Talk:The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints/Archive 15

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What to do with very good links?

Hello, I have some very good links about LDS Jewish-Christian tradition and Open Theism.

Professor Emeritus W. D. Davies, a famous scholar in theology (and not a member in LDS) said: Mormonism is the Jewish-Christian tradition in an American key. He explained in "Israel, the Mormons and the Land"

http://rsc.byu.edu/pubWDaviesIsraelMormonsLand.php

Also the famous lutheran theologian Krister Stendahl was active in Jewish-Christian dialogue and was a close friend of LDS and helped them.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krister_Stendahl

There was a seminar with many important non-LDS scholars at BYU in 1978 (one of them was W. D Davies). A book was published. Reflections on Mormonism : Judaeo-Christian parallels : papers delivered at the Religious Studies Center Symposium, Brigham Young University, March 10-11, 1978

http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/cdm4/document.php?CISOROOT=/rsc&CISOPTR=36013

LDS are strictly Open Theists, says professor emeritus Louis Midgley at BYU.

http://www.fairblog.org/2010/01/20/lcm_open_theism/ 90.231.11.211 (talk) 07:45, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

First line of #Beginnings

Ok, Storm Rider, here I am at the talk page. You want to change the phrase from "relating to others of his claimed visitation" to "relating to others of being visited visited", which (besides from saying visited twice), you are justifying by citing the WP:WTA guideline. I believe it should read the first way per the WP:NPOV policy, as there's not a reliable source substantiating that he was actually visited. Am I missing something or does that sum up the disagreement? VernoWhitney (talk) 21:44, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

Kind of you to show up to discuss a change first made by User:Razarax. That editor changed the following language:
Years after first relating to others of being visited visited by God the Father and Jesus Christ in 1820, Smith gained a small following...
First, the sentence already infers that it is reported by Joseph Smith i.e. first relating to others. There is no need to use the term "claimed" which by policy is a word that should not be used because it is not neutral. Second, there is not need for double word use i.e. visited and visited or visited and visitation. I have already deleted the double word use, which is the only needed edit to the sentence. I hope this clears up the issue.--StormRider 21:54, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
I am sorry I lumped in your change with Razarax's. Thank you for fixing it. Now then, I agree that the statement as is infers that it is reported by Joseph Smith; my issue, however, is that without "claimed" the sentence implies to me that he actually was visited, which as I said above I feel to be a violation of NPOV. As to the particular word "claimed", it's been in the article for six months, and you are referring to a guideline which states that claim should be used with care, not that it should not be used. I have no problem with another word or phrase instead of claim, but I feel that it should be clear that it is only his statement, and not him relating a fact. VernoWhitney (talk)
To me when I read the sentence it already does what you desire...years after Joseph first started taking about being visited by God, etc. Joseph is the only one speaking and is the only one who is saying he was visited. I can understand how editors prefer to take a belt and suspenders type of approach and further emphasize only the individual is reporting his perspective. In the article, editors have used "said" seven times and "stated" four times in a relatively short article. I may have too much confidence in readers ability to understand that a topic of religion, such as this one or others on a given church, is only a topic of faith. I generally resist efforts to take an extra precautionary approach. However, if you would like to edit it (not using the world claimed) then I would not reject it.
I do not reject using the term claimed at all times. It depends upon context. In most all religious topics I shy away from it unless the context allows for its use without causing or casting doubt upon the one claiming. For example, review the Catholic Church article and you will see two examples where its use is more of the "proclaimed" context rather that its more negative connotation. --StormRider 22:32, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
This sentence has a problem in that actually, you can't say that Smith proclaimed he saw God and Jesus until well after he had gained a following (i.e., in 1842 when his 1838 history was first published). Prior to that time, the first vision was essentially unknown to early Mormons. We've got to change that historical anachronism. If we want to describe Smith as "proclaiming" something in early Mormon history, we should refer to the Book of Mormon. Another thing, we can't really say he gained a small following until about June 1829 when Smith and Cowdery started baptizing, which was well after translation began. COGDEN 01:16, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
That goes well beyond my research for this article, I just had issue with the NPOV implications - so I'm going to back out now from any edits along that line. VernoWhitney (talk) 01:45, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
I just did a major revision to this section to (1) add additional citations, (2) to fill out some important neglected elements of early LDS history (like the Kirtland Temple, plural marriage, expulsion from Missouri, etc.), and (3) to improve neutrality and clarity. I deleted a couple of footnote references that I think are very tangential to the subject matter, such as the precise list of people present during organization of the church. If I've stepped too far and deleted something that someone thinks should still be there, let me know and we can try to work it back in. Note that I gave greater prominence to the story of the First Vision, but placed it during the discussion of the Nauvoo Era when it was first published and first began to have historical significance to the church, rather than just personal significance to Smith. COGDEN 00:57, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

Rule as gods

"He also established ceremonies to allow righteous Mormons to continue to become like God the Father in the afterlife, and a secular institution to govern the Millennial kingdom."

I never claimed 'rule' was in any scripture. I claimed 'become like' is misleading and it is. It's misleading because it confuses 'become gods in the afterlife' with becoming more Christ-like, or becoming more God-like. They are two separate and distinct things and you are making one sound like the other.

I stated in my first revision that 'rule as gods' might not be acceptable wording, but 'become like God' is definitely missing the point of the sentence.

The scripture literally says "Then they shall be gods". It's not muddled or ambiguous and ties into the plurality of gods.

This is what the sentence is about, or was about till it was changed yesterday. DeltoidNoob's wording is literally the same as 'Godlike' or 'Christlike'. Which is a different thing. It is more than just becoming 'like' God. http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?hideNav=1&locale=0&sourceId=cd6561cb2b86b010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD —Preceding unsigned comment added by Razarax (talkcontribs) 22:49, 9 May 2010 (UTC)

Thank you for responding. The problem with the current edit is that it does not describe the LDS position accurately and it sounds like sensationalism. The topic is the LDS Church and should at least describe their beliefs. Joseph Smith taught that humanity may become like god or as god. Fundamentally, God the Father is the father of all spirit children who came to this earth and that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we may grow to become co-heirs with Christ to inherit all that he will inherit. There are some logical limitations: 1) that God will always be our God throughout the eternities, 2) God is only sharing his glory with his through his Son Jesus. This belief is a form of Theosis. As learned as you are, you are probably familiar with this doctrine. St. Athanasius of Alexandria summed it up best as, "God became man so that man might become god". Justin Martyr, St Maximus, and many others of the patristic fathers stated very similar things. Exaltation is a form of Theosis, but deification of humanity within exaltation is complete.
It is certainly easier, though misleading, to sum it up as become gods. However, it does not begin to explain the context of the statement or the full meaning of the statement. We can certainly edit it better, but it is going to take cooperation rather than edit warring. The understanding of Exaltation from an LDS Church perspective is that we may become like God i.e. we cannot become greater than him. The purpose of creation was to create a process whereby we become like God.
On another note, Multiplicity of Gods is a stretch. We may become joint-heirs with Christ, but this is only after the judgment. In LDS theology, there is only one God, or Godhead as the Bible states, and it consists of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. LDS are comfortable calling each of them God and LDS certainly claim them to be separate distinct Gods i.e. there are three Gods. Where Trinitarian doctrine focus on one God in three persons, LDS doctrine is that there are three Gods in one Godhead. --StormRider 15:26, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
Joseph Smith indisputably taught that exalted humans would rule as gods in the afterlife. I don't think we can euphemize this. This is not sensationalism: it's one of the most distinctive, innovative, and central elements of our Mormon theology. Though saying that Mormons believe they can "become like God" is correct, it is also incomplete and slightly evasive. Becoming "like God" could mean, as it means in the Protestant context, simply that we inherit God's holiness, but in Mormon theology it is much more than just inheriting God's holiness. It is not simply theosis. It is to inherit everything that God has, including his very godhood. That Mormons believe they can "rule as gods" or "become gods" is fully supported by numerous authoritative sources:
Some secondary sources:
  • Hardy, Grant R. (1992), "Godhood", in Ludlow, Daniel H., Encyclopedia of Mormonism, New York: Mcmillan, pp. 553–55, at 553, ISBN 0-02-904040-X  ("The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that all resurrected and perfected mortals become gods.").
  • Bushman, Richard Lyman (2005), Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling, New York: Knopf, pp. 455–56, 535–37, ISBN 1400042704  (numerous references to Smith's teaching that men can become gods, and rise to godhood, and become co-equal to God).
  • Widmer, Kurt (2000), Mormonism and the Nature of God: A Theological Evolution, 1830–1915, Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, p. 119  (Smith taught that men would become co-equal with God).
  • Hale, Van (1978), The Doctrinal Impact of the King Follett Discourse 18 (2), BYU Studies, p. 209, online at 3-4  (noting that a dissenter disagreed with Smith because Smith "taught a worse doctrine than the Devil did in the Garden of Eden. The Devil only taught that men should be as Gods. But Joseph taught that men should be Gods." Also noting that the doctrine that "Men can become gods" was the most important doctrine taught in Smith's King Follett discourse, and "[t]hat these ideas had been taught by 7 April 1844 cannot be disputed.").
Some primary sources:
  • D&C 132:20 ("Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them.").
  • Larson, Stan (1978), "The King Follett Discourse: A Newly Amalgamated Text", BYU Studies 18 (2): 8 Extra |pages= or |at= (help)  ("You have got to learn how to make yourselves Gods in order to save yourselves and be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done.... [B]ut to contemplate the saying that they will be joint-heirs with Jesus Christ. What is it? To inherit and enjoy the same glory, powers, and exaltation until you ascend a throne of eternal power and arrive at the station of a God, the same as those who have gone before.").
  • Kimball, Spencer W. (October 1975), "First Presidency Message: The Lord's Plan for Men and Women", Ensign  ("And that is no idle thought either, that you and I are made in the image of God, to become gods and queens and kings eventually.").
  • Smith, Joseph Fielding (January 2006), "Gospel Classics: Adam's Role in Bringing us Mortality (1967 General Conference talk)", Ensign  ("[I]n order [for us] to become gods, it is necessary for us to know something about pain, about sickness, and about the other things that we partake of in this school of mortality.").
  • Wirthlin, Joseph B. (June 1988), "Little Things Are Important", Liahona  ("The beginnings of each godly character trait is in each and every one of us. With that assurance, we are truly able to become gods as he has commanded us.").
COGDEN 20:43, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
First, the topic is the LDS Church and its doctrine. Second, the reference given for the statement was the 132 section of the doctrine and covenants, which does not support the statement. Third, the only statements of doctrine for the LDS Church are found in the Scriptures. Fourth, the doctrine of Exaltation is clearly biblically based. Exaltation is not the equivalent of the doctrine of Theosis; however, many of the statements of the Patristic fathers on their face support a strong similarlity. Fifth, there is no difference between stating that we may be joint-heirs with Jesus Christ to inherit all that he inherits and we may become gods. Which do you think is more sensational? Is it wrong to state one over the other? Of course not, unless your intent is to only use shock statements without any explanation or context. You know better! If you would like me to provide you with a plethora of references for my position, I would be happy to do so. More importantly, you know that I can do it so your attempt to provide them to me does not strengthen your argument; it simply takes up space. --StormRider 21:21, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
Though it's right on point, we don't need to rely on D&C 132 for the idea that Mormons believe they shall be gods and rule over the angels, because there are innumerable secondary sources. And not a single (as far as I am aware) reliable source that says Mormons don't believe they can literally achieve godhood. The Encyclopedia of Mormonism citation is perfect for this purpose, and all that we really need to show what current LDS doctrine is. You agree that to Mormons, saying that we are "joint-heirs with Jesus Christ" means the same thing as "we may become Gods". My point is that to non-Mormons, these two statements are not equivalent. We are not writing to an exclusively-Mormon audience. And there's nothing really sensationalistic about this. It's pretty much common knowledge, but most importantly, this is not just some obscure doctrine we can pass over or obscure. The eternal progression idea is widely recognized, both by Mormons and non-Mormons, as one of the central doctrines of Mormonism and one of the crowning doctrinal achievement of Joseph Smith. Any secular treatment of Mormon theology covers this, and progression toward godhood is one of the main things that distinguishes the LDS Church from Protestantism or Catholicism. COGDEN 21:57, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
I just read your comment again, Storm. Are you disputing that LDS doctrine includes the idea that gods in the afterlife will "rule"? If that's the sticking-point, we can find some citations for that, but I though that was pretty self-evident from most of the references. A lot of them mention "gods" in the same breath with "kings and queens". Smith refers to these gods sitting on "thrones". D&C 132 says that the "angels are subject unto them". That they "rule" shouldn't be controversial. But I'm not opposed to other language. I think the main point is that they "become" gods. COGDEN 22:12, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
No, my disagreement is only with context and the brevity of the statement. I don't disagree that we should state that the LDS Church teaches that we may become gods, but that is not the sum total of what should be said. A context for that statement should also be given. Most Christians do not understand that is doctrine of exaltation or theosis is as old as Jesus' ministry upon the earth and the early patristic fathers. The Bible talks about humanity becoming kings and priests. Even the concept of God the Father having a life observed by the Son is Biblical. Little of Smith's Follett discourse is unique or even novel. Each of these points can be made, but they need to be placed in context so that they can be understood. --StormRider 00:10, 11 May 2010 (UTC)
I don't have any problem with providing a little more detail because this is an important point, but the information you suggest is Mormon apologetic material and would need to be balanced out with traditional and/or secular scholarship. The secular Harold Bloom and some others, for example, link eternal progression far more with the context of the American mutation of perfectionism and neo-gnosticism than with the Patristics. But I don't think we have space for all that here, or that it is appropriate to go into that much detail in such a summary article. If you can think of language that is relatively brief, yet still neutral and provides more context, then I'd be in favor. COGDEN 04:35, 11 May 2010 (UTC)

I understand where both of you are coming from. StormRider is worried that the wording will be spun into some sort of negative anti-mormon rhetoric.

The problem lies in about 2-3 words. LDS beliefs on this matter are not only complicated but contentious. However, this is the very reason why there is a separate wiki page that is dedicated to fully explaining the mormon position. I'm not going to defend the wording as if it's 100% correct, but I will defend the original wording and the current wording as being more correct than what it was changed to for the reasons I stated above.

"That Mormons believe they can "rule as gods" or "become gods" is fully supported by numerous authoritative sources"-StormRider "I don't disagree that we should state that the LDS Church teaches that we may become gods"-StormRider It seems like you are more worried about the church being spun in a negative light than with a factual presentation of the information. (ha, I rhyme) You fully agree that 'become gods' is correct, and it is, yet you dispute the inclusion of this wording in the article? Why not use these words in the article?

I fully agree that we should steer clear of sensationalism. I removed the 'rule' and replaced it with 'become' to avoid sensationalism. But what seems to be going on is more akin to spin or whitewashing.

The words are placed in context, they are placed in context on the exaltation page and the current words are linked to that page. However, if you feel you need to add a sentence afterward to explain the mormon position, that makes sense.

maybe this:

"He also established ceremonies to allow righteous Mormons to become like god in the afterlife, lesser than God, but omnipotent and omnipresent as well as having dominion over angels and other celestial beings."

or something to that effect...?

If you're going to change it to 'become like' then it needs to be clarified as to how they 'become like' and not just left to reader interpretation.

'Become gods' might be out of context (and might need to be brought into context within the article) but "become like God" is so out of context that it completely changes the implied meaning of the sentence.

At the end of the day though, what is the shortest, un-sensational way of saying that 'mormons become gods' if not 'mormons become gods'...? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Razarax (talkcontribs) 15:08, 11 May 2010 (UTC)

I'd like to point out that this beleif is also stemmed from the bible not just modern day revelation. Ref Ps. 82: 6, 1 Jn. 3: 2, John 10: 34, Rev. 3: 21, Rom. 8: 17, Gal. 4: 7 and various other. also it should be noted that man has the potential to be like God but that being said does not mean all will. certianly, one must understand the plan of salvation in order to grasp the full meaning of the doctrine. not all "mormons" will become Gods. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Lorebre (talkcontribs) 13:58, 4 June 2010 (UTC)

Finance section - Sourcing

I restored a section deleted by an IP editor, but agree that the given source was inadequate. This lds.org page [1] refers to how funds are used but...... Suggestions? WBardwin (talk) 06:55, 6 June 2010 (UTC)

Exaltation vs. Theosis

I am Orthodox. I have several Orthodox catechisms and over thirty books on the doctrines and practice of the Orthodox Church. Therefore, it is quite irritating to see people with only a passing knowledge of Orthodoxy equate the LDS doctrine of exaltation and the Orthodox doctrine of theosis. In LDS theology, man may be exalted to godhood so that He rules over his own universe.

