Talk:Mormonism and Christianity/Archive 8

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yeah this needs to go away

This whole article should be deleted. The writer is free to submit it to an anti-Mormon site, where it more clearly belongs. Even in the very first paragraph, a POV (and inaccurate one at that) is stated. From where I stand, Mormonism merges very easily with Biblical Christianity. It doesn't with contemporary, but the one or two paragraphs that are relevant here can be added into less-biased entries and a link to one of the hundreds of similar essays that litter anti-Mormon webpages can be put as an external resource. Cookiecaper 04:33, 15 Aug 2004 (UTC)

It's a tribute to the Mormon contributors, that you cannot tell that their contributions dominate this article. Mkmcconn (Talk) 16:06, 15 Aug 2004 (UTC)
We would be grateful to better understand your concerns, Cookiecaper. Feel free to explain further. Tom 16:25, 18 Aug 2004 (UTC)
It's hard to see the LDS and sects thereof as not being in conflict with Christians, given the history of it. An honest exploration of the disputes between them can't rightfully be POV. That said, the constant reference to them as "Saints" does seem POV to me. I would suggest that someone else edit this to "members" or "adherents" as is usually used in journalism. - X
X, the reference to Saints is accurate and appropriate when discussing Mormonism. It should be understood that saints was a term used in the New Testament to identify believers in Christ. The title of the LDS church uses that definition of the term in its title to identify members. This is markedly different from the term Saints used by the Orthodox churches where an individual has been cannonized. Storm Rider 03:22, 10 January 2006 (UTC)
I just searched for "saint" in the article and skimmed through where it's used, and it looks entirely appropriate to me. In most places, the article uses "Latter Day Saint" (with variations of capitalization and hyphenation), in just a few does "saint" stand alone. In those places, the context makes it clear that it's still "Latter-day Saints" that are meant. The only problem I see is that the capitalization is inconsistent. In this regard, I'd suggest we go along with whatever the LDS Style Guide recommends. Maybe there could be a short mention that they use the word differently than the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches, but more like many of the Protestant churches use the word to refer to all their members. Wesley 04:10, 10 January 2006 (UTC)
I think we should use the capitalized form throughout to make clear the distinction between "Saint" (as in Latter-day Saint) and "saint" (as in a good person). The Jade Knight 17:53, 10 January 2006 (UTC)

I don't favor this going away; it is an important article. However, as can be seen in my edits today I believe the tone of the first few paragraphs comes from much of what I read from anti-mormon authors. The Mormon chruch had doctrinal differnces from those who follow the catholic church and those that have splintered from it. However, the Mormon people were the focus of violent persecution. This article should demonstrate what Mormons believe and why other christian churches disagree. Storm Rider 15:11, 16 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Please go very carefully. This article was the result of a titan struggle (see archives and the rest of this page), and was written dominantly by LDS editors. I suggest you get the input of User:Wesley, User:Visorstuff, and User:Hawstom on the concerns you have. As a quick explanation of the rationale behing the article, I think it was finally decided to have the article explain the struggle rather than participate in the struggle. (I am sure we will take the position that the article isn't perfect, but we will also ask you to try to respect the huge team effort that has already gone into it.) Tom - Talk 15:19, Dec 16, 2004 (UTC)

Thanks for the comment. I have read most, if not all, of the evolution of this article and believe it is an example of struggle and success. I know Visor and Hawstom and respect their work and comments. My objective is not to rock the boat, but rather contributte to the cause. Not in a wholesale manner, but rather tweaking it.

In addition, I understand that the conflict between Mormons and other christian groups is a fascinating study in the pursuit of truth. It has always been surprising how much ire the subject of Mormonism creates. More importantly, the discussion of the conflict, in my humble opionion, should be centered on the reaction of Christian groups towards Mormonism and not on Mormonism's conflict with other Christians. When we describe the situation from the position of Mormonism problem with others we err. Mormonism recoginizes the truth in all religions. However, it is other Chistian groups that have a problem with Mormonism. Granted this is simplistic so please hold the easy attack, but the perspective is accurate. Storm Rider 20:54, 16 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Great insights. We wanted to be sure to explain how it was that Mormons threw the first (albeit relatively benign) provocative volley in the war, but you make great sense in what you say that generally the article should explain the problem mainstream Christianity has had w/ Mormonism and not the other way around. It was just good manners to acknowlege our own provocations. Go forward respectfully but boldly, I say. I sure appreciate the fresh perspective you bring. Tom - Talk 22:42, Dec 16, 2004 (UTC)
I think this article should be about more than what Mormons believe and why other Christian groups are so against those beliefs. This perspective implies that anti-Mormon Christians are intolerant and unreasonable, which is a POV I personally share, but this article cannot be NPOV without the other side of the story: the reasons why Mormons are or have been "against" mainstream Christianity. The goal is to tell the whole story, warts and all, and leave conclusions and moral judgments to the reader. If we leave out one side of the story, the reader feels manipulated. [[User:COGDEN|COGDEN(talk)]] 07:36, Dec 17, 2004 (UTC)

No resistance from me COG. I still am not sure that we accurately portray the impact of a "restored" religion. One that actually purports to be THE restored church of Jesus Christ. The mere statement can be affront to all of the history found within christiandom. If it is really true what does that say about all the truly remarkable "saints" that lived previously (this includes not only those of the catholic persuasion, but also those individuals of the reformation). It actually has the audacity to have an uneducated man at the head that purports to have seen Christ and the Father. Enough, in brief its mere existance was a goad to other Christian groups.

