Talk:The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints/Archive 4

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Time to archive soon

Looks like many of the discussion thread/themes have played out on this page and this page's current size warrants an archive. I'll archive the whole thing in a few days. If any one wants some comments kept on the talk page, I suggest you beat me to the archiving. B 00:13, Jan 5, 2004 (UTC)

As far as I'm concerned, the whole thing can be archived any time. If need be, a couple of the most recent entries can always be copy/pasted back into the current page. Though I wish the page limit weren't there or were much higher, personally. Wesley 17:16, 5 Jan 2004 (UTC)
Done. I just archived some 40 Kb of discussions. JeMa 20:52, Jan 5, 2004 (UTC)

Headers

JeMa, the headers are stated precisely the way they are for a reason...your changes there have worsened the article. B 21:18, Jan 5, 2004 (UTC)

Material moved from Israelite article

JeMa, it is not obvious that the material you moved from the Israelite article should not have stayed there. But it is clear that you have done a miserable job of incorporating it into this article. Further, presuming that it is not well suited for the Israelite article, it is probably better suited for some other article like patriarchal blessing rather than this one. If you don't know what you are doing why not discuss it first before making drastic changes that make the articles worse especially if you are not well acquainted with the subject matter of the article? That's what the talk pages are here for. B 21:41, Jan 5, 2004 (UTC)

* Can you please not insult me? I am here to work with others, not to force my will on anyone. If you have any specific constructive criticisms, state them. I am happy to learn from you. * One note of caution; this article often uses obscure terms when more common English words would do. * If you think that discussing how to convert to Mormonism is inappropriate in this article (I don't see why), then create a new article. But I can tell you that details of how to convert to the Mormon faith do not belong in an article on the ancient Israelites, the ancient Egyptians, nor anyone else. This point should hardly be a matter of controversy. JeMa 17:21, Jan 6, 2004 (UTC)

Insult? I've not called you any names or whatever...Even the best wikipedians screw up and your screw ups are no less subject to criticism than mine or any one elses. I presume you have good intent like most other wikipedians, but moving the material here where it didn't really fit well under any of the existing general headings of this article and then trying to restate (and in the process mistate) the headers to make the material fit was reckless. Why should wikipedians who have worked long and hard on these articles have patience for recklessness and not mere error?...You could have avoided all of this by discussing your concern first in the talk page instead of now still trying to justify the stupidity of the edit. I have specifically stated your errors as I just stated again above. For example, you changed specifically worded headers of common Mormon terms/phrases that are NOT "obscure" and lose their significance when replaced by "more common English words". I might add here another specific charge that you are continuing to mischaracterize the material you moved over as "details of how to convert to the Mormon faith". It has little to do with how to to convert. The entire material (only some of which you moved) had to do with how Mormons believe they are or become Israelites (which is AFTER THEY CONVERT and join Mormonism). A lot of the material you moved to this article has to do with the Mannaseh's doctrine on being an Israelite. How in the world is THAT supposed to have anything to do with this article? That non-relevant material should not be included in an article is an obvious truism, but what is a matter of controversy is when you mischaracterize the material and add material here that has absolutely nothing to do with this article at all. B 18:07, Jan 6, 2004 (UTC)

The Tanners and their Utah Lighthouse Ministry

Lets look at the facts:

  1. Are either of the Tanners professionals or have any sort of relevant, higher or graduate education? No, they are mere anti-Mormon propogandists.
  2. Are any of the Tanners' (anti-Mormon) works either presented or published in peer reviewed publications. No, their incompetent work does not merit respect in such publications.
  3. What is the quality of their (anti-Mormon) work? Unscholarly and Poor. It is, for example, a regular tactic of the Tanners to misrepresent the Church and its History by (incompetent or more likely deliberate) omimission of relevant text in their citations. Not to mention the odd habit of OVEREMPHASIS BY CAPITALIZING, BOLDING AND ITALICIZING SOMETIMES WHOLE PARAGRAPHS EVEN WHEN QUOTING OTHERS TO CONVEY SENSATIONALISM OF SHOCKING MISREPRESENTATIONS OF THE CHURCH!!!
  4. Are there any non-Mormon scholars who think highly of the Tanners' (anti-Mormon) works as a whole or their methodology? No, not a single one.
  5. Are there any non-Mormon scholars who are critical of the Tanners' (anti-Mormon) works? Yes, for example, Lawrence Foster, an associate professor of American history at the Georgia Institute of Technology who has over a decade's experience on Mormonism, says this of the Tanners' work:
  • (Until they "are prepared to abide by accepted standards of scholarly behavior and common courtesy, they can expect little sympathy from serious historians," and "the Tanners' own work falls short of history."
  • "The Tanners have repeatedly assumed a holier-than-thou stance, refusing to be fair in applying the same debate standard of absolute rectitude which they demand of Mormonism to their own actions, writings, and beliefs."
  • Foster gives the Tanners credit for publishing old LDS documents, "but criticizes them for using unauthorized materials which" have been acquired leaving "much to be desired, ethically speaking." The Tanners often publish "scholarly works of living individuals without their permission," because "the end (destroying Mormonism) justifies the means."
  • "The Tanners seem to be playing a skillful shell game in which the premises for judgment are conveniently shifted so that the conclusion is always the same — negative."

Now given just this brief rundown on the Tanners, Sheldon (or anyone else) can you honestly, sincerely state that it is NPOV to reference the Tanners' obviously, biased website propoganda on this wikipedia article? not to mention referencing it without any comment? B 16:53, Jan 6, 2004 (UTC)

I agree that these people do not sound like very good sources. But they should not be criticised for publishing materials that the Church wanted to keep hidden. Any church that suppresses its own teachings for non-members, like Scientology, is probably dangerous. An ethical religion makes all of its teachings open and public. Hidden teachings are proof that someone is hiding something. JeMa 17:21, Jan 6, 2004 (UTC)
It is POV to simply heap disparaging adjectives like "incompetent" and "unprofessional" on the Tanners. This is an article about the LDS Church, not the Tanners. The church has both supporters and critics, and the Tanners are among the most critics. They certainly merit mention, but your one-sided characterization of them is POV. For that reason, I have created a separate article about the Tanners. If you want to criticize them, you should do it there. And regardless of whether you agree with their interpretations and emphasis, you should be careful about accusing them of errors. An error is a false fact that can be proven false. I have seen very few criticisms of their work that point to actual errors of this type. Take, for example, the critique of them that was written a number of years ago by "an anonymous Mormon historian." It criticizes them for inappropriate emphasis, judging Mormonism according to different standards than they apply to traditional Christianity and for selective uses of evidence (all matters of interpretation), but doesn't point to any specific falsehoods in their work. Neither does the professor whose critique you mention above. And both the "anonymous Mormon historian" and Lawrence Foster concede (to quote Saint Anonymous), that "The Tanners have published some very useful collections of excerpts and documents that otherwise would have to be read in the library-archives where they are located." [1] Your hostile adjective create the one-sided, POV and misleading impression that there is nothing whatsoever of value to be found in the Tanners' work, yet even their critics concede that the documents they have republished are genuine and of historical interest.
Moreover, many of your disparaging adjectives, such as "incompetent" and "unprofessional," could also be applied to Joseph Smith, who wasn't a university professor either and had no formal training in translating "Reformed Egyptian hieroglyphics." As for his ethics, where should I start? Money-digging? The bank scandal in Kirtland? Destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor? Right now this article is long enough as it is, even without a discussion of Smith's character, let alone a discussion of the character of critics of the church like the Tanners. That sort of material belongs in a separate article or articles.
By the way, the correct spelling of "propoganda" is "propaganda." --Sheldon Rampton 19:11, 6 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Sheldon, as you take a look around wikipedia, you may be now realizing that a lot of articles on controversial Mormon topics have already been started. You don't need to preach to me about the Tanners, their critics, Joseph, his critics, critics of the critics, etc. I'll give you a little more background about me: my father (as have a lot of my family at one time or another including my mother and older siblings) was excommunicated from the Church soon after my parents divorced when I was about 3. For the better part of my life he has been anti-Mormon. He helped publish, distribute and even write a lot of anti-Mormon tracts. He introduced me to the Tanners' works. On the one side I have my mother, who I sometimes refer to as a nazi-Mormon, and on the other side is my father, the anti-Mormon although he has softened quite a bit now. I won't spend a lot of time here discussing the finer details of how that has influenced my attitudes, beliefs and vacillations about religion ,the Church and its leaders (not to mention other influences), I'll leave that to your imagination. But suffice to say, I'm pretty familiar with the anti stuff and the response to the anti stuff and who did what and said what etc. I've read some of your stuff outside of wikipedia and am impressed with your ability and work. I really don't want to be knocking heads with you especially when I'm sure we share a lot of similar POVs. I firmly believe no one should get special treatment on wikipedia whether it is the Tanners, the Church or whoever. Nevertheless, the Tanners ARE anti-Mormon propagandists, and it does not violate wikipedia's NPOV policy to state "so and so claim that the Tanners are anti-Mormon propagandists" so long as that is true and the claim is not wildly unjustified. If you think that violates NPOV policy then I don't think you understand that policy well enough. There are plenty of criticisms of Mormonism that are formulated just like that in wikipedia AND I support them. B 00:17, Jan 7, 2004 (UTC)

