Talk:The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints/Archive 8

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LDS Church Membership history

I have been too lazy/busy/cheap to get an LDS Church Almanac, but I'd like to prepare a historical graph of membership trends for Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Does anybody have a table of membership numbers from 1830 to now in at least 10 year increments, and preferably annual they could give me? Tom Haws 19:06, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

You could try www.adherents.com. They might have something. The Jade Knight 17:19, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

I'm working on something at Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints/Membership history Tom Haws 22:18, 15 February 2006 (UTC) You asked for it. Here you go! http://www.geocities.com/johnwiltbank/growth.gif http://www.geocities.com/johnwiltbank/growth.jpg http://www.geocities.com/johnwiltbank/ChurchStats.xls http://www.geocities.com/johnwiltbank/ldsdata.txt The above do not yet incorporate the statistical data released yesterday. FYI, this data was: 2701 stakes, 341 missions, 643 districts, 27,087 wards, 12,560,869 membership, 93150 children of record, 243,108 converts, 52,060 full-time missionaries. Novel-Technology 07:00, 3 April 2006 (UTC)

New section?

The membership paragraph in the introduction seems excessive for an intro to me. Perhaps we could give a membership section (I'm thinking between Name of the Church and Major Beliefs)? This way, we could add in stuff like membership history, et al. Suggestions?

By the way, if no one comments on it to object, I'll probably take the liberty of doing it myself - that introduction is way too long. --Trevdna 23:23, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

"It is the fourth largest religion in the United States."

What is the source for that, please? That seems preposterous and not in line with such other sources such as: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_the_United_States

<insert flame war here> <--- kidding btw ;)

I'm guessing that's justified by lumping all the non-Mormon Christians together, so the order of adherents in the US would be something like 1. Christianity 2. Judaism 3. <something else> 4. Mormons. I don't know where that leaves the people who spent so much time on Wikipedia arguing that Mormons should be included in Christianty, but that looks like how they are thinking. DJ Clayworth 19:21, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

No flame war needed - easily defendable - it is not referring to religion branches, but religion bodies. The source is Adherents.com: http://adherents.com/rel_USA.html#bodies, taken from The 2005 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches. It is actually referring to religious bodies - as opposed to religions - here's the top ten:

1. Roman Catholic Church: 67.2 million. 2. Southern Baptist Convention: 16.4 million. 3. United Methodist Church: 8.2 million. 4. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: 5.5 million. 5. Church of God in Christ: 5.4 million. 6. National Baptist Convention USA: 5 million. 7. Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: 4.9 million. 8. National Baptist Convention of America: 3.5 million. 9. Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.): 3.2 million. 10. Assemblies of God: 2.7 million.

Perhaps a clarification should be added that the church is the fourth largest denomination in the USA. DJ Clayworth, interesting comments, but this is not the place to make the argument if Mormon are Christians - that can be fought at Mormonism and Christianity as we all have in the past. Glad to see you around Mormon articles again, hope to see more of you around this corner of the Wiki. Hope this helps. -Visorstuff 20:54, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

Verifiable history vs. statements of belief

Consider the "History" section.

Does this statement really belong there?

"Over time, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery received the priesthood and its keys lost to the earth from resurrected beings who held the authority anciently, including John the Baptist (May 15, 1829, Aaronic Priesthood), the apostles Peter, James and John (May or June 1829, Melchizidek Priesthood), and the ancient prophet Elijah (April 3, 1836). These priesthoods brought with them the restoration of the authority to perform baptism and other ordinances."

Seems to me that needs to be qualified with a HUGE "Church members believe" and put in the doctrine section; it's clearly not an uncomplicated statement of historical fact in the same way that "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was officially organized by Joseph Smith, Jr. and five associates on 6 April 1830, in Fayette, New York" is. Thparkth 20:27, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

I think the entire section could be preceeded by a statement something like "The following is a summary of the major events recorded with church historical records. Church members believe these events to be true, while some non-members may discount portions of this history.". It certainly is part of the history of the Church, even though non-Mormons would tend to dispute it. wrp103 (Bill Pringle) 21:03, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
When you have a topic about a religion do you really think there need to have constant reminders that the subject is about a religion. In the eyes of some all religion is mythology and it is most certainly about issues of faith. I tend to resist qualifiers to all religious articles such as purported, they say, or they believe. It is redundant to constantly remind the reader that the topic is a religious topic, an issue of faith. As a topic of faith some believe it and some don't. This is not simply germaine to the Mormon faith, but all faiths. When we bend over so far to accomodate those of different/opposing faiths, we very easily turn into leaving that ever so slight tinge of "this is really a load of crap, but these Mormons believe it". A qualifier that makes sense is Church History if one wishes to emphasize that it is a topic of faith, but I think you are underestimating readers. Storm Rider 00:43, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
Be that as it may Story Rider, a statement about Oliver Cowdery receiving mystical powers from people who had been dead for more than a thousand years is clearly a faith statement, and not a historical statement. It either needs to be explicitly qualified, or moved into "major beliefs". Having that kind of statement unqualified and unquestioned in the "history" section isn't going to make anyone beleive it's a brute fact of history, but it certainly gives the impression that the article is not NPOV but rather is biased towards acceptance of LDS beliefs. I don't happen to think that's the intention; I think this paragraph just ended up in the wrong section. I'm going to add a qualifying statement to it; feel free to revert if you feel the urge :) Thparkth 01:57, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
How can it not be verifiable. 1) It is attested to by more than just one person, 2) it is documented. Trödeltalk 12:22, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
I think one has to be careful with both verification, and with tone here. Ideally we should present such things in the context of what various people report as having been the case, with some indication where it's disputed or controversial, without it drifting into "load of crap" territory. If a whole section is clearly designated as a description of Mormon belief, that's fair enough, but a history section should be somewhat careful about recording the day-to-day interwoven too tightly with matters of faith. If something's not controversial as such, but is essentially just a question of religious belief, I'd favour formulations like such-and-such "being said to have happened", as opposed to "have happened" on the one hand, or X, Y and Z say it happened, while P, Q, and R say they're full of it, on the other. Alai 23:06, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

That huge "Major Beliefs" section

It's too big! And full of stuff like "Lay clergy has a strong tradition in the church, as area and local authorities are unpaid and continue in their normal occupations while serving in leadership positions" which is interesting, true, relevent, but nothing to do with "major beliefs". Maybe the section could be broken up? Thparkth 20:27, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

We have talked about this, do you have any new (and welcome!) suggestions?-The Scurvy Eye 22:45, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
We *could* break it up into the traditional theological concerns like christology, eschatology etc... but maybe not too accessible to the lay reader. Thparkth 02:42, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
Would it perhaps be easier to read if it was broken down into subcategories using the articles of faith? that would provide thirteen sections. and the articles of faith were originally written to summarize the beliefs of the LDS church, making them an ideal template for the beliefe descriptions here. although there is content in the Main Beliefs section that does not fall under any of these articles, it is at least my oppinion that statements such as the lack of payment to clergy members should idealy be categorized differently anyway. suggestions? --Master Runner 02:58, 20 April 2006 (UTC)

Seminary

Two things stuck out in the brief seminary section to me that needed verification:

1. Attendance at Seminary is voluntary, although this does help when applying to Brigham Young University. I've heard this before, and am fairly certain that it's true, but I'd imagine it's an advantage that applies across the board to Church-run universities. Does anyone know more about this that they could add in?
2. Seminary graduation aides some missionaries in obtaining visas to a few foreign countires. This one sounds like more of a stretch. While I can imagine that it may provide some small advantage, should a consulate take the time to extensively investigate a visa applicant's character, I doubt that there's objective proof of a consistent pattern of LDS seminary grads receiving visas more often than non-seminary grads. Without something to back it up, this content probably needs to go. Tijuana Brass 17:24, 6 March 2006 (UTC)
As I understand it some countries require that missionaries must have some degree of training to be allowed in...graduating from seminary meets their requirements. As far as and BYU schools, if it helps at one, it helps at all of them. Storm Rider 18:49, 6 March 2006 (UTC)

When I applied at BYU, the fact that I had not graduated from seminary didn't hurt my admission, but it did cause me to get a half-Benson scholarship rather than a full Benson scholarship. I don't think that either of these statements belong in the article if they can't be verified by some official word from BYU or an actual case of a missionary who either got a visa because of his seminary attendance or was denied because of the lack thereof. I don't think "I've heard that it's true" meets any encyclopedic standard. Aranhamo 00:01, 21 March 2006 (UTC)

I've removed the reference to obtaining visas, being totally without proof (I think MTC training would far overshadow any supposed benefit of seminary as "training"). Also removed the time release reference, which would be confusing for non-members to read, I believe. Tijuana Brass 03:07, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

Daughters of Perdition

"There is debate within the church as to whether or not a female is a capable of committing the sins necessitating inheritance of a kingdom without glory."

What? I've been a member of the Church my whole life and have never heard of any debate about this. I've never come across any doctrine that says that women are not capable of the same sin/goodness as men. —This unsigned comment was added by 157.127.124.134 (talkcontribs) .

Yup. here are a couple of statements by GAs on the matter as quoted on a number of web sites:
Nov 29,1893 - Presidents Wilford Woodruff and George Q Cannon meet with three apostles and James E. Talmage: "That there will also be daughters of Perdition there is no doubt in the minds of the brethren."
Mar 26,1903 - Joseph F. Smith tells apostles "there would be no daughters of perdition" in final judgement.
You can also find both references in The Mormon Hierarchy - Extenions of Power, D. Michael Quinn, Appendix V. I'm not a fan of Quinn, as his research is good, but his conclusions I find stretching and unsupportable.
You may also want to read the sections about "Perdition" in the Miracle of Foregiveness and in Mormon Doctrine for context. In addition, if you are a temple-attending Mormon, you may want to discuss what is different between the mens and womens initatory ordinances with a member of the temple presidency.
To be a son of perdition, you must have a "sure knowledge." You have to recieve certain ordinances and see certain things and then turn and fight against the truth. You must have that sure knowledge, have gone through the temple, and hold the priesthood (this is the debatable aspect - what constitutes "holding" priesthood authority). I'm not sure who all qualifies for this, but not many who are alive can qualify to become one.
One of the attributes of those who receieve telestial glory are those who murder - both spiritually and physically. Therefore, most anti-Mormon activists who are former members of the church who fight against Mormonism, probably do not qualify. Undoubtedly, some may, but the vast majority will be considered spiritual "murderers" and end up in the TLK. Most discussion on the topic is speculative in any case - it mostly has become a cultural doctrine that is not specified in the scriptures. Hope this helps. -Visorstuff 00:03, 21 March 2006 (UTC)
The above post was mine, before I made an account. I had seen some of the items that you mentioned before, but I hadn't really considered it a "debate within the Church". I think I would come down on the side of there being daughters of perdition, but I don't think that this is a big enough "debate" to be included in the article. It's also not a big enough deal to worry about, so I don't think it needs to be removed. Interesting though. Thanks. Aranhamo 02:46, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
Agree this issue is totally not notable in the context of a general topic article such as this. Trödel 12:01, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
I am totally against this trivia making it into the general article. While someone may have made a statement about his own personal unsurety on a speculative topic more than 100 years ago, that does not mean there is a debate within the church as to the answer--and as many people have argued here, no one has ever heard of the issue, so it's not really an "issue." So I am yet another returned missionary, went to BYU, taught seminary (paid, in Provo), still live in Orem, and have been a member of the church for 30 years; who has never heard of this argument. It is not "cultural doctrine" except in perhaps remote enough circles that this discussion would be incomplete without discussing the subregions where said "cultural doctrine" exists. --Mrcolj 13:23, 25 March 2006 (UTC)

Spam defense

Re-adding a link I added a few days ago, which was removed as "spam." I think I'd have to be affliated with the website in someway for it to be spam. Instead, I simply find it to be an informitive and well written website. Please discuss here if you want to try to remove again. ~~Sean Logopolys

"Widely known for"... garments

While garments is an issue peculiar to few religions, is it well-known enough to be on the list of what Mormons are "widely known for?" I mean, if you ask people what they know Mormons for, every thing on that list would get 5x the response rate of garments, no? While the non-LDS editors of this topic surely are a bit more sophisticated as to the topic than the general public, I've heard enough stories of people saying they hadn't heard of garments until they had been members for quite a while that I can't believe it's what Mormons are "known for." -Mrcolj 13:35, 25 March 2006 (UTC)

C.S. Lewis refers to "funny underwear" in Prince Caspian, and I recently heard a comedy sketch that refered to Mormon underwear, so at least some people think they are known well enough that people would understand the reference. When I was first investigating the church, my sister and brother in law had both heard about garments, even though they knew little else about the church (including how to pronounce Moroni.) wrp103 (Bill Pringle) 16:42, 25 March 2006 (UTC)
I've read Prince Caspian a few times and never really noticed that comment by Lewis. Is there any proof that it is in reference to Mormonism? I don't think most people are aware of our use of garments, but it's probably well enough known that it could be included. I would only hope that the subject is treated respectfully, as the subject is quite sacred to Mormons. Aranhamo 21:34, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

Actually, it isn't in Prince Caspian, it's in The Voyage of the Dawn Treander at the very beginning where C.S. Lewis is describing the Aunt and Uncle. It's very subtle. —This unsigned comment was added by 158.91.215.174 (talkcontribs) .