In Orthodox theology, man may come closer and closer into communion with the one God of the one universe. Therefore, He partakes of the divine nature so that He becomes like God in moral attributes. Please, do not use silly phrases like "exaltation, also known as theosis". It is simply false. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.13.208.23 (talk) 21:08, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

First of all, Theosis is not owned by the Orthodox Church. Second, you obviously don't know me or what I understand, know, comprehend, etc. Third, it is blatantly obvious you don't understand Exaltation, its meaning, its purpose, etc. Now, would you like to start over or would you like to argue?
The Catholic Church Catechism states as follows: "460 The Word became flesh to make us "partakers of the divine nature":"For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God." "For the Son of God became man so that we might become God." "The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods."
The belief in the LDS Church is that through Jesus Christ we might also become gods. What is obvious is that there are strong similarity between the two beliefs. Attempting to explain what these gods might do is beyond the scope of the statement. What is factual is that Theosis and Exaltation both state man may become gods through Jesus Christ. --StormRider 23:48, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
I have to agree with the anonymous editor. Theosis is not a term used by Mormons when speaking about their own theology, and exaltation is not the same as the traditional Christian theosis doctrines. Although the Mormon belief built upon ideas of Christian perfectionism, the Holiness movement, and theosis, these traditional Christian doctrines never went so far as to say that humans could become gods, or co-equals to God reigning on their own thrones in the afterlife. Rather, theosis/Holiness/perfectionism merely says that humans can attain the status of godliness or saintliness. Thus, while you could say that exaltation is theosis taken to its logical extreme, simply equating theosis with exaltation is a bit of a misrepresentation, and will only serve to confuse. COGDEN 01:05, 17 June 2010 (UTC)
COGDEN and 68.13.208.23 are correct. It would be objective and accurate to say something like: "The LDS doctrine of Exaltation (becoming a god) is sometimes compared to the Orthodox doctrine of Theosis (becoming like God in character). LDS writers tend to emphasize the similarity, while Orthodox writers tend to emphasize the difference." Plus a reference to the separate WP articles on Theosis and Exaltation. If some such clarification is not added, the reference "or theosis" should be removed to preserve NPOV. Scoopczar (talk) 03:28, 17 June 2010 (UTC)


"Please read the Catholic Cathechism, section 460 listed above. Please tell me where it says godliness rather than being gods? Where does it say saintliness? In fact, it does not. The CC states plainly, clearly that man will become gods. That is the identical belief of the LDS Church teachings.
Attempting to interpret what it means by becoming gods is a second level discussion that the Catholic Church and the LDS Church do not explain fully. St Irenaeus explained this doctrine in Against Heresies, Book 5, in the Preface, "the Word of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, who did, through his transcendent love, become what we are, that He might bring us to be even what He is Himself." This again is not qualified by saintliness or godliness. The Patristic fathers were quite clear in their words. I am also aware that these clear statements of becoming god are uncomfortable for both the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox and they have both, particularly in the last few hundred years, have begun to make becoming a god, really more about just being holy. There are certainly LDS who have attempted to expand upon the statements by say that being a god means creating worlds, participating in the creation of spirit children, etc. Bruce R. McConkie makes it crystal clear what is doctrine, "Wise gospel students do not build their philosophies of life on quotations of individuals, even though those quotations come from presidents of the Church. Wise people anchor their doctrine on the Standard Works. ... There is no need to attempt to harmonize conflicting views when some of the views are out of harmony with the Standard Works." --StormRider 03:36, 17 June 2010 (UTC)
No Catholic is going to agree with your reading of their Catechism. Catholics simply do not believe in the Mormon doctrine of exaltation. I'm no apologist for Catholicism, but I'm sure they will agree you are taking the Catechism out of context. The previous section 459 talks about how Christ became "our model of holiness", and 460 discusses how Christ became flesh to make us "partakers of the divine nature." It is indeed about making humans godly and holy/saintly. It has nothing to do with humans being coequal with God and reigning on their own thrones as gods and goddesses.
And by the same token, you can't say that Mormons don't believe that exaltation means creating worlds, having spirit children, reigning on thrones, becoming co-equal with God, etc. You can find support for this in LDS church publications, the Encyclopedia of Mormonism, and just about any academic reference discussing the fundamental theology of Mormonism. COGDEN 05:12, 17 June 2010 (UTC)
StormRider, while I see what you're saying, the theosis article's description of the term does not cleanly equate to exaltation (LDS Church). This article currently states: Moreover, the church teaches that humans may achieve through the Atonement of Jesus Christ exaltation or theosis, which means that they may become gods and goddesses as "joint heirs" with Christ. How can we state the similarity in doctrine without equating the two concepts? ...comments? ~BFizz 05:36, 17 June 2010 (UTC)
The section in the article is about the distinctive doctrines of the LDS Church. Theosis is a technical term among non-LDS churches for a doctrine of theirs, particularly for the Orthodox, though also for Catholic and some Protestant groups. It is not a technical term used in Mormon theology as far as I know. On that basis the use of theosis is not appropriate in the context of this section. I believe it should simply be deleted. Exaltation is the proper LDS name of the LDS doctrine referred to. The usage of theosis has the appearance of a POV purpose. Scoopczar (talk) 06:22, 17 June 2010 (UTC)
Forgive me if my irritation bleeds through a bit here, but StormRider has no idea what the CCC is actually saying here. It is NOT saying that humans may become Gods and rule over their own planets and universes. You stated earlier that I have no idea what exaltation actually is, so I assume you think it does not include ruling over planets and universes? Read the King Follet Discourse, please. And please read chapter 47 of Gospel Principles, which states. "They will have everything that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have--all power, glory, dominion, and knowledge" And the kicker is here: "This is the way our Heavenly Father became God."We will become Gods in essence according to exaltation. The CCC is alluding to church father Athanasius of Alexandria, where he says "God became man so that man may become god" You want to know what he meant by that? He meant that we may become so like God in His moral attributes and qualities that we could be called "gods", ie John 10. He says nothing about ruling your own universe/planet, as the LDS Church teaches. If you want to know what he meant, read his works, as I have. Particularly, On the Incarnation. Sitting on my shelf is the 38 volume set of the church fathers, 100-800 AD. Many of them make reference to theosis. It is not exaltation. If the LDS Church called their own doctrine theosis, then perhaps I could understand the inclusion of the term. But the LDS Church doesn't use it. It was added into this article by some well-meaning fellow who misunderstood either the doctrine of exaltation or the doctrine of theosis, and thought they were the same. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.13.208.23 (talk) 19:47, 17 June 2010 (UTC)
I have attempted to explain this already. I have NEVER said what being a god is. What I have said absolutely clearly is that the concept of man becoming god is not unique in Christianity. The Patristic Fathers were clear that man could become god through Jesus Christ. Guess what, LDS believe the same thing, man can become god. What you continue to focus on is what a god does. The doctrine of the LDS Church is found it the Standard Works, the scriptures. If it cannot be proved by scripture it is not the doctrine of the LDS Church regardless of whatever book it is written in.
I did not interpret what the Catechism stated! All I did was quote it and it is plain; man may become a god. It did not say he will become moral, honest, full of truth, etc. It says will become gods. Athanasius was one of many that stated the same thing, but there are a number of others that stated the same thing using the same words.
The doctrine of the LDS does not include that exaltation means we will have our own little world, create spirits, etc. That thought came from the musings of several leaders, BUT IT NEVER BECAME DOCTRINE! If it had, it would be found in scripture. Exaltation is dwelling in the presence of God the Father. What will we be doing for the rest of eternity? We will glorify God in whatever manner he asks of his children. If that includes participating in the further creation of worlds, so be it; but, we have not received any revelation that has been accepted as doctrine that tells us more than that.
Lastly, please forgive me if my irritation shows through, but frankly, I detest when anyone takes a statement from a Church leader out of context and then creates a supposed doctrine of the LDS Church. Read the friggin statement in its entirety! "...God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did." Was Jesus only a man when he was on earth? NO. What did Jesus say he could do? John 5:19 - "Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise." What can Jesus do...only what he has seen the Father do. Lastly, the King Follet discourse is NOT the doctrine of the LDS Church. Learn this, write it down, stamp on your forehead, but never again attempt to state it is the belief or doctrine of the LDS Church. Read the scriptures, in them you will find the doctrines of the LDS Church and the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Please.
Academics of the LDS Church do use the term Theosis, but the term far more widely used is Exaltation. Regardless, the concept of the divinization of mankind is not unique in the Christian world just as it was not unique among the Patristic Fathers. We may differ on what God the Father, His Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit mean by becoming gods, but that is a separate topic. --StormRider 18:18, 19 June 2010 (UTC)
Storm, I understand the instinct to elide and obscure differences between Mormonism and older forms of Christianity, and if Mormons were actually amending their deeply-held beliefs to conform to traditional Christianity (like the Community of Christ has been doing), then you might have a point. But regardless of how euphemistically the doctrine of exaltation might be expressed, nobody familiar with LDS doctrine thinks that exaltation as currently understood by the vast majority of Mormons is the same as the doctrine of theosis taught by Catholicism and Orthodoxy. The words "become gods" simply does not have the same meaning in the Catholic/Orthodox context as it does in the Mormon context.
Also, it's not really fair or accurate to limit LDS doctrine and belief only to the unvarnished, raw text of the LDS canon. We don't do this for other faiths and churches. For example, you wouldn't say that Calvinists don't accept the doctrine of "irresistible grace" merely because that doctrine is not explicitly set forth in the Bible. There are many sources of LDS doctrine, including LDS Church publications, sermons by LDS leaders, and the temple ceremony. True, some of these doctrines cannot be considered mainstream. But to determine whether particular doctrines can be considered widespread or mainstream for purposes of Wikipedia, we can draw on many resources, including LDS publications, scholarly journals and books, and the Encyclopedia of Mormonism. That a doctrine is non-canonical does not make it any less of a doctrine. In fact, many non-canonical doctrines are mainstream, widely taught, and printed in official LDS Church publications. A good example of this is the mainstream Mormon teaching that God was once a man. This is not explicitly found in the LDS canon, but to say that Mormons don't believe or teach this is a misrepresentation, considering that the doctrine has been held by virtually all Mormons since the 1840s. COGDEN 07:42, 20 June 2010 (UTC)
COgden, I do not, nor have I ever, attempted to elide or obscure differences between Mormonism and Christianity. In addition, I have never equated Exaltation with Theosis or Divinization. What I have done is present the similarities. Yes, I am aware that quoting Patristic Fathers and the Catholic Catechiism is uncomfortable for Orthodox and Catholic adherents. However, I did not interpret them. Where you continue to err is jumping to conclusions or to what gods will do. All I have done is outline the similarities that becoming gods is not a unique teaching within Christianity.
If you are asking whether I think Exaltation and Theosis are identical beliefs, then the answer is no. BUT, it is absoslutely impossible to read that men might become gods and then deduct there is not a similarity. Are you proposing there is not a similarity?
I get tired of this little tirade about identifying doctrine within the LDS Church. The prophet and the apostles has long stated what it is. Elder McConkie states:
  • "Nonetheless, as Joseph Smith so pointedly taught, a prophet is not always a prophet, only when he is acting as such. Prophets are men and they make mistakes. Sometimes they err in doctrine. This is one of the reasons the Lord has given us the Standard Works. They become the standards and rules that govern where doctrine and philosophy are concerned. If this were not so, we would believe one thing when one man was president of the Church and another thing in the days of his successors. Truth is eternal and does not vary. Sometimes even wise and good men fall short in the accurate presentation of what is truth. Sometimes a prophet gives personal views which are not endorsed and approved by the Lord."
  • "This puts me in mind of Paul's statement: "There must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you." (1 Cor. 11:19.) I do not know all of the providences of the Lord, but I do know that he permits false doctrine to be taught in and out of the Church and that such teaching is part of the sifting process of mortality. We will be judged by what we believe among other things. If we believe false doctrine, we will be condemned. If that belief is on basic and fundamental things, it will lead us astray and we will lose our souls. This is why Nephi said: "And all those who preach false doctrines, . . . wo, wo, wo be unto them, saith the Lord God Almighty, for they shall be thrust down to hell!: (2 Ne. 28:15.) This clearly means that people who teach false doctrine in the fundamental and basic things will lose their souls.
  • "Wise gospel students do not build their philosophies of life on quotations of individuals, even though those quotations come from presidents of the Church. Wise people anchor their doctrine on the Standard Works."
By limiting LDS doctrine to scriptures, as McConkie states, we stand of firm ground. We prevent heresey from taking hold and we enable the guidance of the Spirit to elucidate truth. It is the fool that attempts to take statements out of context, or quotes long dead leaders and trumpets them as the doctrines of the LDS Church. God was once a man, but nowhere will you find that God the Father was anything other than a being like unto Jesus Christ. In the eternal realms, God the Father has been always God the Father, there was not a time when he was not. Did he one time take a mortal existence upon himself? Yes. This is the reflection of scripture.
I appreciate your kindness in attempting to correct me in doctrinal understanding. It is a sign of true Christian brotherhood. Please take my correction in the same spirit. Are there heretical understanding of teachings in the Church? Yes. What I have presented today is the actual doctrine of the LDS Church because it is supported by the Standard Works which is the standard that must be met to be called doctrine. --StormRider 18:08, 20 June 2010 (UTC)
It's ironic that you would quote Bruce R. McConkie for the idea that according to LDS doctrine, nothing Bruce R. McConkie says is LDS doctrine. Heck, McConkie's book is called "Mormon Doctrine", so obviously he doesn't subscribe to the view you are attaching to him. I think you are confusing canon with doctrine. The canon is what it is, and it is the only binding Mormon doctrine. But it is not the only Mormon doctrine. McConkie's book is full of Mormon doctrines that are non-canonical, yet many of them are mainstream, standard, and widely accepted by Mormons. If we limit Mormon doctrine to the pure, unvarnished text of canon, you omit half of the real fundamental beliefs that Mormons hold dear, and half of what they discuss in church every Sunday, and everything they do in the temple. COGDEN 21:41, 20 June 2010 (UTC)
This is worse than herding cats; no one is responding to what I have stated and you answer questions unasked. Why is this so difficult? You want to restate Catholic Catechism, but I just don't know why. This is a document that the CC uses precisely to state their doctrine. It states clearly that humanity may becomes gods. In response, you go off on some fishing trip inventing why gods are not gods, but a holiness or a moral achievement. That is not what it says; just read the statement and stop. It states exactly what it means; they become gods. You will also find the exact same quality of wording within Eastern Orthodoxy. I am not saying that EO has not made extraordinary efforts to clarify what being gods means, but that is irrelevant to the topic. I am quite familiar with their doctrine and this topic in particular and I deeply appreciate their teachings on holiness; however, becoming gods remains within their teaching. They make it clear that becoming gods means partaking of God's divinity without becoming part of his essence. This is meant to be brief. As you say, the complexity of the doctrine of Theosis is more than I was addressing. To assist, you can find a summary of the similarities here.
This bizarre desire to somehow twist what doctrine is and isn't is confusing. I have provided you a clear statement by an authority that explains what doctrine is. I have not invented it, it is not a synthesis, it is plain, clear language. If you have not yet learned the meaning of doctrine versus cultural thought, please say no more. However, understand that there is nothing in common between the two. They belong in two completely different spheres. Further, you might want to recommence listening to teachings on Sunday again; that which you are presenting is not taught and will not be taught this year. Cheers. --StormRider 04:55, 21 June 2010 (UTC)

Ahem...solution?

  • Nobody's trying to say that Exaltation is 100% the same as Theosis.
  • Nobody's trying to say that Exaltation is 100% different than Theosis.

