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definitions - Mormon

Mormon (adj.)

1.of or pertaining to or characteristic of the Mormon Church"Mormon leaders" "the former Mormon practice of polygamy"

Mormon (n.)

1.a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

2.the ancient prophet whose writings were revealed to Joseph Smith who founded the Mormon Church

3.the ancient prophet whose writings were revealed to Joseph Smith who founded the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

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Merriam Webster

Mormon‖Mor"mon (?), prop. n. [NL., fr. Gr. mormw`n monster, bugbear.] (Zoöl.) (a) A genus of sea birds, having a large, thick bill; the puffin. (b) The mandrill.

MormonMor"mon (?), prop. n. (Eccl.) One of a Christian denomination (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) in the United States, followers of Joseph Smith, who professed to have found an addition to the Bible, engraved on golden plates, called the Book of Mormon, first published in 1830. The Mormons believe in polygamy, and their hierarchy of apostles, etc., has control of civil and religious matters.

☞ The Mormons call their religious organization The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Its head claims to receive revelations of God's will, and to have certain supernatural powers. The church headquarters are in Salt Lake City, Utah. They form a substantial fraction of the population of Utah, and at the end of the 20th centrury their numbers were increasing due to active proselytization.

MormonMor"mon, n. (Eccl.) A member of a sect, called the Reorganized Church of Jesus of Latterday Saints, which has always rejected polygamy. It was organized in 1852, and is represented in about forty States and Territories of the United States.

MormonMor"mon, a. Of or pertaining to the Mormons; as, the Mormon religion; Mormon practices.

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synonyms - Mormon

Mormon (n.)

Latter-Day Saint


-Aaron (Book of Mormon) • Abish (Book of Mormon) • Aha (Book of Mormon) • Ahah (Book of Mormon) • Amaleki (Book of Mormon explorer) • Amalekites (Book of Mormon) • American Mormon • Ammah (Book of Mormon) • Ammon (Book of Mormon explorer) • Ammon (Book of Mormon missionary) • Ammonites (Book of Mormon) • An Insider's View of Mormon Origins • Angola (Book of Mormon) • Archaeology and the Book of Mormon • Association for Mormon Letters • Barbara Thompson (Mormon) • Billy Johnson (Mormon) • Boaz (Book of Mormon) • Book of Mormon • Book of Mormon (Mormon's record) • Book of Mormon Institute • Book of Mormon anachronisms • Book of Mormon chronology • Book of Mormon rulers • Book of Mormon weights and measures • Book of Mormon witnesses • Bountiful (Book of Mormon) • Charles Kingston (Mormon) • Common Mormon • Criticism of Mormon sacred texts • Criticism of the Book of Mormon • Cultural Mormon • Dan Jones (Mormon) • Daniel Peterson (Mormon apologist) • Daniel Spencer (Mormon) • Daniel Webster Jones (Mormon) • Dave's Mormon Inquiry • David A. Smith (Mormon) • Deseret (Book of Mormon) • East Mormon Mountains • Edward Bunker (Mormon) • Edward Hunter (Mormon) • Emer (Book of Mormon) • Enos (Book of Mormon) • Esrom (Book of Mormon) • Esrom(Book of Mormon) • Ether (Book of Mormon prophet) • Ex-Mormon • Feminist Mormon Housewives • Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies • Franklin D. Richards (Mormon apostle) • Franklin D. Richards (Mormon seventy) • Genetics and the Book of Mormon • George Goddard (Mormon) • George Reynolds (Mormon) • Gideon (Book of Mormon) • Great Mormon • Henry Harriman (Mormon) • Henry Howell (Mormon) • Historical authenticity of the Book of Mormon • Illinois Mormon War • Institute of Mormon Studies • Ishmael (Book of Mormon) • Jack Mormon • Jacob (Book of Mormon prophet) • James Allen (Mormon Battalion) • Jared (Book of Mormon king) • John Gould (Mormon) • John H. Taylor (Mormon) • John Jaques (Mormon) • John Longden (Mormon) • John Murdock (Mormon) • John Parry (Mormon) • John R. Murdock (Mormon) • John S. Tanner (Mormon) • John Sharp (Mormon) • John W. Taylor (Mormon) • John Wells (Mormon) • Joseph (Book of Mormon) • Joseph Anderson (Mormon) • Joseph Smith and the Origins of the Book of Mormon • Journal of Book of Mormon Studies • Journal of Mormon History • Journal of the Book of Mormon and Other Restoration Scripture • Journal of the Book of Mormon and Restoration Scripture • Kenneth Johnson (Mormon) • Laban (Book of Mormon) • Lehi (Book of Mormon prophet) • Lemuel (Book of Mormon) • Liahona (Book of Mormon) • Linguistics and the Book of Mormon • List of Book of Mormon groups • List of Book of Mormon people • List of Book of Mormon places • List of Book of Mormon prophets • List of Book of Mormon translations • List of Mormon Tabernacle Choir music directors • List of Mormon Tabernacle Choir organists • List of Mormon fundamentalist leaders • List of Mormon wars and massacres • List of former Mormon fundamentalists • Missouri Mormon War • Molly Mormon • Mormon (Book of Mormon) • Mormon (disambiguation) • Mormon Alliance • Mormon Bar, California • Mormon Battalion • Mormon Blood Atonement • Mormon Bridge • Mormon Bridge (Omaha) • Mormon Channel • Mormon Corridor • Mormon Doctrine (book) • Mormon Flat Dam • Mormon Historic Sites Foundation • Mormon Historic Sites Registry • Mormon History Association • Mormon Island, California • Mormon Lake • Mormon Matters • Mormon Mentality - Thoughts and Asides by Peculiar People • Mormon Metalmark • Mormon Miracle Pageant • Mormon Mountains • Mormon Orchestra of Washington DC • Mormon Pioneer Cemetery • Mormon Pioneer Memorial Bridge • Mormon Reformation • Mormon Row • Mormon Row Historic District • Mormon Springs, Mississippi • Mormon Station State Historic Park • Mormon Stories • Mormon Tabernacle Choir • Mormon Tavern, California • Mormon Trail • Mormon War • Mormon War (1838) • Mormon Well Spring • Mormon Youth Symphony and Chorus • Mormon apologetics • Mormon apologist • Mormon colonies in Mexico • Mormon cosmology • Mormon cricket • Mormon folk music • Mormon folklore • Mormon fundamentalism • Mormon handcart pioneers • Mormon historian • Mormon literature • Mormon missionaries • Mormon mommy blog • Mormon music • Mormon pioneers • Mormon potatoes • Mormon scripture • Mormon sex in chains case • Mormon underwear • Mormon volcanic field • Mormon, California • Moroni (Book of Mormon) • Mountain Meadows massacre and Mormon public relations • Mountain Meadows massacre and Mormon theology • Music of the Mormon Church • New Mormon history • New Order Mormon • Old Las Vegas Mormon State Historic Park • Old Spanish Trail–Mormon Road Historic District • Omer (Book of Mormon) • Omni (Book of Mormon prophet) • Origin of the Book of Mormon • Paanchi (Book of Mormon) • Proposed Book of Mormon geographical setting • Sam (Book of Mormon) • Stay LDS / Mormon • Studies of the Book of Mormon • The Book of Mormon and the King James Bible • The Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies • The Mormon Prophet and His Harem • The Mormon Worker • Thomas Bullock (Mormon) • Thomas E. Ricks (Mormon) • W. W. Phelps (Mormon) • Waters of Mormon • William B. Preston (Mormon) • William Clayton (Mormon) • William Fowler (Mormon) • William Huntington (Mormon) • William Pitt (Mormon) • Words of Mormon • Ziff (Book of Mormon)

