Talk:Brunstad Christian Church

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Talk 2005[edit]

"In many aspects, they follow a distinctive and characteristic way of explaining their teachings." "The denomination has little to nothing to do with other Christian groups." These are not very scientific or objective statements, but rather opinions. I porpose that someone expains waht the distinctive and characterisitc way is, and what the group does have in common with other groups and what it does not. Moreover, references to few studies that have been made about this group are lacking. to mention a few: Steinar Moe, Lowell Streiker (even though his research was commissioned by the group, not uncritical) and Geir Lie, "The Christology Among Smith's Friends: A Misunderstood Impulse from the Keswick Movement, AJPS7:2 (2004).'


The changes of October 10 made to my contribution (paragraphs 5 and 6) are very interesting. They were probably made by someone for whom English is a second language. My guess is that the person is probably a Scandanavian Smith's Friends member. For example, the phrase, "...and extolling having many children over and above the practice of birth control..." is typical of a Scandanavian speaking English. The use of the word "extolling" is typical of a Smith's Friends member, who hears such expressions many times a week at meetings, and now, over a private satellite TV network. The net effect of the changes were to ameliorate what were probably perceived as critical comments about the group's practices.

Unfortunately, the person who made the changes left no comments or ID info other than the default IP address. It seems to escape them that most of the comments they "softened" pertained to practices I clearly indicated had improved since the group's leadership change in the early 1990's. I got a chuckle, actually, since their wording leaves "stressing the unhealthy effects of access to popular media and extolling having many children over and above the practice of birth control" labeled as "extreme attitudes and practices." The implication is that current practice is not so dissimilar to common practice in the 1970's and 1980's. This is flat out inaccurate. However, this type of spin is characteristic of the approach to presenting their group that members normally take, and so is itself of interest.

For example, the statement, "Thousands of lifelong members were ostracized and labeled as opposers to God and his servants." was changed to, "Many lifelong members left because they felt they were labelled as opposers of God and His servants." The inference is that they weren't actually labeled "opposers," but merely felt that they had been labeled as such. I was present in Norway during the "revival" and personally heard the Norwegian term "motstander" repeatedly used by older leaders to refer to members who voiced disagreement to Kaare Smith and the "revival" he was leading. InterTran (http://www.tranexp.com:2000/Translate/result.shtml) translates "motstander" as "adversary". Common practice within the group at the time was to translate the word "motstander" as "opposer." The very real experience of several thousand members at the time was that they were ostracized, even shunned, and treated as enemies by the "revivalists." It is difficult to understand how the person who changed this statement was thinking that he/she was adding to the content or accuracy of my original statements. I feel that his/her changes served more to obfuscate than clarify.

Another interesting change was to make, "social separation from other organizations and the world at large," to read, "spiritual separation from other religious organizations at large." Clearly, the term "at large" is not familiar to the person who made the change. In fact, the members of Smiths Friends have never mixed socially with the population outside their organization, much less with other religious organizations. This practice has continued to present. Marriage within the group is encouraged, and marriage outside the group is very much frowned upon, although not prohibited. Social functions are almost without exception for members only, the exception being visitors introduced by members for the purpose of proselytization. Events or functions where members mix with those outside the group are unheard of, as are organizational partnerships with other churches or charitable organizations for any reason.

Finally, I strongly object to the removal of the expression "staunch homophobia" in reference to the group's unequivocal stand that homosexuality is an evil perversion of nature and God's order. This was a clear and unmistakeable tenet of Smith's Friends, as it is of many fundamentalistic religious groups. Members were regularly warned from the pulpit not to allow members of their family who were engaged in a homosexual relationship to have normal access to family life, e.g., they should not attend family functions with their partner, they should not be allowed to spend the night with their partner during visits, etc. I was actually being generous to include it as one of the attitudes that has moderated in recent years. I hope it has.

To the person who made the changes of October 10, if you again wish to change the content of my contribution, please have the decency to explain and justify the changes. And please, make changes that will add content and increase the clarity and accuracy of the information, not just whitewash it.

I (the person who put in the changes about the opposers) put them in since I felt that the explanation about them leaving was not enough, and it should have been mentioned why they left, and what they did when they left. Change it if you don't believe it belongs on the page, but I believe it should be left.

User:Skeptic23 October 16, 2005 10:20 PM PDT

  • S/h/it added the changes back in; I changed them back, as I agree that they were not constructive. Mhari 17:25, 20 October 2005 (UTC)

Major Background edit[edit]

This entry for Smith's Friends seemed to contain more information about Smith himself than about the group. If you feel that more information about Smith should be known, it can be added to his personal page. Although it may appear as though many things were changed, I kept most of the information but changed the tone to something more closely resembling accurate documentation. Raingirl85 4:25, 19 June 2006 (PDT)

Thank you, but the tone wasn't changed enough. I've started a copyedit for a more neutral, encyclopedic text, as opposed to a praise piece written from inside the movement. The pro-Smith reverts by IPs have unfortunately never been discussed on this page. If that editing pattern continues, I will semi-protect the article. Bishonen | talk 18:23, 28 February 2007 (UTC).

