Talk:The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints/Archive 5

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Revision to lead paragraph

I've taken another stab at revising the first sentence in the lead paragraph, simplifying the discussion of the name of the church ("LDS Church" vs. "Mormon Church"). I think the previous version was too long for a lead paragraph, which should be devoted to summarizing the most important things about the topic. The lead sentence in the previous version puts so much stress on the "chagrin" that members feel at being called Mormons that it leaves the impression that they're obsessed about this. I don't think that's an accurate impression. Moreover, the previous version was redundant. The first sentence contained the word "LDS" three times, "LDS Church" twice, and "Latter-Day Saints" twice. My revised version makes it clear that the church prefers to be called "LDS Church" rather than "Mormon Church," and most readers of the article will reasonably infer from this that members share the preference of their church. I hope this revision is satisfactory to everyone. --Sheldon Rampton 05:03, 19 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Funny. I had done practically the same revison a couple of weeks ago, and somebody put the chagrin back in. But how many times do we have to say heretical? I am removing an excess reference. Hawstom 05:39, 20 Jan 2004 (UTC)

I didn't say "heretical," I said "unorthodox." But I accept your revision. I don't think it's POV to say that the LDS Church is unorthodox, but the point is made elsewhere in the same paragraph. --Sheldon Rampton 14:25, 20 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Right. But I think we have all been trying to move away from special "Controversies" pages by stating controversies very early on, depending on their strength. I will add the word "controversial".

I think that you need to read the Church's Style Guide: http://lds.org/newsroom/page/0,15606,4043-1---15-168,00.html

It states: Please avoid the use of “Mormon Church,” “LDS Church” or “the Church of the Latter-day Saints.” -----

This has been discussed at length, and the community conclusions are at Wikipedia:Naming_conventions_(Mormonism). The policy there is based on both that Style Guide and what the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) has said about such usage elsewhere. Short version: after the first reference, either "LDS Church" or "Church" are acceptable to the LDS Church. Wesley 16:57, 7 Sep 2004 (UTC)


I think I should revert most or all of the changes that anon user 128.187.0.167 has made to the lead paragraph, but given the sensitive history of that paragraph, I thought I should first discuss my reasoning here before proceeding. With the revisions by 128.187.0.167, the paragraph now reads as follows:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—widely known as the Mormon Church, Mormons, or LDS Church, though its members prefer to be called members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—is the largest denomination within the Latter Day Saint movement that considers itself to be the restored Church of Jesus Christ, a form of Christian Restorationism. The church, headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, has been embroiled in controversy from its earliest days because some of its doctrines and practices are unique among Christian denominations. Many Christians do not consider the LDS Church to be Christian, although faith in Jesus Christ is its fundamental tenet. See Articles of Faith, Mormonism and Christianity.

My problem with the changes to the opening sentence is that they add redundancy without adding significant meaning, thereby making the sentence less clear to readers. What point is there to constructions such as "members prefer to be called 'members..." or "restored 'Church of Jesus Christ', a form of Christian Restorationism"?

I have a somewhat different objection to the addition of the phrase in "although faith in Jesus Christ is its fundamental tenet" in the second-to-last paragraph. Here, I think 128.187.0.167 is trying (understandably) to balance the traditional Christian point of view by including the LDS response. The real problem here, I think, is that the article's lead paragraph is not the right place to discuss this controversy. A single sentence can't do it justice. Merely saying that "faith in Jesus Christ is its fundamental tenet" obscures the reason why traditional Christians think that Mormonism is non-Christian. (They believe that the "Jesus Christ" of Mormon doctrine is a fictional construct because he doesn't correspond to their Trinitarian doctrine about the nature of Christ.) Fortunately, this controversy is adequately explained in the section titled "The Godhead: Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost," so I don't see a need to even mention it in the lead paragraph. I therefore suggest simply deleting this sentence in its entirety. The previous sentence already makes it clear that the LDS Church has controversial doctrines, so I don't think the lead paragraph needs to delve further into this particular controversy. Moreover, I propose relocating the sentence that says "See Mormonism and Christianity" to the "Related articles" section near the bottom of the article.

My proposed revisions would therefore make the lead paragraph read as follows:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—widely known as the Mormons or the Mormon Church, although its members prefer Latter-day Saints or the LDS Church—is the largest denomination within the Latter Day Saint movement, a form of Christian Restorationism. The church, headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, has been embroiled in controversy from its earliest days because some of its doctrines and practices are unique among Christian denominations.

If no one has any objections after 24 hours, I'll go ahead and make these changes.

I like the changes, however, I'd keep a link to Mormonism and Christianity, and even List of articles about Mormonism, as they immediately give the reader access to additional materials - see below:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—widely known as the Mormons or the Mormon Church, although its members prefer Latter-day Saints or the LDS Church—is the largest denomination within the Latter Day Saint movement, a form of Christian Restorationism. The church, headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, has been embroiled in controversy from its earliest days because some of its doctrines and practices are unique among Christian denominations. See Mormonism and Christianity and List of articles about Mormonism.
Thoughts? -Visorstuff 15:58, 4 Feb 2004 (UTC)
I'm indifferent about the links, but I think that the change should be made to one of the two versions above. COGDEN 19:18, 4 Feb 2004 (UTC)
I'm not proposing eliminating the link to Mormonism and Christianity. I'm just proposing moving it to the "Related articles" section near the bottom of the article. If other people feel that it belongs in the lead paragraph, I'll leave it there, but I don't see any particular reason why it needs to be up at the top. -- Sheldon Rampton 20:03, 4 Feb 2004 (UTC)


Sheldon's proposal does not acknowledge that the LDS Church does not like the term "Mormon Church" but the term "Mormon" is ok. This distinction needs to be clear from the beginning. Also, the focus should be on what the church prefers rather than the members, since it is clear what the Church prefers and at best it is guesswork as to what LDS generally prefer. I propose the following paragraph:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—also known as the LDS Church, and widely known as the Mormon Church to the chagrin of the LDS Church—is the largest denomination within Mormonism, a form of Christian Restorationism. The LDS church is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah and its members call themselves Latter-day Saints although it is usually acceptable to call them Mormons. Mormonism has been a subject of controversy since its inception because some of its doctrines and practices are unique among Christian denominations. See Mormonism and Christianity and List of articles about Mormonism.

Actually, the LDS Church does not like the term "LDS Church" either. The March 5, 2001 news release in which it addressed this topic stated:

Media organizations are encouraged to use the official name when referring to the Church as an institution in their reporting. They will be asked to avoid references to "Mormon Church," "LDS Church" or "The Latter-day Saints Church." [1]

In the lead paragraph of an encyclopedia article, the goal should be simply to highlight the most important aspects of the topic at hand. I don't think that the question of which term is most appropriate is one of the most important aspects of Mormonism. There is a section later in the article that discusses the name of the Church, and the details should go there, not in the lead paragraph. Moreover, the term "chagrin" is inaccurate. It's much too strong. "Chagrin" means "a keen feeling of mental unease." I don't think Gordon B. Hinckley or anyone else at Temple Square is having anxiety attacks over the fact that people sometimes say "Mormon" or "LDS Church." How about the following, which is more succinct and closer to the wording of the Church's own news release:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—widely known as the Mormon or LDS Church, although it encourages people to use its official, full name—is the largest denomination within the Latter Day Saint movement, a form of Christian Restorationism. The church, headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, has been embroiled in controversy from its earliest days because some of its doctrines and practices are unique among Christian denominations. See Mormonism and Christianity and List of articles about Mormonism.

--Sheldon Rampton 06:27, 5 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Sheldon, I like how the paragraph reads. However I think your interpretation of the release is strange, based on the context. You are a PR guy, and yes, they also asked the members to tighten up their referencing of the church as well - if you believe the name was given by revelation, then of course you are going to protect it (and then there is the image issues and confusion with other "M" sects). The release was given (as similar "clarifying" statements are handed/sent out each year to the media) to clarify the proper name of the Church, which sloppy editors and reporters shorter for space constraints and other reasons. This release was done in effort to change the AP style guide which was being re-edited at the time (incidentally, regardless of the effort, in AP style LDS Church is still considered appropriate). Having been sent that type of information (most would say flack) as a reporter in a past life, it is common practice for the Church PR department and the folks at Edelman to do each year. They prefer full name in first reference and "the Church" as second reference(s). They just sent it out to a wider audience than usual - it provides a unique public relations case study - especially with the coverage they got.

Anyway, I do like the result of the paragraph - change away.... -Visorstuff 18:02, 5 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Sheldon, you're a relative newcomer on this topic (the naming convention for the church in titles and articles), and I've gone round and round on this topic almost since this article existed...so, you don't need to repost to me what I've posted or already know...like the media guide. Sometime back I emailed the folks at church headquarters to clarify their press release about the name thing...specifically since the church itself still uses "LDS" and "LDS Church" in its own publications. Their response stated in part that "The only real issue for the Church is that the full name be used on first reference. The styleguide policy derived from a concern over the old Associated Press Styleguide that said "the Mormon Church" was okay. Our response: there is no Mormon Church, and there never has been. So... LDS, etc on second reference would not cause any heartburn." The naming convention for Mormonism related articles was created based in part on its media guide and clarifying email from it. This article should be consistent with that naming convention. The church does not want to be called "Mormon Church" on a first reference, second reference or any reference. The church has been annoyed at this for decades now which is one reason why they issued the press release in the first place..."chagrin" exactly describes the church's stance on this. Folks who refer to the church as the "Mormon Church" and don't know better should know that from the beginning...so we state it as concisely as possible in the intro....the paragraph down further explains it more fully.

Also, Mormonism is the more relevant term here, not Latter Day Saint movement. Also "embroiled" used in the context of the paragraph is POV. That term is out. B 18:48, Feb 5, 2004 (UTC)

I deleted the language regarding supposed activity in the church. As many of may already know, membership is calculated once every quarter. You will also know that the numbers are, at best, very loose. I don't believe the numbers are reliable; that is my first reason for deleting it. Further, it appears to be distinctly POV. I have never heard anyone clarify the membership of the Catholic church of 1.1 billion is really only a membership of 33 million becuase most of the membership in world only set foot in the church on holidays. To attempt to clarify if one is "active" by being present in church and not by conviction of truth has an appearance of logic, but is misleading. Bottom line, I think the language is useful to denigrate membership, rather than reflect truth or fact. Storm Rider

I think we should discuss this further. While I will not add back in the details, the data is worldwide - and I would doubt many other religious denominations can claim equally-high activity rates - it is still close to 50 percent or more within the US. I think this is a compliment, as I've read studies pitting the catholic denomination worldwide as somewhere between 7-12 percent (the researcher called it a "tithe" of people) and some Baptist congregations are close to 18-20 percent (I believe episcopal/anglican has the lowest rate, while lutherans have the highest drop-out rate). We may want to look at including a comparison from Adherents.com or http://www.thearda.com/arda.asp?Show=Home to show activity rates within the US as a gauge. I do not think it is negative, although I'm sure it was added in to push that view. I also agree that roles do not share an reliable view of activity, as mormons tend to visit other wards when they are not in their own. I'd actually estimate activity rates worldwide at closer to 38-40 percent (based on my own research). Not bad when over half of the members are not born into the church and have to learn the culture as well as the doctrine - can't have one without the other and be active. -Visorstuff 23:06, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)

LDS Membership

The LDS reports membership numbers by those who have been baptized into the church. They do not attmpt to exagerate. They do not state that all are active. The recent edits attempt to portray that the church has a smaller membership than the rolls reflect. The US census is not an accurate reflection of US membership. My family was not counted in the census because we chose not to be. Others may have made assumptions about my household, but he US government does not attempt to qualify as to which church we belong. If you wish to include the US Census data, great! But don't interpret the data, just state the data. Also, US data is not a reflection on world-wide membership. Those edits are strictly POV and were not supported. Storm Rider 00:13, 21 May 2005 (UTC)

I edited this because the report quoted clearly identifies its number as being of adults only not citizens (which include children). Trödel|talk 01:07, 21 May 2005 (UTC)

Good catch and good edits. The author of the original edits was going out on a limb quoting the US Census and than extrapolating to attack world membership figures. If we all just simply stick to the facts without bringing personal agendas to bear, we will succeed in having a better Wikipedia. Storm Rider 05:21, 21 May 2005 (UTC)

Contrary to an anonomous editor, LDS membership records are based on baptised members of the church and their children (those that have been placed on the rolls of the church). Excommunicated members and those who have asked that their names be removed from the rolls of the church are not counted. If you have facts or clarifications to the contrary state, you are strongly encouraged to state them here. In doing so, the article is improved and your voice is heard. Storm Rider 14:55, 21 May 2005 (UTC)

I want to add that children of record (those who have been "blessed" or "introduced" during normal weekly religious services on usually the 1st Sunday of the month) are only counted until their 8th birthday. The LDS Church does release exact figures on this number as a separate figure with the annual statistical reports relased for the April General Conference, and it is typically only a couple hundred thousand children. "The Deseret News Church Almanac" is a good printed source for stastical information of this kind, as they have more direct access to the LDS church auditors and records.

As far as a difference between the official rolls of the LDS church and surveys, I think this is more from people that within the LDS Church are considered "less active" or "inactive"... those who at one point in their life did participate in the LDS faith, were baptised, and for one reason or another don't actively participate anymore. Many of these individuals don't consider themselves at the moment to be LDS, but havn't gone through any formal procedures to be ex-communicated or otherwise remove their names from the church records. My experience is that a surprising number of these people still show up for weddings (their own) with LDS bishops, and have their funerals at LDS chapels, so to what extent they may be considered a Mormon is debateable. --Robert Horning 09:51, 14 July 2005 (UTC)

Okay, I’m weighing in on this topic too – I’m sick of seeing it come up. Here are hard numbers, not Mormon Folklore. (or ex-Mormon folklore) based on a very positive email exchange I’ve had earlier this week, asking me about the 50 percent dropout rate among LDS (which is not true in a typical members lifelong religiosity – see below. The correspondence also dealt with so-called discrepancies in census versus LDS official figures –
A good neutral growth chart of the church is found here (the findings are good, but I feel the conclusions done by a lay person and not as solid taking into account more variables: http://home.comcast.net/~zarahemla/archive/March2004_pt2.html
In fact, the true temperature gauge for how healthy the church is moving forward, would be temple growth after the end of 2000, when the brethren had placed temples everywhere that could justify them at the time. As new temples are to be built they must be justifiable – they are not going to put temples where they cannot support them. I’ll explain more of this at a later time if requested, however, if you look that temples are built about every 15,000 members, and are about 1/5 of the way utilized (meaning that many temples are built not for current needs, but for future growth, and can handle about five times the traffic they currently get) a temple should be built for every 36,000-45,000 members, according to my math (I’m not a math guy). So every time there is an increase of that amount, we should see a new temple dedicated. When you look at how many people are in each stake, this makes sense.
This would take into account the lifelong religiosity as described in the email exchange below.
>“the idea that a large number of people take a break from religion at certain points in their life [should also be taken into account and can easily explain] (in rough terms) the statistics people point to in the census statistics.”
>…I've seen the 50 percent number - which is based on activity rates, but as far as the studies I've seen It is folklore. Mormons have "faith-promoting" folklore -I guess the exmormon community does too. It was interesting to me that after President Hinckley talked about retention that this became an issue – I’m not sure he was saying this is becoming a trend, but saying we need to strengthen ourselves internally first. But that is another point altogether.
>You wrote: “So, I guess both sides are correct from their own particular view.” I guess so. I’ve not seen those studies done that demonstrate this. I think It is important to take into account the life-long religiosity cycles of those who go into inactivity. Let me explain from some of the studies I have access to some studies on the matter – the most famous is from Stan Albrecht, titled “The Consequential Dimension of Mormon Religiosity” shows a interesting phenomenon. Most people who “leave the Church” do so by the end of their college years. Many return in their around the age of 40, and again at retirement, but during the interim are very shy about self-declaring themselves LDS.
>However, the study shows an interesting phenomenon –he breaks it out into a graph, so I’ll over-generalize here – particularly on the US side – about 25 percent of folks stay strong their whole life. They are the core of the church – those who never second guess, who are life-long strong church members. About 50 percent go in and out of activity throughout their life. The other 15-25 percent usually are less active much of their adult life or leave the church (about 10 percent historically) by either asking for “no contact” or for their names to be removed.
>Since activity rates in the US are around 40-60percent depending on the study, you can overlap the rates (since the methodology is the same) with the 25and 50 percent number and see that at any given time about half of the church is active. About 25 percent is less active and about 15 percent really could careless, and about ten percent is in process of leaving. So the 50 percent number that exmormons use is typically based on activity rates within the church in the US, rather than a study. Census figures would mimic this to a certain degree, as those asked what religion then are part of may not self-identify “Mormon” as they are unchurched, however, historically, they will return at some point.
>The same study looks at a person’s life-long religiosity and when they are active – remember that more than 2/3 of the church are converts – if they are not immediately retained, they have about a 50 percent chance of re-entering activity after 5 years from baptism. Folks tend to be stronger the more education they have, and over 75 percent (of those who have become less active) (75 percent of the 70 percent) will become active again before they die. I’m over-generalizing a bit here, but the numbers are pretty close to the study as I’m looking at the charts now. There is also an up tick at 25 years after baptism for re-engaging. There are also correlations between the age you get married and such – I guess they must have noticed this a long time ago as the sooner after a mission you get married the stronger you’ll stay.
>Anyway, if you’d like a few other studies to look at, let me know and I can point you in their direction.
>I'd also love to address your census thing, but am not a census expert. I was interviewed by the census folks; I didn't get to fill out the questionnaire like my parents and others, this last time around. They asked me what religion I was - I replied, "Christian” thinking the next logical question would be, "which Church" but it was unprompted and my answer stuck. So there is at least one more "Mormon" to add to the last census figure. :^)
>As I’m no expert on US census figures or how the process is done outside the US, I don’t think you can compare the two types of data (membership records and child of records) versus adult census record responses.
>The two methodologies are enough different but not different enough to give such a high error rate, so one or the other or both numbers may be off, IMHO, but I am a researcher, not a statistician.
>That said, I’ve seen research that suggests that in “rich” countries and poor countries the church has a higher dropout rate than in secular countries (which retention tends to be strong) for example – the US and Great Britain may have as high of a dropout rate as Chile and Ethiopia, however countries like Germany, Kenya, Korea, Brazil and others still have a fairly strong retention rate. I’m not familiar with those countries you cited and how they collect census figures and the laws governing the accuracy and categorizing.
>My point is that there is a medium in there that thee Mormons don’t usually allow for, and the Mormons don’t either.
>Regardless, I also feel that one lost is too many. You may feel the opposite. But I do think it is interesting how there was a decline in the dropout rates after the block program and that percentage of decline is now mirrored in the percentage increase (due likely to the children of those who were retained now leaving) for those who are leaving.
>In any case, I love to read these faith-related rumors– usually based on nothing and cross-viewing un-related information. Too many issues, too complex to know for sure.
The stats are just as misleading as the ones about utah: high teenage birthrates, depression, suicide rates, and others (low abortion rate should offset the high teenage pregnancies and deliveries, for example).
You cannot put two unrelated stats together to get a whole picture. Methodologies need to be lined up and I see too much of that creating “folklore” in the Mormonism community. -Visorstuff 16:16, 14 July 2005 (UTC)



Formatted extern links again

I went and formatted the links again. I originally unformatted them so the complete URL could be seen. But, apparently, the Wiki standard has changed and now all extern links should be "beautfied" since the printer-friendly versions now show the complete URL. So, sorry for changing them originally, but I wasn't aware of the new standard. —Frecklefoot 20:23, 4 Feb 2004 (UTC)


Compliments and PEF

I'd just like to say that this article has improved dramatically since I last looked at it. Congratulations to the crew pulling this together. I know it's difficult due to differences of opinion, but I'm now more hopeful that consensus is possible.

