Category Archives: Mormonism

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Apostles, apostles

The most common Christian reference is to Jesus’ 12 disciples after he commissioned them to go and preach the gospel to the world. However, some churches have other usages. Some charismatic groups refer to certain powerful leaders who oversee groups of congregations as apostles. Among evangelicals, the word can be a generic term for any Christian who is commissioned by the church to accomplish a certain mission in the world.

Uppercase when referring individually or collectively to Jesus’ Twelve Apostles, as in Peter was known as Simon before he became an Apostle. Although not one of the original 12, this applies to the Apostle Paul as well.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints refers to its highest-ranking members as apostles. They belong to what is called the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Capitalize apostle when using as an LDS title before a name. The senior, or longest-serving, apostle becomes the church president and is then referred to by that title; capitalize president before his name but lowercase otherwise.

Filed in Catholicism, Christianity, Mormonism, Orthodoxy

bishop

In Catholic, Orthodox and Anglican churches and some Protestant denominations that have an episcopal or hierarchical form of government, bishop is the highest order of ordained ministry. The distinction between a Catholic bishop and an archbishop is an honorary one, and an archbishop has no authority over a neighboring diocese. Some groups, including the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Amish and some Pentecostals, use the title bishop for someone who is the pastor of a congregation. Capitalize when used as a formal title before a name. On second reference, use only the cleric’s last name. Lowercase bishop in other uses.

Filed in Amish/Mennonite, Anglican/Episcopalian, Catholicism, Christianity, Mormonism, Orthodoxy, Pentecostalism, Protestantism, Religious titles

Book of Mormon

One of four books of scripture for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is subtitled “Another Testament of Jesus Christ.” The LDS church believes that Mormon, an ancient American prophet, inscribed the contents of the Book of Mormon on golden plates, which his son Moroni buried on a hill in what’s now upstate New York. The church teaches that Moroni returned as an angel and led church founder Joseph Smith to the plates, which he translated and published in 1830. Mormon scriptures also include the Bible (King James Version), Doctrine and Covenants (divine revelations given to Smith and other prophets) and the Pearl of Great Price.

Filed in Christianity, Mormonism

Christ

The word means anointed one or messiah in Greek. For that reason, Christians refer to Jesus of Nazareth as Jesus Christ or simply Christ.

Filed in Adventism, Amish/Mennonite, Anglican/Episcopalian, Baptist/Southern Baptist, Catholicism, Christian Science, Christianity, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormonism, Orthodoxy, Pentecostalism, Protestantism, Quaker

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Members of the church are called Mormons or Latter-day Saints; either is acceptable. It is preferable to use the church’s entire name, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, on first reference. The LDS church has asked not to be referred to as the Mormon Church but does not object to adherents being referred to as Mormons. Mormon, LDS and Latter-day Saint can all be used as adjectives, as in Mormon beliefs or LDS practices.

The church was founded in 1830 by Joseph Smith, a farm boy in upstate New York. Smith said he was directed to a set of golden plates that contained a record of ancient inhabitants of the Americas who had migrated from Jerusalem. Smith said he translated this record with divine help and published it as the Book of Mormon. The book tells of a visit by the resurrected Jesus to these inhabitants in the Western Hemisphere, which is why its subtitle reads “Another Testament of Jesus Christ.”

Mormons believe that Smith had a vision of God and Jesus Christ and that the church he founded is the restoration of true Christianity. In the 19th century, Mormons were persecuted for their beliefs and eventually fled to Utah, where they could practice their faith in peace.

Because of their extra-biblical scriptures and beliefs about God and Jesus (they reject the Nicene Creed, for example), Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant churches do not regard Mormons as Christian. In stories where that is relevant, journalists should explain why Mormons regard themselves as Christian and why other groups say their beliefs do not accord with traditional Christianity. In stories where different faith groups are mentioned, journalists should avoid judging which groups are Christian. For example, say: Baptists, Mormons, Presbyterians, Seventh-day Adventists and Jewish groups took part in relief efforts rather than Baptists, Presbyterians, Seventh-day Adventists and non-Christians, including Mormons and Jews, took part in relief efforts.

The church has headquarters in Salt Lake City and is highly structured. All worthy males, 12 and older, can be ordained to the priesthood; women are not ordained but can serve in leadership and other positions in the all-volunteer clergy.

The top authority is the “prophet, seer and revelator,” a position held by the most senior apostle, who has the title of church president. He is joined by two counselors, who constitute the governing First Presidency. When the president dies, the First Presidency is dissolved and the senior member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles becomes the new president. Under the First Presidency is the three-member Presiding Bishopric, which governs in temporal affairs. There is also the First Quorum of Seventy, which oversees missionary work and other aspects of church governance.

The church is divided into territories called stakes, and each stake is headed by a president, two counselors and a stake high council. Individual congregations are called wards. The leader of a ward holds the title of bishop. The only formal titles in the LDS church are president for the head of the First Presidency, apostle, bishop and elder. Female leaders are called sisters. Capitalize all formal titles before a name on first reference, and only use the person’s last name on second reference. The terms minister and the Rev. are not used.

Filed in Christianity, Mormonism, Religious titles

Community of Christ, the

Previously known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The current name was adopted in 2001. Although holding some of the same beliefs (including use of the Book of Mormon as scripture) as the much larger Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Community of Christ also differs markedly. For example, it does not baptize ancestors by proxy, it has always rejected polygamy, and it has ordained women since 1984. Do not refer to it as a Mormon church.

