Talk:Culture of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

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Culture vs Practice[edit]

Isn't the material here much more about the practice of LDS/Mormonism rather than the culture? --from the culture article:

A common way of understanding culture sees it as consisting of four elements that are "passed on from generation to generation by learning alone":

  1. values
  2. norms
  3. institutions
  4. artifacts.

(Hoult, T. F, ed. 1969. Dictionary of Modern Sociology, p. 93.)

Many Mormons have a hard time distinguishing (or don't think about) cultural habits and practices from practices that are more doctrinally based. From an anthopological point of view, Mormon culture is distinctive but it might be hard to reference and our viewpoint might emerge as subjective at best. After all, one can be a cultural Mormon and not a practicing one and vice versa. That said, it would be quite a fun and challenging article to produce!

Unique areas of LDS/Mormon culture might include -- Mormon humor? Church based and church oriented entertainment? Family reunions? Church dances and socials? Seminary and institute activities? "Mating" habits? What about the emerging cultural aspects of the international church? WBardwin 07:27, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

That's great--I thought about it myself when I copy and pasted the present article from the main LDS church page. Let's put this on the WP:LDS page and see if other editors will help; I know I'm willing. And this would be a blast to write--I laugh at myself and others when we apply "Mormon lingo" and other unique quirks "into our daily lives." I definitely will help--but the challenge will be to find references. But such is the life of a Wikiaddict/editor. I look forward to the challenge. --Pahoran513 00:04, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
references for our idiosyncratic cultural practices will be tough -- so many things are simply understood or invisible to practitioners. However, the newly published Oct. 2006 Ensign, designed for reference by new members, could provide a beginning for Mormon norms in a church setting. Some of the things they address are doctrine based, others are simply cultural practices or social norms. It would be intersting to make those distinctions. WBardwin 17:38, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
Um, if this was just copy and pasted from the LDS church website, then isn't the copyright in question? Mrmcgibby 14:43, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

Merge with Common LDS perceptions article[edit]

I think Common Latter-day Saint perceptions should be merged with this article for sure... we really need to cut down on all the LDS articles we have floating around. gdavies 20:56, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

I think that Perceptions may as well be part of this article. I think it would be good to rename it including the term apocrypha since it is a list of quasi- doctrine.—Red Baron 23:10, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
How other people see LDS/Mormons = Perceptions. How LDS/Mormons see themselves = Culture. As for Quasi-doctrine, that is something else all together. A friend of mine used to say that the Sunday School class on Rumor, Speculation and False Doctrine met in the foyer. I'm all for consolidating related topics, but what, exactly, do you think these three things have in common? If anything, than that should be the title of the article. WBardwin 05:16, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
Please see the perceptions talk page. In it you will see that Perceptions really isn't a good title for it, and that it has nothing to do with how LDS are perceived by others. It is more aptly given the ascription of Mormon Apocrypha, or something like that. Further, I think that the apocryphal stories and doctrines of the members is part of the culture. My only problem, as I thought about it overnight, is that it is probably OR--the perceptions page, and maybe this one too.—Red Baron 14:53, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
I'll look over Perceptions -- but what you describe might be "Mormon Folklore" -- "body of expressive culture, including tales, music, dance, legends, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs, customs, and so forth within a particular population comprising the traditions (including oral traditions) of that culture, subculture, or group" (i.e. Three Nephite stories). Something like that would certainly be a good section for this culture page. WBardwin 00:30, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

Support[edit]

  1. Support It seems to me that the current perceptions page is little more than a list of apocryphal folklore, and could easily be added to this article. There doesn't seem to be that much content in that article, so merging them would mean one less article for us to monitor. wrp103 (Bill Pringle) 16:10, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
  2. Support per wrp103 and OR gdavies 18:08, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
  3. Support WBardwin 01:33, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

Oppose[edit]

Since the 'Support' comments are five years olde, going back to 2007, I guess the merge didn't happen. Coming late to the discussion, I vote to not merge since this seems the better title and this article has good content and good potential. Charles Edwin Shipp (talk) 13:40, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

Oh, I take it all back — The merge happened and the other title comes directly to this page. Charles Edwin Shipp (talk) 13:43, 8 February 2012 (UTC) . . . Never mind. Nothing to see here. Move along.

Mormon pioneer history and folklore[edit]

Found a brief article addressing pioneer folklore, including Mormon Trail experiences, Western colonization, relations with Native Americans, and Three Nephite stories. Has anyone any ideas on how we want to structure this article? An outline would be really helpful before going forward. WBardwin 08:32, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

A lot of stakes I know (UT & CA) are having a 'Pioneer Trek' for teenagers. It is a major planned event for them. Charles Edwin Shipp (talk) 13:35, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

Revert of Good Faith edit[edit]

User:68.110.115.183 recently made good faith edits to the article, which I have reverted. As this is a "cultural" rather than a doctrinal article, I found these serious edits more appropriate to doctrinally based articles. I also noted that "correcting" the church's name created issues with existing internal links in the article, common to the entire Latter Day Saint Movement and associated sects. I left a note to the anon editor, asking them to contact the Project page and/or continue editing. If anyone would rather revert me, or save sections of the edit, feel free. WBardwin (talk) 02:58, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

Additional topics[edit]

In reading this article, I can see that Mormon culture is a very big topic. The existing article can use improvements and citations, but I think other cultural elements can still be introduced, such as:

  • literature (magazines, young-adult fiction, inspirational/doctrinal readings, etc)
  • sacred places (holy land, Missouri sites, temples, sacred grove, religious travel/tours)
  • film (church-made films, Saturday's Warrior, recent cinema/"Molly-wood")
  • holidays (24th of July, Joseph Smith's martyrdom, restoration of the Aaronic priesthood)
  • fashion (modesty, extreme hairstyles, piercings, tattoos, beards, white shirts)
  • institutional culture (callings, deference to leaders, correlated manuals)

Is any of this going too far? Do some of these only apply within the Mormon corridor? If so, does Utah shape the culture of the rest of the church? ——Rich jj (talk) 16:26, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

Good points. Charles Edwin Shipp (talk) 13:29, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
Two and a half years later, my 'Wiki-surfing' brings me back here; still a very interesting article, especially the 'See also' section. --

Charles Edwin Shipp (talk) 12:56, 26 June 2014 (UTC)

Pictures in the Article[edit]

Under the section, 'Genealogy', the picture-image seems to have disappeared. The link is broken. Charles Edwin Shipp (talk) 13:31, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

This has been taken care of for now, but the next time someone comes along & tries to "fix" the misspelling in File:LDS geneology library slc utah.jpg to instead say File:LDS genealogy library slc utah.jpg this issue will happen again. The file name needs to be changed at Wikimedia Commons if we are to eliminate the risk of occurrence in the future. -- 208.81.184.4 (talk) 19:57, 9 February 2012 (UTC)

Michael Reed book[edit]

Does this edit meet the requirements of WP:SELFCITE section of WP:COI: "Using material you have written or published is allowed within reason, but only if it is relevant, conforms to the content policies, including WP:SELFPUB, and is not excessive. Citations should be in the third person and should not place undue emphasis on your work. When in doubt, defer to the community's opinion." What does the community think? Bahooka (talk) 19:03, 3 December 2013 (UTC)

Additionally, given that Michael Reed 1975 (talk · contribs) has self-identified as author of the work, has repeatedly added it to both this article and Symbolism in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and has no other unrelated articlespace edits at this time, how are these edits inline with Wikipedia's conflict of interest guidelines? -- 208.81.184.4 (talk) 19:42, 3 December 2013 (UTC)

Mike Reed responds: Of course it meets the requirements. The guidelines explicitly state, "but only if it is relevant", "conforms to content policies" and "is not excessive." It is indeed relevant and accords with content policy. Moreover, my addition to the article was hardly excessive at all. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Michael Reed 1975 (talkcontribs) 19:59, 3 December 2013 (UTC)

Given the attempts I made to revert the addition, I of course don't think the additions/revisions belong. Self-identification as an author and self-promotion, even if done in good faith, isn't consistent with WP guidelines. Michael Reed 1975 (talk · contribs) isn't helping the case by focusing on just a couple articles and this singular issue, as referenced by above, nor by continuing to insist that work cited is THE most authoritative ever produced on a given subject. Additionally, I would encourage the user to take advantage of the counsel and WP help offered by 208.81.184.4 on the user's talk page. ChristensenMJ (talk) 22:20, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
You are wrong, ChristensenMJ. The rule has already been quoted for you. Here it is again: "Using material you have written or published ***is allowed*** within reason, but only if it is relevant, conforms to the content policies, including WP:SELFPUB, and is not excessive. Citations should be in the third person and should not place undue emphasis on your work. When in doubt, defer to the community's opinion." — Preceding unsigned comment added by Michael Reed 1975 (talkcontribs) 18:48, 7 December 2013 (UTC)

Mike Reed: Until you site a single applicable forum rule that indicates that I have indeed made a violation, the council of you are your fellow apologist 208.81.184.4 will be ignored.

