Talk:Penalty (Mormonism)

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Lafferty brothers[edit]

An anonymous editor is deleting the sentence which states there is no record of anyone in the LDS Church killing anyone else or committing suicide as a result of the blood oaths in the Endowment. The anonymous editor has referenced the "Lafferty brothers" in the edit summary to justify this deletion. As far as I can find out, this is a reference to some members of a Mormon fundamentalist group who committed some killings, and these are discussed in Under the Banner of Heaven, J. Krakauer's book. However, these brothers were Mormon fundamentalists, not members of the LDS Church, when the killings were committed. For this reason, the killings—even if they were committed b/c the victims violated their Endowment oaths, which I doubt—are not really relevant at all to the statement that is being deleted. Snocrates 09:12, 15 October 2007 (UTC)


I just found this page and reading the article I got a question: Where is there a verifiable source that these oaths were called "Blood Oaths" by the participants? If they were not called by that name it is an NPOV violation for wikipedia to do so. --Blue Tie (talk) 11:41, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

Does it have to be so called by the participants, and if so, why? Usually the WP article is named after the name it is most commonly known by in secondary sources. The secondary sources I've looked at refer to it as "blood oaths". I don't think it's a violation of NPOV for WP to follow the trend in naming; on the contrary, to choose a name not commonly used in secondary sources would probably be what causes a NPOV problem. There probably is not much discussion of it anywhere by the actual participants anyway, since by its nature it was a secret ceremony that was not generally written about by participants or discussed outside of the temple. Snocrates 11:43, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
I think there needs to be a neutral, objective, reliable, verifiable source that says that this is what it was called. The naming of this article looks like Original Research. You say you have a secondary source for the name. Is that source a neutral, reliable, verifiable source? What is it? It should be cited. --Blue Tie (talk) 11:53, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
Two sources are listed on the page. They both use the term. The Tanner reference is of dubious "neutrality", but I'm not aware of any concerns with the first. Do you have an alternate term you have come across to propose as a better name? We could start to compare and see which is more common in other sources that I have access to. If you're looking for an "official" term, I frankly don't think one existed, because these were simply part of the larger Endowment ceremony and were scattered throughout. They did not constitute a cohesive ceremony in their own right that were performed all together. The ceremony referred to them simply as "penalties", I believe. Snocrates 11:54, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

I see the two sources. Here are the questions I have:
What did the Mormons call these things? (I think this should have a huge impact)
Is there some entry in the "Encyclopedia of Mormonism" that deals with this or that mentions it?
What exactly does your first reference say and how does it come to the conclusion that these are called "blood oaths"?
I do not know what it should be called yet. I have to research I guess.

(I think the Tanners are self published and so, like a blog, they violate WP:RS).--Blue Tie (talk) 12:01, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

(1) If you're looking for an "official" term, I frankly don't think one existed, because these were simply part of the larger Endowment ceremony and were scattered throughout. They did not constitute a cohesive ceremony in their own right that were performed all together. The ceremony referred to them simply as "penalties", I believe.

(2) You won't find information on this in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism. As a quasi-official source, it didn't address a number of "controversial" topics, this being one of them.

(3) I'll get back to you on this. I'll have to find my book.

(4) The edition of the Tanners I have is published by Moody, an evangelical Christian publisher. ULHM probably also published an edition, as evidenced by the editor who included that edition here. The neutrality of the authors may be questioned; most of the info in it I have found to be accurate as cross-evaluated with other sources.

Snocrates 12:04, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

From what I know, the Tanners are sketchy. I searched the Encyclopedia of Mormonism and found nothing. The closest I got was "covenants". What does your first source say exactly? I am particularly interested in the actual historical name for this stuff... not a modern "label". --Blue Tie (talk) 12:09, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
I agree about the Tanners; it's usually worthwhile to cross-check their info. I'll dig up the source. It may also be worthwhile to check the U.S. Senate's records of the Smoot Hearings, which had some former Mormons discussing these things, which I will also check. Snocrates 12:11, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
Here is an idea: What did the Masons (not their detractors, but the Masons) call their versions? --Blue Tie (talk) 12:14, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
I found something else. Its OR but maybe it gives a direction. I remembered an oath in the bible where blood was shed -- Gen 15:9 and researching it I find this called a "Cutting Covenant" or "Cutting a Covenant". --Blue Tie (talk) 12:29, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
It is interesting that an article's title is one only recognized by a religion's detractors. My initial reaction is why does this article even exist? This information is already in the Endowment (Latter Day Saints) article and the Oath of Vengeance articles. I agree that this title certainly sounds more titillating, but how many articles should there be for a single topic? I suggest this redundant article be merged back into the Endowment article. --Storm Rider (talk) 14:22, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
The term originates in the Smoot hearings. Stupid, and agree that this is covered in the Mormonism_and_violence article. This should not exist as its own article - is silly, when it already appears in at least four other articles, and without the context given in Mormonism and violence it makes this seem like a major tenant of the religion. -Visorstuff (talk) 17:01, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