Let's remember that the Mormons proclaimed a message that some may feel was threatening while others just thought it was heresy. But even in today's society Mormons do not print tracks that attack other churches. Of course, there is that one statement that Joseph Smith stated that God the Father said, "They are all abominations in my sight". Pretty strong stuff for faithful Christians to stomach. - Wesley? Oops. Storm Rider --- Yup, it was me; ever the forgetful one. Storm Rider 22:08, 17 Dec 2004 (UTC)

The above was not signed. I thought it was by Storm, doing an incredibly good understanding of Wesley's POV. But the last sentence pretty much makes me think it was Wesley. Whether it was Storm or Wesley, I agree that the first paragraph needs to be satisfyingly addressed from Wesley's perspective. Wesley and I talked a little about this at Talk:Jehovah's Witnesses. Wesley, if you think it would be good, we can bring over that exchange as an intro to the subject. Tom - Talk 19:20, Dec 17, 2004 (UTC)
Oops. It was Storm. Good job, Storm. It could have been Wesley. If it were Wesley I wouldn't have pointed this out, but remember the actual quote by Joseph Smith was "All their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt" (emphasis added). My personal interpretation (which doesn't affect the 180 years of animosity) is that the creeds are abominable to God, and all those who profess them are corrupted by them specifically because creeds turn the hearts of the children away from "Love God and Love thy neighbor" and "God is Love" toward "God is P, Q, and S, but not X, Y, and Z". Abominable! Forget all that and go do the works of Christ. Tom - Talk 19:27, Dec 17, 2004 (UTC)

Reading through this again, I think we should define the angle the article should take in better detail. Are we going to discuss what individual Christians think about Mormonism, or the official stances other Christian churches have toward Mormonism. I hope this makes sense, because if it is about individuals, we have much more controversy that needs to be included. Its a cultural versus organizational/doctrinal issue. If this goal is to discuss how Mormonism fits into Christianity, how it is or is not a heresy, then that is an even seperate thing. The issue is not the content here. In appropriate context, it would make sense, but we add in three or four focuses and frankly, in many cases overlap many potential articles that could include: Anti-Mormonism, Mormonism and Christianity, Traditional Christian view of Mormonism, Doctrinal differences of Mormonism and Cultural conflicts with Mormonism.

That said, when the article was created, and moved to its current title (which was controversy in itself), if I remember correctly, the goal was to portray Mormonism from a traditional Christian view point, NOT explain "what Mormons believe and why other Christian groups are so against those beliefs." It has since undergone several re-organizations. Perhaps someone who has strong enough feelings on this can at least re-outline the article using the suggested article titles above (or similar ones) as headings to determine exactly where the bulk of the material falls and then move forward accordingly. Thoughts? -Visorstuff 21:16, 17 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Good comments Visor. My additional two cents...I am uncomfortable with the handle "traditional" Christian. For a restorationist they believe they possess what once existed. I would recommend Historical Christianity. Anti-Mormonism is a bit strong although it seems an appropriate title for another article centered on the extreme reactions of some groups towards a religion. Doctrinal Differences seems to soften most of the emotion which will inevitably come into play and will aid in focusing the article. I am not entirely sure that you can get away from apologetics given the caliber of some of the critiques leveled against Mormonism. Storm Rider 22:17, 17 Dec 2004 (UTC)

dust settling

After the latest rounds of edits, I'm beginning to think that it's possible that this article will work. COGDEN's reorganization was especially helpful, in my opinion. It's becoming much more readable and informative, I think. Mkmcconn (Talk) 17:27, 17 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I agree, it's present form is much better than it was. Good work to all who helped with the rewrite/reorganization. Glad I stayed out of the way. I may add a short summary of what the "Cultist At My Door" Orthodox pamphlet says about Mormonism and do a couple more copyedits, but other than that I don't see much that needs improving. Wesley 16:37, 18 Aug 2004 (UTC)

The article is getting very good. The first problem I am now seeing (in reading from the top), is where the first Book of Mormon section starts discussing the Pearl of Great Price, Cain, Canaan, and Pre-existence, all of which have nothing to do with the Book of Mormon. All of these concepts are part of the later developments of Mormonism, and would have been a surprise to the Smiths, Whitmers, Cowdery, and Rigdon of the early 1830's. As the article seems to be doing a good job of presenting a historical development, these issues need to be removed or reclassified. Tom 18:39, 7 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Trinity is minor

Hate to come into this discussion late, but I read "Mormons believe that differences between the doctrine of the Trinity and some Latter Day Saint conceptions of the Godhead are relatively minor". That's not what the Mormon missionaries at my door said. They were very emphatic that the doctrine of the Trinity was wrong, and that it was not minor at all. In fact most of our discussion centred on it. Is there an explanation for this? DJ Clayworth 20:50, 18 Aug 2004 (UTC)