analogical dictionary


Mormon (n.)

Mormon (n.)



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Mormon is a term used to describe the adherents, practitioners, followers or constituents of certain denominations within the Latter Day Saint movement. The term most often refers to a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), which is commonly called the Mormon Church. The LDS Church claims that "Mormon" should properly be applied only to its members, to avoid possible confusion with Mormon fundamentalist groups which practice plural marriage. However, the term is nevertheless used to refer to many other sects that recognize Brigham Young as a prophet, including Mormon fundamentalists. The term is not usually applied to other sects within the Latter Day Saint movement, such as the Community of Christ, who did not associate with Brigham Young after the death of Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder of the movement.

The term originated from the Book of Mormon, first published in 1830 by Joseph Smith, Jr. According to the Book of Mormon, Mormon is the name of an indigenous American prophet–historian who compiled the majority of the book.


Origin of the term

The term "Mormon" is taken from the title of the Book of Mormon, a sacred text adherents believe to have been translated from golden plates revealed by an angel to Joseph Smith, Jr. and published in 1830. According to the text of the Book of Mormon, Mormon was the name of a fourth century prophet–historian who compiled and abridged many records of his ancestors into the Book of Mormon. The book is believed by Mormons to be a literal record of God's dealings with pre-Columbian civilizations in the Americas from approximately 2600 BC through AD 420, written by prophets and followers of Jesus Christ. The book records the teachings of Jesus Christ to the people in the Americas as well as Christ's personal ministry among the people of Nephi after his resurrection.[1] Mormons believe the Book of Mormon is another witness of Jesus Christ, "holy scripture comparable to the Bible".[2]

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, one of the earliest published usages of the term "Mormon" to describe believers in the Book of Mormon was in 1833 by the Louisville (Kentucky) Daily Herald in an article, "The Mormons and the Anti-Mormons".[3]

Popular usage

The terms "Mormon" and "Mormonite" were first used in the 1830s as pejoratives to describe those who followed Joseph Smith and believed in the divine origin of the Book of Mormon. The term was soon adopted by Mormons themselves, however, and has lost its generally pejorative status.