I was referring to the "Welcome" section guidelines (or "counsel") shared on your talk page, since you are new to WP and its associated guidelines. This has nothing to do with me or any other so referred to apologist. ChristensenMJ (talk) 00:08, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
Michael Reed 1975, when the guideline states "defer to the community's opinion", as I quoted above, you should do that and not continue to insert the content until there is a consensus. So far the community is against inclusion. Also be aware of WP:EW and WP:3RR. Bahooka (talk) 00:11, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
I happen to agree that Mike's contribution to this issue is relevant and should be included. The community is not entirely against inclusion, and I honestly don't see a legitimate reason for excluding it.. Maklelan (talk) 23:29, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
That's the discussion I'd like to see take place. Setting aside the issue of which editor first added the book, is the book a reliable source, and does it make a point that adds to the article? If the community feels the book is reliable, then the COI question is moot, because an independent editor will add it as a result of consensus. —C.Fred (talk) 00:48, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
Consider the following reviews:
Michael Reed's invaluable study shines new light on Mormon's complex and ambiguous relationship with the cross. Reed's research, the most exhaustive ever undertaken on this subject, should help other Christians understand the historic, cultural and religious context out of which Latter-day Saint attitudes toward the cross emerged--and it should help Latter-day Saints find greater spiritual meaning to this most poignant and profound of Christian symbols." --Robert A. Rees, LDS author of "The Reader's Book of Mormon" and religious studies professor at UC Berkeley and GTU Berkeley
"Michael G. Reed has written a book that deftly examines one aspect of Mormonism's inconsistant overlaps with traditional Christianity and inconsistent departures therefrom." --D. Michael Quinn, author of The Mormon Hiearchy
"This is a fascinating study of a surprisingly misunderstood symbol. Reed's well-researched history of the cross has much to teach modern readers across denominational lines." --Ryan K. Smith, american historian and author of "Gothic Arches, Latin Crosses: Anti-Catholicism and American Church Designs in the Nineteenth Century"
"Just finished reading Michael G. Reed 'Banishing the Cross: The Emergence of a Mormon Taboo'. It was a very informative read. Reed did a lot of research that really enlightens our understanding of the (typical) current Mormon aversion to the cross. Drawing on many historical sources, Reed demonstrates that the cross-taboo was not a part of early Mormonism. In contrast, most nineteenth-century American Protestants found the cross to be distastefully Catholic. The Mormon view changed, in part, because of the influence of early nineteenth century cultural perceptions of certain influential Latter-day Saints. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Mormon history." --Mike Ash, LDS apologist and author of "Shaken Faith Syndrome: Strengthening One's Testimony in the Face of Criticism and Doubt"
"Though a fairly light read, the book is interesting and engaging— and it is, in many ways, a significant contribution to the historical record. Reed sets straight several misconceptions about the place of the cross as a symbol in the restored gospel, while inviting the reader on a pictorial journey through a transitional period in LDS Church history." --Alonzo Gaskill, LDS author and BYU professor of Church History and Doctrine
"In recent years, Mormon Church leaders have made significant attempts to repair the rift with the Catholic Church engendered by the former anti-Catholic rhetoric of some of its leaders. Banishing the Cross provides an important and comprehensive study of what animated the prejudice against the cross in the first place and of its manifestation as a historical aberration rather than a constant in Mormon history. I highly recommend this outstanding book, not only for a greater understanding of the reasons behind the banishment of the cross, but also for its rich treatment of an animus so at odds with Joseph Smith’s own sentiments vis-�a-vis the Roman Catholic Church. In his last recorded sermon, Joseph stated: 'The Old Catholic church is worth more than all' the rest." --Fiona Givens, coauthor of "The God Who Wheeps"
"An insightful discussion of LDS—Roman Catholic relations can be found in Michael G. Reed, Banishing the Cross: The Emergence of a Mormon Taboo (Independence: John Whitmer Books, 2012)."--Stephen H. Webb, Author of "Mormon Christianity: What Other Christians Can Learn From the Latter-day Saints" and retired professor of religion and theology from Wabash College
"While President Gordon B. Hinckley repeatedly emphasized his respect for other churches that use the cross, he emphasized that, “for us, the cross is the symbol of the dying Christ, while our message is a declaration of the Living Christ.” [2] Unfortunately, this argument rings hollow, perhaps even condescending, to other Christians since they too worship the Living Christ. The cross reminds them not only of Christ’s death, but of his atoning sacrifice—his life, death, and resurrection—and of their complete dependence on that expiating force. So the symbolic force of the cross is a major division between LDS Christians and creedal Christians. And for the average Mormon, LDS antipathy to the cross may seem doctrinal, perhaps foundational, dating back to teachings from Joseph Smith. However, as Michael Reed aptly demonstrates in his new book "Banishing the Cross: The Emergence of a Mormon Taboo" this history is much more recent and quite complex..... While many Mormon historians have noted correctly that early Mormons echoed the anti-Catholic attitudes and polemics of their nineteenth-century neighbors, Reed conclusively shows that early Mormons had no aversion to the cross. He persuasively demonstrates that the taboo against the cross arose as Mormons lost their connection with folk magic and masonry, as anti-Catholic bias grew within both the membership and leadership of the Church, and as relations between Church leaders and Salt Lake area Catholics grew more tense. What is fascinating about Reed’s analysis is that the institutionalization of the taboo occurred quite late in Mormon history and is not based on any strong theological reasoning. With contemporary Mormonism's more ecumenical focus, a tremendous lessening of anti-Catholic rhetoric, and greatly improved relations between all denominations of Christinanity and the LDS Church, it is not hard to imagine a world where Mormons can once again embrace the symbolic power of the cross. Reed’s book is a wonderful addition to Mormon history and a helpful guide in rethinking our contemporary aversion to the central symbol of Christianity." --Boyd J. Peterson, LDS author and professor of religion at UVU and BYU
Michael Reed 1975 (talk) 19:26, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
I have stayed silent on the issue as yet because I wanted to see where it would go. I feel the need to speak my mind now. I do not feel that Michael Reed's book belongs here, particularly because he describes it as "the most authoritative volume ever written." I believe his attempts to include it constitute a violation of WP policy, and I will do everything in my power to fight against this book's inclusion in the article. --Jgstokes (talk) 00:02, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
Jgstokes, that last comment sounds an awful lot like a personal grudge, not in line with either WP:CIV or WP:FAITH.
Reed's book is either a useful authority or it is not, on its own merits. It doesn't matter if you feel that he overstated its importance. Whether or not it is "the most authoritative ever written" it can certainly be relevant to this page. And it is. Reed's work has been cited at length in the Salt Lake Tribune, Deseret News, Patheos, Sunstone, and a number of other venues. His book was reviewed by the Association for Mormon Letters. Cite error: There are <ref> tags on this page without content in them (see the help page).
Any decision about the book should be based on its merit, not personal grudge. And on its merits, it's a sufficient source for inclusion on the page. Kaimipono (talk) 00:57, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
(Post edited by me to fix formatting.) Kaimipono (talk) 00:58, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
A short list of relevant evidence: Reed's work discussed by the SLTrib[1], discussed at DesNews[2], reviewed in BYU Studies[3], reviewed by the AML[4], presented at Sunstone, MHA, and I think Claremont. The book is published by the John Whitmer press. It's a legitimate and respected scholarly contribution to the topic. Kaimipono (talk) 01:16, 7 December 2013 (UTC)

I am an active Mormon and have studied the topic much myself. Reed's book is the most exhaustive and accurate study on the history of Mormons and the cross. Heck, he's got BYU Associate Professor of Church History and Doctrine, Alonzo L. Gaskill saying so...don't take my word for it. Those who argue againt Reed's book here have empty arguments. see: https://byustudies.byu.edu/PDFLibrary/52.4GaskillBanishing-18d7a555-db97-4acf-90ac-10c1e3e79c5d.pdf Johnnym55 (talk) 01:48, 7 December 2013 (UTC)

