Talk:Hugh Nibley

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Excuse my personal note here: When I was still at BYU in the early 90s, I saw Nibley shuffling around the Lee Library a couple of times wearing a cardigan and sorting through 3x5 cards. If I remember well, the "Daily Universe" printed an interview where he stated he was currently teaching himself sanskrit. One of my roommates took one of his Book of Mormon classes...quite a trip...his class lectures went everywhere...forget about taking notes. He is one of a kind, a true gem. B|Talk 02:50, May 19, 2004 (UTC)

When we lived in Utah, while my wife and I were at BYU, he lived in our ward. He never seemed to comment in sunday school except to share his testimony and short personal experiences to build faith. Never a long answer to doctrinal questions. He once said that he didn't comment or correct the teaching because he had plenty learn, and that many times you can learn from the intent of the teacher more than the doctrinal aspects. Whenever I went to his office (he shared with Wilf Griggs a teacher of mine that I became pretty close to) it was a mess.

I'm not sure where this should go but here looked good. [User talk:StuntManMike2|Talk] I attended BYU during the early 80s and had a religion class from Hugh Nibley. He was the classic old professor stereotype. The first day of class he came in the classroom and approached the lectern. With head down he started reading and speaking from his note books regarding research he was currently involved with. He never looked up at the class. This went on for several more lectures before someone got his attention and asked if we would have any tests or finals in this class. He answered briefly as if annoyed and continued on with his discourse for the day. We had one assignment which was a final paper we had to write, “The Seven Dispensations of Man”. It was a very enjoyable class. Not much discussion if any that I remember.

Columbia University? and counter apologists[edit]

Still unsure on the columbia university reference. I could have sworn I had a reference for it, but can't find it. perhaps I'll delete it? -Visorstuff 14:24, 19 May 2004 (UTC)
The quote about reading all the books is vaguely familiar to me. Maybe give it some time. B|Talk 15:57, May 19, 2004 (UTC)

Thanks for the correction to content and your edits - we knew something wasn't quite accurate - but based on various notes we compiled various places, we couldn't confirm.

By the way, I've found a paper I've been looking for online - - regarding Nibley's scholarship. -Visorstuff 20:21, 7 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Excellent link Visorstuff! I would add to what the article concludes that not only have evangelicals failed to address the growing body of quality work by Mormon scholars on religious topics, but all Christian denominations in general have failed to address this growing body of work...all this despite the great body of work Mormon scholars have devoted to demonstrate their points whether in regards to post-apostolic fathers and Hellenized Christianity or what light the Dead Sea Scrolls or pseudepigrapha shine on parallels to early Christianity and Mormonism. B|Talk 00:44, 8 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Nice stuff. It's funny to see how few counter-apologetics exist in the face of all this evidence. Bruce 03:34, 8 Oct 2004 (UTC)

One Eternal Round[edit]

The manuscript for One Eternal Round was handed off to FARMS during BYU's Fall 2002 semester; I was in Stephen Ricks's NES 345 class at the time, and he reported that his wife had gone to the Nibley home to collect it. Regrettably I can't remember the date, but it was after early September and before mid-December. Probably that's specific enough, anyway. eritain 06:28, 24 August 2005 (UTC)

Latter-day vs. Latter Day[edit]

We need to be careful in using the term "Latter Day Saints" to refer to "Latter-day Saints." The hyphenated, lower-case D church is the church most of you are familiar with, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The no-hyphen, capital D church is the pre Salt Lake church, which nowadays is synonymous with the polygamists out in the desert. Hugh Nibley was always a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and was never a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We don't want some internal wikipedia link to associate him with the wrong church. -Colin 26 Jun 2005

This is a false distinction. Polygamy remained official doctrine and practice through the settlement in Utah until the last years of the nineteenth century, when the Supreme Court of the United States decisively upheld the law against the practice. Since then polygamy has been official doctrine but not official practice. The church headquartered in Salt Lake City can show continuity of leadership and of membership with the church that migrated from Iowa. J S Ayer 18:30, 15 September 2005 (UTC)

Your comment doesnt' make sense in the context of this talk page. There are at least two churches that claim the same name: the Church of JEsus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and one that hyphenates it - all claiming to be the legitimate successor of the Church Joseph Smith set up. Historians at large call the Mormonism movement "the Latter Day Saint movement" - as the hyphen was added to the LDS Church's name after the Utah-Illinois exodus (its a british spelling) and the original spelling in early editions of the D&C were non-hyphenated. So Hugh Nibley was a Latter-day saint. Colin's statement above is correct - the hyphenated name did not exist until after the Saints got to Utah. The Church may be the same, but the punctuation is different. I disagree with colin that the capital D is associated with polygamists - as the Strangites in Wisconson and Cutlerites both used this name at one point or still do. Anyway -this is all irrelevant to the page at hand, other than Nibley would be considered both a Latter Day Saint (as part of the broader movement) and a Latter-day Saint - part of the Church. -Visorstuff 18:48, 15 September 2005 (UTC)

You have summed up on my side, rejecting the claim that the original church is continued by the polygamists, not by the "official" church. J S Ayer 02:51, 11 November 2006 (UTC)

Nibley unknown outside of Mormonism[edit]

An anon editor User: keeps deleting (cenoring?) statements supporting Hugh Nibley being respected outside of the Mormonism community. Specifically the following:

"Nibley was praised by non-LDS historians and researchers for his ability to draw upon historical sources to give evidences for Latter-day Saint beliefs. In one study the authors argued—due to Nibley's reliability and celebrated scholarship—that most of Nibley's work is reliable, encouraging anti-Mormon writers to assess and counter Nibley's research, rather than dismissing it. [1]."