They have similarities, and differences. I personally think that noting their similarities is useful. The question is, How can we state the similarity in doctrine without equating the two concepts? ...comments? ~BFizz 00:11, 20 June 2010 (UTC)

In my view, the relationship between theosis and exaltation is too complicated and academic to appear in this broad overview article. Exaltation is a radical extension of the Christian perfection and Holiness teachings that were circulating during the life of Joseph Smith. Christian perfection and Holiness, in turn, may have been indirectly and vaguely influenced by older theosis ideas introduced by the Patristics. Thus, the relationship between exaltation and theosis exists but is very attenuated. As far as I know, there is no evidence that Joseph Smith was familiar with Patristic writings, or ever used the word theosis. Smith's possible indirect intellectual debt to the Patristics does not even appear in the Joseph Smith, Jr. article, and it shouldn't appear here, either. COGDEN 06:28, 20 June 2010 (UTC)
I'll agree with COGDEN that we shouldn't take very much space here to compare/contrast exaltation and theosis. They are clearly similar in some ways, and very different in others. But I don't think any reliable sources will support the view that the LDS concept of exaltation was consciously modelled after or guided by the Eastern Orthodox (or other Christian mainstream) concept of theosis. (Hugh Nibley may very possibly have said somewhere that theosis was a corrupted, watered-down version of the true doctrine of exaltation, but that would be another matter.)
On the other hand, I have a bit of a problem with Storm Rider's insistence that we must not go beyond the Standard Works when describing LDS beliefs. Regardless of whether the King Follett Discourse or similar statements are officially in the LDS scriptures or not, the fact remains that the concept that exalted beings will go on to create and populate their own worlds, etc. is generally accepted by the believing LDS membership, and there should be an abundant supply of sources confirming that this is generally believed in the LDS church, and we should report it in that way. If reliable sources exist which question whether this is in fact an accepted teaching of the LDS church, then we should report those statements (with their sources) as well. But for us to start making the call ourselves as to whether this or that is or is not an official LDS doctrine takes us perilously close to (or over) the synthesis and original research lines. Richwales (talk) 07:08, 20 June 2010 (UTC)
I agree with you. We should not attempt to explain the difference between Exaltation and Theosis or Divinization in this article. I have never tried to do that. However, it is undeniable that there are similarities between the two teachings. The article now calls Exaltation unique within Christianity, which it is not.
At no time have I ever alluded to or stated that Joseph Smith modeled the teachings of Exaltation on the teachings of the Patristic Fathers. Nor have I ever heard of anyone, pro or con, make such an allegation. Bringing this up is not helpful because it muddles the water. The only topic we are discussing is the concept that Jesus became man that man might become gods. Explaining it further than that in this article is not appropriate. Attempting to cover the facts up that other churches beside the LDS Church teach the same thing is not truthful.
I am repeating the words of an apostle in stating the method of proving doctrines. I have not created the concept, but simply repeated the words of an apostle. He is not the only one that has said such a thing.
In closing, it is not surprising to me to look at the new Gospel Principles manual to obtain the definition of Exaltation on page 275, "Exaltation is eternal life, the kind of life God lives. He lives in great glory. He is perfect. He possesses all knowledge and all wisdom. He is the Father of spirit children. He is a creator. We can become like our Heavenly Father. This is exaltation. If we prove faithful to the Lord, we will live in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom of heaven. We will become exalted, to live with our Heavenly Father in eternal families. Exaltation is the greatest gift that Heavenly Father can give His children (see D&C 14:7)." That sums up my position fully and comletely. --StormRider 20:02, 20 June 2010 (UTC)

Storm Rider, it seems that the key issue you raise for the accuracy of the article is the following: "The article now calls Exaltation unique within Christianity, which it is not." Your comments seem to suggest that this LDS doctrine is not unique because it has similarities to the Orthodox doctrine of Theosis. The word unique, however, does not mean free from any similarity. For example, I am unique among persons, though you and and I have many similarities. The particular doctrine of Exaltation that is described and defined in the same paragraph of the article is not held by any non-Mormon sect to the best of my knowledge. In addition to the fact that unique does not imply an absence of similarities, the adjective used in the sentence about exaltation is not unique but rather distinctive, which has an even less exclusive connotation. So I do not see an inaccuracy to correct in either case.

The original question concerned the wording "exaltation or theosis," which equated the two doctrines. This usage of theosis was removed from the article. So there is no longer a problem in the article on this point. WP has an article on Exaltation (Mormonism) and an article on Theosis. That's where the comparison and contrast between the two belong IMHO. I think it's time to move on to other improvements to the broad LDS article to bring it up to "good article" criteria. It has a fair way to go to achieve clear and neutral prose. Scoopczar (talk) 20:55, 20 June 2010 (UTC)

I've added a mention of theosis back in. What do you think?
I personally think that it works well, since the first sentence explains how the concepts are similar, and then the second sentence distinguishes exaltation. ...comments? ~BFizz 15:40, 21 June 2010 (UTC)

B Fizz, I appreciate your tone and intention to be fair and accurate. I'd like to see consensus before theosis is reintroduced to the article. If reintroduced, I'd also like to see a RS citation for the assertion of similarity so that it is not an OR statement, especially since the degree of similarity is controversial. Finally, because of the unwieldy length and wordiness of the LDS article as a whole, I would prefer to see the whole discussion moved to the articles on Exaltation and Theosis. Those are my thoughts. I look forward to reading those of others. Scoopczar (talk) 15:57, 21 June 2010 (UTC)

It seems odd that now you are asking for consensus when no consensus was achieved before you changed a long-standing wordingof the article. You simply changed it to suit your desires. Secondly, be careful of what you ask. Do you have any RS stating that Exaltation and Theosis have nothing in common?--StormRider 17:36, 21 June 2010 (UTC)
To the average person, theosis doesn't even mean anything. It isn't a term commonly in use except among Orthodox and Eastern Catholic circles. I don't see why there is a need to mention it at all. If it is equated with exaltation, that is an error, because though there are some similarities in wording, there are also significant differences in the substance of the doctrines. If it is simply stated as similar to theosis, that is vague. How similar? What concepts are identical? But most importantly, why is there a need to even mention theosis here? Does it add to the article at all? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.13.208.23 (talk) 18:57, 21 June 2010 (UTC)

Storm Rider, my understanding is that WP encourages bold editing, followed by reversion if others disagree, followed by talk leading to consensus if possible, followed by dispute resolution if necessary. That's all I'm suggesting. From the article history, it appears that you added in theosis on May 9th for the first time, but however recent or longstanding the wording may be, that is not a reason for keeping it or removing it. On your other point, if I were to add a statement that "Exaltation and Theosis have nothing in common," you would have every right to ask that I document it as coming from a RS. That is a WP standard. If there is a noteworthy connection of Exaltation and Theosis that is published in RS, what would you think about adding it with sources to the article on Exaltation (Mormonism) instead of to this overly long article? Scoopczar (talk) 21:27, 21 June 2010 (UTC)

Scoop, my only complaint in your actions is that you deleted something in boldness, but deny that same boldness to another. If there is any rejection of your action, it should be returned to the original until consensus is met. It is not a big deal, but it simply encourages a more collegial form of discussion.
I have no qualms calling the doctrine of Exaltation being a distinctive doctrine, but there are many similarities between Exaltation, Divinization, and Theosis. Exaltation is the path of becoming holy by drawing nigh unto the Holy Spirit. It is a reflection of Christ's plea that we become one even as he and God the Father are one; in particular, it is becoming one with God and submitting to his will in all things. We desire what he desires and we react as he would react because we have chosen him to be our Lord completely. As Paul summarized it in Romans 8:17 -- "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together." We suffer with Christ in serving our brothers and sisters, we plead for the guidance of all mankind, that we might all be brought to a knowledge of God the Father and His Son. Attempting to sum up Exaltation in a few words cannot be done; it is so much deeper than that. To become like Christ and to be a joint-heir with Him; how do you explain that easily? Attempting to say there is no comparison between these three teachings is a sign of ignorance, rather than a statement of fact.
Let's move on, this seems like a dead-end discussion. Cheers. --StormRider 22:03, 21 June 2010 (UTC)

Moving on sounds good, Storm. Cheers to you too. Scoopczar (talk) 22:52, 21 June 2010 (UTC)

I've stated my personal preference, now I'll be moving along too. Not a really big deal either way, imho. ...comments? ~BFizz 23:09, 21 June 2010 (UTC)

Classification in box.

The Classification in the box has been "Restorationist." Recently an anonymous editor changed it to Christian/Restorationist. This change led me to look at the box below, which labels the article as part of a series on Christianity. So I checked what the major divisions of that series are. You can see them by expanding the box or else going to the article on Christianity. The article and series breaks Christianity down into four movements: Catholic, Protestant, Eastern, and Nontrinitarian. The LDS Church is treated in the Nontrinitarian group. It seems more appropriate for the sake of the article to use its major division of Christianity consistent with the series, IMO. Restorationist is one possible classification, but so is American-Origin, 19th Century, Family-Oriented, or any number of characteristics. Restorationism is a concept that seems to cut across classifications. I suggest that we leave the label where it's been for a few years at "Restorationist" until we can work on discussion and consensus. What are others' thoughts? Scoopczar (talk) 22:30, 25 June 2010 (UTC)

No strong feelings here, though if we stuck with "Restorationist", it should probably be Restorationist Christian. I have no problem with "Nontrinitarian Christian". Note that the Jehovah's Witnesses article uses the classification of Millenarian with the "orientation" of Restorationist. Not sure if that's correct usage on that article. ...comments? ~BFizz 23:17, 25 June 2010 (UTC)

You make a good point about Jehovah's Witnesses, Fizz. In their case, Restorationist is used of their Orientation rather than their Classification. I looked at a few other groups' pages to compare. There is not a lot of consistency. The Roman Catholic Church page does not even have this type of box. It might be a good project to work up a consistent approach for all denominations with articles. Scoopczar (talk) 04:06, 26 June 2010 (UTC)

"Non-academic Forums"

I removed the new heading of Non-academic Forums and its one item of content, a link to the PBS Frontline site on Mormonism. I did this based on the following note on the Edit:External Links page . . . "Please read the guidelines at Wikipedia:External Links BEFORE adding new links here. Keep in mind that Wikipedia is not a collection of links, that's what Google is for. New links should provide an essential supplement to the content and links already in the article; if it's not something new and significantly different than what is here already, please don't add it on. Thanks." The PBS material is not used as a source or citation in the article. Admittedly it is a good resource on the LDS, but I gather from the policy note that we do not want to simply compile lists of good resource links. Also, the PBS link would be the only website under External Links by a non-LDS source and the only item (so far) under a heading created to accommodate it. It seems to me better to leave the link out. Scoopczar (talk) 04:37, 28 June 2010 (UTC)

Becoming a god vs. unity with God

Anonymous editor, 68.98.106.52, changed the content of the Distinctive doctrines and practices section to expound the idea of "unity with God" rather than becoming a god, which is the topic in the sources cited there concerning the doctrine of exaltation. The term "unity with God" or its equivalent does not even appear in the sources cited. Please read WP's policy against producing original research. Best regards. Scoopczar (talk) 04:50, 30 June 2010 (UTC)

Joint-Heirs and Atonement vis-à-vis Exaltation

Regarding an edit by B Fizz that added atonement and joint-heirs terminology, I reverted then added a sentence on joint-heirs tied closely to the citation. Regarding atonement, the "Godhood" article cited makes no mention of atonement in its treatment of Exaltation. The Gospel Principles source has a full chapter on Atonement with no reference to exaltation. I checked every occurrence of "atonement" in Gospel Principles; not one is related to exaltation or godhood in the text. Keep in mind that the section in view is on distinctive LDS doctrines. The article already mentions atonement in the Comparisons with Mainstream Christianity section. Atonement is not necessarily distinctive to LDS. If someone wants to add a sentence about atonement tied explicitly to exaltation in a RS, I see no problem with doing so as long as OR is avoided. Scoopczar (talk) 02:40, 3 July 2010 (UTC) Also, B Fizz, wording changes should not be marked as a "minor edit" per WP policy. Cheers Scoopczar (talk) 02:47, 3 July 2010 (UTC)

Apologies for marking the edit as minor. See the LDS publication Preparing for Exaltation (lesson 4). The linked chapter's stated purpose is "To help class members gain an appreciation for the Atonement of Jesus Christ and its role in enabling us to gain exaltation." The note to the teacher also states, "Through the Atonement, we have the opportunity to repent and gain exaltation." The LDS church teaches that the Atonement has multiple purposes, so when teaching that topic the word "exaltation" may not come up. But when teaching about exaltation, the Atonement is almost inevitably mentioned as the only way to achieve it. See also Teachings of Presidents of the Church: John Taylor (chapter 5), previous material used for LDS Sunday School, which concludes, "Thus His atonement made it possible for us to obtain an exaltation, which we could not have possessed without it." ...comments? ~BFizz 19:45, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

Quality Problem: Reliance on First Hand Sources (ie: Book of Mormon)

The reliance this article places on first hand sources in describing doctrine is problematic, troubling, and not in line with WP policy. For instance, in the "Comparisons with mainstream Christianity" section there is a sentence "LDS theology includes belief...[in] (Jesus Christ's) virgin birth, restorationism (via a Restoration of Christ's church given through Joseph Smith, Jr.), millennialism, continuationism, penal substitution,"... and the citation is simply a verse in Alama from the Book of Mormon. This sentence includes a slew of theological concepts, some quite complex, and I would argue, would require a 2nd hand expert's account for citation. I am challenging this sentence as it is, and am challenging the use of this citation for the backing up of this sentence. Using a pimary source means that most likely, this sentence (and probably much other content in this article) is ORIGINAL RESEARCH. I don't necessarily take issue with the factual basis, but we should NOT rely on a primary source per WP:NOR.--Retran (talk) 11:53, 3 September 2010 (UTC)

With that in mind, specifically I have trouble with attributing the doctrinal concept of "virgin birth" as a teaching held in common with the rest of Christianity. I am outside Mormonism now, but I was raised Mormon, went on a mission, etc, and would have been appalled if someone had attributed that doctrine to my understanding of the belief system (ie: I did not think we as Mormons believed in the virgin birth). However, it is possible that I always misunderstood that doctrinal point as it is held officially by the church. I would like to know if anyone can point me to some secondary research on this?--Retran (talk) 11:53, 3 September 2010 (UTC)

Mormons do believe in the virgin birth of Jesus, that is, "that Mary miraculously conceived Jesus while remaining a virgin." See Alma 7:10. I'm sure I could find a quote from a church authority saying the same. However, they do not believe in the immaculate conception, that is, that Mary lived a sinless life (though they do hold Mary in high esteem).
Regarding the use of the BoM for citation, I agree that it should typically be avoided. Citing official, current church manuals would be ideal, though, of course, the Standard Works are also considered ever-current church manuals, in a sense. I certainly agree that, if the source doesn't support its sentence very clearly and obviously, we should try to source it better. ...comments? ~BFizz 13:42, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
The above is not original research. I think it's all verifiable, but I agree we need to use better sources. The citations to the Book of Mormon are not enough in themselves, not because the Book of Mormon is a primary source, but because modern LDS Church doctrine was developed in the 20th century by writers like James E. Talmage, B.H. Roberts, and John A. Widtsoe. That modern orthodoxy is not reflected in the Book of Mormon, which was published before Mormonism began to really diverge from traditional Christianity. COGDEN 03:41, 4 September 2010 (UTC)
As to the virgin birth doctrine, the orthodox status of that might be a little uncertain. Joseph Smith taught the standard Christian virgin birth doctrine. However, Brigham Young taught that Jesus was the result of a sexual union between Adam and Mary, which became the orthodoxy of the 19th century. Orson Pratt provided a competing theory that Jesus was the result of a sexual union between God the Father (Elohim) and Mary, and Pratt's theory was included as part of modern Mormonism when it was formulated in the 20th century. Mary was considered a "virgin" only in the sense that she didn't have sex with any mortal man. But since the death of Ezra Taft Benson, that doctrine may be losing its orthodoxy. Nobody since Benson has really been teaching it, and some Mormon writers are backing away from the doctrine and adopting the virgin birth doctrine. It's hard to tell if Pratt's doctrine is still orthodox. But for purposes of this article, we should assume it is, unless we can find a source saying that Mormons have embraced the traditional virgin birth doctrine. COGDEN 05:51, 4 September 2010 (UTC)

Criticism: massacre

This sentence is poorly worded (emphasis mine indicating confusing part):

I fixed the punctuation with a semicolon, but I'm not really sure exactly what this sentence is trying to say. The "from further persecution" and "via false information" phrases don't really make sense the way they are currently laid out. "In fact" is also a sketchy phrase to use in describing a point of view. Ideas? ...comments? ~BFizz 03:29, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

Let's just delete the whole sentence, as simply false. I don't know of any mainstream apologists (let alone mainstream historians) who still claim that the massacre was an act of self defense or an accident. Moreover, the article only cites Will Bagley and Richard Turley, and neither of these two authors claim the massacre was either self defense or an accident. Let's just delete the sentence. COGDEN 06:30, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
That's kinda what I was thinking. I skimmed the LDS newsroom article, and searched the cited book on google books; neither used the word "accident" to describe the massacre, nor did I get that vibe very clearly from either. ...comments? ~BFizz 13:47, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
I don't know where the word 'accident' first came from in this instance, but it would be pure folly to attempt to use the word 'accident' when describing the simultaneous cold blooded murder of this large group of unarmed people. It was a well thought out plan that worked to perfection. The only 'vibe' that I got from reading the cited material was that the murderers were going to stop at nothing in order to gain the possessions of the innocent murder victims. Cheers. Duke53 | Talk 15:53, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

HELP: WWW/INTERNET Technical (Meta-Tag Issue) "LSD" vs "LDS"

I fear (presume) that I am posting incorrectly, since I am NOT an experienced "wiki-pedian" and furthermore was terrified to post anything in a "controversial" subject like something about religion: HOWEVER, I encountered something so egregious that I could not let it stand without comment/posting (I did search the various comment/history pages for the relevant terms, however, without result before posting)-

In my search of "history" and "discussion" segments (as well as the current (as of this minute date aprox 21:09 MTN USA on 15 Sept. 2010) I found no incidence of the term "LSD" in the Wikipedia pages. Nonetheless, I have found via "google" (try it yourself! "church of jesus christ of latter day saints") the following text included as part of a search result (despite the fact that it seems NOT to appear in the actual article):

"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (abbreviated as the LSD Church, and colloquially referred to as the Mormon Church) is a restorationist ..."

