Talk:The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints/Archive 16

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Editing control?

Why are Mormon missionaries given editing control over the Mormon page? I corrected many of the factual errors in the article and I received a warning. Mormonism is NOT a branch of Christianity. Every Church believes Mormonism to be a mix of paganism, old heresy, and new American folk cult religion. Mormonism does not believe in the same Jesus as Christians, just like Muslims. Mormons are attempting to blend into Christianity, but their teaching clearly is not Christian. Right now, the Mormon page is entirely from a pro-Mormon point of view which seeks to have Mormonism accepted as Christian. How can Wikipedia dare say to be unbiased when you host essentially a propaganda piece written by Mormons? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.11.77.254 (talk) 14:01, 30 December 2010 (UTC)

It really can't be helped, it's generally a problem with wikipedia, if the orgainization is large enough be it bussnes or in this case a "church" look a the artcial for black water for instance —Preceding unsigned comment added by 71.193.186.17 (talk) 09:05, 5 March 2011 (UTC)

If you've been Reading, LDS/Mormon Is a Christian church. Maybe not a "branch" of anything, but not, certainly, any: "mix of paganism, old heresy. and American cult religion." Muslim is as unrelated as scientology to it. Besides, read the definition of: Cult--it is: "any group with rituals attached." That can be Any church, most organizations; even the Boy Scouts. It isn't a "black label" to be thrown around and darken anything. Besides, look at the early Catholic church--numerous Saints were easily assimilated by pagan tribes into their own polytheism--Saint of animals, Saint of childbirth, etc. Also, Christ's birthday was changed from about April until Dec. 25--Constantine's wife's birthday; also a convenient close-approach to the winter solstice, a pagan ritual. So, Catholicism, a very "Christian" church had pagan assimilations.70.176.118.196 (talk) 02:36, 23 March 2011 (UTC)

church attendance counts

This edit was in good faith, though I think the sources were lacking. I seem to recall that Ostling's Mormon America discussed the inflated nature of LDS records. Does anyone have that (or another source) handy? tedder (talk) 20:48, 31 January 2011 (UTC)

I agree that it was in good faith; I'm also not convinced that The Cumorah Project's analysis of attendance and growth qualifies as a reliable source. I'd also like to see other source(s) to back this up. —C.Fred (talk) 20:53, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
I agree that it isn't a reliable source, though it might sneak through if termed "The Cumorah Project says..". Still, there should be more reliable sources out there. I just don't have MA or other books anymore. tedder (talk) 20:59, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
TrulySaid either doesn't understand or doesn't care for WP:3RR and seems to be ignoring requests for discourse or better references for their additions. I agree that they're in good faith - just not having followed in spirit of the wiki. Is it time to WP:RPP until we can get this sorted? Doriftu Speak Up. 22:04, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
Reporting him and having him blocked short-term for 3RR/EW is probably the best we can hope for. Page protection might be appropriate if the incident involved a lot of editors (and/or sockpuppets of a single editor), but that doesn't seem to be the case here, at least not now. Richwales (talk · contribs) 22:11, 31 January 2011 (UTC)

This topic is a non-starter for me. It comes around periodically when some editors is incensed that the LDS Church inflates their membership numbers; they don't know how, but they are certain the evil empire is jiggering the numbers in order to appear more important. Of course no international church of any size knows the exact number of their faithful attend church weekly. For example, Catholics; does anyone really believe their membership numbers are a reflection of truly participating members? When next in Europe, pass by during mass and count. How about Anglicans? You take the church and none of them has a mechanism capable of counting only active, participating members. Even more important, there is not a legitimate system anywhere in the world that can count them. Making mountains out of mole hills. Move on. -StormRider 06:14, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

Partially agree/disagree. As I said earlier (see the next section below), I would have no problem citing estimates regarding attendance, activity, self-identification, etc., as long as the exact nature of the cited figure(s) is clearly stated and the material is backed up by a citation to a highly reliable source or sources. I would not, however, approve of language stating or implying that the LDS Church is engaging in deception regarding its number of adherents; not only would such a statement clearly be POV, but I can't imagine any way that such a statement could possibly be substantiated by a reliable source. Richwales (talk · contribs) 17:16, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
Membership numbers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are very accurate. They have no reason to inflate the report given at each world broadcast, (April conference and October conference). Tune in April 2, 2011 (Saturday, 10am Utah time). My Father was a ward clerk and membership records are considered sacred; membership changes are linked to the database in Salt Lake City. Call them up if you have a question. Didn't you see the movie about LDS missionary, John Groberg The Other Side of Heaven? Charles Edwin Shipp (talk) 04:40, 28 March 2011 (UTC)
Maybe Charles Edwin is a troll, and maybe I am feeding said troll in my naivete, so please forgive me if that is the case. "They have no reason to inflate the report given at each world broadcast" - that is the biggest BS statement I have read in a long time. There are a hundred reasons why the church would want to inflate its numbers. Not saying they do - just that the incentive is definitely there.--Descartes1979 (talk) 04:46, 28 March 2011 (UTC)
Not a troll. I had to verify definitions: "a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages", from Troll (Internet). That said, I can see why you would think my statement is "bull-shit", excuse the French, apologies to the French. Saying there are a hundred reasons to exaggerate is also a stretch — there are probably seven. Members of the church may want to see higher numbers, but the leadership of the church, the ones that announce the membership, are more interested in honesty and accuracy. You can find the membership numbers broken down by country in the church's annual paperback almanac. Hope this helps. btw, I consider this an extraneous cul-de-sac, so I guess those participating are 'trolls'. Charles Edwin Shipp (talk) 09:31, 28 March 2011 (UTC)
Sorry that is BS too - there is heavy incentive for church leadership to inflate numbers. If it was about honesty and accuracy, then why don't they report inactivity rates, or the number of people that resign from the church, or talk about the Pew surveys that show self declared affiliation and growth rates far below the numbers that the LDS church reports? Or open their counts for public scrutiny? Obviously this is my POV (but it is a pretty well informed one I like to think after watching countless hours of general conference reports), but it is pretty clear that they trumpet these numbers to propagandize the church membership into believing that "all is well". They do the EXACT same thing in Scientology and Jehovah's Witnesses and a bunch of other New Religious Movements. Again - I am not disputing the accuracy of the numbers, but I think you are just flat wrong if you don't think there is an incentive for church leadership to do so.--Descartes1979 (talk) 16:35, 28 March 2011 (UTC)
Granted. Who knows the heart of man but God? . . . April 2, 2011, World General Conference,
FYI: auditors reported 2010 membership at 14,131,467. Charles Edwin Shipp (talk) 20:29, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
Granted, 'membership total' is different than 'church attendance counts' but who mentions those? No one. Charles Edwin Shipp (talk) 20:33, 2 April 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Way ahead of you. – Ajltalk 20:34, 2 April 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Neutral point of view/Noticeboard

Having just seen this topic discussed on the NPOV Noticeboard, and some of the discussions here, and then after reviewing the article itself, I would agree that the article is presenting a point of view that is biased toward showing LDS-perceived similarities between themselves and Orthodox Christians. On one hand, I see it as a sincerely-held belief and therefore reasonable to include, on the other hand, I find it to be disingenuous and potentially deceptive as well. Presenting this as a neutral point of view almost seems impossible, because you will either have people who stridently believe the LDS view or stridently take the opposing view.

  • The person of Christ that is believed by LDS is a literally spirit-born creation of a God who was himself created by another God.
  • The person of Christ that is believed by Orthodoxy is an eternal component of an eternal God.

So if you simply strip away all the extra words and leave 'Christ', they're the same, but, adding in the facts, they are not.

  • In LDS, humanity was created after Christ, spirit-born as well, but in a different manner, into a spiritual pre-existence with God, and come to Earth to grow and be tested.
  • In Orthodoxy, humanity is created on Earth simply because it is God's will, formed from dust on the sixth day, never existing before.

Without question, there are significant and meaningful differences in belief, these are just a couple of examples. To me, it is puzzling that LDS take such great pains to seem like Orthodoxy when such distinctions exist.

How this should relate to the article or be incorporated into it, I am not sure. But it definitely is worth consideration. -- Avanu (talk) 16:13, 31 March 2011 (UTC)

Avanu: Orthodox christianity which is split into the oriental branch (like copts) and the eastern orthodox branch (like Constantinople, Antioch, Alexandria, Moscow etc.) is widely accepted by christians and theologians to be part of christianity, not only because it shares a long history with the roman-catholic church and some of its communities are the oldest of known christianity, but because they all agree upon the Nicene Creed, as the minimal consens of christian doctrine. --217.50.56.198 (talk) 18:46, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
Not sure what your point was there, but OK? I didn't mean Orthodox as the Eastern or Oriental, but as all Christians sharing a 'traditional belief'. See 'orthodox' in Wiktionary (or below). -- Avanu (talk) 23:08, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
orthodox (adjective)(comparative - more orthodox, superlative - most orthodox)
1.Conforming to the established, accepted or traditional faith or religion.
2.Adhering to whatever is traditional, customary or generally accepted.
I came from the RSN page. This whole topic is bizarre. LDS Mormons are clearly Christian in that they believe in Christ as Messiah. The fact that some more popular Christian sects don't believe they are "true" Christians is meaningless, as Baptists often don't think of Catholics as true Christians either. The reliable sources call them Christians - specifically the nontrinitarian branch of Christians. Hence Wikipedia has to call them Christians. Someone's personal religious beliefs not wanting to accept that isn't important here. DreamGuy (talk) 23:16, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
How do we get a reliable and unbiased source for a person's personal belief? DreamGuy, I'm not sure if you read my description above, but there is a clear difference. Whether that means they are *called* Christian is one thing, but without question there is a difference. Some reliable sources that are available to us say Mormons are Christian, some reliable sources say that they are not Christian, do we include some and ignore the others? -- Avanu (talk) 23:31, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
I find recent changes to this article very troubling. The current version states that LDS Church "views itself" as Christian. Exactly whose definition are we using? Since the LDS Church is not claiming that it is orthodox (as in the majority of Christians and not the Eastern Orthodox Church), I don't see why their standards are being applied to this article. I'm reverting. This is blatant POV. Ltwin (talk) 01:00, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
Ltwin, I would like to see how it is POV to declare what LDS itself says about itself. Also, since people are asking for Reliable Sources, here are some to review (took about 20 minutes to gather up):

Sectarian sources

Catholic stances
From http://www.catholic.com/library/Distinctive_Beliefs_of_Mormon.asp (appears to be a biased source, pro-Catholic)
Still, it isn’t correct to call Mormons Protestants, because doing so implies they hold to the essentials of Christianity—what C. S. Lewis termed "mere Christianity." The fact is, they don’t. Gordon B. Hinckley, the current president and prophet of the Mormon church, says (in a booklet called What of the Mormons?) that he and his co-religionists "are no closer to Protestantism than they are to Catholicism."
That isn’t quite right—it would be better to say Mormons are even further from Catholicism than from Protestantism. But Hinckley is right in saying that Mormons are very different from Catholics and Protestants. Let’s examine some of these differences. We can start by considering the young men who come to your door.
From http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0802443.htm
"As Catholics, we have to make very clear to them their practice of so-called rebaptism is unacceptable from the standpoint of Catholic truth."
In 2001 the Vatican's doctrinal congregation issued a ruling that baptism conferred by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints cannot be considered a valid Christian baptism, thus requiring converts from that religion to Catholicism to receive a Catholic baptism.
"We don't have an issue with the fact that the Catholic Church doesn't recognize our baptisms, because we don't recognize theirs," Otterson said. "It's a difference of belief."
Lutheran stances
From http://www.lcms.org/pages/internal.asp?NavID=2239
The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod, together with the vast majority of Christian denominations in the United States, does not regard the Mormon church as a Christian church. That is because the official writings of Mormonism deny fundamental teachings of orthodox Christianity.
From http://www.elca.org/Growing-In-Faith/Worship/Learning-Center/FAQs/Rebaptism.aspx
Although Mormons may use water — and lots of it — and while they may say "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit," their teaching about the nature of God is substantially different from that of orthodox, creedal Christianity. Because the Mormon understanding of the Word of God is not the same as the Christian understanding, it is correct to say that Christian Baptism has not taken place.
Methodist stances
From http://archives.umc.org/interior.asp?ptid=2&mid=3558
"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, by self-definition, does not fit within the bounds of the historic, apostolic tradition of Christian faith," delegates said.
While the Mormons identify themselves as Christian, they also "explicitly (profess) distinction and separateness from the ecumenical community," delegates said.
"Sacramental Faithfulness" also recommends that Mormons seeking membership in the United Methodist Church first initiate their own formal removal from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Non-sectarian sources

Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Macmillan 1992
http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/cdm4/document.php?CISOROOT=/EoM&CISOPTR=4391&REC=1
"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not see itself as one Christian denomination among many, but rather as God's latter-day RESTORATION of the fulness of Christian faith and practice. Thus, from its earliest days LDS Christians sought to distinguish themselves from Christians of other traditions. Other forms of Christianity ... are viewed as incomplete....
Therefore, the designation "saint" reflects attachment to the New Testament church, and also designates a difference from Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant Christianity in the current DISPENSATION.
In response, and for a variety of other reasons, some Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant Christians have been reticent to apply the term "Christian" to Latter-day Saints.
Boston Globe
http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles_of_faith/2008/09/a_debate_are_mo.html
Page takes no position and recounts information from both sides. Makes a reference to http://www.firstthings.com/article/2008/09/003-is-mormonism-christian-31
BBC Religion Information Pages
http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/mormon/beliefs/christian.shtml
Page takes no position and recounts information from both sides.


Contemporary Mormonism
Social Science Perspectives
Edited by Marie Cornwall, Tim B. Heaton, and Lawrence A. Young
from http://www.press.uillinois.edu/books/catalog/62hka9hf9780252069598.html
Two fundamental questions run through these essays. Each author presumes that Mormonism is a distinctive religious phenomenon. The questions are, how distinctive is Mormonism and why?
"...Mormonism realized and elaborated a religiocultural system that separates it from every other currently existing manifestation of the Judeo-Christian tradition."
"the very facts that distinctions must be made in descriptions of the development of male and female Saints denotes a crucial difference between Mormonism and more traditional forms of Christianity." — Preceding unsigned comment added by Avanu (talkcontribs) 01:15, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
Wow these collections of sources seem to prove my point. Thank you. First of all, the Catholic, Lutheran, etc, sources really don't matter because what Mormonism is is not determined by those outside of it. The other sources you quote do not say that the LDS Church is not Christian, only that it is outside of traditional Christianity. No one is arguing that Mormons are "traditional" or "orthodox" Christians. However, I have yet to see a scholarly source which says they are not Christian. Ltwin (talk) 01:35, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
I'm not getting into an edit war over this. Someone else can remove the weasel wording that has been placed in the introduction. Ltwin (talk) 01:39, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
What other kind of wording is reliable then? To use the word "is" declares that it is so. But since people seem to be asking for outside sources, because apparently religious sources won't do (for some reason), the only thing we are left with is people who probably don't care. How do you properly reconcile a non-religious statement like "...Mormonism realized and elaborated a religiocultural system that separates it from every other currently existing manifestation of the Judeo-Christian tradition." ? I'm not interested in an edit war either, but the sources seem to all declare this particular religion is unique. So it seems simplest to simply say "this is who they say they are". How is that biased? -- Avanu (talk) 01:44, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
What if I wrote in the introduction to Catholic Church: "The Catholic Church (aka Roman Catholic Church) sees itself as a worldwide Christian Church in communion with the Bishop of Rome"? The implication is that it's not true—that they are not Christian. It would not be tolerated if phrased that way at that article or at Eastern Orthodox Church or at Anglicanism or Lutheranism or Arianism or Unitarianism, etc., and it shouldn't be tolerated here. Ltwin (talk) 01:53, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
The reasons "religious sources won't do" is the same reason fundamentalist Protestant sources don't do for determining weather Roman Catholicism is a Christian tradition or the whore of Babylon. Ltwin (talk) 01:59, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
What is interesting here is that several of you keep saying it doesn't matter what other people say about LDS. To quote DreamGuy from above "LDS Mormons are clearly Christian in that they believe in Christ as Messiah. The fact that some more popular Christian sects don't believe they are "true" Christians is meaningless."
Yet when I provide a source, edited by LDS scholars and non-LDS scholars, used by students at Brigham Young University, before I can even finish adding the attribution, you guys remove it as biased. Who is it biased against to describe them as they describe themselves. I think you are looking at this with a biased POV if you think that such a thing is biased, and if you want it ONLY as they themselves see it (which is what I gave you anyway). We don't deal in Truth in Wikipedia, we deal in what Reliable Sources say. Reliable sources say Mormons ARE Christian *and* Reliable Sources (non-religious) say they are not, so what am I supposed to have here? A definitive, declarative statement (like you seem to prefer) or one that reflects what Mormons say without coming off as negative? -- Avanu (talk) 02:04, 1 April 2011 (UTC)

From your example:

"is a restorationist Christian religion" (many claim Mormons are not Christian, but some consider them Christian)(disputed as being too certain about itself) "is a worldwide Christian Church in communion with the Bishop of Rome" (some claim Catholics are not Christian, but generally they are considered Christian)

That's the difference. Your asking for wording that ascribes a dead-set certainty. Yet the available sources I am finding are not in agreement with that conclusion. You ask me to disregard the religious-based sources, so in looking at what is left, we find:

