Talk:Bruderhof Communities

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Attribution and Verifiability[edit]

Hello all. First, I've moved this discussion to the top of the talk page so that new editors coming to this page don't miss it.

This article can certainly be improved and anyone is welcome to help. However, editors should bear in mind that Wikipedia is not a place to promote your group or disparage others. Wikipedia articles should contain verifiable facts attributable to a reliable, published source.

The following passage from the official Wikipedia policy page on verifiability applies here:

The burden of evidence lies with the editor who adds or restores material. Material that is challenged or likely to be challenged needs a reliable source, which should be cited in the article. Quotations should also be attributed. If an article topic has no reliable, third-party sources, Wikipedia should not have an article on it.\

If you wish to make changes to the article it is best to first spell out your reasoning on the talk page as the editor below has done. LarryRJones 09:06, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

In keeping with Wikipedia's No original research policy, I removed entries based on individual experiences. From a neutral point of view it is fair to note that there are detractors and to link to their websites, but including their claims in the article is not encyclopedic. I also removed statistics that had no references and referred to the current state of the community which is subject to change. LarryRJones (talk) 10:49, 6 September 2008 (UTC)

@LarryRJones: While I understand the Wikipedia NPOV and original research policy I would submit, then the entire article should be removed. --Lighthart2000 (talk) 15:21, 9 September 2008 (UTC)

@LarryRJones: This article is highly pro-Bruderhof biased and I don't agree that Bruderhof critics would support without serious edits the PR job the Bruderhof has presented. The edits I posted are verifiable, but your burden of cites given the Bruderhof proclivity for suing its critics (including me) stifles (indeed makes impossible) 'free speech' from the critic perspective. In the history section there is not mention of Eberhard dissolving the early Bruderhof movement shortly before his death, then forcing the membership to re-apply (a number of members left). No mention is given to nearly 600 members being excommunicated (and left without means to support themselves in South America) or any real negative information relative to this movements history. The article is really a commercial for this "high demand" group. I have spent countless hours speaking and communicating with ex-members and adult children of this movement that can no longer have access to family members within the Bruderhof. When my parents (members of the Bruderhof) passed away I was informed of their deaths after the funeral... a heartless, cruel 'artifact' of this organization. I have meet with Bruderhof leadership to resolve issues ex-memembers/critics have with this group where the concerns of ex-members/critics were either summarily dismissed or not acknowledged. --Lighthart2000 (talk) 13:46, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

Lighthart2000: It is not LarryRJones who is placing the “burden of cites” – it is Wikipedia whose integrity as an encyclopedia is obviously compromised without complete and cite-able sources for each article. Also, although I appreciate that you seem to have had a difficult history with the Bruderhof, I think you are being a little paranoid in this context as far as allegations of stifling free speech etc in response to the simple Wikipedia requirement to cite sources. As far as the article being a "commercial", to me it is over long (one of the suggestions from an editor sometime ago was to greatly abbreviate this article which seems like a good idea to me) but all things considered relatively unbiased with the “Controversy and Criticism” section adding balance. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.105.151.250 (talk) 19:30, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

@unsigned (From Newpaltz, NY, where several Bruderhofs reside) Sorry but removal of this information from an unsigned source leads me to believe bias on the side of the Bruderhof. There is absolutely no balance in this article. It remains as promotional material by the Bruderhof about itself. That the Bruderhof can not tolerate any critical views leads many observers to believe what critics are saying about the cultic nature of the organization. No verification is needed for the Bruderhof claims but it is required for the critics? The Bruderhof article is filled with claims about itself that are unsubstantiated (including numbers).. Wikipedia does not appear to lend itself well to controversial articles... --Lighthart2000 23:30, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

I agree that wikipedia is not the place to promote your group, which is why it is inapproriate to have an article that is in large part simply the Bruderhof's own promotion of itself. It is unfair to put the "burden of evidence" on an editor, and to allow the author of the existing content to make statements without citation. Perhaps sources should be required for major edits, but then all of the existing content for which there is no source should also be removed. There is no encyclopaedic value in allowing a particular group to determine the content of an article about that group. Note that I did not remove or edit historical facts, only certain wholly unsupported and unsupportable statements. If this entry, and indeed this entire website, are to be of any use, there need to be some standards. Now I am going to do my best to edit the article in a fair way.