While I have very ocassionally had people ask me about them, I still don't think it's a common enough concern to justify the term "what they're known for." And those who study the topic know that the clergy of most religions throughout history wear some sort of sacred underclothing, including those of most christian religions. Mormons just don't believe in clergy... -Mrcolj 20:46, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

Mormons do believe in clergy. What distinguishes them is that they have a lay clergy, at least for males above a certain age. Alienus 20:51, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

Yes, I simplified because it's a little off-topic. But Mormons believe in clergy with a very lower-case C, but they don't use the word "clergy" ever since it doesn't really apply. Nevertheless, my point was that garments are a clergical issue in many churches, and in Mormonism most everyone's clergy, so most everyone wears garments. I think there's been little enough disagreement with my point after a legit amount of time that I'm justified in removing that line.--Mrcolj 22:26, 12 April 2006 (UTC)

On the C S Lewis thing, I can't find any evidence that Lewis was referring to Mormons in Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and I found a few articles where literary critics definitely said he was not referring to Mormons. For example Lewis also says that Eustace's parents were vegetarians, but Mormons are definitely not vegetarians; vegetarianism was even the subject of a conference talk by President Hinckley a few years back. Funny story, when I was in the MTC someone brought that talk up to a vegetarian Sister who told us we were all evil for eating animals; her companion read a quote from President Hinckley's talk and she ran away in tears. Anyway, Eustace's parents were not Mormons, he was saying that they were into following all the latest fads, some of which at the time were non-smoking, non-drinking, vegetarianism and wearing string underwear. Aranhamo 15:23, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

United States

Someone may wish to check the United States article. It currently refers to Mormonism as not being a part of Christianity. I do not have the time to deal with it nor the expertise (I being raised Buddhist). Polisci 20:18, 28 March 2006 (UTC)

Maybe you could mention here or on the talk page of the United States article specifically which part you are referring to. I am Mormon, and I looked over the United States article and did not see anything relating to Mormons that I objected to. Aranhamo 21:30, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

I have a comment...

On this section,

"Though it is part of the canon and members believe the Bible to be the word of God, the Church also acknowledges that numerous omissions and mistranslations occurred in even the earliest known manuscripts, although the relative majority of what remains is believed to be correct. These errors have led to incorrect interpretations of the meaning of certain passages."

who is making the acknowladgements here? It sounds to me like their acknowladgement of error is somehow being recognized as authoritative, wouldn't "also claims" be better there? And the last paragraph, is that what the church is saying, or what the article is saying on its own? It just doesn't seem very clear to me, but I assumed i'd better bring it here before making such POV related changes, I hear this whole series of Mormon articles gets iffy POV wise or something. Homestarmy 19:07, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
There are many variations in the text of the oldest known biblical manuscripts. Scholars have identified a number of "families" of variations. Plus you have significant variations between MT, LXX, and whatever sources Josephus used for "Antiquities." On top of this, there are sections of the original text that make no sense - just a collection of words, and most translators simply guess at what the original meaning was. Some feel all this is the reason for the "plain and precious truths" being lost. Personally, I have seen enough people disagree with the meaning of the same translation that there appears to be many ways where incorrection interpretations can come about.
I agree that the tone of what you quote seems wrong, and at a minimum, the last sentence should be softened or omitted. wrp103 (Bill Pringle) 20:13, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
Removing the last sentence should fix the problem. --Hetar 20:16, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
I think rather than removing the last sentence, it could be prefaced with something like "The Church believes..." As far as the Bible itself goes, I'm not aware of any Christian religion or scholarly tradition that doesn't agree that the Bible has been translated, compiled, etc. multiple times by many different people. That's why there are almost as many versions of the Bible as there are Christian churches. Just in the US, there's the version that the Catholics use, the JWs use another, Mormons use King James, most protestant/born agains use NIV, etc. Each version has significant differences from the others, such that they can't all be correct. Where disagreements lie is in the accuracy, correctness of a given version. In Brazil, the Catholics use one version, the JWs another, and then pretty much everyone else (Mormons, protestants, evangelicals, etc.) use the Joao Ferreira de Almeida. Maybe the difference is that most churches hold their version of the Bible to be infallible, while it might be considered that Mormons recognize that even the version we use is not perfect. Aranhamo 21:29, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
I was thinking something along the lines of "the Church believes..." myself. Homestarmy 21:38, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
Sola scriptura gets a little difficult when approaching so many different, existing translations in a given language. However, I agree with Homestarmy that just simply inserting "the church believes these errors have led to incorrect interpretations of certain passages." Please note that I deleted the redundant, "of the meaning". Does that work for everyone? Home, I hope you will spend some time on these Mormon articles. I would be curious to find out how you find the POV/NPOV on the articles after editing for a while. Storm Rider (talk) 06:31, 31 March 2006 (UTC)
I would feel better about "Many members believe ..." I'm not sure it is an official position of the church. Can somebody find any references? wrp103 (Bill Pringle) 09:03, 31 March 2006 (UTC)
Would these references be of help? The Articles of Faith are included in LDS scriptures and are considered together as a concise statement of many of their basic beliefs. (Pearl of Great Price: p. 60, The Articles of Faith, v.8, See also: History of the Church, Vol. 4, pp. 535-541) "We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly..."
All 13 of the Articles of Faith were originally written by Joseph Smith, the Prophet/founder of the LDS Church in response to questions from a newspaper reporter. They still stand as a short, but valid, response to many of the questions people have about the church today and what their basic beliefs are. They are not meant to be a total statement of all tenants of the faith but they do cover the basics.
I have enjoyed reading a lot of the article so far when I got sidetracked by reading some of these comments. One point of clarification should be noted throughout the article in order for the references to be more correct and accurate. Whenever the book "Doctrine & Covenants" is referred to it should be reffered to in whole rather than just as "Covenant: __:__". (i.e. Doctrine & Covenants 68:3-6. Instead of: Covenant 68:3-6) The Church, and anyone seeking the proper reference, refers to these verses by using the whole title of the book when seeking the source rather than as specific "covenants." They also simply refer to the divisions in the book as "Sections" rather than "Covenants" since they cover a broader topic than simply commandments and covenants for members and some sections contain "messages, warnings, and exhortations for the benefit of all mankind."

Earthly Polygamy

Alienus has been introducing the concept of "earthly" polygamy and has been reverted twice that I remember. After my revert I think I have come to understand what he is trying to say...Male LDS may be sealed to more than one woman. He attempts to make a distinction that in the eternities LDS and FLDS are similar. This is a debatable issue and would introduce a plethora of things to discuss the differences, authority being one of the main ones. I suggest that the purpose of the sentence is only to say that LDS should not be confused with those who practice polygamy today. To attempt to clarify earthly introduces a whole other level of conversation that is best addressed later where polygamy is discussed and in that specific article. Storm Rider (talk) 08:20, 12 April 2006 (UTC)

I totally agree. I understand what he was trying to say, but I think using "earthly" polygamy is just confusing and the issue is better discussed elsewhere. Aranhamo 14:53, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
I'd second that. It's an interesting topic, and merits note here, but would fit better into an article focusing on LDS polygamy; i.e. plural marriage. Tijuana Brass 17:32, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
I reverted for a number of doctrinal reasons. As the church today does not teach about Polygamy, we can't get clarification on it. A recent letter allows for what could be considered eternal polyandrous marriages, when doing work for the dead. Obviously, that is not the intent, nor the application, nor the doctrine. The plain fact is that since 1890 and 1904, Church members are not required or even suggested to be bound by polygamy either her or in the afterlife. It is strictly a cultural teaching promulgated via policy - and not doctrinal. -Visorstuff 18:10, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
In addition, Alienus wrote in his edit summary, "a widower can be sealed to his second wife, a widow cannot be sealed to her second husband." I know what he is saying, however, that is not neccessarily the case in all instances. In addition, a deseased women may be sealed in proxy to multiple deseased males. Its pretty complicated. Let's keep it simple. -Visorstuff 18:13, 12 April 2006 (UTC)

Baptism Age

Bisric changed the article to say that baptism is "rarely" performed before age 8. I changed it back to "never" pending some source being cited to the contrary. D&C 68:25-27 clearly establishes the age of eight as the minimum age for baptism. Aranhamo 00:14, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

Bisric is correct. Rarely is appropriate. My Grandfather was baptized a few weeks prior due to the flu epidemic, and I'm aware of a few more cases. Rarely was a good example. Absolutes when it comes to the church are not wise. I'm not reverting, rather clarifying, rather than showing you my g-pa's ordinance work. -Visorstuff 00:53, 14 April 2006 (UTC)
I like it much better the way you did it. With just "rarely", I think it gave the wrong impression that baptisms could be performed much earlier. In the case of your grandfather, it was simply pragmatism to perform his baptism a little earlier than, but still very near to, his eighth birthday. A couple of weeks one way or the other is no big deal, but I thought "rarely" made it sound like it could be performed years earlier in certain situations. Aranhamo 14:59, 14 April 2006 (UTC)
I agree. Both "rarely" and "never" should be omitted. Whether there have been exceptions does not grammatically negate the rule. For example, "people can't fly" does not need to be "people rarely fly" just because some people jump off buildings or fly in planes. Baptism doesn't happen before the age of 8, and if it does, it does not happen statistically significantly often enough to justify the word "rarely." --Mrcolj 21:26, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

Mormons Protestant?

Although many Christians reject Mormonism as a form of Christianity, some do, and from a theological and historical point of view Mormonism is part of the Christian tradition. The article concedes this. It is appropriate to regard Mormonism as in the Protestant tradition for two reasons: (a) it does not acknowledge Rome and hence is not Catholic; (b) it shares crucial Protestant doctrines, namely the direct relationship of the individual with God, not mediated by the priesthood, and administration of the church by the laity (since just about everyone is a priest).Bill 01:20, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

Technically protestantism only applies to a small subset of chruches that are protesting catholicism, namely, lutheranism, anglicism, etc. Puritanism, baptistism, methodism and others are not "protestant" nor protesting the edict of Worms. See Protestant's first four paragraphs. the reformists are different than protestants. Anyway... i think we shoudl stay clear of the term for technical reasons - this was discussed early on in the wiki an decided that the church is a "restorationist" church. but then again, protestantism is considered one of the three divisions. anyway... -Visorstuff 01:53, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

BillPoser, I think that no serious scholar considers the Chruch of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to fall firmly in the Protestant category. They simply don't. Cite one scholar or "authoritative" source. Try. They simply don't. To do so would make no sense. Does the article on Unitarians say "some outside observers consider Unitarians to be a branch of the Methodist movement"? No! Because to do so would make no sense!

One of the great acheivements of science is classification. We have classes and families and genuses (geni) and species. We have them for a reason. Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons do not consider themselves Protestant and do not belong in the Protestant category. The Wikipedia article on Christianity acknowledges this.

But, you want to keep this? Fine. Whatever. I still challenge you to find a citation if you think it's so important. Novel-Technology 02:17, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

As a Mormon, I object to being called Protestant. We consider ourselves Christians, but not Protestant. "Restorationist" is a better term. Mormonism did not split off from the Catholic tradition, but is considered by its followers to be a divine restoration of the true Church of Christ. Also, the whole church being administered by the laity thing is wrong; Protestants and others generally do not believe in priesthood authority. Mormons do, and the church is administered by the priesthood. The Catholics have a professional priesthood, we have a lay priesthood, and most other Christian churches don't have a priesthood at all. Joseph Smith said something to the effect that (paraphrasing) "How can a branch split off from the tree, calling itself good and the tree bad? If the branch came from a bad tree, it must also be bad." Aranhamo 15:08, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

Individual personal experience does not an encyclopedia article make, however, mormon.org has an extended exposition on this (or did when I wrote this) in their questions section.eleuthero 15:15, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

From mormon.org:
Gordon B. Hinckley, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said:
"We are not an institution which has broken away from the Roman Catholic or any other church. We are not part of a reformation. We declare that this is a Restoration. The teachings and organization of the Church are as they were anciently."
Isn't that exactly what I said? Aranhamo 15:43, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

Visorstuff is correct. While the LDS Church (and other Latter Day Saint denominations) may draw some practices from Protestantism, it is no more Protestant because of this than the Catholic church is Protestant after having done the same thing. To refer to a LDS denomination as Protestant is more than a matter of personal preference; it is theologically and historically incorrect to do so. Protestant is defined as much, much more beyond "not Catholic" and "the priesthood of all believers"; some Protestant denominations would contend with one or both of these assertions.

Aranhamo, while you've hit the nail or more or less on the head, saying that Protestants do not believe in a priesthood or have one at all is more in a sense of definition — the LDS Church's take on priesthood is unique and differs significantly from that of other Christian denominations (although the Church rarely mentions it, given that they're not interested in teaching the doctrine of other faiths). Keep in mind that not having a priesthood organization and belief system that is the same as your own does not preclude it from existing. Tijuana Brass 19:29, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

You know, to that end, the line that "some outside observers classify" Mormonism as Protestant should probably be coupled with the addition that it is incorrect to do so, beyond Mormons not considering themselves as such. Tijuana Brass 19:44, 14 April 2006 (UTC)
Thanks. Why I didn't do that myself, I don't know. Tijuana Brass 00:18, 15 April 2006 (UTC)
The Mormon view is indeed that Mormonism is not a form of Protestantism, but that doesn't make it so. This article is not supposed to be from the Mormon point of view. (It is, of course, appropriate to explain Mormons' view of the matter.) Those who claim to be so authoritative on this question should consult the Wikipedia article on Protestantism, which considers Restorationism a branch of Protestantism and lists Joseph Smith as a leading Protestant (together with a note pointing to an LDS site denying this). You might also look at pieces such as this, which treats Mormonism as a branch of Protestantism, while at the same time pointing out the objections to this by both Mormons and others.Bill 02:56, 15 April 2006 (UTC)
You're right, the Mormon view of things do not make things necessarily true. I am not operating from the Mormon view, however, as I am not a Mormon — keep in mind that not all of us are here. You too may want to closely review the Protestantism article and the OCRT link you've provided; in neither will you find a definition of the LDS movement as Protestant (the OCRT only mentions that they are similar, which is true, and we've acknowledged it in this discussion). For that matter, having read the OCRT articles on Mormonism for some eight years now, from memory, I can't ever recall them referring to Mormonism as Protestant. Again, the LDS movement is not Protestant in history, theology, or practice, but Restorationist, a term used by Mormons and non-Mormons alike. I'm not trying to claim an intellectual superiority here, but trust me, this is coming from an ex-Mormon that is in a theological seminary, and it's been backed up by a Mormon historical researcher, among others. Tijuana Brass 03:14, 15 April 2006 (UTC)

This article is way too long

Well, it is. I remember it back a year ago or something (a while ago anyway), and it was much shorter, covered everything that needed to be covered, had neutral POV, etc. It seems it must have been growing at a pace of a page a month or something since then. I could probably take the "Name of the Church" section and condense it into two sentences, or maybe even one.