I noticed that the article mentions education but does not make reference to the Perpetual Education Fund, a new initiative that's helping members in less-developed countries gain an education. Maybe it deserves its own page, in fact. What do you folks think?

http://www.ldsmag.com/churchupdate/011009pef.html

-- Shane Hathaway 2004-02-11

Explanation of Reverts

I reverted the page from edits made by User:4.227.139.127 as this topic has been hashed out over and over again. Please read archive for additional information. Although the Church does not encourage the term LDS it prefers it over Mormon. That is the point of the sentence. The lead sentence has been debated and hashed out for months until it has ended in it's current form. That being said, welcome to Wikipedia - we hope you fill out a profile and stay involved with editing. We need more good editors. -Visorstuff 06:17, 10 Apr 2004 (UTC)~

Added the following note in text:

The lead paragraph is the result of months of debate and even phone calls to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint headquarters in Salt Lake. Please do not edit this paragraph without first becoming familiar with its history in the talk page. While most of the editors agree that the Church prefers the press and others to refer to by its full name, it prefers "LDS Church" or "The Church" over the "Mormon Church." The naming standards created for Mormonism in Wikipedia (see List of Articles about Mormonism - and look for naming conventions - have agreed that common convention is to refer to the name of the church as LDS Church in this case. Please visit the talk page.

The same changes have been made and reverted multiple times, by multiple editors/admins. I have included an in-text explanation, since the 4.227.139.127 does not seem to read talk pages. I've also made a clarification in the text in order to pacify this user. If this current edit war continues, this page will be protected until it is discussed again here and decided up on through naming conventions (The last time this took literally weeks to do). 4.227.139.127 if you have questions about the current explanation, please discuss here or on my talk page. You have been accused of Vandalism on other pages, however I will not report at this time, as you seem like a new user, and unfamiliar with WikiCivics and Wikipedia:Policy_Library. Please do not continue this behavior. -Visorstuff 15:56, 10 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Visorstuff is implying that the lead paragraph in its current form reflects some sort of hard-forged, carefully crafted consensus. I emphatically deny that this is the case. I think the lead paragraph in its current form stinks. It is verbose, boring, uninformative, poorly worded, and dwells obsessively on a fairly minor point about the church -- namely, the question of what it and its members prefer to be called. This is akin to having the lead paragraph of the article about Al Gore devote itself to a tedious discussion of whether he prefers to be called Al or Albert. Not only would that be a poor way to lead an article about Al Gore, it would be demeaning to him, implying that he is someone who is obsessed with trivialities about his image. I think that the current lead paragraph conveys a similarly negative impression about Mormonism. The main problem, though, is that it is verbose, boring and uninformative.
Personally, I liked the lead paragraph that was introduced on March 30 by user 205.118.9.15. It was brief, simple, and straightforward, and properly deferred the discussion of the "correct" name of the church to a later subsection where it belongs. Several people, myself included, have attempted to introduced that kind of edit, and every time we do so, the same clique of self-proclaimed "guardians of consensus" simply reverts back to the current garbage. It's not worth my time to try to fix this, because I know the clique will simply revert it back, but you should stop pretending that you represent a consensus, because you don't. If you did, people wouldn't be continually showing up and trying to fix the mess you've made.
Perhaps you think I'm being overly harsh with regard to the lead paragraph. I'm being blunt, but that's because I'm a professional writer who knows something about how to write a lead. If you think my criticism is unfair, I recommend that you try a little experiment. Take the article to a professor of journalism or a writing instructor at a university and ask them for a candid critique. They'll tell you the same thing I'm telling you.
As for user 4.227.139.127, I don't agree with his edits, but to accuse him of vandalism is ludicrous. I've reviewed his entire history of edits and disagree with many of them, but none of them comes even remotely close to being vandalism. --Sheldon Rampton 17:32, 10 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Though somewhat strongly stated, Sheldon makes some good points, which I imagine Visorstuff agrees with. A well done rewrite wuldn't hurt. Tom 04:57, 11 Apr 2004 (UTC)

p.s. Why don't we remove the first para from introduced on March 30 and make it work? All that needs to be said about name can be said later on in the article. Tom 05:01, 11 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Sheldon - I am not implying that this is the best paragraph, nor do I believe I am self-proclaimed guardian of consensus - my point is that the paragraph has history and to add in a bunch of previously hashed through trash is stupid - I wish all editors of heavily contested pages had to read through the history before making (or remaking) the same contested edits that have gone on and on. I also agree that the paragraph in its current form is not NPOV, introduces argument too soon and could be redone. I am fine with going back to earlier versions that have been introduced. My point is that the user keeps adding in things that have been decided to leave out - see your comments above that others of us agreed with.
As far as vandalism, user 4.227.139.127 introduced the same edits without explanation after they had been reverted. As soon as the users edits were reverted, they simply ignored why it was reverted and changed back to what they edited earlier. There were reasons provided why their edits were rejected. Look at their talk page - I'm not the only one who thinks this behavior borders on vandalism. However, I also understand that as a new user, they probably do not understand "protocol" (whatever that means) in this forum.
Let's change it. I don't think we should even discuss the name "versions" in the lead. I'm just sick of going over the same arguments again and again. it is a waste of otherwise productive time. I appreciate your bluntness - but take it easy on the name calling - I don't think BoNoMoJo, Hawstom, COGDEN and my self form a clique - especially when there has been strong disagreements between all three of us on major points. I think the name calling is what causes strong, well-capable editors like BoNoMoJo to stop regular editing. No attack meant, just trying to keep things level so we keep the good editors around. -Visorstuff 21:55, 11 Apr 2004 (UTC)
I went ahead and made a change. See how this looks. COGDEN 00:41, 12 Apr 2004 (UTC)
I like COGDEN's change. Regarding user 4.227.139.127, I think his behavior should more properly be termed an "edit war" than "vandalism." Edit wars are sometimes inevitable as disagreements surface in the process of developing an article. "Vandalism" is behavior aimed at deliberately sabotaging articles.
Anyway, I apologize if my bluntness comes across as name-calling. My frustration stems from watching the lead paragraph go from bad to worse over the period of time that I've been watching this article. When the same arguments keep recurring, that's because there is a problem with the article that no one has fixed. I think COGDEN's change fixes the problem. --Sheldon Rampton 00:52, 12 Apr 2004 (UTC)
Not a problem - I'm not easily offended. Thanks for the clarification between edit war and vandalism - I need to be more patient with new users. I like COGDEN's changes as well. Tom, what do you think of the changes? Can we reach somewhat of a consensus on this? -Visorstuff 17:21, 12 Apr 2004 (UTC)
I like it ok. Let's see if it sticks. If it starts to grow into a name discussion again, we can move all "also known as" to the name section. Tom (hawstom) 19:35, 12 Apr 2004 (UTC)

LDS and the symbol of the cross

I edited the final paragraph of the Godhead section, which discusses the fact that the cross is not displayed by most LDS people. I removed a sentence that indicated that the cross was used on top of temples in the early days of the Church, because I could find no evidence to support that statement and there was evidence to the contrary. (The "cross" was a weather vane with an angel flying horizontally; a Google image search for the Kirtland and Nauvoo temples bears this out.) Alanyst 16:39, 2 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Thanks - i've also made that change in previous versions of Mormonism articles, but it keeps popping up. -Visorstuff 00:01, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Roles of heavenly parents

Something doesn't sit well with me regarding this text from the article:

Analogies circulated within the Church in regards to the differing roles of Heavenly Mother and Father correlate directly with mortal husbands and wives, not to mention analogous to notions of "Father Sun, Mother Earth." In the latter, the Father role is seen correlative with the Sun, protector, spokesman, orchestrator and provider of warmth, whereas the Mother role correlates with the Earth, from the body of which mankind was born, then continues as nurturer and sustainer of life.

I'm trying to pin down why it seems wrong. Clearly it's not backed up by citations, so that's one point against it. It was written by an anonymous user whose other contributions were largely reversed by later edits, apparently by poor or unfocused writing. The user's IP address has hundreds of attributed edits, so I suspect it might be a proxy address, making it impossible to communicate with the user on the user's Talk page. (I'm not philosophically opposed to anonymous edits, in case anyone thinks otherwise. I just have no way to assess the credibility of material contributed by anonymous and inaccessible users.) Now that I've organized my thoughts, I think the lack of citations for these anonymous ideas merits removing the material from the article. If the original contributor (or anyone else) objects, I suggest replacing it with material supported by references, and adding an explanation on this page. Alanyst 19:10, 21 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Not only is the information not supported, it is not doctrine of the Church - I still think we should build out the Common Latter-day Saint perceptions page to include speculations such as these, and agree that the cut section should have no place in this article. -Visorstuff 19:50, 21 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Also agree. B|Talk 21:43, 21 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Sounds good to me. I think what is wrong with that quote is this phrase: "not to mention analogous to notions of 'Father Sun, Mother Earth'". In Mormonism? That's news to me. Tom (hawstom) 20:18, 22 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Well, as a rule I try not to edit solely on the basis of "but I've never heard of that." For this particular case I think the cut was justified based on both the unfamiliarity of the material and the lack of supporting sources. Anyhow, thanks for the sanity check, everyone. Alanyst 21:41, 22 Jun 2004 (UTC)

The exact same text showed up again. I'm going to revert it; if the contributor is reading this, please explain why you feel our concerns about the text are unjustified before you put it back in again. Thanks. Alanyst 05:46, 11 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I think we can be a little more generous without accepting the edits in full. Try my compromise on for size. Tom 06:21, 11 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Okay - I'm weighing in again - this page is so undoctrinally founded that is mis-represents LDS Church doctrines at the expense of comment latter-day saint folklore. Statements such as "it is implied," and "not official, but..." are not good for any encyclopedia to publish - it cheapens the text. I will go in and align to church doctrine this week, while allowing for common viewpoints of Latter-day Saints. This really is a mess and doesn't in my opinion address the topic as it should. Time to revamp. -Visorstuff 18:19, 12 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I've added some simple word clarifications by reintroducing the subject of the sentence so there's no question of what the immediate antecedent is. Enlgish people! --Piewalker 03:10, 20 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Thanks, Visorstuff, for being willing to dive in on this. I'm anxious to see the results. Tom 04:20, 21 Jul 2004 (UTC)

LDS Church as an Old Testament re-enactment

I've always thought it interesting how thoroughly the Mormons managed to re-enact the Old Testament. The parallels are so obvious it's a wonder no one has bothered to mention them.

Begin with a prophet (Joseph Smith = Moses) who proclaims divine revelation of a holy land. His successor, (Brigham Young = Joshua) leads his followers into this region, which just happens to be located in a desert near a large, inland sea with high salinity (Great Salt Lake = Dead Sea). The religion emphasizes outward conformity and discipline and is centered around a large temple in a capital city (Salt Lake City = Jerusalem)

Perhaps this is why the fundamentalists don't consider Mormons to be Christians. Their religion and culture are modeled much more on the Old Testament than the New Testament. There seems to be a much greater similarity to Judaism than to Christianity.

Brigham Young is often called "The American Moses", even by non-LDS scholars, due to the "exodus" of the Mormons from Illinois to Utah (which was part of Mexico at the time). The entrance into Salt Lake Valley is called Emmigration Canyon (not Immigration...note that the Mormon Pioneers were deliberately leaving the USA at the time) even today. There is even a large fresh water lake (Utah Lake) drained by the Jordan River that flows into the Great Salt Lake. The comparisons are not completely lost, and indeed there tends to be a few problems with modern Jews going to Salt Lake City where Mormons think they have a closer relationship than the Jews think they have with Mormons. The Star of David is also a prominent symbol on many buildings built in the 19th Century around Utah, with the LDS Assembly Hall (on Temple Square) having that symbol right on the front of the building as a stained glass window. If that isn't enough, there is an LDS prophecy that the LDS church will get a claim to the temple mount in Jerusalem (like the Christians, Jews, or Moslems will ever give up or even think about letting Mormons there in the first place :))
I am unaware of such a prophecy. I am aware that a temple will be built by the Jews in Jerusalem. and they will flee the city and the Savior will come and then they will understand and worship him. And that water will heal the dead sea from the temple. But not that an LDS temple will be built on temple mount. If it indeed exists, can you point me to that prophesy? -Visorstuff 15:43, 14 July 2005 (UTC)
As to why Fundimentalist Christians don't consider Mormons to be Christian, I can totally understand that vantage as well. When Ecumenical Councils form in some communities, typically LDS congregations don't participate, although that is changing in some areas. There is also traditional bias that goes back several generations, as well as popular media culture that particularly in the past wasn't all that friendly towards LDS beliefs. From a traditional Protestant Christian viewpoint, I don't support the orthodoxy of traditional Chritianity by being of the LDS religion. I don't recognize the sacraments that are performed in other Christian churches as valid before God, and even accept that there are other gods besides Jesus Christ (a total blasphmy in the view of most mainstream Christians). There is more, but that is a typical difference of opinion. BTW, just because there may be other gods besides Jesus doesn't mean that I don't accept him as my Savior and Redeemer, or the Supreme God of the Universe, which is why LDS people claim to be Christian. --Robert Horning 10:18, 14 July 2005 (UTC)

LDS && Masonry lytourgy/symbols

shouldn't there be a mention in the article about the adoptation of masonic symbols and litourgy(sp?) into the eary forms of LDS? -- Project2501a 13:22, 20 Oct 2004 (UTC)

To begin with, unless you are a Mason and an endowed LDS member, there is no way to know for sure if that actually happened. I've heard that a number of early members were masons (supposedly, the phrase that Joseph Smith yelled just before he was killed was some kind of Masonic help signal - and supposedly at least some of the mob were Masons as well.) So, it is certainly possible that there are/were similarities. Also, I'm not sure how to discuss the issue in any detail without offending LDS and/or Masons. This is one of those situtations where the only ones qualified to discuss it can't. ;^) wrp103 (Bill Pringle) - Talk 18:41, 20 Oct 2004 (UTC)

There are references to this in the appropriate articles - Temples_of_the_Church_of_Jesus_Christ_of_Latter-day_Saints, Temple_garment and Joseph_Smith_Jr.. Other than that, I'm not sure of any other relevance to this particular article. -Visorstuff 18:54, 20 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Add to history of church

It is important to note that in the history of the LDS Church, that extreme persecution was the cause of the moving of the Saints from its original founding in that state of New York to the final home in Salt Lake, Utah. While there are many sides to the argument on how much early Mormons where persecuted, considering that the United States garranties freedom of religion, any level of persecution is alarming.

Adding to this that fact that the Govoner of the State of Missouri (Gov. Lilburn W. Boggs) in 1838 signed a military Extermination Order, which states "The Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the State." This order was the direct cause of the arrest and murder of the Church's first Prophet, Joseph Smith. The order was also responsible for the death of 17 Church Members and one mormon supporter, at Haun's Mill in Caldwell County, Missouri on October 30, 1838. A Militia of 200-250 men attacked a settlement of 30-40 mormon familys. While the women and childeren where able to flee to safety, the men sought defence in a mill, which proved a poor defensive position. The death of the men in the mill where grousome. One man, when trying to surender was shot and hacked witha knife. A 10 year old boy, who was hiding was shot in the head at close enough range to cause the top of his head to be shot off.

This and many other issues in other states is what caused the Mormon people to flee there homes to travel for months to find refuge in Utah. There hope was to go so far way that they would be left alone.