I do not have a personal grudge against this editor. I am sorry if my previous comment implied any such grudge. I don't know Michael Reed personally, and I would never presume to personally attack him. Until I erroneously moved it a little while ago, my signature was accompanied by the phrase: "We can disagree without being disagreeable." It is something I strongly believe to be true. So if my prior comment conveyed any contrary notion, I apologize. In the meantime, it doesn't mean much to me if this book was endorsed by a BYU professor. I believe this is an inaccurate description of the LDS Church, and I believe that only endorsement from an LDS general authority would change my mind. I have extensively studied Church history, and nowhere in the teachings I have read is any such doctrine of acceptance of the cross preached or practiced. I recall particularly the words of President Gordon B. Hinckley when he responded to a question about how LDS members could be Christians if they rejected the accepted Christian symbol of the cross. His reply was that while we revere the Savior for what he did in Gethsemane and at Calvary/Golgotha, our Church believes fully that Christ still lives and that we are focused on the Living Christ. We even have a document of that title signed by all the apostles. If Michael Reed were to post a primary source (independent of his own works) from a general authority stating categorically that what Reed claimed was true, I would gladly welcome this paragraph into the article. As it is, even if we were to use the BYU professor's endorsement as the basis for endorsing Reed's work, it would still be a secondary source and not worthy of inclusion in this article. I hope that explains my position and my objections more fully. --Jgstokes (talk) 05:48, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
As an additional reference to what the LDS position on the doctrine of the cross was, is, and always will be, I refer you to this article. This article is also informative. --Jgstokes (talk) 05:57, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
JGstokes wrote, "I have extensively studied Church history, and nowhere in the teachings I have read is any such doctrine of acceptance of the cross preached or practiced." Not extensively enough. You haven't read my book which gives the evidence you need to conclude differently. The Church petitioned the SLC Council in 1916 to erect a cross monument on Ensign Peak to honor the Mormon pioneers, who were then dying off. You didn't know that, did you? Shortly thereafter a group of LDS boyscouts and General authorities erected a wooden cross monument at Emigration Canyon. I published a photo of this, along with a photo of BH Robert's grave stone, which has a large latin cross etched into it. I also include photos of older LDS Chapels with crosses in stained glass, crosses on the binding of a european D&C, photos of early LDS wearing cross jewelry, including one of Brigham Young's wives and several of her daughters. I have images, as well as newspaper reports of cross floral arrangements being displayed at LDS funerals. I also published a photo of a cross hanging on the wall in the Manti Temple. The Church livestock brand in early Utah was a cross. Crosses were also stitched into early Mormon quilts, and many crosses were drawn on the Smith family Magic parchment. Joseph Smith's serpent walking cane has a petrine cross on it. Joseph Smith prayed in cruciform posture (at which time came a vision of Adam and Eve, reportedly), and in the endowment one of the signs was understood to be in a cruciform posture (and pertained to a mode of prayer)... and this posture was, according to at least a couple sources, called "crucifixion." Mormons were thrilled to read reports of crosses being found in pre-columbian remains as they believed such findings confirmed the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. Mormons had visions of the cross. I could go on, and on, and on... and on. Read my book. It is heavily documented and persuasively argued, as the reviewers quoted above have informed you. Heck... if you don't want to read the book, then at least read the Deseret News or SL Tribune reports of my research. I am not making this stuff up. Your assumption is false. Michael Reed 1975 (talk) 22:28, 7 December 2013 (UTC)


Despite the clear conflict of interest by Michael Reed 1975 (talk · contribs) to make an edit that cites himself, the content that he suggests is rather benign and useful. I suggest that the same or similar content be added by another user. Sanpitch (talk) 08:33, 7 December 2013 (UTC)

Jgstokes - It is absolutely not an inaccurate description of the LDS Church, it just doesn't square with contemporary apologetic myopia. Religious ideology changes. This is an incontrovertible fact. Reed points out that the anti-cross sentiment developed within the last century or so, so drumming up GA statements from the last twenty years doesn't really engage his thesis. Demanding a contemporary religious authority place a seal of approval on Reed's thesis before you stop "fighting against" its inclusion here is pure dogmatism. Wikipedia is not a place where sitting ecclesiastical approval is necessary, nor is GA endorsement in any way indicative of historical fact. It's no more a "primary source" than any BYU professor's, and it doesn't seem to me you really know what those words mean. When I was a missionary I had the missionaries in my zone memorize a quote from Brigham Young once that I thought was powerful, and it seems relevant here. It doesn't seem to me you've heard it:
"If you go on a mission to preach the gospel with lightness and frivolity in your hearts, looking for this and that, and to learn what is in the world, and not having your minds riveted—yes, I may say riveted—on the cross of Christ, you will go and return in vain."
The cross was not taboo in the early Church. One last thing: have you actually read Reed's book? It doesn't seem to me you have. Maklelan (talk) 12:03, 7 December 2013 (UTC)


Mr Stokes, I think I understand your misunderstanding, now. This is NOT about current LDS general conference teachings or current mainstream LDS culture. This is about the FACTS surrounding the history of our (LDS) treatment of the cross. Are you trying to shield someone from true history? What gives?Johnnym55 (talk) 19:13, 7 December 2013 (UTC)

Reed's citations are painstakingly sourced, with several photographs of evidence. His evidence is NOT disputed. I don't understand your reluctance, Mr Stokes. Johnnym55 (talk) 19:20, 7 December 2013 (UTC)

Comments shown in section below on full protection.... ChristensenMJ (talk) 08:49, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
I see that some people, short of defending Reed's edits, instead feel the need to stoop to vituperative personal attacks. There is no evidence, other than Reed's book, that proves the early LDS Church accepted and used the symbol of the cross. Let Reed cite a Church leader, any Church leader, that would prove what he is trying to promulgate. Then I will believe him. Until that time, personal attacks are unbecoming of any self-respecting WP editor. I'm not afraid of anything. I only seek the truth. And I cannot accept Reed's book or position as authoritative without proof that is entirely independent of his own works. It should be simple enough for Reed to produce such a source, if indeed one even exists. That will be the primary proof to his secondary claim. Until that time, my objections stand. --Jgstokes (talk) 08:43, 10 December 2013 (UTC)
I don't see anything vituperative in anything that's been said. What I see is serious concern with (1) this notion that orthodoxy has anything at all to do with reporting history, and (2) your flippant refusal to at all engage any of the evidence that's been provided--while simultaneously demanding evidence (!). You're telling someone you would like them to prove the argument they have put forth in a book, but that you won't consider the argument in the actual book, and won't allow them to appeal to any of the arguments from the book. This isn't a legitimate challenge to his thesis, this is just remarkably myopic dogmatism trying to pass itself off as scholarship. Maklelan (talk) 19:00, 12 December 2013 (UTC)
Here is a link to Ogden Standard Examiner's article on my research:
http://blogs.standard.net/the-political-surf/2013/06/19/book-deals-with-that-mormon-taboo-the-cross/
and the Salt Lake Tribune:
http://www.sltrib.com/ci_12256269
and Deseret News:
http://www.deseretnews.com/article/705328913/Mormons-and-the-cross.html?pg=all — Preceding unsigned comment added by Michael Reed 1975 (talkcontribs) 20:45, 14 December 2013 (UTC)

Full protection[edit]

I've fully protected the article to stop the edit war going on, since it involved more than one user I think that was a better option then blocking. I suggest everyone involved use this opportunity to discuss the edits in question as is going on above. If the warring continues after the protection expires, expect to be blocked and/or the article protected again. Callanecc (talkcontribslogs) 11:06, 7 December 2013 (UTC)

One of the participants in the discussion above is demanding that LDS ecclesiastical authorities give explicit approval of the historical claims made in Reed's book before they will stop "fighting against" its inclusion here. I'm a bit of a novice when it comes to Wikipedia editing, but two things jump out at me here: (1) this isn't the kind of approach that is going to respond to reasoned discussion, and (2) this position seems to me like it violates some standard or another held by Wikipedia (and if it doesn't, it should). Perhaps you can enlighten me. Maklelan (talk) 12:27, 7 December 2013 (UTC)


It appears that the scales have tipped in favor of the inclusion of my material. Moreover, it should be obvious that no substantial rebuttal has been provided here by my critics. Can we have the blocks lifted now? Thanks. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Michael Reed 1975 (talkcontribs) 18:23, 7 December 2013 (UTC)

It looks like you fully protected it at the wrong point. Please put Reed's edits back in, then lock it down. To have a discussion about a Christian denomination that rarely currently uses the cross, and not even mention the history of the reason why, is pure silliness. Johnnym55 (talk) 19:27, 7 December 2013 (UTC) Johnnym55 (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.

