Talk:BYU Jerusalem Center

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Good article BYU Jerusalem Center has been listed as one of the Social sciences and society good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
June 20, 2008 Good article nominee Listed

controversy[edit]

removed sentence claiming death threats. No citation. citation provided was regarding an unrelated event —Preceding unsigned comment added by 213.8.63.233 (talk) 19:53, 18 January 2011 (UTC)

Delete reference to creation of state for Jews. "The first LDS official to enter Jerusalem was LDS Apostle Orson Hyde, who came in 1841 and dedicated the land for the gathering of the people of Israel, and the building of an LDS temple at some future time. No citation to text of dedicatory prayer. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Dvwhiting (talkcontribs) 22:04, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

Directors of the Center[edit]

I'm compiling a cited list here to be fleshed out:


-- Wrad (talk) 22:12, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

Cool. I called BYU and they said James Kearl (citation needed) is the current director, although he is not on-site. --Eustress (talk) 22:31, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
It looks like his official title is "Assistant to the President for the Jerusalem Center" [1]. Different from director of center, I guess? Wrad (talk) 22:45, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

shining eyes[edit]

"When the Church was negotiating with the Jewish officials regarding the purchase of land and the construction of the Jerusalem Center, one of the conditions for approval was that we would not proselytize citizens in Israel. Reportedly, after we had pledged acceptance of that condition, someone in Israel said to a member about the agreement, "But how do you stop the shining in your eyes? Every one of you has it" (in Cheryl Brown, "Bright Minds and Broken Hearts," Brigham Young University 1996­97 Speeches [Provo: BYU, 1997], 172). What a tremendous compliment to our students and members who are lighting candles--lights shining forth as righteous examples." http://speeches.byu.edu/reader/reader.php?id=511 A more detailed version of the story is here.

This is one of the more famous stories about the Center within the LDS Church, but I don't know where to put it quite yet. Wrad (talk) 19:29, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

Maybe this type of stuff could go in some kind of "Legend" or "Legacy" section? --Eustress (talk) 19:44, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, we need a section that briefly summarizes the LDS view of Jerusalem and ties that into the Center as a spiritually significant place to Latter-day Saints. Wrad (talk) 19:53, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

Gathering other LDS bits here:

Another example of President Hunter's courage and determination to complete a task given him by the First Presidency is demonstrated by the completion of the Jerusalem Center. President Hunter purchased the land, supervised the architecture and construction of the center, and negotiated with government and religious leaders the teaching objectives for the center. During the years it took to complete the Jerusalem Center, President Hunter demonstrated a steadfastness and courage against opposition. He told those who worked with him, "Go ahead, move forward. Don't take counsel from your fears." How often we don't even try, and we fail simply because of our fear of failure. http://speeches.byu.edu/reader/reader.php?id=7708


Resolving family problems lies at the heart of the Arab-Israeli conflict in the Middle East. "We are two brothers," a priest in Jerusalem said to me, "born in the same cradle." In the Jerusalem Center we employed both Israeli and Palestinian workers. They worked side by side--respectfully, for the most part; hopefully; and with responsibility. That microcosm of Holy Land society leads me to believe--to hope--that there is a solution to the anger between the two peoples. As I discussed such things with my friends on both sides of the issues, I was amazed to discover that everyone--really everyone whom I knew--wanted peace. They wanted the leaders to work out solutions. They didn't hate each other. They knew there was some way to live together to the mutual benefit of both sides without encroaching on each other's beliefs.

I watched Abdullah, a Palestinian worker, stand respectfully at attention on the balcony of the Jerusalem Center as the siren sounded for Prime Minister Rabin's funeral after he was assassinated. I saw our Israeli security chief hire Palestinian workers to help guard the center, and on one occasion when fire broke out because children were playing with matches under some nearby brush, my Israeli friend watched one of our fine Palestinian workers wade into that fire with our fire hose, remarking to me, "When I'm in trouble, I want Ali to be right there. Ali is a brave man." http://speeches.byu.edu/reader/reader.php?id=496