Teachings[edit]

'Teachings' requires work so it is purely about their teaching. It starts off well but gets distracted. Moved "...leadership..." to 'Organization' and "...extreme attitudes and practices..." into 'Criticism'. Coigrich 17:13, 14 September 2007 (UTC)

References[edit]

I question the value and quality of the last three external links. The Google discussion group is more of a hate site, e.g., comparing Smith's Friends to Al-Qaida, etc., and the last two links are in Norwegian. Coigrich 05:41, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

Agreed. The Google discussion site violates Wikipedia's "Neutral point of view" policy. Anatocis (talk) 21:56, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

It would seem that there is an individual or individuals who intend to keep adding the link to the google discussion group about "smiths friends". This link is full of negativity and hatred towards the "smiths friends" organization, and perhaps the intent in adding this link repeatedly, is that the discussion group will affect the opinions of those who are interested in learning about "smiths friends". Please feel free to comment on the validity of this musing if you are such a one who insists on making repeated changes, to an otherwise effective page of encyclopedic information. After all, this is the intent of the removal of the link: a facts first look at the "smiths friends" organization, and their place in todays world. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Wholegraind (talkcontribs) 03:08, December 6, 2007 (UTC)

Not agreed. It seems that there are one or two individuals who intend to keep removing the link to this discussion group. This group is problably more neutral about the Smiths Friends than the Smiths Friends themselves! The Smiths Friends feel only positive about themselves and there 's almost no possibility for any discussion. The line "this link is full of negativity and hatred" is definitely biased. Lampje (talk) 15:26, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
Do you feel that this link is in compliance with WP:EL? Read in particular "Links normally to be avoided", number 11: Links to social networking sites (such as MySpace), discussion forums/groups (such as Yahoo! Groups) or USENET. __meco (talk) 19:28, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
I think I'm getting your point, but as you can see at WP:EL there's an exception. Quote:"Except for a link to a page that is the subject of the article". Lampje (talk) 23:50, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

It seems that everyone is happy about the state of this page except for the link to this Google discussion group. That being said, i have read all English discussions contained in this group and have found hatred towards smiths friends and intention to slander them in the public arena. There are some thoughtful discussions and comparing of beliefs, but these are peppered with distasteful, unfounded accusations regarding not only the organization itself, but specific members as well. If the individual(s) adding this link are a member(s) of this discussion group, and truly are interested in objective conversation, then they would do well to start a new discussion group where slander, hatred, and illegitimate claims towards Smiths Friends or any other organization or individuals are prohibited. It is one thing to share beliefs and faith, or lack thereof, but it is another thing to accuse anyone of anything that violates your belief system. Encyclopedic presentation of the facts is the intention of this website, so this link will be continue to be removed. Please consider. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Wholegraind (talkcontribs) 01:53, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

Yes, this Google discussion group does have some criticism towards Smiths Friends, hatred and slander is definitely not the purpose of this group. About criticism, that's something very difficult for many Smiths Friends unfortunately. Apart from that I'm glad to say there are several Smiths Friends participating in that discussion group. That's perfectly fine, of course they're very positive about the Smiths Friends. Perfectly fine as well, that's where discussion groups are for. In fact, this group is more neutral than the Smiths Friends websites themselves because there's only positive information about the Smiths Friends and there's no possibility for any discussion (I think because Smiths Friends don't like any kind of discussion about them). Removing the link to this discussion group is against the Wikipedia rules concerning objectiveness. Lampje (talk) 12:57, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
Discussion groups are generally discouraged by WP:EL. If a group criticizes based on verified facts, one could say it is the "subject of the article". However, some or most of the criticism is based on suspicion. Is comparing Smith's Friends to Al-Qaida, or to a brainwashed cult is established fact or suspicion? Is that neutral? Coigrich (talk) 13:46, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
You continue to remove a discussion group with admirers ánd opponents of the Smiths Friends. Is that neutral? Lampje (talk) 14:40, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
If the Google groups page violates neutrality, then what about the link to the synopsis of a book written by someone (Lowell Strieker) who was paid to attend some meetings at the group, meet some people, then publish a book? I believe the google groups link should remain, as it's neutrality is enshrined by the right to discussion from those who are members, ex-members and those interested in enquiring about the group. Ugaboga (talk) 15:27, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
You are again overlooking the fact that there are those who slander and make unfounded degrading claims regarding this organization, on this website. Anyone who questions whether certain members this site have these intentions see for yourself. Read these discussions in particular:

- Discussion on kre-j-smith-om-a-laget - a fun challenge —Preceding unsigned comment added by 205.200.249.136 (talk) 18:29, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

This Google discussion group cannot be judged only by criticizing the share of one or two members. Again, slander and hatred is not part of this group's intentions. In case people disagree about some messages in that group, they can discuss it in the group itself. It's that simple. Lampje (talk) 18:47, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
It's not the discussion group that is being judged, merely the content of the link itself. The slanderous comments made, have no truth and are yet connected to a factual representation of the organization. How can you connect such lies to encyclopedic content? Have your discussion group in peace with yourself, there is no need for anyone to hear the misrepresentations contained in these discussions. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 205.200.249.136 (talk) 20:27, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
Why not writing this in the discussion group itself? Lampje (talk) 21:14, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
It seems members of the group Smith's Friends are opposed to all forms of criticism, even when it is mainly from former members, who I believe are entitled to share their experiences. It' seems that you would like this wikipedia article to be a promotional piece for Smith's friends. Unfortunately, this is not the reason for Wikipedia's existance. Like any encyclopedia, the positives as well as the negatives should be presented. If there are people who have issues with the group, then that should also be presented in the article. Why are you so afraid of this? Look up other articles on christian groups and leaders, even the article on Billy Graham a well renown evangelist and highly respected is rife with criticism, yet you are unwilling to showcase one link to a discussion group, which is free for anyone to participate. Smith's friends are more then welcome to post at the discussion group and dispel the claims on there by ex-members etc. If you see the Norwegian Smith's Venner article on wikipedia, it is far more neutral then the English version, as it presents both sides (and contains a link to the discussion group). Wikipedia is not a medium for evangelism. Ugaboga (talk) 01:26, 8 December 2007 (UTC)