Actually, the content remains off until the talk page discussion reaches a consensus per WP:BRD. The discussion is still taking place. Bahooka (talk) 19:32, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
Neither do we have consensus for how it currently exists. Why not take the entire page down then?Michael Reed 1975 (talk) 19:37, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
Because, if there's no consensus for a change, we maintain the status quo and keep the last stable version up. That's why your proposed change to the text has not been included into the article.
Further since the full protection was applied on Saturday, the discussion should probably be left on to at least Monday, for the benefit of people offline during the weekend. —C.Fred (talk) 19:39, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
If my critics drop from the discussion and refuse to engage the information I provided above, can we then chalk it up as consensus? Michael Reed 1975 (talk) 01:58, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
We'll have to wait and see what happens. By the time we get to that point, other editors will have had a chance to chime in. —C.Fred (talk) 02:11, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
Since he is new to WP, from the outset, Michael Reed 1975 has significantly misunderstood the issues that have been raised. It's not as much about the content (though if consensus decides for inclusion there does need to be some improvement in the proposed addition that is more npov) as it has been about the potential conflict of interest, the continual insistence that his own book be included as a source, the assertions about it being the most authoritative book written on a topic, the focus on one very small section & on essentially one article, then complicated further by potential meatpuppetry, sockpuppetry or off-WP recruitment/collaboration in trying to combat the "critics", and finally the interactions with editors trying to act in good faith, border-lining in violation of personal attack guidelines. The "critics" have generally been more along these lines, though the user is talking it more personal than it's been intended, which partially demonstrates the potential conflict of interest, given the passion for a single focus area. I agree that silence for a short period of time doesn't either show disengagement or consensus, and while I still don't think it's that relevant and noteworthy for inclusion in the article, that has never been the issue. Consistent with WP guidelines, appropriate consensus from the existing, engaged community should be honored and I am satisfied that will be the case in the end - regardless of the outcome. ChristensenMJ (talk) 08:45, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
I understand quite well the issues raised. As C.Fred explained, "That's the discussion I'd like to see take place. Setting aside the issue of which editor first added the book, is the book a reliable source, and does it make a point that adds to the article? If the community feels the book is reliable, then the COI question is moot, because an independent editor will add it as a result of consensus. —C.Fred (talk) 00:48, 7 December 2013 (UTC)" I have demonstrated that my book is a reliable source. Moreover, at the start of the "Michael Reed's Book", Bahooka quoted WP rules which clearly state that editors are allowed to cite their own works. The fact that I have not yet edited other WP articles on different subjects is irrelevant. You are fabricating another rule, once again. As for Sockpuppets,etc... I think you are "possibly" a sockpuppet. So where does that leave us? Lastly, the actual material I added to the WP article did not state that my book is the most authoritative ever published on the subject. The only mention of my book is a citation in a footnote. Michael Reed 1975 (talk) 16:19, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
I am glad you now understand the issues raised and have made the efforts to provide reviews in support of the work cited. I did not fabricate any rules from the outset, nor did I indicate that the sole focus on this small article was in violation of a rule. It's in the context of all that was being done initially, before responding to the actual counsel that users like C. Fred and Bahooka tried to give. Aside from you not understanding what a "sockpupppet" actually is in the WP sense, it's all good. There's not been censoring - nor did any of the material you ever added state the book to be the most authoritative ever, those were simply your own insistent comments, but that focus was moved past and the real issue focused on. ChristensenMJ (talk) 16:28, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
I now have a majority, do I not? My most vocal critics don't have rebuttals to what I've posted here. They can't deal with my arguments (which I'd be happy to substantiate further, if needed), and they've never even read my book. I have shown that several respected scholars of Mormon studies have given me overwhelmingly positive reviews. And look at my amazon rating. The only person who gave me a negative review was some dogmatic evangelical Christian woman who wished I had instead argued that Mormon's weren't christian due to their cultural rejection of the material symbol. This is the ONLY negative review that I am aware of receiving thus far. Three of the top four newspapers in Utah covered my research: Salt Lake Tribune, Deseret News, and the Ogden Standard Examiner. I have been interviewed for 5 podcasts, and have spoken at several conferences and symposia across the country. My book is published by a small but respected academic Mormon History focused publisher. It is sold by both the Utah Lighthouse Ministryn(a very prominent critical/anti Mormon book dealer) and the Foundation of Apologetic Information and Research (FAIR, a well known Mormon apologetic organization), as well as other Mormon book stores including confetti book and cover-to-cover books. Virtually every Mormon and anti-Mormon (as well as anyone in between) who has read my book has not only claimed to have enjoyed it, but has also regarded it as being a significant contribution to Mormon history/studies. I know I have been criticized about saying this before, but there really is no question that my book is the most exhaustive and authoritative publication that has been undertaken this topic. I have been involved in Mormon studies for Many year now. I have my BA in Religious Studies, MA in Liberal arts/religious Studies, and am currently finishing a PhD in Christian History, with specializations in esoteric studies and Mormon History. I used to be a active contributing member of the Mormon apologetic organization FAIR and even had the opportunity to write for FARMS. Michael Reed 1975 (talk) 09:46, 11 December 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── It's not about majority; it's about consensus. It's also more about the strength of positions from a policy perspective than just numbers. For instance, I find User:Kaimipono's argument to be stronger than User:Sanpitch's because of his citation of outside sources. User:Jgstokes raises some legitimate objections, but I'd like to hear a clear response from him regarding the sources Kaimipono found. (For that matter, I'd love to hear User:Bahooka chime in on whether the material should be introduced, now that we've moved beyond the strict COI issue.) I've not considered User:Johnnym55 or User:Maklelan in my analysis at all, because they appear to be single-purpose accounts. Also, because we're trying to determine whether independent editors favor inclusion of Reed's work, I've not weighed User:Michael Reed 1975's comments into my analysis.

If this were an articles for deletion discussion that had run its seven days, I'd relist for another seven days to get clearer consensus. There's no fixed time limit here, but I don't think enough time has run for a clear consensus to emerge. It looks to me like the question is still open: Do independent editors think that Reed's book is a reliable source, and should the passage sourced to his book be added to the article?C.Fred (talk) 16:58, 11 December 2013 (UTC)