EMPHASIS ADDED.

I discovered this while doing research, I am not a member - and really an not much of an apologist - for the Church, but to be true to my own interpretation of Wiki-pedia ideals, it seems that this (hopefully) typo has no place appearing in the Meta-Tag results of a "google search" related to this religious entity.

Please, dont "flame" me, please "correct" this if you know how, or in the "alternative case" please direct me in where would be the appropriate place to direct my observation so that it could be rectified by "pwers that be" or at least people who know how to "fix" such things.

Thank you for your patience.

Slds GrinchPeru (talk) 02:21, 16 September 2010 (UTC)

What you saw was vandalism and was removed as soon as someone noticed it. We have no control over how often Google updates their search results and no real way to ensure that the blurbs they display are up to date and/or free from vandalism. VernoWhitney (talk) 02:29, 16 September 2010 (UTC)


Ahh, oki thanks for your reply. So if I understand correctly that "LSD" reference actually "was" in fact part of the page somewhere along the way, and during that "vandalized period" the Google Spider visited and "automatically" took its snippet, (unfortunately picking up that vandalism). In other words, next time around the google spider will take its "new" sample from the devandalized page and voila it "automatically" goes away. Hope thats the case. Again, thanks. GrinchPeru (talk) 18:32, 16 September 2010 (UTC)

External Links removed

I've been bold and pared down the External Links section, which in my opinion was going way overboard. Here's what I've removed:

Official church websites

Educational institutions

Miscellaneous church-related websites

Music

My feeling is that most if not all of these fail to qualify as valid external links under WP:EL. But if anyone objects to one or more of these being removed, let's discuss it. alanyst /talk/ 17:29, 29 September 2010 (UTC)

I'm in agreement. There might be more (for instance, all of the educational institutions should be removed, they have their on Wikipedia articles). Additionally, there needs to be some balance on the "fansites"/communities that are included. tedder (talk) 18:17, 29 September 2010 (UTC)
• So now we're down to only 14 external links, but still these words [2] ring in my ears: "Indeed, there are a lot of links that don't belong there per guidelines (such as "only one official link") Duke53 | Talk 18:48, 29 September 2010 (UTC)
Right, and the work Alanyst is doing is helping. Or I'm missing the point you are trying to make. tedder (talk) 19:41, 29 September 2010 (UTC)
14 > 1. I can jump in and help to get down to the 'one official link'; just give me the word and I will get right on it. Cheers. Duke53 | Talk 19:52, 29 September 2010 (UTC)
I decided to be bold; we are now down to 9 external links. I will click on them and decide which additional ones should go. Cheers. Duke53 | Talk 20:21, 29 September 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I agree with nearly all of your removals, Duke53. The only one I'm restoring is the one to Dialogue, which is one of the most notable independent journals devoted to LDS studies. (I am not affiliated in any way with the journal, in case anyone might have COI concerns.) I've also removed the link to the Joseph Smith papers (too specific for the scope of this article) and added a "Reference sites and indexes" heading and included a link to the Open Directory Project's node for the topic; this was a suggestion I took from the instructions at WP:EL. I'd like to see a couple more links that are more from an outsider's perspective of the church as a whole (but academic, not polemic please).

Aside from needing a few such links for diversity's sake, I think the list as it now stands is pretty good. WP:EL doesn't strictly mandate only one official link: "If the subject of the article has more than one official website, then more than one link may be appropriate. However, Wikipedia does not provide a comprehensive web directory to every official website....More than one official link should be provided only when the additional links provide the reader with unique content and are not prominently linked from other official websites....Choose the minimum number of links that provide readers with the maximum amount of information." IMO, the three official church website links satisfy this guidance decently though not perfectly: lds.org as the primary website geared more toward church members, mormon.org as the primary website geared toward those outside the faith, and newsroom.lds.org for current events and press releases. (There are links from lds.org to mormon.org, but whether they are "prominently" linked is somewhat subjective, so I lean towards keeping mormon.org for its potential usefulness to non-members.) The other links that used to be there were too specific for the scope of this article. The rest of the remaining links seem to be general-purpose reference sites worthy of keeping. Thoughts? alanyst /talk/ 03:37, 30 September 2010 (UTC)

I would personally lean towards axing all links except lds.org and the Open Directory Project link. We may want to consider linking http://new.lds.org instead of http://lds.org . The "academic" and "miscellaneous" resources aren't really necessary here, imho. Needless to say, I support the removal of links that has already occurred. ...comments? ~BFizz 04:02, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
Because Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought already has its own WP article, it may be better placed in the See also section. Perhaps some other external links have their own articles, too, and can be moved to that section. Alanraywiki (talk) 04:06, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
I'm in agreement with BFi on this ... if there is no other differing input here by tomorrow morning I will whittle the links down to those two. Cheers. Duke53 | Talk 06:05, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
I think paring it down to just two links is not unreasonable, but pretty severe. My personal feeling is that the current handful of links is more helpful, but I won't put up a fuss if further cuts are made. I'd wait an extra day to allow for anyone else with an opinion to chime in before proceeding to whittle, but that's just a suggestion. (Also, I would not link to new.lds.org; I think that's a URL for the beta site and likely to be redirected to lds.org when the beta goes into full production. Leave it at lds.org which is highly unlikely to break in the foreseeable future.) alanyst /talk/ 06:38, 30 September 2010 (UTC)

"no referenced material is lost and more information is given"

Now I can't seem to see the information that "CAH also filed a complaint against the Mormon's front organization, NOM National Organization for Marriage. NOM is under investigation in Maine for possible money laundering. As of today the Maine investigation is ongoing". Coincidence ? I think not. Cheers. Duke53 | Talk 18:33, 29 September 2010 (UTC) How is that not considered 'lost' ? Cheers. Duke53 | Talk 18:36, 29 September 2010 (UTC)

I can't help but feel that I'm being drawn into a 3RR violation, so I'd appreciate it if some other editor would restore this referenced material, so the information is not 'lost'. Cheers. Duke53 | Talk 19:26, 29 September 2010 (UTC)
IMO, that material is too WP:UNDUE to merit restoring, and is in fact an example of misused sources. Among its problems: "The Mormon's front organization" is a quote from the spokesperson of CAH that appears in the California Progress Report source, but in the WP article it is presented as an unattributed fact. That quote also has a punctuation error ("Mormon's") present in both the CPR article and the WP material, and there are other similarities in wording that strongly suggest a copy-paste job (i.e., plagiarism). Furthermore, California Progress Report itself is not a reliable source according to its own About Us link: "Opinions expressed in articles, comments and links appearing in the California Progress Report are those of the author, and may not reflect the opinion of its publisher. Our limited staffing does not allow California Progress Report to fact check the content of articles." Aside from the sourcing problems, the placement of the material under "Finances" is odd since it's about a fine, and its presence in such a broadly scoped article seems like too much WP:RECENTISM. The bit about Maine is pretty clearly intended to insinuate wrongdoing even though it's just an investigation with the outcome not yet determined. And finally, this is a full paragraph, seven sentences and two references, about a roughly $5000 fine for the Church failing to report its contributions daily in the last two weeks of the Prop 8 campaign. It's a textbook example of undue weight. alanyst /talk/ 04:09, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
My problem is / was more with the edit summary than anything else: when an editor says "no referenced material is lost and more information is given" then I expect that to be true. In this case referenced material was deleted and less information was given. The Maine investigation should be referenced somewhere, as it may become important in many ways regarding the lds church and its political activism. Cheers. Duke53 | Talk 06:02, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
I've found some additional info about the Maine investigation (it's moving in the Federal Courts) and will be adding it soon ... what would be a good section to be augmented with it ? Cheers. Duke53 | Talk 06:56, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
I don't think it belongs in this article at all. Too detailed for the scope of the article, and the investigation is of NOM, not the Church itself, so far as I understand it. Might belong in different articles, like those on Prop 8 or NOM. alanyst /talk/ 07:07, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
Naw, I think it would fit in nicely in the 'Controversy and criticism' section; the Prop 8 controversy is already there, so this would be an appropriate place for it. This could be a 'biggie' for how far churches can get involved with political actions in the future (possibly with federal tax ramifications ). Cheers. Duke53 | Talk 07:48, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
WP:CRYSTAL for one thing. We don't write about something that is going to be important (but isn't yet) or could be a biggie or possibly have federal tax ramifications. I don't think you've addressed my arguments about scope and relevance...but if you don't wish to, then we probably need to step away from this discussion as we've made our salient points and should let others chime in. alanyst /talk/ 08:29, 30 September 2010 (UTC)

Simple English Wikipedia article for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

This my not be the place, but after viewing the Simple English Wikipedia article for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I think many who work on this full Wikipedia article may be interested in working on the simple english page. The criticisms section come to mind, it reads like the first chapter of anti-Mormonism 101. It could use some general work and expansion also--75.169.253.213 (talk) 04:15, 30 September 2010 (UTC)

There's nothing wrong with it. All the criticism there is mentioned in Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or related articles, sourced. Numerous editors have gone over the list of criticisms and found nothing wrong with them. The POV violation in this case would be not having a criticisms section of the LDS Purplebackpack89 04:49, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
PBP89 - please that is just not true, not "all" and the point of view is not neutral there and it is not all sourced! (I haven't got back there yet but will) Cheers, --Samoojas (talk) 11:37, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
Last time I checked, Sam, they were sourced. And that was five years ago. What is non-neutral is whitewashing over legitimate criticisms of the LDS church. You're new to this game...maybe when you get a little more experience, Sam and IP, you'll understand what's neutral and what's not Purplebackpack89 15:30, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
Not everything is sourced, but most is. I think the neutrality problem the IP user had is not that things were not true, but the tone in which they were written. Here is the example they used of a criticism listed: "Lying about Mormon history, including hiding facts that could say that Joseph Smith was a bad person, and touting too many good things that Mormons might have done", although it is sourced I don't think that is really a fact, more a opinion, that should be written as such. Anyways this conversation should be continued on the simple english article's talk page.--Mangoman88 (talk) 17:53, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
Why not here? It's been started here, why can't it continue here? Anyway, I disapprove of the idea that the criticisms section should be cut just because it's a certain length of the article. If you want it to be a lower %age of the article, add more sections on other things, don't cut existing things. Also, it's phrased as such because the words used in the EN-wiki criticisms section ("dishonest", "distort") aren't simple. You can change how it is phrased, but don't eliminate that statement altogether, as it is a criticism many have reliably leveled against the Church Purplebackpack89 18:06, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
As the banner at the top of this page says, Please limit discussion to improvement of this article. (emphasis mine). This talk page for this article, that talk page for that article, please. Copy-paste this discussion over to there if it's an issue of discussion history. ...comments? ~BFizz 18:20, 30 September 2010 (UTC)

"Mormonism and Christianity" or "Comparisons within Christianity" heading and edits

I have posted edits to the heading and some of the contents of this section. Those edits have been reversed without adequate explanation. My aim is to make the section more neutral and more accurate. Since the two users who have reversed the edits have not yet been specific, I will simply begin this dialogue with the issue of the wording in the heading itself. If desired, we can dialogue about other specifics once they are identified.

A NPOV would seem to require a respectful recognition that the LDS Church and other church groups have an honest disagreement about which groups do or do not belong under the heading of "Christianity." The wording "Comparisons within Christianity" begs the question by asserting that the LDS Church is "within Christianity." That is a point of debate as both versions of the section clearly document. So the heading "Comparisons within Christianity" asserts an LDS POV. The alternative "Mormonism and Christianity" makes no assertion in either direction. It is in fact the title of a more complete article on the issue. Because of the policy on NPOV, the wording "Mormonism and Christianity" is an improvement. Scoopczar (talk) 19:46, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

Hmm ... I'm an evangelical Pentecostal Christian (full disclosure) and while I have serious concerns of the beliefs of Mormons and would not consider the institutional LDS church a Christian church, logically speaking if they claim to believe and worship Christ that would make them in some sense "christian". The fact is, I think, as an encyclopedia, we have to term them Christian for lack of a better alternative and because it just makes since for classification purposes. But of course, we still must accurately report that many (most?) Christians churches would not consider them Christian. I also see no reason for your edits and prefer the older version. Also, you changed "1st century" to "first century" which is contrary Wikipedia's Manual of Style. Ltwin (talk) 19:56, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
"Mormonism and Christianity" is, in my opinion the correct heading for this section. Using the other phrase may imply that Mormonism is 'outside' of Christianity. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and most other groups in the Latter Day Saint tradition, are Restorationist Christians and clearly fit that definition. I also believe the article/talk page dealing with Mormonism and Christianity would be a better place for debating these issues. WBardwin (talk) 20:15, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I don't have time for a full rundown right now, but among other things that were changed is stating that "Because of these differences, the LDS church ... views itself as a restoration of first century Christianity" which is incorrect. It has differences and it views itself as a restoration, not a cause and effect. VernoWhitney (talk) 20:16, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
@WBardwin - I don't see how "Comparison within Christianity" places Mormonism outside of Christianity. I've restored the heading somewhat but switched it to be "Comparison with mainstream Christianity" to parallel the other "Comparsion" subsection, but I seem to recall some people don't like the term "mainstream Christianity". However, I believe that this new heading is equally ambiguous as "Mormonism and Christianity" and doesn't promote either POV (also, Mormonism is slightly larger than the LDS Church so somewhat inaccurate). I've also moved the two Comparison sections together, and have noticed that there is some redundancies between the "Distinctive doctrines and practices" and this subsection that will need to be cleaned up.
(And I just realized the system didn't tell me that you had edited the article while I was working on the reorganization so the edit summary was not directed at you - strange that it didn't give me an edit conflict).
@Scoopczar - This ground already been hashed over multiple times on other more prominent, more top-level articles, such as Christianity and List of Christian denominations, which include LDS as a Christian denomination. As one editor over there said, "Can we nip this discussion in the bud? We've had it before. We'll have it again. The shorter it is, the better. We refer to JWs and Mormons as Christians whether they "really" are or not." Most scholarly sources, which are the standard on WP, clearly place the LDS within Christianity. Most of your additional edits pushed the POV of LDS being outside of Christianity such as, changing "shared beliefs" to "similar beliefs", removal of the Original Sin statements (note that Eastern Orthodoxy also rejects the doctrine), and ambiguous and uncited statements saying the LDS and other churches differ on "specifics"). --FyzixFighter (talk) 20:47, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

Here is the Encyclopedia Britannica online section on Mormon doctrine. Note how the comparison with "orthodox Christian" [EB's term] is handled.