  • "separate from every other currently existing manifestation of the Judeo-Christian tradition"
  • "crucial difference between Mormonism and more traditional forms of Christianity"

So what kind of logical basis do you want? I used almost *direct* wording from the Encyclopedia of Mormonism. This is allowed as a textbook at BYU and was created as a reference guide to Mormonism. You're accusing me of bias, because I'm not letting you off the hook to put wording that is certain of itself, rather than faithful to the sources we have. -- Avanu (talk) 02:26, 1 April 2011 (UTC)

I don't know what you are trying to come off as. I know what I thought when I read your edit: "This is a sly way to avoid saying that they are Christian." I'm not assuming bad faith. I'm sure you are trying to help, but the phrase "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ... sees itself as God's latter-day restoration of the fulness of Christian faith and practice" is POV and weasel wording. The fact that many don't consider them "real" is covered in the article, and perhaps, a sentence should be added to the lead which notes that many Christians question weather they are Christian. However, rearranging the opening sentence in such a way so as to avoid stating that it's a Christian religion is not the way to note that the LDS Church is outside the mainstream. Ltwin (talk) 02:25, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
"This is a sly way to avoid saying that they are Christian." Are we saying they *are* Christian? Is that your point of view or do we have a reliable source that ascribes this definition to them? For example, should we change the lead in the Branch Davidian article from this first paragraph (as it is now), to the second paragraph?:
The Branch Davidians (also known as "The Branch") are a Protestant sect that originated in 1955 from a schism in the Davidian Seventh Day Adventists ("Davidians"), a so-called reform movement that began within the Seventh-day Adventist Church ("Adventists") around 1930.
The Branch Davidians (also known as "The Branch") are branch of millenianist Protestant Christians that originated in 1955 from a schism in the Davidian Seventh Day Adventists ("Davidians"), a so-called reform movement that began within the Seventh-day Adventist Church ("Adventists") around 1930.
I'm certainly not going to call Mormons a sect or cult. But using such a declarative statement when that status is so disputed seems clearly POV-pushing to me. -- Avanu (talk) 02:36, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
I'm not actually sure what the difference between those two are? Unless you are referring to the word "sect" which is discouraged according to WP:weasel wording and should be changed as in every day language it carries a negative connotation; however, in a technical sense the word "sect" does not necessarily imply negativity. So follow Wikipedia policy; however, we're not here to discuss Branch Davidians. Ltwin (talk) 02:54, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
It is not disputed in reliable sources. Academics who study religion consider them a Christian group. What more do you want? You can't manufacture a dispute, it has to exist in reliable sources.Griswaldo (talk) 02:40, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
From the sources that I have found so far, it seems to be that Mormonism is considered at the very *least*, outside the traditional, so presenting it as just another run-of-the-mill group seems a bit POV when sources say otherwise. The dispute seems to be clearly there in reliable (non-religious) sources. I spent 20 minutes looking and quickly found that to be the case. Please someone actually provide source(s) that show otherwise if you like. Otherwise, let the language show what the sources say. -- Avanu (talk) 02:50, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
Who said anything about run-of-the mill? Yes they are much more unorthodox on the spectrum of Christian groups, but they were born out of Protestantism and that's a historical fact. Controversy only comes from some other Christians who do not want to recognize them as Christian, but scholars of religion, even those who also consider them a new religious movement, consider them a Christian one. Your sources don't say what you claim they do. The scholarly sources are indeed calling it an unorthodox Christian sect, and the BBC and the Boston Globe aren't addressing the matter in a relevant manner. What they are addressing is the religious controversy within Christianity about how to categorize Mormons, and not within academia or secular scholarship. Here's a pretty standard social science perspective. If you want a list of sources I can provide them. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 03:02, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
The source Avanu provided (Encyclopedia of Mormonism page 277-278) says "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is distinguished from other Christian churches in several fundamental ways." It definitely and unambiguously considers them Christian. Ltwin (talk) 02:54, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
Source for that conclusion? I went and read it.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not see itself as one Christian denomination among many, but rather as God's latter-day restoration of the fulness of Christian faith and practice. Thus, from its earliest days LDS Christians sought to distinguish themselves from Christians of other traditions. Other forms of Christianity, while bearing much truth and doing much good under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, are viewed as incomplete, lacking the authority of the priesthood of God, the temple ordinances, the comprehensive understanding of the Plan of Salvation, and the nonparadoxical understanding of the Godhead. Therefore, the designation "saint" reflects attachment to the New Testament church, and also designates a difference from Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant Christianity in the current dispensation.
From Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Macmillan, 1992 ( http://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Christians_and_Christianity )
Now please tell me HOW my words are biased when they were almost verbatim from what is inarguably a reliable source? (and in context as well) -- Avanu (talk) 03:05, 1 April 2011 (UTC)

Because you use weasel words. Ltwin (talk) 03:09, 1 April 2011 (UTC)

So the source must be weaseling too I guess since I simply quoted from there. Not sure how to make ya happy, but I did try. Figured such a source was unimpeachable, and quoting faithfully from it was reasonable in light of your disapproval of the first-try edit. -- Avanu (talk) 03:14, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
No it's the way you are reading the source. The source is saying the LDS church "sees itself" as the only true Christian church. The source is not saying that the LDS church "sees itself" as Christian. The source assumes they are Christian (thus phrases such as "from its earliest days LDS Christians sought to distinguish themselves from Christians of other traditions"). Ltwin (talk)
What I don't get is what you're trying to prove with that source. It does identify Mormonism as Christian.Griswaldo (talk) 03:16, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
To answer you both, they say they are different from all other Christian churches. They do not say "we are Christian" in the source, they say "God's latter-day restoration of the fulness of Christian faith and practice." Then, as shorthand, they say the term 'LDS Christians'. So traditional Christians say they are a danish. Mormons say they're the danish, but the rest are all doughnuts. It is like everyone is in agreement that Mormons are not the same, but you want to apply a term to make them sound the same, despite sources which say they are not.
To quote Caddyshack, which I've never actually seen, but the quote seems to apply: "The Zen philosopher Basha once wrote, 'A flute with no holes, is not a flute. A donut with no hole, is a Danish.' He was a funny guy." -- Avanu (talk) 03:26, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
No the sources say they are a weird kind of danish (if danish = Christian), not that they are a donut. That's the issues. You are twisting it to high heaven and I have no idea why. You realize that most Christian groups, except the very liberal and ecumenical ones, believe that other Christians aren't "true Christians" as well right? That only their group has discovered the right way to worship, etc.? And yes, once again, as this goes the LDS is as far afield of the others as possible but that doesn't mean they don't belong to the same general family. Most scholars treat them that way, we should to.Griswaldo (talk) 03:29, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
Avanu, the source clearly considers them Christians. Your statement that "It is like everyone is in agreement that Mormons are not the same, but you want to apply a term to make them sound the same, despite sources which say they are not," to me clearly shows a bias against Mormonism. No one is saying that Mormons are Nicene Christians only that they are Christians. There are many different kinds of Christians. Ltwin (talk) 03:32, 1 April 2011 (UTC)


Gris, it hasn't been my experience in general that traditional Christians reject each other's baptism, which seems to be a central point in their dispute over whether they consider each other Christian. (although I have seen it, so I agree it does occur). I think I'm just stuck on the absolute certainty sounding term in the Lead, and feel it doesn't line up with what is being reported/sourced/said, etc.
Ltwin, "everyone is in agreement that Mormons are not the same" includes the statements from Mormons. I wasn't leaving their 2 cents out of that statement.
Also, I think I'm done on this article for today. I will pursue more research at some point, it seems fairly evident that the POV is debatable, but I'm not feeling up to doing all that work at the moment and I need to actually get work done for real life too. Thanks for the feedback, comments, discussion, etc. It is definitely an interesting topic. -- Avanu (talk) 03:37, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
We don't define who is or is not "Christian" based on who does or does not accept each other's baptisms. I responded to you at the NPOV/N about this issue, though it was after the IP asked to move the discussion here. See Believer's baptism, because the issue is not as straight forward as you seem to think. All other Christians do not "accept" all other Christian forms of baptism. That's simply not true. If anything, the fact that Mormons also baptize, regardless of how other's view that baptism, is a strong indication that that they are Christian, because that's one of the things that Christians do. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 12:52, 1 April 2011 (UTC)

For all of the people who are arguing, please read this carefully (feel free to read the rest of the article as well):

Why would anyone say such a thing? Isn’t the name of our church The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? Do we not worship Christ? Is not the Book of Mormon another testament of Jesus Christ? How could anyone seriously doubt that Latter-day Saints are Christians?


The purpose of this article is to help you understand why some people make this accusation. Knowing that, perhaps you can be more comfortable and knowledgeable in dealing with such views when you hear them expressed. [...] This article is meant to provide information and understanding rather than ammunition for disputes.

Robinson, Stephen E. "Are Mormons Christians?". lds.org. 

Thank you. – Ajltalk 21:00, 2 April 2011 (UTC)

Focus on improving the article

The debate on "is it Christian" is getting both circular and endless. Please note Wikipedia, including Wikipedia talk pages, are not forums to advance original research or theories. To borrow from summarization of a recent arbitration discussion:

Article talk pages should not be used by editors for proposing unpublished solutions, forwarding original ideas, redefining terms, or so forth. Although more general discussion may be permissible in some circumstances, it will not be tolerated when it becomes tendentious, overwhelms the page, impedes productive work, or is otherwise disruptive.

Responses on this line of discussion, in any section, that aren't explicitly couched in terms of improving the article (such as by discussing wording, additions/removals of text) using reliable sources in their basis will be removed. That means avoiding original research or synthesis, especially when religious texts such as the bible are used. tedder (talk) 23:22, 31 March 2011 (UTC)

Reliable sources on this subject give us several views to choose from. Shall we include all views? Or shall we, as you say, synthesize or distill a phrase that incorporates all views? I don't have a perfect answer, but as long as people are willing to debate this in a civil tone and willing to research, I don't think it is our place to curtail the discussion. -- Avanu (talk) 23:31, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
Feel free to use reliable sources and achieve whatever consensus you'd like for placing specific text on the article. However, giving synth/original research on definitions that are related to the concept of this article are not. tedder (talk) 00:09, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
As people are wont to say, "I don't have a dog in this fight." I am simply giving discussion advice. Lay off the lecture please. The information above is neither synth or OR, it is common and easily researchable and my discussion advice was merely focused on the specific question being asked. -- Avanu (talk) 00:20, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
Please ease off with the condescension. The lecture was to explain the instruction I have given with my admin hat on. tedder (talk) 01:34, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
Not my intention to condescend. I came to the page just today in order to provide another perspective, and it seemed (based on the indentions) that you were replying to me. Since I just got here, I thought it seemed a bit premature to characterize my Talk page contributes as 'circular and endless'. I might have simply misunderstood, my apologies for not phrasing things well enough in my reply to you. -- Avanu (talk) 01:48, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
Ahhh. I see what you are saying. This isn't in response to you or even specifically this section- it's in response to all the replies that are flying back and forth about "Christian or not". They aren't all in this section. I'll update the sections and text slightly to reflect this. tedder (talk) 02:44, 1 April 2011 (UTC)

Ideally, we would find wording that neither commits to one of the points of view, nor deprecates it by making it seem to be a dubious claim. I suggest something like this:

The church classifies itself as a Christian religion.(ref to official church statement) Among scholars and other churches that address the question, opinion is divided: some agree with the Christian designation, and others assert that its teachings place it outside Christianity.(footnote to notable opinions on both sides)

Thoughts? alanyst /talk/ 03:07, 1 April 2011 (UTC)

Opinion is hardly divided among scholars, and the POV of other Christians is not germane here. If it was there would be no Christian groups, only those that "consider themselves Christian". For all of its difference from most Christian sects, scholars are for the most part content to call Mormonism Christian. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 03:12, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
I like you Gris, but source this please. (if you like, I'm not going to insist) "Opinion is hardly divided among scholars" -- Avanu (talk) 03:27, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
Avanu I gave you a source above already -- [1] (if you think it looks unreliable I assure it it is not. It is an online version of a printed text, written by leading sociologists of religion). Here's another: Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Active New Religions, Sects and Cults, "Mormons - Officially known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS), and often as simply LDS or Saints (non-members are known as Gentiles), this is a 'U.S. Christian polytheistic millenarian group." Both the OED and Britannica call them Christian, despite the rabid misinformation the IP is spreading.Griswaldo (talk) 12:36, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
Griswaldo, your source http://hirr.hartsem.edu/ency/Mormomism.htm looks quite good, but the article does not declare mormons to be belonging to the Christian family, like we do in the article. In the given article it is defined as a "restorationist" movement. That is different than what the WP article says "a restorationist Christian religion". What makes it confusing to readers, and not clarifying, is that the expression "restorationist Christian religion" is linked to two WP articles, one of them being christianity. Readers might get a wrong impression from that, since Restorationism_(Christian_primitivism) would be enough. From thereon people could be referred to christianity, so we would have indirection. --217.5.199.242 (talk) 13:44, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
You must be joking. Here is what the sources says. "In its Christian primitivism and antinomianism, it was akin to many other "restorationist" movements, such as the Campbellites ..." What about "Christian primitivism" eludes you here? The source goes on to say - "During the first few years, the theology of Mormonism, while innovative in certain respects, was not remarkably different from that of its sectarian cousins on the "left" of the Christian spectrum of the time, particularly in its theodicy, Christology, soteriology, and eschatology." This source adequately places Mormonism within the large Christian family, while also paying full attention to what makes it so unorthodox. Can you please stop the tendentious POV pushing.Griswaldo (talk) 13:57, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
Griswaldo: Not explicitly like we do. If the author wanted to strengthen that mormons are part of christianity, why didn't he/she declare them to be a christian religion in the article you provided?

I am pretty sure about the reason the author didn't and that is because of the fact that mormons' belonging to christianity is disputed. And that not only protestantism is unwilling to consider Mormons as part of the Christian family, but eastern orthodox churches, the roman-catholic church and some scholars as well, doesn't make the Wikipedia article more convincing. --217.5.199.242 (talk) 14:21, 1 April 2011 (UTC)

(ec) I'm trying to find wording that someone with a "yes, they're Christian" POV and someone with a "no, they're not" POV could both read and say, "Yeah, that's accurate." Picking one side or the other won't do since the definition of the label Christian is a highly subjective one for which no scholarly consensus can be said to exist. alanyst /talk/ 03:29, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
Let me address the criticism of some, by first stating, that the Oxford English Dictionary and the Britannica are no references of original research or theories, but accepted and reliable sources for definitions. If those two disagree with Wikipedia, Wikipedia really has to give good explanations why we call mormons christians. Now some users have pointed to sources of major christian denominations, like lutherans and catholics voices. Then some said they cannot define what is christian, which is not fully correct, because they are part of christianity (nobody would doubt that), and what is christianity is defined by a normative consensus among christians (including catholics and lutherans), and to a great part by theologians, because they have deeper knowledge about christian history, traditions and fundamental basis of faith. One of these expert sources is the Theologische Realenzyklopädie in german, one of the biggest encyclopedias in theology, whose editors come from all around the world, not just from Germany. And in this widely accepted encyclopedia, mormons are not seen as part of christianity. So how can we oppose to Britannica, OED and TR, all of which are expert references, by stating that mormons are christians because they call themselves so? Then anybody who calls himself christian, is a christian according to the definition of Wikipedia. That is what I would call full arbitrariness. --217.5.199.242 (talk) 07:21, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
IP, I'm sorry but you are full of misinformation. I just checked the OED. Do you care to know how it defined "Mormom"? "A member or adherent of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, a millenary Christian sect founded in 1830 at Manchester, New York, by Joseph Smith." Britannica doesn't have any clear declarations in either direction, but it clearly places Mormonism within the Christian revivialist movement of the early 19th Century. For instance, "The religion Smith founded originated amid the great fervor of competing Christian revivalist movements in early 19th-century America, but departed from them in its proclamation of a new dispensation. Through Smith, God had restored the 'true church'--i.e., the primitive Christian church--and had reasserted the true faith from which the various Christian churches had strayed." Your theological arguments are becoming tendentious. We get it. You don't believe Mormons are Christians like yourself, and you base this on various theological arguments. You are very welcome to that view but we follow reliable sources here, not your theological opinion. Please stop treating this talk page like a forum.Griswaldo (talk) 12:36, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
I see now what your OED mistake was. What you linked to above is not the OED, it is Oxford's "World Dictionary". I have access to the OED through my academic institution and would not be able to link it in a way that others can see. Someone who also has access is welcome to verify what I wrote.Griswaldo (talk) 12:36, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
The Britannica only talks about the roots mormonism was coming from: competing Christian revivalist movements. You now want to tell me that this is a statement that shall lead us to define the LDS church to be christian? Because they were founded during a time of Christian revivalist movements we conclude that it is a christian religion? --217.5.199.242 (talk) 13:32, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
That's right, it only talks about it as a Christian revivalist movement, and it never says that it isn't Christian now. Using it as evidence that reliable sources claim the LDS church is not Christian is completely off base, and that is my point.Griswaldo (talk) 13:40, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
I was saying the Britannica doesn't define mormons to be a christian religion, which is correct. Also the Britannica article doesn't say mormons are a Christian revivalist movement like you claim, it speaks of a "religion [...] amid the great fervor of competing Christian revivalist movements." Whether that means mormons were found surrounded by competing Christian revivalist movements and themselves *not* one of them, or whether it means they are themselves seen as one of the competitors is not clear. The latter case would nevertheless not implicitly mean Britannica defining the LDS church to be a Christian religion. There is a difference between "Christian revivalist movement" and Christian religion. --217.5.199.242 (talk) 13:57, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
That does not mean that it isn't refering to it as a Christian religion. The exact classification of the LDS isn't not entirely agreed upon. Some prefer calling it a novel religious movement, a "religion", some a sect, but no one in the Academy denies its connection to Christianity. If you read on in the source I quoted above you'll see exactly who the objectors to the Christianity connection are. "Since then, mainstream Protestantism, especially the more evangelical and fundamentalist varieties, has generally been unwilling to consider Mormons as part of the Christian family, despite the continuing Mormon claims to being the one, true, authentic church of Jesus Christ, restored to usher in a new dispensation of the fullness of the Gospel." We already know this. Many Christians do not believe they are Christian, but we don't write from the religious perspectives of many Christians. You are rather clearly arguing from such a perspective however. I will not engage in this discussion any longer. I will revert any disruptive attempts to push this POV into the article itself. Otherwise I will ignore your talk page forum posts. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 14:05, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
So what you are trying to say, Griswaldo, is this: We write from the perspective of a small minority (mormons) and their self-belief as christians. That is: We ignore the majority of christians, and what they define as essentials of their religion. Honestly, I don't think this is a good way of writing encyclopedic articles, especially since it's not just the majority of christian churches, who see mormons differently, but a fair amount of scholars around the world. And even if scholars cannot find a final judegement on the issue, Wikipedia should not make the judgement instead and expose the mormons' view, by declaring them to be part of Christianity in the first sentence of its LDS church article. --217.5.199.242 (talk) 14:30, 1 April 2011 (UTC)