It is obvious that the editor either does not agree with the statement (doesn't like it) or has not examined it. Part of the paper on a "anti-cultist" site states:

"In light of the respect Nibley has earned in the non-LDS scholarly world it is more amazing that counter-cultists can so glibly dismiss his work. For many years Nibley may have been conservative Mormonism's only reputable scholar. However, due to Nibley's influence as a motivating professor, today there are many more. During the years Nibley taught at BYU several LDS students followed his example by going on to earn the degrees necessary to gain a hearing in the academic community."

Other accomplishements and widely read research include:

  • A sabbatical from BYU at Berkeley, where he taught on rhetoric, Coptic and Egyptian
  • A sabbatical at the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago to study and teach Egyptian
  • He taught the classics at Claremont College in California
  • Because of his anthropoligical work it was requested for him to serve in military intelligence in World War II, and was heavily involved in the D-Day invasion of Normandy.
  • Awards including: Distinguished Service Award in 1979, an honorary doctorate in 1983 and the Exemplary Manhood Award in 1991.
  • An article called "The Rise of Rhetoric, The Decline of Everything Else."
  • "Many of his more important essays first appeared in academic journals such as the Revue de Qumran, Vigilae Christianae, Church History, and the Jewish Quarterly Review."
  • "Nibley has also received praise from non-LDS scholars such as Jacob Neusner, James Charlesworth, Cyrus Gordon, Raphael Patai and Jacob Milgrom."
  • "The former dean of the Harvard Divinity School, George MacRae, once lamented while hearing him lecture, "It is obscene for a man to know that much!"
  • he was known in utah as a democrat, an outspoken staunch environmentalist, one of the few in the world who could speak 13 languages

He authored more than 260 books and articles on a variety of Mormon and Non-Mormon topics. For more details, start with a Google search or see [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] and the book "Hugh Nibley: A Consecrated Life"

It is weird for someone to say Nibley was not respected outside of Mormonism. Yes, it was a large chunk of his life (and what he is best known for) - particularly from the 1970s until his death, but he accomplished a great deal in the 40s, 50s and 60s outside of Mormonism. It is interesting that the 20-something crowd and early 30-something crowd do not know him like those who are older, as they haven't seen him in action as others. It is an important point for this article, unless the anon has info to back up this deletion/censorship, that doesn't fit his world view of mormonism. -Visorstuff 19:05, 10 October 2005 (UTC)

I once worked with a woman who was dating a famous egyptology professor at UC Berkeley. I asked him once what he thought of Hugh Nibley. He said basically that everything Hugh Nibley wrote was more of less academically perfect, but to accept that aloud was to accept Nibley's conclusions of the church being true, and he wasn't willing to do that, so he just quit reading his books. But he was well aware of each book as it came out, and owned a great deal of them. --Mrcolj 19:38, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

I would recommend providing a bibliography of sorts for Nibley's non-LDS-oriented work. I added a reference to his article on sparsiones, which I just ran across in a recent book (after 2000) on Roman spectacles. If non-LDS scholars working on non-LDS topics refer to any of his work, this demonstrates that he had respectable academic 'chops.'Tsluke 17:24, 9 September 2007 (UTC)

Nibley is not well known outside Mormonism at all. In fact, he is best known as an apologist, rather than an impartial researcher.--MacRusgail (talk) 20:15, 14 June 2008 (UTC)

I removed the spurious claim that Nibley was never published in a peer-reviewed journal. Whoever adds that claim again will certainly regret such a base and obvious lie. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:22, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

Footnote accusations made by Martha Nibley Beck[edit]

In the section about his daughter's book, it quotes from a Mr. Kent P. Jackson. Jackson did indeed criticize Nibley's footnotes, but in his review of Martha Beck's Book, he explicitly states that while he found Nibley's footnotes to be somewhat sloppy, they in no way measured up to the level on inaccuracy that Martha claimed. Jackson's Review of "Leaving the Saints"

Also, Mr. Gregory Taggart wrote a review of her book and looked into Nibley's footnotes. His conclusiong was that 87% of his footnotes were accurate, 8% had typographical errors, and 5% were wrong in some way or another. Taggart's Review. See page 18 of the review. That is quite a far strech from Martha's claims that at best 10% of his footnotes were accurate.

Also, In Taggart's review, he CONCLUSIVELY proves many of the recollections of incidents and other information in Martha's book wrong. See the bottom of page 5 to the top of page 14 for specific examples of where Martha gave severe twistings of the truth and at times just outright lied. Martha often gave very twisted versions of events that unfortunately for her were documented and shown to have occurred quite differently. I am going to modify the statement concerning Jackson to reflect his official statement, and I will also add a link to taggart's review showing that Martha's book is an unreliable source. Jerubaal 23:53, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

Rape Allegations[edit]

There should be mention of his daughter's accusation that her father, Hugh Nibley, raped her from the age of 5 until she was 8. I doubt, however, that any attempt at portraying this will stay in the article given the LDS history of covering up its past (Mountain Meadows) and discrediting its critics (like Jerubaal is doing above). But, we can hope for the best... 23:16, 3 February 2007 (UTC)

The Hugh Nibley article has not been edited since January 23rd, of this year. The information that you claim isn't there (because of cover-up) is there, at the end of the Biography section. Perhaps you are wrong about your other conspiracy theories as well. But, we can hope for the best ... Val42 02:01, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
Changed inflammatory section title. And yes, the allegations are already in the article and they link to another article that also deals with the subject. Rabidwolfe 02:12, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

I found no reference to the allegations in the current article, so I added them back in under the heading 'controversies.' I take care to note that the allegations are contested by family, which will hopefully satisfy anyone who would prefer the accusations didn't exist. Cheers! --Rogan 22:09, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

