How to Swear Like a Mormon

I have been a Mormon for quite a while now. There are many things about it that I enjoy. For instance, I love that I can go to any church in any part of the world and know that I’ll always make it to church about 5 minutes after the sacrament has already been passed. There will always be a child in the pew behind me that crawls underneath my feet to say “Hi!” Most talks will begin with a joke about how the speaker tried desperately to get out of it (which everyone will kindly laugh at).

As the love of God is unchanging, so are a few things about Mormons. One of these is the frantic use of Mormon swear words. You think you don’t know what I’m talking about? Oh, yes. You do.<

Many of you are now thinking of your favorite Mormon swears right now. For those who are still uninitiated, I will remind you of some of the most endearing Mormon curses so you can try them on the next guy who cuts you off in traffic. Then watch him run into a light pole out of pure gobsmacked-ness.

  1. What the crap
  2. Son of a Bishop
  3. Darned to heck
  4. Holy Moses
  5. Shitake Mushrooms
  6. Cheese and Crackers
  7. Holy Shishkabobs
  8. Friggin’, Frackin’, Frickin’, Flamin’, Fetchin’, Flippin’,
  9. Fugly
  10. Cussed
  11. Fiddlesticks
  12. Son of a biscuit-eater
  13. Son of a bleep
  14. Uckin’ Fugly (I always worry that I’m going to do this one wrong. This is only for pros)
  15. Gosh Dangit
  16. Gol Dangit
  17. Darn it to crap
  18. Arse
  19. Fart Bag
  20. Jiminy Cricket

As you can see, this is not an extensive list. There are quite a few other good ones that I found on the internet such as “Jumping monkey nipples,” “Poop on a biscuit,” and “Son of a motherless goat.” (Mad Mormon props to The Three Amigos for that gem)

So, what is the point of all this?

Every culture has a defined set of appropriate and appropriated words. There is a reason that white people don’t use the word “Nigga,” although many black people feel comfortable with it. There is a reason why gay people use the word “Fag” although many other people wouldn’t. Words have a lot of power, and it is up to the culture that you belong to how you will use that power.

I find it interesting that Christians generally, but Mormons specifically, have decided that they retain their power best when they refrain from swearing like everyone else. Why is this? Who spoke from heaven 2000 years ago and said in a booming voice, “’Shit’ is a naughty word.” I find it hard to believe it happened like that.

Instead, I think it was much more Puritanical in nature. The whole idea of becoming like God is to repress the natural side of man. Hence, we shouldn’t talk about it, at least not in a vulgar way. We can’t talk about defecating or fornicating unless we use those very Latin terms for those acts. Otherwise, we would be calling them, uncomfortably, what they are: visceral human experiences.

The problem is, the world has taken a particular set of words and made them “dirty.” These words represent a connotation that is sullied, imperfect, and dark. This doesn’t appeal to a lot of people all the time, so we segregate those words in our vocabulary as bad. The word itself is a combination of vowels and consonants. It’s the emotional meaning that makes the word beneath us to use.

And so we replace the word with something less foul, less offensive to our sensibilities.

I’m not saying this is right or wrong. I do it just as much, if not more, than the next person. I just wonder why I do it. I have this feeling it is akin to seeing those commercials for starving children in Africa, which I usually turn off as soon as they come on. I happen to know that there are ugly things in the world. I just don’t want to be reminded of them if I don’t have to be.

Am I guilty of white-washing my worldview? Probably. Have I chosen ignorance instead of the stark darkness of reality? Yes. A lot of people would look at that and shake their heads at me, totally disgusted. “How can you choose not to see the ugliness in the world?” they would say. “You aren’t being honest about the way things really are.”

That is true.

On the other hand, I believe that the universe is individualized. My perception of reality is totally different than yours, which is different than her, and so on. In my existence, I am still only about 12. I still like to climb trees, look at rainbows, and dance around naked in my house (if I can get away with it). What use do I have for seeing the darkness in the world? I will not flinch from it when I can make a difference, but I won’t seek out the negative elements that would cause my spirit to grow up more quickly than it needs to.

And so, I justify my use of Mormon swear words. Yes, I know they are a lot like real swear words, but not as dirty. Yes, I know people laugh at me for using them. Yes, I know that it would probably be cooler to be able to use them effectively when I want to quit a job that has really sucked. It’s pretty hard to express gravitas by saying, “You can take this job and put it in your piehole.”

Still, I believe that swearing like a Mormon gives me the best of both worlds. When I stub my toe, I can easily use “Fiddlesticks.” It’s really not that important. For those other things, the darker things of the world, the words come as they’re needed. Usually, the best words in those cases are not curses, but blessings.

