Talk:Dallin H. Oaks/Archive 1

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LDS organized the way it is[edit]

This sentence repeats the previous paragraph, and sounds sort of like a pro-LDS (or pro-Oaks) puff piece, which isn't really needed here. Do 72 year olds retire from most forms of organized activity, and they only remain active in a disorganized fashion. Does anyone object to deleting this sentence?

At 72, Elder Oaks would be retired from most forms of organized activity, but the LDS Church being organized the way it is, if he survives, his time of greatest prominence lies years in the future.

If the sentence is needed, please state how the LDS Church is organized, rather than just saying, the way it is organized. Nereocystis 00:27, 25 May 2005 (UTC)


BYU Religion Department[edit]

Was Oaks responsible for having religion class at BYU taught by any Mormon faculty as oppose to the BYU religion department? I believe there was an issue of popular religion instructors in the BYU religion department becoming de facto doctrinal authorities for the LDS church and Oaks as President of BYU putting an end to this.Anon012345 19:02, 7 November 2005 (UTC)

Before I try to answer, I need clarification. I'm not sure if I understand your question. Are you saying that since Oaks adminitstration that religion class instructors has included more than just the religion department? Or that prior to his administration, only those in the religion department taught religion classes? Or is your question something else? -Visorstuff 19:28, 7 November 2005 (UTC)
If I understand correctly, all (Mormon) faculty teach BoM, Bible, and DC classes at BYU; Chemistry, Math, History professors, etc. I do not know about non-mormon faculty, though I imagine that would be difficult. I was under the impression that this has not always been the case. I am little confused about the religion 'school' at BYU. Is it considered a college? If it is what kind of degrees does it offer? As far as I know, none of the LDS Universities offer a degree in religion, or for that matter mormonism. I believe the LDS church has full time paid High School seminary teachers. However, I was under the impression that BYU have gone to a near pure instruction by lay member faculty. I had heard this was a key administrative decision of Oaks.Anon012345 21:48, 7 November 2005 (UTC)

First of all, are you a current BYU student? I am a BYU graduate, and this doesn't match my experience at the university. I know many of the faculty and staff that do not teach religion classes. I think your perception may be a myth. My father taught at BYU, and retired a few years ago and never taught a religion class to my knowledge. I took more religion classes than I did within my own major - and I only had one teacher that was not in the religion department (a law professor) and one adjuct religion faculty teacher (Loyd Newell from Music and the Spoken Word). BYU does not offer an undergraduate religion degree, but I believe one may be obtained for masters or doctoral degrees for those in CES, etc. Not a big market for people getting degrees in religion in the LDS faith (incidentally, I believe the removal of a religion degree was done away under Jeff Holland's administration). The group is called "The religion department" - I don't think it is considered a college or school within the university - just a department. CES training also takes place there for potential seminary (high school) or institute (LDS religious instruction on college campuses) instructors. He may have been instrumental in letting others teach (such as my law professor) but I'm not sure about that. The decision to get rid of the degree, or to name the group a department, rather than a college, or to allow others to teach religion classes, may have been done near the end of Oaks tenure as university president, but is typically attributed to Holland from what I've heard. I'll see if I can dig up some old history on it.

You wrote: "I was under the impression that BYU have gone to a near pure instruction by lay member faculty."

I'm not sure what you mean by this. Lay means unpaid. Or non-clergy. All religion professors are paid, to my knowledge. Most of them were respected in their religious fields of study at other universities or were highly published or came through the CES ranks. For example, Stephen Robinson was a very highly respected biblical scholar (new testament and early christianity) at other universities before he was recruited to teach at BYU. Some of his research on ancient new testament texts was groundbreaking. Wilford Griggs (now retired) was one of only a handful of non-egyptian archaeologists that were allowed to do archaeological work in egypt (duke university and another ivy league university were the others). You'll still occasionally come across him on PBS shows. But members of the religion department are not part of the church hierarchy (they are all non-clergy, but also hold the priesthood, so are also kind of clergy, in the same way most adult males are in the church). They are experts in their own fields, but nothing more. I grew up and/or spent time in the home of more than a dozen of these men, and some later became mission presidents, bishops, etc. but none were part of the general church hierarchy. Recently, FARMS was placed under the arm of the religion department, partially to give FARMS the same credibility of the religion professors who are well-respected in their fields and in the academic arena, and partially to guide it better. There were other reasons as well.

And no, religion professors are not seen as doctrinal authorities, any more than other church members. They tend to be well-known because they are in a highly visible position, and tend to publish quite a bit (as most professors do); and are sometimes consulted about doctrinal or historical nuances by church authorities (IE, Larry Porter may be asked about the Palmyra era history, or Dean Garrett about the D&C, or Brent Top about social issues, or Hotzaphel about Nauvoo, or a committee of them about cultural doctrines or terminology.

So, you can see why I am asking for additional clarification on your question. I'm still not to the point of thinking I fully understand your question. No, not all mormon professors teach religion classes at BYU. Can you provide more clarification, or does this answer your question? -Visorstuff 00:07, 8 November 2005 (UTC)


I am not at BYU and I am not Mormon. However, many friends and acquaintances are LDS. Most of the BYU grads I know are under 40 so I am not sure on the longer history. This discussion is useful and belongs somewhere in the LDS genre. There seems to be some connections between the BYU presidency and LDS general authorities, as BYU presidents seems to go one way or the other. There is a wikipedia BYU page, but no president linkage. That is one president linking to predecessor and successor. However, I found one on BYU website http://unicomm.byu.edu/about/presidents/.