Someone here in this discussion tries to divide christians between "nicene christians" (those who accept the Nicene creed in 325) and non-nicene christians, of those who don't accept. I would like to acknowledge everybody that there is no such term as a "nicene christian", and that is where the mistake lies. Theologians see the Nicene creed as the minimal consensus of all christians in the world, and since mormons don't accept the creed, they don't belong to christianity. --217.5.199.242 (talk) 07:29, 1 April 2011 (UTC)

We certainly seem to have a lot of interested IP users, but if its not too much trouble, would you guys go register for an account? I'm not sure what Wiki etiquette says about suggesting that, so my apologies if I breached a protocol, but I think it would help in determining who is who. Thanks much. -- Avanu (talk) 14:09, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
In response to Oswaldo I have checked my Oxford English Dictionary, Second Edition as an electronic version and the OED's article about "mormon" goes as follows: "A member or adherent of a religious body, calling itself ‘The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints’, founded in 1830 at Manchester, New York, by Joseph Smith, on the basis of alleged Divine revelations contained in the ‘Book of Mormon’, which Smith professed to have translated by special inspiration from the original written on gold plates, miraculously discovered by himself." --77.191.216.54 (talk) 15:12, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
It's Griswaldo, and I am not sure about your edition, but the one I checked is the most up to date one available online (with a subscription or academic access).Griswaldo (talk) 15:17, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
Trying to use the OED to resolve the disagreement is silly, but I've got the same as Griswaldo through my work access:

A. n. 1. A member or adherent of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, a millenary Christian sect founded in 1830 at Manchester, New York, by Joseph Smith.

— "Mormon, n. and adj.". OED Online. March 2011. Oxford University Press. 1 April 2011 <http://oed.com/viewdictionaryentry/Entry/122273>

VernoWhitney (talk) 15:35, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
What are your thoughts on this wording:
"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (abbreviated as the LDS Church, and colloquially referred to as the Mormon Church) is a unique restorationist Christian religion"
-- Avanu (talk) 15:57, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
I have the same as Griswaldo and VernoWhitney through my university's library: "Mormon, n. and adj. Third edition, December 2002; online version March 2011. <http://0-www.oed.com.library.coastal.edu/Entry/122273>; accessed 01 April 2011. An entry for this word was first included in New English Dictionary, 1908." Ltwin (talk) 16:05, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
VernoWhitney: So what is your proposition? The minimal thing we should do is change the links in the first sentence like they are used in other articles about mormonism, e.g. mormonism or Latter Day Saint movement where "restorationist Christian religion/group etc." links to Christian primitivism and not to both Christian primitivism and Christianity. Besides this I would suggest that the article should be expanded in order to reflect the dispute among international scholars, and not just mention criticism from the roman-catholic church and other big churches. One of the criticisms that should be added in the "Comparisons with mainstream Christianity" section is that mormons believe in other scriptures than the Bible. --77.191.216.54 (talk) 16:06, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
This topic is not about improving the article, but it is about how to twist the article to meet the demands of anti-Mormons and those who have a narrow definition of Christian. A Christian is one who follows the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Anything else that is added to that definition is something that is defined by churches within Christianity, period. To go further with this topic is only to feed the behavior very similar to trolls. -StormRider 16:21, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
Please keep the conversation civil. -- Avanu (talk) 17:02, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
And incidentally, StormRider, although accurate, the definition you give relies on a lot of assumptions. If it were that simple, then we could just look at a person and instantly know if they were a follower of Christ. Additionally, if it were that simple, we could just use the word "Christian" without any qualifiers on ALL religious articles where the believers indicate a belief in Christ. Unfortunately, in the real world, we can't write articles in such a black and white fashion if we are trying to keep in line with being a resource for knowledge. Simplistic descriptions and dismissiveness of scholarship only serve ignorance. -- Avanu (talk) 17:08, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
(replay, never heard an answer above)What are your thoughts on this wording:
"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (abbreviated as the LDS Church, and colloquially referred to as the Mormon Church) is a unique restorationist Christian religion"
-- Avanu (talk) 17:45, 1 April 2011 (UTC)


From Wikipedia Article on Christianity: "As the identification of the Messiah with Jesus is not accepted within Judaism, the Talmudic term for Christians in Hebrew is Notzrim ("Nazarenes"), originally derived from the fact that Jesus came from the village of Nazareth in Israel.[15] However, Messianic Jews are referred to in modern Hebrew as יהודים משיחיים (Yehudim Meshihi'im).
Interestingly, we see that Jews can strictly see Christians as a sect within Judaism known as Nazarenes. Few Christians self-identify as Jewish, but does this point relate to our current discussion? I'm not sure, just trying to come to a place of what seems like a reasonable wording. By the way, still no comment on adding the word 'unique' above. If I don't hear an objection, I'll go ahead and add it tomorrow, so I do expect that you won't revert it then. Thanks. -- Avanu (talk) 02:05, 2 April 2011 (UTC)


I'm not actually sure where you are going with the reference to Judaism. Please explain how it relates to this discussion? Judaism and Christianity have been separate religions for a long time. Messianic Jews are not considered Jewish (in the religious sense) by other Jews who consider them Christians because they believe Jesus is the Christ. Check the WP article's talk page for an idea of how vibrant the debate is over there.
I don't see how that comparison really applies here. Judaism is a religion that views the Christian claim that Jesus is the Messiah and Son of God as contrary to the nature of God. Thus, Jews who accept Jesus as God are viewed by other Jews as no longer being Jewish but Christian, despite the claims of Messianic Jews that they remain Jews.
In the case of this article, we have a religious group (the LDS Church) which believes that Jesus is God and call themselves the true church of Christ. Then we have many other religious groups who also believe that Jesus is God and they deny the claims of the LDS that they are 1)the true church and 2)that they are Christians at all.
In the first case, the dispute is over is it possible to be a Christian and a Jew at the same time. In the second case, it is a dispute over 2 groups that both believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ. Ltwin (talk) 03:20, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
I would say that the 'second case' is a question over whether it is possible to be a Christian and Mormon at the same time. (just like the question over Jew and Christian at the same time)
In some ways of looking at things, you could call a Christian a Jew. (After all, the 'founder' of Christianty was a Jew). Let me present this a different way (and by the way, *still* no one has commented whether just adding 'unique' is ok).
If I say Christ is a guy who lived in Nazareth, and had a mother named Mary, and so on, but then I add in, "Jesus was an alien who was actually Xenu's brother (dictator of the "Galactic Confederacy"), is this still Christianity and can people who follow such a faith be called Christian? -- Avanu (talk) 03:37, 2 April 2011 (UTC)


Let me add, I find this debate a little odd. We say that those who defined 'Christian' for at least 1000 years of recorded Western history aren't reliable as sources for the definition of 'Christian', but a newer faith with revealed knowledge can add to that definition without a problem, and moreso, we are saying that the definitions provided by 'unbiased' scholars are superior sources to all of the above. This strikes me as somewhat silly given the item we are discussing. -- Avanu (talk) 03:42, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
But Mormons don't simply believe in Jesus so I don't know you are bringing up that argument. They believe that he is the Christ and that they are his church. This is why the debate "over whether it is possible to be a Christian and Mormon at the same time" is different from the debate over the possibility of being Christian and Jewish. In the latter case you are dealing with the question of whether believing that Jesus has a role as Messiah and God is compatible with being Jewish. In the case of this article, all sides agree that Jesus is the Christ and that he has a church; it's the details that are being fought over.
You cannot simply say that because Jesus was a Jew all Christians are Jewish in someway. Jesus was a Jew, but most of his followers today are Gentiles.
About your proposal: I don't have an opinion, but considering how touchy this article is I'd wait for more editor input. Ltwin (talk) 03:51, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
You do realize that Jew is both ethnic as well as a religious description? You can be ethnically Asian and religiously Jewish. -- Avanu (talk) 03:54, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
Yes, but in terms of Messianic Jews, the debate is over whether they are religiously still Jews. Just because you are born Jewish doesn't mean you can just believe what ever you want and still be considered true to the principles of the Jewish religion. "The Supreme Court of Israel has ruled that the Law of Return should treat Jews who convert to Messianic Judaism the same way it treats Jews who convert to Christianity.[25]" (Messianic Judaism) Ltwin (talk) 04:01, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
I simply mentioned the religious vs. ethnic distinction because of your mention of Jews and Gentiles. -- Avanu (talk) 04:19, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
Avanu, who has "defined 'Christian' for at least 1000 years"? Which one of the many hundreds of denominations? Ltwin (talk) 04:01, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
Despite their differences, Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant had a common understanding of what being Christian meant. (despite the Catholic church wanting to excommunicate people for leaving their church) -- Avanu (talk) 04:19, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
But that doesn't take into account the many movements throughout the history of Christianity that have not agreed with Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant ideas. They may have been suppressed and outnumbered by the 3 main branches. They may have lost the debate but they were in the debate. Just as Mormons are in the debate. Ltwin (talk) 04:46, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
Central to the religion of Judaism is the covenant God made with the Jewish people. That covenant involves worshiping God and only God. Thus, if an Asian decides to convert to Judaism that's possible, but he has to take on the responsibilities of the covenant. Christians are not Jewish because they do not follow the Mosaic Law which is an inherent part of the covenant. In Messianic Judaism, the Jewish laws and customs are voluntary and seen as cultural. Put that together with the worship of Jesus as God, other Jews question whether they are really Jews. The overwhelming consensus of the Jewish world considers them no longer Jewish but Christian. Ltwin (talk) 04:13, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
Christian thought is that Mosiac Law is being abided by via Jesus since all have fallen short. This places Christians inside the circle of Judaism if someone chooses to believe as such. My point is trying to say that somewhere, people generally decided to adopt a different designation, despite being part of or a continuation of the same religion. -- Avanu (talk) 04:19, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
The question we have to ask then is Mormonism morphing into a new religion distinct from Christianity? Many Christians surely think it is. However, that just makes them part of a struggle between Christians as to who represents and defines Christianity. They don't have to recognize each other as Christians, but the fact that they are arguing over issues such as the nature of Christ, the Godhead, the church, the canon and continuing revelation, legitimacy of baptism, etc., point to the fact that these are groups struggling within Christianity over how the religion will be defined. Ltwin (talk) 04:29, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
(now we're getting somewhere) :) Mormons seem to even disagree with Judaism as to what their common beliefs are. Jews believe in an Eternal God, rather than an Eternal Progression. Traditional Christians hold to the same belief, but believe that God may have 3 persons, or may be only God and Jesus is a separate being. In either case (Trinitarian or Non-), the concept of God being eternal is the same, it is just the fulness of God that is differed upon.
Regardless, I'm willing to stop debating if we simply toss a 'unique' in there, because it is in agreement with all sources, and it doesn't provide much bias, unlike what you claimed my other suggestions have been. -- Avanu (talk) 04:37, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
I thought your edits and comments suggested a bias towards a catholic (small c) consensus on how Christianity should be defined and delimited. It's not like that is horrible or anything. I'm Pentecostal and consider myself within the catholic tradition, and Mormonism to me personally is not truly Christian. However, I think its ludicrous to say that just because this consensus (which has always been challenged) was 1) made a long time ago and 2) that those groups who didn't conform in many cases were persecuted and suppressed and 3) that most groups that identify as Christian adhere to it today that it is somehow official and definitive and the end of the subject and that those outside of this consensus are thus not Christian. Ltwin (talk) 05:02, 2 April 2011 (UTC)

(Unindenting before this gets too ridiculous) I don't mean to interrupt the above discussion but, a few thoughts - Re: "unique" - I would object to this, partially because this is a very subjective assessment. What makes it unique? Couldn't unique be applied to almost every single Christian denomination? Most importantly for WP, what reliable source says that it is unique? Far better, imo, to qualify the type of Christianity (Restorianist Restorationist E gads, my spelling goes all pear-shaped late at night) which the current text already does and is more informative and matches better with the sources than the ambiguous "unique".

Second, Re: 'unbiased' scholars - Absolutely, for WP those sources are superior to sectarian (both LDS and non-LDS) theologians. That's the whole point of WP:RS, which is exactly the reasoning behind the existing consensus that has held for at least the last four years. Reliable academic sources, many which have been mentioned above by multiple editors and even more if you scan the discussion archives (for kicks, let me add another one - Encarta - Mormon), regularly place the LDS Church within Christianity. There's a reason religious study surveys like ARIS and ARDA and other religious censuses regularly include LDS in the larger Christianity group. But we have no academic source that puts it outside of Christianity (We have sources that don't say anything, but an absence of a definitive statement is not the same thing as a negative statement). That should be sufficient for us as editors - it is not for us to participate in the debate, only to report the debate and report the general consensus found in reliable sources. That is the question we as editors should ask, what do reliable sources say, and not debate in OR fashion amongst ourselves the definition of what is Christian. --FyzixFighter (talk) 05:11, 2 April 2011 (UTC)

FyzixFighter, I can't know whether you read the rest of this page above, but the answer to why 'unique' would be applied here is answered with Reliable Sources above. They are not simply Restorianist. They are uniquely different, and all sources say this. -- Avanu (talk) 05:52, 2 April 2011 (UTC)


I went and looked at that Encarta dictionary reference. It makes me laugh how simplistic it is.
Mormon
  • Same as Latter-Day Saint ( sometimes considered offensive ).
  • relating to Latter-Day Saints: relating to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
-- Avanu (talk) 05:56, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
Don't forget what it says right above the first definition: "Christianity". But you are right, it is laughable, but not unexpected for a dictionary definition. It makes as much sense, though perhaps a bit more, to base calling them Christian on that single reference, explicit as it may be, as it does to remove the label because, as the original anon-IP poster suggested, some other dictionary definition leave the question unanswered.
But to the more serious point, I have looked at the discussion above, but perhaps I'm not reading the cited sources the way that you are seeing them. What statements in which sources do you feel warrant saying "unique"? Why is "unique" necessary? What does including "unique" in the first sentence add to lead that isn't already there? I didn't mean to imply that they are simply "Restorationist" (I think I spelled it right this time), but that is the usual subcategory within Christianity in which they are placed and is similar to the articles on other Christian denominations. I think that for me, saying "unique" in the first sentence without any kind of qualification is too much like "teasing" the reader, which should be avoided in the lead. --FyzixFighter (talk) 09:01, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
All those of you who are trying to say that reliable sources all say that mormons are christians have not read the sources given above. If you count statistical surveys as profound sources of christianity and who belongs to it, you are wrong. The Britannica does not say mormons are christians (they discuss christian identity, but they don't define mormons to be christians), the Oxford English Dictionary in its Second Edition does not speak of a christian religion, although in its third edition it defines them to be a "chiliastic Christian sect" (if that is the term for a Christian religion, why didn't they just speak of a Christian religion then? Sect has a different meaning than religion, and the OED3 doesn't use words without careful thinking), the Theologische Realenzyklopädie, one of the most well-known encyclopedias of theology doesn't define them as christian, several english dictionaries do not, and moreover I just consulted one of the most prestigious scholarly sources of theology in english, the "Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church". Its article "mormons" does not see them as a christian religion. What else do I need to bring forth to you, that you accept, that there is a great dispute in the academic world, and in mainstream christianity, that mormons are a part of Christianity? In german there is a fair amount of academic publications in history, theology and sociology, that negate mormons' self-belief as christians, and some continue to claim that there is no dispute and want to stop this discussion? My opinion about this is that some tend to ignore what is going on in the established academic world (and world means world, not just some marginal universities and institutes in the US). If for you Britannica and Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church and Theologische Realenzyklopädie are not reliable sources for this subject, I don't know what anybody would call reliable. --77.191.216.54 (talk) 10:45, 2 April 2011 (UTC)