C.Fred, I am happy to comment on the sources Kaimipono presented. I don't seem to see them linking to anything. They are footnotes, but footnotes to what? The articles won't pull up with the links Kaimipono provided. At the outset, it wouldn't matter what accredited newspapers say about the book. Deseret News might be owned by the Church, but it doesn't always reflect the opinion of Church leaders or members. I still say it would take a statement from a Church leader endorsing the book and its contents for me to accept it as historically accurate. Let Reed provide one source, any source, from a Church leader that would bear out what he says. That would be the primary source to his secondary claims. Then and only then would I agree to the book being a reliable source. I think that's a fair request. And for the record, ChristensenMJ agrees with me that this is a reasonable request. I will let him talk more about that if he wants to. I hope that clears up my opinion further --Jgstokes (talk) 04:18, 12 December 2013 (UTC)
I don't participate much in editing Wikipedia articles precisely because my professional field, religious studies, happens to be one that overlaps significantly with hobbyist interests, and I spend most of my time interacting with editors who selectively appeal to, and apply, rules and guidelines solely in an effort to promote their own dogmas and agendas. This is a case in point (my obdurate exclusion from the Jordan Lead Codices page is another example). I am here as a neutral observer who works for the Church in the Church Office Building and happens to agree with Mike's advocacy of a more informed and honest perspective on what many of us consider to be a rather important aspect of Latter-day Saint culture. I see no legitimate reason to oppose inclusion of Mike's publication, which is the most authoritative monograph on the topic that exists. I outright reject the notion that a lack of explicit GA endorsement is at all relevant to anything. This isn't about what perspectives on Church history have been approved by Correlation.
I looked at the article on "single-purpose accounts," and I have to disagree with that characterization of my participation here. I edit within a single broad topic, namely religious studies. I have contributed to a variety of pages within that broad topic, including translating chapter 34 of Exodus for the Wikisource Bible. I am a professional who generally stays out of conversations that I don't find worth my time, precisely because of this kind of flippant and dogmatic marginalizing. I happen to think this issue is worth my time, but if my contribution is sincerely unwelcome, then let me know and I will be on my way. Maklelan (talk) 18:53, 12 December 2013 (UTC)
There were two red flags for me with regard to your account: you had not received any talk-page messages, and your only edits in roughly the past two years have been to this talk page. While that often suggests that the account is single-purpose or has possibly been recruited to the topic, it can be a false-positive indicator.
That said, Maklelan makes a good point about what our yardstick should be: "This isn't about what perspectives on Church history have been approved by Correlation." This is about what has been written about subjects in reliable source, whether or not they have been approved by the subject. (And in some cases, a source may be more reliable because it is not approved! An article on WorldCom or the Senate of Canada would probably not adhere to WP:NPOV if we stuck to subject-approved sources.) —C.Fred (talk) 19:32, 12 December 2013 (UTC)
This is ridiculous to handicap consensus by blocking Maklelan (and others) from being weighed into the discussion. It seems to me that Fred is in violation of WP's "Good faith" "fundamental principal". Michael Reed 1975 (talk) 19:54, 14 December 2013 (UTC)
JGstokes asked me to quote a church leader to show that the cross had been an acceptable symbol to Mormons (prior to 1957). Read my book and you will see the evidence you need, including the following account:
Kimball recounts a personal story of the struggle he had in 1943, after being called to serve as an Apostle for the LDS Church. With great feelings of inadequacy, he turned to God in prayer. Kimball wrote a week after being called to the Quorum of the Twelve: “No peace had yet come, though I had prayed for it almost unceasingly these six days and nights. I had no plan or destination. I only knew I must get out in the open, apart, away,” he says. “I dressed quietly and without disturbing the family, I slipped out of the house. I turned toward the hills. I had no objective. I wanted only to be alone.” Kimball then describes the tearful hike he made up the hillside.
"I climbed on and on. Never had I prayed before as I now prayed. What I wanted and felt I must have was an assurance that I was acceptable to the Lord. I told Him that I neither wanted nor was worthy of a vision or appearance of angels or any special manifestation. I wanted only the calm peaceful assurance that my offering was accepted. Never before had I been tortured as I was now being tortured. And the assurance did not come."
Finally, Spencer W. Kimball saw a sign that gave him assurance that God was with him:
"As I rounded a promontory I saw immediately above me the peak of the mountain and on the peak a huge cross with its arms silhouetted against the blue sky beyond. It was just an ordinary cross made of two large heavy limbs of a tree, but in my frame of mind, and coming on it so unexpectedly, it seemed a sacred omen."
This experience made such an impact on him, that he revisited the place two years later (1945). Kimball recorded in his journal:
"I began to re-live my unusual experiences…. I followed my footsteps of that early morning…. Finally at the top of my sacred mountain I found my cross of July '43 was broken. I found a cross beam and carried it up the hill (remembering the Savior as he carried his cross up Calvary) and fixed it the best I could."
Edward L. Kimball and Andrew E. Kimball, Spencer W. Kimball: Twelfth President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1977), 192-94, 221-22.
Again... Read my book, JGStokes. In addition to what is published in my book, consider the following examples where I list many other instances where Mormons used crosses. http://rationalfaiths.com/banishing-the-cross/ Michael Reed 1975 (talk) 20:11, 14 December 2013 (UTC)