I concur with Larry Jones' undo of John C. Archer's changes to the Bruderhof article, and Larry's comment about the need to cite sources for major edits. The current article could be seen as overly positive of the Bruderhof, but the tone and content is at least striving to be encyclopedic - Mr. Archer's changes are clearly negatively biased and not encyclopedic in tone at all. It's also not helpful to insert "(What is the source for this statement)" throughout the article (as Mr. Archer has done) wherever you disagree with something. If every Wikipedia article editor did that, most articles would become cluttered and useless. If you have a problem with a specific statement, rather delete it from the article - but again as Larry Jones said if the deletion is major you should justify it according to Wikipedia policy. Many of the statements Mr. Archer is questioning have been made in multiple credible publications over the Bruderhof's 80 year history (i.e. "No Bruderhof member receives a salary or has a bank account. Income from all businesses is pooled and used for the care for all members, and for various communal outreach efforts.") and probably because they are generally accepted they haven't been cited. Mr. Archer also comments that parts of the article appear to have been written by the Bruderhof - I don't see that as necessarily a bad thing if other non-Bruderhof editors are involved, as the Bruderhof obviously has in depth knowledge of who they are and are actually a valuable resource here. In general, the article can certainly be improved, but the goal should be a neutral article, not one spun in either direction. 4/30/07

24.105.151.107 (from New Paltz, NY). The subject of verifiability is a difficult one for an article such as this one on the Bruderhof. Most people that would be interested in editing this article have a vested interest in its tone and content. There is also a dearth of online sources on the Bruderhof, especially since the Bruderhof websites went offline. More certainly needs to be done in attempting to cite sources or at least represent opposing views in a neutral way if sources are not available. According to the quotation above: "If an article topic has no reliable, third-party sources, Wikipedia should not have an article on it." a case could certainly be made for having no page on the Bruderhof on Wikipedia or a severely abbreviated one. As others have said on this talk page, the majority of the current page (which was written primarily by JoeHine in September 2005) reads like a sales pitch. A first step toward increased neutrality would be to edit nonfactual claims on the current page to reflect that status. For instance:
"The Bruderhof is a peace church whose members do not serve in the armed forces of any country. Rather, they model a way of life that removes the social and economic divisions that bring about war. The goal of the Bruderhof is to create a new society where self-interest is yielded for the sake of the common good."
The first statement is factual and easily verifiable. The latter part is less verifiable and without a specific source should be edited for more tentativeness. Such as:
"The Bruderhof is a peace church whose members do not serve in the armed forces of any country. Rather, they attempt to model a way of life that removes the social and economic divisions that bring about war. The Bruderhof claim their goal is to create a new society where self-interest is yielded for the sake of the common good."
While this does not address the lack of sources for this article, it does increase the neutral tone of unverified statements. It would also be useful to add in "citation needed" references according to Wikipedia policy (not as JohnCArcher did). There is an established method for doing this that will not clutter the article unnecessarily. In the long run a more comprehensive, better sourced edit is needed but this could be a first step. What do others think? - Mogk 1 May, 2007.

I think the key to understanding Wikipedia's verifiability policy is that "material that is challenged or likely to be challenged needs a reliable source". Many statements in the article can probably be accepted without challenge by both Bruderhof supporters and critics. Most of the History section, for instance. I suggest any promotional, opinion-based, or otherwise controversial statements should either be reworded as Mogk suggests or removed until an editor finds a reliable source. LarryRJones 09:01, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

Links?[edit]

Is it really necessary to include all sixteen of the Bruderhof's links? Links should tell us something about the topic of the article and not merely be offshoots of the main topic. Websites such as the Bruderhof's Grief Companion page do not actually tell us anything about the group and we could no doubt reach that page from within the main Bruderhof site if so inclined. Thoughts? Swegner 05:33, 26 October 2005 (UTC)