Thank you for restoring and fleshing out the allegations, although I wonder why you had to be so snarky about it.... Rabidwolfe 23:02, 21 March 2007 (UTC)
Hmm - Looks like took out the Martha Beck accusations on March 1st. Good catch, and I like the expansion you put in its place anyway. Rabidwolfe 00:08, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

Wow how arbitrary can you get. Inviting unsubstantiated allegations to personal bio's could open the floodgate to every figure in Wikipedia. Should we list what Ben Franklin's son thinks of him? Or how about what Monica Lewinski thinks of Bill Clinton. I mean lets be sensible. Otherwise let's just put up more allegation's that could come forward as more people learn "self hypnosis" to help us discover more witches. SentinelLion

Sure, the allegations are a bit odd and likely bogus. That isn't important here - they were widely publicized and are what the average non-Mormon, if they've heard of Nibley at all, is likely to be familiar with. To ignore it completely would be dishonest. What is in the article seems to be appropriate and balanced. Rabidwolfe 23:16, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
Seems a bit unfair/"arbitrary" to insist that Beck used "self-hypnosis" when she has never claimed to have used that method and there is nothing to support that Beck has used this. That is a nice cozy wikipedia article about Nibley, as well as this discussion page on the article. Le's keep it that for now. Highly unbalanced about him, no links or references to any other site outside the LDS circle or to sites other than those that praise or don't openly critique Nibley's works. Well, let's leave it this way for now. But, meanwhile, no need to get cocky or cynical/blunt claims about Beck having used methods for which there is no support that she has. Much like the reference to such a misrepresentation in the Beck wikipedia page [[8]], they should be edited out of this article, if anything more than being duely stated as allegations. Being LDS does not give us the right to be sole arbiter of what is Truth and what is not on another's behalf, or at their expense. Bech's claims are strong, but she seems to have medical signs of having been sexually abused as a child. Let's leave it up to Heavenly Father as to who, if anyone, has abused her. Such things do occur, on few (yet too many) occasions even at the hands of respected leaders in the LDS Church. In this case, we still do not know. Let's not dump on her, even if it does strengthen/gaurd our faith in Nibley. lllewelll
Not sure what lllewelll's problem is here. Most of the stuff you're complaining about was added after my comment, which was made over a year and a half ago. I don't spend my time policing this article. At most I check in on it once every six or nine months. It seems that you are the one with the agenda here. Chill. Your main complaint seems to be that the article doesn't take Beck's side. Most of what is written is done in standard Wikipedia style "this side says this, the other side says this." Nothing wrong with that. Rabidwolfe (talk) 01:58, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
Hmm, seems you missed the point - 'though I could have been more precise. I was responding to SentinelLion 's post starting "Wow how arbitrary can you get.", which complains of "unsubstantiated claims" about Nibley, then arbitrarily insinuates Bech had enganged in self-hypnosis. Don't take it so personally. lllewelll 04:50, 3 December 2008 (UTC)

Why on earth has the controversy regarding the alleged sexual abuse of his daughter, Martha Beck, not been added to this article? It is mentioned in the Martha Beck article and provides a link to this page. Regardless of whether you believe the allegations to be true, the controversy occurred, which caused a substantial rift in his family. That controversy is part of what many non-Mormons know him for, right or wrong. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:45, 8 August 2010 (UTC)


At present "Enoch" links to a disambiguation page. We're not supposed to do that if this is meant to link to Enoch (ancestor of Noah). Someone should fix the link so it's piped. If not go to the dab page, find the right article and link it. Either that or remove the link entirely. --Steven J. Anderson 05:31, 1 May 2007 (UTC) I piped it to Joseph Smith, Jr.. According to List of code names in the Doctrine and Covenants, Enoch was code for Smith. --Steven J. Anderson 05:53, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

  • However, the article specifies that he wrote about the historical Enoch, which is the ancestor of Noah. Not Joseph Smith. Fixed. (talk) 14:47, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Merge Proposal[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

The proposed target for the merge was changed, and this discussion was subsequently moved, so I am archiving this discussion. See Talk:Linguistics and the Book of Mormon#Egyptian Names Merge Proposal. --Descartes1979 (talk) 21:13, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

I propose we merge Egyptian names in the Book of Mormon into this page. I am actually pretty surprised to see that article, it seems too specific, especially since Nibley is the only one advocating this theory. That in addition to the mainstream scholarly thought on the Book of Mormon, and the article just doesn't make sense. In fact, if I am not mistaken, there is actually quite a bit of linguistic criticism of the Book of Mormon, where the names are Latin etc. I actually think a lot of it can be deleted or summarized into a small section here called "Theory on Egyptian names in the Book of Mormon" or something like that.

It shouldn't be merged for the very reason that it is indeed specific. It's an article on Egyptian names in the Book of Mormon, NOT Hugh Nibley, and only mentions Nibley. It's well-cited, too. There's no compelling need to merge. The article makes a great deal of sense. You can't just say something doesn't make sense and without backing up that assertion. Why does it not make sense? I'm all ears. In the meantime, we should...