Besides this, FyzixFighter remarked, that there are no academic sources, that speak against them as a christian religion, and not just omit the term christian being applied. This is not true. There are quite a lot, that make negative statements and explain, why they don't see them as christians besides theologians of roman-catholic and lutheran universities. One of them is Theologische Realenzyklopädie, another is Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (www.bbkl.de) in its article "Smith, Joseph" refering to an english-language book by Mead "The Lively Experiment: The Shaping of Christianity in America". --77.191.216.54 (talk) 11:27, 2 April 2011 (UTC)

I have read each of your emminent sources for defining Mormon and chose to look up "Christian":
http://oxforddictionaries.com/view/entry/m_en_us1233018#m_en_us1233018
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/Christian
http://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/Christian_1
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/christian
Interestingly, none of the them provide a definition that excludes Latter-day Saints. Why would that be? Who should we believe now to define what is a Christian? I am very interested in your erudite answers. -StormRider 13:24, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
Because none of the general dictionaries in any language go into details about faith or theories. That's why they are called general dictionaries, not specialized dictionaries. If you want to find an answer what makes up christian faith you should consult dictionaries of theology, not general ones. You can look up what means buddhism, hinduism, islam and you will not get a thorough answer from general dictionaries as well. General dictionaries don't aim to give completeness but rather accurateness. For completeness you need to consult other sources like academic journals, specialized dictionaries, encyclopedias etc. --217.50.53.36 (talk) 14:54, 2 April 2011 (UTC)

Storm Rider, and to your question about who should be consulted to about what is a christian I already gave a lot of sources for that. Please read my previous comments, that include specialized dictionaries you can consult (it would be preferable if you understand other languages than english, like german, french, italian, latin to understand foreign academic references. Some christian theologians even argue that those who are not able to read ancient greek and hebrew/aramaic cannot do serious exegesis (interpretation) of the Bible, since these are the original languages and any translation is faulty, but I wouldn't go as far as that. Muslim and jewish scholars are much stricter about the value of original languages than christians.). It is true that we don't have a single authority that can define what is christian, but that is true for all knowledge of mankind, there is never just one authorative source that all must believe in, but a plurality of sources. Christian faith is based upon essentials that its followers believe in. While these essentials are not strictly given by just one organisation, like a law from a sovereign state, and while there is dispute among christians like there is dispute about all theories in the world, we should not think that there is no normative consensus between christians and academic sources prove this. Disputes and arguments don't mean there is no answer. And I would rather like to see an answer that experts and the majority of christians accept, not an answer that is only accepted by a minority of scholars and mormons. --217.50.53.36 (talk) 15:15, 2 April 2011 (UTC)

If you have refernces in French, Italian, Japanese, or Arabic please feel free to provide them. If it is in Latin, I am sure I could make it out. Two, no I disagree with your premise that so called "theology" texts are the ideal reference. They are only "specialized" for specific doctrines of specific churches. A plurality of theology books means nothing more than a different references for the same doctrines or similar doctrines. They are not, nor thave they ever been references for ALL Christians. The references I provided you state clearly, unequivically what a Christian is. None of them exclude the LDS or their Church. -StormRider 05:17, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
(afer ec): @anon-IP(s) First, as Avanu suggested above, would you please consider registering. It will make this discussion a bit easier. Second, since you have a preference for "Oxford Sources" then:
  • "The Oxford Companion to the Bible" - Mormonism and the Bible - "Mormons in the modern world remain Bible-believing Christians..."
  • "Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern World" - Mormonism - "The first prophet of this restoration of original apostolic Christianity, Joseph Smith Jr. (1805–1844),..."
  • "Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern World" - Christianity - "For discussion of individual Christian denominations, see the following entries: Anglicanism; Catholicism; Church of England; Church of Ireland; Church of Scotland; Methodism; Moravians; Mormonism; Nestorian Christians; Orthodox Christianity; Pentecostalism; Pietism; and Protestantism.]"
  • "The Oxford Companion to United States History" - Mormonism - "Initially the Book of Mormon and the doctrine of continuing revelation principally distinguished the LDS church from other forms of American Christianity." (emphasis mine - imo "other" implies that Mormonism is a form of American Christianity)
  • "The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church" - United States of America, Christianity in - Latter-day Saints are included, which implies (at least to me) that the Oxford people consider them Christian
So I think it's safe to say that the people in charge of the Oxford publications do consider the LDS Church to be Christian. This is really starting to get old anon-IP(s) - we've provided a number of academic sources now that include Mormonism within Christianity. At best you've provided one or two dissenting statements from a theological sources that imo don't meet the standards for academic reliable sources given in WP:RS. --FyzixFighter (talk) 15:31, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
Well, it appears that tedder was right. This debate is intractable. I've seen a lot of ducks and although this one has a beak and webbed feet, it also has a strange tuft of hair and speaks in a voice like William Shatner. I'm not sure its a duck, but I can't find an ornithologist that you accept as a reliable source. I like a little more accuracy than I feel the article provides at present, but I'd rather not stay in an intractable discussion for eternity. I think for a bit I'll go off and see what more we have in Wikipedia. -- Avanu (talk) 15:43, 2 April 2011 (UTC)

Break

It is an LDS article. They believe they are Christian. The article should state that. For credibility, it should probably also add that "some" Christian groups dispute this claim. (They all do, but not really important for this article).
We get this sort of thing all the time. Don't make a bigger deal out of it than it is. English speakers call a body of water the "Sea of Japan." The Koreans hate this and call it the "Eastern Sea." And so it is....in Korean articles. All the rest use the "Sea of Japan." Let's not rant on endlessly about one reference over another. At the end of the day, there will still be two povs. Each must be satisfied in its own way. But the majority must be allowed to prevail in general articles. Student7 (talk) 21:52, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
I just realized something. I know of no other Christian or Judaic religion that teaches "eternal progression" or exaltation - the ideas that God was once a man, and that men may become Gods. This is a significant divergence, and could be said to leave behind the common belief of Monotheism that is a part of Christianity. -- Avanu (talk) 05:51, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
That's your pov though. I could have a pov that Jesus' life is a perfect example of exaltation. So that fact alone doesn't really mean anything. The Trinity "could be said to leave behind the common belief of Monotheism" but we don't say that Trinitarian Christians are polytheists just because non-Trinitarian Christians, Judaism and Islam have a different idea of monotheism. Ltwin (talk) 17:51, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
Indeed, and so were the arguments about baptism. Avanu, I have to say this, but you're making a lot of original speculations here. We have sources. We know what they say. The talk page isn't for our own original analysis about what does or does not qualify as Christian. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 18:03, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
The idea that I'm making this up, and it is simply my POV is frankly obtuse to the point of stubborness. It isn't my point of view that Mormons have a teaching that "As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become." This is unequivocal. And it is something that no other Christian or Judaic religion teaches. I'm not making original research or original speculations, and honestly if that is your response to well-researched material, then I have no choice but to assume that you simply don't want to hear anything.
I really don't understand your unwillingness to pursue the subject when faced with clear evidence. A powerful feature of Judaism is the idea that they have one God whom they have a covenant with. ("Thou shalt have no other gods before me.") This understanding is a part of Christianity. The understanding of God for Trinitarians is that God is the same, but has different personas. That is the connection to Monotheism. The question to ask upon finding this fact with LDS, is how are they *also* Monotheists, or are they not.
My impression is that some editors are simply acting dismissively. The evidence of differentiation is unquestionable, the problem I see is an unwillingness of other editors to accept any of it. -- Avanu (talk) 18:26, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
No one said that you made that part up. It is your own original claim that 1) this means they are not monotheistic and 2) that this fact means they are not Christian. A whole lot of Jews and Muslims say that trinitarian Christians are not truly monotheists, but that doesn't mean that we say that Christianity is not a monotheistic religion. What matters, btw, is not whether or not reliable sources say that they are Monotheists. What matters is that sources say they are Christian. I have a source right here by my desk that calls them a "Christian polytheistic millenarian group," so the "not monotheistic" notion isn't completely novel -- though I have no idea if your reasoning of why is shared by my source. If you have good reliable sources that discuss the polytheism aspect then figure out ways to propose content changes, but don't use them to make your own original arguments about whether or not the group is Christian. The baptism issue was of a similar ilk. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 18:56, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
The only thing I am arguing for at this point is to add the word "unique". The arguments you (plural) have presented are substantive enough that it leads me to the conclusion that we can't take out the word "Christian". However, given the differentiation shown by sources, they are not your typical restorationist or Christian religion. -- Avanu (talk) 19:11, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
Do the sources say that they are a "unique Christian religion/sect"? All sects are unique by definition. You want to highlight the uniqueness. Great, supply the sources. That's really the only way to move forward. My objection is that you are not supplying sources just making your own arguments. I don't mean to sound harsh but you have to provide sources. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 19:16, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
Yes, the sources do say that, and I've shown/presented those above. My question was simply if I am going to get reverted if I add that one word in. I don't want to do it if we're just going to be back here debating it in 5 minutes. -- Avanu (talk) 19:19, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
Avanu said: "The question to ask upon finding this fact with LDS, is how are they *also* Monotheists, or are they not."
What are you talking about? I would highly recommend you read the following article before continuing (particularly the section entitled "Exclusion by special definition"). – Ajltalk 19:02, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

For all of the people who are arguing, please read this carefully (please feel free to read the rest of the article as well):

Why would anyone say such a thing? Isn’t the name of our church The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? Do we not worship Christ? Is not the Book of Mormon another testament of Jesus Christ? How could anyone seriously doubt that Latter-day Saints are Christians?


The purpose of this article is to help you understand why some people make this accusation. Knowing that, perhaps you can be more comfortable and knowledgeable in dealing with such views when you hear them expressed. [...] This article is meant to provide information and understanding rather than ammunition for disputes.

Robinson, Stephen E. "Are Mormons Christians?". lds.org. 

Thank you. – Ajltalk 21:00, 2 April 2011 (UTC)

Sorry to say, Ajl772, but the other editors have already struck down that sort of source as being unacceptable in this debate. But honestly with regard to the argument made in that quote, it is EXTREMELY poor argumentation. A great example of names not representing what seem to is found in politics. I could have a group called "Foundation for a Traditional America" that wants to institute Communism. Euphemistic and misleading names are not new. So an appeal that says "well it is in our name" is not at all a reasonable or convincing argument. What is most important is the actions or beliefs, not the name. -- Avanu (talk) 19:11, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
No, what is most important is what the expert sources say. Period. This is getting close to hat worthy as off topic. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 19:13, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
A bit of an argumentative answer, Gris, but yes, in Wikipedia, what expert sources say is what matters. That was a bit off the point from what I was explaining to Ajl772 above, but yes, to reiterate, in Wikipedia, what expert sources say is what matters. -- Avanu (talk) 19:18, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
I'm sorry about that but I'm getting a bit exasperated. I mean that much of this conversation is hat worthy/off topic. We need to focus on what sources say and find ways to improve the article based on those sources, instead of these hypothetical discussions about what is or is not Christian (or unique). Thanks.Griswaldo (talk) 19:21, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
Some of you are making it harder than it ought to be, I think. But how about in future, I'll just bring a source each time I bring a comment. I'm really not certain why there is such a hard line opposition to including minor changes when the (non-religious)(social science) sources that I have found support those changes, but I can't read minds, so I suppose that's where we are at. -- Avanu (talk) 19:25, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── From that article I referenced (yes, I know you don't like it, but deal with it): "However, if a special definition is created under which Christian means “only those who believe as I do,” then others might claim Latter-day Saints aren’t Christians—but all this would really mean is that while Mormons believe in Christ, we don’t believe exactly as they do."
What exactly do you have a problem with there? The EXACT same can be said about other "Christian" religions by other "Christian" religions (and in fact, has been). Why do you refuse to accept that your POV is not the only POV? – Ajltalk 19:32, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

Ajl772, its not that I don't like the article you presented. It is that the logic that just because a name includes a word, it must logically be compatible with that word. Is "Church of Christ" a church wherein Christ is preached? Maybe. But not necessarily. It is the name, not the behavior. This isn't about what I believe or do not believe, it is about sources. I believe the sources show a result and my fellow editors disagree that the sources presented show that result. This shouldn't become a personal "you believe this" or "I believe that" argument. It is about researching and finding reliable sources. -- Avanu (talk) 19:43, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
Agree. This is not a matter of "marginalizing" Mormons or making Mormons "feel bad." This is a matter of accepting two truths. One truth is that Mormons believe they are Christian. The other truth is that no other Christian religion accepts that. We use the Mormon one for Mormon articles. The non-Mormon one for non-Mormon articles (which is easy enough) and for general articles. The latter is a bit tough, but there are more non-Mormon reliable sources and members than there are Mormon ones.
This is not about winning an argument that cannot be won! Student7 (talk) 19:50, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
Just asking, but how do you have a 'Mormon' or 'non-Mormon' Wikipedia article? -- Avanu (talk) 19:56, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
There are three POVs here. 1) Mormons, 2) other Christians and 3) SCHOLARSHIP ON RELIGION. This has nothing to do with 1 or 2, and we don't write an encyclopedia based on 1 or 2 either. Griswaldo (talk) 20:39, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
Student7: It is not about winning. It is about giving a neutral point of view. We know the point of view of mormons, we know the one from the tradition churches. You seem to argue, that this is like a fight between the two. I don't want that. I want to pay attention to academics, that follow objectivity and find an answer to the question what christian faith defines and whether mormons follow this faith or not. Your suggestion is this: We just let anybody describe himself as christian, and then we as an encyclopedia define him to be christian because it is his own understanding and we cannot object. For me this is a form of surrender to the complexity of the subject. This leads to arbitrariness in religious subjects. And if we really find out that conflicting opinions cannot be brought to a conclusion, then we should just omit the information of christianity like some dictionaries given above do. --77.7.115.228 (talk) 20:34, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
Student7 said: "The other truth is that no other Christian religion accepts that."
I'm going to have to emphatically disagree with that. I have a source that says otherwise.

A slim majority of the public (52%) says that Mormonism is a Christian religion, while nearly one-in-three (31%) say that Mormonism is not a Christian religion. White evangelicals stand out for their view that the Mormon religion is not Christian: a 45% plurality says that Mormonism is not Christian, while 40% say it is. Among white evangelicals who attend services at least weekly, 52% believe that the Mormon religion is not Christian.

By contrast, large majorities of white mainline Protestants (62%) and white non-Hispanic Catholics (59%) say that Mormons are Christians. In addition, those with no formal religious affiliation also say that the Mormon religion is Christian by a wide margin (59%-25%).

http://people-press.org/2007/09/25/public-expresses-mixed-views-of-islam-mormonism/3/

Therefore, I've thus proved that you are either (1) a liar, or (2) misinformed (I'll AGF and assume the second). Please check to make sure your statements are backed up before you make false accusations. Cheers! – Ajltalk 22:38, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
I saw that and it looks like the Pew survey. The reason that I didn't use it as a source was because it represents a poll of the public, rather than a scholastic look at the religion. It *does* however present a viewpoint that regular people consider it a Christian religion. But according to some of my co-editors, we can't use these kinds of sources, because they aren't good enough. Also, AJL, please try and use less inflammatory terms. Just because someone expresses a different point than you doesn't mean they lied or had the intent to lie.-- Avanu (talk) 22:51, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
And even if we would use it as a valid source the problem about it is, that we should not judge based upon the opinion of a majority of people. Regular people are not authorative since they lack the competence theologians have. Rather than looking at what regular christians have to say about this question, I would like to see such a poll asking theologians about it. Besides all this the truth doesn't lie in statistics. We should not believe a statistical majority can define what is true and what not. We should cling to the better arguments, preferably coming from reliable sources by respected scholars, in order to use quality instead of quantity. --77.7.115.228 (talk) 23:08, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
Unfortunately, some of my fellow editors will not even allow the use of the opinions of 'theologians' in many cases. They claim bias there and accordingly will not permit it to be used as a source either. -- Avanu (talk) 23:12, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
You are right Avanu, there are quite some theologians who only apply the doctrines of their own churches on others. However, I would not go as far as calling all serious theologians as biased. Of course they have a certain perspective, but all scientists have a certain perspective, not just those in religions (you will not find professors in astronomy, that wouldn't believe in laws of nature, since that is what their science is based upon. However, if you are learned in philosophy you know that there have been debates and there are still debates going on about whether the laws scientists found in the world are universal and independent of them, or if they are man-made and only can be seen so by those who want to see them. Put in another way: scientists don't like chaos, they want to see order and reason in anything happening in the world, everything must be explained and put into a formula somehow. Whether the world is ordered or not, is a question of perspective and none can reach the archimedean point, so all is relative in our world, nothing is absolute.). I think theologians are the only ones that can define what christian faith is based upon based upon its history and its culture and practices in today's world, because this is an internal question of christianity. While outsiders sure can acquire an expert knowledge into christian faith, it is rare that someone coming from another profession can judge in areas he did not primarily study in. Nonetheless I wouldn't exclude such sources, as long as they are thorough and go into details. --77.7.115.228 (talk) 23:42, 3 April 2011 (UTC)


Some like Griswaldo see no point in continuation of this discussion as they think there are no expert sources that see mormons as falling out of christianity, which is absolutely wrong, because if it would be true, then OED2 and Britannica would clearly say so (and the other general english dictionaries given in the first section of this page as well). But they don't and OED3 says it's a millennian christian sect, which is different to the picture the article wants to give. There were sources of foreign languages too, which seemed not worthy to be discussed, which is not good academic and encyclopedic style. Academics rely on international sources, which you can also see in the amount of foreign-language specialized dictionaries on christianity (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_encyclopedias_by_branch_of_knowledge#Religion). By ignoring authorities around the world, and focusing on US american statistical surveys, the article is biased, because we are not talking about a US specific subject, but as far as I can tell after looking at reliable sources non-english academics tend to be against mormons' inclusion into the christian family. The english Wikipedia should not be the forum of US point of view in rejection of the european view, but rather aim for a world view that accepts all different perspectives. --77.7.115.228 (talk) 20:19, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
I agree that this is a rather pointless discussion, but as someone brought it up, and there hasn't been any consensus on what to change it to, I think the need for more discussion needs to take place. – Ajltalk 22:38, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
IMO the article is quite well-written, but the introduction should be made more neutral (not state that LDS church is a christian religion in the very first sentence without any clarification that this is disputed). Furthermore the criticism by mainstream christianity, which is included in the article already, should be widened to include the academic world. Not just traditional christian churches are against the classification, but also some theologians, sociologists and historians. As was shown before so many times, dictionaries and encyclopedias don't stress the point of a christian religion, but use more general terms like "a religious body or movement" or a "syncrestistic religion". Wikipedia should be restrained too, and not take position for something that is so greatly disputed. This is not a case about the rights of minorities to call themselves the way they want to, thereby using Wikipedia as a platform for their own purposes. This is a case about the credibility of Wikipedia as an objective encyclopedia. --77.7.115.228 (talk) 23:24, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

What's the point?