Swegner, I think you are right. We should prune the amount of links in the article. - Rlvaughn 00:28, 2 December 2005 (UTC)

Point of View[edit]

--JoeHine, I appreciate the good contributions you have made to the article, but I must reiterate: "Please keep in mind that this article is encyclopedic, so it is appropriate to indicate there are detractors as well as supporters." I added back the Peregrine Foundation link and the reference to the Rubin book. Trying to hide negative material from the reading public could give the impression that the Bruderhof really has something to hide. - Rlvaughn 22:52, 11 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Particularly to JoeHine, but to anyone who may have this information: IMO, some good additions to the article would be to give an historical account of the leading elders of the organization (e.g. Eberhard Arnold (1920?-1935), ?? (1935-1962) Heinrich Arnold (1962-1982), etc.) and an accounting of how many communities and members exist currently. On the leaders, a little biographical info would be good (except E. Arnold, of course, since we have a separate article for him). Please keep in mind that this article is encyclopedic, so it is appropriate to indicate there are detractors as well as supporters. I added back the Peregrine Foundation link. - Rlvaughn 22:17, 3 Mar 2004 (UTC)

The text never mentions that the Bruderhof was admitted into the Hutterite church, and subsequently excommunicated by all three churches. It does not make note that there are thousands of people who have banded against them, does not mention the concealed weapons permit of one of the major leaders, and other actions that are in direct opposition to Anabaptist teaches of Hutterites and others. Good information can be had from the Peregrine Foundation [1]. Also good is the essay The Other Side of Joy [2] which the Bruderhof tried to suppress.

As I understand it, professional cult researchers and analysts would classify the Bruderhof as a cult (though I can't speak from that perspective) - whereas the other three Anabaptist churches are not even close...

The text sounds like a massive sales pitch - including that link farm at the end. For all of the details that the Bruderhof want to suppress, the Pergerine Foundation is a high quality extensive resource.

DavidDouthitt 21:23, 1 December 2005 (UTC)

David, I agree that article needs work. Several times the Peregrine link and mention of "The Other Side of Joy" were deleted. I know, because I reinserted them. I don't know that I would consider the Bruderhof a cult, and think we should be careful throwing that name around. But it does seem fairly apparent that some want to present only the sunny side of the Bruderhof. There is too much sales pitch in the article.
As far as exclusion from the Hutterites, it is mentioned somewhat in this paragraph: "The Forest River colony of Schmiedeleut Hutterites in North Dakota invited the Bruderhof to join them, and about 36 members moved to North Dakota. In 1955, the Schmiedeleut group excluded the Bruderhof and placed the Forest River colony under probation. In 1973, the Bruderhof leadership apologized for the problems among the Forest River colony and in 1974 was reunited with all branches of the Hutterian Church. However, in 1990 the more conservative Dariusleut and Lehrerleut Hutterites excommunicated the Bruderhof, refusing to recognize them as Hutterites because of practices that did not conform to standard Hutterite order including sending children to public schools, the use of musical instruments, and opposition to the death penalty." - Rlvaughn 00:28, 2 December 2005 (UTC)

Standard coverage of religious communities[edit]

After reading "Please keep in mind that this article is encyclopedic, so it is appropriate to indicate there are detractors as well as supporters" I had a quick look at the Roman Catholic and Church of LDS and Judaism articles, figuring big active communities like these would all have some controversy to write about. The RC and LDS articles do indeed have sections listing complaints of detractors, but I don't see such a section in the Judaism article. Maybe I just missed it, or maybe no one has anything bad to say about Judaism, but I have the feeling that most (all?) religious communities have detractors.