If I understand your response, religion classes are roughly taught the same way today as there have always been taught at BYU. Is there a wikipedia way of linking this discussion to the BYU discussion page?

The Bruce R. McConkie wp page claims he wrote Mormon Doctrine as an Apostle, but that the Church president McKay criticized the book as not being doctrine. In like manner, I heard there was a similar interaction between the intelligentsia at BYU and Oaks.

http://www.living-prophet.info/LDS/086_Dallin_H_Oaks.html Under the heading 'Popular Teachers and the Potential of Priestcraft' Oaks alludes to this. Anon012345 03:23, 8 November 2005 (UTC)

Thanks for the context. I am also under 40, but have read a thing or two, and grew up with a Dad on BYU Faculty. As BYU is a private university, that is church-owned - there is a connection between the General authorities and BYU leadership. Church authorities appoint the president. The current BYU president is also a general authority - the second time this has happened. Two other university presidents, Dallin Oaks and Jeff Holland have become apostles, and more recently BYU-Idaho president David Bednar has recently become an apostle. Obviously, educational leadership is thought of very highly in the church.
As for the other comments, Bruce McConkie's Mormon Doctrine work was his views. Many people did not like the book (not sure president mckay "criticized" it, but rather disagreed that it was doctrinal. There are many beliefs that are held in the church that are not doctrinal, but are perpetuated culturally. Not that they are wrong or right, but they are not doctrinally-sound. Many of the more fringe teachings, cultural and historical and quasi-doctrinal appear in controversial magazines such as sunstone or signature books. Not that they are right or wrong, but tend to be more non-core doctrinal focus.
Second, there is a fear of the "Mormon intellectual" in the church. The Book of Mormon and D&C warn that those who think they have a lot of knowledge tend to justify sin with that knowledge and get "puffed up" in pride and cause many to be lead away, and lead themselves away. Therefore, most of the church's Literati or Intelligensia are held to a higher standard and watched very closely so they don't apostasize or teach false doctrine as the September Six did. I hope I never become a Mormon intellectual. It is important that true doctrine be taught, and too often people assume that one thing means another when that is not the case. Take for example the idea that men may become gods and inherit all that he has. On first glance this appears to say that they get to create their own worlds, complete with purple dinosaurs and rule as almightly dieties to their galaxy of choice. But that is undoctrinal. We don't understand, comprehend much about what "becoming gods" means aside from the "continuation of seeds" or the perpetuation of the family unit. Nowhere does it say that we get to create our own worlds - this is speculation. We know that there is but one God whom we are to worship, and that we may become joint-heirs with Christ. What that means we may have an idea, which may or may not be right, but it is more of a philosophy than a doctrine.
Oaks, Packer, Holland, Wirthlin, Bednar, Eyring, Faust, other of the Twelve and even President Hinckley have all warned about popular teachers and priestcrafts. Some comments may be directed to BYU faculty, but most is directed to church members at large. The talk you reference was to gospel teachers (ie sunday school, relief society or quorum meetings) who have pet topics of deep doctrine that they like to focus on. Too much focus on one pet doctrine or gospel hobby leads the hobbiest to become unbalanced spiritually and to place too much emphasis on one doctrine, rather than them all. For the large part, BYU religion department is trusted and yet watched closely by their local leaders.
The topic above is included in BYU page under the heading academic freedom. If there are items you feel would improve this or that article, be bold and made the change. Hope this all helps, and thanks for the great dialogue - it's been fun. -Visorstuff 05:19, 8 November 2005 (UTC)


I see, he is noted in wikipedia for his tenure as an Apostle, not for his tenure as a President of BYU. I will add BYU presidents to external links http://unicomm.byu.edu/about/presidents/ Anon012345 07:50, 8 November 2005 (UTC)


Wikipedia Discussion[edit]

I am still new to wikipedia. Is there a better way to go about discussing genre's in general, ex: LDS genre articles. I have noticed there are wikibots that tried to categorize things. For example, I realize that Apostles get articles, but some apostles are more famous for other things. I had to read the Bruce McConkie article a few times before I understood that he is more famous for his book, and that his book was written before he was an Apostle. --Anon012345 09:31, 8 November 2005 (UTC)

You may want to visit List of articles about Mormonism and the Latter Day Saint movement Wiki Project at WP:LDS. If you have a suggestion, the WP:LDS is the place to suggest it. Happy editing. -Visorstuff 20:20, 8 November 2005 (UTC)

Bad Link to Story[edit]

The link to the story titled " LDS Apostle was Studied for '81 Court" no longer works. I'd suggest replacing it with another link or finding a way to make it work. Thank you. --Jgstokes-We can disagree without being disagreeable (talk) 20:17, 8 December 2007 (UTC)

An attempt to fix the problem I mentioned when I made this comment several months ago (before I had a user account. When I came upon my own comment recently, I resigned it so everyone would know I made it.) was made by Snocrates. However, now the only links in this "repair job" are to the Wikipage about the Salt Lake Tribune and the Wikipage for the date on which the article was featured. Is there a better way to fix this? If readers of this article want to read about the SL Tribune or the date on which the article was featured, they can probably find it through the Wiki search engine. And having an "external link" go to "internal sources" may not exactly be what Snocrates was trying to accomplish. Until I know a better way to fix this, I'll revert the change. Any thoughts on how we can fix it? --Jgstokes-We can disagree without being disagreeable (talk) 01:44, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

If the link is gone from the web, it's gone. Just move it to "references" if no link can accompany it. Snocrates 02:01, 12 December 2007 (UTC)