The term "Mormon" is most often used to refer to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). However, the term is also adopted by other adherents of Mormonism, including adherents of Mormon fundamentalism. The term "Mormon" is generally disfavored by other denominations of the Latter Day Saint movement, such as the Community of Christ, which have distinct histories from that of the LDS Church since Smith's death in 1844.

The term is particularly embraced by adherents of Mormon fundamentalism, who continue to believe in and practice plural marriage,[4] a practice that the LDS Church officially abandoned in 1890.[5] Seeking to distance itself from polygamy and Mormon fundamentalism, the LDS Church has taken the position that the term Mormon should only apply to the LDS Church and its members, and not other adherents who have adopted the term.[6] The church cites the AP Stylebook, which states, "The term Mormon is not properly applied to the other Latter Day Saints churches that resulted from the split after [Joseph] Smith’s death."[7] Despite the LDS Church's position, the term Mormon is widely used by journalists and non-journalists to refer to adherents of Mormon fundamentalism.

"Mormon Church"

The official name of the Salt Lake City, Utah-based church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While the term "Mormon Church" has long been attached to the church as a nickname, it is an unauthorized title, and its use is not encouraged by the church, although the use of "Mormon" in other contexts is not generally considered offensive and is commonly used by the church's members.[8][9][10] LDS Church leaders have encouraged members to use the church's full name to emphasize the church's focus on Jesus Christ.[11]

Scholarly usage

J. Gordon Melton, in his Encyclopedia of American Religions, subdivides the Mormons into Utah Mormons, Missouri Mormons, Polygamy-Practicing Mormons, and Other Mormons.[12] In this scheme, the Utah Mormon group includes the non-polygamous organizations descending from those Mormons who followed Brigham Young to what is now Utah. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is by far the largest of these groups, and the only group to initially reside in Utah. The Missouri Mormon groups include those non-polygamous groups that chose not to travel to Utah and are currently headquartered in Missouri, which Joseph Smith, Jr. designated as the future site of the New Jerusalem. These organizations include Community of Christ, Church of Christ (Temple Lot), Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and others. Polygamy-Practicing Mormon groups are those that currently practice polygamy, regardless of location. Other Mormon groups include those that are not headquartered in Utah or Missouri and do not practice polygamy, such as The Church of Jesus Christ (Bickertonite) and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Strangite).

The terms "Utah Mormon" and "Missouri Mormon" can be problematic if interpreted to mean more than the location of the various groups' headquarters.[citation needed] The majority of members of "Utah Mormon" groups and "Missouri Mormon" groups no longer live in either of these U.S. states. Although a majority of Utahns are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the LDS Church has a worldwide membership with the majority of its members outside the United States. Nor do most "Missouri Mormons" live in Missouri.

Meaning of the word

The May 15, 1843 issue of the official Mormon periodical Times and Seasons contains an article, purportedly written by Joseph Smith, Jr., deriving the etymology of the name "Mormon" from English "more" + Egyptian mon, "good", and extolling the meaning as follows:

It has been stated that this word [mormon] was derived from the Greek word mormo. This is not the case. There was no Greek or Latin upon the plates from which I, through the grace of God, translated the Book of Mormon. Let the language of that book speak for itself. On the 523d page, of the fourth edition, it reads: And now behold we have written this record according to our knowledge in the characters which are called among us the Reformed Egyptian ... none other people knoweth our language; therefore [God] hath prepared means for the interpretation thereof." ... [The] Bible in its widest sense, means good; for the Savior says according to the gospel of John, "I am the good shepherd;" and it will not be beyond the common use of terms, to say that good is among the most important in use, and though known by various names in different languages, still its meaning is the same, and is ever in opposition to bad. We say from the Saxon, good; the Dane, god; the Goth, goda; the German, gut; the Dutch, goed; the Latin, bonus; the Greek, kalos; the Hebrew, tob; and the Egyptian, mon. Hence, with the addition of more, or the contraction, mor, we have the word MOR-MON; which means, literally, more good.[13]

Whether Smith was the actual author of this passage is uncertain. Official LDS Church historian B. H. Roberts removed the quote from his History of the Church compilation, saying he found evidence that W. W. Phelps wrote that paragraph and that it was "based on inaccurate premises and was offensively pedantic."[14] LDS Church apostle Gordon B. Hinckley noted that the "more good" translation is incorrect but added that "Mormon means 'more good'" is a positive motto for members of the LDS Church.[9]