I disagree that this information is covered elsewhere, and a little research will bear that out. The information in this article is not covered in Mormonism and violence. It is mentioned in two sentences in Endowment (Latter Day Saints) — nothing like the detailed treatment here. It's mentioned in passing (and again not in detail), in Oath of vengeance. Articles exist because the information is not covered adequately elsewhere; this seems to be no exception. There's also likely room for expansion to the topic regarding how the oaths have been treated in a Mormon fundamentalist context; see the confusion over the Lafferty brothers edits in the section above on this talk page. Whether it was a "major tenant [sic]" of the religion is subjective — it was in the Endowment for well over 100 years and the oaths were made by thousands (millions?) of Mormons on their own behalf and on behalf of millions of proxy Endowments for the dead. To me, that's fairly significant, even if it's not talked about outside the temple. Snocrates 14:35, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

I must be missing something; merging articles takes the information from one article and puts in in another. Snocrates, are you saying that this information cannot be merged? --Storm Rider (talk) 19:20, 5 January 2008 (UTC)
I said nothing about merging. I'm disputing the claims that "[t]his information is already in the Endowment (Latter Day Saints) article and the Oath of Vengeance articles", as was claimed, or that it is all in Mormonism and violence, as was claimed.
But as for merging, I would not agree that at this stage of the article's development it would be a positive move. I'm finding some information on the fundamentalist angle on these oaths that I'll incorporate into the article, so there's only going to be more info added, not less. It's the kind of thing that once merged and begins to be edited there would be clamoring to separate into a separate article, and around and around it could go. Snocrates 03:21, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
Merge or separate, I would like an objective, reliable, validatable source for this term being used. I think it should be an historical source rather than a modern label. If the Mormon Endowment was taken from the Masons, then what did the Mason's call their oaths? Did the Mormons use the same terminology or some other name?--Blue Tie (talk) 23:49, 5 January 2008 (UTC)
I've been doing more research into it. As far as I can find out so far, "good" Mormons didn't really call it anything specific, since they didn't talk about it outside the temple. The Endowment ceremony itself referred simply to "penalties". The term "blood oath" emerged at the Smoot Hearings from former Mormons. The article could just as easily be called "Endowment penalties" or something like that, if sources could be found that primarily use that terminology. Right now, all the ones I have seen use "blood oath". The Masonic angle was a very good idea, I think, but I haven't looked into that closely yet and anything I do find will probably constitute some sort of WP:OR unless there's something explicit that makes the link between the two. This may take a bit of research and I will definitely post what I find here when I can do it. I'd welcome any help anyone else wants to give, too. :) Snocrates 03:28, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
I think the best term to refer to these oaths is as penalties, which is what they were called in the Endowment ceremony itself. So the name of this article probably ought to be Penalty (Latter Day Saints). COGDEN 00:17, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
I don't know if anybody is following this issue any mroe, so I'm just going to change the name. If somebody disagrees we can always change it back or to something else, but I think Penalty is really the only standard way to refer to this. It is a type of blood oath, but Penalty is the most specific, correct term. COGDEN 21:27, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
I saw this move by accident just while checking out a move log. I edit articles in the Latter Day Saint area and after reading the discussion above, I'd have to agree that this move is probably a good idea. I know that those who criticise the Mormon temple ceremonies often use "blood oath", but I would suspect that usage would be resisted by Mormons. This seems to be a neutral solution. Good Ol’factory (talk) 22:07, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

Missing citations[edit]

There are quotes for the only part of this article that is not covered in other articles. I will mark them, but if they can not be referenced by a reputable source let's at least take off the quote marks. --Storm Rider (talk) 01:43, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

The entire article needs in-line citations. I can do it; I will in the future when I have a chance to incorporate some edits from the research I'm doing. It makes little sense to pepper the entire article with fact tags when references exist but inline citations are entirely lacking for everything; otherwise we'd be marking every sentence with a fact tag. I've added the inline citations needed tag as a header, which is probably a more practical stopgap at this stage of the article. Snocrates 03:24, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
LOL, Snocrates I was just being a pain in the butt. It was a subtle nudge to show that this article is not very good as it stands and could very easily be merged into the Endowment article. In doing so, the most common name for LDS temple ceremonies, "Endowment", will be further fleshed out. There really is not enough unique information in this article that is not mentioned in the Endowment article; once references are found they can then be merged into the main article.
We have too many editors that go off and create articles that meet their specific agendas without ever really determining that there already are articles covering the same subject. I think this article should have never been started in the first place. It is like pulling teeth to kill these redundant articles given the controversial nature of the LDS church. However, the LDS church has far too many articles that repeat the same things. It would be helpful to readers to have concise articles that cover topics without forking or multiple articles covering small subsets of information when there is no need to break them off from the main article. --Storm Rider (talk) 05:31, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
I understand that's your opinion about the article, but I disagree. My whole point is that right now, there is little if any "redundancy", and if they were merged it would be a fairly major diversion in the Endowment article to go into this kind of detail, especially regarding the details of it being changed in the 1930s or whenever, and then removed altogether in 1990. These are historical details I don't think the average reader of the Endowment article would be interested in, that's all. All the more so after it's expanded to include information on current and past fundamentalist practices in the area. If it were merged, it would quickly become the largest section in the Endowment article, which would make it seem a bit lopsided and focused on details that no longer even exist as part of the Endowment anymore. Just my opinion, though.Snocrates 05:44, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

This material is actually part of Masonic tradition... not Mormon. *rolls eyes* —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:04, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

Which was incorporated by the Mormons ... Good Ol’factory (talk) 01:26, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

This material is a minor part of topics already covered. It should be merged and deleted. Bytebear (talk) 04:20, 6 May 2008 (UTC)