Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » A Mormon Alphabet: Play the Game, Win a Book

A Mormon Alphabet: Play the Game, Win a Book

By: Ardis E. Parshall - December 03, 2012

“A is for Apple, B is for Ball …”

Alphabet books have a long history. They prepare children for reading and have sometimes simultaneously inculcated moral values: Think of the New England Primer with its “A – In Adam’s fall we sinned all; B – Thy life to mend this book attend.” It isn’t surprising that there are Mormon alphabet books, drawing on the names of Mormon historical figures, scriptural characters, gospel vocabulary, and similar sources to represent the letters.

I’m looking right now at such an alphabet book, published long enough ago that I can post the text on Friday morning. Before then, though, let’s play a game.

What terms would you assign to each of the letters if you were composing a Mormon alphabet book? Would “A” stand for Abinadi, or Adam-ondi-Ahman, or the Atonement, or Apostles, or something else?

Post your ideas in the comments. For each answer that matches the alphabet to be posted Friday, December 7, you’ll win one point. Don’t hesitate to post early – if someone later posts a suggestion that you like better, you can edit your own list with another comment. Lists have to be posted publicly as comments, not sent by private email. No points will be awarded for “X”  (I posted a Facebook status recently that would give an unfair advantage to friends where “X” is concerned; I’ve Googled — my historic alphabet isn’t locatable through anything that was in that Facebook status).

Contest closes Thursday, December 6, at 5 p.m. (Mountain Standard Time). If there’s a tie, the person who submitted a list first (even if he or she later edited it) will be declared the winner, so there’s a real advantage to posting early. Winner will be announced in Friday morning’s post, along with the text of the old alphabet book.

Winner wins a copy of the soon-to-be-available Women of Faith in the Latter Days, Vol. 2, edited by Richard E. Turley and Brittany A. Chapman.

(And remember, this is all for fun. My decision of winner is final. If any entry matches the old alphabet too much more closely than other entries, suggesting that a player has somehow found the same old alphabet, I will consider disqualifying that entry. I have nightmares that because I’m offering something of value, some poor soul might dispute the decision. Anyone who challenges my designation of winner forfeits any possibility of winning the prize.)


  1. A – Aaronic Priesthood
    B – Brigham Young
    C – Choose the Right
    D – Doctrine and Covenants
    E – Eliza R. Snow
    F – Forgiveness
    G – Gadianton Robbers
    H – High Priest
    I – I Am A Child of God
    J – Joseph Smith
    K – Keepapitchinin
    L – Laurels
    M – Moroni
    N – Nauvoo
    O – Orson Hyde
    P – Patriarchal Blessing
    Q – Queen Esther
    R – Relief Society
    S – Sunday School
    T – Tabernacle
    U – Urim and Thummim
    V – Valiants
    W – Wilford Woodruff
    Y – Young Women
    Z – Zelophehad’s Daughters

    Comment by Alison — December 3, 2012 @ 6:51 am

  2. I don’t think you’ll get any points for K or Z, but I’m sure we both thank you!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — December 3, 2012 @ 6:59 am

  3. I’m not too interested in winning, but for fun, here is my list:

    A – Alma
    B – Benjamin
    C – Coriantumr
    D – Deseret
    E – Elijah
    F – Father
    G – God
    H – Heaven
    I – Isaiah
    J – Joseph
    K – Kishkumen
    L – Lamoni
    M – Mosiah
    N – Nephi
    O – Olive
    P – Prayer
    Q – Queen, wife of Lamoni
    R – Resurrection
    S – Savior
    T – Testimony
    U – Understand as in “lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and be converted and be healed” (2 Ne 16:10)
    V – Victory (over death)
    W – Worship
    Y – Yoke
    Z – Zion, the New Jerusalem

    I believe all those words can be found with scripture references in the Book of Mormon too!

