Talk:The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints/Archive 10

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Discussion Topics

Please be reminded that this webpage was created with one purpose in mind. To discuss the content on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints wiki. Comments or arguments that do not contribute to the construction and improvement of this article are not neccesary, and only hinder this wiki's progress. These include arguments on items not discussed in this wiki, such as reasons why the LDS religion is wrong as compared to others, hate messages, unprovoked arguments on undiscussed topics, and messages advocating the LDS religion without an opposing argument. Please keep Wikipedia a constructive and hate-free community. Thanks, 21:05, 30 July 2006 (UTC)


I propose merging Animals in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with this article. If it is as important a topic as the people supporting the page on the AfD think it is, then it has every reason to be a bigger part of this article and not just a See also link. Peyna 02:10, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

- Other than the original proposer there was no others that unreservedly supported merging Animals into this article; thus, I am copying the discussion below to the animals talk page.
Please direct futher discussion of the target merge location to that talk page. --Trödel 03:37, 30 July 2006 (UTC)
I continue to question your motives in suppressing this discussion and will leave this comment as a standing protest to your actions. Peyna 03:40, 30 July 2006 (UTC)
Supressing - are you serious - additional info here Talk:Animals in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints#Response to Peyna --Trödel 03:51, 30 July 2006 (UTC)
I have posted a response on your talk page. I think you may have taken my comments a bit more harshly than intended. Peyna 04:40, 30 July 2006 (UTC)
== New merge request. ==
This page and all LDS pages should be merged under the title Mormonism. All LDS pages are talking about Joseph Smith's teachings, the page is about his teachings anyway, so that goes to reason they read the book of Mormon therfore Mormons.You may want to seperate your modern church from its past however its past can't be changed. The current "big" branch is still preaching about Joseph Smith and Brigham Young and they were part of the Latter Day Saint movement, Church and Mormonism.
This is not the main reason I suggest the change however. They should be merged because all the other religions I've read about on Wikipedia include the movements or beginings, middles and currents on their main (only) page. As in Buddist getting only a Buddism page, Hindus getting only a Hindism page and so on. If they are not merged then I feel that all of the other religions should have similar adjustment to the Mormons. As Mormonism has three (3) different listings as of today, Sept. 26 2006, Latter day Saint Movement,Latter day saints and Mormons. They should all be listed under Mormanism. Anarcism, Capitalism, Communism have many forms but only one (1) page each.
lol: I was wrong there are nine (9) pages on Momonism as of today (maybe more are hiding) Latter day Saint Movement,Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ,History of the Latter Day Saint movement,Jesus in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, List of temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Missions of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mormon, Mormonism, and there are lists with (small) pages of even more sects. I'd be willing to wager that all of the different branches not only follow the book of Mormon, but also all but one originated in Utah.
Joeseph Smith's MORMONISM and the book of Mormon is what all the above pages are all refering to.
And a quote from Latter Day Saint movement page shows the connection."The Latter Day Saint movement spawned many religious denominations, some of which include a set of doctrines, practices, and cultures collectively known as Mormonism, although some do not accept the designation Mormon."

There is a link to this article from the Exmormonism article, backed up in the discussion section of Exmormonism. It seems only logical that there should be a link back. greenw47

Restorationist Christianity

Hi there. There has to be a neutral way of expressing what is meant by the words "Restorationist Christianity" in the opening paragraph. The current pair of words is non-neutral since it implies that the Latter-day Saint movement is Christian, which is a widely contested understanding. My formulation "Restorationist view of Christianity" was reverted, so I think a better phrase needs to be found. Sincerely, 14:51, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