Filed in Christianity, Mormonism

Doctrine and Covenants

One of four books of scripture for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it is a collection of divine revelations and inspired declarations from church founder Joseph Smith and his successors in the church presidency. Mormon scriptures also include the Book of Mormon, the Bible (King James Version) and the Pearl of Great Price.

Filed in Christianity, Mormonism

end times

Lowercase. Generally refers to the time of tribulation preceding the Second Coming of Jesus, though it has parallels and roots in all three Abrahamic traditions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam). Sometimes also called the “End of Days.”

Filed in Adventism, Anglican/Episcopalian, Baptist/Southern Baptist, Catholicism, Christianity, Islam, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Judaism, Mormonism, Orthodoxy, Pentecostalism, Protestantism

ex-gay

The movement, mostly found in conservative Christianity, that purports to change the sexual orientation of people from same-sex attraction to opposite-sex. It is also referred to as reparative or conversion therapy. It is highly controversial. Several major medical associations have rejected such therapy when it views homosexuality as a mental disorder or sickness, or assumes that homosexuals’ sexual orientation is something that must be changed. Ex-gay should never be used without explaining the term and the controversy associated with it. See gay.

Filed in Catholicism, Christianity, Gender and sexuality, Judaism, Mormonism

First Presidency

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a trio of men operates collectively as the First Presidency, the church’s highest governing body. One of the three is the church’s president and the other two are his counselors, but as a group they are referred to as the First Presidency. See also Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Filed in Mormonism

gay

Term used to describe men who are sexually attracted to other men. For women, lesbian is the preferred term. When referring to both, say gay men and lesbians, though gay is acceptable for referring to both in headlines. Avoid references to a gay, homosexual or alternative “lifestyle.”

Filed in Anglican/Episcopalian, Baptist/Southern Baptist, Catholicism, Christianity, Gender and sexuality, Mormonism, Orthodoxy, Pentecostalism, Protestantism

gentile

In Judaism, anyone who is not a Jew. It is usually a reference to Christians. Some Mormons use the term to describe non-Mormons.

Filed in Judaism, Mormonism

Latter-day Saints, Latter Day Saints

See Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Community of Christ.

Filed in Christianity, Mormonism

LDS church

Acceptable on second reference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Lowercase church when using the shortened term.

Filed in Mormonism

meeting, meetinghouse

Worship gatherings are called meetings in some traditions, including by Quakers and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Filed in Mormonism, Quaker

Mormon church

See Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Filed in Christianity, Mormonism

Pearl of Great Price

One of four scriptures of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it is church founder Joseph Smith’s translation and revision of several Bible sections, including parts of Genesis. It also contains Smith’s personal story, his explanation of Mormon beliefs known as “Articles of Faith” and translations of Egyptian papyri Smith purchased. Mormon scriptures also include the Bible (King James Version), the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants.

Filed in Christianity, Mormonism

polygamy

The practice of having more than one spouse at a time. It was practiced by Mormons in the 1800s but was officially outlawed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1890. Members who are polygamists are excommunicated from the LDS church, but some Mormon offshoot groups still practice it. Polygamy is permitted in Islam, according to the Quran, which states that men can marry up to four women if they can be “equally just” to all of them.

Filed in Christianity, Mormonism

Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this group of 12 men constitutes the second-highest governing body (second only to the First Presidency).

Filed in Mormonism

Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

See Community of Christ, the.

Filed in Christianity, Mormonism

sacrament

A Christian rite than confers grace and serves as a visible form of it. The Orthodox, Roman Catholic and certain Episcopal churches believe there are seven sacraments: Eucharist or Communion, baptism, confirmation, penance (often called confession), anointing of the ill, marriage and ordination (holy orders). Most Protestant churches recognize only two sacraments, baptism and Communion. Lowercase sacrament, but capitalize when using the proper names for sacramental rites that commemorate the life of Christ or signify a belief in his presence, such as the Lord’s Supper, Holy Communion and Holy Eucharist. Lowercase the other sacraments.

Filed in Anglican/Episcopalian, Catholicism, Christianity, Mormonism, Orthodoxy, Protestantism

Second Coming

Always capitalize when referring to the return of Jesus that is prophesied in the Bible.

Filed in Catholicism, Christianity, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormonism, Orthodoxy, Protestantism

stake

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a stake is a designated geographic area of inhabitants. Stakes are divided into wards and branches, and Mormons are expected to attend the church they are assigned to. The Community of Christ (previously known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) also uses the term stake.

Filed in Christianity, Mormonism

Twelve Apostles

See Apostles.

Filed in Anglican/Episcopalian, Catholicism, Christianity, Mormonism, Orthodoxy, Protestantism

ward

Large congregations in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are called wards, and they are led by a bishop and two counselors. Wards have specific geographic boundaries, and Mormon families attend the meetinghouse in their ward. Small Mormon congregations are called branches, which can develop into wards.

Filed in Christianity, Mormonism

Word of Wisdom

The Mormon teaching, believed to be a revelation given to founder Joseph Smith, that Mormons should abstain from tobacco, alcohol and hot drinks such as tea and coffee.

Filed in Christianity, Mormonism