  • Refrain from the "M" word --Piewalker —Preceding comment was added at 07:23, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
"Well cited"? - the whole article is just a rehash of a single chapter in one of Hugh Nibley's books. If we keep this article, what stops us from creating a "Latin names in the Book of Mormon" article, or a "Swahili names found in Shakespeare" article? It seems rather spurious. I will look up WP policies later today when I have time, because I would wager that this article would fall under some category that would suggest it should be removed. --Descartes1979 (talk) 18:18, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

The articles on Hugh Nibley and on Egyptian Names in the Book of Mormon are each long enough, and to combine them would make an article that is too long and bulky. The article on the Egyptian Names in the Book of Mormon is based on sound scholarship and actual irrefutable facts. The opposition to these facts comes from religious bigotry, ignorance and prejudice. That is so wrong. Das Baz, aka Erudil 18:32, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

Sorry Daz - but I believe that "actual irrefutable facts" is a gross misstatement, but perhaps you can point me to them. Your comments are very POV. Also remember that per Wikipedia guidance, Wikipedia is not a paper encyclopedia and as such "there is no practical limit to the number of topics it can cover, or the total amount of content, other than verifiability and the other points presented on this page." I am also a little offended that you are calling me a religious bigot, ignorant, and prejudiced. Can't we elevate this discussion above petty name calling? --Descartes1979 (talk) 20:36, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

I did not say "you are a bigot." I said you have allowed yourself to be influenced by religious bigotry. Das Baz, aka Erudil 17:15, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

The discussion also needs to be elevated above such petty silliness as that Swahilki in Shakespeare business. Sas Baz, aka Erudil 17:16, 8 March 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Das Baz (talkcontribs)

Perhaps this article is better merged with Linguistics and the Book of Mormon? I still am not persuaded that it should stand on its own...--Descartes1979 (talk) 20:39, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

OK - I just reviewed Linguistics and the Book of Mormon, and there is a section in that article that treats this topic - the information is duplicated. I am changing my proposal to merge with that article instead of this one. Please take a look at the discussion here. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Descartes1979 (talkcontribs) 21:05, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Cite request[edit]

I reverted a couple of cite requests by User:MacRusgail - primarily due to my personal preferences. "Cite" templates don't, in my opinion, point out the editor's concerns about the section. Rather than using the generic template, I would like to know things like: "Do you believe this sentence/section..."

to be inaccurate?
displays a POV?
portrays a minority opinion?
requires a contrasting perspective?

Providing this type of information to other editors helps us improve the paragraph, and so, the encyclopedia. The template request just asks for any source for the opinion/assertion - no matter how accurate, extreme or POV. So, MacRusgail, what are your concerns about the paragraph and how can we all work together to address them? Best wishes. WBardwin (talk) 23:54, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

The article has improved since I last looked at it (a long time ago), but I think the archeological side could be balanced with more criticism from non-LDS linguists and archaeologists, some of whom have disagreed with him. There was also an exchange of sorts between him and Fawn Brodie.--MacRusgail (talk) 10:04, 17 May 2010 (UTC)

Bad article[edit]

Nomination for the most biased article on Wikipedia. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:05, 2 July 2010 (UTC)

Seconded. Why don't they just marry him? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:33, 29 November 2010 (UTC)

What specificly do you see that is wrong with the article & how would propose to fix it? -- (talk) 17:42, 1 April 2011 (UTC)

Child sex abuse paragraph[edit]

Moved this recent 2013 comment down from 2007-2010 #Rape Allegations thread. ~Adjwilley (talk) 18:20, 22 January 2013 (UTC)

This section regarding this allegation previously had its own mealy-mouthed (not to say misleading) heading "Family controversy". It has now been moved into the biography section, which is perhaps a sensible place for it. But why should it not have its own frank sub-heading? Whether true or not, the "controversy" (not just a family one!) is clearly an important part of his biography and was splashed all over the national newspapers, but it is also a discrete topic in itself. (talk) 15:59, 22 January 2013 (UTC)

72Dino invited discussion on this, but has then voiced no opinion. Neither has anyone else yet. To be clear. The suggestion is that this section should have its own unambiguous subheading, such as "Child sex abuse allegation" or the like. Any views? (talk) 22:50, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
I'm generally opposed to having short sections like the current "Biography" section split up into single-paragraph subsections (see MOS:PARAGRAPHS). Giving the abuse paragraph a heading would introduce lots of other problems, like what do we do with the next paragraph/sentence? Give it a subsection heading of "Death"? Do we then create subsections for the "Birth", "Education", "World War II service", and "Professorship" paragraphs? So I'm going to vote no, too messy, and not needed. ~Adjwilley (talk) 20:55, 24 January 2013 (UTC)

Taivo, you deleted my assertion that this allegation gained wide-spread publicity together with the quote from The Washington Post about the shocked LDS reaction, on the grounds that this was "sensationalistic and not really necessary". On the contrary, it is the very notoriety of these allegations that makes it inevitable for them to be included in the article. And the publicity and LDS reaction is an integral part of that story, given that he was an LDS scholar. Surely, it therefore is "really necessary". The allegation made by his daughter may be sensationalist (whether true or not), but my edit doesn't make it any more so. So I hope you will agree to re-revert. Or do you have any other suggestion? (talk) 18:14, 22 January 2013 (UTC)

The whole issue of "repressed memories" is highly suspect, that makes these claims less than reliable, no matter where reported. The article states the uncontroversial facts--1) published repressed memories, 2) denial by siblings, 3) goes nowhere. If there were anything more than psychological manipulation involved, he would have been charged with child molestation, tried, and convicted. --Taivo (talk) 08:30, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
May well be suspect. So what? The article is not saying that her accusation is true. The important fact is that it was made in a very public fashion and caused a big stir. I think is is important to mention the shock in the LDS community. The sentences removed were: 'The revelations gained widespread publicity. "Much of Utah" (whose population is mainly Mormon) was “stunned by the attack on a revered defender of the common faith”, according to The Washington Post' with the relevant citation note. (talk) 22:50, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
I live in Utah that that "much of Utah" is massively overplayed. It's just an exaggeration for sensational punch. And the Washington Post? If you've got front page from the Deseret News or Salt Lake Tribune declaring that "much of Utah is stunned", that's a different story. We don't rely on reporting in the Bombay Times to learn of "shock and awe" in London. But one anon editor pushing a POV isn't enough of a consensus to change the article as it is. --Taivo (talk) 02:12, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
I had not opined on this earlier, but I think adding "alleged pedophile" in the first sentence and adding section headings to that effect are WP:UNDUE as he was never convicted of anything and had one accuser based on repressed memories. Mention of the coverage it has had been seems appropriate, but anything more than that looks like POV pushing. And the main reason I invited the IP editor to the talk page is because it is difficult to reach a consensus via edit summaries. 72Dino (talk) 21:07, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
I completely agree. --Taivo (talk) 23:11, 24 January 2013 (UTC)