The request for comment concludes with the following statement. "I think its pretty clear that when WP policy states that discussion groups are not to be linked, discussion groups should not be linked. How simple is that?" (Phyesalis) This seems like an ultimatum to me. Any comments? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Wholegraind (talkcontribs) 15:57, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

RfC: Require decision on link to controversial Google Discussion Group[edit]

Does link to Google Discussion Group comply with the WP:EL?

  • No Discussion groups are not reliable or notable. If there is information in the discussion group that would be useful to the article, perhaps that information could be found in and presented from more reliable sources. If this were an article about say "religious groups in online discussion groups" and the group was mentioned in peer-review sources, then it would be reasonable. I didn't check, but if the article already contains (relevant and peer-reviewed) mention of the discussion group, then maybe then too. Phyesalis (talk) 22:52, 11 December 2007 (UTC)
  • Yes The link to this discussion group is "a link to a page that is the subject of the article or an official page of the article subject" (quote from WP:EL). It's that simple!
    Besides that the statement that in any case discussion groups are not reliable or notable cannot be proven, comparable to the statement that the SF-websites are reliable and notable. Lampje (talk) 10:23, 12 December 2007 (UTC)
Please review WP:EL#What not to link.
Now, please note number 11 under WHAT NOT TO LINK:
Links to social networking sites (such as MySpace), discussion forums/groups (such as Yahoo! Groups) or USENET.
Discussion groups are not articles about the subject, nor is it a site that only contains neutral and factual information, nor is it being linked to because it has (neutral and reliable) copyrighted info that would otherwise be useful in the article. A discussion group is not a SF website (I'm not sure what Lampje is trying to prove with that comparison - care to elucidate?) I think it's pretty clear that when WP policy states that discussion groups are not to be linked, discussion groups should not be linked. How simple is that? Phyesalis (talk) 15:32, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

Does the Smith's Friends official website or the book written by someone paid by the group contain n utral and factual information? The credibility of those resources are as questionable as the discussion forum.Ugaboga (talk) 16:22, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

Linking to the official website is fine. Using what is essentially a self-published source(website and vanity publication) to source an already notable organization's existence and ideology is reasonable (but not to cite unrelated/general facts or scientific info). They should, however, suffer weight penalties when contrasted against a reliable source. Phyesalis (talk) 16:39, 12 December 2007 (UTC)
According to WP policy one should avoid links to discussion groups, but (I'll quote WP:EL for the third time): "except for a link to a page that is the subject of the article or an official page of the article subject". So, this is the rule's exception . Is that simple or not? Lampje (talk) 16:53, 12 December 2007 (UTC)
  • Clause 11 in WP:EL#What not to link states that discussion groups are inappropriate without qualification - no exception.
  • Lampje's quote does not address discussion groups but specific pages within general websites. Lampje, would you mind adding the section you got the quote from (it is possible that I've missed something). Unless there is an explicit statement about discussion groups, I'm not seeing anything that contradicts the clear exclusion of discussion groups as viable ELs. Phyesalis (talk) 18:26, 12 December 2007 (UTC)
Phyesalis, Lampje's quote comes from under "Links normally to be avoided".Ugaboga (talk) 18:40, 12 December 2007 (UTC)
That's right. First the exception is mentioned, concerning the 14 links normally to be avoided mentioned after that. Lampje (talk) 19:59, 12 December 2007 (UTC)
The way I understand WP:EL, is that if the purpose of the discussion forum is focused on primarily the topic of the wiki entry, then it should be accepted. If the link is to a discussion forum, where the wiki entry is not the main topic, but linked to a specific thread in the discussion forum, then it is not suitable.Ugaboga (talk) 22:09, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

Thanks, Lampje and Ugaboga. OK, I read that, but I don't understand it the same way. To me, the discussion group itself would have to be the subject of the article in order for a discussion group to qualify as a "page that is the subject of the article". It doesn't say "a page that relates to the subject of the article". Again, if this were an article on the Smith's friends Google Group, the link would be appropriate. Are there GA or FA pages with links to discussion groups that relate to the subject but are not themselves the subject of the article? I don't know. That might be a good way to seek out precedent. Thoughts? Phyesalis (talk) 23:46, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

The subject of the article (Smith's Friends) is the subject of the discussion group (Smith's Friends). So that's the exception and therefore this link is appropriate in my point of view. I don't know what GA or FA is. I guess this discussion is getting a little bit too difficult for me because English is not my motherlanguage. Lampje (talk) 09:33, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
Phyesalis, what do you mean by GA or FA pages? Coigrich (talk) 15:26, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

WP:EL is clear on this one "Links to social networking sites (such as MySpace), discussion forums/groups (such as Yahoo! Groups) or USENET." are links to normally be avoided. So the norm on this is exclusion, please provide compelling reasons for an exception, for inclusion. Sethie (talk) 01:18, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Yes, WP:EL is clear: the exception is mentioned before the 14 links normally be avoided, so the exception "subject article = subject discussion group" cannot be ignored. Why do you ignore this elementary exception? Lampje (talk) 09:33, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

What should be linked

1. Articles about any organization, person, web site, or other entity should link to the official site if any.
2. An article about a book, a musical score, or some other media should link to a site hosting a copy of the work if none of the "Links normally to be avoided" criteria apply.
3. Sites that contain neutral and accurate material that cannot be integrated into the Wikipedia article due to copyright issues, amount of detail (such as professional athlete statistics, movie or television credits, interview transcripts, or online textbooks) or other reasons.
4. Sites with other meaningful, relevant content that is not suitable for inclusion in an article, such as reviews and interviews.