Please review previous discussions regarding whether the Mormon church is Christian. --Kmsiever 14:56, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
Thank you, Kmsiever, I read it. But I can't help thinking that it's still non-NPOV. Couldn't we work on it a bit, trying to find a more neutral solution? WP cannot take a stand on such a controversial matter. -- 15:03, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
Just curious, but what is your definition of Christian? Evangelicals believe that if one accepts Jesus as the Christ and their personal Savior, one is saved. If Jesus extends being saved to those who accept him as their Lord and Savior, would that also qualify the indivdidual as a "Christian"? The Roman Catholic church teaches a very similar doctrine, but has a different view of works.
No where in any doctrine on Salvation in any Christian church, to my knowledge, does it define being saved as accepting specific doctrine. If accepting Jesus Christ as one's Lord and Savior , or being saved, makes one a Christian, then LDS are Christian.
However, I believe your point is that LDS are not part of Historic Christainity or that Christainity formalized after the Council of Nicea in 325 AD. That is the importance of calling it part of the restorationist movement. It views all of the creeds as the result of the of councils of men formulating the doctrines of men. The very fact that men voted is evidence of this. Previous to this time doctrine was never "voted" upon, or created by agreement, but rather it was the result of a prophet claiming, "thus saith the Lord".
Anon 82, you are correct that LDS are not part of Historic Christianity, but claiming a group, any group, is not Christian is of itself POV. I look forward to your thoughts. These conversations are fascinating and I appreciate your willingness to interact. Storm Rider (talk) 16:24, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
Storm Rider, thank you for your compliments. I guess it doesn't matter how I define "Christian"; the matter at hand is which questions are highly controversial and which are not, i.e. which statements about these questions are non-NPOV and which are not. By no means do I propose that the article should claim that LDS are not Christian! I am just reluctant to believe that it should claim the opposite either. When a reader finds such a controversial statement right in the beginning of an encyclopedic article, he/she may easily be reluctant to believe in the neutrality of the rest of the article.
My understanding is that although Christian denominations don't define salvation as accepting specific doctrine, they are very united in viewing the LDS church as a non-Christian religion (which is not the same as saying the LDS are outside salvation, or course). Although some denominations disagree about the administration and precise nature of baptism, it is generally understood as something performed upon a person who comes to Christ, i.e. a convert or revert to Christianity. I have never heard of denominations that do not baptize ex-LDS people who join them.
So in my view, since there are different opinions about the matter at hand, the article should use language that does not prefer one view over another, but expresses the meaning with words that everyone can agree with. If I understood correctly, in this case the meaning is: a movement that views itself as the restoration of original Christianity. Since that is quite short, I would propose the following as the opening phrase of the article: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, widely known as the "LDS Church" or the "Mormon Church", is the largest and most well-known denomination within the Latter Day Saint movement and views itself as the restoration of original Christianity (see Restorationism).
What do you think of this? In my opinion, that doesn't claim that Mormons are right or wrong; it only tells what their beliefs are. Sincerely, 22:48, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
Good questions and statements. I think you will find on the Mormonism and Christianity article several instances of the stance of several churches and their opinions of Mormon baptism. Incidentily, Mormons baptize "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost". Also, LDS don't accept the baptisms of any other church; even those that are part of the Latter Day Saint Movement.
Many churches do not feel Mormons are Christian. You will notice that they are really saying Mormons are not part of the historic Christian church, which Mormons freely admit. They do not descend from any 4th century church, but believe they are the restored church of Jesus Christ. Protestants are more adament that Mormons do not follow the Bible; but whose interpretation of the Bible is used as the standard? Is it the Catholic standard, in which case all Protestants are wrong on several points? Is it the Evangelical standard, in which case Catholics are not even Christian?
Do you think the article should be written from a standpoint of how others feel about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or do you think articles should be written from the perspective of the group. Is a group Christian because they claim to be Christian or because another, larger group says they are Christain? Who has the right to claim to be Christian?
I find it humorous when Protestants will state that all are saved if they accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior...except for Mormons and not only do they have to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior, but they have to also must believe certain other doctrines. It is the one area where the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ is insufficent. Is salvation possible for non-Christians? I know of no Christian church that believes that salvation is possible except for Christians. Logic would say if salvation is offered through Christ, then Mormons must be Christian.
Do you think it is acceptable to list these issues in a controvery section? If so, you will note that these issues are already covered in the Criticism and controversy section of this article. Even more importantly the first paragraph ends, "Thus, they consider themselves Christians, but not part of the Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant traditions". (I added the bold on consider for emphasis.
I believe WIKI requires balance. There are virtually a plethora of articles that list criticisms of the LDS church: Anti-Mormonism, Criticism of the Mormonism, Mormonism and Christianity, Controversies regarding The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Exmormonism. These are only those that come immediately to mind. I am not familiar with all articles on religion, but I am willing to guess that there will be few other religions with such a multitude of articles all centered on how other people view a church. Much of it is repetitious and wholly redundant, but they meet the needs of respective interests and they certainly meet the requirement of balance. I would submit that not only is this article balanced, but WIKI is balanced when it comes to Mormonism. Forgive the bit of rant; it is a pet peeve of mine and I am overly sensitive.
I look forward to more conversations and would enjoy answers to my questions. These types of conversations are very interesting to me, but I hope we don't stray too far. Cheers. Storm Rider (talk) 23:28, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

I think your proposal is good. Go for it. Storm Rider (talk) 23:31, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

Ok, it's there now (thanks to Pahora513). Thank you for cooperation. -- 10:21, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

"Consider themselves..."

This conversation is fascinating, even though some of it isn't directly related to the article. I'm not sure if most Christians make any essential difference between "Christianity" and "Historic Christianity" (as groups of people, not as concepts); when viewing Mormons as non-Christians, their reasons are surely based on the Mormon doctrines that differ from those expressed in the patristic and conciliar writings. I could imagine that you believe the same, but we seem to draw different conclusions from that. If I understood you correctly, you stated that they actually think Mormons are Christians but just different Christians. My understanding is that they really do think Mormons are non-Christians and base this view on the mentioned differences. Even if you or I were of the opinion that the differences are not such that would make Mormons non-Christians, it is a non sequitur to therefore conclude that the opinion is generally shared. Or more simply put, when they say "Mormons are not Christians, you know, they don't believe in the Trinity" I would be very hesitant to interpret it as "Ok, Mormons are Christians but they don't believe in the Trinity." More likely, the correct interpretation is "Mormons are not Christians precisely because they don't believe in the Trinity." But again, this is only my understanding of what is generally held.