This paragraph previously did have a heading of its own (not just a subheading). As far as I can tell, this situation lasted from 2005 until 5 days ago, when it was incorporated into the Biography section without any prior discussion here. See also above. It is a very distinct topic and should therefore be restored to a section of its own or given a subheading where it is now. The problem of the sentence mentioning his death then being orphaned if a subheading is created, as feared by Adjwilley above, can easily be solved by moving that sentence to before this subsection. That would make chronological sense anyway, as the book wasn't published until just after his death. We should be able to agree a NPOV wording for the heading (one that doesn't include the dreaded p word!). Your appeal to the undue weight policy is misplaced. That policy (read it again!) is about fairly representing all significant reliably sourced viewpoints on a particular issue. The issue in question here is not whether or not Nibley was a pedophile. It is the notoriety or otherwise of the controversy. On that issue, the reliable sources are unanimous: this accusation was given widespread publicity and caused consternation at the time in LDS circles. Nibley's own biographer complained bitterly that "all but one of the newspapers ran obituaries about Hugh Nibley in which his significant life and legacy have been overshadowed by the hideous lies from Martha’s book". I could not be more supportive of NPOV. But if you now want to treat this topic as if if was just a storm in a tea cup, you are trying to re-write history. However, I am glad to see that you both (72Dino and Taivo) agree that at least the fact of the widespread coverage can be mentioned. But do I take it that you are both still objecting to the quote or any other mention of the shocked LDS reaction (other than from his family)? Why? And on what grounds? The Washington Post is indisputably a reliable source. The New York Times said very similar stuff. And since you don't trust respectable national newspapers, Taivo, your Deseret News called the book "a genuine shocker", the Salt Lake Tribune said that it "ignites a furor" and that "Mormons have been feverishly circulating excerpts of the book on the Internet", the Daily Herald (Utah) reported that the LDS church was "rocked by a furious attack on the beloved historian ", and the Phoenix New Times said that "the Mormon Church is calling for Beck's head". The LDS reaction is a material aspect in the story, given Nibley's position in that community. I don't understand your slur about POV pushing in this context. As far as I can tell, there are no dissenting viewpoints in any reliable sources on this issue. But if you can find one, then both views can be mentioned giving each their due weight. That's what the policy you refer to is about. (talk) 04:16, 26 January 2013 (UTC)

I hate the Deseret News, unknown IP, but when your sole source for the reaction in Utah is the Washington Post, then you don't understand the meaning of a reliable source when the appropriate reliable sources are in Utah. That was my point. Since there is some dispute on how much weight this deserves, perhaps you need to craft a paragraph and present it here for discussion. If the issue was actually more than a tempest in a teacup, then surely you can build a consensus for it. --Taivo (talk) 05:05, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
OK. Something like this (with citations for each assertion obviously) with a (sub)heading "Sexual abuse allegation" and divided into two paragraphs as follows:
In her 2005 memoir, Leaving the Saints: How I Lost the Mormons and Found My Faith, Nibley’s daughter Martha Beck recounted how in 1990 she recovered repressed memories of her father having sexually abused her as a child in a ritual fashion, events she claimed were corroborated by unusual vaginal scarring. The revelations gained widespread publicity and caused consternation within the LDS community. The Daily Herald, Utah, reported on its front page that the LDS Church was “rocked by a furious attack on the beloved historian” and that much of the Mormon state was “stunned by the attack on a revered defender of the common faith”. Dan Wotherspoon, editor of the independent Mormon magazine Sunstone, said that “to call Hugh Nibley a pedophile and a liar, with no evidence to back it up -- of course that is going to hit the Mormon community like an earthquake”.
The LDS Church issued a statement condemning the book as “seriously flawed”. It attracted reviews in Mormon publications by a number of writers who concluded that the allegations were false or not worthy of belief. Although the book was not published until around the time of Nibley’s death, he had been aware of the accusations for many years and had denied them. Nibley’s authorized biographer (and son-in-law) complained that “all but one of the newspapers ran obituaries about Hugh Nibley in which his significant life and legacy have been overshadowed by the hideous lies from Martha’s book”. Beck’s seven siblings also rejected the claims. (talk) 04:10, 28 January 2013 (UTC)
Made minor revision to the above suggestion (as noone has responded yet). (talk) 14:41, 28 January 2013 (UTC)
This should be summarized better and collapsed into one paragraph the size of the first. There's just too much sensationalistic detail to correspond with the relative importance of the rest of the article. You're not making an argument for why the daughter was right, but summarizing an accusation and public reaction. That can be done much more elegantly and in a single paragraph. --Taivo (talk) 15:04, 28 January 2013 (UTC)
It could perhaps be condensed a little bit, but not down to the size of the first paragraph without losing important information. I don't understand why you are accusing me of making an argument for why the daughter is right. There is one single sentence setting out what the allegation is. The entire second paragraph (as well the last sentence of the first paragraph) is devoted to denials. I deliberately mentioned in turn: the LDS church, Mormon commentators, Nibley himself, his biographer, and his family. I don't think the sectioned can be shortened any further than this:
Around the time of his death, his daughter Martha Beck published a memoir, in which she recounted how in 1990 she had recovered repressed memories of her father having sexually abused her as a child in a ritual fashion, events she claimed were corroborated by unusual vaginal scarring. The revelations, which Nibley had denied, gained widespread publicity and caused consternation within the LDS community. The Daily Herald, Utah, reported on its front page that much of the state was “stunned by the attack on a revered defender of the common faith”. The LDS Church issued a statement condemning the book as “seriously flawed”. Nibley’s authorized biographer (and son-in-law) complained that “all but one of the newspapers ran obituaries about Hugh Nibley in which his significant life and legacy have been overshadowed by the hideous lies from Martha’s book”. Beck’s seven siblings also rejected the claims.
Any further views? Otherwise I will do the edit now. Also, you have not commented on the suggested subheading. (talk) 04:20, 3 February 2013 (UTC)
That's a much better paragraph. But one paragraph really doesn't need a subheading especially since it was just a short-lived allegation and did not result in a trial or any further investigation. --Taivo (talk) 11:49, 3 February 2013 (UTC)
I still have problems with the paragraph. It's full of WP:Coatrack material and words that introduce bias. Calling it a "memoir" instead of a "book" is implies it's true. Same with using "recounted" instead of "wrote" (see WP:SAY), calling it "revelations" instead of "accusations" or "allegations", and talking about how the "events" were "corroborated".

