Sunday, December 8, 2013

Mormon Questions: Terminology

At our first LIVE Christmas nativity. They had all sorts of biblical animals,  elaborately dressed roman soldiers, and one very cute baby.

Mormons use a lot of religious jargon that other Christian denominations do not use. Have you ever wondered, 'what does that mean?' when talking to a Mormon? I can admit, it can all be very confusing. Like stake? As in steak? What? (Until I was ten or so, I really did think it was "steak" and I had no idea what anyone was ever talking about ever.) 

I present to you translations of Mormon speak:
Atonement: The sacrifice of Jesus Christ. It includes his suffering in the garden of Gethsemane and on the cross as well as His resurrection.
Bishop: unpaid spiritual leader of a ward, or congregation. Similar to a pastor. They are asked to serve in that position for approximately 5 years. They give advice, conduct interviews, and assign callings.
Ward: analogous to a congregation. Everyone is assigned to a ward based on the area they live.* Approximately 100-300 people make up a ward.
Stake: A group of neighboring wards (seven or so) are put into a stake. A city may have several stakes. "Stake" is a term that comes from the Old Testament (Isaiah 54:2). The tent or church is upheld by supporting stakes.
Calling: an unpaid assignment in the church. Almost everyone has a calling and they vary from "visit so-and-so every month to "teach Sunday School" to "plan activities for the ward four times a year." 
Priesthood:  The authority and power that God gives to man to act in the name of Jesus Christ in all things for the salvation of mankind. You need it for things to be legit in God's eyes i.e. baptism, eternal marriage, ect.
Agency: the ability God gives to people to choose and act for themselves in all areas of their life. Everyone is free to choose between good and evil.
Prophet: A man who God calls to speak for Him. The prophet receives commandments, revelations, prophets and authority from God. He also leads God's church. God had prophets in biblical times and still has them today.
Branch: a congregation too small to be called a ward. A branch has a branch president instead of a bishop.
Contention: argumentative atmosphere 
Non-member: someone who is not baptized into our church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) 
Talk: a 15-minute sermon given by various members of the ward. The bishop picks the topic and asks someone to speak from the pulpit on the subject 
Trial: Hard times that we believe God gave us to help us grow and to 'try' us

*Growing up, I was always a little perplexed about the idea of "picking" a church with a likable pastor.  I can see how that would be a big deal to people; I mean if you're going to go there every Sunday and give the pastor money you need to like the church, right? Well, in our church the clergy is called of God with His priesthood authority (and not even paid) and so you are expected to go to your geographically assigned ward and make the most of it. If you don't have any friends, you don't like the bishop, or there is a closer building nearby, the overall sentiment is mainly: "Deal with it." It can sometimes be hard, but as a disciple of Christ you're supposed to build up the people and the ward where you are.

So what do you think? Any other confusing words I should add the the list?

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