Words to Know

"Words to Know," Gospel Fundamentals, (2002)


  • Aaronic Priesthood

    The lesser of two priesthood authorities which our Father in Heaven has given to men on earth to act in His name for the salvation of His children. This lesser priesthood got its name from Aaron, the brother of Moses, and is different from the greater or Melchizedek Priesthood. The Aaronic Priesthood includes the offices of deacon, teacher, priest, and bishop.

  • Apostasy

    (1) A condition of spiritual withdrawal from our Father in Heaven. (2) A period of time when the teachings of our Father in Heaven and His priesthood were not on the earth.

  • Apostle

    An office in the Melchizedek Priesthood. Apostles are special witnesses of Jesus Christ in all the world.

  • Atonement

    Jesus’ payment, by suffering and death, for the sins of all mankind that allows them to be released from the consequences of physical and spiritual death brought about by Adam’s transgression and man’s separation from our Father in Heaven.

  • Baptism

    A necessary ordinance of the gospel in which a person covenants with our Father in Heaven to obey Him and our Father in Heaven promises to forgive and cleanse the person of sin and allow him or her membership in His Church. The ordinance symbolizes being born again by being buried in water and then brought up again into new life. This ordinance is performed by those authorized to hold the priesthood and act for our Father in Heaven.

  • Baptism for the dead

    Baptism in a temple of our Father in Heaven of a living person who acts in place of a person who has died.

  • Baptize

    To bury a person in water and then to bring that person out of the water to live a new life. See Baptism.

  • Bishop

    An office in the Aaronic Priesthood that gives a man authority for the spiritual and temporal welfare of a group of members of the Church.

  • Book of Mormon

    A book of scripture that contains our Father in Heaven’s teachings to people who lived on the American continents.

  • Branch

    The figurative usage of a stem of a tree to represent a small division or organized unit of the larger family of the Church. The division is based on a geographical boundary in which members live and meet together under the government of authorized servants of our Father in Heaven.

  • Celestial kingdom

    That kingdom where the righteous live in the presence of our Father in Heaven and inherit all He has.

  • Church

    See The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

  • Covenants

    Sacred promises made between our Father in Heaven and man.

  • Deacon

    The first office in the Aaronic Priesthood, given to worthy young men at the age of 12. It gives them the authority to perform certain temporal duties.

  • District

    An area or division that is further divided into branches under a mission of the Church. It is governed by a president and his two counselors.

  • Doctrine and Covenants

    A book of scripture that contains the words of our Father in Heaven to people of modern times.

  • Elder

    The first office in the Melchizedek Priesthood given to worthy men who are 18 years old or older. It gives them authority to perform certain ordinances, which are blessings in the lives of other people.

  • Endowment

    Blessings that are given by our Father in Heaven in the temples and that are necessary to obtain exaltation.

  • Eternal Father

    Another name we give to our Father in Heaven.

  • Eternal life

    This refers not only to living forever but also to living the kind of life that our Father in Heaven lives and becoming like Him. It means the same as exaltation.

  • Eternal marriage

    A marriage that has been sealed in the temple and continues eternally after we die if we are worthy to live with our Father in Heaven.

  • Exaltation

    Life in the highest level of the celestial kingdom. Those who receive exaltation will become like our Father in Heaven.

  • Fall of Adam

    The change that came upon Adam and Eve because they ate the forbidden fruit. Our Father in Heaven removed them from His presence, and they became mortal. This made it possible for all mankind to be born and to die.

  • Family home evening

    A meeting of the family, usually each Monday evening, during which they sing, study the gospel, discuss any problems they have, play games, and do other things as a family.

  • Fast offering

    The donation of money saved by fasting for two meals. It is given to the Church to help the poor.

  • Father in Heaven

    A perfect being who looks like a mortal man but has a resurrected body of flesh and bones. He is the Father of our spirits, to whom we pray. He is all-powerful and immortal. He loves us because we are His children. We also call Him Heavenly Father.