The LDS Church's response and reaction of the LDS community is out of place. It would go well in a Wikipedia article about Beck's book, but this is not an article about Beck's book. This article is about Nibley, and just because we can hang tangential controversy on it doesn't mean we should. The quotations used bring in passionate rhetorical language ("stunned by the attack", "seriously flawed", "overshadowed by the hideous lies") in place of more neutral, dispassionate tone preferred for encyclopedias. (see WP:Quotations) If Nibley were alive, the article likely wouldn't even mention the allegations (per WP:BLPCRIME). Since he's dead, we can mention them, but they still don't get much weight. I prefer the current paragraph:

"In 2005 Nibley's daughter Martha Beck published a book, Leaving the Saints: How I Lost the Mormons and Found My Faith, describing the circumstances of how she left the LDS Church, and saying that in 1990 she had recovered repressed memories of sexual abuse by her father. Beck's seven siblings responded, signing a statement saying that the book's accusations against their father were false. Boyd Peterson, Nibley's biographer and son in law, also rejected Beck's claims."

It presents the claims and the responses by the most relevant parties in a couple of sentences, without sensationalizing it. I realize that's probably not what you want, but that's simply how encyclopedias should be written. ~Adjwilley (talk) 14:08, 3 February 2013 (UTC)

Hmm. Why have you waited until now, Adjwilley? This has been discussed at length and we had finally arrived at a solution. The current paragraph simply can’t stand. It is defective in a number of respects: (1) It doesn’t point out that Nibley himself denied the allegations. I hope you agree that is a clanger of an omission. (2) It suggests that Beck’s claims are based merely on recovered suppressed memories, which is not the case. The claimed physical evidence cannot be left out without quite seriously misrepresenting her case. (3) It fails to mention “childhood” and (4) ditto for “ritual”, both relevant facts. (5) We are told nothing about the LDS community’s reaction, which was widely reported at the time. It simply isn’t arguable to say that this is out of place, given his standing within that community. On the contrary, the first thing any reader would ask themselves when reading the paragraph in its current state is how this all went down with his church.
I have read the various policies you refer to and can’t see that I am offending any of them. No fair-minded person reading my suggested edit would think it makes Wikipedia suggest that the allegations are true. The words “were corroborated” are immediately preceded by “she claimed”, and “revelations” immediately followed by “which Nibley had denied”, etc. However, I am perfectly willing to use the words “book” and “wrote” etc as you suggest. The only word that can’t be modified like that without falsifying the meaning is “corroborated” as that is what she claimed. If you object to that word, why don’t you suggest an alternative wording for that claim yourself.
As for sensationalism, this scandal clearly made a jaw-dropping impact at the time, as you can see from the press coverage. It is Wikipedia’s duty to describe that fairly, not for you to tone things down because you wish it were otherwise. It could not be more relevant to the article subject. How is that a coat hanger? Please also read the preceding discussion about this not having been a “storm in a tea cup”. There is nothing wrong with florid language inside a clearly attributed quotation. It fairly illustrates the national coverage of the issue. If you go back over this discussion, you will see that I was originally suggesting several press quotes. But those have now been cut down to a single one. Can hardly be said to be overkill.
I am willing to cut the official church reaction down to a simple “denounced the book” without any quote from their statement, if you prefer. But I don’t quite understand why you are objecting to “seriously flawed” or even “hideous lies”. I would have thought you would want those parts in for balance. The views of the authorized biographer are obviously relevant to the issue. The quote selected fairly represents his view and gives a flavour of the bitterness this issue caused at the time inside this community. Personally, I can’t see how the siblings’ denials are relevant but I kept that in because I didn’t want to be accused of imbalance. In fact, if you scroll back a bit, you will find that my original two-paragraph suggestion included the fact that a number of Mormon reviewers concluded that the allegations were false, which I had included for the same reason.
Your real objection seems to be that you wish Nibley’s life hadn’t ended on a such sensational and bitter note. That is not a proper basis for excluding properly sourced relevant information from an encyclopedic article. But perhaps you should try drafting a suggestion yourself that addresses my concerns so we can try to make some progress. (talk) 05:27, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
My real concern is following Wikipedia policies and guidelines and having a good article. There is a very common trend on Wikipedia to give Undue weight to controversy, particularly recent controversy. It's nothing malicious, it's just that controversy motivates people to write. You get these articles about living people with the "controversy" taking up half the article, when in real life, they're not really that controversial of a person. My problem is not with Nibley's article alone, but with the trend. A recent example that comes to mind is an edit skirmish that happened at Homophobia (a fairly controversial subject itself). Look at the history between Dec 16 and Dec 20. Somebody came along and added three sentences about a recent controversy (the AP style guide decided not to use the word anymore). That got reverted back and forth a few times, and then it started to grow. In an effort to "balance" the paragraph, people started adding sourced material to support their POV. It ballooned into two paragraphs, as each side tried to "stack" the sources in their favor, and there was no shortage of sources. (It is possible to violate NPOV while adding "properly sourced relevant information" to the article.) Anyway, there was a four day edit war and a long talk page discussion. After things had cooled down, I came in, cropped the two paragraphs down to 3 neutral sentences, and everybody was happy to have it over with. I wasn't trying to censor stuff I didn't agree with, or remove sourced and relevant information, I was just trying to write a good article. That said, let me address your 5 concerns.