So why has it become so long? Would it be bad if I went through and trimmed it down? Instead of being educated, the reader is just going to come out exhausted! If he can bear to finish! Novel-Technology 02:23, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

Perhaps some of the sections could be split off into separate articles? Homestarmy 02:33, 14 April 2006 (UTC)
I don't see it that way at all... it's longer than the "average" article on Wikipedia, I'd agree to that, but there's a lot to say about the LDS Church. Several sections break off into more detailed explanations and history already, but I don't see much that could be trimmed out. What did you have in mind specifically? Tijuana Brass 19:31, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

Problem Solved. 11623 words > 9067 words. :^) Novel-Technology 15:39, 16 April 2006 (UTC)

Whoa there. It's good to work out alternatives, but making a change of that size on an article that's so hotly contested isn't a good idea. There's a lot of changes in your version that have some issues, too -- it reads a lot like a missionary lesson. Back up some, bring up some specifics, and build consensus before making sweeping changes. Tijuana Brass 18:38, 16 April 2006 (UTC)
I appreciate that, but this article had a problem, so I solved it. While my original goal was simply to make it shorter, in the process of reading and revising I made it much better. One accusation you make concerns me: "it reads a lot like a missionary lesson.". I take it by this you mean I edited it to read as LDS propaganda or as a puff piece. However, I did not intend that at all, and indeed, do not think I acheived that. I didn't make it any more positive than it already was, and I didn't really add any innapropriately negative portions either, in my opinion. If you would read it you would see this I think. The closest I came to making making the mistake you accuse me of would be the deletion of some portions in the Godhead section relating to henotheism, monotheism, etc. But I did not really delete that, StormRider did. I actually was not going to delete that paragraph until StormRider did, and then I figured, well, if he thinks it should go fine. Eliminating it does make it shorter and the paragraph was non-essential(remember my original goal was to make it shorter.). If I had added it back in, I would have essentially been reverting back StormRider's edit, and so I chose not to do so. So don't complain to me about that one, complain to StormRider, and if you want to put it back, fine.
Is there a single other instance of my version taking a more positive or pro-LDS stance than the previous version? I think not. I actually took out (or rather, chose not to incorporate) many of StormRider's more pro-LDS revisions. So tell me, where exactly is the article biased toward the Church? Did you actually read the article and compare it with the previous? So where's the slant? If you think my revision is slanted, you surely must feel the same way about the version several days ago also, because I didn't really change the content of that. What I did consisted more of hundreds and hundreds of minor changes: shuffle two words here, delete five words there, etc.
Should I have issued my change in the form of dozens of changes section-by section as StormRider was doing? Would you see that as better or easier to deal with? Thanks, Novel-Technology 23:10, 16 April 2006 (UTC)

At most times major changes to articles get reverted only because it is a major change. This is particularly so when no prior discussion takes place. For example, deleting the paragraphs devoted to for what Mormons are most known. Had you previously stated, "Hey guys, here is why I think this should be deleted...", concensus is reached and everyone is happy. There are many long-term editors that have been in countless hours getting to the point we are at today and major changes are difficult. However, the case in point regarding What Mormons are known for is a section that I have never felt belonged at the beginning of the article. To have the main article define LDS by how others think about the Church has always been odd to me. I would support its deletion.

I would request everyone to read Novel's changes in their entirety without making wholesale reverts. Then let's regroup and move the article in an agreed upon direction; hopefully one that makes it a better article. Novel, no more major changes without discussion. I suspect that my changes already had put people on edge and your edits pushed them over. I think the article can be made shorter by making statements concise. I realized my edits did not go far enough, but I thought they were a good first step. Storm Rider (talk) 00:22, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

There were too many changes, made too quickly, with too little (read: none) discussion. Normally, between the edit comment and the compare, I can tell what's going on. Here, I can't. Therefore, no matter how good or bad the new version is, I can't evaluate it without undue effort. I think it's up to them to make our job more manageable, not for us to strain ourselves. So if they want their text evaluated, let them revert to the original, then insert each major change separately, one at a time, with time for us to respond. Otherwise... Alienus 00:43, 17 April 2006 (UTC)
That is not a reaction or a request that I can argue with; it is the standard procedure. Novel, I am reverting your changes. Please go to each section and make the changes you propose. Give reasoning for your changes in the subject line; when you think there is going to be some question, explain yourself on this page. It takes a little longer, but the result is that everyone is on board at the same time. Thanks. Storm Rider (talk) 00:55, 17 April 2006 (UTC)
I said: "Should I have issued my change in the form of dozens of changes section-by section as StormRider was doing? Would you see that as better or easier to deal with?" So, in other words, the answer is yes?Novel-Technology 01:01, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

Ok, there it is in all it's split-up glory. Novel-Technology 02:18, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

proselyting vs. proselytizing

A couple of edits have gone back and forth on this, so I looked it up at www.dictionary.com and they're both correct and mean the same thing. So it doesn't much matter which one is used. Aranhamo 00:39, 15 April 2006 (UTC)

If it doesn't matter, then I recommend using the one used by the LDS Church, especially since the article is about the LDS Church. --日本穣 Nihonjoe 00:51, 15 April 2006 (UTC)
Yep. The term "proselyte" is the one used by the LDS Church. Tijuana Brass 01:23, 15 April 2006 (UTC)
What I corrected was the bizarre "proselytingpro", which doesn't exist. I myself prefer "proselytizing" to "proselyting" but agree that both are in use. I do, however, dissent from 日本穣 Nihonjoe's argument: just because Mormons themselves use "prosleyting" is not a good argument to use it here as Wikipedia is not intended specifically for Mormons. It would be different if the word were a technical term specific to Mormonism, but this isn't.Bill 02:56, 15 April 2006 (UTC)
"Proselytingpro" was clearly an error, so thanks for fixing it; nobody is contesting that. However, when writing an article about a particular group/organization/religion/whatever, unless it causes some sort of significant problem, the linguistics used by those both within the group and those without who describe it will commonly be used. As "proselyte" is the word of choice in the LDS world (as opposed to "proselytize"), it makes more sense to use it, since they have the same exact meaning. Tijuana Brass 03:06, 15 April 2006 (UTC)

I have been going over the article the last two days attempting to streamline it; take out redundancies, correct punctuation, and make it more concise. I did delete one paragraph from the Major Beliefs section that I think belongs in the Criticism section. I include it here just so that it is not lost:

Despite the Church's name, its focus on Jesus as the Savior of mankind, its family values, and many of the Gospel teachings it shares with other branches of Christianity, theologians and members of those other branches consider the difference between LDS practices and doctrines—such as the contrast between the Church's doctrine of the Godhead and the mainstream Christian doctrine of the Triune God —so fundamental that they do not regard Latter-day Saints as Christians. In their view, a non-mainstream understanding of Jesus Christ makes His saving grace null and void, and Latter-day Saints are understood to be lost with adherents of all other religions because of the differences in their understanding of Christ. Latter-day Saints counter that it is mainstream Christianity that misunderstands the nature of God. They hold that the mainstream concept of God was corrupted by the introduction of Platonic realism, Neoplatonism, and extreme Asceticism into the early Christian church and that these influences continued through what they term the Great Apostasy. For continued discussion on this subject see Mormonism and Christianity.

I would request each of you before reverting any portion to read the article in its entirety first. There is still too much repetition that has resulted from edits over the life of the article without taking into consideration the whole article. Also, I certainly have not got everthing and everyone's help would be appreciated. Storm Rider (talk) 06:52, 15 April 2006 (UTC)

Incidentally, church leaders use the term proselytizing not proselyting. Mormon missionaries and culture use the other term. -Visorstuff 18:12, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

Novel's Edits

I am still reviewing the changes in context to the article as a whole. However, two things do come up for me: 1) Heavenly Mother, I thought it read better in the previous paragraph and when revert it back. The fact that there is one hymn that alludes to her seems like we are stretching to find something, anything, that supports it other than what was already said. Also, to state in the beginning the Heavenly Father is married to her and then restate they are married to one another is redundant...another reason I would revert it. 2) The section on Sons of Perdition now can confuse readers, which had been corrected in a previous edit, as to who receives this condemnation. Full knowledge is not defined. It was shorter and more concise.

Your comments not withstanding, the JST should be mentioned, but I think in only the briefest of terms. It is used as a reference tool; nothing more. Many things are used as reference tools for scripture study; thus my reason for simply dropping it out.

All in all, I like your changes. I still am reviewing with the objective of focusing on how the whole article now reads and minimizing redundant statements and concepts. Good work. Storm Rider (talk) 07:13, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

Thanks! Yeah, I was going to do that myself. I was just working off an older version of the paragraph and didn't notice your change to incorporate it. On the JST, not only do I think it's better with the info in, I also saw a _whole paragraph of hiden comments_, and so clearly it's something people have been interested in and a point of contention. So, I figured "I'm leaving that one alone" and I think further that if we got rid of it, some one would just put something about it back again in a couple weeks. And that something would be far lower-quality and questionably accurate, I'd wager. So why fight it? Novel-Technology 11:21, 17 April 2006 (UTC)
Before we jump too far into this, I'd really prefer to move the project into a sandbox. That way it'd be easier for each of us to pick through the changes and move things around without disturbing the pre-revised article until there's a consensus built. While I like some of the things you've done, Novel, there's undoubtedly going to be some points of disagreement (just look at what's been going on at Joseph Smith, Jr.) between editors, and it'd be good to be able to isolate them away from the article.
Also, I'll put up a mention on the Wikiproject page advising other editors of Storm Rider and Novel's interest in making some major revisions. By the way, Novel, why don't you put your name down on the page? You've clearly got an interest in taking part in the LDS-related articles, and another editor is always welcome.
Last suggestion. I think it'd be easier for everyone to collaborate on making sweeping changes to the article if the concerned editor(s) would spell them out beforehand. Yeah, some changes may be simple and won't need that, but while it may seem an easy decision for one editor that part x needs to be changed, it may not to others. Case in point, the What Mormons are Known For section mentioned above. I think it's wholly appropriate, as there's a lot of people without a familiarity of the LDS Church that don't know what distinguishes it from mainstream Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox Christianity. It provides a short, to the point summary of some of the key commonalities and differences. Tijuana Brass 17:31, 17 April 2006 (UTC)
This is a weakness and strength of WIKI. It is a public encyclopedia and is open to all indivdiuals with a penchant for editing any topic of their choosing. Major changes to any article, regardless of merit are difficult to implement. However, there is always a first time for everything.
I do not favor a sandbox strategy. That has been tried before on several articles and I have always found it to be a mess. While one group is off negotiating major changes another group is editing the current article. It is impossible to keep a base article from which to work. The result is the major changes article is forgotten because too much has changed in the original article.
I do like creating an outline, receiving input, and then implementing the changes. It works in theory, but only for those who are consistent editors. Everyone has seen articles that bleed all over from the "passing" editor that thinks something is important, edits it in, then goes on their way. Others read it and don't find anything facutally wrong; however, everyone forgets that it has been covered in the article three paragraphs further down. This article could have served as a poster child of that process.
Tijuana, I don't disagree with the value of a section that discusses what is most known by those who are not Mormons about Mormons. My contention is that it does not belong at the beginning of the article. Doing so frames the content of the article by the ideas of others. Why not initially talk about what the church is and then discuss what others think of the church. A logical approach, no?
I would like to hear from other committed editors to this article to find out if it is possible to spend some effort to read the article in its entirety first and then critique and propose changes. We might save time and produce a better article. It would fly in the face of precedent and I would like to be surprised. Storm Rider (talk) 01:13, 18 April 2006 (UTC)
Oh man, this is refreshing. Finally some peaceful discussion on an LDS article. I love it.
I follow you with the sandbox idea; in retrospect, when I've used it before, it's always been as a solo thing, and I can see how it could be difficult to track changes. I won't mark it for a delete yet, though, in case someone wants it to work out stuff there on their own during the process. Not sure how I feel about moving the "Known for" section down, as it's a quick reference to the unique features of the church that may save some time from those who don't go through the entire article — maybe some NPOV revising would be good middle ground; like you're saying, we really would do well with some more input. I agree that framing the Church by outside conceptions isn't the right idea, but then, a lot of Church members don't seem to consider particularly controversial or significant some of the doctrines which outsiders do — there's going to be that conflict of interest. And, finally, I like the suggestion at the end to critique and propose changes. Which I suppose we've already started. Tijuana Brass 03:15, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

I realize I need to keep quiet, but a few ideas to think about:

  1. The concept of free agency is vital and I am not sure its importance is clear in the article.
  2. LDS hear and this article makes clear that when the prophet and apostles speak over the pulpit their counsel is as scripture. However, I have always seen a conflict with this statment. Canon is canon and the writings of the prophets are not always scripture; it depends on what they say. All the writings of Brigham Young are certainly not held as scripture. I am not sure this is the article for such a discussion, but it would be interesting.
  3. Within LDS theology we find concepts that are logical to LDS, such as Heavenly Mother, eternal progression, As man now is, God once was, etc. However, these are not found in canon. Are they truth to LDS? For some yes, for others not necessarily. Critics of the church always attack these concepts, but LDS more often than not reply with logic, writings of prophets, etc., but not scripture. For example, because I believe what the scritures say, then it is possible/easy for me to believe this; however, there is no scripture to support it. Thoughts? Storm Rider (talk) 03:39, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

We all may want to double check the terms scripture, canon and doctrine. I can speak scripture for my priesthood group, but it is not canon nor doctrine. Scripture is binding to those who are under a certain administration - ie, we don't practice or teach polygamy today, but under some administrations, it was nearly a requirement of leaders. We don't have to have a two-year food storage, but those who were taught it by Heber Grant did. I made a slightly different set of promises than some other editors here in the temple, and those going through today are under different instructions in some ways. Scripture is the word of the lord to a specific people at a specific place and time. Canon is revelation that is binding to an entire church, and doctrines never change. Policies, principles and practices do. Thus a false teaching by a leader may be the word of the lord to a certain people to try and test them and ensure that they are willing to fulfil the law of obedience. This sounds very apologetic, but that is the definition in my understanding. -Visorstuff 18:21, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

Tithing is optional?