[edit] Links to be considered

1. For albums, movies, books, and other creative works, links to professional reviews.
2. Very large pages should be considered on a case-by-case basis. Worldwide, many use Wikipedia with a low-speed connection. Unusually large pages should be annotated as such.
3. Long lists of links are not appropriate: Wikipedia is not a mirror or a repository of links. If you find a long list of links in an article, you can tag the "External links" section with the {{External links}} template. Where editors have not reached consensus on an appropriate list of links, a link to a well chosen web directory category could be used until such consensus can be reached. The Open Directory Project is often a neutral candidate, and may be added using the {{dmoz}} template.
4. Sites which fail to meet criteria for reliable sources yet still contain information about the subject of the article from knowledgeable sources.

Which of the above are you thinking make it a good and helpful link? Sethie (talk) 16:34, 14 December 2007 (UTC)


Sethie, you forgot something:
"What to link" (quote from WP:EL):
"There are several things that should be considered when adding an external link.

  • Is it accessible to the reader?
  • Is it relevant to the content of the article (useful, helpful, informative, factual, etc.)?
  • Is it a functional link, and likely to continue being a functional link?"

I think the answers on these 3 questions is 'yes'.
And please reply on the exception issue in WP:EL I was talking about above.
Lampje (talk) 18:18, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Lampje, should we get a third opinion? Phyesalis and Sethie have contributed, but maybe we need one more opinion (an administrator) to wrap it up. Coigrich (talk) 02:25, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

Coigrich, the opinion of an administrator is not beatific (may be it's not the right word) automaticly, but I have no problems with that. By the way, as well as Phyesalis and Sethie there are more editors who have contributed of course. Lampje (talk) 11:37, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
At this point, I think a straw poll might be helpful. Phyesalis (talk) 18:47, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
  • No Anyone with a reasonable about of wikiexperience knows this is not how things are done here. Violates WP:EL, violated WP:RS, it is a joke as a source or an EL. It is in no way shape or form a reliable source. Would the Britannica list it/include it? Sethie (talk) 22:29, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
  • No. I don't think this is even a close call, and it would also fail as an RS. This is not an official site by any stretch of the imagination. Please close this RfC. Cool Hand Luke (an administrator, not that it matters) 23:01, 22 December 2007 (UTC)
  • Yes. In my opinion the google group does meet the requirements of WP:EL, by relating directly to the wiki entry. If reliability and neutralism is of importance, then why is the link directly to the "propaganda" page of the group permitted? Whilst the group has a separate page for accepted members? (www.brunstadworld.org)

Ugaboga (talk) 06:27, 27 December 2007 (UTC)

  • No. It violates WP:EL and has an agenda beyond information. To quote Phyesalis regarding exceptions, "If this were an article on the Smith's friends Google Group, the link would be appropriate." Coigrich (talk) 23:10, 27 December 2007 (UTC)
  • Forums, mailing lists, et al are not appropriate references for Wikipedia, even if they belong to the subject of the article. For example, a mailing list for my church or a social club I belong to would not be a reliable source of information about the church or social group. Vassyana (talk) 06:38, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

I've closed the RFC[edit]

This is a relatively straightforward policy question, and it should require very exceptional circumstances and a strong consensus to consider including a link to a forum like this. It appears that only those associated with the group have supported inclusion, while a stream of independent commentators oppose. This has gone on long enough. The answer is 'no.' Cool Hand Luke 07:13, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

A stream of independent commentators oppose? Well that's your statement, not mine. To me your reaction seems biased and even a little dictatorial (" the answer is 'no' "). Besides that to approve an EL seems to be not very 'cool' off course, compare with rejecting an EL. Lampje (talk) 13:15, 29 December 2007 (UTC) (*not an administrator, not that it matters*)

Those who are associated with the group (members) oppose the inclusion, as they prefer the article to be biased in their favour, as oppoesd to neutral, which means linking relevant sources of information. Ugaboga (talk) 15:51, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

I wouldn't consider a running commentary on the actions of Smiths Friends, and varying opinions on their beliefs/views to be a "relevant source of information." Wholegraind (talk) 15:49, 01 January 20 08

The name Christian should not be used to describe or categorize the Friends since they do not believe in the deity of Jesus Christ. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Happyformerfriend (talkcontribs) 21:31, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

Put new text under old text... You'll need to cite sources from their literature WP:REF, and compare that to the Wikipedia definition of Christian. Coigrich (talk) 05:15, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Criticism - new reference to google group[edit]

The new criticism contribution has been undone and redone a few times. It was originally undone by me due to the content not appearing encyclopedic and the link being to a google group which it was recently concluded should not be used with the following comment from administrator Cool Hand Luke: This is a relatively straightforward policy question, and it should require very exceptional circumstances and a strong consensus to consider including a link to a forum like this.