As for JGStokes questioning my background, having been covered in the media, etc, see the following:
“Cross at the Cross: LDS Contempt for the Christian Symbol,” Sunstone Symposium, Salt Lake City, UT, 14 August 2009.
“Book Preview/Panel: Banishing the Cross: The Emergence of a Mormon Taboo,” with D. Michael Quinn, Robert Rees, and Newel Bringhurst, Sunstone Symposium West, Claremont Graduate University, 27 March 2010.
“The Mormon Cross Taboo,” Restoration Studies Symposium, Kansas City, Mo., 9 April 2010.
“Mormon Attitudes toward the Cross—A Brighamite, Josephite, & Strangite Comparison,” Annual meeting for the John Whitmer Historical Association, Rockford, Ill, 25 September 2010.
“Banishing the Cross: The Emergence of a Mormon Taboo,” Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society, CSU Sacramento, 4 November 2010.
“Treasures of Heaven on Earth: The Impact of Mormonism’s Missing, Repudiated, Rebuilt, and Museum-Sequestered Artifacts,” panel speaker at the Salt Lake Sunstone Symposium, closing banquet session, with Colleen McDannell, D. Michael Quinn, Dale E. Luffman, and Allen Roberts, Ogden Utah, 6 August 2011---I presented my research on the cross taboo at this time. Here is a recording of it on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43AuTyJ-p0w
“Banishing the Cross: The Emergence of a Mormon Taboo,” Keynote Speaker at the Phi Alpha Theta Honors Society annual conference, 20 April 2013.
Here is a link to Ogden Standard Examiner's article on my research:
http://blogs.standard.net/the-political-surf/2013/06/19/book-deals-with-that-mormon-taboo-the-cross/
and the Salt Lake Tribune:
http://www.sltrib.com/ci_12256269
and Deseret News:
http://www.deseretnews.com/article/705328913/Mormons-and-the-cross.html?pg=all
Michael Reed 1975 (talk) 20:49, 14 December 2013 (UTC)
The most recent volumes from the Journal of Mormon History (by Fiona Givens), Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought (by Boyd J. Peterson), and BYU Studies (by Alonzo Gaskill) have given my book positive reviews. I've provided quotes above. Michael Reed 1975 (talk) 21:18, 14 December 2013 (UTC)
I think my view has been misunderstood. I am not just looking for any scholarly endorsement of your book. That would not be enough. What I am asking for is for one quote by a general church leader, any general church leader, that would provide the proof to what you claim. That would be the primary source to the secondary claims cited in your book. I have no interest in reading a book that portrays historical falsehood. I don't care who's endorsed your book. What I am looking for is a statement from a church leader that would bear out what you claim in the book. If you are able to provide such a statement, then and only then will I consider the book as a reputable source. In the meantime, I will not read the book itself. I have no money to buy it and no desire to read something that is not backed up by general authorities or scripture. And you have not provided that proof yet. So I suggest you keep searching until you find such proof. Everything I have read points to the LDS rejection of the symbol of the cross, whether the rejection be recent or a matter of history. I have stated my conditions. They ought to be easy enough to meet. I'm not trying to be difficult, really I'm not. I just don't find endorsement of your book by so called "experts" in the field to be enough for me. Nor, as I believe, are they enough to justify the inclusion of this material by Wikipedia standards. --Jgstokes (talk) 00:58, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Let me rephrase and ask for clarification: Jgstokes, are you challenging the book as inaccurate and incompletely researched because Reed did not interview (or cite an interview with) a church leader in the course of his research? If that's not your concern, please explain specifically which part of WP:RS you maintain the book doesn't meet. If anything, the book may be in better standing per the guidelines for reliable sources and not a direct interview with a current church leader per WP:BIASED and the potential for religious bias. —C.Fred (talk) 01:46, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
@Jgstokes - the rejection of the the cross is not an official LDS Church doctrine; at most it could be considered a modern policy, one codifying a common imbedded cultural perception. As with other such imbedded cultural perceptions (including big ones like Blacks and the Priesthood or smaller ones like the literal reality of the miracle of the gulls as commonly recounted), there is no reason this concept cannot be critically but respectfully examined by academics. An official LDS Church statement on a particular matter may be useful for adjusting personal beliefs (such as the recent clarifications about Blacks and the Priesthood), but is not a useful measuring stick of the validity of including academic work in a Wikipedia article.
@Michael Reed 1975 - my main issue with including this work was primarily how you, as the author of the work, appeared at first to merely be self promoting; it was clear that in the beginning you didn't understand how to demonstrate the value of the work to more seasoned WP editors. Please understand that because of wp:recentism, I am generally sceptically of automatically including every new book or paper as a source. However you have since provided information about how your work has been received in the Mormon studies field, and (in my own judgement) have done enough to demonstrate the work's standing in that field, so I see no reasonable reason why your work could not be used as a source in this article. That being said, I don't necessarily agree with the original wording used, and I think it best to discuss the particulars here first. The length of this new material should also be circumspect, given that if it is too long or detailed it could create a wp:WEIGHT issue. -- 208.81.184.4 (talk) 18:56, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
208.81.184.4, I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised by your aparent willingness to compromise. I understand that the term "anti-Catholic" may come across as shocking and sensational, but there was a very real angst that President McKay had against the Church. As I write in my book, President McKay had listed the Catholic Church as one of the "Two great anti-Christs in the world". Shortly thereafter, he institutionalized the cross aversion, saying that wearing Jewelry is a Catholic form of worship. It is understandable that McKay struggled with the Catholic church so greatly. Missions that he had been over, which were predominantly Catholic, were largely failing. Moreover, McKay had previously grew up in a time with the first real presence in the State of Utah had emerged. Bishop Glass of the Catholic Diocese was not very friendly to the Church, and was quite critical of Mormonism in the newspapers. McKay and Bishop Hunt (who came later) had a much better relationship with McKay. Although, president McKay had already had anti-Catholic sentiment ingrained into him. Interestingly enough, McKay... even though he struggled with this negative sentiment, was careful not to make such overt anti-Catholic statements publicly. He tended to be quite tactful in that regard, unlike Bruce R. McConkie. When Bruce R. McConkie's book "Mormon Doctrine" published entries like "Catholicism: See Church of the Devil" (etc), Bishop Hunt approached President McKay with Mormon Doctrine in hand and tears in his eyes, asking, "Is this what your Church thinks of me?" (paraphrasing here... It's in my book)... anyhow... this was a mortifying experience for President McKay, and as I wrote in my book, this apparently caused McKay to reconsider his sentiment against the Catholic Church--even though the cross aversion continued to stick in Mormon culture. Anyhow... about the term anti-Catholic, perhaps it would be better to say that Latter-day Saints rejected the Cross as a means to disassociate Mormonism from Catholicism. If we make that change, would the rest of the wording of my contribution be acceptable? Thanks. Michael Reed 1975 (talk) 17:42, 20 December 2013 (UTC)
@C. Fred: You hit the nail right on the head. If Reed had cited or does cite an interview with a Church leader, that would be the primary source to his secondary claim. I believe that if Reed had wanted to, he could include such an interview without violating the WP regulations you cited. That he has not done so raises red flags for me. When PBS put out the documentary "The Mormons", it included words from church leaders on the relevant subjects. I doubt very much that this documentary violated WP:UNDUE. Indeed, it would have been unbalanced and biased for PBS to treat the subject without input from Church leaders. Now Reed has made this outlandish claim in his book that is backed up by neither a quote from an early Church leader nor a modern perspective on this claim. Either would satisfy me. At any rate, this source has been pushed by Reed in spite of WP:SELF. I don't care much about who in the scholarly world has endorsed him. Without a statement from a Church leader to the effect that this information is accurate, I cannot in good conscience support its inclusion. In my position as a WP editor, I will always err on the side of accuracy, because I want to make sure that only the very best, most accurate information is included in WP articles. And at the moment, I cannot in good conscience say I believe Michael Reed's book is accurate because he has not provided evidence to substantiate this belief. I hope that clarifies my position. --Jgstokes (talk) 22:40, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Are we really going to have to engage in a wp:verifiability, not truth/wp:truth, not verifiability discussion here? -- 208.81.184.4 (talk) 22:58, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Jgstokes. You are welcome to read my book. My book (which is published by a small but respected religious studies association) quotes several Church authorities from their own Journals even. This is ridiculous that you are demanding such things. If we would to follow your demands and apply them to all wikipedia articles, we'd end up gutting most entries of their sources cited. Here is an experiment for you: List three books (outside of Church publication or correlation) in the last ten years that Church leaders have officially endorsed. BTW... did you also know that I was asked to donate a copy of my MA thesis (which is expanded as my book) to the LDS Church History Library? That doesn't matter to you either, does it?Michael Reed 1975 (talk) 17:57, 20 December 2013 (UTC)
What you call ridiculous, other editors and myself call perfectly reasonable. I happen to know that ChristensenMJ agrees that my request is very reasonable. Admittedly, though, none of us expect you to do it. The only reason for making such a request in this case is that the information you are trying to incorporate into this article is not corroborated by any general authority as far as I can tell. I could write a book claiming that Joseph Smith wasn't actually martyred, but without evidence to back that claim, it would not be considered reliable according to WP standards. Why should I consider special treatment for your book? Each claim must be backed up by a reputable source, and I have trouble believing that your source is reputable. I have no intention of reading something that is claimed to be true but is actually false. As for the "experiment", any book that Church leaders have cited could be said to be endorsed by them. I am not looking for Church leaders to endorse your book. If I ever conveyed that notion, I apologize. What I do want is one source, any source, from any Church leader, past or present, that would prove what you claim in the book, that the symbol of the cross was initially accepted by the LDS leadership and populace. The fact that I have thrice offered this challenge and you have not even attempted to satisfy my conditions tells me that you are only interested in seeing your own work cited in this article, and have little or no regard for what is true. That violates WP:SELF, WP:CITE, and WP:VERIFIABILITY, to name just a few. So instead of trying to convince me to read something I never will read, why don't you take my challenge and search for a primary source that will verify your secondary claims? I think that would be the fair thing. Happy hunting! --Jgstokes (talk) 00:35, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
The above note overstates my view or opinion. If one reads back through comments I have made on this topic and its related issues, they reflect that the primary interest has been in adhering to WP principles or guidelines. ChristensenMJ (talk) 02:51, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
JgStokes said, "What you call ridiculous, other editors and myself call perfectly reasonable." My response: I am not sure that is the case? Who agrees with you on this specific point? "I happen to know that ChristensenMJ agrees"] agrees that my request is very reasonable." Hopefully ChristensenMJ has now cleared that up for you above. "Admittedly, though, none of us expect you to do it." To do what, and who is this "us", JgStokes? "I could write a book claiming that Joseph Smith wasn't actually martyred, but without evidence to back that claim, it would not be considered reliable according to WP standards." Indeed, you could. And the best way for me to verify that you don't have such evidence would be to read the book cited. It is premature for you to say that the book isn't accurate, without actually reading the book and verifying the source/argumentation. One good reason that WP has asks editors to cite verifiable/accessible sources: so that they can be accessed and verified. "Why should I consider special treatment for your book? Each claim must be backed up by a reputable source, and I have trouble believing that your source is reputable." Why should you have any opinion on the matter at all, if you haven't read it? "I have no intention of reading something that is claimed to be true but is actually false." Then you have no intention of developing an informed position in the matter, and therefore are simply interfering with the efforts of WP editors. You are just getting in the way of this very valuable work. "What I do want is one source, any source, from any Church leader, past or present, that would prove what you claim in the book, that the symbol of the cross was initially accepted by the LDS leadership and populace". So now you propose to know the claim of my book, without even reading it... but you don't want to read it, because you know it is false. This is ridiculous. My claim has never been that the symbol of the cross was universally used. The focus of my research actually traces the emergence and development of the taboo. In doing so my book looked into the emergence of anti-Cross commentary in Mormon history (which comes quite late) while paralleling that by giving examples of the cross being used and promoted by very prominent authorities, as well as common members. I give many many examples, in photographs in fact (those would be easy to read). I also quote diaries and LDS curriculum. I also explain that anti-Cross statements appear very late in Mormon history.... and discus the grass-roots development of the taboo (showing that LDS were rather commonly quoting past protestant rationalizations for rejecting the symbol in ways that were tinged with anti-Catholic sentiment.... I described the controversy of the Church's 1916 Ensign Peak cross monument proposal (and how the Church was very conflicted over this, then traced this taboo to the time that it had become institutionalized (1957)... etc. Again... my book focuses on the development of the taboo. You should read it to clarify your misunderstandings, before you persist with any additional reversals on this WP topic. Michael Reed 1975 (talk) 20:07, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
JgStokes said, "I am not looking for Church leaders to endorse your book." Um... you **were*** You stated explicitly, "I still say it would take a statement from a Church leader endorsing the book and its contents for me to accept it as historically accurate." This contrary to WP's assessment that published, academic, peer reviewed sources are most reliable.Michael Reed 1975 (talk) 20:24, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
Regarding JgStokes' comment ("What you call ridiculous, other editors and myself call perfectly reasonable"), I would like to state that demanding an ecclesiastical endorsement of Reed's thesis is a flagrant violation of the standards of academic investigation. The presence or lack of a contemporary endorsement on the part of a general authority has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on the accuracy of Reed's historical and ideological reconstruction, nor is this a forum that is in any way, shape, or form governed by such ecclesiastical authority. Whether or not Church leaders approve is completely and totally irrelevant, and I am sincerely astonished that such obdurate and naive bridge-guarding is tolerated on Wikipedia. Does anyone here actually have any formal background in historiography or religious studies? Maklelan (talk) 13:54, 27 December 2013 (UTC)
FWIW, my research was recently cited in another academic study (see footnote 78): http://cadmus.eui.eu/bitstream/handle/1814/29058/RSCAS_2013_88.pdf?sequence=1 Michael Reed 1975 (talk) 20:39, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
The book can also be previewed on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1934901350/ref=rdr_ext_tmb Michael Reed 1975 (talk) 23:46, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
Okay, I see it's time to clear up my viewpoint once again. I know I once said that it would take a general authority's endorsement of the book to make me believe it is reliable, but I was overreacting then. Now all I desire is ONE SOURCE, from any Church leader, that substantiates what you claim in your book. As for my mistakenly believing that ChristensenMJ shared my entire view, that was an error in judgment on my part. He and I clarified that on his talk page. I have no interest in reading your book, now or ever. All I am interested in is substantiating what it claims through proper channels. If such substantiation can be established, all my objections will cease. And in this case, I think "proper channels" includes a current statement from a Church leader that can be traced to a reliable source. That ought to be easy enough to provide. At the outset, all I can do is apologize if I overreacted and misjudged things. Happy hunting! --02:38, 22 December 2013 (UTC)
JgStokes said, "I know I once said that it would take a general authority's endorsement of the book to make me believe it is reliable, but I was overreacting then. Now all I desire is ONE SOURCE, from any Church leader, that substantiates what you claim in your book." I already gave you "ONE SOURCE." **Didn't you read the quote I gave about Spencer W. Kimball's Cross? Did you click the links I gave, which lead you to many photographs of early Mormon's using the cross?** "I have no interest in reading your book, now or ever." You seem to be uninterested in reading my comments on this page too.Michael Reed 1975 (talk) 16:39, 22 December 2013 (UTC)
Jgstokes, please tell us whether you disagree with WP's policy that includes the following statement: "If available, academic and peer-reviewed publications are usually the most reliable sources, such as in history, medicine, and science."Michael Reed 1975 (talk) 16:39, 22 December 2013 (UTC)
Perhaps looking at the bibliography of the book would help in determining the acceptability of sources of the book's content. Those sources, which include those from general authorities, are shown in the Amazon preview given earlier. Bahooka (talk) 16:45, 22 December 2013 (UTC)
Yes indeed. Thank you for that suggestion, Bahooka. Maybe I should also mention that not all of my sources are listed in the bibliography, such as manuscripts that I retrieved from special collection archives, court documents, journals, etc.Michael Reed 1975 (talk) 16:54, 22 December 2013 (UTC)
@Michael Reed: I read your "example" of Spencer W. Kimball, but that was about how a recently called apostle was reassured of his worthiness for the calling by the symbol of the cross, NOT evidence that LDS members were initially quite accepting of the cross. I didn't read the links you posted. I must have overlooked them when I was focused on your Spencer W. Kimball example. I am not an unreasonable man. I will look at the links now and give you my honest opinion. I agree with all WP policies. If I didn't I wouldn't have survived as a WP editor for the last six years. That is why I will give the sources you cited my most earnest attention after posting this comment. I like Bahooka's suggestion as well. But, as I said, I am not in a financial position to buy the book. So I can't very well look at the bibliography, which may or may not allay my concerns. At any rate, I will give your cited sources my most earnest attention, then post again. --Jgstokes (talk) 02:11, 23 December 2013 (UTC)