    Comment by Jimmy — December 3, 2012 @ 8:00 am

  4. How fun.

    A – Adam
    B – Book of Mormon
    C – Christ
    D – Doctrine and Covenants
    E – Elijah
    F – Faith
    G – God
    H – Holy Ghost
    I – Israel
    J – Joseph Smith
    K – Kingdom of God
    L – Law of Moses
    M – Moroni
    N – New Testament
    O – Old Testament
    P – Prayer
    Q – Question, do not (in lieu of a good answer, I chose snark)
    R – Resurrection
    S – Sabbath
    T – Temple
    U – Urim and Thummim
    V – Veil
    W – Worship
    X –
    Y – Youth
    Z – Zion

    Comment by Ben P — December 3, 2012 @ 8:30 am

  5. I can’t start giving much feedback or some clever soul will find a way to turn it to advantage. But I *am* impressed by some of the correct guesses so far!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — December 3, 2012 @ 9:00 am

  6. U is for Utah, because of course “we love thee.” Unless, of course, we don’t.

    Comment by Mark B. — December 3, 2012 @ 9:13 am

  7. Bzzzzz! No Utah bashing allowed at Keepa.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — December 3, 2012 @ 9:15 am

  8. A Motley Crew (Very Preliminary):

    A – Arrington/Alexander/Allen/Avery
    B – Bushman/Bitton/Brodie/Bringhurst/Beecher
    C – Campbell/Cowan/Compton/Cook
    D – Derr/Daynes
    E – Esplin/Ellsworth/England
    F – Fluhman/Flanders/Foster
    G – Godfrey/Givens/Gibbons/Gentry/Grow
    H – Hill/Hartley/Hansen/Hardy
    I – Irving
    J – Jessee/Jensen
    K – Kimball
    L – Lyman/Leonard/Launius
    M – Mauss/Mason/MacKinnon
    N – Newell/Neilson/Nelson
    O – Orton
    P – Parshall/Park/Poll/Prince/Peterson/Paulos
    Q – Quinn
    R – Roberts
    S – Smith/Sessions/Shipps/Sillito
    T – Turley/Turner/Taylor
    U – Underwood
    V – Van Wagoner/Vogel
    W – Walker/White/Woods
    X – ?
    Y – Yorgason
    Z – ?

    Comment by Gary Bergera — December 3, 2012 @ 9:37 am

  9. Oh, I thought it was just no Utah Mormon bashing.

    Comment by Mark B. — December 3, 2012 @ 9:37 am

  10. Wow. Impressive entries so far. Perhaps I’ll see what I can come up with, although I really don’t need a copy of the book, so I might not take it entirely seriously.

    Comment by Amy T — December 3, 2012 @ 10:32 am

  11. A-Atonement
    B-Book of Mormon (or Brother Brigham)
    D-Deseret (I’d be shocked if it was anything else.)
    G-Gidgidonni (Not likely, but it’s got two Gs)
    K-King of Kings
    L-Lord of Lords
    M-Molly Mormon
    Q- Quetzalcoatl
    U-Urim and Thummim

    Comment by Jami — December 3, 2012 @ 10:34 am

  12. Everybody has at least one point (Gary gets one for including “Parshall,” although that doesn’t match my early 20th-century alphabet for some reason).

    One player has a whopping *seven* points — extraordinary for an arbitrary list where there are so very many possibilities.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — December 3, 2012 @ 10:46 am

  13. I got started on a list, but it broke down after a while. Here is the start, and then the finish.

    A – Adam-God
    B – Blood Atonement
    C – Council of 50
    D – Danites

    But then, wouldn’t this be more fun in the Deseret Alphabet?

    Comment by kevinf — December 3, 2012 @ 10:59 am

  14. Ha, Kevin, very funny.

    Okay, so here’s mine, and I think it’s mostly Mormon.

    A – American Fork
    B – Beaver
    C – Circleville
    D – Draper
    E – Escalante
    F – Farmington
    G – Goshen
    H – Holladay
    I – Ivins
    J – Junction
    K – Koosharem
    L – La Verkin
    M – Marysvale
    N – New Harmony
    O – Orderville
    P – Panguitch
    Q – Quigley Crossing
    R – Richfield
    S – Salt Lake City
    T – Tooele
    U – Uintah
    V – Vernal
    W – Wellsville
    Y – Yost
    Z – Zion

    Comment by Amy T — December 3, 2012 @ 11:06 am

  15. Whoops. I missed the “x” but so, evidently, did the pioneers.

    Comment by Amy T — December 3, 2012 @ 11:09 am

  16. Does your comment #12 mean I get a point for Utah? If we’re looking at batting averages, that puts me at 1.000.

    I was thinking along the same lines as Kevin, but I might put “Dream Mine” up there instead of Danites. And E’s gotta be for Erastus (as in Snow), partly because of Snowflake, Arizona, and partly because nobody ever gets named Erastus anymore.

    Comment by Mark B. — December 3, 2012 @ 11:15 am

  17. Of the various options, I tried to pick words that could (1)easily be illustrated (2) be relevant to a 6-year-old learning to read. (3) Be original from the lists posted so far. If I knew whether the source was 19th vs. earth 20th Century, some of the choices would change.