The statement doesnt seem to be supported by the link, and for that reason I dont think this contribution is encyclopedic - it seems to be unverified statement as far as I can tell. WP:Verifiable states All quotations and any material challenged or likely to be challenged should be attributed to a reliable, published source using an inline citation

(Wordwizz (talk) 23:18, 30 January 2008 (UTC))

Friedrich Griess a Questionable Source[edit]

Removed External link to the FriedrichGriess.mp3.

Friedrich Griess has been convicted on 5 separate accounts of defamation against the Smith's Friends. WP:VER "Questionable sources are those with a poor reputation for fact-checking. Such sources include websites and publications that express views that are widely acknowledged as extremist, are promotional in nature, or rely heavily on rumors and personal opinions."

Coigrich (talk) 04:51, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

And what is your explanation for removing the "Freedom Of Mind Resource Center" link? It is far more reputable then the link to the book which was paid for by Smith's Friends? The links you have that attack Friedrich Griess credibility are not reliable.

Norweger.at is the website of the Smith's Friends group in Austria.

Indymedia is a liberal left wing organisation which holds no credibility and the points made in that link are through anonymous comments. The wiki article should be unbiased, I understand you are trying to bias it in favour of Smith's Friends by removing all forms of valid criticism.

The speech that Griess made in the link is to the highly renowned Fair Conference, I am sure they pre-vet their speakers before providing them a platform.

Please come up with better sources then a random google search.

121.209.179.107 (talk) 18:34, 20 March 2008 (UTC)

I could not find any evidence that the book from Dr Lowell Streiker was paid for by Smith's Friends. Coigrich (talk) 21:01, 22 March 2008 (UTC)
On Friedrich Griess credibility: the fact that all three links point to the same court documents is pretty convincing. Would more links (to the same court cases) convince you? Coigrich (talk) 21:01, 22 March 2008 (UTC)

The court case only condemned him for copyright issues (due to publishing material from Smith's friends literature.) What is your reasoning for removing the link to the freedom of mind resource center? The article must remain unbiased, I understand that it is your intention to portray the article in a favourable light of Smith's friends, but that is fraudulent. It must be fair and balanced. 121.209.179.107 (talk) 21:44, 22 March 2008 (UTC)


Actually, court case 17Cg 15/96d in 1996 is a conviction for defamation! Griess alledged that, "...they enlist people by "'flirty fishing', engage in incest, adultery and deceit." He was later convicted on four other accounts of defamation.
To you point about fair and balanced: absolutely, this article must remain unbiased, and all criticism must be based on reliable sources. It's become evident that Griess has a "poor reputation for fact-checking" to put it mildly, and therefore should not be referenced. If you're interested in adding unfavorable material, go for it! However, be sure to reference reliable sources, not those who "...express views that are widely acknowledged as extremist... or rely heavily on rumors and personal opinions..." WP:VER
As an aside, "Comment on content, not on the contributor." WP:NPA Coigrich (talk) 23:15, 22 March 2008 (UTC)

Here's a summary of Friedrich Griess's defamation and other convictions including links to the original court documents. Some other web sites (in addition to those mentioned above) also reference these court cases. Since Griess has a record of expressing extremist views, I'll remove links to his material.

Date Court Case Description Court Documents
Sept. 1996 17Cg 15/96d, Vienna Commercial Conviction for defaming Christian Family Fellowship, Styrian Christian Fellowship and the Life Fellowship (Norwegian Movement) including that they enlist people by "flirty fishing", engage in incest, adultery and deceit. [1] [2]

En: [3], [4]

March 1997 17Cg 15/96d, Vienna Commercial court Conviction for defaming the Christian Family Fellowship, Styrian Christian Fellowship and the Life Fellowship (Norwegian Movement).
Sept 1998 37Cg 77/98x, Vienna Commercial court Conviction for defamation for alleging that the Christian Family Fellowship, Styrian Christian Fellowship and the Life Fellowship (Norwegian Movement). Fine of 60,000 Austrian shillings. [5] En: [6]
June 1998 17 O 85/98, Stuttgart County Court, Germany Conviction for defamation against the "Norwegian movement". [7]
March 2000 37Cg 19/00y, Vienna Commercial court Conviction for defamation and ordered by court to publish a correction statement on his web page and establish a link to the web page of the Norwegian Movement. [8]
GZ 8E 3407/00w, Klosterneuburg District Court Violation of settlement agreement. He did not pay a fine and was ordered to remove false information from his web page and from search engines. [9]
GZ 8F 2687/02 s-3, Klosterneuburg District Court Violation of settlement agreement and ordered to pay a fine. [10]
July 2004 16 Cg 115/02 [11]
April 2005 4 R 315/04d [12]
August 2005 4 Ob 146/05g [13]

Coigrich (talk) 19:41, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

The way I can see it, and as it was decided on no.wiki, Greiss can be used as a reference on his opinions about Smith's Friends, but not as a reference on actual facts. He should neither be listed under external links, since they are clear violations of WP:EL (see 1, 2 and 11). I.e., you can write: "According to Friedrich Greiss, an opponent of Smith's Friends, the church is a sect." and use his web page as a reference on that, but you can not write "Smith's Friends is a sect" because Greiss says so. --EivindJ (talk) 21:59, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
That makes sense. The external links I removed were: an audio message from Greiss and a link to a cult site who's article was submitted by Greiss. Coigrich (talk) 01:21, 20 May 2008 (UTC)

