Earth: The earth is subject to laws and principles of progression and must fill the measure of its creation. It was created as a living thing, and was baptized during the flood. It will receive the baptism of fire when the Lord cleanses the earth at His Second Coming. It will then be resurrected and exalted and become the celestial abode of its most righteous inhabitants.
Easter: Latter-day Saints celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ at Easter.
Elder: An office of the Melchizedek Priesthood, given to worthy male church members at age eighteen or older. Elders have a particular calling to serve others, and may confer church membership and the Gift of the Holy Ghost, as well as administer blessings of healing and comfort. It is also used as a title for male missionaries and for General Authorities (high ranking church officials). A male missionary or General Authority is always addressed by the title of Elder, followed by his last name.
Election of Grace: See “Foreordination.”
Elements: The Lord taught Joseph Smith that the elements are eternal.
Elijah: Malachi prophesied that Elijah would return before the great and dreadful day of the Lord, or the Second Coming of Christ. He did so to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland Temple in 1836 (on the Jewish holiday of Bikkurim), and restored the keys to seal in heaven what has been bound on earth and to seal families together forever.
Endowment: Spiritual blessings given to worthy church members in the temple. At this time, they make covenants to serve God and to keep the commandments. The endowment is done once for oneself, and thereafter for the dead by proxy. It comprises instruction regarding the significance and sequence of past dispensations, the story of the creation, the plan of redemption, and the conditions of personal purity.
Endure to the end: A phrase used by Mormons to emphasize that baptism is not the final step in the gospel. Jesus instructed His followers to keep the commandments all their lives. This phrase helps Mormons focus on the long-term goal of becoming Christ-like.
Enrichment: Nickname for “Home, Family, and Personal Enrichment.” Meetings and group activities are held regularly to help Mormon women develop new skills, learn the gospel, and serve others. Classes can be as diverse as desired, ranging from car repair to book clubs to service groups.
Ensign: A monthly magazine for adult members of the Church containing messages from leaders and articles written by church members on a variety of subjects, both practical and spiritual. This magazine is in English. Editions in other languages are called the Liahona Magazine.
Eternal life: While everyone, through grace and the atonement, receives immortality—the ability to live forever, eternal life requires more commitment to God and love for the Savior. It is the opportunity to live forever in the presence God and with our families. Jesus taught that this requires obedience to the commandments. When we have done what we can, the Savior makes up the difference through His grace.
Eternal marriage: Mormons teach that marriages performed in the temple and accompanied by obedience to the commandments and a commitment to quality family life do not end at death. Members who return to God’s presence continue to be a family forever.
Eternal progression: The ability to gain knowledge and intelligence, even after death. Our progression began eons before our birth as mortal beings and will continue into the eternities.
Exaltation: Inheriting the highest kingdom of glory in heaven. The celestial kingdom is comprised of “just men (and women) made perfect,” and children who die before the age of accountability (and those who are too handicapped to be accountable). These little children are “saved in innocence.”
Excommunication: Those who commit very serious sins may have their church membership removed. After a period of sincere repentance and a strengthening of their testimonies, they can request to be re-baptized. This act assists members who have strayed in serious ways to fully repent and also protects the Church and its members.
Faith: “The first principle in revealed religion and the foundation of all righteousness” (Joseph Smith). Faith is the moving cause of righteous action and power in heaven and on earth. Faith unto life and salvation centers in Christ.
Fall of Adam: A necessary step in God’s Plan of Salvation. While Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden, they were in a paradisiacal condition, with no death, but also no birth. In order to begin the human race, they had to fall and be cast out. The atonement of Christ compensates for the effects of the fall in overcoming death and covering Adam’s transgression.
Family history: Genealogy data plus personal and family histories. A family’s complete family history will include a historical genealogy, journals, and biographies and autobiographies. Information on ancestors is sent to the temple, where proxies perform baptisms and other ordinances for family members who did not have the opportunity to receive them in life. The deceased may accept or reject the ordinances and they are not counted on official records. Genealogy also helps Mormons build relationships with ancestors, because Mormons believe families can last eternally.
