This article is within the scope of WikiProject Christianity, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Christianity on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
This article is within the scope of WikiProject United States, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of topics relating to the United States of America on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the ongoing discussions.
The just-completed FAC seems to have brought up a lot of issues that I hadn't honestly considered. School really chose a bad time to pull me away from dedicating time to this article, because I feel that this article was really close, and for the most part, really only needed some fine tuning. (I'm actually a little frustrated, because I would have liked to dispute a few of the objections that were raised, that I felt weren't really warranted. But such is life.)
Having said that, I think it would be appropriate to put up a to-do list, based on the FAC:
It looks like there are still a few unresolved issues on the images; Nikkiamania asked for PD tags on a few more images. I have to admit my ignorance on this subject; what is a PD tag, and what would doing it entail?
Several reviewers, notably Squeamish Ossifrage, brought up blanket NPOV concerns. What would the best way to deal with this be?
Squeamish Ossifrage also talked about reference issues; I don't think anyone has tackled that one yet.
GregJackP mentioned including more details "in numerous instances", such as where Smith got the pistol he fired, what happened to those he shot, the connection between Ridgon's comments and the extermination order, and details about Smith's calls to take land from non-Mormon neighbors; I personally think that including those details (or numerous other ones like them that border on minutiae) would make the article cumbersome, hurt its summary style, and would be better treated in a subarticle. But I suppose that's open to debate, so should be talked about here. It might also tie into the NPOV concerns that were expressed; it seems like most of these details, included, would help to tip the article away from a pro-Mormon POV. So I guess I'm undecided.
Squamish Ossifrage talked about formatting and standardizing the references.
SO also talked about spot-checking the references, making sure that all the references claim what they said they do. As he admitted, it would be a Herculean task, but maybe we could spot check references on key citations for controversial claims, or something limited like that.
SO had a few sentences that weren't well-worded:
Wording on the Council of Fifty shadow world government
"To fully enter the Covenant..."
Also, reading through the article, I'm noticing the following:
We could still probably work on overcitation, especially in the early years section.
<delete>* "Soon after Smith and Rigdon arrived at Far West, hundreds of disaffected Latter Day Saints who had remained in Kirtland followed them to Missouri." is confusing; if they were disaffected, why did they come back? (The citation clears it up a bit, but the article is still confusing.)</delete>
I guess the image we have now of Joseph Smith falling out the window is... alright. I mean, I feel like there are bigger fish to fry, and if no one at the FAC objected to the picture, I guess I won't either.
SO mentioned using "Carthage Conspiracy: The Trial of the Accused Assassins of Joseph Smith" by Oaks and Hill as a reference about the Nauvoo Expositor; it would be worth finding and using to cite other points regarding Smith's death that are now covered almost solely by Bushman - reducing a bit of Bushman overcite, so to speak.
It looks like someone put up a "citation needed" tag on "Emma never denied Smith's prophetic gift or repudiated her belief in the authenticity of the Book of Mormon" You leave one measly little sentence uncited...
Looking through the article on POV concerns:
"...leading Smith to believe he could not accomplish the translation in Palmyra." - the wording assumes that the translation was real. I'm not sure how to better word that, though.
Squeamish Ossifrage mentioned that we might include more detail on Nauvoo Expositor allegations against Smith.
Also, I'm thinking we might include some of the "lurid exposes on life in Nauvoo" that Bennett published?
Just a comment about the pistol: he got it from a concerned friend who smuggled it into the jail. There aren't a lot of details on who he shot. I think there are primary accounts of one guy who got shot in the arm (presumably the guy who shot Hyrum?). Bushman says three of the shots misfired and three "found marks". Either way, the details are unclear and the sources don't dwell on them very much at all, and I don't think we need to either. That's just my opinion. ~Adjwilley (talk) 17:41, 11 October 2013 (UTC)
Poor quality anti material often alleges Smith killed two or three people with the pistol he fired; unfortunately, there is no evidence to support this claim other than...other anti material; hearsay creating more hearsay, etc. I suspect this may have been the motivation for the comment. It is difficult to prove a negative and I don't have a ready source off the top of my head that states that no one died from the shots fired by Smith. --StormRider 15:38, 12 October 2013 (UTC)
Well, I've done quite a bit of work on it, and it seems more clear. The only problem is, I've expanded it greatly, and now I feel like the section as a whole is given undue weight: even though it was a really controversial time of Smith's life, it was less than two years. So, if someone else has ideas on how to shorten it (without sacrificing clarity or NPOV), that would be great. I'd kind of prefer that anyone who takes it on, try to merge the removed material into the relevant subarticle(s), since I have worked hard on it. But if not, that's OK too, I suppose. I mean, my real goal right now is FA status for the main article, not so much with the subarticles. (Yet?)