Mormon beliefs are in some ways similar to those of orthodox Christian churches but also diverge markedly. The doctrinal statement, the Articles of Faith, for example, affirms the belief in God, the eternal Father, in his Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Spirit. But the three are considered to be distinct entities (a doctrine known as tritheism) rather than united in a single person in the Trinity. Although Mormons believe that Christ came to earth so that all might be saved and raised from the dead, they maintain that a person’s future is determined by his own actions as well as by the grace of God. They also stress faith, repentance, and acceptance of the ordinances of the church, including baptism by immersion and laying on of hands for the gifts of the Holy Ghost. Mormons administer the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper as a memorial of Christ’s death.
Mormons believe that faithful members of the church may receive God’s fullness and thus become gods themselves. Everyone who ever lived, save for a few who reject God having known his power, will receive some degree of glory in the afterlife. At Christ’s return to earth, he will establish a millennial kingdom. After the millennium, the earth will become a celestial sphere and the inheritance of the righteous. Others will be assigned to lesser kingdoms named terrestrial and “telestial.”
Mormons regard Christian churches as apostate for lacking revelation and an authoritative priesthood, although they are thought to be positive institutions in other respects. Smith, they believe, came to restore the institutions of the early Christian church. Although calling people to repent, Smith’s creed reflected contemporary American optimism in its emphasis on humanity’s inherent goodness and limitless potential for progress. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/392525/Mormonism

I had not read Britannica's article before composing my edits, however, I note the following observations:

1. Stating that LDS beliefs "are in some ways similar to those of orthodox Christian churches but also diverge markedly" does in fact reflect current scholarly and professional standards in a world class general encyclopedia.
2. The Mormon view of "humanity's inherent goodness" reflects 19th century American optimism, not a shared doctrine of sin with Christian churches.
3. The Mormon view of "Christian churches as apostate" is a more accurate and honest portrayal of the separation perceived on both sides of the divide than the current WP article provides.
@VernoWhitney - I accept your comment about cause and effect. When I post again following discussion, I will incorporate that suggestion. Just for discussion here, however, what would be the need for a restoration if not to correct those differences with an "apostate" Christianity? As for my use of "specifics," I admit that is weak writing on my part. I was trying not to add more length. The point is that the content and definition of Mormon doctrines is profoundly different from that of Christian doctrines bearing the same labels. To imply that they are shared is inaccurate and misleading. They are, in fact, similar in some respects but not more than that. I think Britannica got it right.
@FyzixFighter - Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant traditions all hold to some view of inherited sinfulness. The Mormon view of the Fall is radically different. See http://www.mormonwiki.com/Original_Sin "Original Sin" per se is a Catholic term, but not even Catholic doctrine teaches that men and women are guilty of the specific offense committed by Adam and Eve; that is an erroneous description of the Catholic position. It is incorrect to list rejection of original sin as a point of common ground between LDS and orthodox Christianity. The Orthodox (capital O) view of "ancestral sin" is much closer to the Catholic view of "original sin" than it is to the Mormon view of inherent goodness. The Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant positions on this doctrine are close to each other and light years apart from the Mormon view of the Fall. There is common ground between Mormon doctrine and Christian doctrine, but this is simply not one of them. Could you provide me with some references to document your statement: "Most scholarly sources, which are the standard on WP, clearly place the LDS within Christianity." Britannica does not concur with this, and neither does the Hartford Encyclopedia of Religion and Sociology Society. http://hirr.hartsem.edu/ency/Mormomism.htm Could you provide some non-Mormon scholarly reference works that do agree with this POV? On a positive note, I agree that your "Comparison with mainstream Christianity" is equally NPOV as "Mormonism and Christianity"

My problem with the article section is that it is designed to advance a POV by inaccurately representing certain LDS positions and orthodox Christian positions so that they appear to be the same. This is not a neutral representation. I do not wish to revise the section to suggest that the LDS POV is wrong, simply that it is distinct. Scoopczar (talk) 00:05, 4 June 2010 (UTC)

Okay, let me start out by saying that I assume you understand my explanation for my first revert, but I don't think there's a big issue with your other changes. I reverted your other changes because FyzixFighter clearly had reservations which I thought could be worked out here. Now on to the few nits I do see:
I'm not really sure the best way to reword the sentence I mentioned before, although now that I'm looking at it with more time I think it would be more accurate to say something like (but better than) "it views itself as a restoration and thus has different traditions", since they are related as you point out, just the reverse of the way you originally had it worded. I don't think there are any problems with "Mormonism and Christianity" as an NPOV section title since that's the title of the other article (and it can just follow the article if the article gets moved due to other POV concerns which can be better addressed there). As far as your comment to FyzixFighter regarding LDS within Christianity, I'll cite some Brittanica here which explains how it can be viewed either way, but it's not a citable source since it's tertiary and not secondary:

On these terms, writers of Christian history normally begin phenomenologically when discussing Christian identity; that is, they do not bring norms or standards by which they have determined the truth of this or that branch of Christianity or even of the faith tradition as a whole but identify everyone as Christian who call themselves Christian. Thus, from one point of view, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or the Mormons as they are commonly called, is, in the view of scholar Jan Shipps, “a new religious tradition.” The followers of the Book of Mormon incorporated the Old and New Testaments into their canon—just as the New Testament Christians incorporated the entire scripture of a previous tradition—and then supplied reinterpretations. As a new religious tradition, Mormonism would not be Christian. But because Mormons use Christian terminology and call themselves Christian, they might also belong to a discussion of Christianity. They may be perceived as departing from the essence of Christianity because other Christians regard their progressive doctrine of God as heretical. Yet Mormons in turn point to perfectionist views of humanity and progressive views of God among more conventionally accepted Christian groups. In areas where the Mormons want to be seen as “latter-day” restorers, basing their essential faith on scriptures not previously accessible to Christians, they would be ruled out of conventional Christian discussion and treatment. Yet they share much of Christian culture, focus their faith in Jesus, proclaim a way of salvation, and want to be included for other purposes, and thus fall into the context of a Christian identity at such times.

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/115240/Christianity

While it can obviously be argued either way, I agree with FyzixFighter that at least traditionally Wikipedia has followed the interpretation from the later half of the EB quote above, and included religions such as Mormonism and Jehovah's Witnesses in Christianity. VernoWhitney (talk) 13:54, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
@Scoopczar - Scholarly sources that clearly place LDS in Christianity:
There are a lot of other sources, for example a host of surveys (lots over at [www.thearda.com ARDA]) that almost always place LDS/Mormon as a subset of Christianity.
I don't see the statements where in either EB or the HERS which supports your claim and explicitly states the LDS are not part of Christianity. On the other hand, they also don't explicitly state the opposite, but again, the references I mention above are explicit in where they place the LDS.
As for the original sin bit, I think 1) your expanding the statement (unwarranted imo) to include the more overarching doctrine of the fall and 2) you don't have reliable sources to back up your arguments. Certainly there are aspects of the doctrine of the Fall that differ, but I don't think the divide is "light years". To say that LDS argue that no sin occurred is ignoring the fact that LDS distinguish between "sin" and "trangression". In LDS theology, Adam and Eve did transgress (see AoF #2), ie they violated a commandment of God and were cut off from God's presence because of it, but it would not qualify as a "sin" because sin requires prior knowledge of good and evil. As descendants of Adam and Eve, all of humanity is also in a fallen condition, separated from God and subject to physical death. However, we are not condemned by what many call the "original sin."[3] This seems very much in line with the Eastern Orthodoxy statement that "while humanity does bear the consequences of the original, or first, sin, humanity does not bear the personal guilt associated with this sin. Adam and Eve are guilty of their willful action; we bear the consequences, chief of which is death." The problem here is a disagreement about what is meant by rejection of original sin. Probably what is meant by rejection of original sin is the rejection of the need for infant baptism and the rejection that the corporeal body is inherently evil. --FyzixFighter (talk) 15:16, 4 June 2010 (UTC)

@FyzixFighter - To keep this manageable, I'd like to discuss with you at this point just one specific assertion in the article that I see as incorrect: Rejection of original sin is one example of an LDS teaching that is "shared with other branches of Christianity." Which branches of Christianity share the LDS rejection of original sin? Do the Catholics? Of course not.1 Protestants come in many variations, but the major streams all accept the concept of original sin--including Lutheran,2 Reformed,3 Anabaptist,4 Wesleyan,5 and Anglican.6 The 19th century Restoration (Stone-Campbell) movement avoids doctrinal statements other than the Bible itself, but I have never met a member of this movement who would share the LDS view regarding original sin. Interestingly, the WP article on OS includes a section that says that the Restoration (S-C) movement rejects OS, but it has no citation for this claim. Furthermore, a portion of the section shows that this rejection may pertain to the mistaken definition of OS often ascribed to Catholics of transmitting the guilt of A&E's sinful act.7 I am not aware of a significant historic Protestant group that shares the LDS position with regard to original sin. You seem to have asserted that the Orthodox position is "very much in line" with the LDS position. The Orthodox doctrine, however, is called Ancestral Sin and, as the WP article notes and documents,8 it is very similar to the Catholic doctrine.9 (Non-Catholics sometimes incorrectly define the Catholic OS doctrine as passing on the guilt of Adam and Eve's act to others. Catholic doctrine explicitly denies that OS means that.10) The Orthodox (along with Catholics and Protestants) believe that Adam and Eve sinned; the LDS believe that Adam and Eve transgressed but did not sin.11 Cs, Os, and Ps believe that the sin of A&E separated the human race from God and left us with an inclination toward sinning. The LDS believe that the innocent transgression (not sin) of A&E separated the human race from God but did not leave us with an inclination toward sinning. It could be documented that LDS have a doctrine of fallen humanity and spiritual death as do Cs, Os, and Ps albeit with significant differences. However, I fail to see any way to document an assertion that "other branches of Christianity" share the LDS rejection of Original Sin. Which branch of Christianity shares substantially the same doctrine on this point as the LDS? If the real issue is infant baptism, why not say that rather than OS?

Part of the problem that I see is with ambiguous wording. The overall effect of the entire paragraph, which ends with the words "are also held in common," is to give the impression that there are a number of teachings and practices that are the same among Mormons, Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants, and any other groups that are included in Christianity.12 I find the effect to be misleading. It is more accurate to speak of similarities than to speak of these beliefs and practices as being "held in common," which makes it sound as if they are the same.

At this point, I ask for your agreement simply to remove "rejection of original sin" from the list. If you agree, then I'd like to move on to discussion of other inaccuracies that I perceive. If not, we can try discussing it further, then appeal for dispute resolution if needed. Thank you for the interaction. Scoopczar (talk) 05:41, 10 June 2010 (UTC)

Posts which Mormons might possibly not like to read are routinely removed. I would like to know whether this is being done by Mormon activists, the Mormon Church's PR staff, or by overly PC Wikipedia editors afraid that undue attention to fact might offend someone somewhere... — Preceding unsigned comment added by Factsareinconvenient (talkcontribs) 13:10, 12 December 2010 (UTC)

Monotheism vs. Polytheism

I simply wanted to address the fact that neither the definition of "Mormonism" nor "LDS" contain any qualifying description as to whether said faith is Polytheistic or Henotheistic. Theologically, the argument can be made that since they "worship" Elohim (who was himself a spirit child) that there is a type of Hierarchy which suggests a kind of Henotheism. While this is my personal opinion; there seems to be enough evidence within Mormonism's own teachings to eliminate the term "Monotheism" from being used.

Ebyonim - Aug 20, 2010 Ebyonim (talk) 10:47, 20 August 2010 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ebyonim (talkcontribs) 09:16, 20 August 2010 (UTC)

I don't think an exact term for classifying Mormon theology exists, and it doesn't really matter that much. It's an ambiguous case, kind of like traditional Christianity which is not quite monotheism (at least in the Islamic, Jewish, or Zoroastrian sense), and not quite tritheism. If I had to pick a word for Mormon theology, I would pick henotheism, but that isn't quite right either, because Mormons worship not just one god, but three distinct gods who are "one" only metaphorically in the sense that any three humans can be "one" in purpose or will. It's not quite Arianism, either, because Mormon theology teaches that the Father and Son were co-eternal. COGDEN 19:56, 20 August 2010 (UTC)

Yes, I concur - it is somewhat blurry...This could be an unending topic. But, even within that "trinity" is not Elohim the "top" of the three??? "Father and Son were co-eternal" - how did Jesus' brother (satan) fit into that?? Ebyonim (talk) 00:45, 21 August 2010 (UTC)

Yes, Latter Day Saints consider Elohim to be the literal Father of their spirits, and Jesus to be a literal spirit-brother. They believe Satan to be a spirit brother as well, but one who rebelled and lost the potential to become like the Father and inherit from him—a potential which they believe Jesus fulfilled, and faithful saints believe to be in the process of fulfilling for themselves. It's a very different view of the relationship between God and man, which makes it difficult to fit into a classification like "polytheism" or "henotheism", though main elements of these classifications do apply to the case. ...comments? ~BFizz 21:01, 23 August 2010 (UTC)
Would the family-linage metaphor/narrative of Satan/Jesus/Man/God used in Mormon theology really affect the WP classification as Monotheistic to Polytheism (or henotheism)?? Are perceived implications of the narratives more important than how the group itself categorizes itself? Or a description of how the Church frames it's worship and doctrines presently? As we know, a religious group's creation narratives (and logical implications of such narratives) don't necessarily predict that religious group's present-day doctrines or provide a clear description of that groups doctrines. Rather, these narratives are tools used by a religious group (in this case the LDS Church/Mormons) to explain/present certain aspects of the world and to justify certain doctrines. I'm asking, if it's actually appropriate for an aspect of this article (the categorizations) to be based on the question "Is the present Mormon teachings really consistent with their narratives"... and if it is, WOW that's a big problem to chew on. --Retran (talk)
I'm not sure I see the difference you're trying to draw between "teachings" and "narratives". Mormon Sunday school manuals present the narratives I mentioned as factual, not metaphor, though some details are indeed left out (since they are "not known" or "have not been revealed yet") or described by metaphor instead, such as Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit. See early chapters of Gospel Principles, a current LDS study manual. ...comments? ~BFizz 14:04, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
A narrative is a story... a teaching is instruction to others, which can often refer to a narrative. For instance, there's many teachings/lessons (sometimes contradicotry) that can be made from any given narrative. This doesn't apply to Mormons alone, but to any group. I hope this helps you understand the difference between what a narrative is, vs. a teaching. --Retran (talk) 19:36, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
The only thing metaphorical in LDS theology is the idea that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one. They are one in Mormon metaphor, but three in Mormon reality. The monotheism/polytheism duality breaks down within Mormonism because Mormons believe that all human spirits (including Jesus and even Satan) are co-eternal with God, and are in fact proto-gods (Satan probably having lost his chance to progress to godhood), just as all gods are advanced humans. Yet while believing in many gods, Mormons believe in a supreme God (God the Father), who is the supreme being in a relative sense—supreme because he is superior than any other beings known to Mormon theology, though ultimately there are unknown and un-worshipped beings far superior even to him. COGDEN 07:59, 2 October 2010 (UTC)

Mormons are Monotheist. It is true that they do know that there are beings which have acquired godhood and are thus creating their own realities (completely outside of our own Universe, and can thus be regarded as almost nonexistent as far as earthly man needs be concerned) they do not worship, pray to, or even speak of them in anyway at any church service. They are irrelevant and do not receive even a second thought at anytime. Mormons acknowledge, pray to, LOVE and regard only our Heavenly Father as the One True and Living God, and he alone is worshiped. Christ is the Messiah, and also God the Son and also loved dearly and when he is on Earth he is worshiped since he represents the Father and to see him is to see the Father.--124.40.63.122 (talk) 19:09, 15 December 2010 (UTC)

Clarification

Though the topic of whether or not the LDS religion should be affiliated with orthodox, historical Christianity has been discussed, I would like to see clarification in this article. Though the LDS religion did, indeed, spring out of the mish-mash of restorationist movements in the 19th century, it is theologically and practically incorrect to identify the LDS religion with Christian faith. The two could not be more dissimilar, despite making claims on Christ. Also, since many non-denominational churches today, which are inside the pale of historic faith, trace themselves back to restorationist movements, lumping the LDS religion in with them is confusing.

Thus, I would simply suggest that a paragraph or even a couple of sentences be inserted into the beginning of the article, detailing that, while the LDS religion has Jesus as a central figure, he is not the figure of historical Christianity, thereby making the LDS religion something altogether different.

