Definitions

Aaronic Priesthood:  The lesser priesthood.  This priesthood includes the authority to baptize and is named for Aaron in the Old Testament of the Bible.

Agency: The ability and privilege God gives people to choose and to act for themselves.

Apostasy: A turning away from the truth by individuals, the Church, or entire nations. It includes rebellion against authority and rejection of prophets. Evidence of apostasy includes transgressing God’s laws, changing gospel ordinances, and breaking covenants (see Isaiah 24:5).

Apostle:  The title Jesus Christ gave to the twelve men He chose as His closest associates during His ministry on earth and to whom He gave authority to act in His name.  In modern times, Jesus Christ has called other men to serve as His Apostles.  As in former times, an Apostle is a special witness of Jesus Christ and has authority from Him.

Atonement:  The event that enables us to be reconciled to God.  To atone is to suffer the penalty for sin, thereby removing the effects of sin from repentant sinners.  Jesus Christ was the only one capable of making a perfect Atonement for all mankind.  His Atonement included His suffering for our sins, the shedding of His blood, and His death and Resurrection.  Because of the Atonement, everyone who has lived will be resurrected.  The Atonement also provides us with a way to be forgiven of our sins and to live forever with God.

Baptism:  As essential step in receiving forgiveness of sins.  Through baptims and confirmation by priesthood authority, we become members of The Chruch of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Baptism is by immersion, meaning that the person being baptized is briefly submerged in water.  Baptism shows our willingess to follow Christ’s example and to make covenants with God.

Confirmation: The laying on of hands by those holding the Melchizedek Priesthood in order to become a member of the Church and to confer the gift of the Holy Ghost to a person.

Covenant: An agreement between God and His children. We do not act as equals in the agreement. God gives the conditions for the covenant, and we agree to do what He asks us to do. God then promises us certain blessings for our obedience. We receive ordinances by covenant. When we make such covenants, we promise to honor them. For example, members of the Church covenant with the Lord at baptism and renew those covenants by partaking of the sacrament. We make further covenants in the temple. The Lord’s people are a covenant people. We are greatly blessed as we keep our covenants with the Lord.

Dispensation: A period of time in which the Lord has at least one authorized servant on the earth who bears the keys of the holy priesthood. In addition to Jesus Christ, prophets such as Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Joseph Smith have each started a new gospel dispensation. When the Lord organizes a dispensation, the gospel is revealed anew so that the people of that dispensation do not have to depend on past dispensations for knowledge of the plan of salvation. The dispensation begun by Joseph Smith is known as the “dispensation of the fulness of times.”

Endure to the End: To remain true to the commandments of God despite temptation, opposition, and adversity throughout life.

Eternal Life: To live forever as families in God’s presence (see Doctrine & Covenants 132:19–20). Eternal life is God’s greatest gift to man.

Exaltation: Eternal life in God’s presence; to become like our Father in Heaven and live in His presence. The greatest of all the gifts of God. Exaltation comes through the Atonement of Christ and through obedience to all the laws and ordinances of the gospel.

Fall (of Adam and Eve): The event by which mandkind became mortal.  It resulted in a spiritual and physical separation from God.  When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, they became mortal—that is, subject to sin and death. Adam became the “first flesh” upon the earth (Moses 3:7).  We, as their descendants, are also separated from God and subject to physical death.  Latter-day revelation makes clear that the Fall is a blessing and that Adam and Eve should be honored as the first parents of all mankind.  The Atonement of Jesus Christ overcomes the effects of the fall.

Gospel: Heavenly Father’s plan to help us have peace in this life and joy in eternity and is made possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The gospel includes the eternal truths or laws, covenants, and ordinances needed for mankind to return to the presence of God.  The gospel is centered on the Atonement of Jesus Christ and requires us to have faith in Him, repent, be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end.

Grace: The enabling power from Jesus Christ that allows us to obtain blessings in this life and to gain eternal life and exaltation after we have exercised faith, repented, and given our best effort to keep the commandments. Such divine help or strength is given through the mercy and love of Jesus Christ. We all need divine grace because of Adam’s Fall and also because of our weaknesses.

Holy Ghost:  Also called the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, and the Comforter.  He witnesses, or testifies, of Heavenly Father and jesus Christ and reveals and teaches the truth.

Immortality: The condition of living forever in a resurrected state, not subject to physical death.

Judgment: God, through Jesus Christ, will judge us individually to determine the eternal glory we will receive. This judgment will be based on our obedience to God’s commandments, including our acceptance of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We will receive our eternal reward based on whether our works and desires have been good or evil.

Melchizedek Priesthood:  The higher or greater priesthood.  It is named for Melchizedek in teh Old Testament of the Bible, who was a righteous high priest and king.

Mercy: The spirit of compassion, tenderness, and forgiveness. Mercy is one of the attributes of God. Jesus Christ offers mercy to us through His atoning sacrifice on conditions of repentance.