Ok, this is getting quite ridiculous. What was the initial problem sentence/paragraph, and what was the problem with it? Let's drop all discussion of whether or not the LDS Church is or is not Christian, since (apparently according to everyone in the world) it is not. Why not just change the entire page to an anti view? As this rate, it seems that would make everyone MUCH happier. – Ajltalk 23:37, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

Be patient and rational please. Of course there are people that see mormons as christians. Furthermore you didn't get the point of the discussion. Wikipedia doesn't want to present a pro or anti view. Wikipedia wants to give a neutral view, based upon what the majority of authorative sources say. At least that's how I understand the principle of NPOV. --77.7.115.228 (talk) 23:46, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
I am being perfectly rational. You say: "majority of authorative sources". However, "based upon what the majority of authorative sources", Mormonism is not Christianity. Therefore, Wikipedia can not be allowed to present a "neutral" point of view, considering that NO authoritative sources say that Mormons/LDS are Christians. Since there are no authoritative sources that say Mormons/LDS are Christians (aside from the obviously Mormon/LDS POV that they are) the whole article needs to be re-written to support the only POV that is upheld by authoritative sources. – Ajltalk 23:53, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
Actually, there *are* authoritative sources that we all have agreed on that do say that LDS Mormonism is Christianity. That's why we are at an impasse. I believe the preponderance of evidence shows that there is considerable questioning as to whether LDS is 'fully' Christian (whatever that means) or a unique type of Christianity or a sect or cult. Anyway, there are sources for both points of view, so we discuss. -- Avanu (talk) 00:04, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
Really? Where are they? I can't find any of them anywhere that do not have an obvious conflict of interest (i.e. being Mormon scholars).
Also, to refute your point "whether LDS is 'fully' Christian (whatever that means) or a unique type of Christianity or a sect or cult": the EXACT same can be said by ANYONE that opposes any other "Christian" religion: "Religion X is not a Christian region because they don't believe Y that we believe in". – Ajltalk 00:10, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
Read the thread above, we've already covered a lot of sources at length. And you weren't refuting my point, by the way, I was making the same point. Oh my. -- Avanu (talk) 00:35, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
"I was making the same point." Really? I don't see that anywhere. Do you have a diff to show that? If you do, I will retract my statement. – Ajltalk 00:42, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
Also, I've read the above threads to see where these sources are. I can't seem to find them. Would you mind pointing them out to this apparent idiot? – Ajltalk 00:46, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
You're not an idiot, let me find that for you, one sec. -- Avanu (talk) 00:52, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
OK, a couple that I found quickly were:
StormRider 13:24, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
FyzixFighter (talk) 15:31, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
Also, I just noticed that you made an edit a few moments ago, to say that LDS consider themselves Christian. This was an edit that I initally proposed, but until the Talk page reaches a consensus on wording, people should avoid making such changes. (funny, it feels like I'm debating the opposite side now) -- Avanu (talk) 00:54, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
Ok, first off, the references provided by StormRider did not explicitly discuss Mormons, just Christians in general. The multiple various other sources provided refute that Mormons are Christians for various reasons. Second, the references provided by FyzixFighter are from several publications by a single source (Oxford). Obviously, Oxford is mistaken in this regard, since there are several hundred more sources that state the opposite.
Also, as is obvious from past history, there is not, nor ever will be, a consensus on what is considered NPOV regarding whether or not Mormons are Christians. So the only way that we can avoid future pointless debate about this is to say that Mormons consider themselves Christians.
Finally, let me state for the record that I have the POV that Mormons ARE Christians. – Ajltalk 01:47, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
Well that was my idea originally from a few days ago, but the other editors vetoed that as a biased point of view. -- Avanu (talk) 01:58, 4 April 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────My question is this: How is that biased? It's the only way to avoid pointless debate on whether they are or not, regardless of whether or not it's biased. – Ajltalk

Ajl since you say that the preponderance of reliable sources say Mormons are not Christian, could you please mention some? Ltwin (talk) 02:53, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
Whoops, I still had this on my watchlist, so I'll answer you, though after this, I will no longer have it there (see below).
Per the lousy rationale above, I don't need to mention these sources, since they've already been mentioned before on this talk page.
Ajltalk 03:04, 4 April 2011 (UTC)

re 208.64.90.158

You reverted my edit, using the ES: "rv - I don't know if you're trying to make a WP:POINT but the majority of academic sources (as was shown on the talk page) also consider them Christian".

I see no majority of academic sources asserting that Mormons are Christians. What I do see on the talk page: Only ONE academic source considers them Christian (Oxford), and NUMEROUS academic sources stating otherwise. Yes, I am trying to make a point, and here it is:

This debate is getting quite ridiculous, pointless and STUPID!

Hope the rest of you have fun with this pointless debate. I am going to step out of this stupid discussion now. If you wish to contact me, do so at my talk page. Good luck. – Ajltalk 02:43, 4 April 2011 (UTC)

Sources that contradict current Wiki definition of the LDS church as a christian religion

Because some of you deny that there are sources disputing the WP article's definition, let's provide some sources that don't say mormons are christians, as Ltwin requested, once again repeating what has been given above:

  1. OED2 nowhere mentions that mormons are christians (I refer to the published version not available for free on the internet)
  2. Britannica discusses a christian classification for mormons, but leaves the point open: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/392525/Mormon
  3. http://oxforddictionaries.com/view/entry/m_en_gb0534500#m_en_gb0534500
  4. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/mormons
  5. http://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/Mormon
  6. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/latter-day+saint?show=0&t=1301492718
  7. Theologische Realenzyklopädie (one of the most scholarly resources for christianity in german language denies mormons the attribution by stating the arguments given above already)
  8. Oxford Dictionary of The Christian Church does not state mormons to be christians in its article "mormons", but does include them into the history of christianity in the United States of America. While this may be a clear classification for some, for me it is not.
  9. http://www.ekd.de/ezw/Lexikon_103.php (an encyclopedia on religious movements by the evangelian church in Germany, authors tend do be very objective and critical and not biased)
  10. http://www.bbkl.de/s/smith_j.shtml (BBKL is one of the international expert sources on biographies of religious persons of significance in history) expresses full rejection against mormons seeing the LDS church as a christian church with reference to Mead "The Lively Experiment: The Shaping of Christianity in America".
  11. Dellwing "Die entprivatisierte Religion: Religionszugehörigkeit jenseits der Wahl?" sociological work, page 125, rejection by giving the argument of the Book of Mormon as another "holy scripture" besides the Bible.
  12. Osterhammel "Die Verwandlung der Welt" historian's work about world history of the 19th century, p. 1270 states that it is disputed until today whether mormons are christians.

This was not all I could find, but I hope people stop being ignorant about academic disputes about the issue. The amount of sources should suffice. --217.5.199.242 (talk) 07:24, 4 April 2011 (UTC)

What a wonderful little list you have made again for us. True, it is repetitive, but repeating something does not make it accurate. Please provide a definition of what is a Christian. I look forward to your response. Cheers, -StormRider 10:57, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
Kind of a poor response, Storm. If I provided an exhaustive list, you would find fault with it.
But.... I'm game for impossible tasks. :)
First and foremost, a Christian must believe in Christ. What exactly does this mean? I would say it means that you believe in a historical figure who was born in Bethlemhem around 2000 years ago to a woman named Mary, who was pledged to a man named Joseph, lived and preached in and around Jerusalem, raised in Nazareth, who died on a Roman cross, and was resurrected from the dead, and then ascended into Heaven. This would be a man who was more than a man, spoke with God, filled with what he called the Holy Spirit. This man would fully believe in and live his life according to Jewish law; he would teach that law and his interpretation of it to others. According to John 1, he would be also be God, and his statements occasionally would put him at odds with other Jews who believed in only one God. John 10:33 "We are not stoning you for any good work," they replied, "but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God." This is not an exhaustive description, and it would be hard to fully describe someone who is a deity.
Second, a Christian must be faithful to and do works in response to what this and only this Christ taught. Typically this would involve an understanding of sins being forgiven by God through Christ's atonement alone, and not by one's actions personally, but that actions in keeping with those teachings would be a natural response. Typically such an examination must be made on a personal basis, however, a religion that would teach something opposite to that would not be considered Christian.
Now, you wouldn't ask this unless you wanted to know how this applied to LDS Mormons. The Christ of traditional Christianity is an eternal being. The God of traditional Christianity is an eternal being. In Mormon theology, Christ was a creation of God, and God was a creation by another God. In LDS theology, rather than being eternal, the two are organized from an eternal pre-existing state into their current forms. In traditional Christianity, a human being is created for the first time here on Earth. In LDS theology, a human being is created in the aforementioned spiritual pre-existence, and then sent to Earth as a test to learn and grow (part of their eternal progression theory). In traditional Christianity, there is simply a Heaven and Hell (incidentally purgatory has been debunked by the Pope)(Dante's story is simply that, a story), and the full description of each is left unsaid. In LDS theology, there is a layered afterlife, involving 3 levels (plus 1 more for absolutely hideous people). In traditional Christianity, a believer can be exalted in Heaven to live forever, but is still just a human being. In LDS theology, a person who prepares properly can achieve Godhood or even exceed God.
On a day to day basis, the rituals and rites that traditional Christians perform, versus LDS Mormons are different. Although in some traditional congregations men and women sit apart, it is done simply out of propriety. In LDS, honorable men are perceived as having the Priesthood, and go through a set of rituals to re-inforce this. Women in LDS have no such authority, and have a charity that was established almost as an afterthought by one of Joseph Smith's wives. These two groups sit in separate meeting areas during their portion of the weekly meetings. Baptism is practiced differently by various Christian groups, but in no group that this editor has heard of are the dead baptized. This is a common and encouraged practice in LDS theology. Marriage ceremonies in LDS are not 'death til you part' but for 'time and eternity', which refers to being sealed and married still in the afterlife.
In short, there are dozens of such examples, but how many does it take in order for such a group to be considered different and unique? Or further, to be considered not Christian? I await your answer, which I feel is certain to be dismissive of the above. -- Avanu (talk) 11:39, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
Storm Rider: My list contains reliable sources, respected scholarly works referenced by many other academics. I am sorry to not provide a list of hundreds of sources, but quantity is not what counts in science, quality is what counts. If you cannot consult the specialized academic works, because you don't have them or don't have access to scientifical libaries, I can only repeat arguments to you in a condensed version which have been repeated so often: acceptance of additional scriptures other than the Bible and thus belief in other prophets; belief in the theosis / deification of man (the possibility for man to become a God, and moreover the controversial LDS church' understanding of God as a power that once was a human being); the church' claim to be the only true church of christianity and the lack of dialog with christian churches (mormons are not a member of the World Council of Churches or other Christian ecumenical organizations); the refusal of the church to accept the Nicene creed, seen by some scholars and officials as the only dogma every christian should believe in. --217.5.199.242 (talk) 12:02, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
I have happy that you would like to provide thousands of sources, but saying they exist and reality are reallly two different things. I caution you on your use of such agrandizing language of your personal opinion. It does nothing to build your position and makes it sound as if you really are not interested in reality, but only promoting your opnion.
Providing biased sources of theologians that only promote their doctrinal position is worthless. We already know what Catholics and others think about the LDS Church; guess what? The LDS Church thinks the same thing about their doctrinal positions.
What you have attempted to do is explain what is not Christian. I have asked you, repeatedly, to explain what IS a Christian. Do you have an answer or are you just afraid of answering? I have provided several definitions and all of them do NOT disqualify the LDS Church from being Christian. Now, for the last time, what is a Christian? -StormRider 13:32, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
Listing sources that do not classify the LDS church as Christian is not the same as listing sources that classify the LDS Church as "not Christian". This is a subtle but monumental difference. The sources that specifically state the LDS Church is not Christian seem to typically be targeted at an Evangelical audience, which apparently has exclusive requirements regarding belief and doctrine. We are not using the Evangelical, but rather, the scholarly, definition for "Christian", which does not require belief in trinitarianism or sola scriptura. ...comments? ~BFizz 13:05, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
The debate is not about explicitly saying "not Christian" in the article. The debate is about omitting the use of "Christian" (classification). If you look at the sources I have given you will find some that explicitly state mormonism is no part of christianity and don't share the evangelical view. I want to see the article being more restrained in its wording and classifications, since that is the way the topic is handled in other references as well. Let's not be pretentious about something that is not widely accepted. Wikipedia is not a platform for religions to expose themselves in the way they want. Rather I would like to see more carefulness to take place, so heated discussions like this don't arise all the time. After all it is a question of NPOV still. --217.5.199.242 (talk) 13:18, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
I am sorry, but what you are asking is for a narrow, anti-Mormon, cultist view of the LDS Church. Our policies of neturality to not allow for this soapbox. Cheers. Oh, and I am still waiting for a definition for being a Christian. I understand why you are delaying, but let's put all the cards on the table. If you would like, please use a definition from the Bible; feel free. As the Word of God, it is viewed as one of the ultimate sources for defining the followers of Jesus Christ; the Lord that all Christians are supposed to follow. I would think he would have something to say about it. -StormRider 13:32, 4 April 2011 (UTC)


Regarding the hat: it is important for us to come to a consensus of what definition of "Christian" we are using in order to determine whether it is appropriate to so label the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I suggest that, on Wikipedia, when we say "Christian", we are referring to any church that professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ. This seems, to me, to be a sensible definition that doesn't need to delve into doctrinal details about the trinity, scripture, or even the origin of the church in question. Don't forget the Latter Day Saint movement is in Category:Top-importance Christianity articles.

It almost seems redundant to say the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christian given this suggested definition. Indeed, we could leave off the "is Christian", except for the fact that we classify the church as "restorationist", with a piped link to Christian primitivism. Since we pipe the link, in order to not confuse the reader with other forms of restorationism, it only makes sense to state "restorationist Christian". ...comments? ~BFizz 17:32, 4 April 2011 (UTC)

it is important for us to come to a consensus of what definition of "Christian" we are using in order to determine whether it is appropriate to so label the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Absolutely not. This is what's getting so frustrating. Read WP:V. It is important for us to follow the sources. We cannot possibly know what exact definition of Christianity is being applied in them, we can only know that they use the term to describe Mormonism. It is not up to us to decide on a definition of Christianity and then to decide what does or does not belong in the category. That's WP:OR. Can we actually discuss something related to improving the entry now. Thanks.Griswaldo (talk) 18:21, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
I believe this line of discussion has been about improving the article. As you say, this is about verifiability and accuracy with relation to our sources. According to many, this is in dispute, and as you have pointed out many times, we need to provide sources. -- Avanu (talk) 18:26, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
Griswaldo: Before you continue to hide away my compilation of sources, please explain to everyone of us, why you would want to do that. What is so wrong about giving a summary of the long discussion above? Please be precise in your explanation why you want to block away references I have given, which have been mentioned before as well. --217.50.63.180 (talk) 20:01, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
Give it a rest. The sources are not on your side. WP:IDIDNOTHEARTHAT is the problem here. You are a POV pusher with a specific Christian POV about the LDS and you want us to bow to this POV as opposed to following reliable sources. This is becoming disruptive.Griswaldo (talk) 20:45, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
Griswaldo: How should I refuse "to get the point" if you have not given it so far. We had disputes about the exact formulations in the articles referenced, but you have not replied to my textual criticism of your inaccuracies in citing sources. What you want to apply to me WP:IDIDNOTHEARTHAT, rather seems to apply to yourself, since you don't get the point that all sources given above, don't clearly define mormons as christians, like we do in the WP article. Please pick out any of the twelve sources given in this section, and cite the exact sentence in which mormons are defined as christians. --217.50.63.180 (talk) 21:29, 4 April 2011 (UTC)


Gris, and others, please take a look at the following source, it is part of the Encyclopedia of Mormonism, and it has its own sources also. http://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Mormonism,_An_Independent_Interpretation
-- Avanu (talk) 22:27, 4 April 2011 (UTC)