  • Gift of the Holy Ghost

    The right to have the constant influence of the Holy Ghost. This gift is given after baptism.

  • God

    The supreme being and ruler of the universe. The name God usually refers to our Father in Heaven, but sometimes in the scriptures it refers to Jesus.

  • Gospel

    The teachings of Jesus Christ, which, if followed, will allow a person to return to live in the presence of our Father in Heaven.

  • Heaven

    The place where our Father in Heaven lives. Sometimes used to refer to the place where our spirits lived before coming to earth, and where they go after we die (spirit world). Also a name for the place where the righteous will live eternally after the resurrection (celestial kingdom).

  • Heavenly Father

    See Father in Heaven.

  • High priest

    An office in the Melchizedek Priesthood that is responsible for the administration of spiritual things.

  • Holy Ghost

    A person of spirit who does not have a physical body and whose purpose is to testify of what our Father in Heaven and Jesus say and do. When we say that the Spirit of our Father in Heaven is with us, we are referring to the Holy Ghost.

  • Home teachers

    Two men who hold the priesthood and are assigned to visit certain families in the Church. They help the families with their spiritual and temporal needs.

  • House of Israel

    Any of the natural or adopted descendants of the twelve sons of Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel (see Genesis 32:28).

  • Jesus Christ

    The oldest of our Heavenly Father’s spirit children, the Creator of the earth, and our Savior and Redeemer. He came to earth to pay for the sins of all of us. (See especially chapters 3, 11, and 12.)

  • Keys of the priesthood

    The right to give authorization to perform priesthood ordinances.

  • Law of chastity

    A commandment of our Father in Heaven that a person is to have sexual relations only with his or her spouse.

  • Lord

    A name for God. It sometimes refers to our Father in Heaven and sometimes to Jesus Christ.

  • Melchizedek Priesthood

    The greater of the two priesthoods, which has the offices of elder, high priest, patriarch, Seventy, and Apostle.

  • Millennium

    A thousand years of peace that will begin when Jesus comes to earth again in what is referred to as the Second Coming.

  • Mission

    (1) An area of the world in which the Church is either performing missionary work or intends to do so. It is usually divided into smaller units called districts. (2) A call by a leader of the Church to preach the gospel or give service for a specific period of time.

  • New Jerusalem

    A city that will be built in the state of Missouri, in the United States, just before the beginning of the Millennium. Jesus will administer His government, the kingdom of our Father in Heaven on the earth, from this place during the Millennium.

  • Ordain

    To give a worthy man an office in the priesthood by the laying on of hands.

  • Office

    A position of authority within the priesthood. (See Deacon, Teacher, Priest, etc.)

  • Ordinance

    A rite or ceremony performed through the authority of the priesthood.

  • Outer darkness

    The place where Satan and those who have chosen to follow him will live. Those who live there will not enjoy the influence of the Holy Ghost and so will be without light and truth.

  • Paradise

    The portion of the spirit world where righteous spirits live.

  • Patriarch

    An office in the Melchizedek Priesthood given to one who is already a high priest, who after being ordained to the office of patriarch gives special blessings, called patriarchal blessings, to worthy Church members.

  • Pearl of Great Price

    A book of scripture containing writings of Moses, Abraham, and Joseph Smith. The name actually means very precious gem, which is the way the book is regarded by members of the Church.

  • Physical death

    The death we experience when our bodies are separated from our spirits.

  • Priest

    An office in the Aaronic Priesthood given to worthy young men who are at least 16 years old. This office gives them the authority to perform baptisms and Aaronic Priesthood ordinations, to bless the sacrament, and to perform other duties.

  • Priesthood

    The authority that our Father in Heaven gives to men to do His work and to speak for Him. There are two divisions: the greater or Melchizedek Priesthood and the lesser or Aaronic Priesthood.

  • Prophecy

    Inspired words of a prophet, usually about a future event.

  • Prophet

    A man called by our Father in Heaven who communicates with Him and speaks for Him.

  • Quorum

    An organized group of men or boys who have the same office in the priesthood. Each quorum is governed by a president and his two counselors.