Meaning in the Book of Mormon

According to the Book of Mormon, a man named Mormon compiled nearly 1000 years of writings as well as chronicled events during his lifetime. Most of the text of the Book of Mormon consists of this compilation and his own writings, which may account for its title.[15] However, the name "Mormon" is also used in the Book of Mormon as a place name (e.g. Waters of Mormon), which Ancient America Foundation scholar David Lamb uses to offer an alternate explanation for the title:

[The prophet] Mormon was not named after his father; he was named after the land of Mormon. He had been taught about his heritage by his parents and understood the sacred significance associated with the name Mormon. No doubt his father also bore the name Mormon for the same reason. In 3 Nephi 5:12 he gives us a clear indication that the name Mormon is symbolically synonymous with the restoration of the covenant which took place in the land of Mormon by Alma and his people.

A study of the Introduction of the Book of Mormon tells us its main purpose is to restore a knowledge of the covenants to the house of Israel. This adds weight to the understanding that the name Mormon was always associated with the place of the restoration of the covenant to the Nephites. In fact, the name Mormon became synonymous with the concept of restoring the covenants.

In light of this understanding, the Book of Mormon is not named for a man. It is named for the place where the covenant was restored. Symbolically, the Book of Mormon bears the name "Book of the Restoration of the Covenant."[16]


In some countries, Mormon and some phrases including the term are registered trademarks owned by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. (a holding company for the LDS Church's intellectual property).[17] In the United States, the LDS Church has applied for a trademark on "Mormon" as applied to religious services; however, the United States Patent and Trademark Office rejected the application, stating that the term "Mormon" was too generic, and is popularly understood as referring to a particular kind of church, similar to "Presbyterian" or "Methodist", rather than a service mark.[18] The application is on appeal as of mid-2007.[19] In all, the Intellectual Reserve, Inc. owns more than 60 trademarks related to the Mormon Church.[20]

See also

Latter-day Saints portal


  1. ^ 3 Nephi, chapters 11-26, from scriptures.lds.org, an official website of the LDS Church
  2. ^ Introduction, Book of Mormon
  3. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. "Mormon".
  4. ^ The term "Mormon fundamentalist" appears to have been coined in the 1940s by LDS Church Apostle Mark E. Petersen: Ken Driggs, "'This Will Someday Be the Head and Not the Tail of the Church': A History of the Mormon Fundamentalists at Short Creek", Journal of Church and State 43:49 (2001) at p. 51.
  5. ^ The LDS Church now strictly prohibits polygamy and any member practicing it is subject to excommunication. For description of the dispute over the term "Fundamentalist Mormon," see Carrie Moore and Elaine Jarvik (2006-09-09). "Plural lives: the diversity of fundamentalism". Deseret Morning News. http://www.deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,645199994,00.html. .
  6. ^ Mormons and Polygamy, LDS News Room.
  7. ^ "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, The," Associated Press, The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law, 2002, ISBN 0738207403, p.48
  8. ^ LDS Church Style Guide.
  9. ^ a b Gordon B. Hinckley, "Mormon Should Mean 'More Good,'" Ensign, Nov. 1990, p. 51.
  10. ^ See "Style Guide - The Name of the Church". http://www.lds.org/newsroom/page/0,15606,4043-1---15-168,00.html. Retrieved 2006-12-04. 
  11. ^ Russell M. Nelson, "Thus Shall My Church Be Called," Ensign, May 1990, 16.
  12. ^ J. Gordon Melton (1996, 5th ed.). Encyclopedia of American Religions. (Detroit: Gale, ISBN 0810377144) pp. 561–585.
  13. ^ "Correspondence", Times and Seasons (Nauvoo, Illinois), vol. 4, no. 13, p. 194] (May 15, 1843); quoted in Joseph Smith, Jr. (Joseph Fielding Smith ed., 1938) Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book) pp. 299–300.
  14. ^ Defender of the Faith: The B. H. Roberts Story, pp. 291–292
  15. ^ Mormon.org: the Book of Mormon
  16. ^ David Lamb, The Meaning of the Name of "Mormon"
  17. ^ For example, "Mormon Tabernacle Choir" is registered as United States Federal TM Reg. No. 2766231, and "Mormon" is registered in the European Community serial number EC004306701, registered July 6, 2006
  18. ^ Office Action, November 1, 2005.
  19. ^ Federal TM Ser. No. 78161091: "Current Status: Abandoned after an ex parte appeal. Date of Status: 2007-08-22"
  20. ^ http://www.trademarkia.com/company-intellectual-reserve-inc-613675-page-1-2

External links

  • LDS Newsroom LDS Church criticisms of the use of the word "Mormon" in news reports
  • Mormon.org - Official outreach web site for the LDS Church.
  • "The Mormons" - PBS Special can be watched online
  • Mormon Times - For and about members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


All translations of Mormon

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