"Are Mormons Christian?" question closed for a 7 day cooling-off period

On 31 March 2011, Tedder, a fellow administrator, notified editors about the recent ArbCom findings about the proper use of talk pages. Although several editors have worked to try to steer the discussion away from the theoretical and toward specific issues relating to improving this article, the main tenor of the discussion has been about trying to prove whether or not Mormons are objectively Christian. There is a point when discussions on talk pages balloon into something that is counterproductive and disruptive. I think we were past that point when Tedder raised the issue, and we are even more past that point here. My intention is not to heavy-handedly squash legitimate discussion, but I think we need a cooling off period. So I am modifying the Wikitext to show that the above discussions are closed for now. I suggest we take a breather on this issue for at least the next 7 days, during which time the above discussions on the theoretical "are Mormons Christian?" question should not be re-opened, and new discussions on this topic should not be initiated. Feel free to move such discussions to a user talk page. COGDEN 22:38, 4 April 2011 (UTC)

COGDEN: Can you please tag the article page? The article's neutrality is disputed as long as this issue is not solved. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 217.50.63.180 (talk) 22:54, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
Finally - thank you COGDEN - I was thinking about doing this myself yesterday but didn't get around to it.--Descartes1979 (talk) 23:35, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
The 7 day cool time has my support. ...comments? ~BFizz 00:40, 5 April 2011 (UTC)
The implication of this is that editors were not being civil or productive. I would not say that just because an issue recieves attention and much discussion that it is necessarily 'un-cool', theoretical, or non-specific. My impression of the discussion was that people are working to legitimately improve the factual basis of the article. I have seen for the past few weeks a constant debate on what to name the article originally titled "2011 Libyan uprising" to "2011 Libyan civil war" or "2011 Libyan conflict". Some editors might see these debates as unnecessary or off-topic, but we spend time as a community vigorously debating such things because we want to strive for a high standard of excellence and accuracy. Striking down civil debate just because it might not be something a certain editor wants to discuss, doesn't lead to a better comprehension and cooperation. It just leads to censorship. -- Avanu (talk) 00:48, 5 April 2011 (UTC)
@Avanu, I have responded on my talk page. @217.50.63.180, you should be able to try to tag the article. I'm not taking any position right now on whether a tag is appropriate. COGDEN 04:36, 5 April 2011 (UTC)
I have removed the "discussion closed" templates above. COGDEN 23:06, 11 April 2011 (UTC)

About Consensus

I made a change and it was reverted by Gris based on no consensus. I repeated the change, indicated the reasons - Reliable Source, Additional Accuracy, etc, and this was reverted again by VernoWhitney with the same reasoning. Sadly, having an imminently reliable source with wording that is accurate and neutral isn't enough for some of my fellow editors. Unequivocal statements seem to be the preference. The viewpoint about and attitude toward LDS is one that is highly disputed. This article states in unequivocal terms what LDS "is", ignoring that dispute entirely. This just doesn't strike me as being an unbiased position for the page to take. So, if you're asking for consensus, I would hope you're also willing to work *with* others rather than just saying others aren't working with you. -- Avanu (talk) 13:04, 8 April 2011 (UTC)

I reverted because you changes are clearly contested (as in the closed rambling discussions above), and yet you seem determined to adjust the wording without being bothered to wait for discussions to resume on the 11th. The point of closing the discussion is to cool down the conversation, not to make controversial edits on the very subject that lead to the heated discussion in the first place. Cheers. VernoWhitney (talk) 13:22, 8 April 2011 (UTC)
Your wording is pretty biased. "rambling", "controversial", "heated discussion". The change I made is well researched and the only problem I see is that others are set on unequivocal language being the only choice. The new language doesn't refute the assertion made in the original text, it just clarifies the matter. -- Avanu (talk) 14:04, 8 April 2011 (UTC)
So let's wait till the cool off period is over. The entry isn't going anywhere. Thanks.Griswaldo (talk) 14:59, 8 April 2011 (UTC)
Even that its classification is disputed is ignored by some here. Do you really think after the long discussions above, that any reasonable person can deny, that there is a dispute? So if people block additions to the article mentioning a dispute it shows their ignorance, more than anything else. I am afraid with such people a serious discussion cannot really take place. --77.191.208.36 (talk) 16:54, 9 April 2011 (UTC)
Well, for me, I've tried to take into account the requests and sources of the other editors and come up with a middle of the road approach that lets everyone have a 'win'. Not sure it is perceived that way by all, but it is what I'm trying to do. -- Avanu (talk) 17:11, 9 April 2011 (UTC)
It seems that the article flips back and forth between two counter-proposals. In my experience, the easiest way to resolve such issues, without it devolving into an edit war, is to see if there is a way to side-step the disputed issue. Here are my thoughts:
  1. We clearly cannot say, without qualification, that the LDS Church is a "Christian religion". This is the view of Mormons and many secular writers, but not the view of evangelicals and some other Christians, which represent a significant perspective. Under the principle of WP:DUE, we must give lip service to all prominent perspectives, regardless of whether we as editors believe they are "right" or "wrong".
  2. Simply stating what Mormons "view themselves" to be Christian seems a little wishy-washy. Although I think this is consistent with WP:N, I think it is better if possible to write positive statements that reflect a scholarly consensus, rather than just presenting one side together with language such as "views itself" that undermines that view but doesn't fully explain why that view is undermined.
  3. The second paragraph has more space to discuss how the LDS Church or Mormonism relates to Christianity. Although the second paragraph has problems, any statement in the first paragraph of whether or not the LDS Church is, or is not, Christian, is going to be redundant with material in the second paragraph.
  4. The name of the church gives the reader some clue that the church has something to do with Jesus Christ. So it's not like someone reading the first paragraph would assume that the LDS Church is a Buddhist or Islamic organization, so that the reader has to be immediately corrected by mentioning Christianity.
Therefore, I think we should just skip over the issue in the first paragraph, and address the real issue in the second paragraph. For example, we can write something like this: "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (...) is the largest and predominant church within Mormonism, a religious tradition founded by Joseph Smith, Jr. in Upstate New York in the late 1820s. Then, in the second paragraph, we can address the issue with positive statements for which there are a consensus. For example, we could say that Mormonism originated within Christian primitivism, but evolved into a new religious tradition as Smith and his successors provided new revelations. COGDEN 23:50, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
It sounds reasonable and neutral and seems to work with the overall situation. -- Avanu (talk) 12:12, 13 April 2011 (UTC)
I'm not sure that's supported by the sources though. The idea that it evolved out of Christianity into a "new religious tradition" comes from Jan Shipps, who is of course one of the foremost experts on Mormonism, but "new religious tradition" isn't the usual description in reference works, etc..Griswaldo (talk) 12:26, 13 April 2011 (UTC)
What is your view of what the sources are supporting then? -- Avanu (talk) 12:35, 13 April 2011 (UTC)
Since you might be busy and haven't responded yet, I thought I might mention that the Jan Shipps article in EOM has sources associated with it, and it is the first article I have seen that presents the great divide between traditional Christianity and LDS as an idea of 'dispensation', rather than just 'they're heretics, burn them at the stake!'. It actually strikes me as a dispassionate and rational sort of approach, and I'm willing to acknowledge it as such. I still can only guess what you are suggesting the sources support, but if it is the idea that the rest of Christianity accepts Mormonism or LDS specifically as just another run of the mill part of Christianity, I don't see how that's even possible, unless the other group hasn't looked into what Mormons believe. It is so strikingly different when one looks at it, that it seems truly unreasonable to suggest it is the same. If a Mormon wants to call themselves by the label "Christian", that is their choice, but their definition of what goes into that label is vastly different from what others who label themselves Christian see as the definition. I can't see it being honest to say "these people call themselves Christian and those people call themselves Christian, so they are the same". It is just intellectually dishonest. -- Avanu (talk) 11:17, 14 April 2011 (UTC)
The position you put forward has always surprised me. Are there any beliefs in Christianity that surpass the understanding that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God; born of the Virgin Mary; lived a perfect life; was crucified for the sins of the world; rose the third day; appeared to his disciples; returned to the Father and sits on His right side; and will return one day. Any Christian, theologian, church, sect, denomination, academic, scholar must cast the belief in Jesus as the Christ aside in place of what is considered more important. A belief that is held in such high esteem or value that any variance automatically casts the person, group, church out from Christianity.
It is absolutely certain that people, academics, theologians, churches, and denominations actually do this, but it boggles my mind that belief in Jesus as the only way to return to heaven is of so little value and merit. Groups actuallypreferr to take a 4th century doctrine and demandsubserviencee in belief without which automatically condemns the individual to burn. It is so strange to me that Jesus has been cast aside for another, vastly superior saving doctrine. If you want to create a definition of being a member of a movement, then one would be correct. However, to create a definition that even denies the name Christian to Jesus and his disciples takes a unique form of gall and arrogance. -StormRider 11:43, 14 April 2011 (UTC)
"understanding that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God; born of the Virgin Mary; lived a perfect life; was crucified for the sins of the world; rose the third day; appeared to his disciples; returned to the Father and sits on His right side; and will return one day" You have a lot of things listed there, but you still oversimplify this. Who is Jesus? Who is God? How did Mary come to be? How did he atone for those sins? etc. Mormons believe humans are born into and live in a pre-existence, and most other Christians believe we are formed from the dust of the earth, only here and now. Mormons believe that humans are supposed to eternally progress, and that God Himself has done that and was once a man himself. Mormons believe Jesus shed his blood in the Garden to atone for sins and the stuff on the cross was only kind of a wrap up, whereas most Christians see the act on the cross as the central sacrifice. There are many more, but ultimately this deity a Mormon worships is not of the same nature as the deity worshiped by other Christians. It is neither gall nor arrogance to claim it is distinct and different, and the idea that Mormons want to 'mainstream' their religion by downplaying all of these things flies directly in the face of what Joseph Smith taught and believed. -- Avanu (talk) 12:19, 14 April 2011 (UTC)


──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I'm wondering just how many and what sort of reliable sources it would take to declare a religion is Christian, or alternatively, to declare that it is not Christian. I ask because at the risk of being scolded that other stuff exists, I notice that Jehovah's Witnesses simply states that they are Christian in the lead and cites http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_defn.htm, http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Christianity/index.aspx and http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html#Christianity and there are bound to be contradictory sources out there. I ask because it seems to me that this discussion reaches far beyond this page: Does Christian need a new definition? Does this article need to be removed from {{Christianity}}? Does the Latter Day Saint movement need to be removed from Nontrinitarianism? I appreciate COGDEN's sentiments, but I don't think that this is an issue that can simply be sidestepped. VernoWhitney (talk) 12:00, 14 April 2011 (UTC)

I went to the Christian page a while back and attempted to realign the lead there to be more in line with the way the word is seeming to want to be used now. It was reverted. -- Avanu (talk) 12:19, 14 April 2011 (UTC)
VernoWhitney, I'm not saying we sidestep the issue of whether the LDS Church is a Christian organization. What I'm saying is that given the fact that mainstream writers differ on whether the LDS Church and other nontrinitarian New Testament-believing religions pass the Christian litmus test, Wikipedia cannot take a position one way or another. All Wikipedia can do is (1) state what there is a consensus about (such as, that Mormonism arose within the context of Christian primitivism and radical Protestantism, and then evolved beyond traditional Christianity, and (2) frame the debate for issues on which which there is not an academic consensus, such as the normative question of whether the LDS Church should be labeled "Christian" or "non-Christian". In this case, the consensus tells the reader almost everything she needs to know: that the LDS Church is at least outside of traditional Christianity. COGDEN 17:43, 14 April 2011 (UTC)
Obviously there are differences and those do need to be clearly communicated. I think what I was trying to say was that by the very inclusion/exclusion of this page elsewhere (e.g. in {{Christianity}}) we are taking a position one way or another, whether we want to or not. Following from that, I think it also needs to be consistent across all pages/templates/etc. That's where I was trying to go with my example of Jehovah's Witnesses earlier; the article cleary states that they are Christian and immediately follow up in the same sentence "with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity." Is that any clearer than what I said before? VernoWhitney (talk) 18:49, 14 April 2011 (UTC)
The templates such as {{Christianity}} include topics relating to Christianity. Inclusion of Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses in that template does not constitute a Wikipedia rejection of the evangelical view of Christianity. Templates, categories, and infoboxes all have to follow WP:N just like mainspace articles. I think the best way to approach this is, first, to say that the LDS Church evolved away from traditional Christianity during Smith's lifetime, and then explain that the issue of Mormonism's current relation to Christianity is a matter of debate, citing the Mormonism and Christianity article. COGDEN 22:00, 14 April 2011 (UTC)

I think the following should be a satisfactory solution. Start with COgden's suggested first sentence: "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (...) is the largest and predominant church within Mormonism, a religious tradition founded by Joseph Smith, Jr. in Upstate New York in the late 1820s." Then add a second sentence similar to the Jehovah's Witnesses article (full disclosure: I had a heavy hand in the related discussion on the JW talk page): "It is considered a restorationist Christian church, although some doctrines differ from mainstream Christianity." Then in the second paragraph, we can elaborate a little bit on what differences exist between TCOJCOLDS and mainstream Christianity. ...comments? ~BFizz 00:59, 15 April 2011 (UTC)