Translation from Norwegian[edit]

As some of you have noticed (cf. my talk page) I have done some major edits to the article, adding quite a lot of text directly translated from Norwegian Wikipedia's article on Smith's Friends (Smiths venner). The article on no.wikipedia was for a while disputed but has been changed a lot to the better, and may within short time be nominated as a good article. The content was totally re-written with references to reliable sources from brunstad.org, Kjell Arne Bratli's books, Johan Velten's book, Lowell's report, Norwegian media, Steinar Moe's book and texts, Geir Lie's text, Alf Gjøsund's web page, Karl Erik Nylund's book and even Friedrich Greiss' web pages (as a reference on his oppinions, not as facts). The most of the references used are available in English, and as long as it's possible I will refer to English language sources.

The text I'm translating from, no.wiki's, is a result of consensus between different parts with involvement from third party administrators of the Norwegian Wikipedia, and the final result has thereby become a good article on a disputed subject. There is still quite some text to translate, but it will be done as soon as possible, and hopefully some of the other users here will be kind and help with some proofreading :) --EivindJ (talk) 21:50, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

I am not really sure that having a verbatim translation from Norwegian helps. I doubt the two texts will stay in step in any case. I am going to rewrite some parts of this to make them more relevant to an english audience and correct some of the facts per the published info. I will also remove the Criticism section as after three or four months no-one has produced verifiable sources in support of the statements in this section. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Wordwizz (talkcontribs) 21:32, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
Oops! forgot to sign the above Wordwizz (talk) 21:34, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
Great, I am very thankful for improvements on the text. I agree on direct translation not always being the best, but it is easily adaptable and an easy way to get already encyclopedic facts. I do also support removal of the Criticism part as long as no verifiable sources are given to support the statements. However, I do think the article should have a section explaining who has been critizing Smith's Friends. Translation from no.wiki may be the answer ... --Eivind (t) 22:13, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

POV[edit]

I've put the POV-template in the article. Wikipedia is not a propaganda-site for religious groups. 213.84.147.9 (talk) 11:28, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

Agree that wikipedia is not a propoganda site for religious groups, however you havent - as far as I can see - made any attempt to add content to the article or highlight anything that might be regarded as propoganda or non-neutral. Wordwizz (talk) 09:09, 19 July 2008 (UTC)
It's a fact that crucial criticism concerning Smith's Friends in this article is systematicly removed by some people, that's definitely not neutral. I díd add content to the article and/but it's not very easy for me to contribute in english. 213.84.147.9 (talk) 17:31, 19 July 2008 (UTC)
The article as it stands appears to rely on a number of published third party resources, plus some direct quotations from the movements website. I notated all the statements in the criticism section as needing citation as they appeared to be POV rather than reliable sources (see WP:CITE, WP:NOR, WP:RELY and WP:VER) however, after over three months, no-one had attempted to substantiate any of the statements. Therefore I removed the whole section - if you have verifiable material to add, please do so - the english can be tidied up. Wordwizz (talk) 18:46, 19 July 2008 (UTC)
There's always the possibility of course to remove (or add) content with a disguise of justify and many distinguished words. I think that's the issue concerning this article at the moment. Negative essential information about the Smith's friends is explained away constantly, please don't deny. Related to that I presume that some editors here are Smith's friends. That's not wrong automaticly, but in my opinion it's characteristic and not good for neutrality. 213.84.147.9 (talk) 10:33, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
I have removed the tag since no reasonable criticism was given. As far as I can see (from discussions above), the criticism section of the article has been removed due to lack of sources. It was removed correctly, by first making a warning on the talk page and then afterwards removing the section due to no reply or better sources given. The POV tag can not be used without very good reasons. Vague accusations against other users simply won't suffice. --Eivind (t) 20:38, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
I have replaced the tag. It's not allowed to remove it until the dispute is resolved and the dispute is not resolved. Crucial criticism in this article is systematicly removed, that's not neutral indeed. So don't remove the tag for the present. 213.84.147.9 (talk) 07:48, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
Nothing is "systematicly removed", but this is an encyclopedia where things changes. The section which was removed totally lacked good sources over time, and was therefore removed (see discussion above). If you can't come up with any better reasons for why this article is disputed, I'm afraid I'll have to undo you again. As I've said, you can't just put on a POV tag with such vague claims. --Eivind (t) 08:33, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
Since I don't want to get into any edit war, I've requested a third opinion on this discussion. --Eivind (t) 08:47, 21 July 2008 (UTC)==

POV - Third opinion[edit]

I'm offering an third opinion, as requested on WP:3O. I guess in this case it helps to check the policy linked on the POV box. In a nutshell, this tag doesn't necessarily mean that the article is POV. It says that there is a dispute over whether it is POV or not. Such a dispute seems to exist here. However, it also states that

Everyone can agree that marking an article as having an NPOV dispute is a temporary measure, and should be followed up by actual contributions to the article in order to put it in such a state that people agree that it is neutral.

The editor who put the POV tag didn't specify what he/she thinks could be done to make the article NPOV. The accusations that criticism is systematically deleted seems a bit handy-wavy to me.

My opinion is that this editor should come up with specific suggestions about what could be done to make the article neutral. I don't think that English will be a problem; if in doubt you can put the things here and I'm sure that one of the other people can transform it into presentable English. But if you don't let the other people know what exactly you think is wrong and how you would it resolved then I think it's fair to remove the tag.