You bring up a good point, DJ. This is never as easy as it seems. Do you think it would be accurate to say Mormonism is self-designated as non-trinitarian, but that there appears to be a wide variety of opinions on how far non-trinitarianism ripples into key issues such as salvation and the nature of christianity itself? Tom 23:03, 18 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I'd like to hear from whoever wrote that sentence, because it seems that either different LDS churches view the Trinity in different ways, or whoever wrote that doesn't speak for LDS as a whole. (or I got a bunch of missionaries who don't know their stuff, but that seems unlikely). Can an LDS member explain? DJ Clayworth 13:17, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Major LDS editors of this article include Visorstuff, COGDEN, B, Sterlingbates, and Tom. Actually, maybe Mkmcconn can explain. Anybody game? Tom 16:37, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)

On a related note, this article writes that "The Book of Mormon largely mirrored the teaching of the Bible". How can that be true when it actually introduced an entire alternate history not mentioned in the Bible?. For some reason this section seems to be pushing the line "Mormonism is just like Christianity really", while Joseph Smith seemed to emphasise the differences. I would also be interested in seeing a reference that "seer stones" were a common element of Christianity in nineteenth centry America. DJ Clayworth 13:32, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Your additions do a pretty good job of clarifying what the Book of Mormon is. I guess it was just assumed before that "new scripture" meant a totally different book. COGDEN may be able to help on the seer stone issue. As far as the tone of the section goes, I think it fits in pretty well with the logic of the whole article. Tom 16:37, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)
The article doesn't exactly say that seer stones were an element of Christianity. Actually, the stones and other supernatural and magical practices and beliefs were a common element of the belief system of most early American Christians, who hadn't yet erected a metaphysical wall of separation (as our culture has today) between their Christian beliefs and their magical beliefs. There are so many possible citations for this that I don't even know where to begin. Even John Wesley was part of this worldview. Check out this 1996 online article from History Today, which states: "In John Wesley's preaching, and in his journals, full credence was given to what the foremost eighteenth-century authority on popular customs roundly condemned as `the residual rubbish of Roman superstition' - namely, belief in the significance, of dreams and other forms of fore-knowledge; faith-healing and exorcisms with the aid of charms and spells; practitioners of occult powers; and the general conviction that one lived in a world subject to the intervention of either benevolent divine spirits or malevolent demonic spirits." COGDEN 17:39, Aug 19, 2004 (UTC)

In the section "The Book of Mormon and early criticism..." it would be a good idea to give us an an example of which controversial doctrines Smith took a stand on. When he said that the church was apostate, exactly which doctrines did he believe were 'incorrect'? DJ Clayworth 13:40, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)


Bhugh, I don't know that I think your topic sentence is as good as what we had (since I conceived the previous one myself ;-) ), but I really like your addition of "essential and irreconcilable differences". I think that phrase may help smooth some ruffled feathers and possibly eventually help shorten the article. Tom 23:12, 18 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I'm not so sure about it myself. It was like I thought I had a really good idea there for one fleeting moment but somehow it didn't quite work out. Feel free to revert. Also the more I think about it the more I do like the opening sentence that was there before I changed it (I think that was the one you put together). Bhugh 06:11, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Proactive efforts to counter or disprove Mormonism

OK, guys. This section is so inherently full of straw man arguments and distortions that it can do nothing but cause trouble for the article. Wesley went ahead and got his quote from "The Cultist at Your Door". But it and the section above it are back to the same endless, pointless give and take that characterized earlier incarnations of this article. I ask that the entire section go unless it can be made more entropy-proof. Sorry to step out of line here, and chastize me if I am wrong. I am going to try editing it. Tom 04:07, 20 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I'm sorry you feel that way, Tom. When I added the quote, I thought it would fit in with the Presbyterian and Methodist quotes that were already there. I feel that what became the "Proactive efforts to counter or disprove Mormonism" should properly be a subheading of the "Reaction of Traditional Christian Denominations", since one widespread reaction has been to counter or disprove it. When I added the quote, they were the same section. If the "efforts to counter" section is removed, then for the sake of balance, the entire "Reaction of trad. denominations" section should be removed as well. If that were removed, I'm not sure how useful the remainder of the "Ecumenism" section would be. Suggestions from others? Wesley 16:49, 20 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I like your latest edits, and I think that in context, the excerpt you added is not a bad addition to the article at all. I apologize for getting so hot about it. Thanks for your patience. And yes, do consider with the others your thoughts on the organization. I think what you say makes sense. Tom 18:06, 20 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Note that I made a little change to remove the mistaken notion that Mormon missionaries specifically target any one group. It is typical of Mormons to in some circumstances adapt their approach for certain groups, but it isn't typical to talk or think about any group as a particular target for proselytization. All are alike unto the Mormons; all are subjects of the grace of God and susceptible to enlargement of vision and spirit. Tom 18:06, 20 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Since it's relevant to the article, are you saying, Tom, that 'mainstream Christians' and atheists are equally as much in need of conversion to the Mormon faith? DJ Clayworth 18:10, 20 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Yes, that is probably a fair assesment. From a priesthood perspective (an ordinance perspective), Mormons of course tend to view all as equally in need of a Mormon baptism. That of course (or maybe not of course) doesn't mean Mormons see all others as headed for hell. Remember that Mormonism emphasizes that all people will be judged according to their desires, thoughts, words, and deeds. And that "Mormon" baptism will eventually be offered to all. So whether a given person is a Mormon or not doesn't have the do or die implications for Mormons that 'mainstream Christians' might assume. Mormons simply assume that God will work all things out in the end to the perfect satisfaction of His purposes. Those who are children of light will accept light when they recognize it and will be made partakers of the divine nature, one with the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost. Intricacies of ceremony and theology will be subsumed, satisfied, and fulfilled, and by the merits of the Son of God, the children of light will enter pure into the Glory of the Father. Tom 19:35, 20 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I think that's interesting because it contrasts with the way Christians see each other. Christians aknowledge that God has provision for those who have not had a chance to hear about Jesus, and mosts would extend that to those who have only heard about him under adverse cirumstances. If Christians change denomination they mostly aren't required to be rebaptised, because it's not considered that they have changed from something else to Christianity. A Moslem, or an atheist, would be baptised; so would a Mormon who converted, and it seems that Mormons view Christians in the same way, which seems fair. It's what I would expect, though it does seem counter to what some people seem to be trying to write here. DJ Clayworth 03:43, 22 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Well, as somebody previously said (Mkmcconn, I think), it sometimes seems the non-Mormons aren't allowed to get the right answer, or to understand correctly. I'm sorry about that. I think your comments have been essentially correct. We have generally recently agreed that there are big differences we can acknowledge. But we just can't say Mormons aren't Christians. We have to always contrast "Mormonism" with "traditional Christianity". One thing that has me mystified is why we aren't using the descriptor "non-trinitarian" more, even in the other Mormon articles, as in "Mormonism is a non-trinitarian...." "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a non-trinitarian branch of...." Even in the latest version of this article, we seem to dance around the idea of whether or not Mormonism is trinitarian. And yet that non-trinitarianism, very consciously protesting the creeds and the whole tradition, seems to be core Mormonism. And so I think you are right on. And it is very interesting indeed. Tom 05:20, 22 Aug 2004 (UTC)

