Sunday, September 5, 2010

Stupid Mormon Words

The church loves to wax poetic with increasingly meaningless and even archaic words and phrases. This is stupid and unnecessary--not to mention causes great annoyance and offers reason to roll eyes and shut the rest of the talks out of your head.

It does a good job of homogenizing the members, and I totally get that every group has its own little vernacular. Still--really?

When you speak, especially when you "bear your testimony" (ugh), words such as the following are often used and IN SUCCESSION. They take away the sincerity of what you are saying.

To quote my English teachers: Use your own words. Please.

Also: List will be added to, so check back often.

Adversary: I swear it's like the people in Harry Potter who were too scared to say "Voldemort."

Say "Satan."

(not three times, tho, because then he'll pop through your mirror and eat you alive.)

Just sayin'

Adversity (see also "trials" "tribulation"):
Shit happens. Just say it.

Bosom: Are you serious? I'm not entirely certain what a "bosom" is. And lots of things give me a burning inside my "bosom"--gorgeous, nekkid men for instance. That must mean they're true.

Brethren: I believe this is synonymous with "pious old guys with power issues"

Calling: This word implies something of great importance, such as being called to a lifetime of service and chastity (such as the nuns), not of being the new ward "usher" until the bishop or whoever else decides you're needed elsewhere. You know? (Thanks, MC). Let's just say "responsibility" or "(not so) fun thing I'm doing because I want/have to help"

Every Fiber of my Being (see also: "And please bless that those who could not be here today that they may be able to come next week"): Self-explanatory.

Fervent: Can't y'all just say "I prayed super hard"?

Fornication: A friend of mine taught me that this is incorrect. The correct spelling and pronouncement is FUNication, which obvs changes the entire meaning.

Goodly Parents: What about those kids born of "badly parents"?

Happiness: I know this isn't exclusive to LDSisms, but really. They use this word but I do not think it means what they think it means.

Inappropriate: If you laugh when your best friend's mother dies, you may be acting inappropriate. A teacher in a micro-mini with a top on the verge of a "wardrobe malfunction" is inappropriate. A married man or woman engaging in heavy flirting or having an affair: inappropriate (not to mention disrespectful and immoral, I would add). Blatant sexual harassment on the street or in the workplace: inappropriate.

Some things are inappropriate. Not everything.

General profanity among friends is not. Skanky dress on a night out is not.

And if you find something like that "inappropriate," please don't use the word. At least not as freely as you do. It takes away its power. And it's annoying.

Modest: This word sets us girls back about fifty years (at least). Shorts are not immodest. Neither are tank tops. Cute little dresses are cute, not immodest. Multiple earrings are not going to make an investigator think "well, shit. she has two earrings in one fucking ear. I dunno about this religion."

Then again, nothing turns me on more than a nekkid knee.

Don't even get me started on nekkid shoulders. /pant


Obedience (and its many forms: obey, obedient, et. al.): I'll obey, sure, but only if you give me a doggie treat after.

Ponder: You're not Henry Fucking Thoreau. "Think," "study," "consider," "mull over" and "think really hard" work just as well here.

Preside: Don't you mean "Be in charge of"?

I know, I know. "no, it can also mean 'be responsible for,'" but I'm a grown woman. I don't need my husband to be responsible for me.

Righteous: Only acceptable for use if you're a Ninja Turtle, hail from the '80s and your vocabulary also includes words such as "gnarly" "tubular" and "rad(ical)"

SSA (Same-Sex Attracted): Very PC, General Authorities, Very PC. I know how polarizing (and not to mention *shudder* normalizing) the terms "gay" "bisexual" and "lesbian" can be, so bravo.

Strive(-ing): Doncha mean "trying hard"?

Sweet: My family is not "sweet." Neither is the "Spirit." Dessert, however, is. So is my tooth.

Temporal: TEMP-OR-ARY. Please!

Tender: This word should only be reserved for meat or bruises. Not for use as an adjective for "mercies." Isn't that a little redundant?

I mean, I've never heard of a "bitch of a mercy."

Although, that does sound cool.

True, as in "I know the Church is True": What does that even mean?

(Un)Worthy: Face it, this is a nicer way to say "good/not good enough." Why parse words?

And, to end:

Virtue: So ladylike!

Want more? See also Nails on a Chalkboard: Phrases

Anything you'd like to add?


  1. I hate the word "sweet" so much because of my LDS stepfather. "Sweet spirits", "sweet sisters", "sweet presence of the Spirit", yadda fucking YA. It's like that's the best thing he can say about you: sweet. That was the only compliment he ever gave me in high school, and, well, if I'm a brassy bitch now, I wasn't exactly doll-like then either. Bleh.

  2. @Diana: not to mention condescending, yeah?

  3. I always hated "stewardship." I guess because I never had any. "Sister Banta, that's not your stewardship!"

  4. @Lisa: oh to be sure. His highest praise for women was reserved for ladies in the ward he deemed "sweet"--meaning compliant, quiet, motherly. Certainly not loud, argumentative, or intellectually inclined. The archetypal estimable Mormon lady!