When conversing in the context of WP, I find the whole concept of "the standard interpretation of the Bible" very difficult. The essence of the question is, what should the encyclopedia say if a group holds a self-understanding that has very little support from outside? At least not bluntly state the Mormon position as a fact. I could say that numbers do matter in the case of an overwhelming majority (this is in the WP instructions, if I remember correctly), but the case is special because the group disagreeing with the others is the one the whole matter is about. Therefore, the article shouldn't state the matter from a non-Mormon position as a fact either. It should only say who thinks what, and I think the opening paragraph is good now. It states the Mormon position, not as an uncontested fact, but as a position. The counterexample about the Roman Catholic Church is not applicable, in my view, because the percentage of people who view Roman Catholics as non-Christians is small.

My understanding of the Protestant (or generally Christian) view of Mormon faith is that they think that one doesn't believe in the same Jesus as they do, the Jesus of Nazareth, if one rejects the understanding of him as the man-God. I agree that it is not self-evident where they should draw the line, but on the other hand, it is understandable that the line is drawn somewhere. If they viewed the Mormon understanding of God as being within the boundaries of Christianity, the next question would be, what about Hindus who feel highly of Jesus and view him as one among millions of gods - are they Christians, too? I also think that most Christians do believe in the possible salvation of non-Christians - for instance, the Roman Catholic position is that they can be saved (by and through Christ) if they are outside the visible boundaries of Christianity without their own fault and if they follow the law written in every heart. This has quite little to do with the article, though.

I think the word "consider" doesn't entail any rejection of what is considered; it simply states it as a position. This is very apparent because the same clause can speak of considerations opposed to each other: "Harry considers the apple tree as his own; Barry, on the other hand, considers that he owns the apple tree." Neither position is either supported or rejected. They're just mentioned, neutrally and accurately. I would of course find it understandable if the article on Harry told Harry's understanding first and vice versa. -- 11:08, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