fixing quote

In the section 'Ecumenical Efforts by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,' I removed the following addition to Brigham Young's block quote:

However as noted above he also castigated the mainstream churches for "pride, and wickedness, and abominations, and whoredoms".pride, and wickedness, and abominations, and whoredomspride, and wickedness, and abominations, and whoredoms

Obviously there was some kind of typo/cut-paste gone wrong thing going on, but also the additional quote was not from Brigham Young as the deleted part claims, but from a passage of the Book of Mormon. Also, it seemed pretty POV to remind people of Mormon criticisms of other Churches in the section about how the Mormon church is trying to reach out to other Churches and promote unity. - biggins 21:34, 22 Aug 2004 (UTC)

It seems to me that a quote from a group accusing another of "pride, and wickedness, and abominations, and whoredoms" is entirely relevant to the question of how far that group has reached out in friendship to the other. However since I got the quote attribution wrong it should probably go. I've replaced it with something a little more general. DJ Clayworth 13:36, 23 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I know I removed some infomation with my recent edits of this section, but I think the information was erroneous. LDS Church consciously still avoids ecumenism, but consciously pursues joint social work with other faiths. This is of course an important distinction to the subject at hand. Ecclesiastically, the LDS Church intends to remain forever aloof. Socially, the LDS Church sees an ideal of unity. Tom 15:38, 23 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I wouldn't say there is no LDS ecumenism. For quite a number of years, in an effort to make the Church more friendly to new converts, the Church has been slowly recasting some of its doctrines in ways that are friendly to mainstream-Christianity. The missionary discussions and all the LDS course materials taught in worship services, particularly the Gospel Principles manual taught to new members, have been rather ecumenized. Moreover, the church has made ecumenical changes to the temple ceremony, and has started once again praising non-Mormon religious leaders as being inspired of God. That's not to say that in their heart of hearts most old-time Mormons have actually changed their thinking; but it does mean that you're probably not going to be excommunicated for talking like a Protestant in church, and that the next generation of new converts and children are being taught a more ecumenical form of Christianity than my grandparents were taught. If you were cynical you might argue that the doctrine hasn't really changed, but that the Church is trying to fool people into thinking it's more mainstream. But I'm not that cynical. The official doctrine of a church is what the church officially teaches to its members, not what some of its members secretly believe.

COGDEN 23:24, Aug 23, 2004 (UTC)

I don't know for sure that we are using the right word, ecumenical, for what we are talking about. Perhaps one sense is the movement toward one worldwide Christian church "all one body we". I think it is safe to say Mormonism partakes of none of that sense. Perhaps another sense is promoting unity among religions, and I think Mormonism is interested in that to a certain extent. The Gospel Principle manual makes no attempt to be trinitarian. It still teaches core Mormonism. Perhaps you are referring to an effort in Mormonism to be better at not criticizing the beliefs of others? Tom 15:47, 24 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Perhaps a better word would be harmony among religions, rather than unity among religions? To me at least, unity sounds like the "all one body we" concept that you're saying Mormonism doesn't go for. Wesley 16:04, 25 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Maybe. I like. Tom 22:24, 25 Aug 2004 (UTC)

On a completely different topic, if you want a good laugh, go look at the Human page. I'm sure it can be fixed, but in its current state it is humorously POV. Tom 23:33, 26 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Trinitarianism as a prerequisite for baptism