And if no one works on it for a while, I might just jump back in myself at a later date. Trevdna (talk) 18:33, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
The lede says: "Smith is widely regarded as one of the most influential, charismatic, innovative, and controversial figures in American religious history"
That is not only very subjective, without implying any objective information, which is contrary to WP policies, but also it clearly consists of adjectives that classify as WP:PEA and also WP:LABEL. I had removed that phrase and was reverted by someone who said they are present on the section "impact" and are referenced. But my point is, even if they are referenced, I don't think it justifies them to be on the article, being highly subjective judgmental remarks without implying any objective information. I think it's at the very least, against the style of Wikipedia. GreyWinterOwl (talk) 16:56, 19 December 2013 (UTC)
I agree. An editor replaced this today but didn't bother to join this discussion, so I've removed it again. I don't see the section on impact justifying the sentence. Dougweller (talk) 21:56, 20 December 2013 (UTC)
(ec) This appears to be a summary of the referenced characterizations found in the article. If my recollection is correct, this sentence was in the article when it was determined to be a WP:GA and a WP:FA. It has also been discussed in the archives of the talk page. The main reason I reverted the removal was per WP:BRD: The removal was the "B", it was reverted, and now it is being discussed. I frankly do not have a problem keeping it or removing it as long as it is discussed. I will let others determine how appropriate it is to retain. Thanks, Bahooka (talk) 22:01, 20 December 2013 (UTC)
If I recall correctly, it was copied up from the body around the time of the FA review (either in preparation for it, or in response to some of the feedback). It had been in the Impact section for the GA review, where I still think it fits nicely, but this article has never been a featured article, as far as I know. ~Adjwilley (talk) 00:48, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
Thanks Bahooka. This is anexample of WP:Peacock wording, which says "Instead of making unprovable proclamations about a subject's importance, use facts and attribution to demonstrate that importance. I think this is similar to the example there "Bob Dylan is the defining figure of the 1960s counterculture and a brilliant songwriter." Instead the suggestion is to use something such as "Dylan was included in Time's 100: The Most Important People of the Century, where he was called "master poet, caustic social critic and intrepid, guiding spirit of the counterculture generation".[refs 1] By the mid-1970s, his songs had been covered by hundreds of other artists." Dougweller (talk) 10:09, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
I was simply blown away by this one-sided, pro-LDS article on Smith. Almost every paragraph is missing other side of the the story, contrary to WP:NPOV. Smith's early treasure-swindling has been glossed over, and the documented conviction for fraud in Chenango County is missing entirely. Polygamy got only a single superficial mention in the main section(!), and the description of Emma Smith's polygamy knowledge is wildly contradictory from section to section. The Egyptian papyrus fraud has been documented by every neutral expert in the field for 100 years, but that fact has been expurgated. Certainly LDS faithful can be forgiven for their prejudice, but any serious non-LDS biographer cites a long pattern of abuse and fraud. No reader of this article will know that. Tomking505 (talk) 01:19, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
I'm no Smith apologist, but, with respect, your edits that were reverted appear to me to introduce more POV than they solve. Good Ol’factory(talk) 00:56, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
I'm with Good Olfactory. It seems that the edits you made were another attempt to introduce a POV into the article, not at attempt to create WP:NPOV.--ARTEST4ECHO (talk/contribs) 13:26, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
I agree with what has been said. I would simply add that this article has been scrutinized and referenced both by people who accept Smith as a prophet and those who believe he was not one. Greatest care has been taken to ensure this article achieves WP:NPOV. The edits you input made it more POV, not less. Sorry. --Jgstokes (talk) 01:21, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
I know that piling on isn't the intent here, but Tomking505 hasn't responded to the original comment, and we should try not to be too harsh on new users who attempt to edit in good faith. I'm not defending their edits, but those were reverted two days ago and there's been no attempt to put them back, and in my opinion, no reason to continue discussing them here. ~Adjwilley (talk) 02:56, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