Reference for the above can be viewed at http://ldsfaq.byu.edu/view.asp?t=194

Not sure I understand your point. Of course the history is important. Although some of your referenced research is a bit outdated, point taken. However, the history or the Church may be found at History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Additional content of that sort, would make this page seem un-navigatable and large, which is why it was spun out into its own page. With that in mind, what exactly are you trying to say? Is it that we should include more of the history of the Church here, or that the history is important to understand. Please clarify so we can address your concerns. -Visorstuff 15:29, 2 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Along the lines of adding some of the history of the church to this page (which is a GREAT idea), I would like the article to go more in depth about events such as the infamous Mountain Meadows Massacre. This slaughtering of innocents by LDS members, including prominent leaders, was covered up by the church for many years before the US government forced action to be taken. Somethng tells me that most LDS adherents would probably rather look the other way when it comes to their church's history, but I guess I'll wait and see what gets included in future editions. -Colin

Nicene Council

As you might have noticed, the page got trashed. It looks like somebody started to make some edits (most of them good - although I don't know where they got half of the people following Brigham Young), but then the last part of the page got deleted. It ends in mid-sentence.

I know the theory behind reverting, but would feel better if somebody more experienced did it. wrp103 (Bill Pringle) - Talk 13:43, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I reverted the page one step, as I agree that the edits were going in the right direction - however, it needs to be re-looked at in fine detail and corrected - something I don't have time to do today. Can one of you take? -Visorstuff 18:28, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)

in Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints I removed the second half of the comment about the Nicaea council for mainly stylistic reasons: the historical context of the Council is hardly relevent to the point of the article, and mentioning it takes away from the flow of the paragraph.

Furthermore, only mentioning that it was put together in response to the Arianist heresy seems to indicate that it is a circumstancial event when it is one of the cornerstones of Catholic doctrine.

-LeoDV

I'm not sure what to think about this issue. It seems rather stylistic and minor ??? Tom - Talk 17:32, Dec 7, 2004 (UTC)

THE

This needs to be moved to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And also, why was the "Response to Critics" section of External links removed? I'm adding that back. :) Cookiecaper 10:25, 8 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Spiritual plural marriage?

The anon's addition looks wrong to me, but not so wrong that I'm confident to revert it. Perhaps an LDS editor (or an editor knowledgeable about LDS practice) can clarify if spiritual "sealing" takes place today? Jwrosenzweig 21:34, 10 Jan 2005 (UTC)

The addition was inaccurate, but correct in intent. Do you think we should state that spiritual sealings continue today, and that posthumously it is common to find both men and women sealed to all the spouses they had while in this world? There is indeed a philosophical basis for supposing the idea of plural marriage continues in the Church. Tom H. 03:00, Jan 11, 2005 (UTC)
I don't know what the teachings or practices are, but addressing the subject properly may help avoid having it addressed improperly in the future, rather than omitting or ignoring the subject. So yes, I think you should add something about this. Wesley 06:18, 11 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Alright, I wrote and added this. Tell me if you guys think it's O.K.

Today, while plural marriage is not practiced, any widower qualified to enter the temple may have his subsequent marriage(s) sealed, ensuring that the man will be reunited with all of the wives to whom he was sealed when he reaches the post-mortal realms. A widow can be remarried in the temple, but she cannot be sealed to more than one husband.

Cookiecaper 08:01, 11 Jan 2005 (UTC)

wrp103 (Bill Pringle) - Talk 14:07, 11 Jan 2005 (UTC) (minor tweak. She can get a temple divorce and then marry another husband)
Is "ensuring that the man will be reunited with all of the wives to whom he was sealed when he reaches the post-mortal realms" a conclusion you're drawing? Or is there an official statement or doctrine to that effect? I believe that this is how most members understand the reasoning behind how sealings are made, but if there's no official explanation of why additional sealings are permitted in some cases but not others, then perhaps that clause should be omitted. Alanyst 15:46, 11 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I made some tweaks. According to a recent letter from the Church, all secondary sealings need to have "approval" - it is not a "regular" or ordinary practice. As far as the comment above - there is no such thing as "temple divorce" it is a "cancellation of a sealing ordinance" and is a very serious thing as it results in changes to one's covenants with God and Christ. I'm fine with the wording as it is stated currently (with my doctrinal changes). It may or may not be common, but it is not a regular practice. -Visorstuff 17:28, 11 Jan 2005 (UTC)

While there may not be such as thing as a "temple divorse", there is a practice of "temple annulment", similar in nature to a marriage annulment by the Pope in the Catholic Church. And about as difficult to obtain. Terminology changes all the time within the LDS Church, where often political correctness reigns supreme on terminology (to make it less offensive). I won't go into that here, however. --Robert Horning
Incidentally, It has been called, to my knowledge from at least the 1960s a "cancellation of a sealing ordinance." I am unaware of a "terminology change." Regardless the idea is the same. I've actually never heard of it begin called a "temple annulment" aside from in sunday school along stories of false statistics and three nephites. I'd be interested in any document referring to it in that way if you can point me in that direction. -Visorstuff 15:37, 14 July 2005 (UTC)

There is one other addition that needs to be made in the spirit of Wesley's comment to completely fill the intent of the original contribution. Namely, to Cookiecapers nice explanation, we should add: Deceased individuals whose disposition concerning sealings is not known (both men and women) are typically sealed to all the spouses they had in life, leaving ratification of the ordinances up to God and the individuals involved. Tom H. 17:47, Jan 11, 2005 (UTC)


I'm not sure about "ensuring that the man will be reunited with all". It is my understanding that being sealed ensures that you will be sealed, but not necessarily to whom. For example, one sister who was a convert was encouraged to be sealed to her former (deceased) husband, rather than to her current husband. What I keep hearing is that everything will work out, but it isn't clear if we understand exactly how at this point. How about:

Today, while plural marriage is not practiced, any widower qualified to enter the temple may have his subsequent marriage(s) sealed. Since sealing does not terminate at death, but rather continues through time and eternity, such a man is sealed to more than one wife. A widow can be remarried in the temple, but she cannot be sealed to more than one husband.

wrp103 (Bill Pringle) - Talk 18:10, 11 Jan 2005 (UTC)

While some people get all hung up with issues and problems with multiple marriages, my experience with doing sealings in the temple for deceased ancestors is that just about any and all marriage arrangements have been performed that can be imagined, although marriage of the same gender is rare enough that it would be a major exception, and almost always (officially always) done by mistake, as is marriage of child and parent (happening far more often due to poor record keeping). The usual explaination is that God will eventually sort everything out in the end, so don't worry about it. When living individuals are involved in the ordinances, there are some minor differences and usually a lot more scrutiny that goes on in terms of who can and can't get sealed. In terms of a woman who is a convert and can't decide who to be sealed to, I have heard of a few exceptional situations where somebody I knew was sealed to more than one husband when she was alive (with the other husband being deceased at the time). Usually, however, if the first husband was sealed to a woman in the temple while they were both alive, and then the husband dies, an LDS woman would be re-married in a temple but only for "time", not eternity... as the saying goes, and you got the gist of this. --Robert Horning 10:54, 14 July 2005 (UTC)

I suspect it would be true to say that plural marriage is no longer practiced on earth, but it's still practiced in the afterlife, according to the church. However, I'm not sure there's a safe way to include such info in the article. Former-Mormon sources (many of which content that spiritual plural marriages are still done) may be considered questionable. And certainly the church would not like the implication that plural marriage is still practiced, even in the spiritual realm. Still, if there's a neutral and verifiable way to include this info, I think it should be present. As has been pointed out above, taking the admitted practices of the church to their logical conclusion, it does suggest that some LDS folks believe they'll enjoy plural marriage in the afterlife. Friday 15:50, 14 July 2005 (UTC)

Page rename/move discussion

(from Wikipedia:Requested moves)

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day SaintsThe Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  • Support: Move to official title, redirect as is. Cburnett 23:00, 11 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  • Oppose - see Wikipedia:Naming conventions (definite and indefinite articles at beginning of name). Church of the SubGenius and a ton of "Church of x articles" respect that convention. In this case, the "The" is a convenience of speech, not the name of the church. -- Netoholic @ 23:29, 2005 Jan 11 (UTC)
    Look at the page specifically for mormons (Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Mormonism)) and it says, "use the Church's full name as a first reference (preferably with capital T in The, even if not at the beginning of the sentence, since it is part of the full name)" It's not the "Church of ..." but "The Church ..." And looking at the definite article naming convention you linked it says to use "The" in the article if apart of the title. Ergo The Beatles, The Bangles, The Old Man and the Sea, etc. So by both of these naming conventions it should be "The Church ..." Cburnett 23:38, 11 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  • Support. This is the church's name, such as it is. ADH (t&m) 00:17, Jan 12, 2005 (UTC)
  • Support. Official name. -Sean Curtin 03:33, Jan 12, 2005 (UTC)
  • Support. We should use official names --Trodel 12:07, 12 Jan 2005 (UTC)
    • It's OK for you to feel this way, but is it really necessary to spam user talk pages to push through this vote? -- Netoholic @ 04:16, 2005 Jan 15 (UTC)
      • So we have no obligation to let people who have shown an interest in an issue that it is up for a vote. That seems counterintuitive. As mentioned below - at least one person I reminded voted against - and I expected more. Trodel 01:20, 16 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  • Oppose. If we put definite articles at the beginning of article names just because they're in the "official name", then we'd end up with nonsense like The United Kingdom. Proteus (Talk) 12:22, 12 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Agreed, we could end up with The Gambia too, for instance:) jguk 13:33, 12 Jan 2005 (UTC)
This issue is addressed at Wikipedia:Naming conventions#Avoid the definite article ("the") and the indefinite article ("a"/"an") at the beginning of the page name. "The" should be included when it's part of the official name.Cookiecaper 13:18, 12 Jan 2005 (UTC)
"A simple rule of thumb is, would you capitalize the definite article in running text?" No one not in the LDS Church is going to write about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, they'd write about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, just as they'd write about the Roman Catholic Church or the Anglican Church. Proteus (Talk) 16:23, 12 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  • People outside the LDS Church not only would use a mid-sentence capital, some of them consistantly do use it. It's apparently in all the Utah newspaper styleguides. Further examples are CNN, [2] USA Today, [3] and, apparently, 365Gay.com[4]. Both styles are seen in US papers (see also the Sydney Morning Herald [5]), and midsentence capitalization is on the increase, I think. Non-Mormons do use it, even though it's currently a minority. Even anti-Mormons increasingly adopt it, unless Jerald and Sandra Tanner have been rebatized. [6] [7] Cool Hand Luke 07:17, 13 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The rule of thumb Proteus mentions is spot on. Susvolans (pigs can fly) 17:10, 12 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  • Oppose for simple stylistic reasons. Neutralitytalk 21:35, Jan 12, 2005 (UTC)
  • Support as this is the official name. This is different from "The Gambia United Kingdom" because news sources increasingly use the full name in their styleguides, signified by a mid-sentence capitalized "The". This includes all the daily newspapers in Utah (The Deseret Morning News, which is LDS-owned, but also The Salt Lake Tribune, the Provo Daily Herald, the St. George Spectrum and others), CNN, USA Today, and others. This usage seems to be on the increase since the church issued style preferences a few years ago, and I believe Wikipedia ought to use it in links (as I've been clumsily doing with [[Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints|The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints]]), so the article should reflect this title for simple stylistic reasons. Cool Hand Luke 06:45, 13 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  • Support I suppose. Why would anyone care what I think? I don't know anything about this. :-) Tom H. 06:57, Jan 13, 2005 (UTC)
  • Support. It is the official name and the use of the article "The" is intentionally applied in all cases. - Gilgamesh 07:38, 13 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  • Oppose. For reason's Proteus gives and as described at Wikipedia:Naming conventions (definite and indefinite articles at beginning of name). olderwiser 14:04, Jan 13, 2005 (UTC)
  • Oppose. For numerous reasons. I realize the "Official" name begins with "The", but logistically it doesn't work here on the 'pedia. Frecklefoot | Talk 15:41, Jan 13, 2005 (UTC)
  • Oppose, for reasons given above. Fredrik | talk 18:25, 13 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  • Support (with reservations). This issue (actually, the issue of whether to capitalize the The mid-sentence) has been brought up in Wikipedia_talk:Naming conventions (Mormonism), and here's what I said initially:
Even the church itself has not been consistent about this. In the current edition of the canon and other church publications, the name of the church is listed both ways. The The is capitalized in D&C 115:4, Official Declaration 2, Guide to the Scriptures, and Bible Dictionary, the Ensign, and the Encyclopedia of Mormonism, whereas the the is not capitalized in D&C 127:12, 136:2, Official Declaration 1, JS-H 1:1, Answers to Gospel Questions, and most older publications. Moreover, my impression is that most non-LDS writers do not capitalize, either. For example, MSN Encarta does not, nor does the Encyclopædia Britannica, the Utah History Encyclopedia, the Catholic Encyclopedia, the Columbia Encyclopedia, or the Encyclopedia of Religion and Society.
However, I ultimately supported capitalizing the The because in the last couple of decades the Church has made it a point to consistently capitalize, and some secular sources have gradually (but slowly) trended in favor of capitalizing. This practice of capitalization is not totally unheard of. See, for example, The George Washington University, which is even more protective of its The. COGDEN 18:40, Jan 13, 2005 (UTC).
  • Oppose. Proteus's arguments are sound. Jayjg | (Talk) 18:52, 13 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  • Support: To members of The Church, the word "The" is very important, and hopefully this context is helpful. Church members believe they belong to The Church that Christ organized, which has been restored in the latter days, not just 'A' Church. Commenting on this some time ago, I wrote:
...the word the has a very slight connotation associated with it. [In other words, Church members] don't belong to "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," or "a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," rather, [They] belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This emphasizes it is THE Church of Christ, not just a Church. Wikipedia_talk:Naming_conventions_(Mormonism)#Capitalizing_The_in_the_Church_of_Jesus_Christ_of_Latter-day_Saints
  • I know that this is offensive to many outside of The Church (and may be a self-righteous attitude), but is a core belief of Church members, who feel they belong to the only true church (not that others don't have truths, but they believe that they alone have priesthood authority from God). Very important connotation to most Church members. If this issue is not supported, I'm afraid it will keep coming up and will be voted on again, as many Church members (but not all) who view this will agree with this logic and desire to have the name changed to reflect it's proper title. Hopefully this context helps. -Visorstuff 20:11, 13 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  • Hmmm. I think these are arguments NOT to include the "The" in the title. I am even more strongly opposed than before. Wikipedia is not here to satisfy the vanity of corporations, schools, or religious denominations. olderwiser 20:43, Jan 13, 2005 (UTC)
    • That the church itself prefers the name is a reason not to use it? Cool Hand Luke 23:25, 13 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  • Support. The article clearly says that "the" was added intentionally. So the issue is not "include or not", but rather "omit or not". Mikkalai 22:25, 13 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Bkonrad is right: the last reason we would want to do something like this is to gratify a church’s self-image. If there is a trend towards this sort of thing, it is a marketing-driven insistence originating from the referents themselves, whether that be George Washington University, Ohio State University, or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They are inherently biased. Of course, self-identification is a good guideline to follow, but not when it becomes self-glorification. — Ford 22:58, 2005 Jan 13 (UTC)
    • So you're suggesting that we should adhere to our policy of reflecting self-identification, except where we disagree with their motives? That's hardly a NPOV, and worse, it contradicts already-strained precedent (Myanmar and the Republic of China are still argued over). ADH (t&m) 23:07, Jan 13, 2005 (UTC)
      • That is a fair statement of my position. I think that allowing any person or any organization to name itself without restriction will lead to plentiful violations of neutrality. I could call myself ‘Much Smarter than ADH’. Would you feel obligated to call me that? Would you consider it neutral? — Ford 00:26, 2005 Jan 14 (UTC)
        • We cannot start making value judgments as to the motivations behind what people and organizations call themselves; this is what NPOV is all about. I can argue that Scientology has no actual basis in science, that the military junta in control of Burma is illegitimate, and that Formosa is rightfully sovereign territory of the People's Republic of China, but it's no more my place to assert these opinions than it is yours otherwise. There is no other "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints," so the definite article in no way compromises the neutrality of our coverage. ADH (t&m) 01:24, Jan 14, 2005 (UTC)
          • No, actually, NPOV is all about being neutral. If an organization describes itself in a way that is not neutral, we are not obligated to follow suit. We can use the definite article with the name in a sentence, but if we contravene common usage, it suggests that we will do whatever an organization wants us to, whether it be neutral or not. — Ford 02:13, 2005 Jan 14 (UTC)
            • I refer you to the last sentence of my previous post. ADH (t&m) 03:33, Jan 14, 2005 (UTC)
              • ... which I read and disagreed with the first time. — Ford 10:12, 2005 Jan 14 (UTC)
            • Should we not then move the grammatically clumsy, sentence contorting, and relatively less common Diana, Princess of Wales to Princess Diana? Cool Hand Luke 13:02, 14 Jan 2005 (UTC)
              • This is not about self-glorification - Church Members since 1838 have believed that this name was given by revelation from God. It has been part of the "official name" for more than 175 years. For others to refer to it by the "Mormon" Church or "the LDS Church" or to drop the "The" is changing the "official" and historical name of the Church. Seems POV when you do. Wikipedia should follow the standard of referring to things by their proper name. If you want to legally change your name to ‘Much Smarter than ADH’ then that would be your right, and legally, that would be your name. There is a difference in describing yourself in a certain way, and your legal and official name. In this case, it is the legal and official name, not merely a "description" -Visorstuff 17:59, 14 Jan 2005 (UTC)
    • (a) This threading is out of control. (b) If the members of the church believe that they have been given a special revelation from God, there may be other grounds to suspect them of self-glorification than their insistence on ‘The’. (c) I do not agree that there is a difference between descriptions and names. Otherwise-meaningless names acquire definitions when they are applied to things; thereafter, the name as defined is a simple description of the thing. When a name that consists of plain-language expressions deviates from the expected meaning, those expressions acquire new definitions, and thereafter serve as a description of the intended thing. (d) In names that begin with ‘the’, the article is used or not used contextually in standard usage: “founded the original Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”, not *“founded the original The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”. — Ford 19:54, 2005 Jan 14 (UTC)


  • Support. It's the official name, and it's a small change.--Josiah 04:11, Jan 14, 2005 (UTC)
  • Oppose - follow the manual of style, please. →Raul654 06:21, Jan 14, 2005 (UTC)

One other item to keep in mind - another Latter Day Saint sect is named the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. No the and no hyphen are the only difference in naming. Both are called Mormons, but the one without the hyphen are referred to as Strangites, because the naming is confusing. On Wikipedia, we've included "Strangite," after the name of that Church which can be as offensive to some of that sect as Mormons is to some of the LDS Church.