    A – Atonement
    B – Book of Mormon
    C – Celestial Kingdon
    D – Deseret
    E – Eve
    F – First Vision
    G – Golden Plates
    H – Heavenly Father
    I – Israel
    J – Jesus
    K – Kalling and Election ?
    L – Lamanites
    M – Missionary/Missionary Work
    N – Nauvoo
    O – Oxen
    P – Priesthood
    Q – Quorum
    R – Resurrection
    S – Sacrament
    T – Temple
    U – Utah
    V – Veil
    W – Word of Wisdom
    Y – YMMIA
    Z – Zion

    Comment by The Other Clark — December 3, 2012 @ 11:40 am

  18. Oh goodness how does one go about narrowing down the options for the letters? Here’s my poor attempt with input from my kids:

    A- Alma
    B- Book of Mormon
    C- Christ
    D- Deseret
    E- Enos
    F- Faith
    G- Garden of Eden
    H- Holy Ghost
    I- Israel
    J- Joseph Smith
    K- Kindness
    L- Liahona
    M- Moroni
    N- Nephi
    O- Obedience
    P- Priesthood
    Q- Quorums
    R- Resurrection
    S- Sacrament
    T- Temple
    U- Urim and Thummim
    V- Vision
    W- Word of Wisdom
    Y- Young Ladies Mutual Improvement Association
    Z- Zion

    Comment by Chocolate on my Cranium — December 3, 2012 @ 11:48 am

  19. Adam
    New Testament
    Quick obedience
    Urim & Thummim
    Waters of baptism
    X – the cross

    I’m going to try and do another with my girls this evening. Thanks! This will make for an easy FHE. 😀

    Comment by ErinAnn — December 3, 2012 @ 11:56 am

  20. An all-Book of Mormon list:

    Fountain (of all righteousness)
    Queen (of the Lamanites)
    Vineyard (of olive trees)
    Warriors, stripling
    Year (of the reign of the judges)

    Comment by Last Lemming — December 3, 2012 @ 12:41 pm

  21. Alma
    Book of Mormon
    Faith, Articles of
    Pearl of Great Price
    Relief Society

    Comment by Bruce Crow — December 3, 2012 @ 12:54 pm

  22. How Fun. Since this is a book for children, I should do well – I’m told I have a childlike intellect.

    Gold Plates
    Holy Ghost
    Joseph Smith

    Comment by Dustin — December 3, 2012 @ 1:54 pm

  23. I’m keeping score as we go along. A snag has come up: someone has suggested a very close variant of the word actually used in my old alphabet (it’s as if s/he suggested “cheery” when the exact match is “cheerfulness”). I’m awarding the point in this case; I wouldn’t award it if someone suggested “George Foreman” when the match was actually “George Washington,” though. FYI.

    I’m having fun, and hope you are!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — December 3, 2012 @ 2:15 pm

  24. Adam
    Eliza R Snow
    Father in Heaven
    Gold Plates
    Holy Ghost
    Joseph Smith
    Liberty Jail
    Orson Hyde
    Parley P Pratt
    Sabbath School
    Urim & Thummim
    Waters of Mormon
    Young (Brigham)

    Comment by Paul — December 4, 2012 @ 12:44 pm

  25. Now that I’ve posted my list, I’d like to amend it: Prophet instead of Parley P Pratt.

    Comment by Paul — December 4, 2012 @ 12:45 pm

  26. Well, Paul, I’m tickled that you are taking advantage of that opportunity — what’s the point of making up rules if nobody needs to use them?? :)

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — December 4, 2012 @ 12:48 pm

  27. This is fun! Wish I had time to participate more than just reading everyone else’s cleverness. But it’s December 4th already.

    Comment by MDearest — December 4, 2012 @ 2:17 pm

  28. Oh, squeeze in a few minutes between now and Thursday afternoon — there’s a great book to be won!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — December 4, 2012 @ 2:47 pm

  29. By the way, we have a couple of players with 7 points and one with 8 — lots of room to play around with this still.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — December 4, 2012 @ 2:50 pm

  30. There are some we might change . . . .my kids are afraid I’ll change ones that might be right though!

    Comment by Chocolate on my Cranium — December 4, 2012 @ 4:04 pm

  31. Adam
    Golden Plates
    Holy Ghost
    Kindred Dead
    Word of Wisdom

    I admit that I didn’t check out everyone else’s list. So I am sorry if I came up with a bunch of repeats. It has been one of those weeks. Sigh.