Really? You can become a member of the LDS church while holding the same Trinitarian beliefs as a mainstream Christian? Why, then, did the Mormon missionaries who visited me spend so much time arguing that my Trinitarian beliefs were wrong? DJ Clayworth 21:09, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)

DJ, about [1] (revert of your last edit): you and COGDEN are both right, but your sentence ("[Mormons] do not permit Christians who hold orthodox Trinitarian beliefs to become members of the LDS churches.") was very confusing. It makes it sound like the Mormon church will not let Christians who hold Trinitarian beliefs to ever become members of the Mormon church, which is what I thought it meant at first (and COGDEN did too, apparently), while I think you meant that a Christian would have to change their beliefs to conform with Mormon doctrine about the Trinity (i.e. three separate indivuduals) before they could be baptized. So basically it just needs some clarification and rewording. Hope that makes sense to both sides. - biggins 22:03, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)
I'm a former LDS missionary, who both baptized people, interviewed them for baptism, and trained other missionaries, so I'm pretty familiar with the requirements for baptism and how missionaries operate. And I can tell you that nobody in the church officially cares, before baptism, what a new convert's precise metaphysical understanding is of the Trinity or Godhead. In fact, I've never personally met a new convert that understood that Joseph Smith's beliefs about the Trinity differed from those of traditional Christianity. Missionaries don't typically teach Mormon doctrines concerning the metaphysical aspects of God, and if they do, they probably aren't very effective missionaries. The LDS Church considers the issue of God's metaphysical nature to be of very minor importance to a new convert compared to faith, repentance, and baptism, etc. When I was a missionary, we purposely avoided such controversial doctrinal issues like the plague, and if anybody asked me if I believed in the Trinity, I said "yes," because from my perspective, it was essentially true, and I didn't consider the differences to be significant.
That said, a new convert is certainly going to learn about how Joseph Smith's metaphysical views about the Godhead differ from those of mainstream Christianity, and you probably won't fit in very well if you disagree with what most Mormons believe about God. But there is nobody in the Church enforcing a non-Trinitarian belief system. You presumably could even go to the Temple as a traditional Trinitarian, as long as you sustain the leadership of the Church, you aren't a polygamist, you believe Joseph Smith, Jr. was a prophet, you go to church, and you follow the other church rules. Nobody is going to ask you whether you believe in homoousia or homoiousia. COGDEN 23:17, Aug 30, 2004 (UTC)

ThanksCOGDEN. I did not, of course, mean to imply that LDS denied baptism to people who formerly believed in the orthodox Trinity. And I confess I was extrapolating a little from my observation of Mormon missionaries who, as I say, spent some time trying to convince me that the Trinity was not biblical. Incidentally mainstream Christianity would agree on one point - while it is necessary to believe in the Trinity to be a Christian, it is not necessary to understand it. DJ Clayworth 13:38, 31 Aug 2004 (UTC)

A post mortem on a titan struggle

On August 17 Mkmcconn pronounced with general agreement that our titan struggle to solve this article had been rewarded. In the one month since then, things have been very quiet, and I think we are all rather pleased with the basic form of the article. I propose that our struggle to solve this article (and in a larger sense a whole class of articles in the process) has been exemplary for Wikipedia, and should somehow be referenced as a success story in a very tough and prolonged struggle. Our struggle went through red-faced exasperations, name-calling, cooling-off periods, baton-passing as new editors came and went, and 5 talk archives. You all think it might serve as a hopeful example of what can be done? Tom 15:01, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I want to validate what COGDEN said above. DJ, Perhaps your missionaries were indulging in maybe a little too much "bible-bashing", I would venture, because COGDEN is pretty square on in saying all he does above. "Nobody in the church officially cares," and I would go as far as to say ever (officially) about my precise metaphysical understanding of the Trinity or Godhead. But we do agree that it is probably most accurate to say Mormonism is non-Trinitarian, and I would probably feel obligated under full disclosure, if anybody asked me if I believed in the Trinity (in English), to say "I believe in God and Heaven, but I don't believe in the Trinitarian creeds." Tom 15:17, 31 Aug 2004 (UTC)