This is obviously a difficult decision. But I see no difference between The Beatles and The George Washington University and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, if that is what the "official" name is. Especially if that is the self-reference. -Visorstuff 17:45, 14 Jan 2005 (UTC)

  • Support. Even though the members of the relevant wikiproject may be acting in concert, the argument seems strong. The style guide referenced has a single author (which doesn't necessarily mean anything, because I've come across him before and my experience is positive). Noisy | Talk 20:35, Jan 14, 2005 (UTC)
Thanks for your support - As an aside, there has been much discussion on the wikiproject as well as on Naming Conventions and other sites related to Mormonism before this Requested move was put to a vote - and some participants have voted against the change (well Frecklefoot did), and I reminded all project members to vote - even those I thought would vote against).
  • Support "The" is part of the name. It's not a particle solely for grammatical clarity, nor a matter of doctrine, but part of the Church's full legally referenced title. Bruce 03:12, 15 Jan 2005 (UTC)
    • Welcome back from your break, hopefully you'll start editing again. -- Netoholic @ 03:47, 2005 Jan 15 (UTC)
      • Netoholic, I really like how you check for new contributers. You do it on VfD, RfA, and other places, and I think it's very valuable. I don't, however, think that votes from members more active in the past should be questioned this way. If you sincerely wanted to make this comment, the user's talk page seems more appropriate. Cool Hand Luke 11:16, 16 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  • Support Refer to as Church preferred, government recognized (aka legal), grammaticaly correct, Church doctrinally correct title. - Tech the Guru Floyd 1:39, 15 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  • Support -- DCEdwards1966 16:27, Jan 18, 2005 (UTC)
  • Support -- wrp103 (Bill Pringle) - Talk 18:13, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Common sense approach preferable. Eclecticology 18:32, 2005 Jan 21 (UTC)
  • Support - This is not even arguable. The definitive article is aways used for this church and every single member of the church is offended if you don't. I'm not a Mormor but I've lived among them most of my life. This is not trivial. It is a matter of religious indoctrination from early childhood. Just because the rest of the world doesn't know it doesn't mean it's a throw-away word. One would think a serious reference would honor this historic distinction. "The" matters. Ray Foster 22:52, Jan 26, 2005 (UTC)

No clear consensus for move after listing for 7 days. Archived here for further discussion, and consensus-gathering. -- Netoholic @ 18:51, 2005 Jan 18 (UTC)

Revelations as fact.

"Following a revelation from God in 1978, all worthy men were allowed to receive the priesthood."

Any chance of a smidgen of NPOV in this article? Alai 21:42, 20 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I rewrote the sentence thus:
In 1978, an official declaration by the First Presidency stated that all worthy men were allowed to receive the priesthood.
How's that? Are there other POV problems you see in the article, or was your plea for "a smidgen of NPOV in this article" just a benign exaggeration? If you do see other POV problems, please feel free to address them by rephrasing or, if major changes are required, by bringing them up for discussion here. Alanyst 22:59, 20 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Guilty. Distinct 'peeved POV' in my comment, sorry. I think that there are other POV issues in the article other than this one, but they're rather more subtle. Certainly compare for "overall POV look and feel" with PCUSA or "Roman" (sic) Catholic Church articles. Alai 02:01, 21 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Those pages are just as POV - statements like "Bishops are the successors of the apostles in the governance of the Church" are a matter of belief of members of that Church, not nessesarily the beliefs of Protestants and others (also interesting how the Criticisms section of the Roman Catholic Church article is purposely kept short - has been a controversial section). I'd love to see this article set up the same way - keeping all criticism to the end, and allowing the POV of a Mormon to tell the beliefs - but that's what I've already said... -Visorstuff 18:19, 21 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Also, as you think about it, it would be good to get a feel for the entire Mormonism area of Wikipedia by checking out the List of articles about Mormonism. My take: There are only so many times you can say "purported", "they believe", "alleged", etc. before readers get the general idea that Wikipedia disclaims these claims. So in general I think once an article is going full blast we have generally stated things in the POV of the respective group. Also, it is very important to make sure articles represent other POVs fairly early on, and not just at the end. A one-sentence example: "Joseph Smith, who Mormons believe to be a prophet, received a revelation on plural marriage." We don't have to say "purported revelation" because we already said "Mormons believe" Tom H. 23:15, Jan 20, 2005 (UTC)
I'm not sure that's strictly true; it's not as if it's logically impossible to believe the one thing, but not the other. Obviously one should avoid needlessly clumsy turns of phrase: if we're listing a whole slew of things that Mormons believe, and it's clear that's the case, then a single covering flag to that effect is fine. To wander between history and theology, and claim we'd "covered" that by some mention of belief a few sentences ago. Alai 02:01, 21 Jan 2005 (UTC)
You can't seperate the subjects in Mormonism. Unlike the "traditions" of the Catholic Church and the written doctrines, and scripture, they cannot be seperated. In fact, I'd argue that in most tight-knit catholic communities, you cannot seperate them either (and I don't think it should). Mormon culture, history and doctrine are a way of life, affecting EVERYTHING a Mormon does throughout the day. See my comments below. -Visorstuff 18:19, 21 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I think that whole paragraph should be deleted, but that is my thought - it seems poorly written. I wonder if the context behind an official declaration should be explained. Mormons believe that an official declaration states that a revelation has been received, but does not share or give the revelation, therefore only announcing the policy change given by revelation. Regardless of whether or not people agree with the term "revelation" that is what an official declaration says it is. So, should it say

In 1978, an official declaration stated that a revelation was received which changed the policy, allowing all worthy men were allowed to receive the priesthood.

If the article is SO POV, please feel free to edit it. I think it is pretty self-explanatory to readers that this article is written from the POV of being a member - as it should be (so should scientology, Catholicism and others, and then have a opposing view area written from the POV of someone with an opposering belief. You cannot do any topic justice by trying to explain both sides of every argumnet while trying to explain theory (in the case of scientific articles), popular belief, etc. You have to explain gravity from the POV that it is a FACT, and then share why it is only a THEORY, why it may not work in every instance. Same with religious topics. Share as they are fact, whether they are Jesus sightings or other theophanies, revelations, levitations, etc., and then give a contrarian point of view. Hope I'm not getting on a soapbox here. Anyway, I'd rather see the paragraph deleted rather than my suggested edit. Visorstuff 23:30, 20 Jan 2005 (UTC)

It's not at all evident that that's the intended POV. Indeed, were it to be so, it would be rather flagrantly against Wikipedia policy, would it not? If you'd like an article on Mormon Beliefs, fire away, but this article ought to be about the Church as a corporate body, and historical entity. Alai 02:01, 21 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I don't think I understnad your comment above - please clarify - It is nearly impossible for a member of The Chruch of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to seperate the Church into different "buckets" such as a corporate body, a historical entitty, doctrine/beliefs and culture. Each are so interwoven and affect the other that one must treat each aspect in attempting to explain the Church. For example, the doctrines set forth by SMith in the Doctrine and Coventants (which Church members believe are revelations from God and other policy statements) explain the organization and give context to the historical and cultural aspects of Chruch history. Another: while many believe the policy that Blacks could not en masse hold the priesthood was a doctrinal thing, statements from the Church lead researchers to believe it was a policy decistion, still others believe it was the result of cultural influence on the interpretation of certain passages of Mormon scripture. In any case it had to be changed by revelation, according to Church policy, culture and historical statements. However, in reality, it was likely a bit of each, and just needed approval from the right Source (whether by the First Presidency and Twelve or by God - depending on your belief). THis is not so different than the removal of polygamy as a taught doctrine. Mormons view it similar to Peter's vision on letting Gentiles hear the gospel (the cornelius story). To peter, it was a cultural and doctrinal issue. The four aspects I outlined above HAVE to be treated or the reader will not understand why certain things happen as they do within the LDS Church. I do agree that specific Unique mormon doctrines ought to be discussed on their own pages - and many are - but there also needs to be context in this article. I look forward to your clarification. -Visorstuff 18:19, 21 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I think this article is the result of many discussions and fair rewrites - an edit now without discussion seems like an invitation to reverts. Also a better analogy would be the quantum wave theory of matter. Trödel 01:32, 21 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Aside from the above discussion, Alai, let's start discussing specifics and get them changed. I still agree that the article is too POV, as you suggested, but let's work through getting specific items fixed. What's first in your mind? -Visorstuff 18:19, 21 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Salvation/Eternal destiny

V and all, I would like to focus on the salvation area, which I think is kind of sloppy and could use a little D&C 76-ization and scripturalization in general. Of course there is always the problem of decribing what is taught in the scriptures vs. what is believed by the members. Sigh. I guess it isn't that easy. Tom H. 16:53, Jan 27, 2005 (UTC)

While I agree, what specifically are you referring to? The information on the kingdoms is accurate from the most recent teachings of the brethren. I agree that it is sloppy, but it really should be its own article. Can you share more specificity on what you think there are issues with? -User:Visorstuff 23:20, 27 Jan 2005 (UTC)

After additional thought, I think the problems can be addressed best by good attribution and presenting significant views and terminology in accordance with the NPOV policy. In reality, there are probably several areas where the scriptural manner of speaking about eternal destiny is different from the common way, and the leaders often straddle the divide.
  • Beliefs are attributed to "the Church" as in "Exaltation is the reward which the Church believes...." This is a bit sloppy.
  • Celestial kingdom inheritance doesn't seem scriptural, and no attribution is given for the stance: "The minimum stated requirement to enter the Celestial Kingdom for accountable individuals is baptism and repentance"
I don't know that it can all be improved other than by attribution. Explaining salvation is kind of a subjective (depends on who the audience of your talk is) thing, and it is done in many different ways. So if we are going to attribute, do we also try including possibly variant renderings, such as the pure D&C 76 definition of the heirs of the fulness of the Father? Also, shouldn't there be something about heaven and hell in the spirit world and something about the resurrection? I need to think about it more. These are just maybe some of the preliminary thoughts I'm having. Tom H. 06:22, Jan 30, 2005 (UTC)
Yeah, I don't really like the minimum requirements things either. God is the only one who sets the minimum requirements. I thought about removing them while I was editing this section the other day, but I decided not to. We should at least post a type of disclaimer saying something about that. You know, so when everyone's dead, we won't get in trouble for making somebody think they were going to the wrong kingdom. :) Cookiecaper 21:06, 30 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Assassination by mob?

In the 2nd para in the into, the term "assassination" reads oddly, if only because of the borderline oxymoron "assassination by mob". Perhaps "murder" or "killing" would seem more natural. Alai 17:50, 29 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Assassination is the term I've generally seen in respectable contexts. I'm not aware if it is strictly inappropriate. Tom H. 06:08, Jan 30, 2005 (UTC)
Assassination sounds like the right term to use to me. Although members of the church generally refer to Smith's death as martyrdom, assassination seems to be a descriptive term -- especially considering Smith's political ambitions. Oasisbob 07:35, 31 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Blacks and the Priesthood

It was a common misbelief that blacks were not allowed to receive the priesthood. The restriction was limited to African descent. The example I always heard was the Maori, who were black but able to receive the priesthood. I don't think the current section explains this well, and the last parenthetical phrase doesn't seem to make sense if you don't know that Maori's have black skin. I tried to fix it, but "people of color" was changed to "other ethnicities", which doesn't seem to explain it. I would recommend taking out the closing parenthetical sentence. Any ideas? wrp103 (Bill Pringle) - Talk 22:17, 16 Feb 2005 (UTC) that.

I've tinkered with it somewhat, and added a link to the substantiative article on the topic. Does that read any better now? Alai 22:37, 16 Feb 2005 (UTC)

May want to check the speficities in your research as well. In America, "Blacks" denote those of the Negroid race, not others who have more melatonin in their skin, such as indians, native americans or maori (who President Kimball said were decendants of Lehi). Negroids were prohibited by policy to hold the priesthood (with some exceptions). Hence, most Brazilians could not hold the priesthood that could trace their ancestry to west Africa. The spread of the gospel in brazil had more to do with the revelation, in my opinion from my research, than political pressures or anything else. All other races, had to be called by prophecy to receive the priesthood. It was not as automatic as it is now in the church that every man gets the priesthood. Those in the south sea islands were often not ordained to the Melchizedek priesthood unless they were in local church leadership. They were more often called as priests and teachers prior to the 1970s, but not elders or high priests. Please remember that it is the duty of the tribe of ephriam (not any other) to lead the church and spread the gospel, therefore it is their right to hold the melchizedek priesthood, not any other group aside from Levites who accept the gospel. May want to change the wording to reflect "Negroids, not other dark-skinned peoples." Your edit makes much more sense now, sorry to have overgeneralized, but still needs some fleshing out. -Visorstuff 23:36, 16 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I realize we need to use conventional lingo, but I like best the precision afforded by using "African" right from the start as in Africans and the Priesthood. Blacks and the priesthood is too sloppy. Tom Haws 23:39, Feb 16, 2005 (UTC)

I have no strong feelings on "Black" vs. "African", though I'd rather either used as an adjective than as a noun. But American usage is not, I think, as consistent or rigourous as V. suggests, and nor are we writing for an exclusively American audience. (Or at exclusively American keywords.) I'd argue long and hard against any change to "Negroid". It's not half as precise as it thinks it is, and has all sorts of unwanted connotations. Alai 00:08, 17 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Decision About the Name

Was a decision ever made about the "The"? Please take a look at what the Church has to say about it. http://www.lds.org/newsroom/page/0,15606,3899-1---15-168,00.html --Parlod

The proposal to move the page to include the "The" didn't reach consensus (though it had a majority by a fair distance). So for now, no "The" on this page. A frequently-expressed concern was the WP article naming convention, which says you should include "The" in the titles of works, but is less clear (IMO) about the status of organisations that prefer/insist on a capitalised "The" in reference to themselves. I've asked for a clarification of this policy, but nothing really doing, so far. Basically there's an "official title" rule and a "common use" rule, and it's not clear which trumps which (if we assume that 'common use' isn't necessarily identical with LDS policy; if it is, there's no conflict).

However, out of regard for The Church's style concerns, we've adjusted (just about all?) link-texts to appear to refer to "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints".

It's worth noting that we pretty much disregard their preference as regards "Mormonism" and "Mormon" (we don't really want you to call us Mormons, but we insist you don't call anyone else one...). Alai 23:58, 16 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I think the sections you are referring to are:
  • When referring to Church members, the term “Latter-day Saints” is preferred, though “Mormons” is acceptable.
  • "Mormon” is correctly used in proper names such as the Book of Mormon, Mormon Tabernacle Choir or Mormon Trail, or when used as an adjective in such expressions as “Mormon pioneers.”
  • The term “Mormonism” is acceptable in describing the combination of doctrine, culture and lifestyle unique to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  • When referring to people or organizations that practice polygamy, the terms “Mormons,” “Mormon fundamentalist,” “Mormon dissidents,” etc. are incorrect. The Associated Press Stylebook notes: “The term Mormon is not properly applied to the other ... churches that resulted from the split after [Joseph] Smith’s death.
It seems fairly common in scharlarly works by and about Latter Day Saints to refer to the collection as Mormonism and to members of The CJCoLDS as Latter-day Saints. This is IMHO an attempt to respect the request and be pragmatic in trying to describe the group. Calling the group Latter Day Saints vs Latter-day Saints is very confusing to those unfamiliar with the movement, but because of the Church's efforts to distance itself from the being called the Mormon Church, or the Church of the Mormons, the Mormon term is becoming less identified as referring to The CJCoLDS and is an easy one to associate wtih the culture, lifestyle and doctrine that descended from Joseph Smith's Restoration. I do think that using terms like "Mormon fundamentalist" or "Mormon dissidents" would be too POV here since we provide enough background to specifically name the group and call them polygamists, or whatever truly identifies them as a group. Additionally, most of the splinter groups have only a few doctrines that differ from The CJCoLDS but they really don't have the resources to provide information on all the concepts that are in the List of articles about Mormonism so the doctrine, culture, and lifestyle are more the same than different in those areas. Trödel|talk 01:19, 17 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Yes, that's right, with specific reference to fourth bullet point. Sorry, I was rather off-hand in my reference. That is to say, my understanding is that our use of "Mormon" and "Mormonism" includes all those groups. This being contra to the preference of the LDS church (which wouldn't apply it to the others), and the Community of Christ (which wouldn't apply it to themselves). (I agree we don't necessarily wish to say "fundamentalist" or "dissident" for reasons of NPOV, but it's not really that part that the LDS is objecting to here (which is, I think, the exclusivity of "Mormon").) I didn't mean to imply that our practice here differed in every specific, certainly. Incidentally, I do agree with the approach, since the LDS position would in effect deprive us of any collective term of reference. Alai 02:19, 17 Feb 2005 (UTC)
I guess that is what I was trying to say also - we really don't have any other choice than to use Mromonism as the collective term Trödel|talk 11:43, 17 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Right. Despite the requests of the LDS Church, "Mormon Fundamentalists" can be said to be practicing fundamentalist Mormonism, to use our terminology. And despite the APA (is that the right term?) style guide, Mormonism is the name for the system that the original Smiths adopted. We are being as historic, concise, and clear as we can. The only alternative I can see would be to coin other new, awkward, and confusing terms like Latter-day-saintism or Joseph-Smithism (groan).
And as I understand it, TCoJCoLDS wouldn't "approve" of Latter-day-saintism as a collective description, either. Joseph-Smithist would probably offend everyone equally. :) Alai 18:26, 17 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Yea but I am growing kind of fond of TCoJCoLDS - maybe we should use that more often - JK Trödel|talk 20:45, 17 Feb 2005 (UTC)
That'll make one of you, then. :) The torture it puts my shift-key finger through makes me think, this is an acronym so unweildly, it practically needs an abbreviation of its own... (TJL, anyone?) Alai 21:03, 17 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Sorry guys. When I put that link there, I meant just to read about the official name, not necessarily about the terms "Mormon" and "Mormonism." -Parlod

My bad, shocking digression on my part. When I said "it's worth noting that"... well, it probably wasn't. Alai 21:05, 17 Feb 2005 (UTC)

It is always worth noting - enjoyed the thread. -Visorstuff 23:30, 17 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Genealogy, Mormon Youth, Reason for popularity

The article makes no mention of the Mormon's extensive collection of Genealogy, and more importantly, why they have such a detailed record in the first place. Since they believe that one can achieve salvation for dead relatives, it is important to track their ancestors to assure they make it to heaven. This is a very strong selling point for the religion - it makes it very appealing if someone feels they hold the fate of their ancestors after-life within their control.