I think the issue with "consider themselves" is that other Christian denomination articles don't have "Roman Catholics consider themselves Christian," or "Baptists consider themselves Christian," or "Lutherans consider themselves Christian." Thus the language doesn't sound NPOV - only one denomination is pointed out as only considering themselves Christian.
As Storm Rider said - normally a Christian will say that all you need to be saved is to proclaim your faith in Jesus Christ and you will be saved. If you say I do - then they will start to argue that you don't believe in the same Jesus Christ. Then if you say, "Well I believe in the Jesus, the Son of God, that was born of the virgin Mary, whose birth was foretold, who lived at the meridian of time, suffered for the sins of every person, died on the cross, three days later was resurrected, and who provided the means by which everyone may have eternal life." Then they will start the trinity argument. Which, by the way, although settled today, was not such an obvious view of God. There were several councils of theologians who voted to determine the nature of God - and then proceeded to exile, and then kill those who professed a belief in the nature of God different than the pronouncement of the council. So the claim is that one can't be a Christian, a follower of Christ, if one has a disagreement over the nature of Christ (and God). Thus, if you don't believe in the trinity you are a heretic, and unlike those that are oustide the visible bounds of Christianity, can not be saved.
(See also: First Council of Nicaea, which established the 325 version of the Nicene Creed; First Council of Constantinople, which modified and confirmed the Nicean Cread as orthodox; Council of Ephesus which confirmed that Jesus was complete God and complete man(the later councils are also interesting reading); Servetus, executed for his On the Errors of the Trinity; Catherine LaCugna, a modern catholic who favored the persons description of the trinity; Specific teachings|Tertullian, whose description of the Nature of God significantly influenced the Nicean Creed; Origen, tortured to death after being labeled a heretic because of his trinity beliefs (but considered a Church Father by some); Nestorianism, a belief that tried to explain how the divine and human became Jesus - later labeled as heretical; ...)
If you read through the above you will see the attacks are the same - accuse those who understand the nature of God differently as heretics or today as not being Christian - but fortunately the result is different. (We have seperation of church and state so death is not a likely consequence.)
Since most members of the Church of Jesus Christ take a covenant at Baptism to be a "witness for Christ at all times, and in all things... even unto death"18:9 it is particularly irksome to be accused of not being Christian. I think that is why there is so much opposition to this - and the acceptance of members of the Church of Jesus Christ as Christian is unthinkable because that would imply that one would have to take the Book of Mormon, and the claims of continuous revelation seriously, instead of just dismissing them because the followers worship the wrong Christ. --Trödel 19:23, 2 August 2006 (UTC)
In my view, the essential difference between "Mormons consider themselves Christian" and "Roman Catholics consider themselves Christian" is that an overwhelming majority of self-described Christians disagree with Mormons but agree with Roman Catholics.
It is correct that the doctrine of Trinity was not settled as a dogma until centuries after Christ. Different denominations have different views concerning this - e.g. Roman Catholics believe the Ecumenical Councils really did have authority to decide on dogmas, whereas Lutherans would say their decisions are binding insofar as they represent the truth of the Bible. But I think both would agree that the core of the doctrine of Trinity, i.e. that there is only one God who is the Father, the Son (who is also human) and the Holy Spirit, has been a binding Christian belief since the days of Christ, and that even in the days before the councils, one could not have rejected it without rejecting Christianity altogether.
"Heresy" is a term referring to any false belief held by a self-described Christian; it takes no stand on whether the heretic is really a Christian or not. Concerning the salvation of heretics I believe your understanding is incorrect; the concept of the possible salvation of non-Christians is also applied to the salvation of the non-orthodox, i.e. heretics.
Sorry, new ip. -- 12:20, 3 August 2006 (UTC)
You should consider registering so that you can use the same username, regardless of where you are located. wrp103 (Bill Pringle) 13:13, 3 August 2006 (UTC)
Yes, you're absolutely right. Perhaps I can determine after this discussion whether I'm staying or not. -- 19:12, 3 August 2006 (UTC)
Then the proper terminology would be somthing like "Roman Catholics are popularly considered christian..." or something like that to be NPOV; however, I gave the analogy not to say that those articles should be changed but that we should stick to a standard of what a Christian is - someone who professes a belief in Jesus as the Messiah and follows his teachings - rather than trying to define in an NPOV manner which groups are Christian and which ones are not - as I don't think it can be done. I think this approach is consistent with the definition of the term, not popularity.
I would view a heresy as any belief that a specific denomination believes is false, and a heretic one who believes the heresy. As what is false belief - who is to define false versus true. Denominations can determine what is doctrine/orthodox for them and label other beliefs as heresy - but there is really no way to define a universal heresy.
Thus, although the acceptance of the Trinity may be well settled now, that IMHO, is more due to the elimination of those with other beliefs about the nature of God by killing them, than because it is a universal truth.
Finally, the above references provide information re those that believed something other than how you describe the Trinity - i.e. there were subtle differences in the belief about God. For example:
  • Origen Logos is subordinate to God and not "of the same substance with the Father" and Christ was as an incarnation of the Logos, where the resurection meant that the mortal body of Jesus was transformed by God into an ethereal and divine body. Thus Jesus on earth was an image of God. This doctrine, his belief in pre-mortal existance of souls, and universal salvation got him labeled as a heretic, tortured and killed.
  • Tertullian "These three are one substance, not one person; and it is said, 'I and my Father are one' in respect not of the singularity of number but the unity of the substance." The very names "Father" and "Son" indicate the distinction of personality. The Father is one, the Son is one, and the Spirit is one (Adv. Praxeam, ix.).
  • Nestorius Jesus existed as two persons, the man Jesus and the divine Son of God, or Logos, rather than as a unified person.
  • Eusebius Who defined God as the cause of all beings, the highest God to whom Christ is subject as the second God. Christ is the only really good creature, and possesses the image of God and is a ray of the eternal light; but the figure of the ray is so limited by Eusebius that he expressly emphasizes the self-existence of Jesus. Killed as part of the eradicatin of Arianism.
These are all different than the creed, some more subtly than others, but they are all considered Christian.
By the way, I would love to see some references re the catholic redemption of non-Christians and heretics, as I have heard that before but never seen a authoritative source for it. --Trödel 14:31, 3 August 2006 (UTC)
I disagree with your first clause; massive consensus agreeing with the self-understanding of the group is enough for determining whether an encyclopedic article can call a group Christian or non-Christian. In the case of massive disagreement with the self-understanding, qualifications are required. But again, this is only my opinion. As I said, the problem with the objective criteria is that there are always people who consider themselves followers of Jesus in the way they believe Jesus intended; many Hindus, for example. So it only prompts us to define the definition, and so on ad absurdum. Moreover, we cannot ignore how people define Christianity or "following Christ", even if the definition is non-NPOV.
I agree with your definition of heresy, but my point is there is no reason to presuppose that all heretics are Christians; I think we agree that there are heresies that can exclude the heretic from Christianity. But this doesn't necessarily agree with the self-understanding of that person. However, calling a false belief of a self-described non-Christian a heresy is just absurd; he doesn't claim to be following Christ, therefore it doesn't matter whether his specific beliefs are true or false.
And I'm well aware of the doctrinal quarrels of the first millennium (Origen's name is written with an e, btw; just being accurate). I'm not sure if all of those heresies would be classified as being within the scope of Christianity (they're "Christian heresies" sure, but that's because of the self-described Christianity of the adherents). Adherents of some heresies were baptized, those of others (less severe) were not.
See which cites the Catechism which in turn cites the Second Vatican Councils (it could cite e.g. Saint Thomas of Aquinas or Pope Pius XII too). -- 19:12, 3 August 2006 (UTC)
I agree that not all heretics are Christians - my point is that one can call a self-described Christian an heretic but that doesn't change whether or not he is Christian. In the example you give, a Hindu who follows Christ in his own way, will not (in my acknowledged limited experience) call herself Christian.
While I agree that on wikipedia concensus trumps even known truth - i.e. if we can reach a concensus that π = 3.14 exactly - that is what the article would say regardless of the truth; so, the need here is to find some way to phrase this concept that can reach concensus. --Trödel 21:04, 3 August 2006 (UTC)
What I didn't understand is, do we agree that not all self-described Christians are actually Christians, or do you disagree with that statement? Surely there can be self-described Christians with beliefs just as far as Hinduism from what you or I would perceive as Christianity.
Well, if a majority of mathematicians would agree that constant x = 2, it would be very hard to state something else without mentioning the disagreement; and if the article said "x = 1 although most mathematicians believe otherwise" if would be quite the same as saying "most mathematicians believe x = 2 but they're wrong". That's non-NPOV if anything. You would agree that the article should tell about the different positions without lifting one over another, wouldn't you, instead of artificially defining something that most mathematicians don't agree with and then calling it an "objective" definition? Surely there is a definition for "Christian" or "follower of Jesus" that most self-described Christians would agree with. But that definition excludes Mormons; and if you simplify it to just being a self-described Christian, the definition lacks consensus. -- 04:17, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
Sorry for the strained math example. I do think that anyone who self-describes as a Christian is a Christian - basically, I can not think of a counter example - a self-professed Christian who is not a Christian - now that is a very strangely cosntructed sentence. --Trödel 13:21, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
Well, if "Christian" means "follower of Christ" then anyone who says he is following Christ is also in practice calling himself a Christian. Many Hindus do, for example. -- 20:17, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

