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Congratulations on completing both Mormon Lingo 101 and Mormon Lingo 201!  You are now ready for the advanced stage of Mormon Lingo.  These are words and phrases that the average Mormon probably hasn’t heard unless they served a mission, or have been around a Mormon affiliated university like BYU or Ricks College (now BYU-Idaho).  After completing this section, you will be ready for the final exam!

Mormon Lingo 301

MTC: The Mission Training Center.  This is a center where missionaries go to prepare before they serve on their full-time missions.  Missionaries study culture, language, scriptures, and how to teach for 3 weeks if it is a non-foreign mission and up to 12 weeks if it is a foreign mission.

GA:  Stands for General Authority.  General Authorities are the main leaders of the LDS church consisting of the Quorums of the Seventy, the Twelve Apostles, and the First Presidency (the prophet and his two counselors).

Flirt to convert:  I wouldn’t say this is an every-day LDS phrase, but it was one that missionaries jokingly used when on a mission.  I heard it at BYU (Brigham Young University) as well.  They used it in reference to flirting with a non-Mormon of the opposite sex to entice them to join the church. 

“I never said it would be easy…I only said it would be worth it”:  This was a phrase used in a picture with Jesus (see below) that I don’t hear much anymore, but frequently used to in the ’90s.  It is actually a quote by Mae West and is nowhere to be found in the scriptures.

“comp”:  abreviation of ‘companion’.  Missionaries are assigned to have at least one companion on their missions, which is why you see them walking two by two on the streets.

“greeny“: brand new missionary

dear john” : Letter sent to missionary from their significant other while they are on their mission letting them know they are breaking up with them.

“mish” : abreviation for mission…one would use this in the phrase “So where did you serve on the “mish”?”

“dad” : On a mission, each “greenie” recieves a trainer as their first companion.  Missionaries would refer to this first trainer as their “dad”.

“grandpa” :  The trainer of a trainer on the mission.

“AP’s or APES” :  On a mission, the Mission President has two missionaries who are his right hand men in over-seeing the 150 or so missionaries assigned to that particular mission.  They are called assistants to the mission president.  Usually, rather than saying “assistant to the president” when referring to them, missionaries will call them “AP’s”.  Occasionally, I’ve heard them referred to as APES…like the monkey.

mission mom”: The mission president’s wife

“I killed him”: Term used when your companion goes home from his mission

“I was born in…”: Area where you started your mission 

BYU: Usually people know this as Brigham Young University.  However, I’ve occasionally heard people jokingly say it actually means “breed ‘em young university” because people get married so young there.

BRT :   On a mission, when speaking with someone for the first time missionaries are trained to find common ground with them to build a relationship of trust.  The shortened accronymn for this is to simply “BRT” with a person. 

Split : The situation of a missionary companionship working with two local Elders and splitting up to cover two simultaneous appointments, also refers to the local Elders that assist in such endeavors

 White Bible: White Missionary Rule Book


Congratulations for completing Mormon Lingo 101!  You are now ready for Mormon Lingo 201!  This will include words and phrases that unless you attend a Mormon church for awhile, you probably won’t hear all on the first Sunday you visit.  Please review the list and if you add any additional indermediate Mormon phrases in the commentary, you will recieve bonus points on the final exam!

Mormon Lingo 201

The “Bish”:  I usually heard this phrase when I was attending BYU, but it is a shortened term for “bishop”.

RM:  Returned Missionary…someone who has been on a mission and has come home

EQP:  I usually heard this term referring to the Elders Quorum President (men’s leader) when I was in college as well. 

G’s or Holy G’s:  Mormon are known for wearing “holy underwear” or “magic underwear” as many in the outside world call it.  Inside the Mormon church, I’ve heard people refer to the garment as “G’s” or “Holy G’s”.  This isn’t a common term and many Mormons would probably be offended by it.  This is almost worthy of Mormon Lingo 301, which will be coming next week.

Peter Priesthood:  A “goodie-goodie” Mormon boy that never does anything wrong and plays by the rules.

Molly Mormon: Same as “Peter Priesthood” except the girl.

Jack Mormon:  A Mormon guy in name only.  A Jack Mormon probably hits the bars, drinks, parties it up hard and may or may not go to church.

Motab:  Abbreviation for “The Mormon Tabernacle Choir”

Sweet Spirit:  Someone (unfortunately usually a girl) who is very nice, but unattractive

DTR:  At BYU people who were dating, but it appeared not to be going anywhere (i.e. marriage) would sit down and have a heart to heart discussion on “defining the relationship”.  Are we just friends, make-out partners, or is this for real?  DTR is the acronymn for ‘defining the relationship’.

NCMO:  Stands for Non-commital make-out.  Happens all to often at LDS colleges.

BMW:  I’ve heard Mormons jokingly call their station wagons back in the day “BMW’s”…or Big Mormon Wagons to hold all their kids.

CTR:  This officially stands for ‘Choos the Right’ and there are cool rings that many Mormons wear to remind them to always choose to do the right thing in every situation (click here to learn about the history and see an image).  I’ve also heard Mormons jokingly refer to CTR as meaning “Chase the Rich” “Corrupt the Righteous” and “Close the Refrigerator”.

PPI: Personal priesthood interview.  Usually a leader in the Mormon church such as an Elder’s President will have an interview with members of his quorum to see if they are on track spiritually and this is abbreviated as having a “PPI”.

Mormon Standard Time:  Mormons are usually just slightly late to their meetings and this is referred to as “Mormon Standard Time”.

