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Latest from Mormon Land: See if you can come up with your own strictly LDS swearword

Also: The story of an 11-year-old girl bought by converts and brought to Utah as a slave.

(Illustration by Christopher Cherrington | The Salt Lake Tribune)

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A churchy word to swear by

Latter-day Saints are taught to swear off profanity. Thus were born those all-too-familiar substitute curses like gosh, jeez and sheesh, along with their cussing cousins, flip, fetch and fudge.

But is there a Mormon-specific word or term — as opposed to a J. Golden Kimball zinger — that could be shortened, shifted or shaped into its own irreverent invective?

That question dogged Ziff, the pen name for a blogger at the Zelophehad’s Daughters website, while he was reading Benjamin Bergen’s “What the F: What Swearing Reveals About Our Language, Our Brains, and Ourselves.”

Heeding Bergen’s guidelines on what makes for a good “bad” word — one syllable, consonant end and a hard-stop “plosive” conclusion — Ziff landed on a possibility: the so-called family proclamation.

“Its name is far too long, particularly if you go all in and say “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” he writes. “But what if you shorten it, as I’ve done and seen done, to FamProc? Or even better, to Proc? Proc is ideal, I think. It’s one syllable and ends with a consonant stop. Slam your finger in the car door? Proc! Walk in on chaos at home or at work? What the proc is going on here? Want to insult someone? You procking procker!”

Can you think of any other Latter-day Saint lingo that, given a twist, could pass for profanity? Go ahead. Try. We won’t tell. We swear.

An enslaved child’s trek to Zion

At the tender age of 11, she made her journey in 1848 to the Great Basin in a company of Mormon settlers.

But Betsy Brown Fluellen did not make the trek with her family. She was not even a member. She was a slave.

Converts John and Elizabeth Crosby Brown had purchased her at some point before they came to the Rocky Mountains.

Betsy’s story is now being told at the Century of Black Mormons website.

The Browns’ servant — whom they valued at $1,000 — joined the church in 1855 and was rebaptized in 1857 as part of the Mormon Reformation.

She finally gained her freedom in 1862 at about age 25 after Congress ended slavery in Utah and all U.S. territories.

Betsy eventually settled in Corrine — dubbed the “Gentile capital of Utah” — married and had three children (though her two sons died in childhood). She died in 1902 at the state mental hospital in Provo.

Thus, Betsy’s life began consigned to slavery and ended confined to an institution.

“Throughout her life, Betsy experienced injustice and tragedy as well as periods of joy, fulfillment, and love,” the website states. “Betsy’s forced migration to Utah helps to redefine the Mormon pioneer narrative and prompts us to consider what such a trek might have been like from the vantage point of an enslaved 11-year-old girl.”

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