We are getting a little further afield on this question; let's bring it back to the question as it relates to the LDS church. LDS prefer a 1st century definition of Christian. If one accepts Jesus Christ as the Son of God, that he lived, was crucified, made the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and rose the 3rd day and now sits on the right hand of the Father; then one is Christian. This would fit some of the definitions that Trödel has stated above and.

Some Historic Christian churches have added another layer in order to define Christian: not only must you believe in Jesus in the manner stated above, but you must also accept certain additional 4th century beliefs i.e. the Nicene Creed. Those who accept this doctrine are rightly called part of the Historic Christian churches. LDS and others do not share in this genesis and are appropriately identified as such.

Being Christian does not require being part of Historic Christianity, being Christian means one believes in Jesus as the Christ. The problems develops when Historic Christian churches attempt to claim ownership of the term Christian. They are quite capable of saying "you are not part of us" or "you are not part of mainstream Christianity". However, I am loathe to reject any individual's claim they are Christian.

Your example above seems rather extreme. Is one Christian if one simply follows the teachings of Jesus? Many of our Christian brothers and sisters seem to doubt the divinity of Jesus Christ. At times I am thrown to feel that the label of Christian is not merited if one thinks Jesus was simply a good teacher, a bodhisattva, a philospher, or a prophet, etc. I want to make the standard higher; that they must accept him as the Son of God. However, I think when I do that I create possible distinctions where none should be. I think Christian should be an inclusive term. If we are to make distinctions it would have to be in beliefs. Accepting Jesus as the Christ is not the end of a journey, but it is the beginning of one. When then must strive to emulate His example and teachings. It is at the end that we wish to hear, "Well done thou good and faithful servant". Storm Rider (talk) 04:55, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

