Talk:The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints/Archive 1

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Old topics - these have been resolved and/or integrated into the main page.

The proper name for the LDS church and the Book of Mormon may include a "the" at the beginning; but it is bad style (IMHO) to begin an encyclopedia article title with the word "the". That is why I changed these articles to omit the "the". -- User:Simon J Kissane


Why bad style? I don't see it. Is it because you think it can't be properly alphabetized, then? If so, remember, Wikipedia isn't paper; we don't need alphabetization, because we can search (or, we should be able to search :-) ). --User:LMS


Members of the church prefer to avoid the (often pejorative) label "Mormons" and reference to the church as the "Mormon Church". I have preserved initial use of these terms (offered as frequently-used alternatives) to enable searching, but have altered them in the larger body to more neutral and common words like "church members" (&c). Also, I altered one paragraph that used terms like "claimed" and "allegedly" with distracting frequency for such a small body of text. --branteaton

This is fuzzier nowadays - some people dislike it, and others
don't mind.  It's also commonly used within the church when
speaking casually.  Its connotations seem to swing back and
forth every so often...

Why should it matter what they like or dislike? This is an encyclopedia. Members of the church are commonly called Mormons; this is an important fact that should be reported. If you want to also report that they dislike this fact, that's good too. --LDC

Lee, this fact is reported and retained in the beginning of the article. The text that follows then refers to Mormons as "members" or "adherents," or somesuch. An article about any group may diplomatically contain mention of a pejorative label, and use more neutral language in the rest of the article. This sort of policy or convention seems appropriate in Wikipedial treatment of all groups. --BrantEaton

Yes, I think the article as it is now is fine. I just wanted to make the point that the term preferred by the people being described is not necessarily the most neutral or most accurate one. We should respect other beliefs, but we shouldn't coddle them at the expense of clarity. --LDC


The LDS church has their official statement on the matter here:

http://www.lds.org/media2/library/display/0,6021,198-1-168-15,FF.html

Should this be worked into the article?


I think it is essential to maintain the term Mormon, because Mormonism is wider than just the LDS church -- there is also the RLDS church, the polygamy practicing groups, and various other groups (Hendricites, Strangites, Bickertonites, Church of Christ Temple Lot, Church of Christ Elijah Message). We need a term to describe all these groups collectively, since (whichever one if any is right) they are all closely related in historical origin, beliefs and practices. Thus I would use Mormonism as a collective term for all those groups which see Joseph Smith as their founder; therefore LDS shouldn't be called Mormonism, but rather a particular Mormon sect/denomination. -- User:Simon J Kissane


Simon, I believe the common practice is to apply the term "Mormon" and "Mormonism" only to the Utah church. This doesn't make a lot of sense, because all of the groups accept the Book of Mormon, or at least trace their origin to it. But nevertheless I believe this is established practice. I think this came about because the term "Mormon" was so closely associated in the public mind with the doctrine and practice of polygamy, which the RLDS (in particular) rejected. I agree that a general term to include all the derivative churches would be very useful, but I think that using "Mormon" and "Mormonism" for this purpose would be confusing.

I believe the term "Restoration churches" is sometimes used in this sense. - Hank Ramsey


Well Melton, the respected religion scholar, uses the term in the sense I do in his "Encyclopedia of American Religions". -- User:Simon J Kissane


As far as I know, all groups involved do not want the term "Mormon" and "Mormonism" to refer to all such groups. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints doesn't like the term "Mormonism" to begin with, and would rather restrict the term "Mormon" to refer to people of their faith.

The RLDS church never liked the appellation "Mormon" and has now, in fact, even changed their name to something entirely different. I don't know about the other sects, but I truly doubt they would take fondly to being called "Mormons".

Perhaps some other word/phrase could be used that seems more impartial? "Restoration churches" seems too broad ... maybe simply refer to the group as "denominations who consider Joseph Smith their founder"? I'm at a loss here, but I think that to refer to this group as "Mormons" would simply confuse most people and offend some. -- User:Dlugar

As an encyclopedia article ostensibly written for the neutral point of view, it would be good to explain what the common usage of the term "Mormon" is, and then state how the various groups do or do not identify themselves with it. Reality is that the general public uses the term Mormon, and a Wikipedia reader will probably come searching for it. It would be unhelpful to have the article take pedantic view that is too narrow. --User:Alan Millar

"Mormon" appears in the body of the article, enabling searchers to find it. A separate article Mormons discusses some groups that can or have been identified by that label. --User:branteaton

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a nice piece of writing! Thanks.