An attempt at clarification - LDS believe in God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, i.e., a trinity, but not the Nicene Trinity with a capital T. 74s181 21:08, 27 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I have no objection to your current edit, but it would be misleading to say Mormonism has a Trinity by any accepted definition. It's elsewhere described as nontrinitarian, and some would go so far as to say tritheisitic. (After all, for example Unitarians don't disbelieve in any of the above, they just believe in a non-trin relationship between them. Alai 21:47, 27 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I am new on Wikipedia but I have read thru the most recent discussions on this topic. As I said, I'm just trying to clarify the LDS position, to increase understanding, I'm not trying to re-open old wounds. When Latter-Day Saints say they don't believe in the Trinity (note capital 'T'), they're saying they don't believe that the Nicene Creed is scripture, or even an accurate description of the relationship between God the Father, His Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. Do 'mainstream Christians' accept the authors of the Nicene Creed as prophets or otherwise authorized by God to reveal His word on the same level as Peter, James, John, Paul, etc.? A Catholic would say yes, a Protestant would say no. Why then is the Nicene Creed treated by Protestants as scripture, equal, even superior to the Bible? These arguments have all been covered before. The reason for the edit is my concern that a reader will read "...Latter-Day Saints, who do not believe in the Trinity..." and think we don't believe in God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. If we uncapitalize trinity, it becomes an ordinary word with a literal meaning, three united, LDS absolutely believe in this, see 1st Article of Faith I believe my edit increased the accuracy of a statement about LDS belief, but I also understand that this change might make a 'mainstream Christian' or someone who has been long involved in these discussions a bit uncomfortable. 74s181 11:53, 28 Feb 2005 (UTC)
(Pardon me while I fix some typos in my comment above.) To reiterate: I have no objection to your current edit. However, I would object to a wording along the lines of your argument above: 'Mormons believe in the trinity, just not the Nicene Trinity'. That would be be to use the word 'trinity' misleadingly, at best, in its theological context. Note that the 1st article of faith says nothing about the relationship of the three... Alai 18:13, 28 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Hi. Tom here. I have been working on this article since Nov 2003 or so. This is an important discussion, and well begun in politeness and good spirit. 74's core concern is valid, and from another perspective, in, say, Spanish, the LDS term for the Godhead is la trinidad. So, for 74 to say LDS believe in "a trinity" is a point well taken. At the same time, I hope 74 realizes that all the accusations of non-christianity, cultness, etc. were over a long struggle able to be distilled into the simple, mutually acceptable qualifier "non-trinitarian", meaning non-traditional and non-creed-confessing. Thanks to the two of you for working on this. My opinion: I think 74's wording is okay here, and it would also be okay to say "the Trinity doctrine of traditional Christianity." As for what Mormons believe, it's hard to get a much better answer than "in God the Eternal Father, and in his Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. But not in the creeds." And I would add that many Mormons intentionally shy away from detailed theological hair-splitting as a matter of an expression of their faith in a gospel of peace and love. Tom Haws 20:25, Feb 28, 2005 (UTC)

Thank you, Tom, for your encouragement. I've just completed reading thru all the discussions listed for this article and I have a great deal of respect for the huge effort it took to get here. Having said that, I still have some concerns with the article as it currently stands. I want to try to offer a fresh perspective, and I hope you'll all be gentle with me and accept my comments in the spirit they are offered. I started this comment with some very specific concerns about tone and factual content. But I think I see a bigger problem. The article is simply too large, it is the result of too many compromises, too many edits to make sure that all points of view are thoroughly represented. I realize I contributed to this with my recent edit, and I see that there has been another insertion ("a fourteen year old boy,") just last week. Anyway, the article is too large, and will continue to grow. I think that a major change is needed, I don't claim to know exactly how it should be done but I have some thoughts. First of all, I think the article needs better focus. What are the biggest differences? From the discussions and from my own personal experience it seems clear that the three biggest reasons 'traditional' Christians reject LDS as fellow Christians are:

  1. LDS claim of exclusive authority, i.e., the only church authorized by Jesus Christ to perform baptisms. Although this position was not unusual in 1830 it flies in the face of 100 years of Christian ecumenism and is exremely offensive to 'traditional' Christians today.
  2. LDS rejection of the Nicene Trinity and their different view of God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost.
  3. LDS belief in a modern prophet who reveals doctrine and speaks the will of God in the same way as Moses, Isaiah, Peter, etc.

All other differences can be traced to one of these fundamental differences, in fact, one could argue that items 1 and 2 are a byproduct of item 3, but I think they need to be listed separately because when 'traditional' Christians say LDS are not Christians they usually cite either 1 or 2, not 3. But 3 is the crux of the biscuit, if Gordon B. Hinckley is a true prophet of God, then so was Joseph Smith, and therefore, all official doctrine revealed by them and all the prophets in between was from God, including statements on the legitimacy of baptisms performed by other churches, the nature of God, and other controversial doctrines and practices. If they were not prophets, then not. I'm not saying that discussion of other doctrinal differences should be completely eliminated, I just think that such a discussion should begin from this point. Admittedly, I'm coming at this from an LDS POV, but, if you're saying that LDS are not Christians, are there any more important reasons why than these? I mean, we could go back and forth all day about whether Paul taught that there was no longer any need for good works or whether he was referring to the works of the Mosaic Law, or exactly what was the rock that Jesus said he would build his church on, but these arguments rage on within the greater 'traditional' Christian community, they aren't specific to the "Are Mormons Christians?" debate. I also think the article needs shorter summaries of history, etc., with references to other articles for more detailed info. The history here is very good, although there is at least one factual error, but still, I think there is much here that is missing from the History of the Latter Day Saint movement and might be a better fit there. Some of this history is specifically relevant to the conflicts between early LDS and 'traditional' Christians, but I think the bulk of it is not and would better fit elsewhere, is there already a page on development of LDS doctrine? Some of this might fit better there and could be summarized and referenced in this article. I almost hesitate to suggest a new outline for this article but I'm going to try anyway, simply because I think it will clarify what I'm trying to say.

  1. Short definition of who are the Mormons and Christians the article is about, with links to other pages for more info.
  2. Short explanation of the two (are there more?) most commonly cited objections, exclusive authority and Nicene Trinity with links to other pages for more info on each.
  3. Explanation of the most fundamental difference, the belief in modern prophets, and how all other differences are a byproduct of this one.
  4. Short historical summary of how conflicts with 'traditional' Christians over these fundamental differences affected the early LDS movement, with links to more complete history.
  5. Section where 'traditional' Christians can put additional reasons why they think LDS are not Christians, stated as NPOV as possible.
  6. Section where LDS can put their reasons why they think they are Christians, also NPOV.