From the viewpoint of what you call Historic Christianity, it is oversimplification to say that "the 1st century definition" of Christianity included nothing more than the acknowledgement of Jesus as the Son of God who was crucified for the sins of humankind and resurrected. Explicit metaphysical definitions rose much later, definitely; but as I previously stated, their essence - especially consciousness of Jesus as God Almighty - was already there in the faith of the 1st century church. And again, disagreements exist between Protestants and others concerning whether church councils actually add a binging layer or explicit beliefs or just describe an already existing one.
I think all self-described Christians agree that Christianity is belief in Jesus as the Christ, but that only rises the question, what does that mean? The last part of your comment is especially interesting, but I didn't understand the words "it would have to be in beliefs". Could you clarify that, please? -- 05:06, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
There was a widespread acknowledgement that Jesus was the Messiah and the Son of God, but what does that mean? The Jews were waiting for a Messiah, but there was no expectation that the Messiah was also going to be God. The Messiah was expected to be a man who was able to save Israel. He was God's annointed, but wasn't expected to be God himself. Paul was the one who introduced suggestions that Jesus was also God. You can find statements by Jesus that he was God, but it isn't clear (to me, anyway) that many fully understood and appreciated that. wrp103 (Bill Pringle) 12:47, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Storm Rider that when we start to try to define what "Jesus is the Christ (Messiah)" means - and who meets that definition and who doesn't - we are getting into trouble (NPOV that is). Because then we are trying to assert what the "truth" is about "Jesus is the Christ" and then labeling groups as meeting that truth or not - but we aren't here at Wikipedia to assert truth but to assert views in a neutral way. The definition of Christian is one who professes a belief that Jesus is the Christ, members of the Church of Jesus Christ profess a belief that Jesus is the Christ; therefore they are Christian. --Trödel 13:21, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
Ok, then e.g. many Hindus are Christians too. -- 20:17, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
Except they do not self describe as Christians... --Trödel 02:43, 5 August 2006 (UTC)
I don't find that important since it's just a custom that evolved in Antioch. Were the apostles Christians before the word came up? Yes. The bottom line is that many Hindus profess belief in Jesus and consider themselves followers of Jesus in the way they believe Jesus intended. You cannot claim to be a follower of Christ or a believer of Christ without simultaneously claiming to be a Christian. The attempt to define the word as simply "self-described follower of Christ" or "one who professes belief in Christ" does not meet your ends (i.e. getting a definition that includes Mormons but excludes Hindus). On the other hand, if you make further conditions for the profession to be qualified as Christian, there is no difference between that and what the mainstream denominations do. -- 06:25, 5 August 2006 (UTC)
Except I never proposed that definition - I proposed the definition that it was one who professes a belief that Jesus is the Christ (meaning the Messiah) ∴ Christian - they can follow Jesus as an incarnation of one of the Hindu trinity or as another avatar - and if they want to call themselves Christian - that would be fine with me. --Trödel 15:16, 5 August 2006 (UTC)
We tend to see the same problem over and over again, Trödel: that of definition. It would not be hard to integrate the Messianic concept in Hinduism or some other very diverse religion (I would not be surprised if that already has been done). I agree that the etymology is the best argument for the Jesus=Christ condition; besides that, the Bible only talks about "the disciples", which could mean anything - but I think so can "Messiah" (or "Anointed One") mean just about anything. I thank you very much for the last part of your comment, I find it logical and worth thinking. -- 15:26, 5 August 2006 (UTC)
Personally, I have no trouble with somebody calling themselves Christian, based on any criteria. I also have no problem with somebody calling themselves not Christian, regardless of what I think of them. I don't mind somebody calling someone else Christian, as long as the other person doesn't object. What I have a problem with, however, is somebody calling someone else not a Christian, if the other claims to be one.
In most cases, when somebody tries to draw up criteria for classifying others as Christian or not, it becomes very subjective. On one extreme (and my brother is one of these), the definition becomes "if somebody believes what I believe, they are Christian." The more liberal version is "if somebody believes what I believe on what I think are the important points, they are Christian." I reject any such effort. Christians are told not to judge one another. Further, from parables we learn that in the last days there will be a group of people who think they are Christian, but will be rejected by Jesus, saying he doesn't know them.
For that reason, I avoid passing judgement on who is and who is not a Christian. I have my doubts about certain people who claim to be Christian but act in a way that I believe is contradictory, but that is up to the Lord to decide. Not me. wrp103 (Bill Pringle) 16:41, 5 August 2006 (UTC)
Can I make a suggestion? I have seen a lot said about whether Mormons are Christian or not, and it seems pretty clear that the ones claiming they are not Christian are debating based on their own Christian beliefs. I think the best way to look at an issue like this in a NPOV way is to see it from the perspective of someone outside of Christianity, say a Budhist, Hindu, Muslim, Athiest, etc. For example. "Mormons are not Christian because they believe X about Jesus" is completely irrelivant to an Athiest who doesn't care if you believe that Jesus is purple. It just doesn't matter in the definition of a Christian. All the little points (and I know you all think they are big) just don't matter a hill of beans to an outside observer. This article isn't here to prove or disprove the truth of the LDS Church. It is here to inform the uninformed. So try to write as if you are a Muslim explaining things to a Hindu or a Budhist explaining things to an Athiest. I think, by the way, that they would all classify Mormons as Christian. That's all. Bytebear 00:44, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

"the Latter-day Saint movement is Christian, which is a widely contested understanding."

I'm amazed at how so many who rely so heavily on the words and writings of others claim we Mormons are not Christians. Call me crazy, but my definition of being "Christian" implies that one follows the teachings of Jesus Christ. Christ is at the center of this Church. No one has a greater love and reverence for the Savior than do the members of "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints." It is His Church and in fact is named after Him. The Book of Mormon testifies of Him in numerous ways. It is in fact a second witness that HE lives. This is why we don't use the symbolism of the cross in our buildings. It is because we worship the LIVING Christ and not the one who died on the cross. The Book of Mormon explicitly teaches of Jesus Christ and of His mission here in the Western Hemisphere. It is in His sacred name that we do all that we do, including prayer and the performing of various ordinances. We open and close our meetings in his name. It is in His name that we bless our families and friends. It is in His name that many thousands of our members, young and old, at personal expense and without compensation, embark on missions to spread His message around the world. Their only reward is the joy of bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ into the lives of those we come to know. All that we do is in hope of someday being reunited with Him and once again living in His presence. Spyneyes 02:21, 1 September 2006 (UTC)

Do we really have to get into this again? And Spyneyes, while I agree with you, let's not open up this can of worms yet again. Why don't we all have a nice cup of tea (or for those of us of the Latter-day Saint persuasion, a nice cup of hot chocolate) and forget about this. We wouldn't want to cause poor Storm Rider an ulcer or Bill Pringle a stroke with the reopening of this discussion/argument/unnecessary discussion. And people, if we do open this up again (which I will pray we don't), let's be civil. I'm sure all of us would appreciate that. Pahoran513 05:52, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
I'd address you personally, whoever wrote the following, but you haven't bothered with a user page, something that I generally frown on. "Although some denominations disagree about the administration and precise nature of baptism, it is generally understood as something performed upon a person who comes to Christ, i.e. a convert or revert to Christianity. I have never heard of denominations that do not baptize ex-LDS people who join them." I fail to see what relevance that has, as there are numerous Christian sects which do not accept baptism when performed by a different Christian denomination. Perhaps the best well known example is the Catholic church. Just as many Christian denominations fight over exactly whether the wafer is changed just before the priest says some words or while he saying those words or just after those words, many Christian denominations fight over whether baptisms of other sects are valid or not. Banaticus 22:53, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
There is a very interesting argument made on this matter called "If all Mormons are Christians then all Christians are Mormons" CyberAnth 05:49, 3 October 2006 (UTC)