Basic beliefs about God:

  • "God is a glorified and perfected man, a personage of flesh and bones" (Gospel Principles, p. 9)
  • God lives on or near a planet called Kolob (The Book of Abraham, 3:4-18)
  • Consequently God is an alien according to official Utah Mormon teaching.
  • God is married (Mormon First Presidency, "Man: His Origin and Destiny," pp. 348-355
  • Human beings are "literally" the children of God and a "Mother In Heaven" (ibid.)
  • By faithfully following all the ruls of the Church, Mormon males can literally become Gods themselves. This process is known as exaltation. (Bruce R. McConkie, "Exaltation," entry in Mormon Doctrine, 1979)
submitted by User:RK

RK, this does not appear to be written with the intent to illuminate, but rather to denigrate the beliefs of Mormons. Please revise this section to attain a "Neutral Point of View." - User:branteaton

No one here is denigrating Mormon beliefs. This entry is to explain them. While some may find it embarassing to see such beliefs expressed in public, I can assure that they do not. This their religion and their faith. I don't agree with it, but it is the very basis of all their teachings, just as the trinity is basic to Christianity, and the belief in a divine revelation to Mohammed via an angel is the basis of Islam. It is what they believe. Discomfort with their beliefs is irrelevant, and has no place in editing an encyclopaedia. Further, we must note that there are dozens of small religious groups which explicitly and publicly teach that God (or the gods) are aliens living on other worlds, and their is nothing unique about the Mormon faith in this one regard. If you think that this belief should be worded differently, please offer an alternate formulation. User:RK

Many people believe that God, or the gods, are aliens on other planets. For a survey of some of these religions, please see "The Gods Have Landed: New religions from other worlds", by James R. Lewis, SUNY Press. Link: [The Gods have Landed

Perhaps you can cite the actual, complete text of an authoritative description of the Mormon concept of God. The pieces you present hitherto rely on summary or conclusions not drawn in the texts you cite. User:branteaton
Maybe we could see some useful contribution, branteaton? If you know something useful, add it where you delete something you find incorrect. Even though I know a lot of LDS people, I'm still fairly clueless about the religion -- partially because some LDS members tell me they're Christian, and others say they are within the Christian tradition. I appreciate your umbrage on "God is an alien," but maybe you can help clarify?? User:JHK
A) Reserving comment until such (near) time as I can do so from a Neutral Point of View.
2) I have indeed contributed much to this article, other, related articles, and articles unrelated except in view of my own personal interest.
D) My making additional contributions is neither necessary nor sufficient to empower me to edit an article and remove or modify content not in keeping with the goals of the wikipedia project.
4) (Get it... 4!) In the meantime, I do feel confident that the page already provides the "basic beliefs" of Mormons with regard to the nature of God. Mormons differ from other Christians in that they do not hold to the Nicean Creed which sets God the Father, God the Christ (Jesus) and God the Holy Spirit (Holy Ghost) as one God in identity. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints holds that each is a separate personage with a unique identity. They are one in purpose, as in united in purpose. They never disagree or pursue divergent ends. Thus one may worship God without "picking" one. This is according to the understanding of an interested lay member (me). I am widely read (though not _comprehensively_ so) and deeply, personally interested in Mormon theology, practice, history, and policy. I am not authoritative (the Church regards Gordon B. Hinkley, the current President to be authroitative). Two interesting documents illustrating Mormon attitudes and teaching with regard to Jesus Christ, the eternal nature of spirits, marriage, and family practicies are available on the official church website at http://www.lds.org
See specifically http://lds.org/library/display/0,4945,161-1-11-1,FF.html and http://lds.org/library/display/0,4945,163-1-10-1,FF.html
More information is available from http://www.mormon.org
RK, your list does not comprise what Mormons consider basic beliefs about God. It's not found on the official church web site, it's not printed in literature published by the church, and two of your sources, "Mormon Doctrine" and "Man: His Origin and Destiny" (which AFAICT was written by Joseph Fielding Smith alone, not the first presidency) aren't even church publications. It does quote authentic-sounding sources, though, and sound strange compared to common Protestant beliefs. So while it might be useful in painting a skewed picture of Mormonism, I'll have to agree that it doesn't do much good in an encyclopedia. -J
I'm not sure what you mean by "skewed picture". The teachings listed by RK may seem strange compared to traditional Christian theology, but they certainly are historically documented Mormon beliefs, and a significant part of what makes Mormon doctrine distinctive. Perhaps, like polygamy, these teachings have become an embarrassment or impediment to proselytizing and are disavowed or downplayed by the contemporary church, and if so that should be pointed out. But this information certainly belongs in any serious encyclopedia article on the subject. -HWR
As an active member of the LDS faith, here is my take on the list. Item #1 is fine, it is not a complete description of God, but it is in harmony with the teachings of the Church. Item #2 is a stretch. The quoted scripture states that a star called Kolob is the closest star to the Throne of God and that the time of God is reckoned according to the time of this star (a thousand years to man is as a day to God). Now, what is the "Throne of God"? Is it God's home, where he lives? Is it the place from which he rules the Universe? Is it a real throne or is it figurative? The Bible states that God's throne is in the heavens, is this statement any different? Item #2 is one possible interpretation, but not the only one. As far as I know, the Church has no official declaration on the matter beyond the scriptural reference. My argument against item #3 is given below. Item #6 is accurate. Items 4 and 5 are assumptions, but may be reaonable based on the following doctrines: 1) Humans are literally spirit children of God, 2) Just as physical children grow up to be like their parents, people can mature spiritually to become like God (Exaltation) and have spirit children of their own, 3) Attainment of the highest level of exaltation requires a marital union of a man and a woman (neither can obtain this level alone). Note, that the idea of a Mother in heaven is conspicuously absent from scripture or any official church doctrine. Discussion of the topic is tolerated even among the Church leadership, but no official proclamation has been made. Some speculate that the heavens have been silent about a Mother in heaven out of respect, so that her name is not blasphemed like the name of God. Furthermore, given the early church teachings of plural marriage there is no reason to conclude that there is only one "Mother in heaven". However, any statements about the existence and nature of a Mother in heaven are considered speculation. -- User:Matt Stoker

