Glossary of Terms

Mormon terms that may be unfamiliar to the average person
Term Defintion
Aaronic PriesthoodThe Priesthood given to young men once they turn 12, named after the biblical figure of Aaron. The offices include Deacon, Teacher, Priest, and Bishop. More information can be found here.
age of accountabilityThe age when a person becomes accountable for their actions. Mormon scripture dictates this to be the age of eight and that children should be baptized at this age. It is believed that a person cannot sin until then and that if they die before turning eight years old, they go directly to heaven. More information can be found here
bishopThe leader of a local Mormon congregation, or ward.
bishopricA bishop calls two other men to be what are called his counselors. They assist him in his duties as a bishop.
Brigham Young UniversityA Mormon owned and administered university located in Provo, Utah. More information can be found here.
companionThe missionary with which you are assigned to proselyte with during your mission. Missionaries are to stay with their companion at all times. Companionships can change frequently.
DeaconThe lowest office of the Mormon Aaronic Priesthood. Typically held by young men ages 12 and 13. They are responsible for passing the sacrament.
EFYAn acronym that stands for “Especially for Youth”. It is a Church-sponsored summer camp that happens on college campuses around the world where youth ages 14 - 16 get together and attend doctrinal seminars, dances, and other activities. I have sometimes heard it jokingly referred to as “buy your kid a testimony week” because the concentration on the gospel and feeling the Spirit is so strong. More information can be found here.
ElderThe lowest office of the Mormon Melchizedek Priesthood. Typically held by men ages 18 to their middle ages. Elder is also used to refer to all male Mormon missionaries.
exmoSomeone who has disassociated themselves with the Mormon Church.
General AuthorityThe corporate leaders of the Church. They are sent on assignment all around the world to verify that activities and practices in different areas are in compliance with Church standards. These leaders are comprised of the General Area Seventies, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and the First Presidency. An exhaustive list of all General Authorities can be found here and more general information can be found here.
Heavenly FatherLikely the most common term used in Mormonism when referring to God.
High PriestAn office of the Mormon Melchizedek Priesthood. Typically held by older men anywhere from their 40s to 90s. Unless a man becomes a Genearl Authority, they hold this office until death.
Honor CodeA strict set of rules that is implemented at all Mormon run universities. It essentially requires all students to comply with Mormon standards regardless of religious affiliation. It also imposes things such as a strict curfew and no individuals of the opposite gender in dorm rooms at certain times. More information can be found here.
investigatorThe term used by Mormon missionaries to refer to those they are teaching. They are called this because they are “investigating” the Church.
Melchizedek PriesthoodThe Priesthood given to men once they turn 18, named after the biblical figure of Melchizedek. The offices include Elder, High Priest, Seventy, and Apostle. More information can be found here.
nevermoSomeone who has never been baptized into the Mormon Church.
premortal lifeThe Mormon doctrine that we all lived with God before coming to earth. There was a war in heaven in which we all fought against the devil and his followers. More information can be found here
PriestThe third highest office of the Mormon Aaronic Priesthood. Typically held by young men ages 16 and 17. They are responsible for blessing the sacrament.
PriesthoodIn Mormon doctrine, the power of God given to men on earth in order to perform his will. The Priesthood also acts as authority within the church and only certain offices in the priesthood can perform certain functions. For example, you must be a Deacon to pass the sacrament, a Teacher to prepare it, and a Priest to prepare it. Joseph Smith claims to have receieved the Priesthood from John the Baptist and Peter, James, and John in spiritual visitations. However these visitations and claims are controversial for many reasons, including the fact that Joseph did not tell anyone after the visitations until five years after he claimed they happened. For more information on the controversy read here. For more information on the Mormon Priesthood in general read here.
primarySunday school classes for children ages 3 to 11.
sacramentA practice performed every Sunday in Mormon congregations. Members of the priesthood break bread into peices and pour water into tiny cups. The bread and water is then passed around the congregation for all to eat and drink. The sacrament is considered a privilege and your right to partake of it can be taken away from your bishop. More information can be found here
TBMAcronym for “true believing Mormon” or “true blue Mormon”. Used to refer to believing members of the Mormon Church.
TeacherThe second lowest office of the Mormon Aaronic Priesthood. Typically held by young men ages 14 and 15. They are responsible for preparing the sacrament.
SpiritA common term in Mormonism used when referring to the Holy Ghost.
war in heavenThe Mormon doctrine that the followers of Lucifer and the followers of Jesus fought against each other in defense of each leader’s respective plan of salvation. Lucifer wanted to deprive all of their agency and force them to return to God in the after life while Jesus wanted to provide everyone their agency and allow them to learn and grow by making their own decisions. Jesus’ army won and Lucifer was cast out. More information can be found here and here.
wardA local Mormon congregation typically made up of a few hundred people.