I was a member from birth till 16, (Now 18.) Been reading these articles all morning, quite a few things I've never learned. However, the article suggests that tithing is optional. Once a year, you have a meeting with your ward or stake bishop, which generally follows like an interview. You are generally asked how you are doing in life, personal health, then asked if you follow the word of wisdom, laws of chastity (youths being asked specifically about masturbation--), asking if you've any sins you need to confess (though the wording is much different--), and one of the following questions being asked if you are a full tithe payer.

Sunday services are free to attend, although some services may require membership- I'm fuzzy on that, as I was always a member. It is not required by anyone that by attending service you pay tithe, though by gospel doctrine, 10% is stated.

In order to visit an LDS temple, a temple recommendation card is required. This card is obtained in an identical interview as the yearly one, but occurs upon request to receive or renew a temple recommendation. Full tithe is required to enter a temple. Mormon doctrine makes mention of works of god that are performed in temples, which are required for exaltation.

I'm writing this in here as I'm not a wikifrequenter, and do not know the 'wiki way' to phrase things, especially on relatively delicate subjects such as religion, so if someone else could modify this accordingly. . . ——Nago(saki@gmail.com)/Anon

No, it definitey wouldn't be correct to say tithing is "optional". However, the article says "voluntary". Well, in a strict sense everything in the Church is voluntary: the Church isn't going to lock you in prison or kill you if you don't follow the teachings. However, I think the writer meant you don't get excommunicated for not paying tithing (and that the Church doesn't pass a plate, it's up to you to get an envelope and give it to the bishop). Then again, you don't get excommunicated for breaking the Word of Wisdom either, but would it be correct to say that it's voluntary? Your point is taken: I deleted the part about being voluntary.

On your question of would you need to pay tithing to attend worship services, the answer is no. Everyone is welcome at all non-temple services, just as the article states, unless maybe they are being disruptive. Novel-Technology 12:29, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

Nono. I meant that some services- e.g, particular classes and or direct services, not "sunday services", *may* be available to members only, or more specifically, "worthy" members. worthy implies full tithe payer. I am aware that the sunday services, notably the sacrament service (But perhaps not the partaking of the sacrament?) are open to everyone :) At any rate, thanks and have a pretty cool day :) ——Nago/Anon
Tithing is not required to take the sacrament. To take advantage of some welfare services, people are expected to pay tithing, but it is (I believe) at the discretion of the Bishop. The tithing interview is optional, and is quite different than a temple interview. wrp103 (Bill Pringle) 14:35, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

I have always appreciated Joseph Smith's statement; I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves. The church teaches its peoples to be full tithe payers, i.e. pay 10% of your gross earnings. However, compliance is only monitored by asking the question in bi-annual temple recommend interviews for those who go to the temple and then in the annual tithing settlement meetings at the end of the year where it is asked, "are you a full tithe payer". If you say yes, it is yes. If you say no, there may be further discussion. Is it voluntary? yes. Is it optional? of course. Nothing happens to one who does not pay tithing. You may not serve in the temple as a consequence of the choice made, but that's it.

Sometimes we dance around these things and it gives the wrong impression to those who have no knowledge of the LDS church. The church is governed by honesty. If you are dishonest, did not pay a full tithe and said you did, a bishop would never know the difference. Of course if you are driving around in a new BMW and only paid a tithe that looked like you made $25,000 it might cause someone to pause and wonder; but that is the extent of it. Your answers are between you and God. Storm Rider (talk) 16:11, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

The questions that leaders use in interviews are very much up to the discretion of the leader doing the interview. If your bishop is asking youths about masturbation, that's his choice, as it's not required by the current guidelines. However, your bishop can tailor the interview questions to the person he is interviewing. The church only gives general guidelines about the types of questions that might be asked, and usually lists a small number of required fields of inquiry.

The only "meeting" I'm aware of that requires a person be a member/full tithe-payer is temple service. Even temple preparation class is open to non-members. On my mission, we were instructed to tell our investigators not to partake of the sacrament until after baptism, but that was a decision by the mission president. It's not a general practice in the church to withhold sacrament from non-members. As was said, someone who is not a full-tithe payer may be unable to receive church welfare benefits, etc.

The temple recommend interview questions are quite a lot different from tithing settlement. Aranhamo 22:12, 17 April 2006 (UTC)


I've not travelled much, so I'm used to how my ward did things, and having worked closely with the bishop and others, knew much of what they chose to do, so I didn't mean to imply any correction on anything other than tithing being optional or not, it was just kind of chitter chatter. I stand by my statement that tithing is not optional. Temple work is a focal point of the LDS religion, and being unable to do that templework means (via snowball effect), that tithing is required for exaltation. There's nothing truly optional about it to members at all! No one holds a gun to their head and forces them to pay, no collection plate, but it's certainly expected, and there are most certainly very severe consequences for not being a tithe payer. No one hits you on the wrist, but you don't get to perform temple work for god. Punishment enough, I'd think. ——Nago/Anon

I agree with Nago/Anon (you should consider registering an account and sticking around). It seems that this issue has been treated. If I'm missing something, let me know. cookiecaper (talk / contribs) 08:43, 18 April 2006 (UTC)
Done! ——Nago 09:23, 18 April 2006 (UTC) (No longer anon[ymous]!)
We may be saying the same thing, but I am unsure of your definition of optional. If something is optional, options are provided; it is not compulsory. To be compulsory it must be mandatory, coercive, and enforced. In this context tithing is not compulsory and most certainly is optional.
Your concern with "If I don't pay tithing I will not be able to serve in the temple" relates more to the value you place on temple service than on tithing being a compulsory action. Does the church expect members to pay tithing? Of course, just like our Father in Heaven expects us to keep the commandments. However, in both instances we have our free agency to choose what we will do. To be optional does not mean there are no consequences for our actions. To be optional means it is not compulsory and no one will coerce you to pay tithing if you didn't. Is this more clear? Storm Rider (talk) 16:15, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

Let me clarify as well. Tithing is optional to membership in the church, but it is not optional for those who want to be exalted. Temple sealings are not optional to exaltation. Having your calling and election made sure is not optional. Believing in the Restoration and Joseph Smith as a prophet is not optional. Being sanctified by the Spirit and justified by the Atonement of Jesus Christ is not optional to exaltation. Obeying the laws of consecration, obedience, sacrifice and chastity are not optional to exaltation. But very few of us completely obey them to their fulness. My point is that obedience in this life is a process. All of these things ar optional to membership, but not for true conversion. Rather Latter-day Saints do these things as a sign of faith.

Incidentally, I don't know many who fully live the law of tithing. Re-read section 119 again (the following is only a portion:

VERILY, thus saith the Lord, I require all their surplus property to be put into the hands of the bishop of my church in Zion, For the building of mine house, and for the laying of the foundation of Zion and for the priesthood, and for the debts of the Presidency of my Church. And this shall be the beginning of the tithing of my people. And after that, those who have thus been atithed shall pay one-tenth of all their interest annually; and this shall be a standing law unto them forever, for my holy priesthood, saith the Lord. Verily I say unto you, it shall come to pass that all those who gather unto the land of Zion shall be tithed of their surplus properties, and shall observe this law, or they shall not be found worthy to abide among you.

In other words to truly pay your tithing, you must first consecrate all "surplus property" to the bishop in one instance, and then pay one-tenth of your increase annually after that event.

I don't know many who gave all the extra property to the bishop and then one tenth of their annual increase. Most just pay the ten percent each year, but never originally gave the surplus to start. Anyway, the law of tithing, and the practice of it today (see my comment about what scripture is above) are two different things. We are asked by church leaders today to pay the ten percent part, and to be generous with our surpluses. -Visorstuff 18:36, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

I must say that paying tithing is definately optional and voluntary in a secular sense. Of course if you believe that the Church represents the body of Christ and is being led by Him through His annointed prophet, then it is hard to see the commmandment of paying tithing as other than "required." But if you don't believe that how could it be seen as required.
Regardless of what I think(OR), in deciding if it is optional/voluntary for the encyclopedic article, we should apply the regular standards here - has someone who is noteworthy said that paying tithing is optional/voluntary. If so we included it as verifiable information and quote to it.
Finally, IMHO, it is totally voluntary since there are NO secular consequences for not paying. (Not being able to attend the temple is a spiritual consequence). There are only three (maybe four) people who know whether or not someone pays a full tithe: The Bishop, the Ward Financial Clerk, the Stake President (and maybe the Stake Financial Clerk). Of all the things that are dealt with in an administrative fashion by the Church - the annual tithing declaration is treated with the upmost in privacy. When I was clerk there were some actively attending (i.e. nearly every week) people who did not declare themselves as full-tithe payers at the end of the year. They were treated the same by everyone in the ward, including the other members of the Bishopric - I am sure most people, if asked, would say that the people in question were full-tithe payers - but it doesn't matter what they think.
Additionally, no one checks up on you - the Bishop asks the member for a declaration and the member then declares and the Bishop records it. There is no audit of your finances, no check to see what 10% of your increase should be and comparing that to how much was paid, etc. How to calculate 10%, whether it is true, etc are all left between the member and the Lord. Of course if the person declares full-tithe on a tithe of $100 for the year and is driving a new BMW the Bishop may ask a few more questions, but when it comes down to it, if the person declares full-tithe then it is a full-tithe regardless of the amount. In fact, people can pay tithing directly to the area office (especially if they are making an in-kind donation such as stock) which the Bishop/Ward Clerk/Stake President never know about - and still declare a full-tithe to the Bishop because it truly is between the member and the Lord - the Bishop doesn't even have to know about the donations. Trödel 18:52, 18 April 2006 (UTC)
Isn't this discussion about semantics? Voluntary, Optional and Mandatory can have different meanings to each of us. Consider this. If a person is asked by a missionary 'Will you keep the word of wisdom?' a negative response means no baptism. If a missionary gets a negative to 'Will you pay a full tithe?' once again, no baptism. Even though only approx 35% of members say that they pay a full tithe, all converted members, born in the covenant or not, recognize that paying a full tithe is mandatory for full membership in the church. To argue otherwise is akin to arguing that eating is voluntary and driving the speed limit is voluntary. Sure they are voluntary in theory but one is necessary for survival and the other is required by law. I find phrasing such as ‘members are required to pay a full tithe to enjoy full membership’ to be just as wrong as ‘tithing is voluntary’. Would something like, ‘members agree to pay tithes and offerings and to take upon themselves the name of Christ as part of their baptismal covenants’ suffice? Seriously, I don’t see the NPOV way to phrase this. How is this type of thing treated on the entries of other religions? Hoquiam72 08:11, 2 May 2006 (UTC)
see comments here - since they are off topic - my position remains the same - we should only include any comment re required/optional if we can provide a verifiable source. Trödel 15:23, 2 May 2006 (UTC)

Anonymous Edits April 18th

Someone from 208.18.58.254 made a few edits today. A couple of things were just plain wrong, and I corrected those. What does everyone thing about the other edits made by this anonymous person? Aranhamo 21:02, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

I would revert them all - although harmless in general they are too colloquial for an encyclopedic article. Some of the comments are really not notable in the section they are in - though they might be in the sub-articles. Trödel 21:38, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

Parable of the Sower

This is just a note to state that there is a section at the bottom of the Parable of the Sower article about Latter-day Saint interpretations of the Parable.

I would like some members of the Latter-day Saint church to take a look at it and see if it presents their views neutrally or not. One of the views expressed looks distinctly odd, and there are two references to people I can't find articles about on wikipedia.

ThanksClinkophonist 22:04, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

I did a little cleanup on it. --日本穣 Nihonjoe 23:29, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

Church Growth

300px LDS membership growth chart

Novel-Technology, I think one of the items that was to be illustrated by the graph is that the church is growing exponentially. It IS one of the fastest growing churches in America, as cited by many media outlets and the Stark research. It is a differentiator and unique. I think that the graph should be added back in to the article. I don't see it as non-neutral. I think it illustrates church growth. If it included projection, that is something else. What say others? -Visorstuff 22:56, 19 April 2006 (UTC)

Although statistics can be manipulated -- in lots of ways, if we site the source and the basis for the information, I think it would be fine in the article. It would be good to mention, of course, about rates of retention for new baptisms and activity rates for membership. The LDS Church is often criticized because they count "everyone" -- when other churches may only count participants. WBardwin 23:06, 19 April 2006 (UTC)
I believe we will find quotes from non-LDS scholars that believe the Church will become one of the next great world religions due to their growth. I can't remember his name from memory, but I have some of his research. He recently updated his analysis stating the church is exceeding his projections from the mid-80's.
The impact of retention rates would only be of value when compared to other churches and their retention rates. This is where "lies, damn lies, and statistics" can easily come to the fore. I believe it may be very helpful to the article and hope that it is included under this context. A caution, it needs to be written very concisely. This sounds like it could easily be given more importance (valued by length of entry) than is necessary.
Finally, graphs scare me. It is one area that is easily manipulated. I would suspect that it would cause critics to get their dander up easily and inflame anti-Mormons. Let's tread carefully. I will support the decision of others. Storm Rider (talk) 03:02, 20 April 2006 (UTC)

Rodney Stark is his name. We could, I guess do an entire article about church growth and retention. To be completely honest, it is not as bad as church critics make it out to be from a historical perspecive. In fact, the graph shows a 17 percent decrease in membership in at least one year, if not two years. True growth shoudl be based on growth and shrinkage of stakes and wards and temples. In fact, the true measure of church growth moving forward is temple utilization, because this measures not only activity rates, but it takes a certain amount of staffing to run a temple. After 2000, temples were build everywhere that could justify one. Moving forward, if more temples are built, that means they have enough to run them - and hense a certain level of growth. But that is a topic for another discussion. The church was aware that there would be a lull in the current decade since the late 1970s - due to demographic growth worldwide and conversion age of converts, the decline of children per family (one reason for the warnings against feminism in 1970s), and other issues dealing with the baby boomer demographic. There will be a another wave next decade. ACtivity rates and even exmormon rates are cyclical over time (and over a person's own spiritual life), but are very, very consistent historically. So, the growth rate should be tracked by activity rates at temples. But I still think that reporting total church members is a neutral enough for this article. I can agree that the even a statement about total members versus activity rates could be added to the caption. But retention and loss is not AS big of a problem as critics make it out to be - at least from a historical perspective. We lost more people due to the Manti break-off in the 1990s than we do to exmormon removing their names each year. I don't know why people are scared of this issue when the facts show differently than the perception. Other editors, please weigh in?? -Visorstuff 22:56, 20 April 2006 (UTC)

Incidentally, would any of the graphs at User:Visorstuff/Images be helpful to illustrate growth? -Visorstuff 00:44, 21 April 2006 (UTC)


"We could, I guess do an entire article about church growth and retention." Such an article already exists, right? It's the one we've been working on over at Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints/Membership_history. So why put the info here too? This is a section on "Practices", not on "Look How Successful the LDS Church Is". As a section on Culture and Practices, a picture of two elders would be very nice and recognizable to readers, thus useful and informative. "Oh, I've seen those, so that's what Mormon missionaries look like". A graph doesn't belong.

