Talk:Relief Society

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
          This article is of interest to the following WikiProjects:
WikiProject Christianity (Rated Start-class, Low-importance)
WikiProject icon 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.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Low  This article has been rated as Low-importance on the project's importance scale.
 
WikiProject Latter Day Saint movement (Rated Start-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Latter Day Saint movement, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Mormonism and the Latter Day Saint movement 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.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
 
WikiProject Women's History (Rated Start-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Women's History, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Women's history and related articles 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.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
 

RS is not the "oldest and largest women's organization"[edit]

I just wanted to document this for posterity, in case the issue arises again. The article previously said that the Relief Society is the world's largest and oldest women's organization. This mistake is understandable, since the LDS Church makes that claim on its websites and news releases. However, I found a women's organization that was older (The International Association of Charity, founded 1617), and Dbolton found an organization that was larger (the YWCA). The YWCA also claims to be the world's oldest women's organization, but they're wrong too, obviously. COGDEN 20:41, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

Thanks, Visorstuff, for pointing out the ambiguity in how the YWCA counts its membership. I did a little more searching, though, and found some other womens' organizations that are indeed larger, such as the All-China Women's Federation, which is huge. COGDEN 22:09, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
For the record, YWCA does claim 25 million members. See first paragraph at [1].--Dbolton 00:44, 26 April 2007 (UTC)
Doesn't YWCA stand for Young Women's Christian Association? This includes women and girls of many ages, including under 17. The Relief Society only includes membership for adult women. It's numbers should not be compared to other organizations that include membership of females that are not adults.—Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.2.68.201 (talkcontribs)
I think even the RS recognizes it is not the largest (see article on LDS Newsroom), but it does appear to be the oldest (see YMCA '58, RS '42). —Eustress talk 16:43, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
National Council of Women's Organizations has 11 million members. Although it is young women World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts has 10 million. I only looked briefly so there are probably others (I wasn't able to find a number for All-China Women's Federation that COGDEN mentions above). As discussed above there are other organizations that are older. I added a citation to the article in hopes to resolve this issue.--dbolton (talk) 00:09, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
Gotcha. Thanks for your help. —Eustress talk 23:22, 14 September 2009 (UTC)

Considering that membership in the Relief Society is simply automatic for women of age in the LDS church, it seems a bit of a cheat to talk about how large it is. -- 68.97.117.233 (talk) 07:46, 3 January 2011 (UTC)

What existed in the article before this edit looked like obvious original research to me, and not particularly relevant. The article is not concerned about what women's organization is largest or oldest. The sources state that the RS is "one of the" oldest and largest, so why can't it just be left at that? The article no longer states that it is "the" oldest or largest, nor does it need to, since the sources do not say that. And the article only needs to report that the RS is often called "one of the oldest and largest", not that it is such. That is the most NPOV way of dealing with this while staying true to the sources. Good Ol’factory (talk) 04:39, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
If it is neither the oldest or the largest, then it is also neutral to say nothing about it being called the oldest or largest. -- Avanu (talk) 02:26, 28 February 2011 (UTC)
Yes, unless being "one of the oldest and largest" is a claim which is repeatedly made in some sources, which it is. If it's mentioned a lot, which it is, it's probably needs to be in an article as a claim to make the article accurately reflect what the sources say. If there are any reliable sources that analyze the RS's specific claim and prove that it is false, then they should be included, but I don't know of any sources of the latter type. The claim as it stands is well cited now and it shouldn't just be deleted because users don't like it or believe it is incorrect in fact. Good Ol’factory (talk) 02:32, 28 February 2011 (UTC)
I concur. The phrase "one of the largest and oldest" appears to be both accurate and sourced. ...comments? ~BFizz 02:39, 28 February 2011 (UTC)
Anything can be "one of the oldest and largest". It is a claim that is pretty much undeniable. My 15-inch television, made in 2009, is one of the oldest and largest televisions in existence. A true statement, sure, but a more unbiased and neutral statment is "I have a 15-inch television, that is 2 years old." (just adding the words "one of" doesn't give it neutrality. See Puffery) -- Avanu (talk) 02:51, 28 February 2011 (UTC)
We're reporting what the sources say, and the sources don't call anything and everything "one of the oldest and largest women's organizations in the world". If you can find repeated references that call your TV one of the oldest and largest TVs in the world, then we could write an article about it and include that claim. Whatever your opinion, however, it's inappropriate to repeatedly remove a cited statement from an article without consensus to do so (especially in the midst of a discussion where no one has agreed with your opinion yet). Good Ol’factory (talk) 02:59, 28 February 2011 (UTC)
I didn't realize that we were in a discussion until you just said so. It seemed more like I was making a correction for POV issues, and you chose to disagree. That said, just because there is a source saying something doesn't mean it belongs in Wikipedia, either partly or entirely. We have to also use our own sense and judgement.
One reason this current incident is clearly puffery, rather than a simple description, is that membership in the Relief Society mostly consists of the adult women of the LDS (with some exceptions). Since the membership of this group is largely co-incident with the Latter Day Saints, why don't we also change the entry on Mormonism, or all of the religious articles to say that each of them are "one of the oldest and largest religions"? Clearly we wouldn't, because it is a mere piece of puffery to state such a thing.