Also, the article should contain information about the Mormon Youth, and the 2 year "mission" (indoctrination) they are submitted to when they become a teenager. During this time they are allowed only a couple contacts with their family. Although certainly too biased and inflammatory for inclusion in the article, the term brainwashing certainly seems appropriate.

While the article contains a lot of technical, theological information, it does not address the fundamental question - why is the mormon religion growing so fast?

There are several reasons for that, including the church's great wealth, allowing them to build seed churches, as well as pay for a constant stream of expensive TV commercials. Their basic tenets sell well - they believe in strong family values, and that mormons can achieve salvation for family that have already died. Their youth is also employed aggressively in door-to-door ministry to evangelize the religion.

Finally, some information in the article, such as their belief that anyone can eventually achieve god-hood status, should be promoted to introductory section. Such cult-like beliefs set mormonism far apart from all other fundamental Christain religions, and would serve to illustrate to the casual reader the (never publicized) theological foundations on which mormanism is truly based. Dan East 03:43, 21 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Some of those concerns would I think, be best addressed in some of the more specific articles (ensuring, obviously, that links to those are in all appropriate places with suitable prominence). There's already a large (indeed, somewhat unruly-looking) list at Controversies regarding The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, perhaps that's a suitable jumping-off point? (What that doesn't cover, what needs expansion, what needs to be structured differently...) Alai 04:47, 21 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I've thought that perhaps it would be better to rearrange this article around the three-fold mission of the church: Proclaim the Gospel, perfect the saints and redeem the dead. Would this be too POV? This would provide some structure to what is now mostly a list of topics (that are addressed). Val42 17:11, Feb 21, 2005 (UTC)

That sounds like an excellent idea. (I wonder why I didn't think of that? ;^) wrp103 (Bill Pringle) - Talk 19:13, 21 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Recent anon edit went from this:

area and local authorities are unpaid

to:

all church leaders are unpaid

Obviously a stronger claim. Are any General Authorities paid? (I've seen statements to that effect, at any rate, doing some 'google grade research', and I'm wondering if the earlier wording wasn't qualified for some reason...) Alai 04:16, 21 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I made a change to this area about paid/unpaid. My experience, though only anecdotal, is that General Authorities as well Mission Presidents and Temple Presidents receive a stipend if they need it - for example my first mission president (former president and the primary stockholder of a california health care company) received no stipend. But my second mission president did receive a monthly stipend to assist with living expenses. Both lived in the "mission home" which was owned by the church. Some feel that since the stipend is based on need it is not a salary and they are all "unpaid" but it is not strictly correct - additionaly, the prophet lives in the top floor of an apartment building adjacent to Temple Square. Investigative reporting on church finances claim this is provided by the church - and I have no reason to doubt it. Trödel|talk 13:48, 21 Feb 2005 (UTC)
I'm afraid that I'm not in a position to add any real information. I've heard that for general authorities that do not have savings/investments enough to dedicate such time to a church position, they are placed on a board-of-directors of some church-owned corporation. These types of positions in any corporation do not take as much time as a full-time job but tend to pay better than what a regular full-time job would do. Rumors I know, but this may give someone the research key that they need. I wouldn't even know where to start to get this information. Val42 15:41, Feb 21, 2005 (UTC)
The church announced (about 5 years ago if memory serves correctly, that GA's would no longer serve on the board of directors of church owned companies except for BYU, (and now) BYU-I and BYU-H. That is one way they were paid traditionally, but it is no longer the case - I will find a reference. Trödel|talk 01:16, 23 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Would Mormon, Inc. help? It sounds like all of us don't have any concrete info, but here is my understanding: Tom Haws
  • People in lifetime full-time ministry are paid. This includes First Presidency, Quorum of Twelve, and First Quorum of the Seventy) ; that's what my mother told me 30 years ago :-). I am not sure about the idea that some general authorities who don't need the pay don't get it; I am reminded of an anecdotal story of a general authority who didn't need the pay, and gave it all to the poor (if I were in charge, I would as a policy not assess for need on the lifetime, full-time ministry level, just to keep things simple).Tom Haws
  • Some people in temporary full-time ministry receive pay, apparently according to need. This includes young full-time missionaries, mission presidents, and some general authorities. Tom Haws
  • Employees are paid. This includes a breadth of areas hard to enumerate, but includes seminary teachers, maintenance and building personnel, and full-time staff of many departments. Tom Haws
  • Nobody in part-time ministry is ever paid, unless it is assistance unrelated to their ministry from the general Fast Offering for the poor. This includes Stake Presidencies, Bishoprics, organists, choir directors, specially invited speakers (such as at firesides). Tom Haws
This issue keeps popping up. Perhaps more detailed content is required. Tom Haws 19:11, Feb 21, 2005 (UTC)
I don't think this issue can be resolved completely because information is sparse and those that don't recieve the stipend generally don't talk about it (for example my first mission president is now a GA and I would be very surprised if he accepted a stipend). And there are other issues that make things confusing such as the donation made by Huntsman that the Prophet could use his private jet whenever he wanted it - not exactly pay but would be considered a corporate perk and part of the pay package in corporate America. I read all of Mormon Inc at the time and I don't remember that it addressed this issue. I do have a copy of the similar expose on church finances done by the Arizona Republic in the early 90s - I'll see if it has any info. Trödel|talk 01:16, 23 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Capitalised terms?

What's the preferred capitalisation of: Bishop; Apostle; Prophet; Sacrament Meeting? Alai 04:16, 21 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I think that they should generally be lower-case. They should be upper-case when they are part of a title, like "Bishop Bishop". (I happen to know a bishop who's family name (last name) is Bishop.) But I don't know of any instances in Wikipedia where we've used these positions as titles. Val42 19:49, Feb 21, 2005 (UTC)

I agree - also church manuals use this standard - all lower case unless refering to a specific person and used as a title. Trödel|talk 01:16, 23 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Finances

I couldn't find any information about paid postions (see above) in the Arizona Republic stories (dated June 30-July 3,1991). I tried to clean up the section (formerly titled wealth). Would welcome comments on my edits. There are some things still missing - for example, I think it may be notable that the church has centralized management of assets compared to other churches which generally hold assets locally. Trödel|talk 12:26, 23 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Yes. That is notable. We should refer to it. Tom Haws 23:40, Feb 23, 2005 (UTC)

I had heard that the church owns the Flying J chain of truck stops. After quite a bit of searching on the net I couldn't find anything linking the two. Flying J was headquartered in Brigham City, Utah, and is now based in Ogden, which at least lends some credence to that. Perhaps it is owned by mormons, but not the actual church. --Dan East 00:45, Feb 24, 2005 (UTC)

Flying J was established in 1968 by O. Jay Call (who died in a plane crash in 2002 or 2003) as a petroleum marketing company and later opened travel plazas - other than being located in Utah and being privately held (79th largest according to Forbes) there is no connection to the LDS Church (I would guess that Call was a member since Call is a common LDS surname, although it is Ogden - the murder capital of Utah - JK -Trödel|talk 02:37, 24 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Anon added content that was reverted wholesale

I am going to object to the wholesale reversion of anon's edits. Can we appease anon a little to win an ally? Tom Haws 22:42, Mar 2, 2005 (UTC)

I just didn't have time to incorporate it when it was put in and the extent of the addition was too much for me to feel comfortable leaving it in the article for 10-12 hours - see also the revert I did 2 later in the history. I have copied the text over to a text file for modification. Trödel|talk 02:22, 3 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Here's the content in question. Also see http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Church_of_Jesus_Christ_of_Latter-day_Saints&diff=0&oldid=10709866 .

After Smith's death in a gun battle with vigilantes while awaiting trial on treason charges, most of his followers left mormonism, the rest broke off into several splinter groups, the largest of which ultimately accepted Brigham Young, the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, as the next Prophet and President of the Church. Faced with further prosecution for their crimes, Brigham Young eventually led the Church to the Salt Lake Valley, where it is headquartered today. The Church is currently headed by President Gordon B. Hinckley, the latest in a long succession of "prophets" since Brigham Young. He is assisted by two counselors and twelve Apostles, each of whom are also sustained by members as "prophets, seers, and revelators".

The Church claims to put notable emphasis on the family, but they refuse to allow non-members or even mormons who refuse to give a full 10% of their income to the church, to attend the weddings of their own family in Mormon temples. The Church has since 1959 refused to disclose its finances, but has invested vast sums in real estate and other corporate holdings, as well as funded worldwide missionary efforts and vast family history resources.

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint no longer practice polygamy, and members found in multiple marriage relationships are excommunicated. The Church did at one time endorse a form of polygamy, which was called "plural marriage", but that is no longer the case. Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and other early members of the Church were married to more than one wife, until the commandment was officially withdrawn as stated in a declaration called "The Manifesto" given by President Wilford Woodruff in 1890 (see Official Declaration 1), which told Church members to obey the marriage laws of their land. The Church continued to santion new plural marriages until 1906, despite "The Manifesto," and gradualy ceased practicing polygamy as the people who living in plural marriages gradually died off. Some of those that continued to practice polygamy well into the 20th century moved to Mormon colnies in Mexico and Canada continued the practice, despite the fact that it was illegal there just as it was in the United States. The last Momron Church President to practice polygamy was Heber Grant, who was president of the church from 1918-1945. He was no longer practicing polygamy as a church president, however, because 2 of his 3 wives died before he took office. The last president of the Mormon church to practice polygamy while president of the church was Joseph F. Smith, who was president of the church from 1901-1918. He had six wives, including one he married when he was 46 and his wife was 18. She bore him the last of his children in 1906, when he was 68 years old and in the middle of his term as church president.

I completely disagree with the editor's accuracy but one comment has merit to stay and another has merit to be investigated further. As far as accuracty - the editors statement about "legal" versus "illegal" in Mexico and Canada is simply not correct (it is now, but wasn't then). I also think that the attack on the project was expected from the editor who obvisouly is strongly objected to the LDS church and needs to be removed. Again, polygamy is still not illegal in the united states, although it is illegal in many states. The law only made it illegal in U.S. territories, not universally federally illegal. This was a hugh emphasis during the Smoot hearings. His facts are wrong and I bet I could guess where he got his mis-information from in about three sources - I agree that people lived in plural relationships until the 1950-70s. No suprize. people live until they are old - don't care if it is included or not - but seems like a no-brainer - maybe we should say, people who were married multiple times did not divorce or cease their relationships, therefore people lived well into the 1970s and beyond that were married in plural arrangements. The point about Heber J. Grant is valid and may be left in - it is interesteing and relevant to the topic of polygamy - but is it appropriate in this article? Probably so. I'm unsure of the accuracy of his JFS claim of an 18 year old wife. Will ahve to double check, but doesn't seem accurate, as JFS jr was one of his youngest sons, I thought, but may have been youngest from that particular marriage. I also disagree that the churhc "sanctioned" plural marriage utnil 1906 - rather they "allowed" it, letting people live it if they "obeyed" the laws of the land - remember it was not to be preached after the second manifesto by any church leader. I can dig up a list of people who did preach about it and were excomm. or disfellowshipped if needed. for "allowing" passages may want to see external links and referenced material from other wiki entries including "A Mormon Mother." However, aside from these small details, I'm sure this editor has done a lot of primary research and probably was alive at the time, so he/she knows exactly all the ins and outs. A simple reading of the smoot hearings would clear most of his claims up. Will try to check on JFS marriages tonight. As an aside, I'm proud of my polygamy roots. I have nothing to hide or try to explain away to anyone, as I've frequently discussed this int eh past on talk pages. It is sad to see such misunderstanding still being promoted by people who know nothing aside from the documents they are reading. reminds me of people who believe that The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a valid document. there are many who do. SAD! -Visorstuff 01:31, 3 Mar 2005 (UTC)
No disagreement at all. Anon needs to clean up his act and come learn how to add content in accordance with policy. I just hope he/she will. Tom Haws 19:19, Mar 3, 2005 (UTC)

I don't get teh 1906 date this person is fixated with (similar changes at Polygamy) that was the date that the twelve released Apostles John W. Taylor and Matthias F. Cowley for continuing to teach and practice, and when JFS was convicted of unlawful co-habitation (although he was granted amnesty from U.S. President Benjamin Harrison in September 1891). Teh second manifesto was 1904 but at the october conference in 1910, the Church sustained an initiative for stake presidents to ecommunicate those who performed plural marriages after 1904 (and husbands). Even Quinn who is rather naturalistic agrees with this. Upon further research, the church did not saction or authorize any plural marriages under the administration of Lorenzo Snow, but did authorize them in mexico under JFS during 1901-2, but that then ceased. The claims about Smith marriage is slanted and not complete or accurate. Anyone want to revert the other page?? -Visorstuff 20:26, 3 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Revert du jour...

Addition:

The crowning event recorded in the Book of Mormon is the personal ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ among the Nephites soon after his resurrection. It puts forth the doctrines of the gospel, outlines the plan of salvation, and tells men what they must do to gain peace in this life and eternal salvation in the life to com. After Mormon completed his writings, he delivered the account to his osn Moroni, who added a few words of his won and hid up the plates in the hill Cumorah. On September 12,1823, the same Mormoni, then a glorified, resurrected being, appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith and instructed him relative to the ancient record and its destined translation into the English language.In due course the plates were delivered to Joseph Smith, who translated them by the gift and power of God. The record is now published in many languages as a new and additional witness and Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God and that all who will come unto him and obey the laws and ordinances of his gospel may be saved. Concerning this record the Prophet Joseph Smith said: "I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book." IN addition to Joseph Smith, the Lord provided for eleven others to see the gold plates for themselves and to be spcial witnesses of the truth and divinity of the Book of Mormon. Their written testimonies are included herewith as "The Testimony of Three Witnesses" and "The Testimony of Eight Witnesses." We invite all men everywhere to read the Book of Mormon, to ponder in their hearts the message it contains, and then to ask God, the Eternal Father, int he name of Christ if the book is true. Those who pursue this course and ask in faith will gian a testimony of its truth and divinity by the power of the Holy Ghoustsee Moroni10:3-5. Those who gain this divine witness from the Holy Spirit will also come to know by the same power that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, that Joseph Smith is his revelator and prophet in these last days, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord's kingdom once again established on this earth, preparatory to the second coming of the Messiah."

Numerous structual, POV and copy-edit issues with this, so I'm punting it to here, in case it's fixable... Alai 07:08, 3 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Aside from being somewhat POV - the secion is too much of a direct quote - causing copyright issues/violation of policy - remove. -Visorstuff 08:33, 3 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I'll bet. Half-asleep as I was at the time, I even didn't notice the whole thing was solid quote... So it's not POV per se (as a quote), but it does seem a tad excessive on style, and indeed on fair use grounds. Something odd about wiki-linking a quote, too... Alai 06:31, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)

This Is The True Church

Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.

And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a scincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.