P.S. - I write as someone who has close family members intimately entwined with the LDS religion. This is not a personal attack, but simply an appeal to theological, historical and practical integrity. - Marie

So go ahead and find some reliable sources which would support sentences to that effect and figure out how to work it in to this article or Mormonism and Christianity. VernoWhitney (talk) 00:21, 3 April 2010 (UTC)
According to the first line of Restorationism (Christian primitivism), "In Christianity, restorationism (or Christian primitivism) is the belief that a purer form of Christianity has been restored using the early church as a model." Churches like the LDS Church and the Jehovah's Witnesses fit this description quite well. For this article's introductory paragraphs I see no further need to clarify "restorationist Christian denomination" beyond perhaps pointing the reader to Mormonism and Christianity, which makes the church's differences from orthodox Christianity quite clear.
I respectfully disagree with the statement that "it is theologically and practically incorrect to identify the LDS religion with Christian faith. The two could not be more dissimilar". While beliefs regarding the particulars vary, as they do with any Christian faith, the LDS Church believes in salvation through Christ, resurrection (and not reincarnation), heaven, angels, spiritual gifts (like prophecy), baptism, the Bible, etc. Theological differences are, in my opinion, not a strong point for disputing the "Christianity" of the LDS Church, since it shares so many fundamental ideas with Christianity. ...comments? ~BFizz 05:18, 3 April 2010 (UTC)
Mormonism in no way, shape or form has anything to do with Early Christianity. It may be closer to early Jewish tribalism, but not Christianity. ~PJ

risti Well, Islam also believes in Heaven, angels, and has Christ as a central figure. Should Islam and Christianity be lumped together? I make no comment as to the veracity of LDS belief. I simply say that there is enough difference to distinguish it from historical Christian faith. For instance, a central tenant of Christian belief (as far as Protestantism goes, which tradition the LDS commonly identifies with, to a degree) is that it is the grace of Christ, and Christ alone, which provides salvation. The LDS begin here, yes, but add the requirement that one must keep all the laws, ordinances, etc. to be saved. ("The first effect [of the atonement] is to secure to all mankind alike, exemption from the penalty of the fall, thus providing a plan of General Salvation. The second effect is to open a way for Individual Salvation whereby mankind may secure remission of personal sins," (Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, p. 78-79). "As these sins are the result of individual acts it is just that forgiveness for them should be conditioned on individual compliance with prescribed requirements -- 'obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel,'" (Articles of Faith, p. 79).) In short, historical Christianity is grace-based, the LDS system is works-based. Theologians on both "sides" will agree with this point. Thus, the two faiths are quite different. - Marie —Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.178.25.153 (talk) 16:51, 3 April 2010 (UTC)

In hopes of ending this discussion, this is NOT a forum regarding your views on LDS/Christianity, If you have reliable sources supporting the statements you feel should be added then add them, if not, then feel free to look for them, but unsourced statements that are solely your opinion or otherwise unverifiable arguments may not be placed in this (or any other) article. VernoWhitney (talk) 17:15, 3 April 2010 (UTC)

Once again, this is not a comment on the veracity of the religion, but rather an attempt to distinguish between LDS and historic Christianity. The original edit I made - that the opening sentences of this article be changed to reflect the reality that this religion arose out of restorationist movements of the 19th century, rather than being another Christian church, which is corroborated throughout history texts - was summarily removed. I shall attempt the edit again, once I have created an exhaustive list of appropriate sources. - Marie —Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.178.25.153 (talk) 00:34, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

Need there be any further clarification than "restorationist Christian"? The qualifier "restorationist" clearly demarcates the religion as rejecting "historic Christianity", since the basic concept behind restorationism is that over time the "true" church/doctrine of Christianity has been corrupted. ...comments? ~BFizz 19:34, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

How can so many miss such a simple principle? A Christian is anyone who regards Jesus Christ to be the Messiah. Since Mormons do in fact believe this wholly, they can only be classified as Christian. The Islam faith does acknowledge Jesus--but not as the Messiah--so that is how they find themselves outside of Christianity.--124.40.63.122 (talk) 18:54, 15 December 2010 (UTC)

"[A]nyone who regards Jesus Christ to be the Messiah" is absolutely NOT the definition of Christianity. That is as ridiculous as, ‘every person in America is an American.’ It is simplistic to the point of ridiculousness and but a part of the definition of Christianity. While Wikipedia may not rise to a great level of scholarship, such a definition is unworthy of even this humble resource. The detailed definition of Christianity is found in the Nicene Creed. A more accurate 'simplistic' defintion if you will would be something like, 'Anyone who believes that the one and only one almighty and sole god (called Yahweh by the Jews), who created the totality of existence, begot of the virgin Mary the one and only one son he ever had and ever will and sent him as the messiah to die, rise again and ascend to heaven as it was somehow necessary to do so to save mankind from sin, and who denies the power of any other gods and the existence of any later prophets is a Christian.’ ALL of those elements are essential. Denial on any ONE element makes a religion no longer Christian. (Belief in the trinity is also essential, but it’s a less ‘simplistic’ concept.) Mormons like to claim they have ‘revised’ ‘orthodox’ christianity, but that’s just nonsence marketing speak for following an entirely different religion based somewhat on Christianity; the Muslims do the same thing and they have more central beliefs in common with Christianity than Mormons do, but they aren’t classified as ‘Christian’ (the same one almighty creator god, no other gods, one judgment after death and one and the same heaven). ‘’And for the record, I am an Athiest and think it’s all a load of silly nonsense, but facts are facts. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Factsareinconvenient (talkcontribs) 11:27, 16 December 2010 (UTC)
That may be the definition of Nicene Christianity but it is not the only formulation of doctrine within a Christian framework ala the Arian controversy.Ltwin (talk) 17:01, 16 December 2010 (UTC)

The Nicene Creed? You mean the thing MEN developed hundreds of years AFTER Christ walked on Earth? Christ taught that anyone who followed him and lived by HIS teachings would be considered his disciples. Being a Christian has absolutely nothing to do with the irrelevant Nicene Creed but belief and faith in Christ. Anyone who knows anything about the Mormons knows that they meet this criteria. Christ defines what a Christian is NOT men no matter what kind if "creed" they come up with.--124.40.63.122 (talk) 18:52, 16 December 2010 (UTC)

Before this conversation continues, note this is not a forum. Instead of opinions about if X is Y and if Y is Y, please discuss how the article can be improved. In this specific case, that might be by presenting reliable sources (such as scholarly papers) discussing this issue. tedder (talk) 19:13, 16 December 2010 (UTC)

Interesting

There has been a sudden spate of new editors adding SPAM links to this article today: anybody else thinking that there might be a sockpuppet / meatpuppet situation taking place ? Cheers. Duke53 | Talk 20:06, 18 January 2011 (UTC)

I'm now thinking that this article needs some page protection as more and more new editors are adding this same information. Cheers. Duke53 | Talk 20:11, 18 January 2011 (UTC)

Rather than meatpuppet references, more specıfıc poınters ın your edıt undos wıll be helpful. We want to contrıbute to the page and are happy to follow guıdelınes ıf they are clearly referenced. No meatpuppets here, just people who want to contrıbute to the bıg collaboratıve sıte. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Opencontent (talkcontribs) 20:22, 18 January 2011 (UTC)

Rather than just jumping in and 'contributing' I would suggest that your group learn some of WP's rules first. Cheers. Duke53 | Talk 20:28, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
Such as WP:BITE. alanyst /talk/ 20:50, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
Who is "we"? In any case, productive contributors are welcome, but not those who are editing in bad faith. External links in the body of article are not considered good style, see Wikipedia:Citing sources#Embedded_links and WP:ELPOINTS. Only one official URL is necessary, per WP:EL and the above discussion on this exact issue. tedder (talk) 20:33, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
Tedder said it well. WP is not like other websites; it is considered bad style to put external links in the body of the article. They can be used, however, in an "External Links" section, within references, and very occasionally, within templates that indicate an "official website" field or something of the sort. Wikilinks, not to be confused with Wikileaks ;), on the other hand, are encouraged (within limits of taste and style).
Labeling these edits as "spam" is inappropriate...the ones I saw were, in fact, links to the official lds website, but were misplaced. ...comments? ~BFizz 21:36, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
"Wikipedia is not a space for personal promotion or the promotion of products, services, web sites, fandoms, ideologies, or other memes." Cheers. Duke53 | Talk 21:51, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
One could assume good faith, that those editors felt those links to be informative rather than promotional. I don't see evidence for the bad-faith assumption you've started with. alanyst /talk/ 21:54, 18 January 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────A better way to have handled might have been to welcome these users on their individual talk pages, which has now been take care of. However in doing this, I have discovered that Template:LDSWelcome could really use a refresh after all of this time; it looks dated & non-standard. -- 208.81.184.4 (talk) 22:58, 18 January 2011 (UTC)

Thanks! This is more productive conversation. Yes, alanyst, I believe all the links we added were to official sites and were informative, not promotional. The WP:BITE from Duke53 was a harsh introduction to the WP community, but these more recent posts are encouraging. When there is so much of what appears to be deliberate mis-information on the Internet about the LDS church, increasing the number of links in the article to official church sites seems like an informative thing to do. "Promotional" in the context of this article would seem to be saying things like "You should all join the LDS church!," which of course we weren't doing. We'll explore ways to add an appropriate number of these newer official links to the appropriate section at the bottom. Thanks for the tips, and the welcome message on our user pages. opencontent (talk) 05:20, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
• You saw the meatpuppet investigation discussion, right ? It's okay to call the situation a 'meatpuppet situation' when, as it turns out, it was a 'meatpuppet situation' ! The tbm around here will always go out of their way to defend fellow lds editors ... the fact that your group all posted from byu automatically garnered you the support of some of them.
The fact that you were aware enough to employ meatpuppet tactics was a harsh way for you folks to start your WP participation. Also, just because you said "Edits are in full conformance with WP Community Editing Guidelines" doesn't make it so. Nice try though ...  :>)
You might also want to read the discussion here about limiting the number of links in this article. AFAIAC, your links were / are less 'informative' and more 'promotional' in nature. We're not going to allow this article to be turned into another lds tract. Cheers. Duke53 | Talk 06:57, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
Let's count the number of WP:AGF violations here. (1) "The tbm around here will always go out of their way to defend fellow LDS editors" ...using a slur (tbm == True Blue Mormons) and an empirically false stereotype ("will always...defend fellow LDS editors") to undermine efforts to welcome these new editors; (2) "The fact that your group all posted from BYU automatically garnered you the support of some of them" ...which is mind-reading; (3) "You were aware enough to employ meatpuppet tactics" ...which also is mind-reading and rejecting the Occam's Razor explanation of a newbie mistake; (4) "Nice try" ...treating Opencontent's explanation as a tactical maneuver rather than an honest statement; (5) "We're not going to allow this article to be turned into another LDS tract" ...which is a strawman given that Opencontent has explicitly stated they're not trying to be promotional or persuasive. For sheer bad-faith-assumption density that post was depressingly impressive. alanyst /talk/ 07:30, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
Opencontent, this article used to have a large number of external links to various sites, including several LDS-owned websites like lds.org, mormon.org, familysearch.org, and so forth. A discussion a couple months ago among long-time editors here (including myself) came to the consensus that the volume of links felt too promotional. The list was whittled down to the one official lds.org link, from which the other LDS websites can be reached anyways. If you think other links need to be listed, then put forth your case for them on this talk page—but as the recent consensus is against that, I advise against unilaterally adding links without achieving consensus first. alanyst /talk/ 06:53, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

Editors, Duke has a long history of focusing on being less than helpful. His reputation is well known on Wikipedia. It is best if everyone just ignores all his comments. He tires quickly and moves on. Should he revert in an edit without a valid reason, view it as edit warring and move on. Focus on improving the article. When there is a dispute evidenced by legitimate editors, search for a way to edit the article that engenders consensus. Good luck, -StormRider 09:03, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

Proposals for improving this article

This article has been stuck in a state of stable mediocrity for a long time, and I just wanted to propose and discuss a few long-term proposals for improving this article. Here is what I think needs to be done over the next months to raise the article to something that might be nominated as a "good" article:

  • We need better source citations. Right now, the article has a hodge-podge of primary sources, not all of them used appropriately. I think we should winnow-down the number of sources we use for this article. Because this article has a very broad scope, its sources should ideally have a similarly broad scope. They should almost always be secondary source that give a broad overview of the LDS Church. For example, I'd like to see lots of cites to Bushman's Mormonism: A Very Short Introduction, the Ostlings' Mormon America, Arrington & Bitton's The Mormon Experience, Allen & Leonard's The Story of the Latter-day Saints, O'Dea's The Mormons, etc.
  • The prose is dry and technical. We need to make the prose more compelling and interesting to read. In some sections, there is too much focus on numbers and lists. In place of numbers and lists, we can often make generalizations, or move the specific numbers and list materials to the footnotes.
  • I think the "Distinctive Doctrines and Practices" section should be expanded and possibly broken into at least a couple of different sections. I think this section is the main topic of interest to the reader, and should provide a brief but comprehensive overview of orthodox LDS beliefs.
  • The article spends too much space discussing some subjects of recent news interest such as Proposition 8, which are not very important when considered from a long historical perspective (see WP:Recentism).
  • Overall, the article needs to be streamlined. I think some sections presently go into too much detail, like "Sources of authority" and "Comparison with other Latter Day Saint movement faiths".
  • Some sections seem redundant, and can probably be integrated into the rest of the article, such as possibly "media and arts" and "Controversy and Criticism". I'm not saying that we should remove or limit the scope of criticism--only that we should address particular criticism only in the section where it is most germane, such as the historical, doctrinal, or finance sections.

COGDEN 21:38, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

Possible Plans for Making This a Featured Article

COGDENs list above is right on in many respects. This is why I thought it would be useful to assign members of the class I'm teaching at BYU to improve the article. I've read more about making class assignments to edit in Wikipedia in the interim; however, I'm concerned that accusations of meatpuppetry will continue. I've challenged my students to turn this article - which definitely needs improvement as COGDEN noted - into a featured article, and we're reading and working to understand exactly what that means. However, given our experience with our first small attempts at improvement, I'm concerned that my students might make 10 weeks or so of concerted effort only to have each improvement unceremoniously rolled back.

So I ask those of you who are the apparent monitors of all edits to this article - are you willing to allow it to be improved? If the class runs afoul of something not listed in Contributing to Wikipedia, which we have read and understand (something like the policy about External Links, which is not listed there and was news to us), will there be rudeness and unexplained deletions? Or will there be some coaching and an assumption of good faith, as it turns out Wikipedia guidelines also encourage? Should we spend our time here or should we invest our energies elsewhere? Thanks in advance for your thoughts and responses. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Opencontent (talkcontribs) 15:59, 24 January 2011 (UTC)

Aha- that's why there were a bunch of sockpuppets/meatpuppets from BYU all at the same time? Editing is fine, but the additions were mostly like this and this- in other words, adding external links to the body of the article, which doesn't help. Given that you and your students are likely all Mormon and from BYU, make sure to read Wikipedia's policy on neutral point of view. This article is fairly complete- it doesn't have any {{citation needed}} tags. Making these types of change to any article, especially one aimed at GA/FA, is counterproductive. There are, however, articles in the LDS project that need help. I looked through the project and found a few: Jesse Knight, missing pageants at List of pageants of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the redlinks at Wikipedia:WikiProject Latter Day Saint movement/Articles needed. As instructor, I'd encourage you to check in at Wikipedia:School and university projects. I'm perfectly willing to help out, drop by my talk page if you have questions. (I've helped with a few other classes) tedder (talk) 16:47, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
The allegations of sockpuppets or meatpuppets should and can safely be ignored. They are meaningless and unhelpful. If you are going to focus a group of students on a single article such as this one, then there needs to be a complete understanding of editing with references. This topic is highly controversial and attracts editors from both ends of the spectrum. As such, anything overtly positive is reverted immediately and anything overtly negative is revertned in a similar manner. However, when edits come with reliable sources/references, it is much more difficult to revert.
At the point of adding referenced edits, it is important to first review the entire article; make sure you are not repeating information already present in the article or make sure it is the proper place for the edit.
A review of the entire article with a criticism of how and what could be improved first would be helpful as a class.
Will you meet with opposition? Of course, but when you do so take it to the talk page and explain the logic for the edit. Another way to go about this if there will be dramatic changes to the article, then make a sub-page you edit at will. Ask for assitance from other editors to review as you progress. If it gains agreement then it can then be inserted in this article. Seek assistance from those who are critics of Mormonism. They will be able to broaden your perspective of what is acceptable and what is not. LDS, as all people, can be blind to their own POV at times. It is jarring at first to realize how strong a POV is held, but in time each editor gets the hang of how to edit the article.
Thank you for making an effort to improve Wikipedia. Thank you for making it a class project. Would that this happened more often. Make sure each of the students registers also. Registered users are more respected than those who do not. Cheers and good luck, -StormRider 06:41, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
In addition, consider making proposals here (on the discussion page) for obvious improvements to the Article. Charles Edwin Shipp (talk) 06:50, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
Opencontent, there are loads upon loads of Wikipedia policy pages; it would be ideal if you and your class read them all, but of course that is infeasible and unfair to ask so much of you. If your interest is in elevating this article, or any other, to featured status, I highly recommend that you understand the good article criteria and featured article criteria. I, and surely others, am more than willing to help with the process of submitting the article for review for featured status once significant improvements have been made. I will make further comments on your talk page. As tedder has suggested, you should carefully consider whether editing this article will provide the experience you desire for your students, rather than having them improve more obscure articles that are in need of references. ...comments? ~BFizz 03:18, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Almost forgot, you should also check out the Wikipedia style guide for LDS-related articles, though it may or may not be out of date. ...comments? ~BFizz 03:22, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
I think the three most important things I'd like to suggest for the BYU students are: (1) make conservative (and I'm not talking political) changes, and if there are any problems, bring them up on the talk page, (2) work to replace existing primary source references where possible with citations to broad overview books about Mormonism that are considered by both Mormons and non-Mormons to be the preeminent secondary sources on Mormonism broadly, and (3) write as if you weren't Mormon, and were writing about Mormonism the way an entomologist might write about an interesting newly-discovered insect. If you do these three things, you can't go too far astray. COGDEN 00:23, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

