Do you ever feel that when you were baptized you were dropped onto a strange new planet with a new language and jokes that don’t make sense? Perhaps because We tend to use phrases not heard in the ordinary world, and certain words that aren’t funny to anyone else can cause snickers among a group of Latter-day Saints. Following are a few oddities you may have heard about:

mormon families1. Mormon Standard Time

You know that Utah is in Mountain Standard Time. Church members have altered the initials for this time zone just a bit. If you’re on Mormon Standard Time, you’re late. You’re not fashionably late, mind you, just late. Why are church members consistently late for everything? One reason might be that they tend to have a large number of children to get ready. In addition, they must pull everything together for their callings. Of course, they also have a great many things to do before they can leave. In the morning, they probably have to have scripture study and prayer in addition to all the other things families normally do to get out the door. All this adds up to being consistently late.

2. BMW

No, you’re not automatically issued a BMW car when you join the church. In Mormon terminology, a BMW is a Big Mormon Wagon, usually a van. Look around the parking lot on Sunday morning or Wednesday night and you’ll notice a large number of vans, including some of those huge vans for large families. Not only do they have many children of their own, but they often find themselves driving a great many other children or teens as well.

3. Green jello

What is it with Mormons and green jello? They say Utah eats more jello than any other state—so much so that Bill Cosby was sent there to try to talk them into naming it the official state snack. I really have no idea how it all started, except that it’s fairly cheap to serve a large family. Relief Society meetings used to include a lot of jello “cooking” lessons. As for the green? Umm…maybe to make it look like a vegetable?

4. Funeral Potatoes

Mormons didn’t invent them, but they’ve certainly adopted them wholeheartedly. These involve shredded hash browns, cheese, cream soup, and something crunchy on top, usually corn flakes. There are many different variations on this recipe. At a recent church dinner, people were asked to bring them and no two pans were alike. Do some Internet searches and find the one that suits you best. Be sure to serve it with green jello and red punch, in order to be a “real” Mormon.

About Terrie Lynn Bittner
The late Terrie Lynn Bittner—beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend—was the author of two homeschooling books and numerous articles, including several that appeared in Latter-day Saint magazines. She became a member of the Church at the age of 17 and began sharing her faith online in 1992.

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