You Have Time for Just One More:

21 responses to “How to Swear Like a Mormon”

  1. Oh, my heck! (How did you miss that one?)

    When I lived in NC, I wanted to order a personalized license plate. I went online and tried all the cute ideas I had for a plate. Each time, the response was, “Sorry, that plate is not available.” And, I’d say, “DAGUMIT!” and try another. This went on for several minutes: Type desired plate, not available, “DAGUMIT!”, try again. Finally, in frustration, I just typed in “DAGUMIT!”, hit Enter! And, that’s how I ended up with my NC license plate: DAGUMIT! (complete with exclamation point!)!

    • Ha! That’s hilarious! Of course, “Oh my heck,” is a Utah standard, I should probably update this now that I’ve lived here for 4 years. I think my personal favorite is “Heavens to Murgatroid,” which is so weird and arcane that there’s a 90s pop band that has come and gone under the banner.

  2. The church I attended when I was 17-18 years old, College Church in Wheaton (I was an Atheist turned Evangelical when I was 17 turning 18. My church mates at College Church were trying to get me to fake cuss when they heard me use “shit” they gave me a dirty look. They saw my keychain I had dangling from my jeans as the hand on there had all the fingers bent but one.) When I was attending First Assembly of God; the jokes they told was they were trying to see how much crap they were getting past the radar. The Greek, The Italian and the Jew joke I was going “Did he just make a joke about anal sex in front of the pastor?”

  3. I grew up in Philly, then followed my future wife to Utah. Other than the culture shock of moving to SLC (and eventual near adjustment), one thing I’ve never got used to, is Mormon swearing. To this day (some 26 years on), I still can’t bring myself to say ‘fudge’, unless of course I’m asking for some to eat. Then again, it might explain why I don’t get asked to play church ball very often either… 🙂

    Great article!

    • I have to agree. It’s almost always ridiculous…and sometimes super-cute. If you’ve read much of my site, you’ll see that I’m not ashamed of a well-placed swear. As long as my mom is not reading. 🙂

  4. You forgot shoot and gosh
    I’ve come up with a few of my own: pukehead, stink pellet, disgusterous, blast, mergetroid, adding “horrible, rotten” to anything.
    My dad always told me to say “Oh Bother” like Whinney the Pooh, because it is A BOTHER.

    I liked the Laman comment.

  5. I wasnt raised in the church, so any gems I know come from my husband who grew up in Utah. My husband enjoys, “Oh my hell!” Another popular one is, “Son of a brick!” or, “Son of a gritch!” One day, while I was being difficult and argumentative, he had the reply of, “If that’s what will make you happy, Laman.”

    • LOL!! That’s hilarious. I remember once, when I was talking to some Twitter friends who were convivially making fun of me, I pulled out, “FOOLS MOCK, BUT THEY WILL MOURN!” I’m pretty sure that’s now in the “Comeback Hall of Fame: Mormon Edition.”

      • You really nailed it when you said you change the channel when you see african children starving. That is so quintessentially mormon, out of sight, out of mind, lets stick to our whitewashed suburban neighborhoods and pretend that things like swearing and coffee and poverty dont exist. Its gross.

  6. Oh, my! That hits so close to home. My childhood Bishop used to call in the whole fam damily. I consider myself quite a word-smith so I have been hoarding little cuss gems for years. Jiminy Cricket and Hell’s bells are my current favorites. But my 5 children don’t know my secret. I don’t refrain from blue-tinted swear words because I am prudish or squeamish…I refrain because I am expecting one of my kids to somday screw up so badly I will need full force and shock value from whatever comes out of my mouth. I want them to think “oh, crapballs, she’s frickin ticked.” Like all good things we Mormons wait for, it will have been worth it.

    • LOL!! EXACTLY. So brilliant, really. It’s exactly how I feel about spanking, actually. I don’t ever do it, just in case of that ONE TIME where it will be absolutely necessary to get the point driven home. 😉

      Thanks for reading and responding. I love “Hell’s Bells.” May have to add it to the lexicon.

    • Inger, you nailed it! My mom didn’t use many Mormon swears when I was a kid but when she broke out the no holds barred truck driver version you KNEW SHE MEANT BUSINESS!! Haha Loved the post 😀

  7. True story – and I'm not trying to discredit Liesel (see above) – but the reason that I read today's post is because Liesel (see above) just sent me a link to it entitled "This is funny shit". Do you think you could talk to her, Willow?

  8. No wonder we are friends. I want to climb trees and look at rainbows and feel like I am still 12. (but not the dancing naked thing though… sorry) I too like to stick my head in the sand about awful, awful things that happen. Otherwise I would be sad all day long.

    Also that is a hilarious point about swears. And the Mormon substitutes. I personally like using British curse words. Like bollocks and bloody and wanker. I've had to stop using certain other ones though, because sometimes they aren't unknown and are more offensive in America. I also just say poop. I credit 'Despicable Me' for that particular comedic genius. That doesn't mean my vocabulary is always pristine though….. But, whatever.

Leave a Reply