I point your attention to the image from the Manual of Style Page:

Peacock terms.png

-- Avanu (talk) 03:08, 28 February 2011 (UTC)

You will notice that the words "oldest" and "largest" don't appear on the sample list of WP:PEACOCK terms. That is because they are objective measures, as opposed to words like "legendary" or "prestigious".
Similar to Jehovah's Witnesses, membership in the LDS church is more involved than membership in most other Christian churches is. The streamlined mechanism for joining the relief society isn't a reason to discount it as being "one of the oldest and largest women's organizations". I'd feel better, though, if we could get a non-LDS source that made this assertion; all the sources currently attached to it seem to hold a Mormon POV.
On the other hand, saying that the LDS church is "one of the oldest and largest religions" is simply wrong; it is very new and small compared to, say, the Catholic Church. ...comments? ~BFizz 04:02, 28 February 2011 (UTC)
I agree that "oldest" and "largest" alone aren't necessarily peacock terms, and in many contexts can serve to inform the reader. I'm simply making the case that in this instance, the phrasing is puffery. It isn't really relevant that "some people say", and doubly so because it is self-serving if the sources are LDS-based, and triply so because like I mention above, membership is pretty much co-incident with being an adult woman in the LDS church (so to say it like its a separate charity is a bit misleading). -- Avanu (talk) 04:19, 28 February 2011 (UTC)
It looks like of the 4 cited sources, only the mormon.org one is "LDS-based". I would agree if only the church ever made this claim, but it seems to be relatively common in other sources as well. It would only be "self-serving" if we were relying 100% on church sources. Other sources don't really have anything to gain in repeating the claim. I think the confusion is arising in interpreting what is found in sources as a statement being made by WP editors. If this statement were being made exclusively by the latter or by the church, it could come under puffery, but when it is repeatedly in other sources, I don't see how the concern is terribly relevant. WP:PEACOCK explicitly refers to use of puffery words without attribution. These are with attribution. PEACOCK says: "Instead of making unprovable proclamations about a subject's importance, use facts and attribution to demonstrate that importance." This is an example of using attribution to demonstrate importance, or at least claimed importance. Good Ol’factory (talk) 05:34, 28 February 2011 (UTC)
Other than repeating the same claim verbatim, what evidence do those sources provide to back up the claim of 'oldest', 'largest', or 'oldest and largest'? Also, again, I will point out that the verbiage "one of the oldest and largest" can mean *ANYTHING* except the absolute youngest and absolute smallest. In other words, it has no point except puffery. -- Avanu (talk) 08:39, 28 February 2011 (UTC)
I don't see that as our problem. Wikipedia reports what is in the sources, we don't really worry about why they say what they say as long as they are reliable sources and there are no other sources directly disputing what is said. I can see you have an issue with the claim, but it's not really a Wikipedia issue. Good Ol’factory (talk) 08:47, 28 February 2011 (UTC)
So despite you knowing it is a misleading statement, you are willing to put it in because a few sources mention it? Wow. -- Avanu (talk) 09:04, 28 February 2011 (UTC)

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Verifiability : "Articles should be based on reliable, third-party, published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy". In none of the sources you quote do we see any attempt to fact-check. In fact, it sounds like standard boilerplate press release-type verbiage. The only hedge is that the Mormon site says "it IS the", while the other sources say "it is one of the". If you're deliberately unwilling to ensure that the sources are fact-checking, then I don't know what else to say. You've had other editors comment in this very thread months ago about how this claim is not neutral, but now you seem to be standing by it on a very weak foundation that really seems to call into question whether we can trust the reliability of Wikipedia. -- Avanu (talk) 09:11, 28 February 2011 (UTC)

