Helpful Words to Know


Many terms are defined in articles throughout this issue. But you may find the list below helpful as a quick reference for unfamiliar words.

Aaronic Priesthood ( see also Priesthood): This priesthood is held by worthy young men ages 12 to 18 and new adult male members of the Church. The offices, or positions, in the Aaronic Priesthood are bishop, priest, teacher, and deacon. This priesthood administers the preparatory gospel, “the gospel of repentance and of baptism, and the remission of sins” (D&C 84:27).

Baptism for the dead: In temples a living person is baptized on behalf of someone who has died. This ordinance offers the opportunity to accept the blessings of baptism to deceased persons who did not receive the teachings of Jesus Christ in mortal life.

Brother/Sister: Because we are all children of our Heavenly Father, the title Brother or Sister followed by a person’s last name is a common way for members to refer to one another.

Calling: An assignment or position of service in the Church. Each calling has specifically defined duties that a member fulfills until he or she is released, often to fulfill a new assignment.

Covenant: A sacred promise, or agreement, made between a person or a group of people and God.

Deacon: An office of responsibility in the Aaronic Priesthood generally held by young men ages 12 to 13.

General Authorities: Melchizedek Priesthood leaders who administer the affairs of the entire Church. They include the First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, the Presidency of the Seventy, the First and Second Quorums of the Seventy, and the Presiding Bishopric.

Latter-day Saint: Shortened title or name used to refer to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Laying on of hands: The act of priesthood holders placing their hands on a person’s head to give that person a Church ordination or blessing.

Melchizedek Priesthood ( see also Priesthood): Under the direction of local priesthood leaders, worthy adult male members (18 and older) may receive this priesthood. Those who have this priesthood lead the Church and administer such ordinances as naming and blessing children, conferring the Holy Ghost, and giving other priesthood blessings. Elders, high priests, patriarchs, Seventies, and Apostles hold this priesthood.

Mission/mission president: A geographically defined area where full-time missionaries work. The leader of a mission is called a mission president.

Mutual: A weeknight meeting or activity for youth ages 12 to 17.

Ordain: To give priesthood authority to a worthy male member of the Church by the laying on of hands.

Ordinance: A sacred rite, or ceremony, by which members make covenants (promises) with God, such as baptism, the sacrament, and temple ordinances.

Priest: An office of responsibility in the Aaronic Priesthood generally held by young men ages 16 to 18 and new adult male members of the Church.

Priesthood: The authority and power that God has granted to act in His name. All worthy male members age 12 and older may be given priesthood authority.

Priesthood blessing: A prayer for healing, comfort, or counsel given by a Melchizedek Priesthood holder, who lays his hands on the head of the person receiving the blessing.

Primary: The Church organization for children ages 3 to 11.

Quorum:An organized group of young men or men who hold the same office of priesthood authority, such as deacons, elders, or members of the Seventy.

Release: To relieve members of their duties in a Church assignment or position with appreciation for the service they have given.

Relief Society: The Church organization for women age 18 and older.

Set apart: To give a Church member the responsibilities and blessings associated with a Church calling by the laying on of hands of a properly authorized Melchizedek Priesthood holder.

Sister: See Brother/Sister.

Sustain: To give support to those serving in Church callings or to give one’s approval for an action being taken by the Church. This is usually signified by raising one’s right hand when asked to do so by a Church leader in a meeting.

Teacher: (1) An office of responsibility in the Aaronic Priesthood generally held by young men ages 14 to 15; (2) a person who teaches a Church class or quorum.

Temple: A Church building dedicated for the performance of sacred ordinances, such as baptisms for the dead, the endowment, and the sealing of families.

Testimony: An assurance or conviction of faith revealed by the Holy Ghost that God the Father and Jesus Christ live and that Their teachings and the Restoration of the gospel are true. When a person bears testimony, he or she is making a brief, heartfelt statement of this conviction to others.

Tithing: The donation of 10 percent of a person’s income to the Church.

Still Have Questions?

You can find more information about these and other terms in Guide to the Scriptures and in True to the Faith (item no. 36863), which are available in the Gospel Library at www.lds.org.