Garments: Sacred clothing worn beneath the outer clothing by members who attend the temple. It serves as a reminder of sacred covenants made with God. It is similar in purpose to other sacred items or clothing worn by members of the Jewish faith and other religions.
Gathering: Refers to gathering people unto Christ. In the early days of the church, members literally gathered to live in one place. Today, members live throughout the world and gather in local church buildings for meetings. Mormons believe in the spiritual gathering of Israel, but also in the literal gathering of the Jews.
Genealogy: A portion of family history work involving gathering names of and information about ancestors. This information has two purposes. The first is to allow proxy work to be done for family members, such as baptism, if they did not have the opportunity to receive it in their lifetime. The deceased person may reject or accept the ordinances done on his behalf, and since we do not know what the deceased chose, these names are not entered into the records of the church. The second reason is to become familiar with those who will continue to be our family for eternity. (See Eternal Families.)
General Authorities: Priesthood leaders who preside over the Church at the world-wide level. The First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and the first and second Quorums of the Seventy are the General Authorities of the Church.
General Conference: A semi-annual conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is held in April and October in Salt Lake City Utah and broadcast by satellite, television, radio, and Internet worldwide. This conference provides religious instruction from church leadership for both members and non-members. Four regular sessions are held, as well as a priesthood session. Near the conference dates, two additional sessions are held for women and for teenage girls.
Gift of the Holy Ghost: All people may receive guidance from the Holy Ghost if they are living worthily and are sincerely seeking help, but after baptism and confirmation from one who has the proper priesthood authority, a person may receive the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost if he or she continues to live worthy of the gift.
Godhead: The Godhead consists of God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. Each is a distinct being and both God and Jesus have glorified, perfected bodies. The Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit.
Godhood: As explained in the New Testament, obedience and faithfulness enable us to be exalted and to become co-heirs with Christ. This is called Theosis, the destiny of man to obtain divine characteristics and to become god-like. This, however, does not supplant God, or usurp His power.
Gold Plates: The plates that contain the writings of the Book of Mormon. Joseph Smith translated the plates and then returned them to Moroni, the angel who had directed Joseph to them. The plates had the appearance of gold, but were a lighter, but stronger, collection of alloys, probably gold and copper.
Gospel: Means “good news” and refers to Jesus Christ and the blessings of the atonement and His resurrection, allowing us to return to God’s presence. Mormons tend to use the term to refer to all spiritual truth. (See Doctrine and Covenants 76:40-42.)
Grace: Because of the atonement of Jesus Christ, all will be resurrected and live forever. This is the result of grace. However, in the Bible, Jesus taught that we must keep the commandments. With obedience and faith, we may receive even greater rewards. No one can save himself through his own works; we all fall short of the purity and perfection necessary to attain heaven. God’s grace is necessary.
Great Apostasy: After Christ’s apostles were killed, the philosophies of men began to creep into His true church. At the great councils that determined the creeds of orthodoxy, there was not agreement on the most fundamental doctrines of the church. Since then, hundreds of separate churches have sprung up, many trying to reclaim original truths and practices. But priesthood authority ─ the authority to act in the name of God ─ was lost (except perhaps among the Ten Lost Tribes). It has been restored, and this is the great message of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Healing: God’s grace offers us spiritual, emotional, and even physical healing through the power of faith. The priesthood includes the power of healing, which may be accomplished through the laying on of hands. However, members of the Church also honor the medical profession and do not avoid medical treatment in favor of faith healings. Priesthood holders give healing blessings according to their stewardship and callings in the Church. This prevents someone from being sought-out and honored for his gift of healing.
Heaven: Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon saw a vision of the kingdoms of heaven. The vision is recorded in section 76 of the Doctrine and Covenants and even explains who will populate these kingdoms. There are three main kingdoms (each with many mansions, or divisions): the Celestial (highest kingdom where God Himself dwells), the Terrestrial, and the Telestial. Even the Telestial Kingdom is glorious beyond description.
