Talk:History of the Latter Day Saint movement

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Use of the term church rather than sect[edit]

I just saw an edit by Jgstokes that reverted to the term sect from the change that was church. When I look at the definition of the term sect it states:

1. a body of persons adhering to a particular religious faith; a religious denomination.

2. a group regarded as heretical or as deviating from a generally accepted religious tradition.

3. (in the sociology of religion) a Christian denomination characterized by insistence on strict qualifications for membership, as distinguished from the more inclusive groups called churches.

4. any group, party, or faction united by a specific doctrine or under a doctrinal leader.

I have always felt the term sect has a negative connotation. Sect is also a subgroup of a larger group, but it still has that negative connotation. Why is sect a better term than church? --StormRider 04:56, 20 July 2014 (UTC)

In an encyclopedic context, the word is often used with neutral intent, i.e. in line with #1, above. That said, I don't see the problem with changing "sect" to "church" or "denomination," since those two words don't carry the same negative connotation as "sect" (which I understand). The only thing I would urge is that the same term—be it "church," "sect" or "denomination"—be used to refer to all groups within the movement, to maintain NPOV and equality in terms of encyclopedic content. Does that make sense? Cheers! - Ecjmartin (talk) 15:19, 20 July 2014 (UTC)

I didn't say sect was a "better" term than church. I just disagreed that it was offensive or had a negative connotation. In the Latter Day Saint Project portal, we often talk of the different "sects" in the Latter Day Saint movement. In fact, "sect," "church," and "denomination" have been used interchangeably. I personally think that there is such a thing as being too sensitive and think that there is no problem with employing the term "sect" in this article, as was done originally. However, I recognize that not everyone will feel as I do, so I will say that, having voiced my opinion, I will leave this issue to be decided by the consensus. Whether that means the long-standing wording of "sect" remains or is replaced, as long as there is agreement, I am satisfied. Any other thoughts? --Jgstokes (talk) 08:05, 21 July 2014 (UTC)

Academics seem to play this game of neutrality, but it is a neutrality that is missed by the masses. The word "sect" does have a negative connotation. The website "Religious Tolerance" states the following: "We recommend that the term "sect" never be used in articles, speeches, essays, sermons, etc., unless it is carefully defined in advance -- and often not even then."
I tend to favor church rather than denomination when I am writing, but I am ambivalent between the two if others have a strong preference.
My objective is to write as neutrally as possible. Some may not feel a specific word is offensive or that it has a negative connotation; that is not the best judge. It is who is offended that we need to listen to in order to write as neutrally as possible. For example, sect and cult are often used interchangeably. If I write in a Wiki article that a specific South American church is a cult or sect, I would not be a good judge to declare to others that the article is neutral. Jg, I am not trying to offend you, but we need to be aware that each of us has areas that we don't know that we don't know; blind spots. If no one has a problem I would exclude sect from an article and use the term church for all of them. --StormRider 09:19, 21 July 2014 (UTC)

As I before stated, I don't necessarily have a problem with employing a different term. I just have a problem with the blanket statement that "it is offensive" when not everyone finds it that way or considers it to be so. If the consensus rules in favor of another term, then by all means, let's employ another term. I just wanted to make sure that we weren't short-circuiting the consensus and changing long-established wording simply because it is offensive to some. I find the word "Mormon" to be offensive. But I do not object when this term is employed to refer to me or the faith I embrace, because it is commonly accepted as non-offensive and acceptable. I believe the same could be said for the word "sect." But as I said, I'm only seeking for consensus. If the consensus wants a different word, let's use a different word. I just didn't want one editor changing the word on the grounds that it was offensive when it isn't offensive to me. I hope this clears up my perspective. What say the rest of you? --Jgstokes (talk) 09:31, 21 July 2014 (UTC)