To me, they look like reliable sources. I'm not otherwise into the whole "original research" culture of second-guessing sources that is popular with some editors. Sorry. Good Ol’factory (talk) 21:26, 28 February 2011 (UTC)
When multiple sources use identical words and phrasing, I'm not sure how these can really be called independent or reliable sources of that particular material. This might not invalidate the entirety of the source, but common sense should call into question how much of a reliable source it is on that particular bit. -- Avanu (talk) 03:35, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
As I said above, I'm not into the whole second-guessing of sources game. In my opinion, one of WP's downfalls is that it is too reliant on the "common sense" of thousands of people, each of whom has a different idea of what common sense is. When building an encyclopedia, it's far safer to use the sources and not perform original research. I realize that others disagree with this and that sometimes a premium is put on establishing the truth, but I can't say that's my prime motivator in editing. Good Ol’factory (talk) 03:49, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
The latest source you added "Julie B. Beck, Relief Society president, told the audience a history of the Relief Society will be released next year to help guide and strengthen LDS women. Founded in 1842, the Relief Society is the oldest and largest women’s organization in the world." It is quoting the head of the society, hardly a researched and independent source. Again, reliable sources have been quoted above that are directly contradicting their claim. Rather than include the sentence, which is really just puffing their rep up, why not remove it, and let it be. If there is a feeling that the lead paragraph needs to be longer, that is easy to fix without having to incorporate puffery. -- Avanu (talk) 04:01, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
It's not quoting Beck. There are no quotes around it, nor is it part of the preceding sentence, which is relating Beck's words. If you do some more original research and read Beck's speech of that day (here ya go), she didn't say anything about its status as being one of the oldest and largest women's organizations in the world. I've been poking around Factiva for sources that discuss the claim, but all I keep finding are more sources that make the claim. There's one in the Washington Post from 1992, for instance. I've yet to see any reliable source that disputes the claim. Good Ol’factory (talk) 04:41, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
Its really just beginning to look like you're saying if someone can find a so-called reliable source, then they are welcome to put it up on Wikipedia without further consideration. If that is the case, then I hardly see how we can get anywhere. In the discussion above, I see several editors that made reference to other older or larger groups, and while I'm not contesting the age or size of the Relief Society, my single objection is the inclusion of that sentence with "one of" and especially without it, because it really doesn't add anything to the article except a "see how great we are" kind of sentiment. I'm really kind of done disputing over it at this point. I really don't want to continue to beat a dead horse. I do appreciate the feedback, but I had hoped we could get a few more eyes/voices in rather than just us few. -- Avanu (talk) 04:59, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
"Its really just beginning to look like you're saying if someone can find a so-called reliable source, then they are welcome to put it up on Wikipedia without further consideration." I didn't really say that in my previous comment, or any of my other comments. My position is this: when a specific claim about an organisation is made repeatedly in a variety of reliable sources, as here, it's worth including a mention of the claim in a WP article unless one can find reliable sources that directly dispute or question the claim. Even then, if it is a widely made claim, it would be worth discussing in the articles by including both the claims and those disputing the claim. In this situation, I see many sources making the claim and not a single one (yet) which questions or disputes it. To go beyond this and to use your own "common sense" to ignore a claim being repeatedly made in sources because you think it is false or otherwise worthless ventures too far into the range of subjectivity/OR for my liking. This is not a situation with one source making an isolated claim that is made no where else. It is relatively widespread among the sources. (I'm not sure what you mean by "so-called reliable source". When I use the term, I mean it as it is used in WP:RS.) Good Ol’factory (talk) 05:33, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
As I said, I won't argue on this point further; I hope my comments in total should give an accurate depiction of my position. I disagree with that specific sentence as its currently written, but I won't remove it. -- Avanu (talk) 06:09, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
Good Ol'factory wrote: "I see many sources making the claim and not a single one (yet) which questions or disputes it." We have mentioned sources at the beginning of the discussion that dispute the "oldest and largest" claim. The phrase "one of the oldest and largest" is harder to dispute without extensive (and possibly original) research. The fact mormon.org uses the phrasing "the oldest and largest" and other sources put qualifiers such as "one of", is an indication that they dispute the absolute claim. At one point the article stated the claim and immediately discredited the absolute claim (using the verifiable sources, mentioned above). I thought this was better than avoiding the statement altogether, partly because it is the type of claim that would inevitably resurface from new editors.--dbolton (talk) 21:37, 5 March 2011 (UTC)
Do they actually directly question the "oldest and largest" claim of the Relief Society in a self-standing way, or are they merely sources that appear to demonstrate that there are in fact in existence older and larger women's organizations? My understanding was that it was the latter. If so, it's not the kind of source we would need. Good Ol’factory (talk) 05:00, 6 March 2011 (UTC)
The YWCA also claims it is the oldest and largest womens' organization [2]. It would be a lack of academic integrity to simply repeat these claims when they are verifiably false. I'm not sure why you consider these sources unsatisfactory. I propose that we use a wording similar to "The church claims that the Relief Society is oldest and largest woman's organization in the world.[3] However there are other woman's organizations that are older[4] and larger[5]". All these claims are documented.--dbolton (talk) 17:35, 6 March 2011 (UTC)
Because it's original research unless you have a source that examines the claims directly. (See WP:SYNTH.) Good Ol’factory (talk) 21:21, 6 March 2011 (UTC)