I know too little specifically about the beliefs of this religion, but I hope I can make a statement about how this type of dispute should be resolved in general, a statement that I think we can all agree with. The beliefs should be presented in such a way that the essential core beliefs are made clear. Additionally, information should be presented which relates the faith to other traditions -- both similarities and differences. If there are "embarassing oddities" (and I assume most faiths have something that someone would consider to fall under this category), these should be presented, but not as essentials, unless they are.

--User:Jimbo Wales

I can certainly agree to that. The discussion here is whether the list A: comes from acceptable sources, B: represents them properly, and C: is presented from a neutral point of view. To respond to HWR about the NPOV, I think the third item on the list qualifies as "skewed": "Consequently God is an alien according to official Utah Mormon teaching.". Logically, this may be correct, but saying that it's according to "official Utah Mormon teaching" (as if Utah Mormon teaching were different from, say, Florida Mormon teaching) makes it sound like the church is saying "Article of Faith 14: God is in fact an alien". It's not even a very interesting or unique thing to say, since any faith which believes that God dwells in the heavens (or anywhere but on the Earth) could also be said to believe that God is an alien. -J
I agree that point 3 is "skewed" and Biased. It makes a judgment (God is an alien) based one some other doctrine. By the same logic an "extra-terrestrial" can be defined as any being that did not originate on the earth. Many (most?) christian faiths teach that God created the earth. Therefore, he could not have originated on the earth. Consequently, according to many christian faiths, God is an extra-terrestrial or in other words an alien. However, the words alien and extra-terrestrial usually denote a creature that is less than most people's conception of God. Thus, describing God as an alien is probably inaccurate and biased, unless that religion specifically teaches that God is an alien. The LDS doctrine contains no such specific teaching. -- User:Matt Stoker


To J: My apologies for overlooking item three. It is certainly misleading, and probably inaccurate (depending on the definition of "alien") as a characterization of Mormon teaching (as I understand it). - HWR
I tried to include much of the controversial information without being biased. I think I did pretty well, but you should see if you agree. --User:Dmerrill