Because we're a "curious" people with lots of quirks, I thought I'd throw in some Mormony word missteps for a change of pace.
I'm not going into common phrases that crop up in LDS prayers, testimonies, and the like. Instead, here are four common word bloopers you find frequently at church.
Three are pronunciation errors. The last one is a common scripture word mix-up that I think is important to understand correctly, because it impacts the meaning of other scriptures as well.
The first two I credit Lucy at An Ordinary Mom for pointing out to me:
As in the official Church magazine.
The title is NOT pronounced, "en-sun" (the pronunciation used for a low-ranking military officers) but "en-ZINE" (an emblem, or sign).
Until recently, there was even a notice on the contents page explaining the pronunciation.
Note the last half of this word. Is there a T in it? No, there is not. This is a four-syllable word.
But sometimes people panic because it's a biggish word and so they add an extra syllable. They pronounce "archal" as "article," yielding, "patri-article."
I had a religion teacher at BYU point this one out to me, and ever since, it's been a peeve. Note the last three vowels in this word: I, E, E. They're all pronounced as short vowels.
It should be Melch *I* z *E* d *E* k.
But invariably, you usually hear people flip the I and the E, yielding:
Melch *E* z *I* d *E* k.
Say it aloud over and over with the *I* sound first, and the last two syllables with a short E. Say it again to drill it into your head. :)
Strait and narrow
Here's one that most people hear as one thing and assume it means the same thing as the homophone does.
What most people think this means is that the path is STRAIGHT (opposite of curvy) as well as narrow.
STRAIT is a synonym for NARROW, as in a "strait jacket," which is narrow and close-fitting. So it's basically redundant: the way is "narrow and narrow."
What we forget is that Isaiah, Nephi, and other prophets often used repetition as a poetic technique to emphasize phrases and concepts.
In this case, the path wasn't both this and that. It was this and this some more. In this case, the passage emphasizes the narrowness, the closeness of the path, and the phrase is "strait and narrow."
Recognizing that emphasis makes the next part make more sense:
"and few there be that find it" (3 Nephi 27:33)
If the way is narrow, it'll be harder to find, right? The amount of straightness (curviness) isn't relevant.
Then remember what comes after the "strait and narrow" part? Yep:
"wide is the gate and broad is the way which leads to death"
using both WIDE and BROAD is the same technique: it repeats the concept, since wide and broad mean basically the same thing here.
Plus, it makes the second line perfectly parallel to the first line: they're both repeating one simple idea (first the narrowness of the path to life, then the wideness of the path to death).
It wouldn't be parallel if STRAIT meant "in a direct line" (STRAIGHT). If it meant that, in order to be parallel, the second half would have to say something like:
"But curving/meandering/winding is the gate and wide is the way"
Instead, both cases simply have repetition for emphasis, a very common technique in scripture.
Here are a couple of example pulled from Isaiah as I just scanned over the pages randomly. Note how the second line in each is essentially a repetition of the first one, just using slightly different words.
I clothe the heavens with blackness and
I make sackcloth their covering
For the grave cannot praise thee,
death can not celebrate thee
Strengthen ye the weak hands,
and confirm the feeble knees.
There are dozens and dozens more like that.
I keep a running list of WNW ideas. If you have any Mormon-isms you'd like to me add (or any other ideas), leave them in the comment trail!
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