Family home evening: A weekly meeting just for individual families. They are traditionally held on Monday evenings and include prayer, music, spiritual lessons, games, working on family issues, and refreshments. Family Home Evening (sometimes abbreviated FHE) is designed to bring families closer together and to teach the gospel in the home.
Fast: To abstain from all food and drink for twenty-four hours. Members do this the first Sunday of each month. The money saved that would have been spent on two meals is donated to a special Fast Offering Fund, which is used to care for the poor and those in need. The fast is concluded with a special Sacrament Meeting where members may bear personal testimonies of the Savior.
Fast offerings: The money saved by going without food or drink for twenty-four hours is donated to a Fast Offering fund. This fund is administered by the bishop (similar to a pastor) to care for those who are hungry or have other temporary temporal needs.
Fast Sunday: The first Sunday of each month. Members arrive at church having abstained from food and drink for twenty-four hours. Money saved is donated to assist the poor. The church service, called Fast and Testimony Meeting, is different from others in that speakers are not assigned, but instead, any member may approach the pulpit and share his or her testimony of the Savior.
Father in Heaven: God is the literal father of our spirits, and therefore, we are His children. The unfathomable power and glory of God do not diminish His personal interest in and knowledge of us as individuals.
Fireside: A Sunday evening meeting in which a speaker discusses a chosen gospel topic. These are held in a private home or at the church building. They are not held each week and are usually for a specific group, most often youth or young adults.
First Estate: Our pre-mortal existence. Lucifer and his followers did not keep their first estate and thus were cast out, their progression stopped. The rest of us kept our first estate and thus have been able to progress to the second estate (mortality) and obtain physical bodies. Jude 6 talks about the first estate, as does Abraham 3 in the Pearl of Great Price.
First Principles of the Gospel: The first principles of the gospel are 1) Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, 2) repentance, 3) baptism by immersion, 4) conferring of the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. The central principle of the gospel is the “preaching of Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 109).
First Presidency: Consists of the prophet, who is also the president of the church, and two counselors. Together, they preside over the church.
First Vision, the: Experienced by Joseph Smith in 1820 in Palmyra, New York, when he was fourteen years old. He prayed to know which church to join, and received a visitation from God and Jesus Christ. He received many other visions in his lifetime. This vision was the first and eventually led to the restoration of the fullness of Christ’s church. The first vision shattered Trinitarian ideas, because God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared together, and they appeared as glorified men.
Font: A baptismal vessel where people can be baptized by immersion for the remission of sins. Found in most LDS chapels throughout the world, or in selected buildings in areas with more members.
Food storage: Mormons are counseled to store at least one year of food and commodities, which allows them to survive unemployment, serious illness, and other challenges, as well as to lower food costs by purchasing in bulk or on sale. They also keep a seventy-two hour kit ready for natural disasters and evacuation, with essentials that can be taken with them if they have to leave.
Foreordination: Latter-day Saints do not believe in predestination. God has granted us our agency. However, some of us were illustrious in the First Estate, or pre-mortal life, and thus were “foreordained” to fill special roles in the building up of God’s kingdom on earth. (See Deuteronomy 32:7-8; Jeremiah 1:5; 1 Peter 1:2; Alma 13:3-9; Abraham 3:22-23; 1 Nephi 10:7-10.)
Forever Families: A term often used by Mormons to refer to eternal families. Mormons teach that family life can continue even after death for those who are married in the temple and live worthily of this gift from God. Mormons do not believe they can be happy living forever without those they love.
Forgiveness: An important part of the gospel of Christ. We are required to forgive all men their trespasses against us, if we expect forgiveness from God. To be forgiven of our own sins, repentance is required of us.
Friend, the: The name of the English language monthly magazine for children ages three to twelve. It includes true stories, puzzles, crafts, recipes, and educational and spiritual teachings that conform to church doctrine.