Please remember that removing unsourced statements is not a POV violation. If you want to include criticism you have to provide third-party sources for - otherwise it does not exist for Wikipedia and not including it is not a POV issue. So please let us know which part of the criticism you want restored and give us the sources for it.

Bottom Line: It's fair to put an NPOV tag, but there must be a way to actually resolve the issue.

(My personal opinion on the page: At face value, the tone seems quite balanced). It's clear that this is kind of a fundamentalist fringe group, but the article simply describes what they do without praising or condemning them. That such groups are always viewed critically by some is an automatic fact. I feel that such general criticism (that is valid for any conservative Christian group) does not need to be included. When you write an article about a specific model of car you also don't include a criticism that it burns fossil fuel and emits CO2... it's the default. So I think only criticism specific to the group should go in here.) Averell (talk) 12:48, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for a quick and good third opinion! I agree with you, and will therefore wait and see if the one placing the tag comes with any contributions or suggestions to the article. If nothing happens, I will remove the tag within a couple of days. --Eivind (t) 13:13, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

additional comment from uninvolved author[edit]

I see that you removed the POV link very quickly, and that it was re-added equally quickly. In order to get to the bottom of this, I've checked the article's history a bit. I supposed that these are the relevant edits for putting the POV tag: [14] (the one removing the "criticism section") and this [15]. With these I can (probably) understand the motivation a bit better.

Some parts of the content in question could be seen as "critical", such as the the statement that their views coincide with conservative christianism and that they have a kind of creationist stance - if true these would certainly be relevant to the article. I'm also disconcerted by the latter edit by Coigrich. It's a wholesale revert of the previous addition with the comment "Please explain edits". While I see that it re-introduced some of the content that was "condensed", I fail to see why an editor adding sourced content must explain himself before doing so. It's fine if you re-phrase and re-write content. But of you completely revert something someone else has added in good faith I think that this should be explained on the talk page, preferably before reverting. In this light the decision to put a POV tag seems at least better than to engage in a revert war.

Maybe the anonymous editor could say if that were really the edits that triggered the POV tag, and Coigrich could explain what triggered his (or her?) revert. I would also suggest that you just leave the POV tag alone for the time being ;-) Averell (talk) 19:04, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

I remembered (121.209.179.107|contribs) from before. He/she tends to revert changes without explaination. Wordwizz rewrote and 'condensed somewhat' and then the anonymous IP reverted without explanation. I figured this was par for the course and undid his/her changes. I asked for an explanation in the event that there was some merit behind the changes. Coigrich (talk) 01:03, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
As one can see from the history, [16], the information "added" from the IP really was information I've added over time, that was rewritten by Wordwizz. The IP simply reverted back to my version, he did not add information himself. Whether or not this was to the better or not, I don't know ... just thought I should make people aware. --Eivind (t) 07:35, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

I've now removed the POV tag, since the IP hasn't given any further comments. However, it may be set back if anyone acctually comes with proper improvement suggestions or criticism of the article. --Eivind (t) 08:33, 27 July 2008 (UTC)

I see that "the stuff" is brought back in... from my point of view it'd probably be a good idea to improve on this, and find some more sources (and, uhm, a Bible quote is not really a source in this context ;-) What would interest me (as someone who didn't know this congregation before) is:
  • What are the main tenets of their faith?
  • They seemed to be into the concept of "sin" (at least on their homepage). What is considered sinful? What is the stance at dealing with sinners? (Punish, forgive, exclude...?)
  • What is their stance towards the secular society, other religions and/or other Christian congregations? Have their been conflicts?
  • Do they interpret the Bible literally (and, e.g. do they believe in a creationist theory, if so, to what extend?)

(That's just some ideas... :-) Averell (talk) 09:44, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

Ok, initially I have removed the bible quotes that were being incorrectly used as sources and added a raft of "citations required" so hopefully sourced material can be found. Wordwizz (talk) 21:07, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
Thanks Averell, I think you got a point there, and I think we really need to work more on the theology part of this article. It was earlier rewritten, but an IP keeps bringing the old version up ... I'd say we rewrite it again, bringing up the interesting points + some of what Averell asks for, and then not tolerate that IP keeps on bringing up old versions. Besides, I've putten back some bible verses, clearly stating that they are footnotes, not references, and that they are there to help the reader (who might not be familiar with the Bible) to understand more about where the different teachings derive from. I also removed a couple of {{fact}}, since it was a bit too many of them! Pasting on those for every second statement won't help the article at all – the article needs to be thoroughly worked through with good sources as a foundation (not that everything now written isn't from good sources; the most of it is written out from Steinar Moe's book, I think). Overuse of {{fact}} undermines the template's function.--Eivind (t) 23:28, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
EivindJ you seem a bit quick to remove other peoples tags. I think the Teaching section is so poorly sourced it should be tagged as an unreferenced section, although I understand your point about not tagging every sentence as well. Wordwizz (talk) 17:11, 3 August 2008 (UTC)
Well, of course I was careful not to remove all the tags, but such a huge amount of {{fact}} was not to the better of this article. But, however, I do support you putting back the improve section tag :) I agree on the section beein too poorly referenced. --Eivind (t) 17:57, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

Article name[edit]

According to the official website, this group is actually called Brunstad Christian Church and not "Smith's Friends". I suggest it would be better to change the wikipedia article page title to reflect this and to make Smith's Friends a redirect to it. The first para should also change to reflect this information Wordwizz (talk) 08:58, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