  5. I *hate* the phrase "tender mercies." I can't remember which idiot first used it in general conference, but pretty soon they were all using it. Just what we needed, a fancy and long way to say "blessings."

  6. goldarn: I KNOW.

    I just edited the post, actually, because upon thought I realized "tender mercies" is a bit redundant.

    I mean, ever heard of a "bitch of a mercy"?

    That's a cooler phrase, though. Hmmm

  7. Love, love, love, love, LOVE this post. I am so facebooking it.

    Excellent job, Lisa.

    "Moisture" drives me batty. Especially when they pray for it in Philly. Folks, the weather outside is 80% humidity with a chance of sunshine today. the last two Sundays, church was canceled because of urban road flooding. Can we PLEASE skip out on thanking God for the moisture this week? Its not "moisture", its a fucking monsoon out there. I am building my Ark and you are thanking God for it.

    I always, always hated "True" as well. I could never get what they were trying to get at. True, how? This isn't a true/false question... How can a church be true? Huh?

    Other crazy words that normal people don't use (and I am not even counting made-up Utah words here like fetch):

    Quorum: You can't use this word unless you are a biologist or work in Congress. And even then its questionable.

    Refreshments: People, its called "junk food," not "refreshments'. A cool glass of water on a hot day is refreshing. Brownies may be tasty, but they aren't refreshing.

    Sustaining: "Support" or "promise to help out" work here.

    Magnifying: "doing your best"

    There are some words Mormons use that bug me because they have concrete meanings in other religions. When we use them, we confuse our non-Mormon friends. These include:

    Calling: Call it a "volunteer job". Other Christians get really confused when you say your "calling" is to be the ward librarian. Trust me, they are expecting something more along the lines of, "My calling is to join the Peace Corps" or "My calling is to save the urangatangs". Not "my calling is to hand out flyers at the beginning of church each week".

    Seminary: A "seminary' has a reeeeeeally different connotation outside the church.

    Revelation: Non-Mormon Christians take this to immediately mean "personal revelation". When we say, "Other religions don't believe in continuing revelation," they think we're loony. Of course they get answers to their prayers!

    Bishop: Call someone a bishop, and they will assume you dress in red robes and wear a pointy hat.

    Garments: A "garment" is a somewhat quaint and out-dated word for a general piece of clothing. I understand we mean "Garments" with a capital G, but others do not. Does anyone know where calling the special underwear "Garments" got started? Its just a random term.

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  9. Sorry, double post. I really should be working, but this one was way too good to pass up.

  10. lol, oh god, MC you had me dying.


    and your "refreshment" remark brought to mind this:

    "And please bless that the food will be nourishing to our bodies."

    Uhm, yeah. Sure.

    Perhaps "Will not give us cavities" or "please bless us to remember to brush extra well tonight."

    And I'm TOTALLY with you on the calling bit. Totally.

    Thank you so much.

  11. Um, this post is brilliant. I'm jealous that I didn't write it.

    I hate the word "virtue" used as a synonym for "virginity." Ugh.

    "Tender mercies" is by far my least favorite, however. Why the need to specify that these mercies are tender? Because some mercies are tough and gristly? As one of my roommates used to say, "Oh, MERCY!"

  12. "It does a good job of homogenizing the members, and I totally get that every group has its own little vernacular. Still--really?"

    One of the things I hated when I was in the church was that it wasn't just language, it was EVERYTHING. Like going to Hawaii and telling the men if they didn't wear suits and shoes, they couldn't serve sacrament. WTF, people, suits are not "appropriate" attire for some climates. Why can't they just leave other cultures alone, let them dress as they choose. Because I guarantee you, the short hair, clean shaven and wearing a suit look was NOT embraced by the Savior. mKay?

  13. how about redefining "gender equality" to mean that men get to hold the priesthood while women get to hold their men? Do LDS believe in gender equality? Absolutely!

  14. Good list, Lisa! I was so happy when I discovered you were back at blogging. I named "Tender Mercies" as the most annoying phrase of 2009 on my blog. That's what I get for not only going to church every week, but regularly frequenting a popular Mormon blog. My new most annoying phrase, well word really, is "Offended".

  15. @Eliza: I'm flattered, really. Just discovered your blog and that's all I can say. Flattered you would say that :D

    @Cindy: No worries. "Offended" is going on another list ;) (and thanks!)

    As may the LDS version of "gender equality"


  16. I always hated the word "moisture" SO much, because it just sounds icky - kind of like the word "discharge."

  17. This is hilarious. Without a shadow of a doubt.

  18. Haha. I had missed this one. Love it.

  19. I know this is true with every fiber of my being....

  20. Wow, you are really educating me here in my post-Mo confused state, thanks :D

    I don't know if this is all that relevant here but it used to really annoy me when members (haha, that's a good one all on it's own, we can call them all 'members'!) would say 'fetch' or 'friggin' or some other derivative. It still sounds like the real thing, you may as well say it! The alternatives don't make the speaker sound bad-ass, they make them sound try-hard.

  21. I know this is an older one, but fuck yeah. :)