That does not seem to flow properly with the word predominant...what about, ""The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (...) is the largest and most predominant church within the Latter Day Saint movement, a religious tradition founded by Joseph Smith, Jr. in Upstate New York in the late 1820s." As far as the second sentence, I don't have a problem. It may even be better to make it more definite and state some Christian churches reject the LDS Church and its members as part of Christianity. -StormRider 14:04, 15 April 2011 (UTC)
It's not really about "churches rejecting" the LDS Church and its members as being Christian. I think the word rejecting is a bit over the top, given that it is really only the nontrinitarian theology that they reject. Also, the church and denominational organizations themselves don't typically say that the LDS Church is "not Christian." Rather, they phrase it more diplomatically, saying that Mormons are not "traditional," "mainstream," "creedal," "apostolic," or "biblical" Christians. The "not Christian" perspective is reflected more often in the opinions of particular evangelical authors and clergy. Moreover, this perspective typically comes from those who are writing from a religious, rather than sociological or historical, perspective.
@B Fizz, I like the first sentence, but the second sentence positively says that the church "is considered" a restorationist Christian church. That's true with respect to some writers, but the LDS Church is also "not considered" such a church by other writers. I don't think the lede is the place to go into detail about who says what, and why, about the relationship between the LDS Church and Christianity. All I think we need to say in the lede is that there is a controversy as to the nature of the relationship between the LDS Church and Christianity. To go into more detail while still being neutral and accurate requires a lot more text than we can afford in the lede. So we should leave that detail for the main body of the article, and for the Mormonism and Christianity article. COGDEN 18:37, 15 April 2011 (UTC)
In the case of Jehovah's Witnesses, I was insistent on using the word Christian in the first sentence. For the COJCOLDS, however, belief in Jesus is fairly obvious just from the name, so I don't insist for the same treatment here. However, it is important in the lede to summarize the contents of the article; the size of the section called "comparison with mainstream Christianity" should equate to maybe one or two short sentences in the lede on the topic. ...comments? ~BFizz 05:51, 16 April 2011 (UTC)
I hope this comment doesn't take us too far off track, because it sounds like we're getting somewhere, but I want to point out again, that just because someone puts "Jesus Christ" in the name of something doesn't make it Christian or Christian-ish. See http://www.naturalnews.tv/v.asp?v=7EC06D27B1A945BE85E7DA8483025962 for an example of what I mean. Stores have "blueberry" in the name of many foods, and yet what is really in them is artificial flavor and color. Simply naming something with "Jesus Christ" in it, or using the label "Christian", doesn't make that a truly Christian thing.— Preceding unsigned comment added by Avanu (talkcontribs) 12:46, 16 April 2011 (UTC)
Duly noted. I didn't say that the name clearly implied the church's inclusion in "Christianity", but rather, that it clearly implied its professed belief in Jesus Christ (as savior of mankind, son of God, rose from the dead, etc). I wouldn't want to state that the church satisfies some criteria for "Christianity" for which it does not. In the same way that "blueberry shake" implies that it is (at least) blueberry flavored, "Church of Jesus Christ" implies that it is (at least) Christian flavored, and not one of the other flavors: Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, Daoism, atheism, etc. For "Jehovah's Witnesses", it is more important to declare its flavor, since its name doesn't imply it as clearly. ...comments? ~BFizz 15:45, 16 April 2011 (UTC)
The article is large enough that I don't think we need more than two sentences in the lede. The first sentence is something like this: "Mormonism originated within the radical Protestantism and Christian primitivism of the 1820s, but its theology soon departed from the traditional Christian creeds." The second sentence is something like: "The relationship of modern Mormon theology to Christianity is the subject of controversy." That's all we need to say. This does two important things: (1) it puts Mormonism in a Christian historical context, and (2) it tells the reader that the issue of modern Mormons being Christian is a subject of debate, and there is no consensus answer to be found in the literature. COGDEN 07:25, 16 April 2011 (UTC)
I still think this sentence you proposed is a fine first sentence: "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the largest and predominant church within Mormonism, a religious tradition founded by Joseph Smith, Jr. in Upstate New York in the late 1820s." -- Avanu (talk) 12:51, 16 April 2011 (UTC)
I don't favor that sentence COgden, I could support something like the following: ""Mormonism originated at the time of the radical Protestantism and Christian primitivism of the 1820s; however, its theology departed from the traditional Christian creeds." This removes the highly debatable issue of when and how Smith supposedly departed from mainstream Christainity. Besides, the LDS Church claims it is the true heir of Smith's church, but its main theology was constant from BY forward. -StormRider 13:34, 16 April 2011 (UTC)
That sounds pretty good. I'd agree with that, except with the "at the time of" wording. Radical Protestantism and Christian primitivism are movements that occurred over a long period of time, not just the 1820s. My thought was to note that Mormonism was at first part of or associated with those movements. For the first sentence, what about "Mormonism originated as a Christian primitivist movement...." COGDEN 01:02, 17 April 2011 (UTC)
Just wanting to see if this is the overall text you are heading toward:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (abbreviated as the LDS Church, and colloquially referred to as the Mormon Church) is the largest denomination originating from the Latter Day Saint movement founded by Joseph Smith, Jr. in Upstate New York in 1830. Mormonism originated as a Christian primitivist movement, but its theology soon departed from the traditional Christian creeds. The relationship of modern Mormon theology to Christianity is the subject of controversy.
The church is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, and has established congregations (called wards or branches) internationally. There are currently over 14.1 million members of the LDS Church worldwide.[1]
It seems to be worded a bit awkwardly to me. -- Avanu (talk) 16:02, 17 April 2011 (UTC)
A few comments on that possible revision: 1) Mormonism is "Christian primitivist" precisely because its theology departs from traditional (post 3rd century) Christian creeds. So if you consider the movement to have changed, then it changed into a Christian primitivist movement, rather than away from it. 2) we should try to not use both "originating" and "originated" here; rather, use a synonym (began, drew, grew, stemmed, etc.) for one of those. ...comments? ~BFizz 21:51, 17 April 2011 (UTC)
@Storm Rider, I agree with the text as presented above.
@B Fizz, I disagree. Mormonism was never more Christian primitivist than it was in the early 1830s, before any of its members could have been described as a nontrinitarian. Christian primitivists such as the Churches of Christ and Adventists are still, by and large, traditionally Christian in their theology. COGDEN 06:03, 18 April 2011 (UTC)
By that, I didn't mean to imply that all Christian primitivists must draw the line around 300 AD and around the doctrine of the trinity; I simply meant to say that the distinguishing feature of Christian primitivism is the claim that Christian churches have strayed from correct practices and doctrines (e.g. Adventists would say, observing the sabbath on Saturday), and an attempt to reject "incorrect" doctrines in favor of "earlier" "pure" doctrines. As I understand it therefore, moving towards a nontrinitarian theology is one way of reinforcing one's Christian primitivism (assuming, of course, that you believe nontrinitarian beliefs were held by the original apostles and the early church), which is why I find it disfavorable to say it is a step away from "Christian primitivism". ...comments? ~BFizz 16:40, 18 April 2011 (UTC)
The thing is, Mormonism *was* a step away from Christian primitivism. In fact, parts of Mormonism are based on things that were supposedly practiced by the Hebrews that supposedly migrated to the Americas. This is not something believed by Jews, nor by other Christian primitive churches. There are numerous differences that make Mormonism markedly different from Judaism, traditional Christianity, and Christian primitivism. It is completely reasonable to say that Mormonism moved in a different direction. -- Avanu (talk) 15:17, 19 April 2011 (UTC)
I don't think there is any academic controversy that at least in the beginning, Mormonism was predominantly a Christian primitivist movement. As to later Mormonism, however, I think it is controversial to say that Mormonism remained "Christian primitivist," because of the word Christian. I do think there is an argument to be made that one could be a Christian primitivist even without being a Christian, or a traditional Christian, if one's goal is to (unsuccessfully) restore primitive Christianity. At the same time, however, later Mormonism was not purely Christian primitivist even under this definition. As Avanu notes, by the mid-1830s and into the 40s, Smith's focus extended beyond restoring just New Testament Christianity. In addition to primitive Christianity, Smith also sought to restore and incorporate ancient Hebrew priesthood, polytheism, ritual, and temple worship; Egyptian cosmology; gnosticism; and freemasonry. COGDEN 19:16, 19 April 2011 (UTC)
COgden, your last sentence is problematic because it assumes Smith "sought to restore and incorporate...". Smith had no understanding or desire to first find beliefs and then bring them into Mormonism. The LDS Church would say that first Smith restored the primitive Church as Jesus organized it. Then, because this was the fulness of times, Smith restored all things while also clarifying, refining, and instituting temple worship, ritual, etc. I have never read any scholar that stated Smith studied Gnosticism, gathered what it felt was important and then used it in his belief system. His polytheism is a clear understanding of the Godhead from the beginning (I know we disagree on this point and it is debatable). I strongly disagree with your wording. -StormRider 06:01, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
I am not intending to introduce this wording into the article. Something like that is more appropriate for an article such as Mormonism and Christianity. I do think it is uncontroversial that Smith intentionally sought to incorporate what he viewed as ancient Hebrew priesthood (i.e., Levitical and Patriarchal priesthoods), polytheism (after he discovered that the word Elohim is plural), ritual, and temple worship, as well as to restore Egyptian cosmology (i.e., the book of Abraham). The freemasonry and gnosticism connections are a little more complicated. For gnosticism, I understand that it is considered possible that he incorporated gnostic (with a lower-case "g") ideas without knowing they were gnostic. COGDEN 06:36, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
"The LDS Church would say that first Smith restored the primitive Church as Jesus organized it." Yes, that is what they would say. However, many other churches, both trinitarian and not, and primitive or less primitive, say differently. And our reliable sources pretty much show the same distinctions. -- Avanu (talk) 06:54, 20 April 2011 (UTC)

cite notes in infobox not redirecting to aim link

notes 1 and 2 in {{Infobox LDS Church}} not linking.
I cant repair it , because article is protected
--89.176.227.251 (talk) 23:54, 16 April 2011 (UTC)

The linking works fine for me. What exactly happens, and do you have a specific repair in mind? COGDEN 00:43, 17 April 2011 (UTC)
When you click inside infobox to notes 1 and 2. No happens. --89.176.227.251 (talk) 06:43, 17 April 2011 (UTC) {{Infobox LDS Church}}
Notes 3,4 not visible at all. --89.176.227.251 (talk) 06:45, 17 April 2011 (UTC)
It might be confusion about where the notes are. The notes are collapsed at the bottom of the infobox rather than at the bottom of the page. Plus, you have to "show" the notes as the default is to have them hidden. So, when you click on the note number it appears to go nowhere. Also, a couple of notes are on the infobox at the right that are not at Template:Infobox LDS Church. Alanraywiki (talk) 14:05, 17 April 2011 (UTC)
If this is going to be a source of confusion, we could remove the footnotes from the box and put them in the main body of the article. I wish we could use a different footnote numbering scheme for the box. (edit: Actually, we can, and I did. They are Roman numbers now.) COGDEN 05:41, 18 April 2011 (UTC)
I see. → Notes → Show ... Maybe some direct way with javascript or sth, which open that → Show immediately. --89.176.227.251 (talk) 07:42, 18 April 2011 (UTC)
In article are only 2 notes. In talk page are 4 notes in Infobox. Where are they from? Its little confusing. --89.176.227.251 (talk) 07:42, 18 April 2011 (UTC)
Isn't it typical to put infobox footnotes along with the rest of the article's footnotes at the bottom of the entire page? I'm not against trying new things, but if it causes trouble, we should stick with the old stuff until we get a sandbox version working nicely. ...comments? ~BFizz 16:44, 18 April 2011 (UTC)
This particular infobox has a parameter for footnotes to be placed in the box, though as far as I can tell, most articles don't use it. Actually, most articles don't even reference their infoboxes at all. I'm not completely sold on the idea of putting references in the box, but here's my thoughts of reasons why we would want do do this: The infobox could be seen as a separate and self-contained part of the article. In a textbooks and journal articles, side-boxes and figures often have their own source information in the box, rather than at the end of the chapter or the end of the book. And there is something a little strange about having the footnotes in the main text begin as #5 or #8. There is logic in the general idea of putting footnotes in infoboxes, as many infoboxes (not this one though) are collapsible, and that would result in many problems with cite.php. On the other hand, they take up space in the infobox, or else they are hidden by collapsing and in their collapsed state links to them don't have their normal JavaScript magic.
So here are some possibilities:
  1. Keep the notes in the infobox and make them collapsible (notes take up less space and are easy to find, but JavaScript magic doesn't work if they are in their collapsed state)
  2. Keep the notes in the infobox and make them non-collapsible (notes take up more space, but it is easy for the reader to find them)
  3. Move the notes to the end of the article, but use Roman numerals to distinguish them from main body footnotes (harder to find the notes, but they don't take up space in the infobox).
  4. Move the notes to the end of the article, and use Arabic numerals (the footnotes confusingly begin at #2 or #3 in the main text)
COGDEN 19:46, 18 April 2011 (UTC)

(outdent)My personal preference would be to go with #4 because that is more consistent with other Wikipedia articles. You generally go to the end of the article to see the references. Having the first note number be 4 or 5 in the article body doesn't bother me. Thanks, Alanraywiki (talk) 19:57, 18 April 2011 (UTC)

Congratulations on all the great editor work here — looks like progress. Charles Edwin Shipp (talk) 05:25, 23 April 2011 (UTC)
A little while ago, I created Template:Infobox_LDS_Church/sandbox, and I hit up a couple irc channels, but to no avail. I couldn't really figure out how to trigger JavaScript when the ref links are clicked. The wiki software seems to sanitize JS; the onclick event I added in the wiki source didn't come through in the resultant html source. For now I've simply expanded the template notes by default, since they are not very long. They are still collapsible, but I predict very few readers will have the issue of manually collapsing the notes, and then clicking a reference link in the infobox. ...comments? ~BFizz 05:00, 27 April 2011 (UTC)

More About Consensus

Well, I went ahead, because the discussion above seemed to have reached a conclusion. Maybe not a perfect ending, but people had let it alone, and so I inserted the language that it looked like people could complain the least about. So pretty quickly thereafter, FyzixFighter reverted it. So, I've reverted it again, but I'm not going to 'edit war' on this, so here I am again, asking for us to reach consensus. I would hope FyzixFighter would also participate. -- Avanu (talk) 15:09, 24 April 2011 (UTC)

I'm sorry but that edit completely ignores the pattern followed on almost every other religious topic that has a "Christianity" subheading and an LDS subsubheading. It also ignores the long standing consensus reached after much longer discussion than this on Talk:Christianity, the similar case of the Jehovah's Witnesses article (which uses straightforward wording like the longstanding wording used here that I've reverted back too), the advice given at the NPOV noticeboard, the advice of numerous editors when this whole debate started, and a number of secular sources which do state it unequivocally. I don't think we should avoid using terminology that has been established by the majority of the current reliable and notable sources out of sympathy for a particular (in this case mainly the evangelical) point of view. I would suggest taking it up the issue with a broader audience like at WP:Religion, WP:Christianity, or the NPOV noticeboard...again. --FyzixFighter (talk) 16:34, 24 April 2011 (UTC)
Just because another article says it one way, doesn't necessarily mean it follows for every article. You're insisting on a point of view that states unequivocally that LDS is a restorationist Christian religion. Yet at the same time we have many reliable sources that say it is not that. The article with the changes does not say whether they are or are not, so it stays above the question. You're preferring a point of view that declaratively states something that isn't based on the totality of reliable sources.
You are saying it is acceptable to take a declarative approach and POV driven stance because some of the sources might say it, and because other articles supposedly follow a pattern. We shouldn't be basing article content on what other unrelated articles say, and we definitely shouldn't be taking stances that contradict our reliable sources. -- Avanu (talk) 17:13, 24 April 2011 (UTC)
I am LDS and, therefore, strongly believe that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christian. However, I believe this article could be OK even if the phrase "is a restorationist Christian religion" were removed, since the rest of the article (especially the "Comparisons with mainstream Christianity" subsection) adequately describes the overall situation in a reasonably neutral manner IMO. Perhaps a new, more widely acceptable opening sentence can be fashioned via a summarization of this subsection. I would insist that the word "mainstream" should not be deleted from the sentence "The relationship of modern LDS Church theology to that of mainstream Christianity is the subject of controversy" — and I'm uncomfortable with what I view as POV connotations of the word "departed" in "its theology soon departed from the traditional Christian creeds" (which, in fact, I am going to change in a moment to "diverged"). Richwales (talk · contribs) 17:37, 24 April 2011 (UTC)
I think 'diverged' is a better word choice also. -- Avanu (talk) 17:45, 24 April 2011 (UTC)
I went and looked at the lead paragraph for JW's "Jehovah's Witnesses is a millenarian[1] restorationist[2] Christian[3] denomination[4] with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity." Talk about a lot of qualifiers. :)
Yet, despite all these qualifiers, JW's do not believe that God was once a human, and they do not believe that Satan and Jesus are brothers, and do not have a prophet that said the kinds of things that Joseph Smith and later LDS prophets have said. They don't believe the soul is immortal, yet LDS believe we have a pre-existence and our spirits are organized from raw spirit material. They believe Jesus returned in some invisible form in 1874, and LDS do not. In short, they are vastly different from traditional Chistianity, and vastly different from Latter-day Saint beliefs. Yet according to your standard, we would show LDS classified as being very close to 'Christianity', even more so than Jehovah's Witnesses, who already have a lot of qualifiers, and instead of treating this in line with all sources, and common sense, and LDS' own prophets' words, we would just write that they're just a tiny bit unlike traditional Christianity.
I personally believe that this is a point of view push to make people forget that LDS is different. Bruce McConkie said, "Mormonism is indistinguishable from Christianity." But as a General Authority, he has a point of view that says something that most people do not say. Joseph Smith would never have said such a thing. He fully understood how different LDS was. I quoted him in the Talk page above. Yet we have people today in the LDS church who want to change the perceptions, and make people think it is just your run-of-the-mill Christianity. This should be appalling to LDS members, but I guess being thought of as the same as everyone else is a big motivator. -- Avanu (talk) 17:44, 24 April 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── What would people (hopefully more than just Avanu, FyzixFighter, and myself) think about the following? Take out "is a restorationist Christian religion" from the opening sentence of the lede, and change the third sentence to this: "The faith views itself as a restoration of true first-century Christianity, but major Christian denominations view the LDS Church as standing apart from creedal Christianity, and the relationship of modern LDS theology to that of mainstream Christianity is the subject of controversy." A couple other small changes would probably be needed to make it a clean editing job, but this should capture the main idea. If everyone feels partly satisfied and partly dissatisfied at the above, that may be a sign that it's reasonably neutral. Richwales (talk · contribs) 18:16, 24 April 2011 (UTC)

Using "views itself" was one of my earliest suggestions. It was promptly removed by people who claimed it was just too biased for their taste. -- Avanu (talk) 18:44, 24 April 2011 (UTC)
If people can't agree on a single wording, we really have no choice but to report opposing views — being careful, of course, not to take sides (e.g., by saying that the LDS Church views itself in a certain way that is in fact not true). I based my proposed wording on material already in the article (see the "Comparisons with mainstream Christianity" subsection), which is why I hope it may be acceptable as a compromise. Richwales (talk · contribs) 00:05, 25 April 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Avanu. Regardless of what the editors on the JW page did, I don't think it is acceptable to say, without qualification, that the LDS Church is a Christian religion. Its merits aside, the evangelical view that Mormons are not at all Christian is a significant perspective. Therefore, according to WP:DUE, that perspective cannot just be brushed aside.
@Richwales, I'm not opposed to your wording, but I don't think we need this in the lede. All we need to say are: (1) that the LDS Church originated within Christian restorationism, and (2) that the relation between Mormonism and traditional Christianity is the subject of controversy. I think that any attempt to present the "Christian or not Christian" debate in capsule form in the lede cheapens the debate and presents inevitable inaccuracies and false implications. For example, saying that the "LDS Church views itself..." implies that the LDS Church has a position that nobody else shares. In this case, that's not quite correct. Likewise, saying that "major Christian denominations view the LDS Church as standing apart from creedal Christianity" implies that the LDS Church disagrees with that point, which they do not. COGDEN 00:24, 25 April 2011 (UTC)
If we don't have something along these lines in the lede, I fear some people will insist on either keeping/reinstating the existing "is a restorationist Christian religion" statement or adding some stronger "Mormons aren't really Christians even though they say they are" verbiage (or maybe even both). I personally would prefer an acknowledgment of the LDS Church's status as Christian, but I realize that there is a difference of opinion on this point which needs to be mentioned at least in passing. I will not be comfortable with any verbiage in the lede which quasi-authoritatively denies the LDS Church's status as a Christian religion (including assertions that Mormonism is distinct from Christianity in the same way that Christianity is distinct from Judaism). Richwales (talk · contribs) 04:00, 25 April 2011 (UTC)
That's why Cogden suggested it just be skipped over in the lead paragraph. It avoids the whole "are they or aren't they" argument. -- Avanu (talk) 05:08, 25 April 2011 (UTC)
@Richwales, I'm not suggesting that the lede contain any statement, one way or the other. If we can't simply say that the LDS Church is Christian, we can't say it isn't Christian either. But it is very difficult to explain the nature of the controversy in less than a couple of paragraphs. But in the lede, we probably only have about two sentences for this issue, considering all the other things that need to be said about the church in the lede. Whether the LDS Church is Christian is not the predominant issue of this article, and its relative prominence in the lede should not suggest that it is.
So that means we can make just a couple of points in the lede relating to Mormonism and Christianity. I think the first point ought to be an indication of where the LDS Church comes from: it originated as part of Christian primitivism, and nobody disputes that, because it's a demonstrable, non-controversial historical fact. The second point ought to say something about what the LDS Church is now. We can't say it's Christian. We can't say it isn't Christian, either. So what do we say? We just say that there is a controversy. Then, in the body of the article, we provide an accurate and neutral explanation of the complicated contours of the argument. COGDEN 06:23, 25 April 2011 (UTC)
So, then, could we simply remove the current clause saying the LDS Church "is a restorationist Christian religion", and the "It" starting the next sentence, and leave the rest of the opening paragraph as is? We would, I assume, want to move the wikilink for Restorationism (Christian primitivism) — currently attached to the word "restorationist" — and probably attach it instead to the phrase "Christian primitivist". This solution is not what I would personally prefer, but I'm willing to accept it — though I'm still very unsure of what others at both ends of the continuum (including people who haven't spoken up here) will say. Richwales (talk · contribs) 14:45, 25 April 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I disagree with your premise, COGDEN, that we can't say the LDS Church is Christian, based on my reading of WP:NPOV and WP:DUE. Such a statement is the supported by the majority of secular, academic sources, but a significant (but minority and sectarian and not necessarily academic) view is the primarily evangelical view is that the church is not Christian. To paraphrase, WP:NPOV, we should not avoid using terminology that has been established by the majority of the current reliable and notable sources on a topic out of sympathy for a particular point of view. Per WP:DUE, the majority viewpoint should get the most weight and prominence over the minority viewpoint. If we let the fact that a minority but significant viewpoint prevent us from clearly stating the majority viewpoint, then we are not following WP:DUE (imo letting the tail wag the dog).