(1) is a good point, though as far as I can tell none of his denials were widely published. (He was dead by the time the book came out.) (2) the repressed memories were the main basis of her accusations. If it's the vaginal scarring you're talking about, I would point out that a) it's not mentioned in many sources (Beck's book doesn't count as a secondary, peer-reviewed, reliable source), b) it's flimsy evidence, since she had already delivered three children when it was discovered, and c) doesn't have anything to do with Nibley, as it could have been caused by a multitude of factors. It would not get far in a court of law. (3) "Childhood" is implied, though I have no problem with adding it. (4) "Ritual" makes it seem like you're going for shock value. There are a lot of "relevant facts" that have been left out, on both sides of the POV spectrum. There are arguments for including "ritual", just as there are arguments for including "self-hypnosis". I left out both because I'm not going for shock value, and I'm not trying to stack the article. (5) Re: "the first thing any reader would ask themselves when reading the paragraph in its current state is how this all went down with his church." Not so. Most readers couldn't care less about the church. If a reader is interested in that they can click on the relevant links. By the way, your statement that "The LDS Church issued a statement condemning the book as 'seriously flawed'" is out of context. What the church statement said was that the book was "seriously flawed in the way it depicts the church, its members and teachings." The "seriously flawed" bit doesn't seem to be talking about Nibley specifically, as your paragraph implied. Besides, how would the church know what Nibley was doing in the privacy of his home, and if they did know, why would they make a statement? Trying to "hang" all this LDS Church and LDS community stuff on the article is why I cited WP:Coatrack. ~Adjwilley (talk) 16:06, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

Are you seriously claiming that this was “not really that controversial”? Really? Got a source for that claim? All the sources I have found say the opposite. Have you read them? There are links in my posting earlier on this talk page on 26 Jan. It isn't your opinion that counts - or mine. What matters is what reliable secondary sources say. They are unanimous in this case: the allegations did gain wide-spread publicity and did cause consternation within the LDS community. The quote I suggested from the Daily Herald is in no way unrepresentative.

(1) Cool. So that’s agreed. Nibley’s own denials were in fact reported in the press. (Beck had apparently confronted him with these allegations years earlier.)

(2) (a) The New York Times said that “she cites (vaginal scarring) as physical evidence of the abuse” and that “doctors confirmed to her that the vaginal scarring was not the result of childbirth”. The Daily Herald (Utah) said that Nibley “denied the allegations of sexual abuse and vaginal scarring that Beck claims she endured”.

(2)(b) Flimsy? Perhaps. But are you now not revealing that you have a rather firm personal view as to the truth or otherwise of these allegations? Please do try, despite that, to maintain some neutrality. WP:YESPOV Our task is to describe this dispute not to engage in it. And that involves reporting her claim and the opposing denials fairly.

(2)(c) You mean, I hope, that the vaginal scarring doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with Nibley. I would have thought that the possibility of various alternative causes is self-evident. But you are misleadingly (and, if I understand your reasoning correctly, deliberately!) making her claims sound even weaker than they really are if you want to refer to the “recovered repressed memories” but not the “vaginal scarring”.

(3) Childhood agreed. Good.

(4) A lot of the newspaper reports went into details about the ritual. You can hardly object to the single word “ritual” to summarize all that. This is not a POV issue at all (unless you can find some source that says that the allegation was not of a ritual kind). Neither does it have anything to do with “going for shock value”. It is an accurate description of what the allegation is and it doesn’t make it anymore “shocking” than it is anyway. You are very welcome to include the “self-hypnosis” allegation if you like, but that will obviously require a longer explanation. I don’t believe in excluding relevant material on either side of the debate.

(5) You are right about the formal LDS church statement. So I agree we can drop that sentence. But the widespread publicity and LDS reaction still needs to be mentioned. As the section currently stands it reads as if Beck published her book and the family issued their denials and that was that without any fuss being caused. You and I, having read the sources, both know that that is very far from the truth. It is simply misleading. The reaction of his community is not in anyway a WP:Coatrack as it pertains directly to Nibley, a prominent member and defender of that community. Think about it. A coatrack would be if the article went on to discuss child abuse within the Mormon community in general or Beck’s other allegations about the Mormon community not specifically related to Nibley. You might not personally be interested in the Mormon reaction, but others certainly will be. Your argument is in truth a variety of WP:JUSTDONTLIKEIT.