With some notes in the talk section laying out some groundrules I think this could work. Of course, maybe the whole concept of groundrules is anti-wiki, I don't have enough experience to say.74s181 05:51, 7 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Well, 74. You have your work cut out for you. I think it is appropriate for such a controversial article that you are outlining your concerns first. I have trouble envisioning whether or not your ideas will help. It is generally thought to be poor practice to follow your points 5 and 6, because of the potential of degeneration. What is most valuable is the fact that your eyes are fresh and your attitude is good. Here's a suggestion. Why don't you go to User:74s181/Sandbox and try working up a proposal, then invite some of the folks at WP:LDS to take a look at it? You may want to let them know there (at WP:LDS that you are going to try it first. You may get some thoughts along the way. Tom Haws 16:06, Mar 7, 2005 (UTC)

Ok, Tom, I've taken your first suggestion and started working in my sandbox User:74s181/Sandbox/Mormonism and Christianity. I've changed my approach a bit, now I'm thinking that there should be two separate articles, one on the doctrinal differences, the other on the history of the controversial doctrines. There is more on what I'm trying to do on the talk page of the sandbox article. Hopefully I'm going about this the right way. I've got a fair start on the first, I'm not quite ready to start on the second, I need to read the current article a couple more times and look at some of the other LDS history articles to see how much duplication there is. I'm not sure how to approach the second part of your suggestion, I guess I will sign up in the participants list and add a section announcing what I am trying to do, then duck and cover - reading thru the discussions there I got the feeling that there may be more going on behind the scenes than is obvious.74s181 03:13, 12 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Resurrection at Christmas: discussing things again

Merry Christmas, everybody. It looks like there have been a few kicks at the old hornet's nest lately, resurrecting the discussion on this article. I figured we maybe ought to discuss a few things out of respect for everybody, the newer editors as well as the ones who lived through the titan struggle. My introduction to this chat would be that we, the survivors, hoped to make this article into kind of an insight into why there has been so much conflict over the years. As such, we sought not to paper over differences, but to explain why they were so great. I agree with this approach, and I think we Mormon editors ought to avoid the tendency to engage in apologetics particularly in this article. We have scores of other articles where we tell our story sympathetically and positively; this article is the designated place to explain why some of our beloved brethren are so avid against us. Tom - Talk 15:47, Dec 16, 2004 (UTC)

Grace from the outside

It is important to explain why, from where User:Wesley stands in his congregation on Sunday morning, Mormonism appears to foster "servile striving for God's acceptance". Certainly at least in it's caracatured form from the mainstream Christian pulpit and broadcast studio, Mormonism puts its adherents on a "performance treadmill". At the same time, though the article perhaps should not spend as much space saying so, the article should radiate the tone that this is only a perception, and not the necessary reality for Mormons. Tom - Talk 15:47, Dec 16, 2004 (UTC)

Sorry for commenting nine or ten months too late, but since I was mentioned here, I want to point out that I'm not an Evangelical Protestant, and I would not characterize Mormonism as "servile striving for God's acceptance." On the contrary, although I may disagree with Mormonism on a number of other points, this is an area that I suspect I would be in greater agreement with if I knew more about it. The Eastern Orthodox Church sometimes receives similar criticism from Evangelicals because it encourages certain forms of asceticism. So in principle at least I agree with what Tom suggests here about the tone of the article, though I suspect it's a moot point by now. :-) Wesley 12:17, 28 September 2005 (UTC)

Vicarious ordinances

This article isn't the place to argue the need for vicarious ordinances. A good question to ask is, "Should this article try to at least rationalize briefly the Mormon belief and practice in the context of presenting it as a driving factor of conflict?" Tom - Talk 15:47, Dec 16, 2004 (UTC)

The The.

Any particular reason for reversion, i.e., re-breaking, of the link to the TCJCLDS, that I just fixed? You'll note I a) retained the LDS-preferred/official capitalisation from the earlier edit, and b) stated my reason, unlike either of the two link-breaking edits. I don't have the patience for being double-teamed in an edit war, but it's pretty clear policy that links should point to the actual page, not to redirects. Yes, I realize you might want the page to be elsewhere, but currently, it is not. Alai 03:16, 26 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Traditional Christian reactions to Mormon doctrines during the Nauvoo period?

This section title appears to be either mis-named or unclear. One would think that it would discuss the reactions of Christian neighbors to the Mormon church during the Nauvoo period. Instead it juxtaposes modern evangelical Christian views against the evolving Mormon doctrine of the 1840s. This kind of artificial comparison makes little sense. It would be much better to elucidate the historical debates of the nineteenth century (if anyone has an interest in this), or to attempt to distinguish between the modern doctrines of Mormonism, evangelicalism, fundamentalism, and liberal Christianity, all of which are different, and none of which would agree on what is "traditional". --Blainster 23:23, 20 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Good thoughts. Go for it. Try not to remove good content. Other than that, give it your best effort. Tom Haws 23:26, Apr 20, 2005 (UTC)

Mormonism salvation and exaltation

I recently made an edit to the section of this article on "Mormonism salvation and exaltation". I checked in the morning and misunderstood the praise as something else. I figured that I'd stumbled into something that had been beaten into the ground and I didn't have time to read the discussion, so I reverted my own changes until I did. I'm glad that my changes were reverted back. It means that I'd done well, except in understanding the comment made. I apologize for my misunderstanding of your comment.