Hell: 1) Spirit Prison, a part of the Spirit World, where the unrighteous go to await resurrection and judgment. There, they temporarily suffer for their sins. 2) Outer Darkness, where Satan and his followers will spend eternity. Only Sons of Perdition will be cast into Outer Darkness, where there is an absence of light and progress. These are they who commit “the sin against the Holy Ghost,” wherein they have a perfect witness of the Savior (actually see Him) and then deny Him.
High Council: Twelve high priests who serve under the direction of the Stake President. A stake is similar to a Catholic Diocese and oversees a number of congregations in a geographical region. They participate in church disciplinary councils, conduct stake business, and oversee stake programs.
High Priest: The office of the Melchizedek priesthood required to serve as a bishop, a counselor to a bishop, or other higher level priesthood offices. The High Priests quorum is presided over by the prophet at the church level. The stake president presides over the quorums at the stake level. At the ward level, each quorum is led by a group leader and his assistants. At this level, they meet together each Sunday to study religion and to report on and plan assignments and service work.
Holy Ghost: The third member of the Godhead, which also includes God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. The Holy Ghost testifies of truth, comforts us, and gives us guidance to help us progress both temporally and spiritually through mortality.
Home Teaching: A priesthood assignment in which men, working in pairs, are assigned several families to visit monthly. They teach a brief spiritual lesson and serve the family as needed. All families in a congregation are assigned home teachers.
Homosexuality: Any sexual practice outside marriage is sinful, and the Lord holds that marriage is a sacred covenant between a man and a woman. The Church regrets the suffering, loneliness, and confusion experienced by people with same-sex attraction and affords them all the civil rights they desire except the institution of marriage. Same-sex attraction is not a sin, but acting upon it is.
Hope: A desire and full expectation of receiving salvation in the kingdom of God. Hope enables men and women to have faith; then as faith strengthens, hope increases.
Idols: Any objects of worship that distract from the center of proper worship ─ Christ and God. The Church uses no icons in its worship. Sculpture and artwork are always placed where they cannot be worshipped. It’s not necessary to worship graven images to worship idols; the worship of money, power, worldly learning, beauty, or gratification of lusts can be labeled idolatry.
Immortality: The ability to live forever. Although the body dies at death, the spirit does not. The body is permanently reunited with the spirit at resurrection. While immortality, which everyone receives as a blessing of grace, refers only to living forever, eternal life refers to the ability to live with God forever. Not all who live forever will be permitted to live with God, because no unclean thing can dwell in the kingdom of God.
Inactive: One who does not, by choice, consistently attend church or serve in church positions.
Infant Baptism: Mormons do not practice infant baptism, because children under the age of eight are incapable of sin and too young to understand the repentance process. Little children who die, die in innocence and are saved and exalted because of the atonement: “the Son of God hath atoned for original guilt, wherein the sins of the parents cannot be answered upon the heads of the children, for they are whole from the foundation of the world” (Moses 6:54). (See also Moroni 8.)
Inspiration: Guidance received through the Holy Ghost. Inspiration may come in a variety of ways: Impressions, dreams, feelings, thoughts, and rarely, through “hearing” a voice. Following these inspirations, sometimes called promptings, help us to find truth and live the teachings of Jesus Christ.
Institute: Refers to the Institute of Religion. Operated by CES (Church Education System), the program offers religion classes throughout the week for young adults. Classes are held near a college if there are enough members, and the building often also hosts activities. In areas where there are only small numbers of LDS young adults, classes are held at a church building or other location.
Intercession: Heavenly Father has given Jesus Christ the power to make intercession for the children of men. Christ mediates, prays, petitions, and entreats the Lord in our behalf to obtain mercy for us. (See 2 Nephi 2:9-10.)
Investigator: Someone who is learning about Mormonism for positive purposes, usually to decide whether or not to become a member. This most often includes attending church meetings and meeting with missionaries.
Iron Rod: A symbol from a vision seen by the Book of Mormon prophets Lehi and Nephi and recorded in the Book of Mormon. It represents the Word of God and symbolizes our need to hold to that Word to receive Eternal Life.
Israel: 1) Jacob’s new name: “contender with God.” 2) The twelve tribes descended from Jacob. 3) Those who accept the gospel become the house of Israel