-Moroni [8] 10:3-5, The Book of Mormon

Although this is a place to discuss CJC, wikipedia is not the place to witness or attempt to convert others. Trödel|talk 15:09, 8 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I was incredibly inspired with faith at the time I wrote that. And the discussion page is the appropriate place for such ... discussion! User:Rmisiak
Glad you were inspired, and I think I appreciate your desire to share, but the purpose of the article discussion pages is to discuss ways to improve the article. Something like that would be good on your User page. I have a couple of favorite quotes on my own that I think relate to working on wikipedia. Wesley 04:36, 16 Mar 2005 (UTC)

"Spriritual Sense"

This wording has been bugging me for some time, so today I've removed it. The Three Witnesses said they say the plates, heard the voice of God bearing witness of its correctness, saw an angel, the liahona, the 24 ether plates, the brass plates, sword of laban, Urim and thummin and breastplate. The U&T and breastplate they had seen previously during the translation process, as Smith required two witnesses and a scribe in the translation room with him (hence a scribe was always the hold up, witnesses were much easier to come by) as he translated. Whitmer, cowdery and harris all claimed to see in vision, and only one stated that he had handled the plates as a witness. the others left it as seeing it. One of Whitmer's descriptions was that the angel showed them page by page the plates that SMith translated, and that God bore witness that the translation was correct at each page. The wording that whitmer used has been employed by antimormons and naturalist historians to claim that the three didn't physically see the plates, but saw them spritually or with their spiritual eyes. Which from one point of view is correct, but each said it was a very physical thing. Anyway, I've removed it here and hope this context is helpful. -Visorstuff 19:05, 8 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Agree - I had not heard of this spiritual sense until I read it on Wikipedia and could find no other reference to it other than some real die-hard anti-site with no attribution etc. thanks for removing Trödel|talk 19:15, 8 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Richard Anderson's Investigating the Book of Mormon Witnesses has a lot of material on this. I had hitherto left it in because I remember the distinct impression that in all likelihood the Three Witnesses had a glorious spiritual vision while the Eight Witnesses had a tromp out in the woods with plates in tow. Hasn't there been considerable discussion about the elegance of the two distinct kinds of witnesses? We can improve the material. I may see what I can do. I was about to change it to say that Whitmer explained the experience of the Three Witnesses was with their spiritual eyes. I do recall a source saying that one of the Eight Witnesses also said he never saw the plates with his natural eyes, but I don't know for sure if that is a reliable and corroborated report. In any case, Emma, the Smith's, et al certainly felt them with their carnal fingers, and the intent of the removed content seemed to be POV. We might need to discuss the whole thing, but not in this article. Let's do it in Golden Plates or Three Witnesses. Tom Haws 21:30, Mar 8, 2005 (UTC)

Has anyone seen the BYU "Classic LDS Films" with "The Fourth Witness"? It claims to be the true story of Mary Whitmer getting to see the plates. In the film, she even gets to touch them. I had never heard the story, and was wondering how well known that was. wrp103 (Bill Pringle) - Talk 04:09, 9 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I haven't seen the film, but it is an accurate account of hers. you can find it in the church history in the fullness of times student manual , as well as other places. I believe it is referenced at Golden Plates. -Visorstuff 07:38, 9 Mar 2005 (UTC)


Purported cult

This paragraph is moved from the article List of purported cults, which we are paring down to a pure list. Editors here can best evaluate its statements and decide how to integrate it into this article. Thanks, -Willmcw 10:46, Mar 14, 2005 (UTC)

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
See also Mormonism. Critics—including a small percentage of former members of the LDS Church—charge that elements within the LDS Church act in a way that is suggestive of a cult. [9] [10]. Latter-day Saints (LDS) disagree with charges suggesting that Mormonism is un-Christian; contrary to these charges, Mormonism is founded on the supposition that mainstream Christianity was corrupted by the Great Apostasy. LDS consider the most extreme of such charges against Mormonism as anti-Mormonism; LDS reject such charges as misrepresentations of Mormonism usually based on unscholarly research. Crucially, in contrast to other groups charged with cultism, Mormons will tend to hold family-centered, Judeo-Christian values, and LDS members encourage the maintenance of strong family ties, whether the family members are Mormon or non-Mormon. Except for perhaps the strict Mormon health code (the Word of Wisdom), LDS values are similar to those of western civilization with the practice of polygamy having been abandoned by the mainstream LDS Church between 1890 and 1910. Smaller Mormon sects, notably in Bountiful, Colorado City, Arizona and British Columbia, Canada, do practise polygamy. These sects might be said to fit the definition of a cult more closely, as they are isolated communities, in which former members have claimed there is some bullying of young women, who are chosen to marry at a very early age, sometimes as young as 13. In terms of size, Mormonism does not share the trait of having a small following sometimes attributed to a cult; the number of LDS has grown nearly equal to the number of Jews both in the United States and globally since its inception in 1830. Jan Shipps, a non-Mormon scholar of Mormonism, posits that, just as Christianity became a new religious movement out of Judaism, Mormonism arose as a new religious movement out of Christianity.

Forms of address

This article's already very long by WP standards; is there a better place to put the "forms of address" material? Perhaps the priesthood article? Alai 04:11, 16 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Anti-Mormonism

Some of us have tried to give a look at Anti-Mormonism claims (because that is some of the page's purpose) while attempting to answer these claims. It was good to answer them, but they seemed incomplete. I think I've found a format that allows a better answer, but I'm still not quite satisfied. Look it over and make any edits you think are needed. Val42 05:25, Mar 16, 2005 (UTC)

I don't think this is a good direction. The article in question should be about the phenomenon of anti-mormonism, and not another location for an argument. This is quite important. You may want to bring this up at the project page. Tom Haws 18:28, Mar 17, 2005 (UTC)
I made a start at classification of anti-mormon literature. I actually did a fireside on this topic in the late 70's / early 80's. I will try to find my notes and add more (assuming folks think this is a good idea.) I'm a convert, and believe it or not, anti-mormon literature helped convince me the Church was true. As Hugh Nibley (I think) once said, the danger is if someone only reads one anti-mormon book/article. If they read more, the contradictions become apparent. wrp103 (Bill Pringle) - Talk 20:53, 17 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Yes to this. More content and more knowledge and less bickering.  :-) Tom Haws 05:18, Mar 18, 2005 (UTC)
Some of you might have noticed that I have added some more content to the Anti-Mormon page. A question has arisen over a possible POV issue. I would appreciate it if some of you could look at what I've done and tell me what you think. You might want to check out the discussion page to see the issue that was raised. wrp103 (Bill Pringle) - Talk 04:48, 22 Mar 2005 (UTC)

New lead section

I notice we have a new lead section, via an anon contribution and some paring-down thereof. Broadly speaking it seems rather more "LDS self-characterisations at face value", and rather less "controversies". What's the feelings on the pros and cons? Alai 06:23, 26 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I tend to agree that the language of the section is rather POV (persecution, expulsion, assassination, etc) but I'd find it hard to dispute the overall factual accuracy of the section. If a self-characterization of the LDS church is included, it would certainly be worth inclusion in the intro paragraph. I also agree, however, that a short intro to controversy/problems/criticism would be worth including in the main paragraph also, so as to not marginalize such information to a "controversy" section near the end of the article. --ABQCat 08:49, 26 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Let's at least clean up the language - Alai you can probably do best - I don't care one way or the other on keeping it - most of the info is duplicative, and probably could/should be removed in one section or the other. -Visorstuff 12:01, 26 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Disappointed with Objectivity of LDS Pages

Although I have been very happy with Wikipedia generally (as it seems to bring about a great deal of objective viewpoints from the many), the LDS pages are a real disappointment. They give such an obvious pro-Mormon bias, that it seems obvious that there is a group of Mormons out there that immediately edit and suppress any statement or article that appears to be not in their favour, or that hints at any of the very good questions about their religion (i.e. that elephants once roamed North America or that American Indians are descended from the Jewish race, not to mention the Book of Abraham that JS fabricated). The page on Anti-Mormonism is weak and contrived as well. If the Mormon page is to have any significance at all and is to live up to the Wikipedia ideals, it needs to show a more balanced viewpoint. Thank you. User:Cmoser99

You are right in your assumption that there is a group of Mormons who audit these pages. However, the idea that we suppress critical points isn't quite true. More precisely, we tend to edit out misconceptions about Mormon beliefs. For example, I'm not sure where you got the idea that we believe that elephants once roamed North America or that American Indians were descended from the Jewish race. The word elephant appears once in the english version of the Book of Mormon, but that may or may not refer to what we currently call elephants. As for American Indians being a descendent of the Jews (Book of Mormon people), that is also not quite true. We believe that some of the descendents of the Jews survived the Book of Mormon times, but that may or may not include the American Indians. It may also include South America as well as various islands. With all the intermarriage that has happened over the years, finding a "pure" blood line would most likely be difficult. For my own part, I have tried to retain the negative comments, but modify them to be more accurate. wrp103 (Bill Pringle) - Talk 22:19, 3 Apr 2005 (UTC)

If one reads the articles having to deal with Mormonism, I find it difficult to believe that the first logical deduction is they are pro-Mormon and without critical approach. Based upon your comments as to why they are obviously slanted (elephants and American Indians), my guess is that you would prefer to see some of the more outrageous claims of polemical writers. Generally, those comments are so easily disproved they have not merit except for those who are ready to believe that Mormons also have forked tails and horns that come out on a full moon. I hope you would take the time to read the articles and edit to your heart's content, but do not be surprised if others will edit your entries and provide discussion supporting why they have been edited. Storm Rider

I agree with Storm Rider - we have worked very hard to include non-LDS edtiors, such as Wesley, Alai, John Hamer and non-traditional LDS editors such as COGDEN and others to ensure that the information is accurate and NPOV. This was one of my concerns early on in the WP:LDS, but I believe it provides an factually accurate and historical view of Mormonism, while it discusses the cultural perceptions of Mormons as a whole. I believe we could do a better job at addressing the "cultural" beliefs of many Mormons - which is what Bill Pringle tried to address above, as they don't always sync up with the teachings of the LDS Church and its leaders. A prime example is "elephants" as discussed above - there are a number of scholarly camps both within and without Mormonism that would agree and disagree with Bill Pringle (I feel the argument he used is oversimplified). As I have stated on a number of opinions, PLEASE FEEL FREE to introduce "accurate" information about the LDS Church - whether positive or negative (for a sampling, see User talk:Vegasbright, Talk:Archaeology_and_the_Book_of_Mormon#April_2005_concerns_about_bias. The accurate stuff tends not to be edited out - and folks such as Myself, Tom Haws, Alai and Wesley try to make sure it stays in to give NPOV. The problem is when Anti-Mormon editors or disaffected Mormons add in 80 year old inaccurate information that does not deal with anything remotely accurate, or has since been disproven by recent research. A number of anti-Mormon authors still promulgate this material, even Krakauer relied heavily on Brodie and KOTC for information which is grossly inaccurate and written from a non-scholarly POV. I agree we still have work to do, and we need to better address the cultural beliefs of Mormons as well as non-Mormon and Anti-Mormon points of view, but for a project dealing with a religious topic, I think we are exemplarly among the projects, and that is one of the main purposes of the project being formed. Incidentally, we'd love to have you as a member of the project to help weed out some of the POV that does creep in. There are not enough regular editors to do this and your help would be much appreciated - even if it is from a non-LDS perspective. We hope you will join us and contribute to the WP:LDS. -Visorstuff 16:06, 4 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Being a convert, and not from Utah, I don't know much about some of the "cultural" beliefs. In fact, I would argue that, since Utah Mormons are a minority now (as are US Mormons, for that matter), that such cultural beliefs are less worth mentioning. Personally, I would rather stick to the doctrinal points. wrp103 (Bill Pringle) - Talk 03:36, 7 Apr 2005 (UTC)
You may not feel you know much about cultural beliefs, but you probably know, adhere to, or believe many of them, just don't delineate as such as most of us don't spend time thinking about it. For example, what it means to be a god is a cultural belief. How you do home teaching is a cultural belief/training (it may change based on the culture). Same with teaching lessons in Church, beliefs about the BOM, and the place of the relief society. Some in the Church think that priesthood quorums and the relief society are auxilliaries, when in fact, the RS is an auxilliary and the priesthood is core - it is the Church. RS holds no keys to direct the church, but the bishop and EQP does (deacon's and teachers pres does too). What about giving blessings? Do you hold the inerrant right to give blessings? Not nessessarily, but because it is an unrecorded ordinance, you are authorized by those holding keys to exercise your priesthood in someone elses behalf. It may or may not always be that way, according to the doctrine, yet the practice, or the cultural interpretation of it is that this is the way things have always been done. Does the bishop direct the affairs of the EQP? He shouldn't - he doesn't hold keys over the Mel. Priesthood, but often teh EQP will treat him as he does. Then there are beliefs about the garden of gethsemane being where Christ suffered for our sins. True he did there, but he also continued suffered for them on the cross - a fact may members fo the Church may or may not believe. Plural Marriagae coming back? some culturally believe it will. No prophet has said. WE just don't teach it. Even the term plural marriage is a cultural thing. One of my recent favorites is that the youth are the best that have ever been as to combat such a wicked world, and that no other peopel could deal with the trials of the day - the "generals in the war in heaven" comments. No prophet has ever said they are the best and that others could not deal with the trials of today, or that they were generals (thank mr bytheway for that concept, which may or may not be true, no leader has ever clarified), but rather that we were "held back" or "reserved" for this time. Don't you think that Peter, James and John were "reserved" for their time? Noah and Enoch reserved for theirs? Martin Luther reserved for his? Even Pres Hinckley in his "be" book said that our trials are easier than in past generations as we don't worry about food (which gives bigger ethical decisions than the laciviousness and leisure time decisions we deal with). There are a lot of practices, cultural beliefs that are core to what we do in the Church that could change at any time and are not doctrinal. Sometimes they are policy-based, other times they are introduced by well-meaning individuals. I believe we need to address this cultural beleifs better adn stronger. -Visorstuff 23:26, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I agree with what you said. My comment was prompted by a suggestion that perhaps some of the "cultural" beliefs should be included. Now, I've only been in Utah for less than 24 hours on a business trip, but I keep hearing about all these "cultural beliefs" that float around there. The point I was trying to make was that such beliefs are a minority opinion at this point, and I question whether it makes sense to include those cultural beliefs that are local to Utah, but not to the church in general. I often talk about the LDS "trinity" - the Gospel (always true and always unchanging), the Church (always true but often changing), and the Culture (maybe true, but maybe not, and usually changing). It certainly makes sense to include beliefs that are not doctrinal but widely held and discussed throughout the church. What doesn't make sense to me is including unofficial regional beliefs. Of course, for all I know, there are no such beliefs in Utah, and their existence is an urban rumor that those of us in the "mission field" keep hearing. wrp103 (Bill Pringle) - Talk 15:12, 13 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I grew up in Utah, and I think the Church culture is the same everywhere you go - an urban myth. It is simply more concentrated in utah which leads to anomalies such as posing notices for enrichment night in your front yard, or welcome home elder so and so on school marquees. In short, aside from a few minor practices in Utah, I disbelieve (from a research perspective) the idea of regional beliefs or regional culture in Mormonism. I've met more people in Arizona, Idaho, Virginia and California who meet the "Utah Mormon" mold than people I know from Utah. This is simply a perception issue that is magnified as there is a higher concentrate of Mormons in Utah. I simply do not believe tehre are any "cultural beliefs that are local to Utah" that do not exist elsewhere in the church. If anyone can cite something I may be persuaded, but have seen no evidence for this idea. -Visorstuff 17:00, 13 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Amen, Visorstuff. A hundred welcomes, Cmoser. [signed with four tildes] Tom Haws 17:41, Apr 4, 2005 (UTC)

I agree that "cultural" beliefs should be treated separately from official teachings. I would want Eastern Orthodoxy (my own faith) or any other faith treated the same way. Personally, I find the official LDS teachings about God sufficiently outrageous that I really don't care about what they might or might not think about elephants. There's no reason not to present their actual teachings neutrally and let readers form their own conclusions, or better yet, encourage them to do more research for themselves. Wesley 04:15, 7 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Well said, Wesley. -Visorstuff 23:26, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I would like to thank Cmoser99 for his comments regarding the neutrality of this "article." “Propaganda” is truly not a harsh enough word to describe this article that the writers so shamelessly claim is unbiased. -Colin

Good Page

This is a high quality, accurate presenation of the basics about the church. Good job. Reading the talk page (which maybe I should have done *before* editing, eh?), it appears things have been somewhat contentious. I made a couple small changes: one for grammar, one for accuracy. Hope no one minds.Novel-Technology 08:19, 25 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Cult

This article doesn't even mention that the Mormons are considered a cult. The word cult isn't even in the article. -- Zntrip

Considered a cult by whom? Other churches? Authr 02:43, 2005 May 4 (UTC)
The French government? http://cftf.com/french/Les_Sectes_en_France/cults.html Cory 04:41, 4 May 2005 (UTC) Granted -- it is a decade old and some cults grow into full fledged religons!  ;)

This article is not an appropriate location for the "cult" label; however, you will find it in the Mormonish and Christianity article. Surprisingly, I have yet to hear a general definition of the term cult that applies to the LDS church. Granted, many cultists use the term to describe the church, but even their definitions are lacking. Storm Rider 06:20, 4 May 2005 (UTC)

May I direct you to List of purported cults? Tom Haws 14:48, May 4, 2005 (UTC)

And may I direct you to the talk page of the above article: Talk:List of purported cults -Visorstuff 18:51, 4 May 2005 (UTC)

Interesting quote from the above french report:

But before we proceed, it is necessary to clear up a possible misunderstanding: not all spiritual movements other than the traditional religions, movements which are commonly called sects, are dangerous, such as, for example, Baptists, Quakers, and Mormons. Their role can, sometimes, even be regarded as very positive: "You meet the best and the worst in sects (...). Sometimes, by means of the sects, some people find a sense of belonging to a warm friendly group, others find again a direction for their lives, others still are structured. Among my patients, some entered sects. I would not want for them to come out of there for anything in the world, because the sect is used by them temporarily as a tutor."

Thought I'd share -Visorstuff 19:00, 4 May 2005 (UTC)

It is interesting when one investigates the term "cult" and how it has come to be defined. When one typically thinks of a cult one thinks of the Jones group or Koresh's; it is something insular, controlled, and limited in number. However, cultists have come to define a cult as something as inoccuous as "a regligious group that does not adhere to Christian essentials". In painting with such a broad brush stroke, cultists use of the term cult becomes meaningless, but still used effectively to scare their respective flock. Storm Rider 05:30, 5 May 2005 (UTC)

The ludicrousness of this article’s claim to a supposed lack of bias highlights the unfortunate shortcomings of an open forum based encyclopedia such as Wikipedia. No mention is made of the myriad reasons to view the LDS movement as a cult, such as the large body of research that exists regarding the falsification of JS’ original “golden tablets.” I am truly disappointed in Wikipedia though not surprised with the article’s editor’s attempt to distort the truth in an attempt to legitimize his “religion.” -Colin

In Argentina, the definition of a "cult" is easy: it is any religion other than the Roman Catholic Church. In English, at least according to Merriam-Webster, "cult" 3 of 6 (1, 2 & 5a) definitions applies to all religions. "Small" (5b) wouldn't seem to apply to a church with 12 million members. And "unorthodox" (3) is applying to more and more christian denominations today. (Accepting "gay unions" is certainly unorothodox by most accounts.) There needs to be a good, workable definition before this label can realistically be applied to any religion.
Colin's other concerns can be addressed, if he will present sources to be evaluated. I am truly disappointed in Colin, though not surprised, with his attempts to distort the truth in an attempt to deligitimize any religion. But such happens with people who make many edits without registering; in essence committing edit-and-run. Val42 July 9, 2005 04:11 (UTC)
If one will define cult first, then we can have a discussion. Until then there is no discussion, but rather the a useless exchange of POV. Every time I come into a conversation where someone attempts to define cult as applied to Mormonism, it boils down to, "you are different from me and I don't like you; therefore, you are a cult". Colin, define it and then we all can discuss your POV. Storm Rider 9 July 2005 06:25 (UTC)

Techincally, as pointed out above, all religions are "cults". The term sucks, it's only used by people who don't like other people to scare everyone else. It shouldn't be included here, the LDS church is just as valid as any other major Christian church. Cookiecaper 20:25, 9 July 2005 (UTC)

4th Largest Denomination in the United States???