But this was a preliminary change. My change was incomplete because of other requirements. I was going to read the rest of the article to see if they are included. One of the major disagreements between mormonism and other christians is the faith vs. works debate; which I'm sure is included. But Christ said to Nicodemus (sp?) that a specific work (requirement), baptism, is required to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Also, in the Doctrine & Covenants, marriage is required to enter the highest kingdom of the Celestial Kingdom, or exaltation. What would be a precise and concise way of mentioning these? Val42 04:42, May 14, 2005 (UTC)

This doctrine can easily be misrepresented. Remember Section 137 states that even those who had not heard, but would have accepted the Gospel will enter the celestial kingdom. The difference between the majority of Protestant Christians and LDS Mormonism is that the first group limits being saved to an act of faith summed up by saved by Grace. LDS also believe that we are saved by Grace, but there must be a willingness to believe Christ, that He is our Lord and as such expects his disciples to follow Him at all times. He does not expect perfection, but a willingness to follow. Yes, saving ordinances are required, but those things (saving ordinances) will all be accomplished for those who did, who would have, and who will be willing follow Christ. Storm Rider 05:27, 14 May 2005 (UTC)

Are Mormons Christians?

This topic has come up again on Talk:Polgamy as a future topic for Polygamy. Is there a list of a few groups who have opinions on this question? Yes, there are pro-Mormon links in this article, and there are statements of acceptance of Mormon baptism, but there isn't a description of which Christians consider Mormons to be Christians, and which do not. I suggest that this be added, if anyone is expert enough to start answering the question. Nereocystis 18:01, 11 August 2005 (UTC)


Campbellite, by Campbellites, was not a preferred term. They considered themselves Christian and preferred that label or the term disciple. They objected to the term Campbellite Church because they felt they were striving to implement the true, pure teachings of Christ. It is best summed up with the phrase, "We speak where the bible speaks and are silent where the bible is silent." Calling Sidney Rigdon a Campbellite minister is accurate because it describes his doctrinal persuasion.

I am not aware of calling someone a Campbellite being a slur of any type. If so, I would like to see a reference for it. Rigdon certainly did not consider the term offensive. Storm Rider 15:38, 29 August 2005 (UTC)


The best option is to merge the three articles that follow into a single article because each of the three articles are about the same subject. The main difference is the way the content is arranged and that one title may sound more biased than the next. One article should include all three aspects. The content for the articles "Criticism of Mormonism" and "Mormonism and Christianity" fall along the same lines. --JuanMuslim 04:17, 21 September 2005 (UTC)

Anti-Mormonism: Mostly hostility towards or prejudice against Mormons, though it does cover other topics.

Mormonism and Christianity: Comparison between Mormonism and other forms of Christianity, includes Christian thoughts and criticism towards Mormon doctrines.

Criticism of Mormonism: Analysis and judgment of Mormonism. Includes discussion of historicity of Book of Mormon and Book of Abraham, for example. This category is not limited to comparisons with other forms of Christianity.

I vote against the merge. These are distinct topics:

  • Anti-Mormonism — the phenomenon today of active oppostion to Mormonism;
  • Mormonism and Christianity — comparison of Mormon and traditional Christian teachings, and some history of the relationship between Mormons and other Christians;
  • Criticism of Mormonism ‐ Appears to be largely a Mormon apologetical response to anti-mormonism.

It might be ok to merge anti-mormonism and criticism of mormonism, but Criticism of Mormonism starts out by saying it's different and distinct from anti-mormonism. I think Mormonism and Christianity should be left on its own, as it isn't attempting to cover the phenomenon of controversy the way the other two are. I should mention that I worked quite a while with Tom Hawstom, Mkmcconn, Visorstuff, COGDEN, and other editors on this article at one time, and at some point we were all at least content if not perfectly happy with it. I'd hate to see that hard work thrown out. Wesley 17:33, 27 September 2005 (UTC)

Completely agree - Wesley's views on this are much valued, in addition to the work he's done. Plus, he's right, and agrees with me on this. :^)Rather than Criticism of Mormonism, we have a Critics of Mormonism article that discusses folks both within and without Mormonism who disagree from a scholarly view - but then it is the same as Mormonism and scholarship (which I don't like the title, but like the idea. -Visorstuff 20:18, 27 September 2005 (UTC)

I agree with Visorstuff and Wesley. This article serves a different purpose and shouldn't be merged. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 21:11, 27 September 2005 (UTC)
With the cup out I will throw in my two cents; I am against the merge and see very different purposes for the articles. Storm Rider 16:23, 6 October 2005 (UTC)
I also oppose this merge per the reasons given above. Not to mention that it says that the CoJCoLDS article is to be merged into this one, which doesn't make sense. Tijuana Brass¡Épa!-E@ 02:49, 27 April 2006 (UTC)