For the past several years I have assisted President Howard W. Hunter, who was assigned by the First Presidency to acquire land in Jerusalem and direct the building of the BYU Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies. We worked very closely with President Jeffrey R. Holland, David Galbraith, Robert Taylor, Fred Schwendiman, and many, many others in this great endeavor. Through a series of miracles, a center came into being and is now being used by students of this university. The building is magnificent. It is a veritable jewel. None of us who have been involved can explain what we feel in our souls regarding that wonderful edifice. The building is close to some of the places made sacred by the presence of the Savior. It is worthy of the Holy City. It is worthy of this great university and its sponsoring institution, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But the building alone does not bless. Now our great challenge is to use the building so that it somehow, someway, influences the lives of those who study there, who pray there, who worship there--and who change and become more worthy. The magnificence of the center alone may inspire, but our many educational facilities and activities on this campus and elsewhere will get no one into the kingdom of God. So, where is the Church then? http://speeches.byu.edu/reader/reader.php?id=7043

Or as we have recently described the purpose of the BYU Jerusalem Center, our purpose is not only to orient our students to the Holy Land, but to orient them to the holy life. How can we do that? Each teacher, faculty or staff, must find his or her own way, and some settings are more natural than others for making connections that help students see how secular interests fit within the larger sacred sphere. http://speeches.byu.edu/reader/reader.php?id=11610

here is a good story about a BYU musical production in Tel Aviv during the protests. I like Elder Hunter's quote in it.

--- Wrad (talk) 19:40, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

Legacy[edit]

Here's what I'm seeing for a legacy section after a review of what we have to work with:

  • A description of LDS beliefs about Jerusalem
  • The Center as it stands in relation to those beliefs
  • The Center as a place for spiritual growth for students
  • The Center as an example to Israel of who Latter-day Saints are

-- Wrad (talk) 19:59, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

I don't know. The third and last one look more appropriate for the website of the Church or the center. I don't think you can find reliable, impartial refs for them. — Frecklefσσt | Talk 16:40, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
The whole point of this section is to round things off with a section about what the center means to latter-day saints. It isn't intended to be impartial. It's like explaining the significance of Mecca to Muslims. If you don't explain it, you aren't getting the full picture, and there's no way to be impartial about it. Wrad (talk) 20:20, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
Noted, but it can be presented in a NPOV manner. Everything can. You can say the Church intends for students to grow spiritually while at the center, but you can't say "students grow spiritually because of their time at the Center" unless you quote it from somewhere, such as someone's testimony. But then that's not very NPOV, even if it is quoted.
The same goes for "the Center as an example to Israel of who Latter-day Saints are". You can say the Church hopes Israeli's get a better understanding of who Latter-day Saints are because of the Center. But you can't say the Center is an example to Israeli's of who the Latter-day Saints are. That's not NPOV. Again, you can quote something to that effect, but you can't state it in the rest of the prose of the article, because it's not NPOV.
You seem to be an experienced editor here and are well-versed in NPOV. So, I think we're on the same page here. I just wanted to make sure everything is presented according to Wikipedia standards. — Frecklefσσt | Talk 12:13, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
I think we're on the same page too. Have a look at the section after it's written. Wrad (talk) 20:15, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

GA?[edit]

I think we're about ready for GA, once the last few refs are fleshed out. Wrad (talk) 18:16, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

Agreed. Looks like it's already been nominated, but we should have plenty of time to resolve any issues before the article's reviewed. I think the Mission section text regarding LDS beliefs could be better supported. Also, have you ever written an institution requesting permission to use pics? --Eustress (talk) 18:00, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
I've only ever written to individuals. Wrad (talk) 20:27, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Brigham Young University Jerusalem Center/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review. GA review – see WP:WIAGA for criteria


Overall, this article needs work to be considered a Good Article. The areas of greatest is this article's neutrality.