"But retention and loss is not AS big of a problem as critics make it out to be - at least from a historical perspective." Oh, I disagree 100%. I'd disagree 200%, were it mathematically possible. Is it mathematically possible? Anyway, convert loss been at crisis levels for a few decades now. World convert retention rates hover around 25%, and have been for a long time. This is not a minor problem. The Church's growth outlook is certainly *not* the unmitigated rosy picture of an eternal parabolic curve as many members and non-members ignorantly believe. The outlook is not all negative, but not all positive either. Much of the growth (approx. 75%, as I mentioned) is purely "paper growth". It is growth in numbers only. In other words, no growth at all; it is vapor. If the church does not address some chronic and very serious debilitating trends, growth may very well cease or reverse.

"I believe we will find quotes from non-LDS scholars that believe the Church will become one of the next great world religions due to their growth." And you should absolutely not put them on this page. They should go on the growth page where adequate discussion can occur to give at least some of the many facets of what is a very complicated topic. To present them uncontested here would be a mistake. Novel-Technology 00:59, 21 April 2006 (UTC)

Novel, I think you would be surprised to see church retention rates relative to other Christian groups. When you speak of the LDS church retention rates are at crises levels, I suspect you are speaking in what you think is a crises about retention levels. However, with further study you will find that LDS retention rates are significantly higher relative to other organizations. Visor, I suspect, was speaking from a relative position.
When focusing solely on the LDS church, it is distressing to see any retention problems. To lose one soul is painful in the eyes of the Lord (I think of the leaving the 99 for the one that is lost).
This is all a nice coversation, but I think we have gone off topic to a degree. I favor including retention rates if referenced and when given relative to other Christian churches. Otherwise the rates are meaningless and would only be used to "brighten" the image of the church or to tarnish it. Storm Rider (talk) 05:28, 21 April 2006 (UTC)

I think the real problem with the whole membership vs. retention issue is disagreement over how to define each. Since Protestants (generally speaking) and LDS tend to see it differently, it's another thing where both groups may be using the same word with a different meaning in mind. The problems go both ways, really. People rarely will go through the effort of formally renouncing membership when leaving a church, inactivity is defined differently to the LDS Church than a Protestant one (where the term doesn't really exist), counting children is done in different manners, etc. etc. etc.

I don't think any serious scholar disputes that the LDS Church is growing at an incredible rate, and that should be noted. But at the same time, the Church leadership is not entirely up front about just how many of those people are really staying as members, and "inactivity rates" aren't entirely accurate. I remember that in my own mission in Venezuela, the baptism rate was one of the highest in the world, but inactivity was also rampant (partially cause so many missionaries didn't see a problem turning in eight baptisms a month of all teenage girls whose investigation period was two weeks or less... stupid, stupid, stupid). So while the mission was baptizing, for example, four hundred a month, the next year only about fifty of those people still came to church.

I know I'm rehashing an old point, but maybe the best thing to do would be to come up with either a strict definition of how to define activity and adjust numbers accordingly, or, perhaps easier, keep using the numbers the Church gives out while qualifying them with a more detailed explanation of how accurate the figures are. As far as defining growth by temples or wards/stakes, that's not going to be very accurate; temples per membership number is not very uniform, and ward/stake size can vary wildly (and it leaves out branches/districts, which can make the numbers even more unrepresentative). Tijuana Brass¡Épa!-E@ 16:36, 21 April 2006 (UTC)

Also, at least in Brazil where I served my mission, the construction of chapels was based on total sacrament meeting attendence, of both members and non-members. That is, even if there were a small number of members, but a large number of non-members were attending sacrament regularly, then the church would build a chapel. The formation of branches, ward, stakes and districts was based on Elders and High Priests Quorum attendance, that is a stake could be formed with a sufficient number of active priesthood holders, even if total membership was low due to a lack of active women and children. Conversely, there could be a very large number of active members, but units would not be created/divided if there wasn't a sufficient number of active priesthood holders (a much more common problem for us). I served in a ward that regularly had standing-room only in sacrament, but lacked the priesthood holders to divide the ward. Also, retention is more complicated than it sounds. Virtually everyone I baptized on my mission quickly went inactive, but almost all of them came back to the church within a year and are still active. I know the church constantly monitors these trends. For instance, in Utah it is fairly common for young people to go inactive in their later teen years, but most of them return to the church in their mid-twenties. In different locations, these patterns vary. In Brazil, girls would go inactive after marrying non-members, but would often return to the church in their thirties and many of their husbands would join the church. Aranhamo 18:53, 21 April 2006 (UTC)
The problem with coming up with a definition and and adjusting accordingly is that it is original research. We can only do what we do now - quote verifiable information. If you want to do projections, the best source is Rodney Stark(see The Rise of Mormonism[2]), who has done the most extensive independent research of LDS growth rates - and been criticized for predicting growth although no fault has been found in his methodology(see "So Far, So Good: A Brief Assessment of Mormon Membership Projections" Review of Religious Research (1996)). That has, IMHO, discouraged other independent research on the growth. Finally, retention numbers can only be anecdotal - because the Church has chosen not to disclose those numbers, though retention is a constant theme - and I'd say the situation you describe in Venezuela has improved greatly. Trödel 19:10, 21 April 2006 (UTC)

I have mutliple books about church statistics. Church activity rates have almost always been about 52 percent. And guess what... they are not far off of that now. I'm saying from a historical perspective, we are in a cycle - and that it will not matter in the long-run. Part of that cycle is due to a decrease of the size of the family in the US. Growth should be measured on stake growth or temple growth, as stated before. You need at least 2k active to have a stake, and most run about 2500-3500.

Aranhamo said "The formation of branches, ward, stakes and districts was based on Elders and High Priests Quorum attendance." This is not the case in my current ward, where there is no High priest group or elders quorum - but rather a Melchizedek priesthood group. We have about a dozen high priests in our ward - four in the bishopric, one as group leader, two high councilors and three who travel a lot - we only have two that can regularly attend group meetings with the other elders.

This issue is this - president hinckley made a statement about doubling baptisms and increasing retention. Immediately, church critics took that to mean that membership was in crisis. We're losing just as many people proportionally as we have historically, according to external research. Loosely, about 22-25 percent of mormons are active their whole lives. about 50 percent struggle with a period of inactivity for at least one year, but come and go within activity for their entire lives. 10-15 percent are mostly inactive for their lives, or consider themselves cultural mormons only. about six to ten percent leave permanently. Most of those who go into inactivity do so by the age of 25, and many of those, even if names have been removed, return in their 40s and 50s. Again, from a historical perspective. Most of those who leave, do so as singles (one reason for the focus on retaining single individuals, young women to RS, missionary service, etc. over the past few years). Of course, these are the North america (US, Canada and Mexico) numbers, and most of international ones are not available in research that I've read. The UK follows closely, but the more secular the nation, typically the higher the retention of convert rates are. For exmple, Germany, has higher retention rates, because it takes more to convert to begin with. You ahve to be religious already and know you want to change. In chile and the philippines, retention is worse, as it is a religious-based society, and it is harder to change the culture of attendance to meetings.

Novel-Technology - do you have a source for "World convert retention rates hover around 25%, and have been for a long time." I'm not familiar with a world study. Please remember, I'm looking at this from 1830-present - a historical perspective. We've had multiple retention and dips since then, this one is perfectly in norms with the cyclicality of membership growth. I still think we've lost more to the Manti group then in name removals in the same amount of time. Incidentally, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints/Membership_history is not an article, but a support sub-page for this article. If we want to do an article on the topic, it should have its own URL, not feed off of this article's.

Novel-Technology, you wrote:

The Church's growth outlook is certainly *not* the unmitigated rosy picture of an eternal parabolic curve as many members and non-members ignorantly believe. The outlook is not all negative, but not all positive either. Much of the growth (approx. 75%, as I mentioned) is purely "paper growth". It is growth in numbers only. In other words, no growth at all; it is vapor. If the church does not address some chronic and very serious debilitating trends, growth may very well cease or reverse.

I didn't say I thought it was rosy. It never has been - its always been rocky. But with confirmation, rather than baptism being the source for statistical membership, as it is now, we are able to weed out properly those who are not retained directly after baptism - thus cutting out most of the "paper growth." We have a better view - and more accurate - into than ever before. US conversion rates continue at basicaly the same pace, (a bit lower, due to demographics), but I disagree that we'll see a reverse in church growth over the long-term. If we decrease one year, that is the norm - its happend a few times before. But to compare with other religious groups, it is highly more successful (not that we should compare). We are due for negative growth, and its been prophesied to happen, but growth will still occur. Anyway, I'm getting off topic even more. -Visorstuff 21:23, 21 April 2006 (UTC)

Mmm hmm. I don't think speculation that the Church's growth is going to take a 180 holds much water, and I haven't seen any serious scholar try to make such a claim. Since this is such a contested topic, maybe it'd be wise to use Visorstuff's resources generously, footnoting and refering frequently to remove the suggestion of speculation. V, what are some of the books you have on the topic? And do they include sources both within and without the Church? I'm sure reputable non-LDS writers like Shipps would be an authority that would be easy for both parties to agree upon. Tijuana Brass¡Épa!-E@ 01:03, 22 April 2006 (UTC)
Trying to be brief:
a. The only statistic with an iron-clad neccesary relation to active membership growth is stakes, which do require a certain amount of active priesthood holders.
b. 25% convert retention figure is based on (wide) sampling, i.e. from my own experience, that of others, and mission office figures; based on discrepancy of stake growth vs. convert growth; based on census data; and based on figures from the Encyclopedia of Mormonism which agree with the above. In E of M, Tim Heaton states: "Attendance at sacrament meeting varies substantially. Canada, the South Pacific, and the United States average between 40 percent and 50 percent. Europe and Africa average about 35 percent. Asia and Latin America have weekly attendance rates of about 25 percent." Do all the mathy weighting and you'll get around 1/3 overall activity rate (4 million active members). New converts come mainly from low-activity areas, and drop out at much higher rates than the long-term members in those areas. 25% is only an estimate, but must come quite close to reality based on all the info and experience I have.
c. I was unaware of distinction between sub-page and article.
d. Comparison with Christian groups: 2 groups very similar to LDS are Seventh-day Adventists and Jehovah's Witnesses. JW "activity" rate is consistently over 100% of membership due to strict standards for membership (one must proselyte 15 hours a week to be a considered a member). SDAs appear to retain around 70% of converts (gains-to-losses gives 66%, and some losses are long term members, deaths, etc.). Researcher David Stewart says: "The differences are not subtle: Latter-day Saints lose 70-80% of their converts, while Adventists retain 70-80% of theirs."
e. Growth stoppage/reverse not holding water: CUNY American Religious Identification Survey in 2001 showed Mormon out-switchers equal to in-switchers.[3] [4]
f. Contemporary retention historically typical: No way. Historical retention not 50%. Convert retention plummeted after accelerated baptism practices began in the 1960s. Example: 97% of British Isle converts 1840-1890 emigrated to the USA, and significant portion of remaining 3% stayed active also. Retention and activity are two somewhat different things. Moving to Utah desert and not attending Church weekly because of trans. is very diff than a convert dropping out just weeks after baptism, never having exp'd meaningful membership. Novel-Technology 07:40, 22 April 2006 (UTC)

Novel, I'm using a bit more current research than Enc. of Mormonism. However, am curious to read David Stewarts work when it is published - do you have prior copies? THe CUNY id survey cannot be accurate based on the University of North Carolina's work about the lifelong religiousity of members of the church. As stated above that 50 percent who struggle, will often not identify as a Mormon until later in life. In addition, census data is no good in the US, as the interview questions are different than the forms. I answered "Christian-protestant" in one (Mormon wasn't an option), but Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS/Mormon) in the other. My point is that it is not rosy, but never really has been, and not unusual - and that it is very complicated when you get self-identifying people in surveys - you have to mask two different surveys together. A current snapshot would say that about 4.5-5 million are active, but of the 12 million members, another 3.5-just under 5 million will become active again. I do not think that 97 percent of all british converts came to utah (perhaps 97 percent of those who stayed active), and when they got here, many left, and were not retained. we lost many of the converts to california, to the Godebeites, the RLDS church or to other religous groups during that time. As for accelerated baptism practices, don't you think that Wilford woodruff engaged in some of those practices? Baptising hundreds after his first meeting with them? Retention has alwasy had the same problems, however, I'll pull in my resources later this week. Thanks for your patience on this topic. Unfortunately, we can't do primary research here, and I'm not comfortable sharing my own primary research, but I'd love to engage with you to do some someday on this topic. I think it would be very enlightening to us both. More than likely there is a nice balance between the two of our opinions that should be represented in the article. -Visorstuff 23:19, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

Thank you for the opp. to discuss this very interesting topic. This will be a lengthy reply.