My edit REVISED

Why is the http://www.cumorah.com/ NOT a reliable source? It has research, analysis, and resources concerning the membership claims listed. Some of the researchers are LDS, too. I also referenced lds.org as a source right at first concerning your membership claim. I'm new to this venue and it is not my intention to war. I would like to see some sort of edit to correct the misrepresentation of the numbers in the article. The LDS Church is known to inflate the numbers by counting inactive members and others who no longer participate. The LDS Church requires members to officially resign in writing before they ever take people off their membership rolls. Many people don't bother to officially resign yet they are still counted. I think it is misleading and inaccurate to count people as members who no longer believe in the church. Here's another source to support my edit. http://mormoninfo.org/news-info/news/lds-church-really-fastest-growing-church It is coming to my attention that this article is being monitored and edited by BYU students. My question is: Are you being neutral by rejecting valid sources that challenge your membership numbers? Is it you that gets to determine what is a valid source or not a valid source? Are you only going to accept LDS sources? If you are...then you aren't being neutral. Please comment as to a reasonable solution. — Preceding [[Wikipedia:Signatures|(TrulySaid (talk) 23:35, 31 January 2011 (UTC)) comment added by TrulySaid (talkcontribs) 22:19, 31 January 2011 (UTC)

From looking at the "about" page for cumorah.com and mormoninfo.org, it seems to me that these websites generally fall under the category of Self-published sources. In other words, they are not scholarly sources. See also the rule of thumb regarding usage by other sources. The exception in this case is lds.org; the Wikipedia guideline for self-published sources states that "Self-published or questionable sources may be used as sources of information about themselves, especially in articles about themselves, without the requirement that they be published experts in the field..." and goes on to list some constraints. I do believe, however, that there are scholarly sources that challenge LDS membership numbers; we just need to find them. ...comments? ~BFizz 01:49, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
Roughly how the LDS Church counts its membership is described in this press release, and there is a theological reason for why the LDS Church counts its membership the way it does. Nevertheless, the most appropriate number for membership--if we had it--would probably be the number of self-identified Latter-day Saints worldwide. We don't know that number. It's certainly less than the LDS Church number, but it's also larger than the number of people who are active attendees. Many inactive Mormons still consider themselves to be LDS. So I think the bottom line is, nobody knows how many Latter-day Saints there are, and the only source we have regarding the methodology of counting members is the LDS Church itself, which in this case is credible (the church admits something for which it has been criticized, which makes the admission credible), but I'd rather cite to a reliable secondary source. COGDEN 03:14, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
I would be OK with including a smaller figure if a more reliable source can be found and if the source credibly documents the nature of the figure (e.g., estimated number of active attendees). Those may be big if's, though. Richwales (talk · contribs) 03:30, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

Young's polygamy

I recently saw this sentence removed, then restored:

I had mixed feelings about both actions. But if we keep it, we need to fix a few issues:

  1. We don't describe, at all, what the scare-quoted "sealed" is supposed to mean.
  2. "according to LDS Church records...as many as" - why are we citing church records, which should provide a solid number, and then invoking the speculative phrase "as many as"? Also, if we cite church records, we should cite church records. The provided ref is [See Tullidge, Edward, History of Salt Lake City, 132-35 (Original from the University of Michigan, 1886).]
  3. "far more" - what's the point of this editorialization?
  4. "during his rule" - ambiguous, but dripping with POV regardless of whether it is referring to Smith or to Young

I do feel it important to mention Young's polygamy here, but this sentence fails on so many levels. If nobody else does, I'll try my hand a little later at rewriting this atrocity. ...comments? ~BFizz 19:11, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

Roughly, what is needed seems to be this:
  • the military was coming because LDS were practicing polygamy
  • Young was married to up to at least N women (note "married", not "sealed", no explanation really necessary). This is worth mentioning because of the first point (why the military was coming).
Right? In that case, it would be nice to cite something removed from the primary source (LDS records). tedder (talk) 19:28, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
It would be more scholarly to use the conservative phrase "at least N" (minimum), rather than the speculative "up to N" (maximum). The numbers for each phrase would be different, of course. ...comments? ~BFizz 22:07, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
You're right. Or "there were at least N documented", but that's bordering POV, because it basically states "but there were inevitably more". I'm not a great wordsmith; I'm more concerned that the main points are hit. tedder (talk) 22:45, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

Mormon Helping Hands

I was throwing around the idea of adding a section on Mormon Helping Hands. I was thinking of using a few various newspaper articles that mention their activities such as this and this. But before my efforts get rolled back, I'd like to know what everyone thinks about it. Cheers, w7jkt talk 14:51, 12 March 2011 (UTC)

I agree. The charitable work organized by the church or its members should probably have a section (in general, not just Helping Hands). Other articles like Catholic Church should probably have such a section as well. ...comments? ~BFizz 03:47, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
OK, well I've started work on a section here but it's somewhat pathetic as it stands. I just don't have a ton of time to put toward it. I'll keep working on it, but there is also LDS Philanthropies which we could draw from, but it is quite shabby. As far as other churches, I can't really speak for them, but I feel the same as you. Regards, Firinne talk 17:39, 13 March 2011 (UTC)

Argument against classification as 'Christian'

I know that a lot of believers coming from the LDS movement believe themselves to be Christian, but outsiders looking don't agree with that concept. It would be similar to saying that Muslims and Christians are Jewish simply because both groups find the Torah as a sacred text. However, both groups have totally different additions that make them distinctively no longer Jewish, New Testament (Greek Testament) with the Christians and the Q'uran with the Muslims. Likewise, Mormonism has an additional sacred text in the Book of Mormon that distinctively branches out from Christianity with varying beliefs sufficient enough to no longer be labeled as Christian.


Take into further account that the group believes in multiple gods, Jesus and Satan were spirit brothers, and that Jesus is not God having become man, then it is clear that there is enough of a difference for it to be considered something different than the religion that it was inspired by. --GK 15:48, 21 March 2010 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Gk digital defener (talkcontribs)

Please see the definition of 'Christian': "a religious person who believes Jesus is the Christ." The number of texts (additional or otherwise) believed to be holy writ is irrelevant. All other points you mention are also irrelevant. The only criteria is whether the individual, or group in this case, believes Jesus to be the Christ. The Mormons do, and, ergo, are Christians. Besides, 'cult' is defined as: "followers of an exclusive system of religious beliefs and practices", something that could be applied to pretty much any group you can think of. Useight (talk) 20:14, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
This topic of discussion is not new. Please see archive 14 for most of my thoughts on the issue, and plenty of discussion and links to previous discussions. In a nutshell, I feel that using "restorationist Christian" solves all problems here. ...but what do you think? ~BFizz 21:32, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
Although a few Christian evangelical groups do not classify Mormonism within Christianity, the majority of denominations, including Catholicism and the mainline Protestant churches, are not quite so rude, and classify Mormonism outside of "traditional" Christianity. Christianity is unlike the term Judaism, because Christians themselves make no claim to Judah, and don't care whether they are identified with the Biblical Hebrews. Mormons, on the other hand, make a claim to Jesus, and by Mormons' own terms, they are Christian. Nobody can dispute that Mormonism began squarely within the discourses of traditional American Christianity. You could say that by 1844, Mormonism evolved into something a step beyond traditional Christianity, but there's not much within Mormonism that couldn't be found somewhere within the extremely diverse and wildly-experimental early Christian era. COGDEN 22:05, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
To say that only a "few Christian evangelical groups do not classify Mormonism within Christianity, the majority of denominations, including Catholicism and the mainline Protestant churches, are not quite so rude, and classify Mormonism outside of "traditional" Christianity." is a vast misrepresentation. The World Council of Churches specifically recognizes the LDS faith as non-Christian. This represents a vast majority of all churches everywhere in the world including Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 71.3.199.238 (talk) 17:29, 14 August 2010 (UTC)
Re: World Council of Churches stance - do you have a source for the WCC's stance on the issue? The one reference I could find from them seems to indicate that they consider the LDS to be a Christian Church (see [4], pg 37 where the LDS is listed as an example of "Other Christian Churches"). --FyzixFighter (talk) 14:03, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community_of_Christ#cite_note-41 The World Council of Churches does not recognise the Mormon movements. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Factsareinconvenient (talkcontribs) 13:35, 12 December 2010 (UTC)
No major Christian denomination considers Mormons to be Christian (The Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Curches, the Anglican Communion, the Lutheran Churches, etc.), and the definition of Christianity is not so simple as to be merely a belief in Jesus Christ; Jews, Muslims, and most Atheists believe in Jesus Christ, the question is what exactly do they believe he was and what precisely was his relationship to the one and only sole god, identified by the Jews as Yaweh and the Muslims as Allah. All Christian denominations have essentially the same belief as expressed in the Nicene Creed, and though some fringe groups do not recognise the text itself as authoritative, they all agree with the basic principles; Mormons, Jews, Muslims and Atheists have a different belief.
http://www.catholic.com/library/Distinctive_Beliefs_of_Mormon.asp Factsareinconvenient (talk) 14:03, 12 December 2010 (UTC)
See also "Nonrecognition of respective rites" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mormonism_and_Christianity - While this article is poorly written and seems in many places to imply a connection between Mormonism inside Christianity, the position of Christians in regard to Mormon baptism makes clear that they do not accept Mormonism as Christian. Review the citations (which is always good advice). — Preceding unsigned comment added by Factsareinconvenient (talkcontribs) 14:01, 12 December 2010 (UTC)

Mormonism should not be in the Christianity portal. That is not to say it is anything less, but it is simply not Christian. The definition of Christianity is rigid: One God. One Son who is also the final prophet. (Any future prophets are identified with the Beast and the Apocalypse if they are considered at all.) All Christian denominations accept the Apostles Creed and all major ones accept the Nicene. Those who don't fully accept the Nicene, can be identified as fringe; their identity as Christian is logically debatable, but Mormons are as clearly out of the fold as Muslims are. (I can call myself a black muslim and mean it, but being in reality an atheist, any self identification of myself as a black muslim does not make me one.) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Factsareinconvenient (talkcontribs) 12:56, 12 December 2010 (UTC)

You speak as if you know what you are talking about. Welcome to this poor article. New minds are always helpful. You seem to have a definition of being a Christian that is rather rigid. In fact, it is so rigid that not one of the original Apostles could be classified as Christian; I would say that is more than rigid. By chance do you have a definition for being a follower of Jesus or a Christian that can be supported by the Bible? If so, let's use it instead of anything created by man 325 years after Jesus.
You are correct, Latter-day Saints don't recognize any of the baptisms performed by other churches or denominations. To perform a baptism in the eyes of God, one needs his authority. LDS don't believe proper authority exists outside of their Church. LDS believe that Apostolic Succession is a creation of man used to justify the workings of a church created by the non-Christian, Constantine. In the Protestant world, the priesthood of the believer is also a creation of man used to justify their lack of authority.
Let's look at the Apostles' Creed and determine if LDS believe in the concepts it presents:
1. I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. LDS would agree with this with one caveat - Jesus did the creating by the direction of the Father.
2. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. LDS believe this completely.
3. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. LDS believe this completely.
4. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. LDS believe this completely.
5. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again. LDS believe this completely.
6. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. LDS believe this completely.
7. He will come again to judge the living and the dead. LDS believe this completely.
8. I believe in the Holy Spirit, LDS believe this completely.
9. the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, LDS do NOT believe in the Catholic church, but can agree that there is only holy, true church found in the LDS Church.
10. the forgiveness of sins, LDS believe this completely.
11. the resurrection of the body, LDS believe this completely.
12. and life everlasting. LDS believe this completely.
No Muslim can admit these things. I do find it odd how many "critics" use this type of approach (to equate Islam with Mormonism - it demonstrates a remarkable ignorance of both Islam and the LDS Church! If anyone does admit these things, then I would say they are Christian.
No before you go and try to create an argument about the doctrine of the Trinity, please review the Catholic Encyclopedia which will tell you that the Trinity, as a doctrine, was created several hundred years after Jesus. It was not a part of Christ's ministry, Jesus did not demand that his followers understand, believe, or teach this doctrine. The question then becomees, who was the first one that required this specific belief and why? I will leave that to you to study and determine. Please return and tell me what you find.
The problem with facts is that they really are inconvenient. They shock the ignorant and enlighten the humble. -StormRider 14:59, 12 December 2010 (UTC)
Your argument is severely impaired as it seems to me most of those who seek to define mormonism as Christianity do so without an understanding of what Christianity is. Firstly, LDS' do not support many of the principles of the Apostles Creed as is stated above. (Analysis of LDS 'acceptance' of the Nicene Creed would be more useful and make LDS' divergence from Christianity more apparent.) Most fundamentally, Mormons do not believe in one and only one God and creator, and one and only one divine son, born of a virgin. (Satan as blood brother, God's previous corporeal existence, Christ the creator, the mormon opportunity to become a god and other gods (polytheism), and future revelation (the book of mormon) are all impossible contradictions to definition as 'christian'. (The caveat stated above alone is enough to render Mormonism no longer Christian.) Furthermore, the bible is unnecessary and of little use to the definition. Like other religions, the entirety of the religion is not contained explicitly in the primary document, however, the fundamental documents like the nicene creed are well established as being based upon the primary source (the Bible). These arguments are too complicated for this section and so established that to even question them reveals that mormonism is not 'christian'. Christians existed for nearly two thousand years under a broadly united definition and though they had many doctrinal disagreements, all of them agreed to a set of principles that Mormons do not believe. Christians defined themselves long before mormonism was invented. Mormons do not have the right or ability to change the definition of others to include themselves. As far as Christians are concerned, Mormons do not even worship the same god that they, jews and muslims do. Also, you do not understand the definition of 'catholic' (with a small c). The word refers to the ancient and universal church and does not refer to the Roman Catholic Church directly; it did not identify itself as such in the second century. (And it doesn't matter when the idea of a trinity was 'created'; the fact is it is a defining characteristic of being 'christian' and was recognised as such for a thousand years before mormonism. It's part of the definition, whether non-scholars are able to 'read' it in the bible or not.)~~ — Preceding unsigned comment added by Factsareinconvenient (talkcontribs) 19:31, 12 December 2010 (UTC)
...and actually, Muslims do believe many of the principles: God the creator (only one), resurrection of the body, forgiveness of sins, life everlasting...~~ — Preceding unsigned comment added by Factsareinconvenient (talkcontribs) 19:37, 12 December 2010 (UTC)

This argument is truly NULL and void. Please see the Webster's dictionary, an universally accepted dictionary for the English language. It states "one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ"[1]. Mormons confess a belief in Christ.[2]. End of Argument.Wearingaredhat (talk) 07:05, 31 January 2011 (UTC)

Webster’s Dictionary is manifestly not a citable source for the provision of an accurate definition of Christianity. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Factsareinconvenient (talkcontribs) 10:09, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
Merriam-Webster perhaps has an infinitesimal amount of weight, but no dictionary would be referenced in even the most faintly academically inclined discussion. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Factsareinconvenient (talkcontribs) 10:17, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
Webster's Dictionary — Preceding unsigned comment added by Factsareinconvenient (talkcontribs) 10:19, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

The sign in front of LDS churches is:" Church of Jesus Christ , Latter day Saints." Period. Joseph Smith is considered an apostle; like Peter, Paul, John, etc. Not an immortal Messiah--simply latter-day. Muslims do not consider Christ as the Messiah or prophet, they consider his as only a minor apostle. Only Mohammed is their prophet--but, he is dead in his grave, not like Jesus Christ, whom 250 Roman Solders witnessed as risen from his grave, or that his was grave empty. How can this be compared to LDS, or, any modern Christian church?70.176.118.196 (talk) 02:16, 23 March 2011 (UTC)

In the german Wikipedia we have the same discussion and we have come to the conclusion that the LDS cannot be called christian in general, since it differs in some principal beliefs to what is accepted as common in christianity: 1. it believes in polytheism, which is against one of christianity's main characteristics as a abrahamatic monotheistic religion. 2. it believes in other scriptures than the Bible, e.g. the Book of Mormon, 3. it believes in prophets that other christians do not believe in. 4. it doesn't accept the creed of Nicaia, the first official creed of the church (accepted on the first ecumenical council in 325) 5. it doesn't believe in the Christian doctrine of trinity that Father, Son and the Holy Spirit are persons in one being: Godhead. 6. Lucifer, the devil, is seen as the brother of Jesus Christ 7. it doesn't identify itself with any christian cross. All the established churches like the roman-catholic, the catholic-orthodox, and the lutheran church don't see the mormons to be part of christianity and thus don't accept baptized mormons to be christians. They instead call LDS a syncretistic new-religion. Established theology, history and sociology professors in the scientific world deny mormons the status as christians using a mix of the critical points listed above. The Webster's dictionary or any other general dictionaries of english, or other major languages, are no good sources for definitions of what a christian is, because they don't go into the details. There are other scholar-works, like the german "Theologische Realenzyklopädie" that give much more detailed definitions of what christianity is supposed to be by experts. It is hereby noteworthy to say that neither the Britannica, nor the Oxford dictionaries define mormons to be christians. Thus by defining mormons to be christians the english Wikipedia seems to be the only encyclopedia in the world doing so. Whether mormons see themselves as christians is completely irrelevant, since anybody can call himself christian without being it. We should thus not focus on what mormons think of themselves, but rather what the public, and especially what experts have to say. Otherwise we give no neutral point of view, an important criteria of good Wikipedia articles. --217.5.199.242 (talk) 08:48, 30 March 2011 (UTC)

If this is what the German Wikipedia thinks, then I fear for theology in Germany. Let's take your points: 1) We believe in God the Father, and in his Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. If that is polytheism, then granted. 2) Other scriptures: which Bible are we talking about one with the Apocrypha or one without? When did God say to take them out? Is Tradition considered as good as scripture? If so, then who gets to decide what is most important? 3) No where does it say a prophet is a prophet if all Christians agree. In fact, scripture shows that many prophets were not accepted by the people of God. Is the Pope the Pope because other Christians do not accept him. 4) Requiring being in the Nicaean Creed condemns Jesus and all of the early Christians. (This list is getting progressively more absurd and devoid of logic) 5) The doctrine of the Trinity is not found in scripture, was not believed by the early apostles and early Christians. It became a doctrine 325 years after Christ; get the period of time involved 3-0-0 YEARS to develop this doctrine. If required you would have thought Jesus would have made it the central piece of his teachings WHICH HE OBVIOUSLY DID NOT. 6) Lucifer is a creation of God; as one of his creations he is necessarily in relationship with all of his creation, even his Son. 7) The Christian cross was not a symbol for the early followers of Jesus. More importantly, LDS prefer to focus on Jesus resurrected, living, and active in their daily lives. Attempting to equate Christianity with a single symbol has no foundation in logic, theology, or truth. 8) Absolutely false; almost all scholars acknowledge the LDS Church as distinctly Christian. Only other churches deny the LDS Church's Christianity. This is strictly their prerogative, but not one of them owns or controls the definition of Christian. All English dictionaries use a definition of "Christian" as a follower of Jesus; all of your definitions are only useful if you are a Catholic, Orthodox, or Lutheran. In the US Lutherans have become so liberal their own Christianity could be questioned. You are correct, anyone can call themselves Christian. Jesus taught us that it is not what comes out of one's mouth, but those who listen to the Lord and follow him, keep his commandments that know Him. I will take Jesus Christ's definition of his followers over any group's chosen definition. Cheers.