  1. Is it reasonably well written?
    A. Prose quality:
    Some areas written better than others. An example trouble spot:
"The main entry is on the eighth level, which also contains a recital and special events auditorium with organ, lecture rooms, general and reserve libraries, offices, a domed theater, and a learning resource area. The organ was made in Scandinavia and shipped to Israel where it was constructed piece by piece. It is a Marcussen organ."
This could be rephrased to better organize the center's composition.
I also thought this section needed some work. I have copy-edited it. Wrad (talk) 03:47, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
Symbol support2 vote.svg Much better. I think the article is now well written. Farside6 (talk) 07:52, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
  1. B. MoS compliance:
    Several capitalization issues ("The Center's prominent position..." "center" should not be capitalized; "The Church had donated money..." "church" should not be capitalized.)
Fixed. Wrad (talk) 00:09, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
Symbol support2 vote.svg Agreed. Farside6 (talk) 03:19, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
  1. Is it factually accurate and verifiable?
    A. References to sources:
    Mostly well referenced
    B. Citation of reliable sources where necessary:
    Sentences such as: "During the fighting, the Center's staff remained on location and managed to maintain good relations on both Israeli and Palestinian sides." need citations. What constitutes "good relations?" Who can attest to this statement?
This statement is cited. Did you bother to read the source cited at the end of the paragraph? Wrad (talk) 00:00, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
I did read the source, which says the following:

"We really have bent over backwards not to take sides," said Victor Ludlow, professor of ancient scripture and coordinator for near eastern studies. "We have been able to maintain a good reputation with both sides."

When including an opinion, is should be attributed and the fact that the individual has the opinion should be discussed. I would rewrite it to read:

"During the fighting, the center's staff remained on location. According to a BYU professor, the center managed to maintain good relations on both Israelis and Palestinians."

Please see WP:ASF for including facts and facts about opinions. Farside6 (talk) 03:19, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
Why didn't you say so in the first place? You made it sound like such a big thing that would take so much work to fix. I'll fix it right now, easy. Wrad (talk) 03:34, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
Ta-daa! Done. Wrad (talk) 03:37, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
Symbol support2 vote.svg Agreed. Farside6 (talk) 07:52, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
  1. C. No original research:
    "Some considered this discriminatory, as no other Christian Church had been asked to do this in Jerusalem." Who? What source? This is a "mass attribution." Please visit Wikipedia:Words to avoid and Wikipedia: Neutral point of view.
This is cited at the bottom of the freaking paragraph. Wrad (talk) 23:58, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
Wrad, it's not only citing sources, it's about how the article is written. Replace "Some considered this discriminatory" with who specifically thought the action was discriminatory. Even a search in Proquest only yielded an abstract of the 2004 Professional Geographer article you cite. WP:POV states: Each POV should be clearly labeled and described, so readers know:
  • Who advocates the point of view
  • What their arguments are (supporting evidence, reasoning, etc.)
Farside6 (talk) 03:19, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
Apparently you haven't noticed that the article has changed to say that it was Israelis who said this. Reasoning is already in the article. I don't believe listing specific names is really necessary. It was just a minority opinion in the Knesset. I really don't see the problem here anymore. Wrad (talk) 03:33, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
Symbol support2 vote.svg I didn't notice, but I do now. Thank you for pointing that out. Farside6 (talk) 07:52, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
  1. Is it broad in its coverage?
    A. Major aspects:
    Appears to be broad
    B. Focused:
    Appears to be focused
  2. Is it neutral?
    Fair representation without bias:
    All the sources for the article are United States sources. If the construction was controversial, how can the article be balanced without at least a few Jewish sources? Further, 18 of the 21 references are BYU, LDS or affiliated publications.
If you didn't notice, the article directly quotes several Hebrew sources, including Haredim newpapers. Therefore, your request for "at least a few Jewish sources" is quite easily met. The entire controversy is cited by a Non-LDS publication which present both sides pretty well. I think your overview of these sources is superficial. Did you just look at the number list on the bottom? Did that constitute your entire review of the neutrality of these sources? You're gonna have to do better than that. The US can hardly be considered an anti-Israel institution, and in this debate, the US was a third-party. It was not a US vs. Israel debate. If you look at the references from the Church and BYU, I think you'll find that, content-wise, things are still quite neutral. Most of the article is cited by non-LDS sources. Even if most sources are LDS, those sources cover limited portions of the article. Wrad (talk) 23:57, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
I've just added several extra sources just to make even a superficial count show that this article is not biased. It now cites Jewish, American, and Mormon sources in plenty. Remarkably, I didn't have to change a single word within the article to do this because the article was neutral all along. Wrad (talk) 01:14, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
Symbol support2 vote.svg That was fast. Very good. Thank you for adding more in-line citations, instead of overall paragraph citations. Much easier to verify. Farside6 (talk) 07:52, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
  1. Is it stable?
    No edit wars, etc:
    The article is stable.
  2. Does it contain images to illustrate the topic?
    A. Images are copyright tagged, and non-free images have fair use rationales:
    B. Images are provided where possible and appropriate, with suitable captions:
    More images would be helpful, especially in the history and facility sections.
Not a reason to fail. Wrad (talk) 23:57, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
Symbol support2 vote.svg Not a reason to fail, I agree. It was intended as a suggestion to improve the article. Farside6 (talk) 03:19, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
  1. Overall:
    Pass or Fail:
    Many items can be quickly corrected, but writing the article form a neutral point of view will take more time.
The article has already been carefully checked for neutrality, and your superficial review has ignored this. Wrad (talk) 23:57, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
I'm a bit peeved that this was failed without any chance for us to defend ourselves. And the reviewer didn't even sign his review! This is NOT grounds for a quick fail! Wrad (talk) 23:42, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
I would like a second opinion. This article should at the very least have been put on hold. I have asked for a second opinion on the GA page. Wrad (talk) 23:47, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
I plan to lift sources into the article from some of the articles cited in order to make it obvious to even a superficial ref-count review that this article is neutral. Wrad (talk) 00:31, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