The fact that Joseph Smith was convicted of fraud (which is documented in the public record) using an alleged hustle that bears more than a passing resemblance to the method, by which, he divined, and translated, the golden plates for the book of Mormom is most definitely noteworthy and more than relevant to this article. There is no reason why the episode should not be included in this article. The fact that it is not included demonstrates, quite fully, the lack of NPOV in this article. Tony Reed (talk) 15:04, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
I'm not familiar with a fraud conviction...perhaps you are referring to the trial that took place in Chenango County? If so, that is included in the article (5th paragraph in the early years section). Also, paragraph 4 of the section on the Book of Mormon notes the similarity between the divination and translation processes, including the use of the same seer stone. ~Adjwilley (talk) 18:39, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
One of the paragraphs begins as follows: "The Smith family supplemented its meager farm income by treasure-digging." This is a puzzling statement on a few levels: 1) it states they had meager farm income, 2) this was supplemented by "treasure-digging". 3) there is no reference for this statement and needs to be, 4) They did nothing else, according to the statement for income except treasure digging. 5) How successful was this activity? 6) If their farm income was so meager and this was the only way they supplemented their farm income it must have been pretty successful; how much did they make off of this activity?
This does not read well nor is it factual. They supplemented their farm income by working as day laborers for other farmers among other things. The treasure digging allegation needs to be defined in terms of how much time was used for this activity, how successful they were, and what they found in their digging.
If they were not successful then why would people pay them to search for treasure? --StormRider 12:52, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
One can live on a meager income so there is no implication that the treasure hunting had to be successful. They would be looking for extra income.--Charles (talk) 12:57, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
Maybe the words "attempted to" should be added: "The Smith family attempted to supplement its meager farm income by treasure-digging." That way there's no implication of success or of actual payment. (I don't know if they ever were actually paid an "advance fee" for undertaking a search.) And we need a citation, which shouldn't be terribly difficult; I've read such statements in a number of works. Good Ol’factory(talk) 20:43, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
They were paid, both for their work as hired hands (harvesting, gardening, digging wells, working in a grist mill) and for the treasure digging (reportedly $14/month for Joseph, Jr). They also engaged in other small enterprises like a refreshment business (cakes, etc.) basket weaving, peddling, etc. This can all be sourced from Bushman pp. 31-33, and 46-48. ~Adjwilley (talk) 22:02, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
Adjwilley, that is more in line with historical reality. I have not read a historian who has ever quantified how much time was devoted to treasure digging or how much was made total. What I have always found surprising is that there is no historical evidence for Joseph Smith finding great treasures. If one is hungry how many times do they devote to an activity that does not put food on the table for himself and/or his family? Too often this topic is more an attempt to denigrate or taint rather than to inform. Historical fact is that Smith was a farmer/laborer first and foremost. That is how he earned his living. In this capacity he not only worked his family's farm, but worked for many other people as opportunities were available. As you have said there were several other activities that were done by him and his family. What he did not do and which was not a big focus of his life was looking for treasure. It is a matter of balance rather than fact. As of now, I don't think this part of the article is balanced. --StormRider 08:23, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
As you said, "I have not read a historian who has ever quantified how much time was devoted to treasure digging." I think it was a lot, that JS spent most of his time and energy doing it, and that he made at least a passable living—despite the fact he never found anything. He was selling hope and greed. And those things still go down well in the marketplace today.--John Foxe (talk) 15:12, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
I think one of the obvious reasons the treasure hunting is emphasized is because it ties in with the discovery/revelation (however you want to classify it) of the buried golden plates, and some of the same treasure hunting "tools" he used were used in the translation of the plates. The treasure hunting is not necessarily emphasized because of the amount of time Smith spent on treasure hunting. It's because it has such a significant link to his later accounts of the Book of Mormon being produced. Good Ol’factory(talk) 23:50, 6 March 2014 (UTC)