Having now read the "examples" Reed cited on his blog, I will say this: A prophet's daughter wearing a cross does not constitute an initial LDS acceptance of the cross. Nowhere did you list a quote from a Church leader endorsing their children's use of the cross. It could very well be that Young disapproved of his daughter's wearing of the cross and that this was a one-time occurrence. For further examples of how children of Church leaders violated doctrine taught by their leaders, I cite the following: John W. Taylor, Moses Thatcher, and Richard R. Lyman were all excommunicated and dropped from the Quorum of the Twelve for their failure to abandon polygamy. So Young's daughter wearing a cross does not indicate Church endorsement of the cross. Michael Reed, you will have to do better than that. --Jgstokes (talk) 02:27, 23 December 2013 (UTC)

Jgstokes said, "NOT evidence that LDS members were initially quite accepting of the cross." Oh brother. It is one example among many, showing that it was embraced by a Church authority. The taboo was institutionalized in 1957. Kimball's experience happened before that. You asked for one quote. I gave you one. But as I expected, you claim that your request was never fulfilled. "I am not an unreasonable man." Yes you are. "I will look at the links now and give you my honest opinion." Sure you will. "I agree with all WP policies." Sure you do. "I can't very well look at the bibliography, which may or may not allay my concerns." Yes you can. You should pay better attention. The bibliography can be previewed on amazon. I could also quote the Church's petition to the SLC Council to erect a cross monument on Ensign Peak. The quote is given in the newspaper articles linked to above. Let me guess. You didn't read those either. It's not my fault that you are so uninformed. I am practically spoon feeding you, and you won't open up. Michael Reed 1975 (talk) 18:04, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
Jgstokes said, "Having now read the 'examples' Reed cited on his blog, I will say this: A prophet's daughter wearing a cross does not constitute an initial LDS acceptance of the cross." I have photos of about 6 of his daughters, and one of his wives. "Nowhere did you list a quote from a Church leader endorsing their children's use of the cross." I didn't say I did. HOWEVER, I did quote a church leader showing their own endorsement of the symbol of the Cross. Remember that story about Spencer W. Kimball. The preview of my book on Amazon (which you have refused to look through) also shows an image of crosses on the binding of a european edition of D&C. An image of BH Robert's gravestone can also be viewed, but you refuse to look. An image of a cross erected at immigration Canyon, but again... you see the pattern here? "It could very well be that Young disapproved of his daughter's wearing of the cross and that this was a one-time occurrence." But see what you are doing here? You are guessing. You concocting a conclusion without evidence. "So Young's daughter wearing a cross does not indicate Church endorsement of the cross. Michael Reed, you will have to do better than that." I HAVE done better than that. You just refuse to read my comments above, my sources provided above, and my book. I've done plenty of work here. Again... it isn't my fault that you remain so uninformed. I've practically spoonfed you here, but you won't open up.Michael Reed 1975 (talk) 18:19, 23 December 2013 (UTC)

Odd that Michael Reed said essentially the same thing in two different comments. I have already responded to your "example" of Spencer W. Kimball. As I stated before, that is not so much an endorsement of the symbol of the cross but rather an account of how a newly called apostle found comfort and reassurance about his worthiness for the call. I've read that account repeatedly. And I note that he does not mention endorsement of the symbol of the cross, just the fact that he found comfort from it. Contrary to what you may believe, I have read all your comments and considered all the evidence. But I don't find any of it satisfies me as far as verifiability that the Church was initially quite accepting of the cross. And, as you are new to WP, I feel I can give you some advice. Continually attacking someone for their expressed opinion is not a good strategy for conflict resolution. Instead of attacking me, why don't you provide the evidence I asked for? I have not yet seen one example that would convince me that the LDS Church was initially quite accepting of the cross. Viewing the bibliography may help. I don't know. But based on your continually personal attacks, I really have no desire to read anything you wrote. I will say this much. I am a firm believer in the principal of consensus. If the straw poll suggested below turns out in favor of including your material, I will accept that consensus. If, however, the consensus rules that it should not be included, I will support that consensus. But the material will have to be reworked to be included. At the moment, aside from the verifiability issues, I see many other potential problems that will have to be addressed. --Jgstokes (talk) 22:29, 23 December 2013 (UTC)