I have to say that the German Wikipedia is in a very sad situation if this is the best you can come up with. -StormRider 12:03, 30 March 2011 (UTC)

1: Smith said that it is possible for humans to become a God since everyone is given the grace of God. 2: Apocrypha were texts written during the early period of christianity (NT) or judaism (OT). That they were discussed and are still discussed is part of the search for a common canon. The Book of Mormon instead was created in the 19th century, and thus has nothing to do with these works. Never has a discussion in the catholic church or the protestant churches taken place to include the Book of Mormon as part of the canon 4: We are talking about christianity of today, not in Jesus times, which is different from christianity in the apostolic age. Christianity today agrees upon the creed of Nicaia as the essence of faith that need to be accepted by all christians. 5: Same like 4, we are talking about christianity in our times, not in Jesus' times. During Jesus times there didn't even exist any scriptures of the New Testament, so you could equally criticize why we believe in scriptures, that were written after Jesus died. 6: at least in this point you face strong dissense from christians in the world. 8: Show your sources that prove that theologians agree that the mormons are christians! My scholarly sources don't say it including the Theologische Realenzyklopädie, one of the most profound and well-known theological encyclopedias in the world written by international experts in their fields. --217.5.199.242 (talk) 13:35, 30 March 2011 (UTC)


Let's also look at some english dictionaries and what they have got to say about mormons or the LDS:

As I said before, none of them use the word "christian", which contradicts the way the LDS is categorized in the english Wikipedia. It seems like defendants of mormon's christianity need to have very good answers, why the majority of dictionaries and encyclopedias in english don't define them to be christian, while other religious groups like the quakers are defined to be christians. It all seems to me like the authors of the LDS-article in the english Wikipedia didn't think a lot about categorizing them to be a group of christians. --217.5.199.242 (talk) 13:59, 30 March 2011 (UTC)

I haven't looked at any of the dictionaries you listed, but if you actually read the Encyclopedia Brittanica entry you would know that it does use the word Christian, and there's another section here which specifically talks about how you can look at the definition of Christian to either include or exclude Mormonism depending upon your POV. VernoWhitney (talk) 14:16, 30 March 2011 (UTC)
Correct, the Britannica uses the word christian, but it doesn't define mormons to be christians, as you can see from your linked article too. So it is POV to call them christians, while in the case we omit it or we make it clear that their attribution to Christianity is disputed like the Britannica does, we show a neutral point of view. --217.5.199.242 (talk) 14:31, 30 March 2011 (UTC)
It is made clear that their attribution to Christianity is disputed. See The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints#Comparisons with mainstream Christianity and Mormonism and Christianity. VernoWhitney (talk) 14:33, 30 March 2011 (UTC)
Not clear enough, since the first sentence of the article defines them to be a "restorationist Christian religion", thus claiming as if it is a christian religion indeed without any criticism at this point. I would omit Christian from the beginning on and later include a sentence like this into the introduction: "Mormons see themselves as Christians, which is disputed among catholics, protestants, academics and in the public." --217.5.199.242 (talk) 14:42, 30 March 2011 (UTC)
Are we really have this discussion...again? I refer the anon to the succinct summary of the previous consensus solution. I see nothing new in the recent arguments that hasn't already been debated (except the reference to the not even a week old debate on the German wikipedia) so I don't think the consensus would have changed. Even so, to restate what has been stated before - we describe the LDS as Christian because numerous scholarly reliable sources explicitly place the LDS within Christianity (statements of explicit inclusion imo are superior to non-statements of implied exclusion), for example:
and so on. If you really want to push this issue and determine if the consensus has changed, I would recommend that you present this debate at a broader and higher level venue like at WP:CHRISTIAN or WP:RELIGION. --FyzixFighter (talk) 18:49, 30 March 2011 (UTC)
Thanks FyzixFighter for sharing the sources pro-Christianity for mormons. Let me now criticize them one by one:
  1. Pew Research Center, which is the organization behind the first of your sources, is a privately owned think tank founded in 2004. As such it doesn't have a lot of reputation in the scientific world yet, and members of its Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life are not well-known experts in theology. None of the senior staff members has earned an academic degree in religions or christian theology, most of them studied politics, economy or sociology. I doubt about their expertise in central questions of christian belief. The source itself nowhere states its classification criteria of grouping denominations into the large group of Christianity. Nowhere is there a justification found, about why certain groups are included. It seems to me they have a rather unthorough approach and include all organisations that declare themselves to be christians, like the jehovas witnesses, whose membership to christianity is disputed as well.
  2. The American Religious Identification Survey of 2001 was published by the graduate center of the city university of New York. The study director Ariela Keysar is a demographer, no theologian. Once again this source nowhere explains its classifications and on which criteria it included otherwise disputed groups into christianity.
  3. The CIA is by no means an authorative source for the definition of christianity. So whether the CIA calls mormons christians or not, is not of great relevance. What would be interesting to know is where the CIA got this classification from. A general enquiry would be a good way to find out.
  4. This is a single report about South Africa by the World Council of Churches. Against it I have to say, that the LDS Church seems to be the only denomination (and other mormon groups) that is not a member church of this christian body and that the report itself is just one specific report. Nevertheless we could go forward and ask the WCC whether it defines the mormons to be a part of christianity to get clarification.
  5. ARIS 2008 is just the 2008 version, instead of 2001 in source number. So what applies to source no. 2 applies to this one as well.
  6. No criteria or definitions given why certain organisations including the LDS church are included.

While all your given sources prove that mormons are regarded as christians by some organizations and scholars, the given sources were not strong, because they didn't go into detail about their choices. Statistical surveys that don't define their selections and categories should be seen as rather primitive, since this is what profound academic statistical reports in general do: They first define, create groups or classes, argue for why they made their choices, and then go on to present statistical data and how they elaborated them. For our dispute strong sources are those from authorative institutions and single researchers or research teams, prefereably those with a christian background, since the point of debate is whether mormons belong to christianity or not. This question must be dealt with by experts in christian faith, who can primarily be found in traditional theological faculties at universities with long traditions, such as those in Paris or Cologne, Marburg, Oxford, Barcelona, Bologna, Harvard, among others. --217.50.54.87 (talk) 20:38, 30 March 2011 (UTC)

I think this Anon has said it all when she consistently emphasizes that the Christianity of today has nothing to do with the Church founded by Jesus Christ and nothing to do with what he taught. By being so honest as to admit that Jesus taught a different gospel and certainly defined his disciples by different terms she has provided all that is needed to ignore everything she states because it has nothing to do with Jesus and his teaching, but rather the teachings of men. Nothing is more demonstrative of this position then when a group of men 325 years after Jesus' life decided to create a doctrine that goes against the Bible and what Jesus taught. Worse, this creed became the foundation for their followers and they attempt to use this same definition to define Christianity. What they mean is that their new gospel has nothing to do with the gospel of Jesus and I agree that Mormons have no desire to follow the teachings of man. The LDS Church has no intention or claim to belong to Catholicism, the Eastern Orthodox, or Lutheranism. This is the Church restored by Jesus himself to the earth again to purge the world of the teachings of men; to proclaim that the heaven remain open and God talks to his prophets. Your definitions are unique to these groups you have mentioned and none of them have anything to do with definition used by Jesus. Don't write another thing unless you can demonstrate by using the Bible that Jesus demanded of his followers to believe in the Trinity. I could save you time, but you need to research. Oh heck, you could search for an eternity and you will not find it in the Bible because it is false and Jesus never taught such a thing or demanded it of his followers. What he did demand is that we love God, our neighbors, follow his commandments, pray, partake of the Sacrament, and have faith in Him. Interesting how men would create a absolute belief in something that Jesus did not teach?!? -StormRider 22:07, 30 March 2011 (UTC)
Jesus Christ didn't found any church. That is the first thing to be noted. Why do mormons follow the book of Mormon when Jesus or any christian of the apostolic age never said anything about it? Why do mormons found a religion 1800 years after Jesus Christ died? 300 years against 1800 years is quite a difference. Also it is not interesting what mormons would like to do or be, we don't judge them by their own point of view and by their wishes, but rather by facts and by the fundamental sources of their faith. We are not talking about whether they should be called catholic or protestant, but discuss whether it is correct to call them christian. And the strongest argument against mormons to be seen as christians is their belief in other scriptures that are not part of the shared canon, and not part of the apocryphas. Especially the Book of Mormon is seen by many scientists (archaelogists, theologians, philologists, historians) to be a fiction and a 19th-century-creation of mixed (syncretic) inspirations Joseph Smith jun. had. Its original language "reformed egyptian" has never been identified as an ancient language in use. Thus its authenticity is greatly disputed. Because of the majority of respected scholars of theology don't see mormons as christians, Wikipedia should not let itself become distracted from the point of view of mormons, but rather focus on what experts have to say about it. I don't see any sense to object to what major dictionaries and encyclopedias in the languages I know (german, english, russian, spanish, etc.) have to say about the mormons, calling them either a religious body, sect, cult or movement and don't state that they are christian. --217.5.199.242 (talk) 08:09, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
First, he did found a Church; just ask the Catholics. Second, search the New Testatment for the word church; also look at the organization he created by looking at Ephesians 4:11-14. Please do not make declarative statements unless you know what you are talking about. If you must, begin the statement with "I believe..." You do not "know" anything, but you have an opinion of belief.
Mormons founded a church 1800 years after Jesus' time because LDS believe that Jesus restored his Church upon the earth again with the original structure. It is their belief, which is just as valid as your beliefs.
Fiction: do you know how much of the Bible is disproved by scientists? Do you really want to take this path? What Jesus taught us is to have Faith; he did not say go and believe in the arm of flesh i.e. the knowledge of man, but to have faith in that which we cannot see. This is scriptural; found in your Bible. Do you believe it or not?
The only thing the Book of Mormon does is bear witness to Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. It asks those who read it to ask God if it is true. If you want to put your faith in the understanding of man; go for it. As far as trying to exclude LDS from Christianity because of their belief in the Book of Mormon, do you have any scriptural support for your position? If not, you have nothing to say other than what you believe. LDS believe God lives and talks to prophets today just as he did in yester year. Also, if you try to go to Revelations and say not to add or take away from the words of "this" book. Please first explain the Apocrapha and then look at Deuteronomy 4:2 and compare the two versus and explain how they are different. What is the book Revelations is talking about?
Thank you for sharing your opinion; it is lacking and Wikipedia has no room for attempting to portray your opinion or even the opinions of other churches. We work with facts and we report those facts to the world. All you have done is share an opinion; thank you. -StormRider 08:34, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
Catholic exegesis shows that we cannot call of a formal founding act by Jesus Christ, but only can refer to what he said to apostle Peter in Mt 16,18-19. Problem among experts is what you define to be a church or ecclesia, but common understanding is that of a group that follows the teachings of Jesus Christ after he died and was resurrected. Peter was the one apointed for that task. We are also not talking about the specific points inside the Bible that are disapproved by scholars to be facts or the historic inaccuracies. This is not what I am talking about. I am talking about the authenticity of scriptures written in ancient times on papyrus, or golden plates, or codexes or any other form of media. Scientists can now quite exactly trace back when jews agreed upon a canon of the tanakh, and when they first wrote pieces of what we call parts of the Old Testament. Same goes for New Testament. The history of writing down what was first shared as oral history, can be reconstructed quite well. It is a historic fact that in ancient times people compiled or wrote down parts of what is known to us as the Bible. One of such manuscripts is the Codex Sinaiticus. However, the creation of the Book of Mormon cannot be reconstructed historically, and there seems to be no manuscripts dating back to ancient times, or can you show me plates the Book of Mormon was first written on? Also note that this is not just my opinion. You can find the same criticism I state here, in the works of academics around the world. I am not the one who invented all these arguments. These arguments have been present almost since the day, the LDS church was founded. To ignore the opinions of theologians, historians, archaeologists and philologists seems to only show your ignorance in the subject. If you don't want to read research papers, please consult your english dictionary - if you have one - of what it has got to say about mormons. If it states that mormons or the LDS church is christian, please come back and show me. I have meanwhile consulted the Oxford English Dictionary, which also doesn't define mormons to be christians. Speaking against the OED will be a difficult task, but nonetheless I am still open for debate. Thanks. --217.5.199.242 (talk) 09:07, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
Well I have fed this troll enough. Just because you have the same opinion as others does not make the opinion correct. To have a debate one must be knowledgeable of the subject matter; you have proved sadly lacking. -StormRider 12:39, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
Oh well, now I am accused to be a troll, while I happen to have the same opinion like Britannica, the Oxford English Dictionary, and the majority of theologians, who don't see mormons as christians. It seems like all these scholars are not knowledeable of the subject matter according to a WP user called "Storm Rider". It sounds ridiculous to me, how someone can insist on his own opinion while experts in the world oppose to it. That the english Wikipedia seems to count more on the opinions of mormons than on the Oxford English Dictionary or Britannica sounds rather ridiculous. --217.5.199.242 (talk) 13:18, 31 March 2011 (UTC)

A request for a third opinion was made by one of the editors involved in this discussion. I have declined that request, as there are already more than 3 editors involved in the discussion. If the dispute cannot be managed here, please take the matter to WP:Dispute resolution. WikiDan61ChatMe!ReadMe!! 14:22, 30 March 2011 (UTC)

Storm Rider, re: the Apostles creed. Christianity claims that God created the world through Jesus (see: Logos (Christianity). And catholic church means universal church not big-C Catholic. TFD (talk) 18:05, 31 March 2011 (UTC)

  • comment We had this same discussion with Jehovah's Witnesses. Wikipedia doesn't use the degree of adherence to the Nicene creed as a bar to decide whether a religion is "christian" or not. We use 1. reliable sources and 2. selfidentification. Using the label "restorationist christian" is not a selfdescriptive term it is a term the is used as a classification within sociology of religion and which includes all religions that describe them self as restoring a more original kind of christianity. If we have a reliable source that LDS claim to be restoring christianity to its original form - then LDS is a restorationist christian group. It doesn't matter an ounce what other christians think - they do not determine how other religions are defined. ·Maunus·ƛ· 18:24, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
Maunus: A good point but if we really stick to the expression "restorationist christian", we should not confuse people by providing separate links to both restoration and christianity, since people then might think the adjectives used are completely distinct and see the Church of Jesus Christ LDS as part of christianity. --217.50.56.198 (talk) 18:56, 31 March 2011 (UTC)