(6) Finally you removed the heading from this section without any discussion. This is a distinct topic that deserves its own heading or subheading. His only mention in the national press seems to be in relation to this controversy. So it would appear that he is more famous for this than for anything else outside of LDS and certain academic circles. (talk) 10:23, 5 February 2013 (UTC)

2)a: The problem is, there's no secondary source to verify this. It all depends on her word alone. You left two important words out of the NYTimes quote above beginning with "...doctors confirmed...": "she said". As far as I know, no doctors have independently confirmed that, and I would not use her book as a source. Everybody who was remotely involved in the story (including her husband) said that she stretched the truth.
2)b: I'm not interested in debating the truth of the allegations, though most of the sources I've seen (even anti-Mormon ones) say they're probably not true.
2)c: Yes, necessarily was implied.
6) The heading was pretty soundly rejected by 3 out of the 4 editors involved in this conversation.
I'll get back to you on 4 and 5, I have somewhere to be in real life :-) ~Adjwilley (talk) 19:57, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, Adjwilley, for inserting the agreed “childhood”. We also agreed Nibley’s own denial should be mentioned. Have just done that. We can’t continue discussing all the other issues all at once like, as we will just go round in circles. We should discuss them one by one so we can make progress starting with the one I think might be easiest to agree. So will now create a new sub-heading to continue below. (talk) 03:45, 12 February 2013 (UTC)
Much better. There are a couple chronology issues that need fixing, but it's good overall. You've come a long way since this. I think it's a good idea to discuss the issues separately. By the way, have you ever considered creating an account, since your IP address seems to change daily? ~Adjwilley (talk) 15:32, 12 February 2013 (UTC)

Wide-spread publicity and LDS reaction[edit]

This is part of what became issue 5 above, which I have been waiting for Adjwilley to get back on. The sentence I want to insert is: “The allegations gained widespread publicity and caused consternation within the LDS community.” (I am leaving discussion of any illustrative quote for later.) I don’t see how you can seriously object to that given what the sources say and I can’t see that you have addressed any particular objection to that sentence in the previous lengthy discussion (other than to the word "revelations" which I have now changed). (talk) 04:00, 12 February 2013 (UTC)

I could live with something like that. I would drop "widespread" (which is rather vague) and use something like "national", and use a word like "received" instead of "gained". ~Adjwilley (talk) 15:32, 12 February 2013 (UTC)
Good. I have added that with your amendments. We are making progress. So now please go to the next issue below. (talk) 13:09, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

The "ritual" aspect of the child sexual abuse allegation[edit]

Now to issue 4 continuing the discussion from above. I hope this will also be easy to resolves. Many of the sources, including Nibley’s own biographer, go into considerable detail about the ritual aspect. I am not suggesting we do that, but merely that we insert the single word “ritual” to succinctly summarize that. Again, I don’t see how you can seriously object. (talk) 13:13, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

Nibley's son-in-law in his biography discussed the whole ritual abuse claims hysteria of the late-1980s and the early 1990s but he never suggested that the accusations against Nibley specifically were in any way of ritual abuse. Nothing really suggests the claim is the abuse was in any way ritual, and actually nothing suggests it ever existed outside of Beck's mind, so I do not think it merits any more coverage than it gets, and even have doubts it merits as much coverage as it has recived.John Pack Lambert (talk) 18:55, 18 February 2013 (UTC)

Duplicate references[edit]

I'm sorry but I think that it is incorrect (and slightly disingenuous) to link to the exact same article merely printed in different newspaper when providing citations. Having different headlines is not sufficient difference, especially when the herald article says at the top that it is a reprint from an article written TR Reid from the Washington Post. With the exception of one or two paragraphs, they are word for word the same. Also, we already have cites to two other Utah papers, one more than is necessary IMO. Per the guidance of WP:OVERCITE, I think we should remove both the duplicate and redundant WaPo article (in fact I'll do that right now and one of the other Utah paper refs - personally I favor keeping the Trib article since it isn't just a reprint of an AP article. Is there a reason why we need multiple cites? The only reason to keep a ref is if it provides a unique function or significant information that the others do not. Thoughts? --FyzixFighter (talk) 05:26, 12 February 2013 (UTC)

I have not reinserted the “duplicate” reference that you have now removed twice, as I don’t want to engage in this kind of useless edit warring. But if you read the discussion above you will see why it might be relevant that the article was re-printed on the front page of a Utah newspaper. (In fact, such a source was expressly called for by a previous contributor.) You will also note that there is an ongoing debate about numerous aspects of the contents of the section dealing with the child sex abuse allegation. Removing any further references before we know what precise facts need to be supported by the sources would therefore be premature. On re-reading the Salt Lake Tribune article, that turns out to focus rather heavily on the denials, including Nibley’s personal denial. I have therefore now moved this reference to support that instead (replacing the otherwise re-used NY Times one). I have bundled the remaining three to avoid any unsightly citation clutter. I hope that takes care of your concerns. (talk) 13:22, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

Costernation in LDS community[edit]

No LDS sources were shown to support a "consternation" view. Such wording needlessly postpones the much more important individual and familial response to the allegations. The allegation section should be titly worded. I even have doubts it is worth noting it recived "national attention", but I think that is enough.John Pack Lambert (talk) 19:06, 18 February 2013 (UTC)

LDS Stereotypes?[edit]

Article reads: Nibley's viewpoints marked him as atypical of Mormon stereotypes. Are these codified somewhere? I know LDS folks in both political parties as well as independents, and don't what party they were in in Nibley's day. I don't know any that don't believe in conservation. IF we can't codify what these are, this sentence should be removed as unverifiable. (talk) 19:30, 3 July 2014 (UTC)