It seems to me that the this LDS article is a good example of the weakeness of Wikipedia as a whole. This article has turned pretty much into an official sanitized description of the LDS faith and not an neutral one. Even the "Criticism and Controversy" section has turned more into a defense of any criticism than an explantion of the crisiticism themselves. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

We have had a number of non-LDS people contribute to this article, and help balance the POV/NPOV issue. You are likewise encouraged to assist in making this a better article. The goal that we have tried for is NPOV text, not a balance of POV opinions. wrp103 (Bill Pringle) 16:52, 5 August 2006 (UTC)
I guess what I'm saying it doesn't seem like a NPOV text. It seems like the official view including the controversy and criticism section which defends each criticsm with more strength than the description of the criticism itself. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) .
I just reviewed that section. It seem to me that it identifies the areas of criticism and references articles that go into more depth. That seems pretty NPOV. Perhaps you could give an example of what you think an entry should be? wrp103 (Bill Pringle) 01:40, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
I just wandered into this article for a read and must admit that most of it about made me puke. "An official sanitized description of the LDS faith" about perfectly sums up the bulk of the article. The Wikipedia:Manual of Style (Latter Day Saints) certainly contributes to this. Because of their acculturation/socialization, I frankly do not beleive that LDS adherents are fully capable of even detecting what NPOV is on this subject. I wish articles like this could be removed from community editing, given to one religious studies scholar outside of LDS to write, and then left alone except for periodic updates. I would add a Nuetrality Disputed tag to this article but, because of what I have described, I know that it would only be a loosing battle. CyberAnth 19:43, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
I brought up the problem in my nomination for COTM, which I added about a minute before your post. --Lethargy 19:51, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
Update: How does the Manual of Style contribute to a NPOV violation? --Lethargy 19:55, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
I think it contributes by promoting "official sanitized descriptions." "For members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 'Latter-day Saints', 'members of the church', 'LDS Church members', or simply 'church members' in context is preferred. Use "LDS" as a second reference. All NPOV religious studies scholars I have read use the much more NPOV term adherents. This change would be only a small start. Thanks for listening. CyberAnth 03:21, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
While I agree that this article needs some attention - to call members of a religion adherents is to not use a sympethetic tone, and is not at all the standard on any other wikipedia article regarding religious denominations. --Trödel 03:38, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
Wikipedia has no other special in-policy naming convention or Manual of Style that is standard for any other religious denomination. LDS is the only one. See Wikipedia:Manual of Style#Submanuals.
Some examples:
Anglicanism - uses "adherents"
Bahá'í Faith - uses "adherents"
Buddhists - uses "adherents"
Chinese folk religion - uses "adherents"
Christianity - uses "adherents"
Calvinists - uses "adherents"
Eastern Orthodox Church - uses "adherents"
Islam - uses "adherents" (I also saw "followers" used, which I think is another good word to convey NPOV).
Judaism - uses "adherents"
Pentecostalism - uses "adherents"
Rastafari - uses "adherents"
Scientology - uses "adherents" (including in the cite of the court case that determined it was a protected religion)
Shinto - uses "adherents"
Spiritism - uses "adherents"
Unitarian Universalism - uses "followers"
"Members" can be appropriate in sentances such as "church officials claim [number] as members", when quoting, and as a balanced synonym to "adherents" or "followers", for example.
The point is to use language to convey NPOV, not to either discriminate or give special favor. Currently, the plastic-sounding naming uniformity helps contribute to this article's overall strong tone of sterilized officialdom from POV insiders.
Moreover, I would argue that the enforced naming convention may have a chilling effect on non-insiders who might otherwise wish to write on LDS subjects from NPOV. They see the policy and say to themselves forget it before they even start. It has that effect on me, for example, so it is not much of a stretch to see how it may have the same effect on others.
Wikipedia simply is not the place for LDS church officials to reach in through followers and stipulate its official language usage dictums. It is the place where standard academic language usage as applied across all religious movements should be used. To do otherwise is itself to contribute to POV in what results.
CyberAnth 07:51, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
If you will read the naming conventions carefully - you will see that there are many purposes. For example, one item was to be sure to treat the smaller denominations neutrally, rather than overpower them with the CJC. And the regular editors here spend much of their time trying to make sure the more zealous editors (especially the IP editors) keep a neutral tone and properly write about the different denominations. Additionally, there is an effort to make sure that there are clear distinctions so that when someone goes to an encyclopedic article looking for information, it is clear, for example, that Warren Jeffs belongs to group that has roots in 18th century Mormonism, but is not the same group that the Mormon next door belongs to.
Most of the references above are to religiuos movements, where it makes sense to talk about adherents. I admit some are denominations, but it makes more sense to use members here, as members is a clearly defined group (children under age 9 for whom at least one parent is a member that has requested that the child be listed as a member plus every person who has been baptised(one must be 8 or older to be baptized) but hasn't formally requested that their name be removed from the records). Whereas an adherent is "a believer in or advocate especially of a particular idea or church" which is not as accurate when describing the actions of members of a specific denomination, especially one that has smaller denominations that advocate similar ideas, but are not members of the LDS Church.
And is especially not accurate when you consider that approximately 40-45% of members are not active - so are they still adherents - i.e. do they still believe in or advocate for the LDS Church but not go to church, or do they not believe but find the requirement of formally requesting removal too troublesome to bother, or is their life just too busy that, if asked, they aren't sure if they are still adherents or not. 13:57, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
Trödel, are you an LDS adherent? CyberAnth 17:54, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
Not sure what you mean by LDS adherent, so I can't say. Do you mean a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of LDS? Do you mean a member of the CJCLDS who also adheres to the beliefs? Do you mean an adherent of the Latter Day Saint movement. Do you mean a member of the Fundamentalist CJC of LDS? ... --Trödel18:39, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
I'm not sure that the manual of style has any kind of chilling effect on the editors. Actually, I've been contributing to these articles for some time now, and wasn't even aware of the guide (and if I had been, I probably wouldn't have read it). So, at least for me, it hasn't had a chilling effect. ;^)
The wiki standard quoted above seems to support the use of members:
"Members" can be appropriate in sentances such as "church officials claim [number] as members", when quoting, and as a balanced synonym to "adherents" or "followers", for example.
It calls "members" a balanced synonym to "adherents" or "followers". So, I'm still not sure how using a standard set of conventions can affect the NPOV/POV aspects of an article. wrp103 (Bill Pringle) 19:03, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
The naming is official church naming, not scholarly or conventional trans-denominational naming. See CyberAnth 23:08, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
This article still reads like a poster child of POV Pushing WP:POVPUSH. CyberAnth 01:10, 8 October 2006 (UTC)
There's already a whole Anti-mormon article. What would you suggest to make this more balanced without being redundant? --Masamage 01:43, 8 October 2006 (UTC)
And now you have an example of how POV Pushing works. CyberAnth 02:36, 8 October 2006 (UTC)
I don't understand. Do you mean the Anti-mormon article is POV-pushing, or do you mean that it's POV-pushing for me to ask you for your input? --Masamage 01:08, 9 October 2006 (UTC)

