10 Common Words That Mean Something Different to Mormons

Mormon jargon can be confusing with specially defined words and acronyms.  Here’s a list of 10 common words that have a different meaning to Mormons. 

1.  Beehive

What it means to everyone else: A habitation for bees.
What it means to a Mormon: A name given to the 12-13 year old girls as they enter into the youth program.  The beehive was a symbol of harmony, cooperation, and work for the early pioneers of the Church.  Beehives today learn to work together in cooperation and harmony as they strengthen their faith in Jesus Christ and prepare to stand for truth and righteousness.

2.  Fast

What it means to everyone else: An adjective meaning quick or rapid.
What it means to a Mormon: A verb meaning to voluntarily go without food and drink for a period of time in order to grow closer to God.  One Sunday each month Latter-day Saints observe a fast day. 

3. Fireside

What it means to everyone else: The space around a fire.           
What it means to a Mormon: A special devotional or meeting in the church building held separately from regular Sunday services - typically on a Sunday evening. 

4. Friend

What it means to everyone else: A person who has a bond of mutual affection with another person.
What it means to a Mormon:  The name of a monthly church magazine publication for children.

5. Institute

What it means to everyone else: A verb meaning to set up or establish.
What it means to a Mormon: A noun meaning a place where young adults and university students, ages 18-30, come for weekday religious instruction and social interaction.

6. Mutual

What it means to everyone else: An adjective meaning shared or held in common. 
What it means to a Mormon: A noun meaning a regularly scheduled activity night for the youth ages 12-18 - typically held once a week on a weekday evening.

7. Primary

What it means to everyone else: The first in an order of a process or series. 
What it means to a Mormon: An organized program for children of the church ages 18 months until their 12th birthday.  Children attend primary classes on Sundays and participate in activities throughout the year. 

8. Seventy
What it means to everyone else: The number after 69.
What it means to a Mormon: A person in the general leadership of the church (General Authority) and belonging to a quorum of the Seventy. Each quorum may have up to 70 members. Members of Quorums of the Seventy are often referred to simply as “Seventies.” Seventies are called to proclaim the gospel and build up the Church. They work under the direction of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the Presidency of the Seventy.

9. Stake

What it means to everyone else: A stick or post for driving into the ground.
What it means to a Mormon: A geographical division of the church comprised of smaller congregations called wards or branches.   The term stake was used by the prophet Isaiah. He described the latter-day Church as a tent that would be secured by stakes (see Isaiah 33:20; 54:2).

10. Sunbeam

What it means to everyone else: A ray of sunlight.
What it means to a Mormon: The name given to the class in the children’s program for the 3-4 year olds and who are most notable for singing "Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam."


  1. Isn't it interesting how we see things differently? - in a good way.

  2. Love this Jefra and just shared it with my friends!! ~Jenn Hough

  3. What about "recommend?" I'm quite sure we're the only ones who use it as a noun.

    1. When my husband was investigating the Church he told me he was very excited about meeting "Bishop Rick"...He had heard Bishop Rick mentioned at all his meetings and apparently he held the keys to EVERYTHING and Bishop Rick must be very important because everyone called him THE Bishop Rick. I told him that they were referring to The Bishop's office and his two counselors as the Bishopric. He is still looking for Bishop Rick, but he has not been disappointed with all of the GREAT Bishops (and the Bishopric) he has met since he has joined The Church!

    2. Love it! As a convert to the church twelve years ago, I've finally mastered the lingo, but am still learning more each day. One of the very important reasons for fellowshipping newbies!

  4. I would give ward its own entry. I once had a friend ask me if we attended church in a hospital or insane asylum since we called it a ward. She was being serious too. That had never occurred to me until she pointed it out.

  5. I'd add another one to the list... "agency"... I used it in a paper I wrote in 10th grade and the teacher circled it and put a big question mark hehe

  6. also: elder, bishop, president, ward, branch etc.

  7. Temple marriage to most they think we just go there to get married but for us we know it way beyond that and even we can't comprehend all the glorious things we do, that why we are advised to come back often so we can learn more each time we go. Also SEALED is another word for this topic. God bless you all

  8. Recommend, garments, sacrament, elder, prison, eternity, intelligence, pearl of great price, priesthood, testimony, president, and heck, even Jesus Christ is different (as in we have a better understanding of him).

  9. Took a non-member friend to church and someone at the pulpit used the word "investigator." She leaned over to me and excitedly whispered "My DAD is one of those!"

    He is a police detective. :-P

  10. LOL my son is a "Teacher" and one of his friend was very impressed that he taught in a church when he was only 15! We explained.

    1. That one still gets me and I've been a member my whole life.

  11. An investigator in Institute class asked if the person who just said something about "sticks" were a drummer?

  12. My dear wife, baptized just three years ago, is just sure that we make up words :) I'll have to ponderize that.