For editors who might be interested, this is today's Daily Feature from BYU Studies. Bahooka (talk) 17:17, 26 December 2013 (UTC)
"Odd that Michael Reed said essentially the same thing in two different comments." It is odd to you that I have to repeat what should already be obvious? I agree. "As I stated before, that is not so much an endorsement of the symbol of the cross but rather an account of how a newly called apostle found comfort and reassurance about his worthiness for the call." And he found comfort through his observation of the symbol of the Cross, and even rebuilt it a year later. Your dismissiveness of this evidence is telling. It shows that you are unwilling to reason at all. You've actually already made up your mind, and anything I share with you to convince you otherwise will be disregarded without consideration. "I've read that account repeatedly. And I note that he does not mention endorsement of the symbol of the cross, just the fact that he found comfort from it. Contrary to what you may believe, I have read all your comments and considered all the evidence." Thank you for demonstrating how impossible it will be to reason with you. As you said before, you will do everything in your power to ensure that my research isn't cited on WP. You've retracted that claim, after Maklelan called you on it, but have nevertheless continued forward with your declared mission. "But I don't find any of it satisfies me as far as verifiability that the Church was initially quite accepting of the cross." The Church petitioned the SLC council to erect a cross monument on Ensign Peak in 1916. The Church's official livestock brand was a cross. And don't forget the European edition of the D&C... or the cross hanging in the Manti Temple (which I publish a photo of), or how cross floral arrangements were quite common, etc. Don't forget that an anti-cross statement cannot be found prior to 1877. "And, as you are new to WP, I feel I can give you some advice. Continually attacking someone for their expressed opinion is not a good strategy for conflict resolution." I am attacking you by stating the obvious and calling you on it, got it. "Instead of attacking me, why don't you provide the evidence I asked for?" I have given you the evidence you asked for. You just refused to consider/accept it. "I have not yet seen one example that would convince me that the LDS Church was initially quite accepting of the cross." If i were to show you that the Church was quite accepting of the cross, that would require more than just one quote, would it not? I have many many quoted sources and photos to support my claim, in my book... a book that you refuse to read. Excuse me... a book that you can't afford to read. You can't afford it, fine. That's not your fault. What is your fault is you barging into wp and blocking edits based on ignorance... ignorance that is is the consequence of your financial instability. If you aren't in a position to verify sources cited, then you shouldn't participate here on WP. "Viewing the bibliography may help. I don't know. But based on your continually personal attacks, I really have no desire to read anything you wrote. I will say this much." You made that clear up front. You have a mission to do everything in your power to block my research from being included. Michael Reed 1975 (talk) 22:01, 30 December 2013 (UTC)

Arbitration[edit]

I appreciate most of the participation that has occurred on this page, and I regret the frustration I have experienced/expressed over the past couple of weeks. I appreciate the general willingness of folks to be patient with me, as this newbie learns the ropes. This has been a learning process, for sure. Anyhow... I feel like it may be almost time for me to ask for arbitration on this matter. Before I do, I want to ask participants to help me a bit (if you don't mind--this format is making me crosseyed--lol). Can we please list out the unresolved issues that participating editors may have for objecting against my initial edit to the page. I hope that doing so will help us to consolidate things, reassess, and bring us to a clearer focus. I want to make sure that I have not missed anything important, before requesting arbitration. It's difficult for me to see the trees for the forest. ;) For the moment, I am not sure how close we area to consensus. If we are close, we may not need to rely on arbitration at all, and can simply move on to working on compromise instead. Thanks!Michael Reed 1975 (talk) 20:56, 21 December 2013 (UTC)

Are there any issues unresolved, outside of the issue that Jgstokes and I are currently discussing? Is there anyone besides Jgstokes who thinks that I have not sufficiently argued a case for my material's inclusion?Michael Reed 1975 (talk) 18:34, 23 December 2013 (UTC)

The issue to me is whether there is support among independent editors for inclusion of the text. Because Michael Reed 1975 was so active in the discussion, I was never able to clearly see what opinion was among those editors. (As the author of the source in question, that user is not independent.) Would a quick straw poll be in order? —C.Fred (talk) 21:32, 23 December . (UTC)
A straw poll may be helpful in clarifying a consensus. And in keeping with the note of being independent editors, Wikipedia editors should not be canvassed off-wiki with the purpose of swaying the poll and outcome per Wikipedia:Canvassing. If this was done earlier it should not be repeated nor factored into the outcome. Bahooka (talk) 21:51, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
I would welcome such a poll. There may be other editors who are following the discussion but not necessarily commenting. A straw poll would allow all interested editors, not just the ones that have commented, to have a voice in this content. --Jgstokes (talk) 22:11, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
Folks aren't participating in this poll, apparently. It is obvious that Jgstokes isn't willing to reason. He declared his mission up front. I am convinced that he is an obstacle to future WP development. He has declared repeatedly his own unwillingness to verify sources cited. I ask for arbitration, and urge administrators to consider blocking jgstokes from future participation. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Michael Reed 1975 (talkcontribs) 22:18, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
You do realize that any such request you initiate will be viewed through the lens of your conflict of interest, correct? —C.Fred (talk) 00:02, 31 December 2013 (UTC)
conflict of interest? You have stated that you arent weighing anything I have said. But now that will change since I am asking for arbitration? Ok. Go ahead. Arbitrate. Cater to the apologists who refuse to read the sources they protest againat. Your loss. "Whether or not Church leaders approve is completely and totally irrelevant, and I am sincerely astonished that such obdurate and naive bridge-guarding is tolerated on Wikipedia. Does anyone here actually have any formal background in historiography or religious studies? Maklelan"
I have been away from this discussion for a while and I have previously addressed issues that existed for me. I recognize and appreciate the frustration you have felt during this process, Michael Reed 1975. My main purpose in this posting is to address comments regarding Jgstokes. Before doing that, I believe that some of what C.Fred is referring to above and trying to guide on is related to the suggestion that Jgstokes be blocked from WP - in what seems like a permanent way, based on your statements. C.Fred is just trying to raise the awareness of the COI that would likely play into such a request. While Jgstokes has obviously felt much stronger about this issue than I have, as addressed before, I am going to put a plug in for his ongoing efforts. Maybe he has been overly staunch in his responses, or even inflexible, as you have noted - as it relates to this singular issue. However, that has not been my experience with him over a number of years within WP. His efforts have always been honorable, with a genuine desire to have WP represent the very best in the articles and information that exist, within the long established guidelines and principles that are foundational to WP. As a separate overall issue, I would continue to encourage civil and appropriate dialogue, even in the midst of frustration, toward other editors, who even if there is disagreement are generally acting in good faith. ChristensenMJ (talk) 06:58, 31 December 2013 (UTC)
If a straw poll is taken, I would vote in favor of including Reed's scholarship.Maklelan (talk) 13:44, 31 December 2013 (UTC)
I question why, on an article that is on the watchlist of less than 30 users, new and inactive accounts suddenly began commenting here. If there was off-wiki canvassing that would impact arriving at a consensus. Bahooka (talk) 15:53, 31 December 2013 (UTC)
I for one do not use a watch list (given I edit from an IP), and it certainly is not a perfect gauge of interest in an article or a discussion. I instead use a tool that tracks WikiProject Latter Day Saint movement related changes, which is featured at the bottom of the Wikipedia:WikiProject Latter Day Saint movement page, and I'd suggest that there is at least a potential that others may be using it as well. Naturally this doesn't preclude any other contributing factor, and is only one of many possibilities.
Also, to restate my previous comment, I see no reason at this point that Banishing the Cross could not be used as a citation. I reserve judgement on the actual wording to be used in the article text, as it needs to be written so as not to cause a wp:WEIGHT issue, given that that Reed's book (and previous thesis) is essentially the only substantial work in this particular line of inquiry. One possible secondary source of particular note (as pointed out by Bahooka) that could be used to counter any lingering COI and primary source issues is the recent BYU Studies book review, which states "[w]hat Reed shows, rather convincingly, is that Mormonism has not always been uncomfortable utilizing the cross as one of its symbols..."(Gaskill, Alonzo L. (2013), Michael G. Reed's Banishing the Cross: The Emergence of a Mormon Taboo [Book Review], BYU Studies Quarterly 52 (4): 185 ) Wording like this is NPOV, supportable, and also benefits from coming from a reliable secondary source in the field of Mormon studies.
While this is not a statement from a general authority, I hope that Jgstokes in particular can recognize that BYU Studies is perhaps the single most prominent source of "faithful history" outside of the Church History Department, and given the unfortunately indisputable issues with academic freedom at Brigham Young University, it is virtually impossible anything could currently be published in that journal that even comes close to being seen as unacceptable to LDS Church leadership: no one published there is going to risk a Bott-style incident that results in a clarification published on LDS.org itself (i.e. "Race and the Priesthood", Gospel Topics, LDS.org (LDS Church) ). -- 208.81.184.4 (talk) 00:19, 3 January 2014 (UTC)

At this time I am fairly satisfied with 208.81.184.4's recent revision of the article, and hope that it reflects the consensus we have at this point. Thanks 208.81.184.4.Michael Reed 1975 (talk) 19:06, 6 January 2014 (UTC)

  1. ^ http://www.sltrib.com/ci_12256269
  2. ^ http://www.deseretnews.com/article/705378769/Sunstone-speaker-attempts-to-explain-LDS-aversion-to-cross.html?pg=all
  3. ^ https://byustudies.byu.edu/PDFLibrary/52.4GaskillBanishing-18d7a555-db97-4acf-90ac-10c1e3e79c5d.pdf
  4. ^ http://www.sltrib.com/ci_12256269