too much detail[edit]

Does the article really need the exact details of which hymn was sung at the original gathering of this particular band of nutters, never mind the minutes of the bloody thing? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 212.35.31.33 (talkcontribs) 23:22, 21 July 2007 (UTC)

As Wikipedia isn't running out of space, I don't think we should complain about details. WBardwin (talk) 05:08, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

RS and plural marriage[edit]

The follow brief paragraph has been noted as needing citations since Nov. 2007. Although Emma Smith was noted for sharp sermons dealing with morality in the community, this info implies a significant relationship between the Relief Society and conflicts over plural marriage. I moved the paragraph here for comment and sourcing. WBardwin (talk) 05:08, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

Emma Smith often used the Relief Society as a pulpit to express her opposition to plural marriage. Beause of this, Joseph Smith suspended all meetings of the Relief Society.[citation needed] After the death of Smith in June 1844, Brigham Young took over leadership of the Latter Day Saints. Desiring to continue plural marriage, Young completely disbanded the Relief Society before leaving Nauvoo for Utah Territory.[citation needed]

NPOV Question, terminology of 'one of the oldest and largest', peacock/puffery or neutral?[edit]

In descriptions, is calling something "one of the oldest and largest" an example of peacock/puffery or is it a neutral/unbiased statement? Avanu (talk) 09:25, 28 February 2011 (UTC)

As I opined earlier, "oldest" and "largest" are objective (therefore neutral) measures. "One of" is the possible point of POV, since it is vaguely delineated. It would be more specific to say "one of the ten oldest" or "one of the five largest", but we don't have sources to make such an explicit statement for this case. ...comments? ~BFizz 15:22, 28 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment. WP:PEACOCK explicitly refers to use of puffery words without attribution. This claim of this org being "one of the oldest and largest women's organizations in the world" is quoted with attribution to four seven different sources. PEACOCK says: "Instead of making unprovable proclamations about a subject's importance, use facts and attribution to demonstrate that importance." This is an example of using attribution to demonstrate importance, or at least claimed importance. Good Ol’factory (talk) 21:28, 28 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment also If all sources of attribution have identical wording, it seems to stretch the idea that these are independently researched and reliable sources. Although it doesn't mean they didn't check/verify, it doesn't appear to add credence to a claim if multiple sources are essentially parroting the same material. -- Avanu (talk) 03:39, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
    • Of the ones cited in the article right now, they do not all have identical wording. There are also sources on Factiva that say it is "one of the oldest" women's organizations in the world but make no mention of it being one of the largest and vice versa, so I don't think they're all necessarily cribbing off the same source. Good Ol’factory (talk) 04:47, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

General Women's Meeting.[edit]

According to this article, instead of the General Relief Society Meeting and Young Women's Meeting, there will be a new semiannual meeting for all women and girls age 8 and older. This information should be incorporated into the article ASAP. But I will leave it to others to determine how to do that. Just FYI. --Jgstokes (talk) 03:08, 13 November 2013 (UTC)