"The Church has grown to a worldwide membership of more than 12 million and as of 2003 was the fourth largest religious denominational body in the United States [1] (http://www.adherents.com/rel_USA.html#bodies)."

Religion in the US article lists the US census as its source and from what I see, LDS is at around 9th... and unles the top 4 really dwindled... I suspect www.adherents.com is just wrong. Ah, I've scanned the entire page, and the figure was selctively pulled. Depending on which of those tables you choose, it varies. We could just as easily state that as of 2003, less than 2% of the US population was LDS. Better to just leave that line out instead of trying to put a non-NPOV spin on this church and make it into something more than what it is.
The US census data that the Religion in the United States article lists is the voluntary self-reported membership of religious bodies with 60,000 or more, and the figure that the adherents.com site lists for the Church is actually taken directly from that site's source for the figure, a document on an official Church website. Perhaps figures for other churches were selectively pulled, but the Church figure itself has a valid reference, and is just as good as that in the Religion in the US article, except it is more up to date. (The dates of the figures in the Religion in the US article range all the way from 1983 to 1999, with the Church being the 8th largest.) Authr 11:15, 2005 May 5 (UTC)
The adherents.com is a pretty accurate figure as it attempts to audit the self reported figures and do other analysis on the numbers, thus the figure for the CJC is about 1/2 the self-reported total membership. Note also that the census bureau specifically states about its table: "The data are not standardized so comparisons between groups are difficult. The definition of ’’church member‘‘ is determined by the religious body." The http://www.adherents.com figures are much better for comparison because they make distinctions between "branches" and specific denominations. Note also that the numbers for Religion in the United States article the 5-8th denominations are very tightly packed and at least one is noted as not being auditable by adherents.com. Trödel|talk 12:27, 5 May 2005 (UTC)

It's slighty deceptive and isn't necessarily needed for this article -- why taint the article with a fact that seem to be somewhat questionable? If you look at the numbers given on the page referenced, you'll see that total numbers of self-professed adherents places LDS at about 9th and under 1.9% of the pop -- beneath Judaism. My point is that this article doesn't require that number, especially if its even slightly in doubt. Cory 14:13, 5 May 2005 (UTC)

I don't believe the fact is questionable at all. The 2005 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches states that of those churches providing figures, the CJC is now the fourth-largest denomination in the United States, with more than 5.5 million members reported in 2004. This is also confirmed at http://www.adherents.com/rel_USA.html#bodies. Richman9 31 May 2005

It's deceptive. Your intention, and I'm willing to go out on a limb and guess you're LDS, is to provide the belief that Mormons are a larger group than is true. Cory 22:34, 31 May 2005 (UTC)

Hi. Tom here. That certainly wouldn't be my intent. Cory, do you have proposed content for the article with a better source than adherents.com? Tom Haws 22:49, May 31, 2005 (UTC)

Why not just stick with the total number of adherents... just the factual number. Or, go the other route and say LDS represents 1.9% of the population (see, that'd have the opposite effect, by minimalizing the number, although it is also true and on the same reference site!). Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics <-- an excellent book that can teach a lot about manipulating, or "spinning," statistics. Cory 01:48, 1 Jun 2005 (UTC)

The 1.9% number is definitly not an accurate count of LDS in the US. As you would say, let me go out on a limb and guess that you are not LDS and might have an agenda. It is not deceptive to use a source that says LDS are the 4th largest denomination, however, the source should be stated. It would also be appropriate to state the 1.9%, but it should have qualifiers i.e. those who took the time to check a box identifying themselves as LDS (minus the sarcasm I inserted...yes, I am LDS and you shouldn't have to guess). Also, citing a percentage of the population is markedly different from citing membership relative to other church memberships. Given your knowledge of Lies/Statistics, you obiviously know the difference. Quoting reputable sources is always helpful, but let's remove as much spin as possible. Give credit where it is due and move on. Storm Rider 15:44, 6 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I see nothing preventing us from saying it all. The facts are not diputed are they? Can we not say, "In the USA, the church has 5.5 million members, or 1.9% of the USA population, which is the fourth largest of any denomination there." But let me close by saying I wonder why this shouldn't be in the context of a more interesting broader discussion of where LDS members are concentrated, and where they are most saturated in the overall population. Tom Haws 17:02, Jun 6, 2005 (UTC)

So that you don't have to wonder, I'm LDS.
By "a more interesting broader discussion of where LDS members are concentrated, and where they are most saturated in the overall population," do you mean to discuss why the concentration is in Utah as opposed to elsewhere? Without interference, the concentration would likely be in Upstate New York, where the church was founded in 1830. Without later interference, the concentration would have been in Illinois, where in the 1840's, the population in Nauvoo made it the largest city in the state. There were also several places between these locations and dates where the concentration would have been had there not been interference. "I see nothing preventing us from saying it all," except that these issues are addressed in other articles. When you do note the concentration, please also link to the articles explaining why. Val42 07:00, Jun 7, 2005 (UTC)

Can you direct me to the article where membership statistics are morme appropriate than here? Tom Haws 19:45, Jun 7, 2005 (UTC)

Membership statistics should be on this page. You brought up that along with the membership statistics, where said membership is concentrated should be brought up. I'm saying that if you do that, you should also include a link to a page that covers why the Mormons migrated to Utah. I've been looking for such a page, but haven't found it. The closest I've found is a link on the Nauvoo, Illinois page to the (non-existent) Mormon Exodus page. Val42 01:28, Jun 8, 2005 (UTC)

Good idea! Tom Haws 14:43, Jun 9, 2005 (UTC)

Baptized or unbaptized

The most recent edit to the article page (just prior to this comment) changed the membership statistics again. The church's reported numbers were again changed from including "baptized children" to "unbaptized children". I've seen this word go back and forth a few times. Unless someone can come up with a reference to resolve who is included, I think that it should be stated that, "it is unknown if unbaptized children of record are included in the membership statistics." I'm not sure, but I'd think that who is included would be given when membership is reported at the church's general conference. If someone doesn't find a definitive reference by Saturday, I'll change it to something like I suggested above. Val42 05:42, Jun 9, 2005 (UTC)

I think that the membership numbers reported don't include "unbaptized children of record", but I don't have any documentation to support this view. So I've made the change to the article according to my comments above. I renew my call for someone to find a definitive answer. Val42 04:48, Jun 15, 2005 (UTC)

Transcendence

"Mormonism posits most of the same attributes to the members of the Godhead that Trinitarian Christianity posits to the Trinity: omnipotence, omniscience, omnibenevolence, eternal, immutable, immortality, and immanence in the universe but not transcendence of it." Somewhat tongue in cheek, I would say, "Not my Mormonism."

  • Is Mormonism so precisely theologistic as this, or is Mormonism from the First Vision somewhat eschewing of theologistic precisions?
  • Does Mormonism really hold God to be not transcendent of the universe? Is this necessary, common, surmised, or mistaken?

- Tom Haws 17:49, Jun 20, 2005 (UTC)

Deletion of Anti-LDS Links

Someone deleted all the anti-LDS links, which I restored, because it looked like pro-LDS vandalism, but conceivably there could be a good reason; I haven't been involved here, so I can't be sure. Everyking 23:55, 23 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I've seen this sort of thing happen once or twice in my own edits; I make a change and a totally different section of the article will go bye-bye. I've seen sections go missing or even doublings from other peoples' edits. But it usually does happen on section (delineated by balanced equals signs) boundaries. I usually just fix it and note what I did, as you did. But this edit could have been either. Val42 03:54, Jun 24, 2005 (UTC)
Today is July 12, a couple weeks later. I noticed that the section which lists "Opposing views" was complete missing. So, I started it up again. I only listed a three, but I'll come back with a more complete list later -- __unless I'm breaking some new rule__! Is there some rule or discussion about getting rid of links to opposing points of view of which I'm unaware? (Kevin)
I think you are doing great, and I appreciate your careful and respectful approach. Maybe if you stay on you can help to welcome and orient other "anti-Mormons" (not to pigeon-hole you). Welcome to Wikipedia. Tom Haws 20:08, July 12, 2005 (UTC)
Thank you for the welcome! Sorry it's taken me awhile to respond (work has been crazy). This is such an interesting area, that with the encouragement of Visorstuff, I've decided to create an account and put in my 2-cents occasionally. :) I think what you all are doing here is great. KevinM July 25, 2005

Addressing the popular imagination about "the LDS"

I added to the intro. I can conceive of a bit of dust stirring over this. Whatever shakes out should be very concise, and should address those things most innocent observers have heard or wondered about "the LDS". I included dietary code, polygamy, temple garment, and baptisms for the dead. Tom Haws July 5, 2005 18:09 (UTC)

Legitimacy of schisms

I just edited out some comments added by an anonymous editor (69.240.213.112). He does have a point, but he was very far from stating it correctly. But I don't know how to state it either. Here is the point as I have so far formulated it (using LDS as an abbreviation):

The LDS Church claims to be the restoration of the church that Jesus Christ established on Earth. Other schisms of the Latter-Day Saint Movement are not recognized by the LDS Church as having authority from God.

What do you think? Feel free to suggest your own wordings before it is put on the article page. Val42 July 9, 2005 05:05 (UTC)

Opposing Views

Maybe I just haven't looked hard enough but, other religon's articles do not have any place for external links to opposing views (see Roman Catholic Church, Baptist Church, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism). Some have internal links to articles that have opposing views, but why should this article have to tolerate those kinds of links when other articles about religon do not? I feel that the external links to opposing views should be removed. Muj0 18:35, 12 July 2005 (UTC)

Hmmm. Well, let's be practical. This being WIKIpedia, we have to cater somewhat to the readers, and many of them like to add oppositional links. What think you? Tom Haws 18:41, July 12, 2005 (UTC)

Is the purpose of Wikipedia to please or to inform? I have no problem with people questioning the beliefs of this church or any other, but should this article be used as a platform for any group, pro- or anti- ? Muj0 18:53, 12 July 2005 (UTC)

It has always been my understanding that Wiki is an enyclopedia for people to learn. I would assume if I started writing a missionary tract to "teach the gospel" on this site it would be soundly deleted; I believe appropirately so. The reverse should also be the same. However, it is completely appropriate to retain all information, albeit critical, about the early formation of the church, Joseph's plural wives, etc.
This is a fine line that could easily be abused by the most well-meaning of people. It would also invite many zealots unimaginable frustration that they could not "proclaim" the fallacy of Mormonism on these articles.
This is big step. I would like to hear from a number of other people who are critical of Mormonism before a final decision is made. Storm Rider 19:35, 12 July 2005 (UTC)
I also feel they need to be included. The Church does not hide from its controversial history, but rather lets it's peculiarness stand for what it is. Some items are not confirmed, and should be reflected, but many of the so-called "anti" sites do contain good historical information, however with negative conclusions. Until members and "anti"s can stop seeing the issues as black and white, we'll need to give equal time or overly explain controversial issues, or let the statements stand for themselves. My big wish is that the links stay relevant to the article and are not overtly bashing every subject about the church (or overtly proselytizing or engaging in apologetics) for the point of bashing. No bashing, yes educational. They need to be relevant. -Visorstuff 20:33, 12 July 2005 (UTC)

After a little more searching, I did find other articles that contain external links to opposing views, (seeJehovah's Witnesses, Christian Scientist). That does take a little of the wind out my sails. However I would still like to hear everyone's opinion on the matter. Muj0 20:40, 12 July 2005 (UTC)

This topic continues to be on my mind. I find it odd that we so willingly accept conflict in an encyclopedic article about faith. The article should present the facts about the LDS church and its origins. In this regard there can be different ideas about the evolution of the Church. However, the more I think about it, the more I think I am coming to the opinion that commentary that attempts to "disprove" Mormonism should not be acceptable. There is nothing to disprove on this site. That is a realm for other sites dedicated to proselytizing.

I would propose that the article address the facts about the evolution of Church, present a differentiation of theology, and talk about LDS social culture as is currently addressed. Why is it okay to allow JW's, Mormons, and any other religious group to be bashed simply because there are groups that thrive on attempting to disprove these religions?

This is a topic of faith; as such, there is nothing to disprove. It is like attempting to prove Catholicism. One can not; it is a religion. Goodness knows one could write books about why the Catholic Church is false; just use Protestant dogma. Just as it is unacceptable to attempt to disprove every other religion, it is inappropriate to allow people who only have a POV to write comments about the LDS faith which attempt to disprove it. Again, it is a topic of faith; there is nothing to disprove. I consider all attempts to be proselytizing for other faiths.

Those who have an axe to grind will be upset, but so what. Let them have their own blogg sheet and more power to them. This is an encyclopedia and should follow those guidelines. I have never read a Britannica with a whole diatribe on why a church is false. Storm Rider 04:57, 14 July 2005 (UTC)

Now, having said that I would also propose that all the links to Mormon apologetics, etc. be deleted. Storm Rider 05:01, 14 July 2005 (UTC)

Well, you guys can do what you want to do, but as a tired member of the old guard, I say that preserving my sanity is among the important aims around here. I don't intend to baby guard the project articles from now to kingdom come, and therefore I find it is expedient to go ahead and throw everybody a bone. And Eureka! that leads serendipitously to the spirit of NPOV. Tom Haws
From an entirely different angle, I expect when I come to Wikipedia as a reader that I will find the key perspectives on any subject. If I were looking up Mormonism, I would expect Wikipedia, of all places, to tell me that there are some significant struggles regarding Mormonism and the LDS Church. And what better way to show those struggles than by linking to current antagonistic sites? Tom Haws 17:24, July 14, 2005 (UTC)

To me, "External links" does not imply "endorsed sites", nor do they form part of the article content itself (and thus should not be subject to NPOV concerns). Rather, they are external resources that are judged to have some relevance to the article's subject. I think it's appropriate to remove links that aren't particularly relevant, provide no additional insight or perspective to the article, or fail in some other way to assist the reader in learning more about the subject. On the other hand, we shouldn't reject a relevant and informative link merely because it's colored with an anti-LDS perspective; if we did so, out of fairness we should remove relevant and informative links colored with a pro-LDS perspective (such as the Church's home page), and then we'd have a pretty dry and useless External Links section that defeats the goal of giving the reader a way to learn more about the subject.

So, I feel that both apologetic and opposing sites can be appropriately linked to from this and other LDS-related articles. If the number of such links becomes overwhelming, we should seek to replace them with links to directories of such sites, if such exist, rather than the individual sites themselves. Alanyst 18:35, 14 July 2005 (UTC)