Shouldn't all articles about religious communities have a similar structure, with similar headings, including a section for detractors, that helps to ensure similar (fair) coverage of all religious communities? And an article about a really nice religious community could say, in the detractors' section, "No one in the world has anything bad to say about this religious community. They are beloved by all." -- Eeksypeeksy

Eeksypeeksy, you make a good point in that religious detractors deserve attention in an encyclopedic article about the religion. We tend to allow people to choose religion freely, but we tend to levy harsher criticism against new religious practices or groups (faith based groups organized since, say, 1700 or 1800 b.c.e, Latter Day Saints, Transcendentalists, Bruderhof). Many fear religious groups that establish their own form of society which functions in contrast or tandem with the capitalist society they're derived from. Where can we find balance on fairly airing views of the detractors while accurately portraying the tenants of the faith?

Islam, Catholicism, and Buddhism for examples allow individuals to hold and practice beliefs while living as citizens at large within greater national communities. Many only practice group worship one day out of the week (typically Saturday or Sunday). A non believer, more or less, shares the daily practices of a believer.

In contrast, religious communities like the Bruderhof offer a slightly more encompassing faith based message. While individual worshipers still hold relationships with the outside world, their status as individuals, their right to individual property ownership, and daily routines vary significantly from those of, say for illustration, (Non-Hassidic) Jewish worshipers.

Without addressing issues like an individual’s rights to choose a religion or those individuals right to reject divinity entirely, we see distinction between these examples. Based on sheer statistics (2500 Bruderhof versus Millions of, say, Protestants worldwide) the norm can be determined. While acknowledging the importance of constantly questioning our faith, as all divine beliefs deserve questions -- even atheism -- would an encyclopedic article about a religious community be accurate if it didn't give special attention to a disproportionately small number of believers versus a large number of detractors? This seems especially relevant in the article about the Bruderhof. Aren’t the criticisms of the group the same practices the current members embrace?AbbottStark 14:53, 22 December 2005 (UTC)

"Detractors" in this case are usually those who did not follow the way of life lived by the members of the Bruderhof but acted antagonistically toward it in some way. It is quite understandable to me, a former "Bruderhofer", that, when one disagrees with a way of life one might be asked to leave or even told to leave. This can happen in any church worth it's merit. When you make choices that affect the unity of the church as a group of believers it is often best to separate--and when that doesn't occur voluntarily, it is sometimes done by instruction. I found another church in which I attempt to serve the Lord, but maintain a friendly relationship with the Bruderhof. We have a common love: Jesus.AMerchant 01:40, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

WEBSITES ALL OFFLINE[edit]

Please be aware that as of Friday December 9, 2005 ALL Bruderhof owned and sponsored internet links went off-line and were replaced with a single page that said for information about visiting Bruderhof communities contact by writing the Bruderhof in Rifton, NY for American and German based websites and for England, contact the Robertsbridge, East Sussex site. For the Australian communities as of today - Dec. 10, only a blank page comes up. This list includes ALL the Bruderhof owned/sponsored links at the bottom of the article. What follows is the exact text from the American website page - www.bruderhof.org:

Bruderhof Communities

We welcome visitors at all our communities. To contact the community nearest you, write to:

Woodcrest 2032 Rt. 213 Rifton, NY 12471

845-658-8351 (USA)

Also - the email lists I am aware of - Daily Dig and Weekly Peace calendar arrived in my email yesterday with the note that they were the last issues. At the top of Daily Dig were quotes from Dorothy Day (of Catholic Worker fame) and Emmy Arnold to the effect that the time for words was past and the time for deeds had come. Both the previous issues of Weekly Peace Calendar (12/2/05) and Daily Dig (12/8/05) had their usual information on subscribing and unsubscribing at the bottom of the emails which leads me to believe that this was an extremely sudden decision - especially since Daily Dig comes out every day and just the day before the last issue there was NO indication of any upcoming change. What follows is the exact text from the last Daily Dig and Weekly Peace Calendar:

Your Last Dig

"The work is more important than the talking and the writing about the work." - Dorothy Day

"There have been enough words, enough sermons and books. What matters now is deeds." - Emmy Arnold

Dear Reader:

We will no longer be publishing online, so this will be your last Daily Dig. This is only the beginning, not the end. We want to thank you for your friendship over the years, and look forward to meeting you face to face. Now the real contact can begin. We welcome you to drop by any of our communities any time to join us in our daily life and work.