I don't think it violates NPOV policy to say that the Tanners are "anti-Mormon propagandists." That's exactly what they are. I would characterize them as "born-again Christian propagandists against what they perceive as the heresies of Mormonism." I think they themselves would agree with that characterization, although they might prefer a word like "campaigners" over "propagandists." What violates NPOV is simply calling them things like "unprofessional" or saying that their work is "sloppy" and "inaccurate" without some backing for it. I don't think there's space in the LDS Church article for an adequate discussion of the Tanners' pros and cons, so I think the article about the church should limit itself to saying that they are critics of Mormonism, and then use a separate article to discuss their pros and cons. In the article about the Tanners, I think it would be perfectly appropriate to include some of the comments from Lawrence Foster that you've posted here, preferably with attribution to Foster. Also, I think you should be careful about terms like "sloppy" and "inaccurate." Their work is certainly one-sided, but their obsession with detail is enormous. Look at their book on "changes to the Book of Mormon." They've got every comma and minor word change catalogued. If they were better propagandists, they'd leave out all the trivial stuff (which often makes their work virtually unreadable) and focus on the things that have some doctrinal significance or shock value. Or look at the way they've converted "The Changing World of Mormonism" into an online book. If a word was hyphenated across two pages in the print version, they've made a point of noting that in the online version. If they were any more obsessive with details, they'd be autistic. If you want to note that the facts in their work can be interpreted differently, that's perfectly fine with me, but if you want to say that their work is "sloppy" and "inaccurate," I think the onus is on you to point out some specific examples of inaccuracies. Moreover, I think the onus is on you to show that the inaccuracies were deliberate, significant and went uncorrected after someone pointed the errors out to them. Everyone makes mistakes occasionally, and if you want to build this case against the Tanners, you have to show that their mistakes are bad enough to constitute bad faith.--Sheldon Rampton 04:37, 7 Jan 2004 (UTC)
I don't know a thing about the Tanners, but I agree that if there's much to say about them, it should be in a separate article. I think there's already a Joseph Smith Jr. article that has biographical information and probably some info on allegations regarding his character. Wesley 19:34, 6 Jan 2004 (UTC)
Well you haven't missed much. You'd probably find as much entertainment reading the propaganda about the pope being the anti-christ. At any rate, I've started a "List of prominent critics and controversial Mormons" section on the Controversies regarding The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints article. I don't have motivation to make it comprehensive at this point. I suppose it can be filled out as new articles are created. B 23:14, Jan 6, 2004 (UTC)

Incidentally, most of the sources they "make available" or widely publish are available in the Church archives (and Church historical office) to anyone who wishes to go and do the research - no one disputes that they make some documents more accessible to the public - although it is interesting some of their choices of materials to research. I've seen the Tanners while doing research there and frankly, there are too many documents and too much information there to publish it all for wide consumption at a reasonable cost, although much is done every year in commissioned work. -Visorstuff 21:05, 6 Jan 2004 (UTC)