Mortality: The time from birth until physical death.

Ordinance:  A sacred, formal act performed by the authority of the priesthood.  Ordinances are often a means of entering into coventants with God. Examples include baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost, and the sacrament. 

Physical death: Separation of our spirit, which lives forever and cannot die, from our physical body.  We overcome physical death through resurrection, which was made possible by the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

Plan of Salvation:  Heavenly Father’s plan to enable us to become like Him and receive a fulness of joy.  This plan is centered on the Atonement of Jesus Christ and includes all the commandments, ordinances, and teachings of the gospel.

Premortal life (premortality; pre-earth life): As spirit children of our Father in Heaven, we lived in His presence before we were born on this earth. In premortal life we did not have physical bodies.

Priesthood: The authority and power that God gives to man to act in the name of Jesus Christ in all things for the salvation of mankind.  The Aaronic Pristhood was restored to Joseph Smith by John the Baptist, who baptized Jesus.  The Melchizedek Priesthood was restored by Peter, James, and John, three of Jesus’s Twelve Apostles.

Prophet: A man who has been called by and speaks for God. As a messenger of God, a prophet receives priesthood authority, commandments, prophecies, and revelations from God. His responsibility is to make known God’s will and true character to mankind and to show the meaning of His dealings with them. A prophet denounces sin and foretells its consequences. He is a preacher of righteousness. On occasion, a prophet may be inspired to foretell the future for the benefit of mankind. His primary responsibility, however, is to bear witness of Christ.

Redeemer: Jesus Christ is the great Redeemer of mankind because He, through His Atonement, paid the price for the sins of mankind and made possible the resurrection of all people. To redeem is to deliver, to purchase, or to ransom, such as to free a person from bondage by payment. Redemption refers to the Atonement of Jesus Christ and to deliverance from sin. Jesus’ Atonement redeems all mankind from physical death. Through His Atonement, which includes His suffering in Gethsemane and on the cross as well as His Resurrection, those who have faith in Him and who repent are redeemed from spiritual death.

Redemption: To deliver, to purchase, or to ransom, such as to free a person from bondage by payment. Redemption refers to the Atonement of Jesus Christ and to deliverance from sin. Jesus’ Atonement redeems all mankind from physical death. Through His Atonement, those who have faith in Him and repent are also redeemed from spiritual death.

Reformer: To reform is to make changes to something in order to improve it.  The term reformers refers to those men and women (such as Martin Luther, John Calvin, William Tyndale, and John Wycliffe) who protested the practices of the existing church, which they felt needed to be reformed.

Restitution: The return of something that has been taken away or lost. For example, the Restoration of the gospel is called a restitution (see Acts 3:19–21). The word restoration also refers to the restoration of the body (see Alma 41:10–15).

Restoration: To restore means to return to a former condition, or to bring back.  The Restoration, as used by Latter-day Saints, means that the true Church of Jesus Christ, which was lost through apostasy, was brought back as it originally existed when organized by Jesus Christ. Unlike the Reformation, the Restoration was accomplished by divine authority through revelation.

Resurrection: The reuniting of the spirit body with the physical body of flesh and bones after death. After resurrection, the spirit and body will never again be separated, and the person is immortal. Every person born on earth will be resurrected because Jesus Christ overcame death.

Revelation:  Communication from God to His children on earth. Revelation may come through the Light of Christ and the Holy Ghost by way of inspiration, visions, dreams, or visits by angels. Revelation provides guidance that can lead the faithful to eternal salvation in the celestial kingdom. The Lord reveals His work to His prophets and confirms to believers that the revelations to the prophets are true (see Amos 3:7). Through revelation, the Lord provides individual guidance for every person who seeks it and who has faith, repents, and is obedient to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Sacrament:  An ordinance that reminds Church members of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  By partaking of teh sacrament, we renew the covenants we make at baptism.  Bread and water are blessed and given to the congregation.  The bread represents the body of Jesus Christ, and the water represents His blood.  This ordinance occurs each week in a worship service called a sacrament meeting.

Salvation:  Deliverance from sin and death.  Salvation is made possible by the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  Through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, everyone will be able to overcome the effects of death.  We can also be saved from the effects of our sins through faith in Jesus Christ.  This faith is manifested in a life of repentance and obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel and service to Christ.

Spirit:  The part of a person that lived with Heavenly Father before birth.  During life on earth, the spirit is joined with a physical body.  The spirit continues to live after death.

Spiritual Death:  Separation from God as a result of disobeying His commandments.  We are saved from spiritual death through teh Atonement of Jesus Christ as we repent and keep His commandments.

Spirit World:  Where our spirits go between death and resurrection.  For those who were righteous during their lives, the spirit world will be a place of peace and joy. (Alma 40)

 

 

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