Dear Reader:

We have discontinued PeacemakersGuide.org and will no longer be sending out the weekly Peace Calendar. This is only the beginning, not the end. We look forward to meeting you face to face. Now the real contact can begin. We welcome you to drop by any of our communities any time to join us in our daily life and work.


--December 10, 2005 22:55 pm EST -Margaret Hill-Grigson

Deletions / Added removed content[edit]

Some of the content that was removed by a Bruderhof member a few months ago has been added back in. We are getting closer to a neutral article, I hope. --ScienceApologist 17:11, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

I would just like to point out that with the possible exception of the Bob and Shirley Wagner article, all of the sources for this entry are books written by or published by the Bruderhof. It is pretty silly to call these sources.

I've just added to the References section the book, "The Joyful Community," which is specifically about the Bruderhof and written by an academic/non member of the community. The book discusses some concepts that have hereto not been mentioned here (such as love meals), and also goes into the history of the first break with the Hutterites in the 1950s. The book was originally published in the late 1960's and is out of print now, though available online as a used book. Interestingly, the Bruderhof have been going through changes, breaks, and conflicts almost from the start - most of the issues being discussed on this page are not new at all.SONORAMA (talk) 09:45, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Church Communities International[edit]

The recent name change at what was formerly known as the Bruderhof has made me start thinking again about this article. Should we move the article to Church Communities International and redirect there or just set up a redirect from Church Communities International to the Bruderhof page? --DatraxMada 17:38, 6 May 2007 (UTC)

I'd be careful, it is still known as "Bruderhof" just about everywhere else on the web and offline. —Preceding unsigned comment added by SONORAMA (talkcontribs) 08:52, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

HUHHH!!![edit]

Example of unbearably sweeping statement:

The Bruderhof's foundation is faith in Jesus.

Yeah, how many hasn't Jesus as their foundations? Please (!), clarify by explaining how: "literally?" (as usual among small communities), "interpreting this this-way, interpreting that that-way". ... said: Rursus (bork²) 09:15, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

I believe it is suitable to replace the statement with something like:
The Bruderhof's are Anabaptist Christians nearly related to Hutterites.
meaning that "Christian" implies "faith in Jesus as foundation", so that anyone can realise that they're not just Jesus-believers, but also trinitarists Father-Son-Spirit, believing Jesus is identical to Christ and that Jesus died on the cross as a way to lift the sins from the believers. ... said: Rursus (bork²) 09:41, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

Removal of Yahoo group link[edit]

Not wanting to start an edit war here, but I undid the revision that restored the KIT link. I left a note on the editor's page like this: I removed the link in the critics section not because it is not relevant, but because that page is already linked in the text. This was basically a cleanup. There is no need for the redundancy. However, the link should be removed entirely according to this guideline of unacceptable links: "Links to social networking sites (such as Myspace and Facebook), chat or discussion forums/groups (such as Yahoo! Groups), Twitter feeds, Usenet newsgroups or e-mail lists." Found on this page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:External_links I personally would not have a problem with the link, but it does go against Wikipedia guidelines, and having it two times is a redundancy that bloats the page.

The link in the text to the same Yahoo group should also be removed according to Wikipedia standards. Other editors can comment on this. I understand that the reason for not allowing chat groups and Yahoo or Google discussion groups is that such content is not verifiable in many cases. In any case, there is no need for the link to be in the text and in the external links section both. That is why I removed the link, and probably why koavf probably did so also. As a matter of fact, the other critics link is sort of questionable if you apply the Wikipedia standards. Again, I am saying this as a way to keep the article up to encyclopedia standards, not as a statement that I agree or disagree with what the linked groups have to say. Thanks! Mikeatnip (talk) 02:43, 28 July 2012 (UTC)