  • Repentance

    The process which a person who has sinned must go through in order to be forgiven. (See chapter 14.)

  • Resurrection

    The reuniting of the body and the spirit, after death, to form an immortal body.

  • Revelation

    Knowledge given by our Father in Heaven to man, usually through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, which may refer to things past, present, or future.

  • Sabbath day

    The day of rest designated by Jesus as a day to worship our Father in Heaven and serve others. It is observed on Sunday in most places in the world.

  • Sacrament

    An ordinance in which Church members partake of bread and water representing the body and blood of Jesus to remind us of His Atonement for sins.

  • Sacrifice

    (1) Anciently, the killing of animals to obey our Father in Heaven’s law. (2) Today, to give up something that has value to us, such as our time and resources, to help others.

  • Saint

    The term used to identify a member of Jesus’ true Church.

  • Savior

    One who saves another from something harmful. Jesus is our Savior because He saved us from both physical death and spiritual death.

  • Sealing

    An ordinance performed in the temple that eternally unites a husband and wife, or children to their parents.

  • Second Coming

    The return of our Savior, Jesus Christ, to begin the Millennium, or thousand-year period of peace.

  • Seer

    One who can foresee the future because it has been revealed to him by our Father in Heaven. A seer is similar to a prophet.

  • Seventy

    An office in the Melchizedek Priesthood. A man holding this office is a special witness of Jesus Christ and helps the Apostles govern the Church.

  • Soul

    Means the same as a person (body and spirit together). Sometimes, however, this word is used to mean a person’s spirit.

  • Spirit

    That which gives the body life. It is the part of the body that existed before this life and that continues to exist after we die. The spirit and the body will be reunited in the resurrection, never to be separated again.

  • Spirit prison

    A part of the spirit world where the spirits of three kinds of people go after death: those who were wicked in this life, those who lived good lives but did not accept or live the gospel, and those who never had the opportunity to hear the gospel. Eventually all those people will be resurrected.

  • Spirit world

    The place where the spirits of all mankind go after death until the resurrection.

  • Spiritual death

    The state of being separated from our Father in Heaven.

  • Stake

    An organization of members within a geographical area in which the Church is fully organized and governed by appointed priesthood leaders. It is divided into smaller units called wards and branches.

  • Teacher

    An office in the Aaronic Priesthood that is given to young men who are at least age 14. The name comes from one of the responsibilities of this office, which is to teach members of the Church.

  • Telestial kingdom

    The lowest of three kingdoms of glory to which people will be assigned after the resurrection. This kingdom is reserved for liars, murderers, those who steal, and other wicked persons.

  • Temple recommend

    A signed paper that admits a person into any of the temples of the Church. To obtain the paper, the person must be a worthy member of the Church. The recommend is signed by the proper priesthood leaders, who testify of the person’s worthiness.

  • Temple

    A sacred building, commonly referred to as the house of the Lord, in which sacred ordinances are performed, including the ordinance of eternal marriage.

  • Ten tribes

    Descendants of ten of the twelve sons of Israel (Jacob) who were taken into captivity and whose location has since been lost from the knowledge of mankind.

  • Terrestrial kingdom

    A kingdom of glory whose status is below that of the celestial kingdom but above that of the telestial kingdom. It is reserved for the good people of the earth who did not do all our Father in Heaven required of them.

  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

    The official name of the Church of Jesus Christ, which He restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith in our time. This Church is sometimes referred to by the nickname of the Mormon Church.

  • Tithing

    One-tenth of all that we earn, which is given to the Church.

  • Ward

    A group of members of the Church organized within a stake, who are governed by a bishop and his two counselors.

  • Word of Wisdom

    A commandment from our Father in Heaven that tells us what we should or should not eat or drink. It says specifically that we should not use alcohol, tobacco, tea, and coffee. (See chapter 27.)

  • Zion

    Another name for the New Jerusalem, a city from which Jesus will govern the earth during the Millennium.