On Sunday morning, it surprisingly snowed several inches in Provo. On our way to Church, I mentioned to my wife that I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody thanked the Lord for “the moisture” in their prayer. (Honestly, these quirky things are not all I think about.)
I was right. Twice.
And in talking with my friend Joe yesterday about this, he said (perhaps exaggerating) that this term was used 5 times in his ward.
Now, I’m not sure how culturally situated (e.g., in Utah and Idaho) thanking the Lord for “the moisture” is, but at any rate I can’t help but wonder: What is it about this word that makes it so commonly used in prayers?
Obviously, this is somewhat of a chicken-egg problem, in that a clear reason for the word’s continual usage is its prevalence in previous vocal prayers. So regardless of the term’s origin, the word “moisture” somehow took on a pseudo-sacred quality. By pseudo-sacred, I mean words that are commonly acceptable words to use in prayers or other public speaking of a highly pious nature, but that make little sense, or are downright silly, in ordinary discourse. (I’ll place thees and thous and other common scriptural prayer terms in the purely “sacred” category.)
For example, it would be odd to say to a friend after a snowfall, “Look! There’s moisture outside!” or “I’m so grateful the Lord gave us moisture last night!” But in a prayer, “moisture” somehow becomes acceptable — perhaps preferable.
My wife had the insight that by saying “moisture” we isolate ourselves from the badness of something like “snow” and “rain,” leaving only the positive fruits of the product. I think this is an interesting explanation.
What are some other common pseudo-sacred terms and phrases in Mormonism?
Here’s a few I can think of right now:
- “nourish and strengthen”
- “befall,” as in “that no harm or accident may befall them”
- “fiber of my being”
- “I say these things,” just before closing a prayer
- “the hands that prepared this meal”
- “apply these things in our daily lives”
- “thankful for the opportunity” (not exactly pseudo-sacred, but nonetheless a phrase that is used way too often in prayers)
Any others that anyone can think of?