As I said, the E of M was only a supporting source and not really the source of my conclusions.

How could the CUNY survey not be accurate? You ask thousands of people: did you join the Mormons this year? Did you leave the Mormons this year? You count the responses. That's what they did. The study you cite about lifelong activity patterns is asking a totally different research question than "Is the amount of people identifying themselves as mormons increasing or decreasing?" So why would you attempt to judge the accuracy of one by the other when they are unrelated? It's scientifically nonsensical (no offense). Now, the study you cite was a North American (specifically Utah, if I remember right) study, if it's the one I'm thinking of which I have also examined. It also was not examining convert retention (as I said: activity rates and convert retention rates are *two* *very* *different* *things*, though clearly there's some overlap). Thus, not only does it bear no direct relevence to CUNY, it bears little relevence to determining the convert retention rate in a church with most conversions occuring outside NorthAm.

Yes, I do have copies. However, he hasn't given me explicit permission to spread them far and wide. That said, he had it freely available on his web site for a long time. See http://web.archive.org/web/20050322030649/http://www.cumorah.com/ and you can download for instance http://web.archive.org/web/20050305024121/www.cumorah.com/trends.doc . The 97% figure seems quite clear. I'll give you a quote from the book:

A Historical Perspective
Claims that poor retention is a natural or inevitable result of rapid growth are uninformed. Ammon and his brethren baptized thousands but achieved 100% convert retention: “as the Lord liveth, as many of the Lamanites as believed in their preaching, and were converted unto the Lord, never did fall away” (Alma 23:6). In modern times, convert retention rates approaching 100% were achieved in the British Isles for more than half a century. Between 1840 to 1890, 89,625 of the 92,465 converts (over 97% of the total) in Britain immigrated to the United States to gather to Zion, leaving only 2,770 behind. The converts who left their lands, homes, and families to undertake the perilous transatlantic journey and travel across the plains to join the Saints were dedicated and committed to the Church. Additionally, functioning congregations remained in the United Kingdom, demonstrating that many of those who stayed behind also remained active.
During the early twentieth century, most LDS members lived in Utah and the Mountain West, but participation rates were low. In 1976, President Spencer W. Kimball compared church attendance rates to lower figures at the beginning of the twentieth century: "I can remember when we were getting only about 19 percent attendance at sacrament meetings. Of course, that included all members of the Church, children and infants, but it was very low. Today many stakes and missions have reached nearly 50 and 60 percent of their total membership in attendance at sacrament meetings, and there are many units that have a much higher attendance record." There were many semi-active Latter-day Saints who participated irregularly. However, most of these semi-actives and even inactives had strong ties to the LDS community. Most were descendents of pioneers and other early church members, and lived in communities with a strong or dominant LDS influence. Most identified themselves as "Mormons." Most members lived in rural areas in the early twentieth century, and transportation to church was often time-consuming and expensive. The shift of LDS membership towards urban areas by the mid-twentieth century, as well as the convenience of modern personal transportation, resulted in a significant increase in church participation among believing but previously semi-active members in Utah and the Mountain West. Some changes in church programs led to the return of many semi-active members to full activity....
...
Modern Trends in Convert Retention
Sociologist Armand Mauss states that "75 percent of foreign [LDS] converts are not attending church within a year of conversion. In the United States, 50 percent of the converts fail to attend after a year." This post-baptismal attrition is heavily front-loaded, and Elder Dallin H. Oaks notes that "among those converts who fall away, attrition is sharpest in the two months after baptism," and missionaries report being told in the MTC that up to 80% of inactivity occurs within two months of baptism. In some parts of Latin America, 30-40% of new converts do not even return to church after baptism to be confirmed. It is a matter of grave concern that the areas with the most rapid numerical membership increase, Latin America and the Philippines, are also the areas with extremely low convert retention. Many other groups, including the Seventh-day Adventists and Jehovah's Witnesses, have consistently achieved excellent convert retention rates in the same cultures and societies where LDS missions have experienced only fractional retention, and so LDS retention problems cannot be attributed to deficiencies of local cultures. ...
The massive loss of never-active and inactive converts almost immediately following baptism compares unfavorably with historical convert retention in the era before accelerated baptism programs, and appears to be unprecedented in church history. As most inactives lack even nominal belief or identification with the LDS Church, the church social programs and changes that led to the dramatic increase in member participation in the early twentieth century Utah church are having only a minor impact on international activity rates today. While over 97% of nineteenth-century British converts mustered the commitment to cross the Atlantic and travel to Utah after joining the Church, today many of our missionaries fail to teach and prepare converts adequately to even attend church two or three times before or after baptism. The long-term dedication of the Church to its members underscores the need for full preparation of prospective converts and discerning prebaptismal interviews, as the baptism of uncommitted or insincere individuals who do not remain active presents a lifetime liability to the Church.

Once again, all signs point to approximately 25% world convert retention on average. I see no reasons nor evidence to change my conclusions on this point.

Anyway, our views are probably closer than you think. I do not really think the LDS Church will stop growing, I expect the debilitating pathologies will be addressed. And I think it is still growing today, despite the CUNY study (it's just not growing much in the United States). I just think there's an interesting mental disconnect when the typical member believes his church to be the fastest growing church in the world (ridiculously false), yet himself has done absolutely no missionary work in the previous year. Most LDS fit this odd profile. Novel-Technology 04:27, 25 April 2006 (UTC)

Don't feel too lazy... most Christians fit that odd profile. It's no coincidence that my current denomination, Presbyterianism, is referred to as the "chosen frozen."
At any rate, referring back to your mention of stakes as a concrete measure of growth due to priesthood requirements, I'd agree to an extent, but I'm still not sure if I'd call it a good representative of growth or retention. An area could have an overwhelming ratio of females to males, or even new converts who can't hold Mel. priesthood vs. those who can, and that would not be well represented in using a stake analysis. Also, some areas also will force Mel. ordination through in order to meet stake numbers; reaching back to my experience in Venezuela, some men were ordained as elders within a month of baptism who soon went inactive. I still think reported numbers, qualified with some inactivity estimates, would be more accurate... which seems to be what you're doing with above anyway. Tijuana Brass¡Épa!-E@ 05:14, 25 April 2006 (UTC)

Come On Reaverdrop, Let's keep it short

So, there's a bunch of edits. So, I kind of like some of them, but they're apologetic (pro-Mormon) generally, and some are non-essential. So I'm going to edit back some of them, in interest of neutrality and brevity. Novel-Technology 05:09, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

OK, maybe they're not so much apologetic so much as just me wanting to keep it short. Novel-Technology 05:09, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

Awesome catch in Godhead on improper use of "comprise", BTW. Novel-Technology 05:25, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

Thanks - even the Columbia Journalism Review "Language Corner" guy didn't quite get "comprise" right. [5] - Reaverdrop 18:28, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

No racial discrimination under Joseph Smith

Can we get a cite for the part about blacks being ordained to the priesthood during Joseph Smith's lifetime? Aranhamo 16:03, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

Go through the entry on Elijah Abel, a Black man who escaped slavery, was ordained to the priesthood and became a general authority. There are many references about him in church history sources.

- Reaverdrop 18:18, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

Off topic discussion

I propose from here to the end of this section be refactored (i.e. moved to an archive) as not helping improve the article. - Trödel 21:14, 27 April 2006

Off topic discussion moved from here to User_talk:Reaverdrop#Relocated_off-topic_discussion_on_race_and_the_LDS_Church, unless there are any objections. - Reaverdrop 18:28, 28 April 2006 (UTC)

Also moved to Talk:Church_of_Jesus_Christ_of_Latter-day_Saints/Archive_7 -Visorstuff 18:52, 28 April 2006 (UTC)

When is "Elder" used as title?

I actually agree with him on how the term "Elder" should be used. When I was on my mission, the Church issued guidelines to the members on how people should be addressed. In Brazil, people generally refer to each other by first name, up to and including the president of the country. The Church issued guidelines saying that members of the Church should refer to each other as "Irmao da Silva" rather than "Irmao Jose" (last name rather than first name); in the same guidelines it talked about how the term "Elder" should be used for those serving the Church in a full-time capacity, ie. missionaries, general authorities. The term "President" should be used while a person is serving as president of an organization, but the terms "Bishop" and "Patriarch" can be used even after a person is released (once a bishop, always a bishop). Aranhamo 16:03, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

The part about whether "Elder" is used as a title for properly used only for full-time missionaries and general/area authorities, or only "in general" restricted to this group, has gone back and forth.

However, the Church has defined that "elder" can only properly be used as a title for those (males) who are set apart as full-time representatives of the Church, which means only full-time missionaries and general/area authorities. This is followed in practice. A while back, MTC teachers, who are all recently returned missionaries and must still conform to missionary dress and grooming standards, were referred to with the title "elder", but 13 years ago the Church made a point of changing their otherwise missionary-looking nametags to "Brother X" and instructing everyone at the MTC to call the teachers "Brother X" instead of "Elder X" because they were not set apart as full-time servants of the Church. That mandate passed quickly into common usage, so that in policy and in practice it is only the full-time missionaries and general and area authorities who are addressed with the title "elder".

"In general" would therefore be factually incorrect.

- Reaverdrop 18:09, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

Hmm, well, OK, I'd never heard of any official letters or anything. I guess my point was just no one's going to get offended if you call them "elder" improperly, and to me that's the point of this section: the layman is attending an LDS church meeting or something and doesn't want to step on anyone's toes or be offensive. That and he wants to understand the lingo everyone's using. "Elder So-and-So" referring to a single person may have been declared improper (I've never heard of such a thing, but apparently in Brazil), but elders, referring to a group, certainly is not. E.g:
"Welcome, Elders. Let's have an opening song. How about "Ye Elders of Israel". Can we have someone to lead?..." "The Elders are in charge of organizing Sister Smith's move, and are looking for volunteers."
See? But I'm fine with it staying how it is. Going into individual vs. collective addression would be pretty weird and pointless.
Hey, if everybody wants to mention he went out into the woods or a grove of trees near his house or something, fine, but could you at least work it in to the narrative? As it is, it's just an extra sentence kind of plunked there, and we tell the reader the same thing twice (he inquired", and then "he went and prayed"). Novel-Technology 19:00, 24 April 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, I didn't say it had to make sense... but all those examples you give would be considered proper, but "Welcome, Elder Smith" to an ordinary member who is an elder would not be correct.
I'll fiddle with the sacred grove thingy. - Reaverdrop 20:20, 24 April 2006 (UTC)
Novel-Technology's examples of "The Elders" would in practice generally refer to the ward/branch Quorum of Elders. That usage could be noted in the article as as well. WBardwin 22:22, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

"That usage could be noted in the article as as well." Let's not. Please. There's no need. Novel-Technology 04:32, 25 April 2006 (UTC)

Other brought up stats

This is posted here merely for historical reasons. But I recall that myths about utah depression, divorce and suicide regularly appear on the page. Here's a pretty decent online source about such "statistics." [6]. -Visorstuff 00:11, 26 April 2006 (UTC)

Pictures

Can someone with picture experience (and an idea of a better picture) please replace the SLC Temple near the introduction. The same picture is also shown just below it. We have got to be better at these kind of redundancies; it is just silly. Storm Rider (talk) 07:21, 26 April 2006 (UTC)

Well, you know, it's a really big temple and all... Tijuana Brass¡Épa!-E@ 07:30, 26 April 2006 (UTC)
There are many photos of the Salt Lake Temple on Wikicommons. I don't think I have one as nice as that, but take a look at the Wikicommons pages for many user contributions: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Temple_Square
The photo used on the French version is mine and appears here at right. I thought about using it, but perhaps the Temple isn't prominent enough in the photo? Again, up to you, I won't mess around with the first photo, just subsequent photographs in the article.
Slc temple at night conference center fountain.jpg
Best Ricardo630 20:38, 28 April 2006 (UTC)

Status of Mother in Heaven

I think it's important to note that the hymnbook mentioning the Mother in Heaven is official and church-authorized - and something they have put a lot of attention to, and taken the trouble to change the lyrics to correct doctrine where needed. Also, while a mother in heaven is not mentioned in any scripture, it is commonly taught and is widely regarded as necessary from the doctrine that the purpose of people on this earth is ultimately to become like Heavenly Father, and that marrying for eternity is a necessary step in that process - because Heavenly Father is married for eternity. - Reaverdrop 08:01, 26 April 2006 (UTC)

I have to agree with Reaverdrop here - it is definately a cannonical widely held belief in harmony with LDS doctrine- that we have a heavenly mother. For example - just a couple references - it is in Latter Day Saint Woman, Lesson 9 (where Spencer W. Kimball is quoted, see also a general conference address), A Parent's Guide where it is an assumed belief, and Primary 2 lesson manual where it is part of the primary curriculum. The Lord has revealed very little about our Heavenly Mother, and thus members generally don't speculate about it. Thus, other than mentioning that it is a belief and putting it in context of an eternal family - I don't see what else can be mentioned since anything else written about Heavenly Mother is clearly not verifiable - only 11 references on library.lds.org Trödel 13:09, 26 April 2006 (UTC)

To be cannonical, it must be cannonized. I think the subject is covered well in the footnote. Novel-Technology 18:34, 26 April 2006 (UTC)

I agree with Novel-Technology. There has been recent controversy on the idea of parents in heaven - if they are talking about our current parents or a Father/Mother in heaven. Because of the unclarity, it is safe to say:
"All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose. In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshiped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize his or her divine destiny as an heir of eternal life. [7]"
What is meant by "heavenly parents," and why or why not it is/isn't in the same sentence as created in the image of God, or in discussing God as our Father in Heaven (not father in heaven - note that "parents" is not capitalized) is a matter of controversy, and we'd do well not to speculate on this page. Stick to the facts and "cannonized" doctrine, regardless of whether or not it is true or taught culturally. -Visorstuff 18:51, 26 April 2006 (UTC)

Finally caught up with reading this talk page - I agree that it is not (yet, IMHO) cannonical; as is reflected by the edit I made contempraneous with the comment above, but it is in harmony with LDS doctrine and reflected in some manuals - Is everyone ok with the current edit? Trödel 22:26, 27 April 2006 (UTC)

Norge, what have you done?!

