In priesthood meeting this past Sunday the photographers collecting photos for the ward photo directory stood up and talked about their project, and suggested, several times, that the photos might end up on the “Blogosphere.” After the third mention of “Blogosphere,” I replied (so everyone could hear):
“In the Church we call it the “Bloggernacle.”
To my surprise, “Bloggernacle” drew gaffaws from the entire room, as if I had invented the term there and then as a joke of some kind.
It is no real surprise, I suppose, that most Church members have never heard of the term “Bloggernacle.” The audience for Mormon blogs is still rather small, compared to the number of active LDS Church members, so terminology that is really only used among bloggers isn’t spread among the broader Mormon culture, let alone the national culture.
“Bloggernacle” is just one of many new terms I’ve heard of in recent years. We have a lot of terms, and it seems like we get new ones each year. And the terms have become more specifics to various parts of the culture. The Internet has, of course, been one of the more prolific sources of new words in the last decades.
Off the top of my head, it seems like Mormon culture’s sources of new words are perhaps a little different than the US culture as a whole. Where US culture depends a lot on popular media for new terms (along with academia, which is the principal source of more technial terms), we don’t have popular media that creates, defines and divulges new terms. We do have General Conference.
It seems to me like many of the new terms we have seen in recent decades come directly from General Conference and from the speeches and writings of General Authorities, especially those of the prophet. Examples? How about “Lengthen Your Stride” or “Faith in Every Footstep” or “Standing for Something”?
Terms also come from mormon culture (think “Molly Mormon” and “Saturday’s Warrior”) and even from the Church bureaucracy’s names for programs and functions (not only names like “Beehive” and “MiaMaid,” but also “Physical Facilities Representative” and “Agent Bishop.”). I think the increasing influence of the Internet has even led to anti-Mormon slurs being more available (ever heard of the “Morg”?).
I haven’t yet had a chance to look through this past General Conference for new terms or phrases — and I admit that they don’t come along every conference. Nor do I follow the Bloggernacle religiously enough to see the new phrases that arise there. So in January I asked on the AML list for recent terms, and learned of the following terms:
- Morthodox – Orthodox Mormon
- Moho – Mormon homosexual
- ex-Mo – Former Mormon
- TBM – True Blue Mormon or True Believing Mormon
- Morg – a derogatory term confounding Mormons or the LDS Church with Star Trek’s Borg, connoting that Mormons are mindless drones.
- Cymorgs – similar to “Morg,” but confounding Mormons with cyborgs or robots.
- Morpologist – Mormon Apologist
- Motrix – a play on the Matrix movies, connoting how Mormon culture is an artificial world in which what you believe doesn’t reflect reality.
Of course, these are all terms coming from the Internet, and they seem to perhaps be biased toward the anti-Mormon terms. I’d love to see what terms have arisen in other areas.
What have you seen?