Done. Article sources count (if you value such things) stands thus:

  • American (non-Mormon) sources: 14
  • Mormon/BYU sources: 18
  • Jewish sources: 9

Seems good enough to me! Wrad (talk) 01:19, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

Wrad, please try not to take this review personally. I've added a few (signed) comments above. Please consider making a few changes as recommended. I respect your request for a second opinion, and apologize for not granting you the appropriate hold time to improve this article. I believe, however, you have a better chance of success if you make more changes than just changing the capitalization of a few words. Farside6 (talk) 03:19, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

I have changed a lot more than that. Haven't you seen it? Wrad (talk) 03:30, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
I'm sorry. I get like this sometimes. I'm going to take a break. I've changed a lot of stuff so have a look and maybe the other editor who's been working on this will come along. He's a bit more cool-headed than I am. Wrad (talk) 03:49, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
This is now a good article! Farside6 (talk) 07:52, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

Looks like I missed an exciting day of editing yesterday. Thanks to Farside6 for the review and to Wrad for the follow-up. --Eustress (talk) 14:11, 21 June 2008 (UTC) Farside6 (talk) 23:12, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

Small discrepancy[edit]

I noticed that this article states that BYU is the largest private university, whereas if you go to the main BYU page it states that it is the second largest university. It is a small difference but I thought I would point it out. —Preceding unsigned comment added by BJSpack (talkcontribs) 21:12, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

This article doesn't say that. It only says that it's the largest religious university in the US, not the largest private university. Wrad (talk) 15:34, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

misleading grouping of Mormons with "other Christian groups"[edit]

The article states misleadingly that "The 1980s saw many other Christian groups vying for representation and space in the city." I suggest that this should read "The 1980s saw not only Mormons but many Christian groups vying...." Due attention to neutral viewpoint needs to be taken because Christians typically do not regard Mormons as Christian due to the Latter Day Saints belief in a "trinity" of three gods (as well as the prospect for Mormons to become gods) as opposed to the defining Christian belief in only one God in three persons. Mormons hold substantially different beliefs than Christianity. That is a relevant fact in this story, since Mormonism is another religion entering into the highly charged, fiercely contested land where Judaism, Christianity and Islam all make claims. Thus at least four religions see Jerusalem as a city holy to them. Elizdelphi (talk) 23:44, 18 May 2014 (UTC)

First, new sections belong at the bottom (I moved it for you). Second, you say that "due attention to neutral viewpoint needs to be taken", but you seem to take a very POV stance, and go on to point out why Mormons are not Christian. Mormons consider themselves Christian. But this is the talk page and not the article space, so you can be as POV as you like here. That being said, I think your rewording is fairly NPOV and can be added to the article (I'll do it for you unless someone else beat me to it). But this is a fairly benign change. Next time you can be bold and go ahead and make such a minor change without discussion. — Frεcklεfσσt | Talk 15:49, 19 May 2014 (UTC)