The other day I went to a wedding reception for one of my cousins.  While we were waiting for the stars of the show to arrive, a man dressed in a white shirt, dark suit and tie walked up to my family.  I had brought my sister, who isn’t very familiar with the Mormon, or LDS church other than the few conversations we’ve had and the times she has attended church to see our kids get blessed (dedicated) when they were babies.

When the nice gentleman arrived, he introduced himself to us and we started talking.  My sister asked him how he knew our cousins and the Mormon lingo started to fly.  He said: “I’m their Stake President and their hometeacher…and also their friend.”

My sister looked at him as if he had spoken a foreign language and said something to the effect of “well that’s great!”, and the conversation pretty much ended there.

After he walked away, I explained what a Stake is in the Mormon church, home teachers, and also what a Stake President is.  It made a lot more sense to her afterwards.  I thought it was strange that he would introduce himself as the “Stake President” rather than his name, but that ‘s a different conversation. 

That conversation, along with a recent talk in church caused me to reflect on Mormon culture and how we have conversations with each other that other groups would be very confused by, even though we are all speaking the same language.  For those of you who are not Mormons, but occasionally come in contact with them, or know some of therm, I thought a little Mormon Lingo 101 may be useful. 

The words and phrases I’ll share are from personal observation as a member of the LDS, or Mormon Church for over 25 years.  The definitions I’ll cite from  Also, there are a couple of other bloggers out there who have written about this too, so feel free to visit their sites.  The ones I visited are: Minorproblems, Lightplanet, and an LDS forum on  

As I was digging around, I came across a lot of Mormon lingo, so just for a little fun, I’m going to have this post be Mormon Lingo 101 and subsequent weeks will be Mormon Lingo 201 for a bit more advanced Mormon lingo including abreviations on some of the terms I’ll site here, followed by Mormon Lingo 301 that is mainly found when one is serving a mission for the Mormon church.

Mormon Lingo 101

Mutual:  Mutual is the term members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints use to describe a weeknight activity sponsored by the Church for teenagers. Mutual got its name because it is supposed to encourage “shared experiences in which there is mutual respect and support for one another” (Church Handbook of Instructions, Book 2: Priesthood and Auxiliary Leaders [1998], 187 emphasis added).

FHE:  Stands for Family Home Evening.  It is a family night held weekly in Mormon households and Monday is the evening set aside for families to pray, play, and read scriptures together.

Ward:  A geographical boundary designated for Mormon congregations.  Typical size is 300-500 members.

Stake: A grouping of 7-9 Wards.

“feeling the Spirit”:  Phrase Mormons use referring to communications received from God leading them in their lives.

“I know (fill in the blank) is true…”:  This is a phrase very commonly used during fast and testimony meeting (see definition below).  Mormons frequently get up and share their witness of “knowing” something is true when referring to a strong conviction of something (usually referring to prophets, the Book of Mormon, etc.)

Mia Maid: Name given to young women ages 14-16

Beehives: Name given to young women ages 12-14

Laurels: 16-18 year old young women

Priest: Male members ages 16-18 who have been ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood

Teacher: Male members ages 14-16 who have been ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood

Deacon: Male members ages 12-14 ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood.

Bishop:  Leader of a Ward (the equivalent of a Pastor)

Stake President: Leader over the geographical Stake

Relief Society:  Womens organization for ladies 18 years old on up.  They work together with the Bishop to help members in the ward in need.

Relief Society President: Female leader of the relief society.  The bishop’s “right hand man” so to speak for helping needy members of the ward.

Home Teacher:  Each male member of a ward is assigned a “companion”, or another male member.  These two companions are then assigned 3-5 families in the ward to visit on a monthly basis to share scripture with and assist in other ways as needed by the families they visit.

Visiting Teacher:  Female members of the Relief Society are assigned companions and go visit other sisters in the relief society to give spiritual and temporal help.

Baptisms for the deadJesus Christ taught that baptism is essential to the salvation of all who have lived on earth (see John 3:5). Many people, however, have died without being baptized. Others were baptized without proper authority. Because God is merciful, He has prepared a way for all people to receive the blessings of baptism. By performing proxy baptisms in behalf of those who have died, Church members offer these blessings to deceased ancestors. Individuals can then choose to accept or reject what has been done in their behalf.

Getting a blessing:  LDS male members who have the Melchezedick Priesthood can give blessings.  They lay their hands on the heads of those seeking a blessing and, as guided by inspiration from the Holy Spirit, speak the words God would have the person seeking the blessing hear.

Active Member:  A person who actively attends all or most of their church meetings and who holds a Calling

Inactive Member:  A person who is a bapstized Mormon, but who doesn’t attend regularly or hold a Calling

Calling: A job, or assignment given to a member of a ward as inspired by the leaders of the ward or stake such as teaching the youth or children on up to being the Bishop or Relief Society president.

Bearing a Testimony:  Sharing one’s witness, or conviction of something spiritual in nature

Testimony Meeting:  Monthly meeting where Mormon members have an “open mic” and can get up and share their witness of something spiritual.


If you are a Mormon, you will probably think of many more things regarding Mormon lingo.  Keep in mind, this is the first post that includes very basic Mormon phrases and words unique to Mormonism.  I have 201 and later, 301 coming in the next couple weeks for the fun acronymns and other phrases that Mormons use when talking to each other.

If I missed any basic phrases or words, or if you have any insights, feel free to leave a comment.

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