This issue was discussed years ago. It has been brought up time and time again. I have to assume since the article was at Church that the consensus was to *NOT* put it at The Church. I think there's Wikipedia guidlines that apply. I'm moving it back *for now*. Novel-Technology 18:34, 26 April 2006 (UTC)

Well, I looked back and determined no clear consensus was reached, and finally the active LDS page editors changed all links to "The..." but left the article at "Church...", thus respecting both the Church's syle request and Wikipedia's guidline. Seems fair to me, but since there was no clear consensus, maybe this is up for grabs again? Some issues never die...

See archive: THE, move discussion/vote, and Decision About the Name. Novel-Technology 18:54, 26 April 2006 (UTC)

Agree with your revert Novel-Technology. However, I truly am saddend by the consensus decision that was made, because "The" is truly part of the name. Sigh. It was not a matter of wiki guidelines, however, (see The George Washington University and The Beatles for example), but an example of the ramifications of the word "The" in promoting one church over another. We reached a compromise in nameing. Anyone want to take up the re-name discussion again? -Visorstuff 18:57, 26 April 2006 (UTC)

Article Length

Is it just me, or is this article WAY too big? Can't we condense some of the sections and refer in each section to an article that will expound more on that section's topic? Does anyone else feel this way? --TrustTruth 23:54, 26 April 2006 (UTC)

It is getting lengthy. To get started, the Scripture section here is longer than the article Standard Works of the Church. Perhaps we could reverse that, and have just a summary here. WBardwin 00:39, 27 April 2006 (UTC)
Go for it! Novel-Technology 02:09, 27 April 2006 (UTC)
I agree. I think what should be done is that any section that has third-level headings (=== ===), should be moved into its own article, and in its place a brief summary left behind in this article. This would include: Major Beliefs, Meetings, and Culture and Practices. --Kmsiever 19:15, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

Atonement

Thanks, guys, for modifying my quick and dirty addition on the value of the atonement. I thought the section was heavily weighted toward works without it. Much improved now. WBardwin 21:14, 27 April 2006 (UTC)

I'm not sure my edit is correct, however. My edit tip-toed very close to a line on the difference between justification and sanctification - however, the Atonement is what makes both possible, regardless of the process or how it is given. I guess it is accurate enough? -Visorstuff 22:32, 27 April 2006 (UTC)
Reaverdrop made a significant change to this section. I decided to revert to Visorstuff's version, so that we can discuss the issue here. I am looking for a good balance between the faith and works issues on the atonement, and felt Visor's was pretty good. This is often a confusing point for people in and out of the church and should be stated as clearly as possible. So ...... can we work out revisions here before modifying the article? WBardwin 19:15, 28 April 2006 (UTC)

It may seem repitious to the casual reader, I can understand Reaverdrop's point, however, the repitition is very precise in its wording, because of the Mormon-ish teachings of the Atonement - ie justification and sanctification. -Visorstuff 20:41, 28 April 2006 (UTC)

Current paragraph: "The second element, salvation from sin and spiritual death, is also believed to be made possible only by the Atonement of Jesus Christ, but it is conditional. Entrance to the highest heavenly kingdom, the Celestial Kingdom (See 1 Corinthians 15:40), is only granted to those who repent, accept Jesus through baptism into His Church, follow His commandments, and live righteous lives. Faith alone, or faith without works (i.e. dead faith), is not sufficient. (See James 2:26) However, Latter-day Saints believe that perfection is not attainable in mortalityand that their actions will always be insufficient. Therefore, "after all we can do", mortals depend upon their faith in Christ and his atoning sacrifice."

All it needs to be: "The second element, eternal life, is conditional upon obedience to God. It too is made possible through Jesus Christ." Novel-Technology 05:18, 30 April 2006 (UTC)

Not completely correct. The first element, resurrection, is also made possible by obedience to God. (we were obedient and chose to come to earth). Both are gifts to those who have faith, and therefore that faith leads them to obey. However, I agree, I'm not comfortable with its current wording. -Visorstuff 16:14, 1 May 2006 (UTC)

OK. All it needs to be:

"The second element, eternal life, is conditional upon our actions in this life. It too is made possible through Jesus Christ." or

"The second element, eternal life, is conditional upon obedience to God in mortality. It too is made possible through Jesus Christ." or

"Eternal life, like immortality, is made possible through Jesus Christ. For men to receive eternal life, they must meet God's requirements." Novel-Technology 04:14, 2 May 2006 (UTC)

Un-doctrinal image

The Plan of Salvation as taught by some sunday school teachers in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is not doctrine of the Church - see [1].

It was a nice gesture, however, I removed the image, as it is not doctrinally sound. Although it is taught by some sunday school teachers, and missionaries, it is not currently found in any church curriculum or manuals. There has been discussion of this topic elsewhere on the wiki, [8], [9], and other places including in this own page's archived history.

Basically, let me list some key errors:

  1. there is no conclusive statement on the "premortal existence" - we know it was in the celestial kingdom (same sphere, not necc. globe, as God), but other than that we don't know if it was the same as the post mortal spirit world (some evidence for this), or if it was in another place altogether. Showing it as its own globe is not good, nor accurate.
  2. The veil is a process of forgetting (see D&C and "O my father"), not an event.
  3. Resurrection and final judgement lineup is not completely accurate. It has already somewhat happened in some cases (see Alma's treatement of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob already on their thrones, etc. It may happen concurrently in others, and there are muliple postmordem judgements. The timing on these is not completely accurate, and it is misleading. I'll not be able to do a good job on explaining this, but let me just say it is much more complicated.
  4. Outer darkness as a place for those after the final judgement. There is not one scripture to support this. Outer Darkness, as referred to by the Savior and by the Nephites, and by the D&C refer to Hell in the spirit prison. Within the spirit prison are two divisions, paradise (for the righteous) and outer darkness or hell (for the wicked). The entire post-mortal spirit realm is considered a prison (D&C 138) as we won't have bodies, and are therefore bound. The place the chart refers to as outer darkness is not named in the scriptures, but Joseph Smith called it Gnolaum or Gnolom seperately.

The chart was in some materials in the early 80s but was quickly asked to be removed as it was incorrect. As Tom stated, he believes that the term was borrowed from Edgar Cayce, I'm not sure on that or not, but it was one of the reasons why D&C 138 was added to the canon of scripture to clear up this mess of understanding. Even the old missionary discussions didn't show this level of detail, but only the three kingdoms of glory, and it was removed from the material recently as the incorrect understanding was being perpetuated.

I guess from one point of view it is illustrative, however, it simply is not doctrinal. Sorry to be mean about this, my point is meant with the best intentions. -Visorstuff 16:14, 1 May 2006 (UTC)

A very similar, simpler chart has been used for years by missionaries to teach investigators, and is still being sold by the Church. It leaves out the elements Visorstuff objects to, except for it does also have a separate sphere representing the pre-mortal existence. Novel-Technology 04:19, 2 May 2006 (UTC)

This quasi-official chart I'm talking about looks more like this: PlanofSalvationedit.png

What's nice is that your image doesn't have any misspellings like mine! I'm very embarrassed by that :)
Is there some type of illustration that could be made to at least illustrate this point without being undoctrinal? The "vessels of wrath" or "sons of perdition" go to a place that supposedly none can understand the "width, the heighth, the depth, and the misery thereof" (D&C 76:44-48) - if one cannot call this outer darkness because it has not received that official name, is there a different way to include that information in such a chart or is that not important?
Thanks for your input. I'm not offended at all. :) Thanks for your help actually! Ricardo630 20:20, 3 May 2006 (UTC)


Another point of inaccuracy to both of these charts is that the post-mortal Spirit World is supposed to be not far from or in the same place as the physical Earth.

Visorstuff, I'd agree that the New Testament and Alma the Younger definitely teach that "Outer Darkness" is the state the wicked are cast into as opposed to paradise until they are resurrected, and I don't know of any scripture to support "outer darkness" per se as a place for those after the final judgement. But doesn't the Church explicitly teach "outer darkness" as synonymous with the "lake of fire and brimstone" of D&C 76:36, as the eternal destination of the sons of perdition? For example, in Gospel Principles chapter 46 - I'm not sure but I thought Gospel Principles was written under the oversight of a committee of four apostles - or at any rate it should be a pretty authoritative source. - Reaverdrop 00:50, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

I personally don't like illustrating the plan of salvation aside from the degrees of glory. We know there are three degrees. I think that chart would be fine. However, with so many theories out there, its dangerous to include more, in my opinion. Not that the chart is wrong mind you, but doctrinally incorrect or unsupported. For example, if this earth is a telestial sphere, have you thought through the implications of that statement? There is just to much that has not been revealed yet. I am definitely not a proponent of multiple probation theory or similar junk out there, but we can't do much with the spirit world, as we are unsure which sphere it resides in. Is it telestial (on this earth in the current sphere)? terrestrial (no one can committ telestial crimes)? Celestial (we'll be "brought back to that God who gave us life")? - each have a different meaning and context which drastically alters how you percieve each spere, so most of us just don't speculate. Wow, I didn't realize this was such a complex topic, but it really can become one. I strive for simplicity, as do the brethren -- so if I were to include an image, it would be of the three degrees of glory, and leave the previous stuff and Gnolaum out of it. Just my opinion.
As for gospel principles, it has gone under scrutiny and some changes have been made in recent years. I expect more. The "true to the faith" booklet is more authoritative on doctrine. -Visorstuff 01:01, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

External Links

I was confused when first reading this section and have a couple (or 3) suggestions.

  • Since there is only one entry under 'Official websites of the Church' the heading of 'Primary websites' is redundant and needs to be removed.
  • The second entry 'Additional websites' seems to be another branch of 'Official websites'. This may be cleared up by getting rid of the 'Primary websites' listed above or may need to be changed to 'Unaffiliated websites'. (The next heading can then be changed to 'Church-friendly websites').
  • Also, there is no pattern to the capitalization in the headings throughout the article. Would look better with all the words except articles capitalized.Hoquiam72 09:29, 2 May 2006 (UTC)
Actually, it is my understanding that in section headings, only the first word is capitalised in most instances. --Kmsiever 19:19, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

"Most" versus "All" polygamists excommunicated

Novel-Technology recently reverted the controversy blurb on polygamy from...

"Some people still practice it today and consider themselves Mormons, but all persons known to practice polygamy have been excommunicated from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since it forbade the practice with the 1890 Manifesto"

...back to...

"Some people still practice it today and consider themselves Mormons, but most have been excommunicated from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since it forbade the practice with the 1890 Manifesto."

While it's true that historically not all church members were excommunicated after the 1890 manifesto, in Utah as well as Canada and Mexico, that was still only for a few more decades, and the way it stands now gives the inaccurate impression that the church is still today allowing a few members to practice polygamy. How about this:

"Some people still practice it today and consider themselves Mormons, but The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints officially forbade the practice with the 1890 Manifesto. Since the early twentieth century the Church has excommunicated any members who practice polygamy, and prevented non-members who practice polygamy from joining the Church."

As for the modern-day policy, my understanding is the Church prevents anyone practicing polygamy from joining, even in countries where polygamy is legal and culturally accepted, and someone from a polygamist background has to interview with a high-ranking authority if they want to get baptized. (At least when I was on my mission, that was on the short list of "special problem backgrounds" that required us to call in the mission president to get approval for baptism, along with murder, homosexuality, and abortion - we also had to get the Prez to interview a Muslim before he could get baptized.) - Reaverdrop 01:42, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

How 'bout:
"Some people still practice it today and consider themselves Mormons, but The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints officially ended the practice with the 1890 Manifesto. However, advocates of plural marriage, some in the higher counsels of the Church, continued to conduct plural marriages outside of the jurisdiction of the United States. In 1904, Church President Joseph F. Smith forbade the practice of plural marriage for all members in all locations. Since that time, the Church has excommunicated any members known to practice polygamy, and has prevented non-members who practice polygamy from joining the Church."
I'll double check on Joseph Fielding. WBardwin 06:10, 4 May 2006 (UTC)
double checked - revised version with later date. WBardwin 06:16, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

This turned out very nicely in the end, mentioning both 1890 and 1904. Perfect! Novel-Technology 00:10, 10 May 2006 (UTC)

Mother in Heaven: "if its not supported in canon, its not doctrinal..."

...as Visorstuff said in making a revert. But the Proclamation on the Family refers to our "heavenly parents", and is signed by the entire First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve; the Church believes anything any of the apostles say when moved by the Spirit is equivalent to scripture, and putting all fifteen signatures on a pronouncement seems like a pretty rare and serious way of emphasizing its authoritativeness; if the Proclamation isn't canon, then what is the difference between canon and continued revelation from God directed to the entire world, which is what the First Presidency is entitled to give, and if there's a difference, wouldn't that leave nothing they could do to make it canon besides actually put it into a new edition of the D&C? - Reaverdrop 03:13, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

To get cannonized, the candidate material is presented in General Conference and sustained by the Church. Probably added onto the D&C would indeed be the most sensible place for the Proc. on Fam, if it were cannonized, but who knows, it could be added to PoGP, or made into its own book of scripture, or added to the Old Testament for that matter!

Also there is room for interpretation of "heavenly parents" other than "there is a Heavenly Mother married to Heavently Father". The latter is *not* a cannonized nor indisputable statement.