What they do over at the JW page is relevant because they use the same arguments that I and many others (see above) have made in support of that statement. You might not think it is acceptable, but the wider community of editors apparently does as seen in the case of JWs and as seen from a couple of NPOV noticeboard inquiries (Wikipedia:Neutral_point_of_view/Noticeboard/Archive_22#Jehovah.27s_Witnesses_are_not_Christians.3F and Wikipedia:Neutral_point_of_view/Noticeboard#POV_about_LDS_Mormons_belonging_to_Christianity) for example. The JW example is also significant because the debate, albeit on another page, resulted in an ARBCOM case which kind of sets a precedent. If we follow the logic that we can't state that the LDS Church is Christian then we also can't include LDS/Mormonism as a subset of Christianity on pages like Baptism, God in Christianity, Religion, etc.

I think the pattern in the JW lead, less the long list of qualifiers, is a workable solution. State the academic classification with a following statement that certain doctrines and aspects of the theology place it outside of mainstream Christianity. IMO this works well with statements from some of the major Christian churches (PC{USA), ELCA, UMC, ...) that state that the LDS is outside of traditional/creedal/apostolic tradition/orthodox Christianity but do not explicitly state they are not Christian. It's also inline with the consensus opinion of editors if you look at every time this issue is brought up on a noticeboard and with the previously existing consensus reached after the issue continuously arose on Talk:Christianity ([2]). Consensus can change, but I don't think opinions of two or three editors here is a good indication of change in a consensus across the broader WP community. That's why I argue that if you want to change the text based on arguments that run contrary to the broader, long-standing consensus, then the issue should be brought up on broader fora (although since one of the recent forays of such supported the long-standing consensus, I don't think it has changed). --FyzixFighter (talk) 13:21, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

I'm going to wade into this discussion. I don't think the focus of the first paragraph of the article should be on the controversy over whether or not it is a Christian religion. That controversy is not the most important thing for readers to know about the church and may be addressed later (as it already is), but I think the focus should be on all the things the church IS (e.g., doctrine, etc.) and not how other churches define the LDS Church. I recommend returning to the long-standing wording used up until a relatively short time ago. Thanks, Alanraywiki (talk) 16:07, 26 April 2011 (UTC)
I don't think anyone is advocating making the first paragraph focus on the controversy. The wording advocated by COGDEN I think does focus on what the movement is and allows us to avoid these fights in the future. I'm frankly tired of the back and forth. Ltwin (talk) 17:19, 26 April 2011 (UTC)
Agreed. We don't have to definitively classify the LDS Church as Christian in the lede. This is a huge issue for evangelicals, and understandably Mormons are defensive on this issue, but it is not the most important thing that a typical reader wants to get out of this article, and it's better to save details of the controversy for the body of the article.
@FyzixFighter, I don't see there being an academic consensus that Mormonism is "Christian", and Wikipedia cannot step in and settle the issue for all of academia. Because the term Christian is a very normative label and is not an objective sociological or classification, you can expect that the range of academic views roughly follows popular opinion: about a third of Americans believe that Mormonism is not a Christian religion, according to a recent Pew poll. Yes, a slim majority agrees that it is Christian, but 1/3 is a significant minority view. The view that Mormons are not Christian is not a fringe view, and therefore WP:DUE applies. The question of whether Mormons are Christian is the same type of question as whether homosexuality is "normal". Even though a large preponderance of scholars think homosexuality is "normal", nobody thinks Wikipedia should definitively answer that question in the lede of the homosexuality article while ignoring opposing views. COGDEN 19:39, 26 April 2011 (UTC)
Another thing about that poll, I considered a while back whether such a source would be valid, and thought about who they were asking. If you ask a member of the general public anything, you will probably get a fairly uninformed response. So, while the Pew Poll might reflect a common person's impression of LDS, it isn't likely to reflect an informed conclusion. One might have asked "Do you think dolphins are fish?" and gotten similar responses. So while I would consider it a valid source for what people generally feel about LDS, I wouldn't consider it a scholarly nor particularly determinative source for whether LDS should be defined as Christian or as a Christian religion.
Although it seems clear from the statements made by many LDS members that they would like to have the clear and unequivocal title of 'Christian', since their beliefs are so vastly different from the other people who call themselves Christian today and historically, it seems dishonest intellectually to simply make statements that equate these two groups without some reasonable distinctions made. -- Avanu (talk) 05:48, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
I'm not suggesting the Pew poll be interpreted as a reflection of scholarly opinion, just that since the "is Mormonism Christian?" question is a normative question, scholars arrive at their conclusion about the same way as the unwashed masses do--which is about the same way that they determine whether homosexuality is "normal", or whether witchcraft is "evil". COGDEN 06:05, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
It probably depends on the situation. I would suppose that a scholar might define a set of criteria and compare various faiths to that set. For a member of the general public, it might just be 'what some guy (perhaps Banksy) said that one time'. Both standards might be somewhat subjective, but I would think the scholar would put a lot more research and thought into it. -- Avanu (talk) 06:14, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
COGDEN your claim about how scholars classify religious groups is way off base. They are not classified by applying the normative assumptions of various social groups. Scholars apply a variety of criteria, many of which would never factor into normative assumptions because the masses are clueless about them. That said, the criteria may change between scholars, but they are not based on "normative" assumptions about the group. This is actually what the Evangelical theologians who reject the Mormon claim to Christianity do as well. The only difference is that their criteria are strictly theological while a sociologist, historian or religious studies scholar will have a much wider set of criteria. I also object to your assumption that a minority vs. a fringe POV is something that is determined by counting heads. If that were the case then we'd have to add the "significant minority view" of creationists into the entry on evolution. We don't do that because creationism is a fringe view inside the academy despite being a significant minority view among the masses.Griswaldo (talk) 11:58, 27 April 2011 (UTC)

Comment Throughout these discussions I'm noticing a tendency that some people have to believe that the LDS, and Mormonism more broadly, is unique in it's distance from traditional Christian beliefs and practices and in how it is treated by evangelicals, which is simply not true. For instance, according to many evangelical critics the LDS Church is joined by other modern groups like the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Christian Science as non-Christian "cults". Scholars do not follow their lead. Then there are all the groups like the New Apostolic Church, and historical movements like Millerism which are quite dissimilar to mainstream Christian denominations but are considered by scholars as Christian without a doubt. There are countless other historical examples of smaller and larger Christian movements that are, according most theological orthodoxy way out there as well - e.g. Arianism and other forms Nontrinitarianism.Griswaldo (talk) 12:48, 27 April 2011 (UTC)

I'd be interested to know what "Christian without a doubt" actually means. -- Avanu (talk) 13:10, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
As in there is no scholarly disagreement whatsoever, which is not the case with some of the other groups.Griswaldo (talk) 13:52, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
Your analogy about Creationism versus Evolution is a little off. If you had an article called "Theories about the Formation of the World", you would include Creationism, because it would be justified by Due Weight. Also, if you had a section within Evolution called 'Criticisms of Evolution', you might include Creationism.
I'm kind of both puzzled and not by this insistence so strongly to 'mainstream' LDS. On the surface, if one barely looks at LDS, it sounds like the beliefs are the same as other Christians. But once you actually look at the beliefs and statements by Church leaders, and doubly so if you look at the history, you see that it is a vastly different faith. Most other Christian denominations say "my interpretation of the Bible is the right one" and proceed to have a different faith, but Mormonism goes WAY beyond that. Not only is there a different interpretation of the Bible, most claim that the bible is full of errors. Not only that, there are additional books that LDS consider on par with scripture. Not only that, there is almost an inherent rejection of both of those because LDS are taught to look to faith and the Spirit and the revelation of the Prophet for immediate guidance ('burning in the bosom'), rather than the aforementioned texts. Not only that, LDS has a entire story of Hebrews coming to the New World and settling here and getting into wars. Not only that, LDS has the belief that God was once a man and men will become Gods. Not only that, LDS has returned its followers to several of the rituals from the Hebrews, and in many cases invented new rituals and practices that the Hebrews never had a record of keeping or practicing. I feel a bit like I'm beating a dead horse here, because it is more than obvious. Yet some of my fellow editors seem incredibly intent on minimizing every difference.
Like I said, I both puzzled and not puzzled by this. But I understand how people don't like to be seen as different or unusual. It's human nature. But according to the prophets of the LDS church, other faiths aren't simply wrong, they are an 'abomination'. It seems like some of the editors are simply going to continue to add a pro-LDS and biased point of view forever, rather than a more honest interpretation based on reasonable sources. -- Avanu (talk) 13:08, 27 April 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Regarding the evolution analogy I'm afraid you must have misunderstood. Creationists (those who believe in Creationism) do indeed have a POV about evolution. That POV is that theories of evolution are not true or inaccurate. Stated another way, to creationists, evolution is not a legitimate theory of the creation and development of animal life. Similarly, to evangelicals, LDS is not a legitimate form of Christianity. That's how the analogy works. I was not referring to Creationism as an alternate belief about creation, but to what creationists think about evolution. Do you understand? If we did have a criticism of evolution section, those beliefs might legitimately be placed in there, but those beliefs will not change how evolution is discussed in the main parts of the entry based on WP:DUE. The same applies here. We should discuss the controversy, but we should not integrate evangelical views of Mormonism into the main entry per WP:DUE.

Regarding the "attempt to minimize any difference" I think you're raising up phantoms there. I have no desire to minimize differences, but that's completely besides the point. I guess you missed the examples I posted above. There are other Christian groups who also have some rather significant differences to mainstream denominations. We ought to make those differences clear. I don't see what that has to do with the lead sentence though. You think adding a term like "unique" is needed to make differences even clearer? The problem is that most sects are "unique". This one is just a whole lot more unique than its distant cousins. In the end we need to follow academic sources. I'm not sure any of them use terms like "unique".

Regarding "pro-LDS" this and that I think you could use a step back from all of this in order to get some perspective. I'm certainly not adding pro-LDS anything. I'm an agnostic and have no connection to the LDS church whatsoever nor has anyone in my family ever had. The perspective you claim the LDS holds, about other religions being an abomination, is one that many other Christian groups hold as well. In fact the very beliefs we've been discussing about the LDS not being Christian have a very strong foundation in the Christian countercult movement, which characterizes a great many groups of people outside of the mainstream church as an abomination. If anything, that type of attitude makes them more similar to conservative evangelical groups from a sociological perspective. In fact, if one looks at involvement in social issues that similarity grows once again. I'm not sure what your personal angle is Avanu, but from my perspective you are either consciously or unwittingly pushing the evangelical theological perspective on the LDS church (emphasizing specific differences in belief and practice), which IMO is not any more helpful to the entry than an apologist pro-Mormon POV. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 13:52, 27 April 2011 (UTC)

Arbitrary Break

The 'explanation' above doesn't really address what I was trying to say. I understood your analogy about Creationism. But the problem is that it doesn't fit in relation to what we're discussing here. To quote you, "Stated another way, to creationists, evolution is not a legitimate theory of the creation and development of animal life". This is exactly what I stated above, so you're trying to prove my point for me, while arguing that you aren't.
You misquoted me also. To quote you: "The perspective you claim the LDS holds, about other religions being an abomination, is one that many other Christian groups hold as well". LDS says (at least according to Joseph Smith's retelling), that the other sects (meaning Christian churches, one would think) are abominations. As far as non-Christian faiths, it is likely the same would hold true, but that's another point entirely.
As far as my 'angle', I am asking that we don't declaratively state things in the article that are in clear dispute. I like COGDEN's suggestions about compromise wording, and it manages to stay more neutral without being over the top either way. (horse re-beaten) -- Avanu (talk) 14:09, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
Ugh. This is yet another failure to understand the position of components within the analogy. LDS is to Christian groups as Evolution is to theories of the creation and development of life on earth. This entry is not about "Christian groups" its about one specific Christian group. It is indeed analogous to Evolution and not to a broader entry on all theories of that kind.
I misquoted you? How? What did I "quote"? Evangelicals also consider other sects which claim to be Christian as abonimations and the LDS is one of them! How are you missing this? Others often include Seventh Day Adventists, Jehova's Witnesses and a slew of smaller groups which originated within Christianity. One of the main activities of the Christian countercult movement has been to separate the "legitimate" Christian groups from what they consider to be abominations. There are other Christian groups who consider most mainline Christians as outside of the "true" faith and destined for Hell. Not really a far cry from being an abomination.
Avanu you realize that you are arguing the evangelical position here? Is there a reason for that? You have no obligation to tell me anything about your own religious beliefs, but if you are going to go around claiming that other editors are arguing from a pro-LDS perspective then let's be clear about the POV your arguments coincides with, whether you share that POV personally or not. And that is the evangelical POV. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 15:00, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
This discussion is again getting a bit unmoored from considerations of the specific question at issue, what the sources say about it, and its relevance to Wikipedia policy. We should focus on the narrow question, which is: Can this article describe the LDS Church as "Christian" without qualification? My view is that the answer is no, because while the predominant academic perspective is that the LDS Church is (nontraditionally) Christian, there is a significant opposing view (mainly held by evangelicals) that says otherwise. But I understand that some editors might not agree, possibly on the theory that the evangelical view is a fringe view. If it doesn't look like we are going to get agreement here, instead of going round and round on this, maybe we should submit the question to the NPOV noticeboard to expose the issue to a broader audience. Other articles, such as the JW article, might benefit from this discussion. COGDEN 23:01, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
@COGDEN, Re:NPOV noticeboard: Hasn't this already been there and back? – AJLtalk 06:38, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
To Gris, the only reason I assume there is a pro-LDS slant is because every time someone puts in wording that adds even a hint of the idea that there are opposing points of view, there are several editors who strongly insist that such wording can't have a place. If I wrote "Joseph Smith was called by Christ to be a prophet, and was given golden plates by Moroni, which showed him the history of early America", I would not be exhibiting an encyclopedic point of view. These are extreme claims and there is no tangible proof. So, we do not write things in this way. Similarly, without appropriate qualifiers, you can't simply say LDS is Christian when their beliefs show so many differences. Our sources reflect this, and for a source to make no mention of it would probably mean that the source is unreliable. -- Avanu (talk) 23:13, 27 April 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────To a slightly adapted version of COgden's question, Can this article describe the LDS Church as "Christian primitivist" without further qualification? I daresay yes. (although further qualification wouldn't hurt) I see no need to call the church "Christian" without calling it "Christian primitivist" (or alternatively, "restorationist Christian", though not Christian restorationist which generally refers to another movement). The defining aspect of Christian primitivism is being sort of like the rest of Christianity, but believing in somewhat different doctrines and/or lines of authority that the particular religion considers closer to "original Christianity". If you say the LDS Church is not "Christian primitivist", you either do not understand the church, or you do not understand the term, or both, or neither and you are just being a prick. ...comments? ~BFizz 20:46, 28 April 2011 (UTC)

I don't think there is any dispute that Mormonism began as a form of Christian primitivism, and that primitivism was one of the most important theological motivations of Joseph Smith and later Mormons. But Mormonism ended up being much more than just Christian primitivism. I'm not sure there is an academic consensus that the LDS Church presently is a form of Christian primitivism. Rather, it would be more accurate to say that Christian primitivism is one important element of LDS Church theology, among several.— Preceding unsigned comment added by COGDEN (talkcontribs)
I can agree that it is one important element among several. But when it comes to classifying the church in the first few sentences, I can think of no phrase that better describes the present LDS church than "a restorationist Christian religion" (besides, perhaps, "the largest denomination originating from the Latter Day Saint movement"). Pardon me for asking, but where is this conversation going now? (I myself am guilty of perpetuating the conversation without really knowing.) Is there a dispute about the current lede text? The current body text? ...comments? ~BFizz 23:36, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
I still think that COGDEN's suggested text makes the most of what we have. It gives somewhat for all viewpoints and makes appropriately emphasized claims. The current text is simply a result of us reverting all the way back because of complaints that the changes were not consensus and not the right POV. So rather than having an edit war, it was simply a voluntary rollback. -- Avanu (talk) 01:19, 29 April 2011 (UTC)