    Comment by Julia — December 4, 2012 @ 11:21 pm

  32. Julia, your Q for Quilting has made me want to redo mine as an A-Z of Relief Society.

    Comment by Alison — December 5, 2012 @ 10:59 am

  33. Do it, Alison — maybe our next group project will be writing verses/finding artwork for the letters of one of these alphabets!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — December 5, 2012 @ 11:05 am

  34. SO Alison, is “E” for Eliza, or Emma, or Enrichment? So many choices. I hope “B” is for Bathsheeba (Smith).

    Comment by The Other Clark — December 5, 2012 @ 11:08 am

  35. Here’s some encouragement that probably won’t give any useful ideas to anybody:

    Ben P., Erin Ann, and Julia each have one matching answer that nobody else has yet matched. Everybody who is actually trying to match the old alphabet has at least one point, all of which duplicate matches that other people have also made.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — December 5, 2012 @ 11:13 am

  36. OK, so here goes.

    I chose words based on the following: (1) an assumption that any alphabet book would be primarily aimed at teaching youngsters (and hence no obscure or difficult names or concepts); (2) an early 20th-century author might be tend toward promoting general Gospel themes as opposed to only using particularly Mormon memes; and (3) free and liberal use of others’ guesses in their lists! Thanks everyone!

    Articles of Faith
    Book of Mormon
    Celestial Kingdom
    Doctrine and Covenants
    Holy Ghost/Spirit
    Joseph Smith
    Kingdoms of Glory
    Vicarious Work
    Word of Wisdom

    Comment by David Y. — December 5, 2012 @ 1:01 pm

  37. #32 I had to go back up and look to see what else Q could be. Queen or Quorum is probably right, but I like Quilting more. I guess I will cut and paste my list and see if anyone else’s answers seem better. I usually don’t win, or come close, with this kind of thing. I just don’t know what a Utah primer would really be.

    #34 Enrichment? For shame. When RS was run by and for wen no one would have come up with that. I am sure Alison and Ardis who what they did call it, but I am sure it is not that.

    #35 Ardis, I can’t figure out if it is good thing that I don’t have a dry erase board to start running algorithms on the lists or not. I am flattered to know that I got one no one had. Maybe if my brain is working I can at least come up with the ones no one else has, but I fear that the reality of a badly botched injection procedure on Monday is going to let me concentrate as much as I want. I’ll put up a second list, and probably change all the wrong ones. 😉

    Comment by Julia — December 5, 2012 @ 1:26 pm

  38. Adam
    Father in Heaven
    Golden Plates
    Holy Ghost
    King Benjamim
    Old Testament
    Word of Wisdom
    Young (Brigham)

    Okay, that’s as much brainpower as I have to give. It will be fun to get up and see the right answers and who has one. Congrats to whoever it is!!!!!!!

    Comment by Julia — December 5, 2012 @ 1:37 pm

  39. Oh, I just realize I have another whole day to steal good ideas in I like them. Lol. Maybe I will play another round and get my wipe board out. I am curious if anyone has more than ten correct.

    Comment by Julia — December 5, 2012 @ 1:41 pm

  40. David Y. also has a match that nobody else has yet made.

    I’m having fun, and hope the rest of you are, too.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — December 5, 2012 @ 1:43 pm

  41. Ok, I’ll gamble:

    A Adam
    B Baptism
    C Christ
    D D&C
    E Eve
    F Family
    G Golden Plates
    H Holy Ghost
    I Israel
    J Joseph Smith
    K Kirtland
    L Love
    M Missionary
    N Nephi
    O Obedience
    P Priesthood
    Q Quincy
    R Repentance
    S Scriptures
    T Temple
    U Utah
    V Vision (as in First)
    W Wagon
    X eXample
    Y Young, Brigham
    Z Zarahemla

    Comment by MDearest — December 5, 2012 @ 6:06 pm

  42. GAMBLE?!?! Right here in Keepa City?! :)

    To tantalize you players, there is one list with 8 matches, and five lists with 7 matches, each list very different from all the others. It will be interesting to watch anyone edit a list attempting to, uh, improve the draw, and there’s still plenty of room for brand new lists to run away with the prize!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — December 5, 2012 @ 6:35 pm