I personally think we definitely should put it back to exactly the way StormRider and I had it, including the explanatory footnote about Proc on Fam and Oh My Father. Novel-Technology 04:28, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

I made a change to this - I think the wording before can not be described as generally agreed upon by Latter-day Saints Trödel 19:09, 4 May 2006 (UTC)
And I tweaked your change a bit. Support sounded a bit strong (IMHO). wrp103 (Bill Pringle) 19:22, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

Yes, there are other interpretations, Novel. For example, There is one school of thought that believes that your mom and dad are literally the spiritual parents of your spirit body (not of your intelligence or spirit, small difference). In this way, the parents you have are the parents of your soul (both body and spirit) and Elohim is the Father of us in a way like christ or literally as intelligences. Let's not try to interpret or set doctrine, let's just report the facts. While I do interpret the same as the rest of you, others do not, nor has it been officially stated. I agree with Wrp103's edit, though I also like Novel's [10] as well. We believe in what God has revealed, but we are speculating on what he has not officially to the church as a whole. While we are probably right, church doctrine allows for dissenting views on this topic. -Visorstuff 20:37, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

Yet another possibility: Our Heavenly Father might have several wives, thus making a reference to a single heavenly mother problematic. Jacob of old had four wives. So as a heir in God's kingdom, his future offspring would have one father, but not one single mother. The language in "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" goes like this "Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents" and not "We are ..." Also the Church Hymn #292 "O My Father" says "... I've a mother there" and not "... we have a mother there". Joshua Lutz 23:30, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

I'll have to second Lutz on this as a popular belief - several missionaries in my mission believed we were not supposed to pray to a heavenly mother because we wouldn't know which one to pray to. - Reaverdrop 02:04, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
Thanks be to God that we are not bound by every word that has come out of the mouths of missionaries. Lutz and Reaver cites instances of pure spectulation. Visor's comments on spiritual bodies, IMHO, would also fall way out there on the speculative scale. My knee-jerk reaction is to say that is almost heresy, but sometimes I can be rigid about the role our Heavenly Father has played and Jesus Christ. The role of Creator is limited to the Godhead and no one else. We are speaking of mysteries without the benefit of guiding scripture; it would best be left to evening speculative discussions. Cheers! Storm Rider (talk) 02:48, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

My intention was not to suggest that the possibility of sereral heavenly mothers should be mentioned in the article. That's not what I wanted to say at all. I just mentioned that possibility to show where one could end when one starts speculating on issues the Holy Scriptures remain quiet about. My point is this: The title of the section is "The Godhead". In my opinion the whole section should be devoted to the three personages of the Godhead, and nothing else. Let's keep the article short and focused. Many people out there have no idea what Latter-Day Saints believe, and many of them are not Christians. So before mentioning that Latter-Day Saints believe that the three personages of the Godhead are three distinct beings, that there's a heavenly mother as well, etc. it should be mentioned that Latter-Day Saints do actually believe in God the Father and in His Son Jesus Christ. There are a whole number of books out there with titles like "Are Mormons Christians?" etc. In my opinion the section should start something like this: "The First Article of Faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints states that they "believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost." Joshua Lutz 22:00, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

Tithe

I don't know if it is appropriate to mention here but someone has added an incorrect statement to the tithe page concerning LDS doctrine and tithes and they included a link to this page. Would some of you experienced editors take a look and I will follow the dialogue and see what happens? Hoquiam72 03:28, 6 May 2006 (UTC)

I tweaked the statement a bit. Most active members are expected to pay a full tithe, but they can still be considered in "full fellowship" without being a full tithe payer. They can't be called to certain callings, nor can they go to the temple, but tithing has nothing to do with fellowship. wrp103 (Bill Pringle) 04:47, 6 May 2006 (UTC)
I thought ALL active members are expected to pay a full tithe. The only possible exception that I can think of may be a church disciplinary action that might suggest that the member does NOT pay thithing. Leon7 20:02, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
Expected? Yes. Required? No. --Kmsiever 21:18, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

Public Speaking

The section on public speaking seems to be anecdotal. If there's a reference to the LDS church having a history of public speaking, I have no objectinos to it being there. greenw47

What type of source would you suggest? We could reference the current Church Policy manuals since they contain clear directions about lay-leaders, calling upon members to give talks and prayers, teaching classes, etc. And there are, of course, primary sources like diaries that discuss early leaders and their preaching. Orations and lectures were common early in the church, and well attended, both in Kirtland and Nauvoo and in the Salt Lake Valley. The Mormons talked a lot back then and we talk a lot now. For example, I've been assigned to talk in church meetings next week. Is that anecdotal? Best wishes. WBardwin 05:35, 8 May 2006 (UTC)

It's up to the person making the assertion to provide sources. greenw47

I agree with greenw47. For us to make this article a stable article, or featured article, we'll need to provide better citations. I think that this article and Exmormonism are the two articles closest to this status that we have in the WP:LDS.
The second sentence you can take a citation out of the autobiography of parley pratt; the other claims may be taken from the churhc handbook of instructions, or gospel principles, or a general conference talk, such as elder oaks "sacrament meeting" talks. At least they are a start of places to get them. -Visorstuff 16:07, 8 May 2006 (UTC)

Boy Scouts Internationally?

"Usually, the young men participate in the Boy Scouts of America program." Is this accurate for international Saints as well? My suspicion is that it may not be. I mean obviously it would probably be Boy Scouts of Somewhereelse not America, but do they even do Boy Scouts at all? Novel-Technology 00:14, 10 May 2006 (UTC)

My quick response is that LDS are affiliated with the international scouting program, but I can't confirm that at present. I do believe that LDS scouts in Britain conform with the British program model. I'll ask next time I get dragged to the Scout office. WBardwin 04:28, 10 May 2006 (UTC)
After talking to people at the US scout office, my understanding is that scouting is encouraged for all LDS boys around the world, and that boys in each country adhere in practice to their country's program. If the church unit does not have enough boys for a troop, the boys are encouraged to join a "traditional" troop sponsored by another local organization. When the LDS branch/ward has enough boys, they adopt the modified LDS model (which includes such variances as not supporting the Tiger program for kids under 8 years), but welcome non-LDS boys as members. No Boy Scout employee had a written source for this information to hand, but it might be available in Church policy documents. WBardwin 18:42, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
When I was a scoutmaster some time ago, there was a church document that outlined the agreement between the LDS church and the Boy Scouts of America. Possibly there are similar documents for other countries. wrp103 (Bill Pringle) 19:03, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

Enduring reverts on enduring to the end

Novel erased the "enduring to the end" blurb and I put it back, so I thought I'd put it up for discussion here. It is taught together with baptism et al in seemingly every basic discussion/lesson on the gospel. And even though new investigators don't learn a lot about it at first, the church teaches that you are required to perform additional ordinances including endowment, temple sealing etc. to have eternal life (i.e. exaltation), and enduring to the end is sort of the elementary indication that further steps are required as part of the gospel. The blurb is really short, but, I feel, important. - Reaverdrop 04:31, 10 May 2006 (UTC)

The concept of enduring to the end is fundamental to the Gospel. The purpose of this life is a test to determine if we truly seek to serve God. Enduring to the end demonstrates the degree of our committment to follow even through the worst of trials. This is not to say that we earn salvation, but that our actions have an impact upon which "mansion" as the Savior said we would be granted in the next life. Having said this, I have never heard it taught in the context of receiving ordinances. I do understand how someone could expand upon the principle to apply it to seek to do all that our Father has commanded, but I believe that is a different principle that is being taught and it is a stretch. Would you mind if that part of your edit were deleted? Storm Rider (talk) 05:31, 10 May 2006 (UTC)
I didn't think explaining it in part in terms of further ordinances was rare. I'd be fine with trimming this part, but I do think there should be mention somewhere in the entry that temple ordinances including temple marriage are considered to be required for eternal life - that's a pretty extremely important part of the gospel. We could move a mention of something about that to the little "temples" section, which was dominated by discussion of garments and secrecy.
I made your recommended change to the "Enduring to the end" section, and modifed the Temples section to make what was there more concise and to add a few more relevant bits. Plus I don't think it's that helpful to have two different photos of a quad. And I changed enduring to the end to change "faith" to "faith in Jesus Christ". Thoughts? - Reaverdrop 05:53, 10 May 2006 (UTC)
I am not proposing a change, but commenting. You are correct that sealings/temple marriage is seen as required by LDS to enter into the Celestial Kingdom. However, we also believe that everyone that has ever lived upon the earth is have the opportunity to receive all ordinaces from baptism to sealing. LDS often clearly explain the first point, that it is a needed/required ordinance, but not so clear on the second; everyone will receive those ordinances and may accept or reject them. For this reason, I tend to be more careful about stating what is required without stating that everyone, through proxy or their own efforts, will receive them. Storm Rider (talk) 19:56, 10 May 2006 (UTC)
A nice point. - Reaverdrop 21:03, 10 May 2006 (UTC)

Every one of the edits or reverts was done with at least one of what I saw as unassailable reasons. For "most", for instance, as in 'most members moved to Utah', it had already been covered earlier in the paragraph that there were schisms, and what's more those who didn't move were generally dropping out of the Church and thus not members any more. There was no possible confusion on this point, and adding the redundant "most" simply garbles the prose.

For "Joseph claimed that according to the Church his assertion was purportedly purported, proponents claim...", the whole blessed paragraph is very clearly, obviously, and unmistakeably according to Joseph Smith, *as I put in the first sentence*! When you're saying God and Jesus appeared and some angels were flying around or whatever, it is quite clear to anyone with half a brain that this claim may not have been scientifically verified and peer-reviewed. Only claims that could conceivably be taken as uncontested statements of fact need disclaimers.

For enduring to the end: a) it is under "First Principles and Ordinances of the Gospel". Which is wrong. The articles of faith present the *first* prins. & ords. as 4, not 5, and enduring is not one of them. b) Yes, obviously enduring is important: very, very important. Jesus went so far as to simply say he that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved. However, how many other things are also important? What about charity? Isn't charity incredibly, unavoidably *crucial* to salvation under Church doctrine? Methinks yes. But it does not have its own section. What about the atonement? Gee, isn't that kind of important? It is mentioned in the article, but never really explained what it is or how it works, and not given its own section. My point in the end is that enduring to the end should not be simply left out, but does not need its own section. And if you read the rest of the article, it comes out clearly in more places than one that Mormons do not believe salvation to be a one-time experience, but rather a goal they must work for all life long. Making a separate section is redundant. It adds no real value to the article, in my opinion, and by being incorrectly under "First Principles" it actually takes away value by being wrong (and it doesn't belong anywhere else either). If all that still doesn't convince you: do you imagine the Encyclopedia Brittanica would have a subheader on "enduring to the end" in its LDS article? Let us strive for encyclopaedic excellence! Novel-Technology 18:34, 10 May 2006 (UTC) Also, what's so bad about "Ten years later on April 6, 1830"? Didn't that make the story clearer and read smoother? Novel-Technology 18:42, 10 May 2006 (UTC)

I can understand your concerns; your explanations are logical. Here are my rationales for those edits where not apparent.
"Ten years later" implied that the 1820 date is undisputed fact, as opposed to "According to the founder of the church", which is how the 1820 date is presented. It's a historical fact that the church was organized in 1830, but there is no published reference from any earlier than 1893 (by my great-great-great-grandfather, almost sixty years after the fact) that reports having been told the now-canonical version of the First Vision by Joseph Smith prior to 1836 (as opposed to versions of the First Vision contemporaneously recorded during Joseph's life, which had different purported dates of the First Vision). So, that change was just to eliminate a historically contested point being implied as fact.
As for the one "according to Joseph" counting for the whole paragraph, I thought long and hard about that... but then I looked again at the bare sentences: "In response, God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him. They commanded him to join none of the existing churches." This being an encyclopedia rather than a novel, a lot of people skim a lot. In skimming it might be easy to read those two sentences first, not noticing the attribution at the top of the paragraph til later or never. Those two sentences in isolation from the prior attribution, as they would be picked up by at least some fraction of readers, assert as undisputed fact a proposition that would render all religions outside of the LDS Church as false. That didn't strike me as encyclopaedic excellence. Of course the reader would not consider the statements to be scientifically verified, but the reader might assume or wonder if the author did not make such a quibble, and whether the rest of the article might then assume a similar in-the-faith POV; there are plenty of other articles around here that unfortunately still are written from such a bald POV. Better to be precise.
A similar point goes for "most"; the earlier explanation might be lost on a skimmer; and further, those who did not head out west at least did not consider themselves to be cut off from their church by that fact. Again, I thought the "most" there made it more precise.
All kinds of other churchy topics are certainly considered vitally important, but "enduring to the end" has traditionally been tacked on to lessons and discussions about the first principles & ordinances of the gospel. It's force of habit for me too after teaching it that way myself in about 500 missionary discussions. But after your blurb, I consulted Gospel Principles and saw they don't have it thus in the current version of that book. They tacked on "gifts of the spirit" after the first four principles & ordinances, of all things. If they do that, they might as easily tack on charity right after laying on of hands in next year's version. So, I concede your point on enduring to the end.
Of course like always I could be totally messed up. Let me know, any of you, if any of this seems persuasive or if you think I'm still way off base.
- Reaverdrop 19:38, 10 May 2006 (UTC)

South Park

Every other religion that gets bashed on South Park has had the occurance placed in their article. Is that a possibility for the Mormons? Mitch 18:12, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

South Park's contribution to the Mormon image has been discussed, but not very favorably. See both Talk:Joseph Smith, Jr./Archive 9 and the current Talk:Joseph Smith, Jr.. Your opinion always welcome. WBardwin 18:59, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
Just a quick mention that the premise "Every other religion that gets bashed on South park has had the occurence placed in their article" is not correct the links to South Park only show two religions mentioned - this talk page and Mormon. Secondly - this article has so much ground to cover - I would say, in context, it is not that notable. Trödel 17:07, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

Unaffiliated

I removed the "unaffiliated" phrase from the web site links after looking into the domain owership and operating characteristics of the sites listed there. Church membership and ownership is an affiliation.