I believe that it is totally valid and important to include opposing points of view, and links to oppositional web sites. Mormonstories 16:34, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
I agree, however, there are also entire pages devoted to critical views that are referenced in the article and the see also sections, which we, over the course of a couple of years precedent, believe is a wise road to take. We don't want wikipedia to turn into an apologetic/anti forum, but rather educate about the various arguments out there and let the reader decide. No article should allow for fighting and arguments on religious or other topics. You may want to check out Opposition to Mormonism, Ex-Mormon and similar articles that are more appropriate for those specific links. -Visorstuff 17:37, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jehovahs_Witnesses , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unification_Church , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientology , etc. All of these sites dedicate significant portions to critics, etc. Mormonstories 20:56, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
If there are problems with the articles about Jehovah's Witnesses and Scientology, those articles should be changed - those problems should not be an excuse for allowing problems to exist here. There is no reason to fill the article with 20 "anti" links. 6 "pro" and 6 "anti" links is enough by far. This provides the reader with all of the information that they need without cluttering the article. Rmisiak 20:43, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
Again, look at how much controversy and how much moderating, fighting and how many admins are trying to control the direction of those pages. Once you get into an US versus THEM model on the internet and in Wikipedia, you end up moving toward the votes for deletion list or get nailed with a NPOV tag that is nearly impossible to get rid of until a major re-write. Let's be careful on how much we contribute toward that direction. -Visorstuff 22:59, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
So feel free to include more pro links. I would never remove pro links. Believe it or not, I'm not anti to the church. I'm active and supportive of the church. I just believe that truth/knowledge needs to be open. In fact, I'll go peruse now for more pro-sites. Please don't remove my links. Feel free to add your own. Mormonstories 20:56, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
OK...I just updated the pro-LDS links with some new ones, just to make the 2 sections more balanced--all of which is consistent with several other Wikipedia religion sites out there. Mormonstories 21:11, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
That's way too many links to have, both pro and con. For now I removed a few "anti" links so there is an even number as "pro" links. I object to the "20 truths" website because it's name is a lie and it's very misleading. I also removed a site which was blatantly biased. But this is a temporary solution. Really, there should be no more then 5 of each type of link. Certainly there is redundant information between all of these sites. Can't we just come up with the best 5 of each? Rmisiak 21:37, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
Completely agree - we are moving toward being an external link farm - this will cause issues throughout Wikipedia and the WP:LDS -Visorstuff 23:01, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
I removed two more links. "The Truth About Anti-Mormonism" was just one page, not a site, so it was removed. To balance, I removed the homosexual link, as I don't see how that is relevant anyway. (the article clearly states the church's view on homosexuality) Rmisiak 21:42, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
Further trimmed to 8 links each. There is no need for 3 different "Evangelical Christians who don't like Mormons" links. Rmisiak 21:47, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
Added back Utah Lighthouse ministry. Added back "20 truths about Mormonism", but renamed to "Trials of Ascension" to be reconciliatory (this site is an EXCELLENT and fair treatment of the 20 top issues that LDS and non-LDS are troubled with...give it a read and you'll know that it's a fair, though unflattering treatment in some regards). Am keeping out the redundant "evangelical Christian" links, as requested. Added back what you call the "homosexual link". Someone else placed it there, so it seems like there's a desire to have it there. Sorry you don't agree...obviously you're less concerned than others, but it doesn't give you the right to delete. Mormonstories 22:21, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
Incidentally, the 20 questions site is not an "excellent" or "fair treatment." Having researched and published on many of those topics in depth, that page in particular (the 20 truths) is blatantly POV. It does not take into account more than one (and in most cases a poor one) apologetic response, and does not explore the complexitiy or simplicity of most answers. For example, the Urim and Thummim question is not accurate in its thesis. It states that Smith never used the U&T to translate the BoM. However, Emma, Oliver, Samuel, William and David all give accounts of Smith wearing the breastplate and "specatcles" during the translation process. It is true that he relied on it and the seer stone much less after receiving the priesthood (notice that virtually no revelations were given through the U&T after the Aaronic Priesthood was restored), and relied on other methods more strongly after. But, again, this is one example. Blood Atonement, treatment of the Danites, the Adam-God theory, are worse. And the rest of the topics are not much better. The site is very one-sided and designed to feed on the doubts of folks, giving a cursory overview of events from one side - raising the question but not looking at the obvious places for answers. Anyway I don't care if the link is included or not, but it is definitely not "excellent" as you state above. It is not scholarly researched, documented or balanced. If you truly do think that it is a "fair treatment" then you should read more primary historical documents rather than relying on the new wave of naturalistic "new mormon history" historians and publishers. No offense intended, but no scholarly academician or historian would think that site is accurate, let alone credible, and I'd be very suprised if the site's author thought his research was balanced. -Visorstuff 23:01, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
Point taken. How would you compare its objectiveness to http://josephsmith.net/portal/site ? Mormonstories 23:11, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
You can't compare them. They are in different categories with completely different audiences. Just cause it's on the web doesn't mean that it is targeted to the same folks. One is educating about who Josesph Smith is - so it offers a basic overview, while the other is geared as specific issues. Also, the correlation committee tends to make sure that all the info on Church sites is repudible and confirmed and looks at primary sources versus second-hand accounts and other verifiable accounts. Look at the Church's treatment of the King Follett Discourse. There are four versions written, and the "official" one in the history of the Church, although approved at one time, is now seen as not as accurate as once thought - close, but not perfect. So statements that can be confirmed from all four sources would be considered reliable while statements only showing up in one are deemed less reliable. The church tends to only publish reliable statements. Some feel that the church has "watered down" its doctrine, but the opposite has happened, it now has a stronger, more compelling and more accurate view of what was taught as opposed to what was understood by those listening (which is a big difference especially in a culture as strong in folklore as Mormons are). This is one reason why the Church is trying to get rid of common misperceptions and incorrect doctrine that persists (like the plan of salvation chart that was drawn up on the chalkboard every other sunday when you were growing up and still often is - you don't see that chart in "approved" materials anymore. Why? Because it is not accurate (the meaning is similar, but it is not scriptural or how it was taught - rather it is how it was understood. for example one issue is that most Mormons believe that Sons of Perdition go to "outer darkness" after the final judgement. This is not scriptural. They go to a "place" "without light" that was never named in scripture - Smith called it Gnolaum or Gnolom, but that is unscriptural. In fact, Outer Darkness is the place in the spirit world where those who do not live good lives go until they accpet the gospel - see alma 40:12-14 (the other half is called paradise). The whole spirit world should be called "spirit prison" as the dead look on their absence from their bodies as "a bondage." The concept is the same, but the terms are different and have larger implications when you look at other doctrines. This is merely one reason why D&C 138 was added to the canon. See Common Latter-day Saint perceptions for a more complete listing of some of those items, including what it means to be a "god" - Hinkley got slammed by the exmos for saying the Church doesn't teach we can create our own worlds if we become gods. But no where does it say that. It says that exalted beings are called gods. What "gods" do is another issue entirely. Even in the OT, the term angels and gods are used somewhat interchangeably. Why? because they both refer to higher beings that are eternal. WE don't know what being a god involves, other than exaltation and a continuation of seed. WE can speculate and guess, and may be correct, but it has not been spelled out by revelation. So to answer your question, one site is speculative and not researched well, but seemingly detailed, and is focused on an audience of struggling mormons or those seeking to lose faith, while the other site is likely over-researched, "safe" doctrinally and focused on basic educating and more general. -Visorstuff 23:45, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

Exterior Links

There seems to be an ongoing push on all the articles dealing with Mormonism to include a diverse number of links. The result is a lot of deleting, followed by re-adding the same links. I detect some simply not understanding the definitions used on Wiki and others just not recognizing the titles of articles.

To clear up some problems, how about a few rules of thumb: 1) if the links do not specifically apply to the subject of the article, it should not be included. If you want to refer to other articles in Wiki that will have those links, do that instead of adding exterior links. 2) Before adding a link ask the question does it really add something beneficial to WIKI. If you are not certain, don't add it. If you are promoting your own site, don't add it. If you are certain, by all means add the link. 3) WIKI is not a place for people to "grind their preferred axe of choice". If the link is only marginally associated with the subject, it is probably best not to include it. Let's use some common sense and move on. Storm Rider 22:39, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

Folks, I hate to say it again, but we are going to get criticized by other editors and admins here soon - we have too many external links and "Wikipedia is not a link farm." This is one reason why we moved in this direction in the past. Perhaps it is worth posting the links on an external page and pointing people there. About 1/8 of the page is external links. Waaaaay too much - much more than most pages. I'm not for a wholesale deletions of links, but some of these would be more appropriate on article pages dealing with the certain criticisms. The 20 questions if we decide to keep it, should be referenced at pages such as Adam-God theory or Urim and Thummim where those issues are addressed. That page does not do a good enough overview or criticism of the LDS Church, but instead addresses smaller points of history, culture and historical doctrine. Other links - such as the homosexual link should be on a the Affirmation page - again it deals with a specific controvery not the Church as a whole. The BYU links should be on teh BYU page - not at the LDS Church page - same with meridian and zarahemla, and new order mormons (which have thier own wiki page already). WE HAVE to be more prudent in what links go where. I'd like to see this list whittled down to about 15 links - and to me that is too many. Thoughts? -Visorstuff 23:01, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

My thoughts: let the readers decide what to read, and what to not read. Having a decent set of alternative links is consistent with several other pages. Users can use the scroll bar just fine, no? You guys seems to be filtering off what you don't like. Let 1000 flowers bloom. I'm not deleting links you put up. I feel it is COMPLETELY reasonable to have 10 or 12 links to alternative points of view about the church. That is open. That is honest. Attempts to remove them, however reasoned, seem more like censorship than a sincere concern for the learner. Mormonstories 23:08, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

There is a difference between relevancy and censorship. I agree that alternative points of view should be included, when they deal with the church as a whole (the point of the article). We wouldn't put a link to Community of Christ or Roman Catholic church on this page - why do we have one on New Order Mormons which is trying to be its own sect? If we want to deal with each link topic individually within the article (external links should explain something in more detail that is discussed in the article) and we addressed each of the topics in the links, the article would be the equivelent of 50 pages long. We split up this article more than two years ago, and this was a decision made then. Not that the decision has to stay, but it's precedence should be taken into account. The links that are there may have been added by someone along the way, but they were also likely removed due to irrelevancy. I'm sorry you feel this is censorship, but it is standard wikipedia practice, regarless of if it is a faith-based topic or not. If you want to see some real fights on similar issues, look at how some of the arguments that took place on Human or Gravity -Visorstuff 23:56, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

What about if we agree to freeze the external links until this issue is resolved. That is, no more editing of the external links until number and condition are agreed upon. How about that? Val42 00:35, July 21, 2005 (UTC)

Agree, but we had already decided twice before. How can we prevent this from coming up again. We obviously need to find a better solution. -Visorstuff 00:37, 21 July 2005 (UTC)

I have deleted the BYU links and copied them here. If someone wants to move them to other pages, fine. But these pertain to BYU and should not be included there. If I have taken too broad a cut and someone thinks something needs to be brought back in; let's discuss it first.

  • Related websites, affiliated with the Church:

Also, Mormonstories, as a new editor with a definite POV, I appreciate your interest in being bold. Addiontally, from reviewing your edits I would guess that you have chaffed in the past at what you consider the heavy hand of the LDS leadership. We got it. But, attempt to see the middle road at Wiki. We are an information source, but we are not a place for our individual soap box (We have all have one; you are not alone!). To wit, I have deleted BYU links first. After additional discussion I am sure we will be deleting more links.

Visor & Val, please forgive my deletion without discussion. I think it was Visor that alluded to this need for action. I took it, but will wait on further discussion before further action. Storm Rider 01:31, 21 July 2005 (UTC)

My opinion is that we should have no more then 4 or 5 of each type of link. Rmisiak 18:43, 21 July 2005 (UTC)

I am willing to follow Visor's recommendation; he has the most experience and understanding of Wiki. However, personally I don't want to get too hung up on "numbers" of links. To me the overriding principle is does the link directly apply to the subject of the article. It is too easy for everyone to get carried away and put everything that is remotely associated with the LDS church up and that is not acceptable. In brief, I don't want to see BYU sites, or gay Mormons, or chat rooms for anti's and pro's. Storm Rider 18:59, 21 July 2005 (UTC)


Someone cut the alternative links back to 2. Hiding and covering up and censorship is dishonest. And immoral. It's what satan wanted to do in the pre-existence. Mormonstories 16:10, 22 July 2005 (UTC)

Mormonstories, so is judging others intent. You wrote in your summary, "Restoring alternative links, in spite of constant censorship by the dishonest and overly-zealous." I for one am not engaged in any type of censorship as you allege is being done by editors in the LDS project - on the contrary, I think that information is key and should be embraced (You may want to discuss this with User:Wesley if you think we are (or read recent discussion on his talk page about the idea of censorship and secrecy regarding "Mormons"). You do not know the intent of the anonymous editor. Second, New Order Mormons link needs to be removed per the above discussion. Let's place a hold on editing the section until this issue is resovled. Mormonstories, since you want a larger repositories of external links (which fits under Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not) why don't we take each link one by one, and justify why it should or should not be included. Can you take the lead on this? I'll post below: -Visorstuff 19:02, 22 July 2005 (UTC)

Justification of links

Let's vote on which links should stay:

Official websites of the Church

Primary websites:

  • LDS.org - the official website of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — with links to Gospel Library, Church History, Family Home Evening programs, and more
  1. Keep -V
  2. Keep -Storm
  • Mormon.org - information on basic beliefs, a meetinghouse locator, and a place to email questions
  1. Keep, although a mirror site, it does have church-related info-V
  2. Keep, agreed a very similar site, but worthwhile
  1. delete - it is more appropriate for the Genealogy page-V
  2. delete - this site is off topic

Additional websites

Church-friendly websites, unaffiliated with the Church:

  • LDS Today - news related to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  1. Keep gives news -V
  2. either way as an additionial site, it is a marginal keep. Storm
  1. Delete Not official. Not relevent. It is ancilliary to Mormon-related topics - in fact, the Ensign site would be more appropriate. -V
  2. Delete -Storm
  • Nauvoo.com A gathering place for Latter-day Saints, including discussion forums, owned by LDS author Orson Scott Card.
  1. Delete Not relevant -V
  2. Delete - Storm
  • LDSFAQ at byu.edu - A comprehensive index answering many common questions. Uses large portions of The Encyclopedia of Mormonism.
  1. Keep Although not official, is good Q&A -V
  2. Keep Storm
  • Mormon Answers - frequently asked questions about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  1. Keep Although not official, is good Q&A -V
  2. Keep -Storm

Alternative and Opposing Points of View

  • Exmormon.org - For those who have left the LDS Church, or for those considering leaving.
  1. Keep for same reason as jefflindsay site. -V
  2. Keep -Storm
  • Postmormon.org - An alternative to ex-Mormon, focused on moving beyond, not opposing, Mormonism.
  1. Delete not an informative site, but rather a focum - delete for same reason as Nauvoo above.
  2. Keep -Storm, it does have some interesting data for those wishing to "disprove" the church. Other sites do it better and it is mixed with "Beyond Mormonism", but it is well done.
  1. Delete I know one of the guys who runs this - same reason as nauvoo and postmormon. -V
  2. Keep (or reinstate later on?) I'm the one who V is probably thinking of who runs it. If you want to delete the site for the time being, I could agree with that, however, we are currently implementing plans to add a number of truly informative articles to this site. So, could I ask that we get re-evaluated in a few months time? -Kevin
Thou art the man! :^) - If the focus of the site changes, then yes. But for the time being it sounds like you agree in the short term. I think it would be great to have a site similar to Jeff Lindsay's that could intellectually counter his claims, but the closest I'm aware of is exmormon.org.
  1. Delete -Storm, nice chat site currently, but not germaine.
  • http://www.i4m.com/think/ Rethinking Mormonism] - A site that summarizes the critical information respecting some of the key questions questioning Mormons often wish to address
  1. Keep it is decent for now, but could be persuaded in other way -V
  2. Keep -Storm
  • Refuting Mormonism - Biblical arguments and scripture to refute the claims of Mormonism.
  1. remove - see discussion above. -V
  2. Delete -Storm


[How about adding this additional category?] FreedomWorks! 20:32, 22 April 2006 (UTC) freedomworks


Sites both Pro AND Con

  • Mormon Church News - Offers news headlines, both pro and con, about the LDS Church, its founder, its genealogy program, and its choir. Blogger members may comment on the articles posted. [NOTE: The site is not as pretty as LDSToday.com, but it is neutral in what headlines it posts].
  1. _____ -V?
  2. _____ -Storm?

"Plural Marriage" a FORM of Polygamy?

Hi all! I just read this passage from the article, which caused some confusion for me:

"At one time in its early history, the Church did endorse a form of polygamy called "plural marriage," but this is no longer the case."

What does that mean that "plural marriage" was a "form of" polygamy? Aren't they synonymous? Or, more specifically, aren't the terms "plural marriage" and "polygyny" synonymous? When I think of the phrase "forms of polygamy", I think of different variations of polygamy -- such as polygyny and polyandry.

My understanding is that the term "plural marriage", is simply an alternate term used in place of the word "polygyny", but means essentially the same thing -- i.e. one man married to multiple wives. For those non-LDS folks who visit, what about if the above sentence was rephrased to indicate that the "form of polygamy" that the Latter-day Saints used to practice was "polygyny", but that the term they used for it was "plural marriage"? KevinM 19:17, 27 July 2005 (UTC)

Plural marriage is strictly a Latter Day Saint term - not even tied to Smith, but later church laity. It involves more than polygyny within polygamy, as it includes "sealing" covenants of a wife to a husband, which is not done in other forms of polygamous relationships. I don't think you'll find the term outside of Mormondom - hense it is the Mormon strain of polygyny. -Visorstuff 22:54, 27 July 2005 (UTC)
Ah! Thank you. I don't know if there's another way to phrase that sentence, but since it confused me, I'm sure it'll confuse other people with less knowledge of the Church's past. I'll think about it, and see if there's a concise way to make that concept a bit clearer.
I just got through watching Primetime on ABC tonight. They were doing a special story down in Colorado City. Ironically, one of the men being interviewed there said something similar. The interviewer asked the men if he was a polygamist, and the man said no. Then the interviewer asked how many wives he had, and the man said two. The interviewer said, "Well, that's polygamy". And the man said, "No it's not. It's plural marriage!"
To me, creating a distinction between "plural marriage" and polygyny is semantics, and is a distinction without a real difference. But, if we must make a distinction, we may as well inform others about it as clearly as possible, I guess. KevinM 07:01, 29 July 2005 (UTC)

Plural marriage is polygyny, but it is also more than that. It would be inappropriate to compare plural marriage to man "X" who has three wives in foreign country "Y". There is a spiritual element that is not found in other forms of polygyny. For many this will be a distinction without a difference, but it is moral ground that LDS will seldom, if ever, concede. Storm Rider 14:48, 29 July 2005 (UTC)

Another issue with the terminology is whether or not the marriage was done through a legal channel (not neccessarily legally, but through a legal channel) as compared to "spiritually." For example, most of the FLDS "marriages" are not done legally, due to state restrictions and the lack of wanting to pay for the cost of a secondary licence where legal. However, other Christian groups that practice polygamy do apply for wedding licences, or marry in different states, etc. To the FLDS, spritual marriage is just as binding, however, most would not recognize the marriage, and therefore it cannot be considered "polygamy" legally, but rather would fit under most states adultery laws. The state has to recognize it as co-habitation of sexual partners rather than marriage in many cases as common law marriages, as no licence was applied for, or they may not recognize the marriage at all, but treat as a typical couple living together. If the legal terminology was used, anyone who was having an affair could be convicted of bigamy. Anyway, Plural marriage is the Mormonism strain. Thoughts about re-working the section? -Visorstuff 16:15, 29 July 2005 (UTC)
Hope this make sense?
There are several differences between plural marriage and polygamy or polygyny. First, plural marriage arguably involved both polygyny and polyandry in its earliest days. Second, as Visorstuff suggested, plural marriage didn't (and doesn't) necessarily involve legal marriage. Sometimes, it also did not involve cohabitation, but was simply a spiritual tie binding the two spouses to each other in the afterlife. But in general, I would say that plural marriage is a form of polygamy is a correct statement. COGDEN 17:53, July 29, 2005 (UTC)

This is a very interesting discussion for me. Thank you. I'm actually a product of polygamy... er, rather, plural marriage (at least one set of my great-great grandparents and one set of my great-grandparents were in polygamous relationships). I guess this distinction just wasn't something that my family talked about much over the succeeding generations, however, I can see some of the differences now. Thanks for taking the time to answer me! :) KevinM 00:44, 30 July 2005 (UTC)