After 16 days with no comments on this suggestion I made the suggested change to the page. It has been immediately reverted by user Meco citing WP:NAME. However if you look at the groups website they are quite clearly called Brunstad Christian Church and not Smiths Friends. I dont want to get into an edit war over this, so perhaps Meco could explain a bit more here? Wordwizz (talk) 15:23, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
Sure, and I will immediately say that it is unfortunate that I did not read the post you made over two weeks ago. That said, I reverted this article move on sight because of my experience with similar cases and believing that I am somewhat familiar with Wikipedia's naming policies. When it comes to organizations we explicitly do not favor any official names but go by what the organization is most commonly known as. WP:NAME states as its foremost guideline to "Use the most easily recognized name". Unless there has been a significant change in usage of these names, I have the overwhelming impression that Smith's Friends is the name by which most people are going to recognize the church. __meco (talk) 15:32, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
No problem! Agreed that one should "Use the most easily recognized name". WP:NAME also states that wikipedia "determines the recognizability of a name by seeing what verifiable reliable sources in English call the subject". As far as I can see from google the only verifiable reliable source in English is the www.brunstad.org site and that says that it is called Brunstad Christian Church and is sometimes called Smiths Friends. Wordwizz (talk) 15:57, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
Meco, you have reverted my edit to the article, yet you had not replied to my last post above. I notice that you are Norwegian and I am guessing that you assume that because this group is known as 'Smiths Venner' in Norway that it is therefore known as 'Smiths Friends' in the English speaking world. I do not believe this to be the case, and as pointed out above, the only reliable english language source appears to be the www.brunstad.org site. Wordwizz (talk) 15:33, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
I made a somewhat silly mistake of Googling "Smith's Friends" not noticing all the "Tim Smith's friends", "Lisa Smith's Friends" etc. that would make the hit count very high compared to the hit count for "Brunstad Christian Church". So, I back off here. The latter probably is the appropriate name for this article. __meco (talk) 18:09, 25 September 2008 (UTC)

Hi, being a member of this church (North American) I thought I'd give my observation. No one (including schools and the whole local community) knows us as Smith's Friends. They refer to us using our local name or as Brunstad Christian Church. Anatocis (talk) 17:42, 25 September 2008 (UTC)

Yes, that may be part of the problem. Also see the reply I give to Wordwizz above. __meco (talk) 18:09, 25 September 2008 (UTC)

Rewrite[edit]

The whole article was very disjointed and messy, and didn't sound at all encyclopedic. I've started a fairly savage rewrite, which takes out a lot of the jumble, many uncited statements/paragraphs and have tried to improve the structure. I've expanded the "Background" section and renamed it "History". Unfortunately a lot of this material comes from brunstad.org, their own website. It would be nice to have a bit more third party reference here.

I've also culled a lot of the theology. I think this should remain relatively brief and provide an overview of the group's teachings. As it was, it sounded like a (badly written) tract! I've also taken out the Bible references - again these made teh article less encyclopedic and more like a tract. The purpose of the article isn't to convince anyone of a particular teaching, but to lay out the facts of the organization. The shorter and shaper this section is, the less likely it will be POV, which is always a risk with this type of article.

The sections on Mission and the "A-Team" remain untouched, but need work too. Maybe I'll get time to look at those too, but if anyone else has the energy . go for it! I think too much is included in both these sections, especially the latter. Wikipeterproject (talk) 22:06, 20 September 2009 (UTC)

Original research[edit]

I removed the edit by User:Marshwiggle23:

The main contentious points of difference in the theology of the Smith's Friends from that of other groups is regarding their interpretations of kenosis, and of Jesus having carried sin in the flesh, essentially dissolving faith in the Trinity unbeknownst to themselves, and their belief that the church is only made up of themselves and not of any other group, because of their present day refusal to accept other writings, and placing writings of their church elders on the same inspired level as Scripture.

As it is unreferenced, it must be taken as original research. If a secondary source can be provided, of course it can go back in, altghough it would probably need some copy editing. Wikipeterproject (talk) 13:22, 18 June 2010 (UTC)

I also removed the following edit by the same user, for the same reason as above:
The BCC believes in kenosis. Ref. "Gospel of God" by Sigurd Bratlie and "Christ manifest in the flesh" by Elias Aslaksen. (both, English trans.) which states that Jesus had sin in the flesh. This dissolves the concept of the Trinity. The word Trinity is not found in any of their books, the justification being that it is not found in the Bible too, which is correct. They also quote or accept only songs by other selected "holy" Christians from the past, the only contemporary to escape this being Jessie Penn Lewis because J.O. Smith vouched for her bein in the Spirit in his letters, implying that from the time of J.O. Smith all other groups are wrong. These facts can be verified if their song books and hymnals and publications like The Way, Hidden Treasures and books by the church elders are studied. The original are not released to the common public and the translations keep changing, apparently for improvement but also for guarding of doctrinal issues so that the core message - "Jesus' victory over sin as a human being is the basis for personal victory over sin and transformation into Jesus' image" - is kept intact but restated in language that was once clear but now slightly more ambiguous. This theolgical postion is closer to that of Jehovah's Witnesses than to that of mainstream Christianity.It is due to the books by the elders being given as much importance as Scripture per se.
Wikipeterproject (talk) 23:35, 19 June 2010 (UTC)