Of all the words and phrases that are common in or unique to Mormonism, added upon is perhaps the most connected with a work of literature. Though perhaps infrequently used today in Mormon vernacular (except to refer to the book Added Upon), in the past it was frequently used in discussing Mormon doctrine, and it is still used today because it appears in scripture and refers to a key concept of that doctrine, one touched on in my recent definition of the Mormon use of the word exaltation.
Unlike exaltation, however, added upon is today almost exclusively Mormon.
What do we mean when we use the word exaltation? Is what we mean different than what those who are not Mormon mean when they use this word?
Off and on for the past few years I’ve worked on a kind of dictionary of Mormon Terms (this link is to website where this project is hosted–free registration and login required), an attempt to define the language that is unique to Mormons and those who discuss Mormonism or that is used more often or in different ways by Mormons than others. This includes individual words and phrases, slang and Church-specific terminology–anything that might not be understood well by those outside of Mormon culture.
I plan to post about specific terms from time to time as I come across things that might be of interest, or as I feel the need to give a boost to my own efforts and interest. And perhaps in doing so, I might also persuade others to give a hand to help this effort along. Today I’m posting about exaltation, a word I chose at random from among those not yet defined.
Mormons give the word exaltation a definition that is, at least, more specific than the definition used by others. Our use of the word may even be unique to Mormonism. And, Joseph Smith, in one of his most famous addresses, gave the word a definition that even most Mormons today don’t use.
This evening is the annual Young Women’s meeting (which I always associate with General Conference), and General Conference itself begins next week. Over the past few years I’ve come up with a few things that I focus on as I listen to each Conference, in addition to the messages, and I’m now wondering:
What do you listen for when you listen to Conference?
The American religious experience has a long tradition of using scriptural metaphors and few were as adept at using these metaphors as Martin Luther King Jr. His speeches are awash in applications of scriptural language and events to the needs of his day. His people were chosen Israel being brought to the promised land. Stripped of the misconceptions that overwhelmed the hearing of my parents and grandparents and of Mormon culture in his time, to me, who has only heard his words in years following his death, King’s metaphors, message and his delivery of that message are communicated in an awesome grandeur that make it almost impossible to not be caught in his message, in his movement and in his justice.
Unfortunately, they may be a tad dramatic for General Conference, at least in our current Mormon culture.
When I was a youth, the Church encouraged us as members to engage our friends in conversation about the Church using the Golden Questions: Who am I? Where did I come from? and Where am I going to? My father even had a lapel pin for his suit that was in the shape of a question mark, meant to elicit conversations using these questions.
I sometimes wonder if it wouldn’t be good to have some similar system to elicit conversations about Mormon Culture and literature.
After the interest shown in the list of books I prepared last week — the books mentioned or referenced in April 2008 General Conference, I went ahead and prepared a list for the current (October 2008) Conference also.
I found this list even more interesting. There are more books on this list (some 35 — it makes me wonder if I didn’t miss some material from the April Conference), and the variety of the books and the material cited is fascinating. The list wanders from Thoreau to The Little Prince and includes the somewhat obscure as well as the famous.
Looking over a list like this, I have to wonder a lot about what writing process General Authorities use in preparing their discourses.
Since last General Conference I’ve been meaning to look at the books mentioned in each Conference, just to see what items General Authorities think fit to mention. I’ve finally managed to complete my look at last conference, and I’m starting to look at this conference. The list is, I think, interesting. Continue reading “Citations Exhibiting the Most Prominent Reading…”