  43. No one has Z for Zelph yet???

    Comment by reed russell — December 5, 2012 @ 9:47 pm

  44. Ardis and Julia between them have inspired me to compile a Relief Society-themed Alphabet, with a little help from The Other Clark. Just for fun! :-)

    A – Angels, Errand of
    B – Bathsheba W. Smith
    C – Charity Never Faileth
    D – Daughters In My Kingdom
    E – Eliza R. Snow
    F – Family Proclamation – RS heard it first at a
    G – General Relief Society Meeting
    H – Homemaking
    I – International Organization
    J – Julie B. Beck
    K – Knowledge
    L – Living, Spiritual
    M – Mother Education
    N – Nauvoo Temple
    O – Opening Exercises
    P – President
    Q – Quilting
    R – Relief Society Magazine
    S – Silkworms
    T – Transition from Young Women
    U – Uchtdorf, Dieter F. (because he rocks RS)
    V – Visiting Teaching
    W – Women’s Exponent
    Y – Young Women – Relief Society sisters in waiting 😉
    Z – Zina Diantha Huntington Young

    Comment by Alison — December 6, 2012 @ 12:58 am

  45. Nice, Alison!

    Comment by Amy T — December 6, 2012 @ 8:05 am

  46. Love it, Alison!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — December 6, 2012 @ 9:18 am

  47. Alison gets my vote.

    Comment by Carol — December 6, 2012 @ 9:41 am

  48. Here are a few changes to ours: G for Godhead, K for Knowledge, P for prayer.

    Comment by Chocolate on my Cranium — December 6, 2012 @ 4:59 pm

  49. Okay, Chocolate, I’ll revise my score sheet accordingly.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — December 6, 2012 @ 5:37 pm

  50. And can I say you squeaked in under the wire with one minute left till the contest closed!

    So tune back in tomorrow morning, everybody, and see how this all turns out.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — December 6, 2012 @ 5:40 pm

  51. Oh, the contest is closed??? Too bad! I wanted to see if substituting “Kanarraville” and “Paragonah” would increase my chances of winning.

    Seriously, though, I enjoyed reading all the entries. What a fun contest!

    Comment by Amy T — December 6, 2012 @ 5:48 pm

  52. @51. I’d love to see the pictures that illustrate THAT alphabet book!

    Here’s the Utah Gazeteer Alphabet Book AKA “Why Utahns invent the weirdest names”

    A – Antimony
    B – Blanding
    C – Circleville
    D – Deseret
    E – Eureka
    F – Farr West
    G – Grantsville
    H – Helper
    I – Ironton
    J – Juab
    K – Kanarraville
    L – Leeds
    M – Mantua
    N – Nephi
    O – Orderville
    P – Paragonah
    Q – oQuirr
    R – randolph
    S – Santaquin
    T – Tooele
    U – Uinta
    V – Vernal
    W – Wellsville
    Y – the Y (what?? It should count!)
    Z – Zion

    Comment by The Other Clark — December 6, 2012 @ 6:08 pm

  53. Your Q makes me groan, your Y makes me laugh, and you actually get one point, and one point only, in the contest! (And I give you that point despite the contest having closed because you did make me laugh!)

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — December 6, 2012 @ 6:40 pm

  54. Oh, that’s good, Clark. Talking about place names always reminds me of the Stephen Vincent Benét poem, American Names:

    I have fallen in love with American names,
    The sharp names that never get fat,
    The snakeskin-titles of mining-claims,
    The plumed war-bonnet of Medicine Hat,
    Tucson and Deadwood and Lost Mule Flat….

    I will remember Carquinez Straits,
    Little French Lick and Lundy’s Lane,
    The Yankee ships and the Yankee dates
    And the bullet-towns of Calamity Jane.
    I will remember Skunktown Plain. …

    I shall not rest quiet in Montparnasse.
    I shall not lie easy at Winchelsea.
    You may bury my body in Sussex grass,
    You may bury my tongue at Champmédy.
    I shall not be there. I shall rise and pass.
    Bury my heart at Wounded Knee.

    Comment by Amy T — December 6, 2012 @ 7:05 pm

  55. From my kids:
    Cast (like casting a net)

    That’s as far as we got.

    Comment by ErinAnn — December 7, 2012 @ 9:28 am

  56. Contrasting the terms that kids contribute to an alphabet directed at other kids, with what adults suggest, is really kinda interesting. It would be fun to see a whole list from them, even if it took a couple of weeks to complete.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — December 7, 2012 @ 9:36 am

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