

    “LDS: A highly addictive and very expensive drug that causes users to believe that happiness is found in obedience to someone else.”

    I think the Law of Adoption, however, originally referred to the practice of sealing adult men to other adult men so that lesser priesthood holders could attach themselves as sons to higher well-placed priesthood holders and therefore get a better place in heaven. Lee, the scapegoat in the Mountain Meadows massacre, had been sealed to Brigham Young, for example.

    This is a very clever series

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

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