Major Beliefs Section

I was just looking at the major beliefs section, and it is my prominent belief (get it) that it would be better in a different order. I propose the following order:

1-First Principles, with all of its sub headings in their current order
2-Plan of Salvation
6-Church Leadership

I believe that this order is more conducive to the precedence that Church members place on their beliefs, as is evidenced by the order of the missionary lessons (Plan of Salvation second) and discussion during Sunday School, along with sacrament meeting talks. We rarely have a talk on the Godhead's composition during sacrament meeting, but talks on the Plan of Salvation, the Book of Mormon, and each of the 1st principles, are much more prevalent. Likewise, testimonies concerning the nature of the Godhead are rarely borne, but testimonies on the value of faith, the Book of Mormon, and Priesthood power are frequent. The order which I proposed, I feel, is clearly more adequate than the current one to express this. Any objections or agreements? This is a rather major change, so discussion would be nice. --Pahoran513 17:40, 5 August 2006 (UTC)

The above order seems fine to me. wrp103 (Bill Pringle) 22:33, 5 August 2006 (UTC)
I think agency deserves its own section in that list. --Lethargy 05:42, 8 August 2006 (UTC)
Excellent. Would you write it? --Pahoran513 16:08, 8 August 2006 (UTC)
No promises, but perhaps I could work on something... --Lethargy 22:32, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

There. I did it. --Pahoran513 17:00, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

New Article on Spirit/Holy Ghost/Light of Christ/Intelligences

I am proposing that the Animals in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints be merged into a yet to be created, and named, article that would cover the following subjects:

  1. Intelligences
  2. Spirit bodies
  3. Light of Chirst
  4. Holy Ghost
  5. Teaching that flow from above:
    1. Acquiring knowledge/truth spiritually
    2. All men have ability to discern truth
    3. Animals have spirits too - and we should respect them - Animals article merge
    4. others stuff...

The article could pull together some info from the following articles: Holy Spirit#Non-Trinitarian Christian views, Pre-existence#Pre-mortal existence in Mormonism, Godhead (Mormonism), Plan of salvation, First War in Heaven, Animals, etc. Light of Christ could also be merged and redirected to the new article.

This would be a more coherent presentation of the theology and its implications. It would also allow sections on the related topics in the Mormonism articles - or in the non Latter Day Saint movement related articles to be summarized more succinctly while pointing those interested to a full treatment of the information. Comments, thoughts? Help on a name would be especially helpful (see also: Talk:Animals in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints#New merge target) --Trödel 19:24, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Sounds like a good idea to me. How about "Spirituality (Mormonism)" for a title? wrp103 (Bill Pringle) 19:35, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Hmmm - I was thinking of an article that would be specific to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - that way we can summarize on the Mormonism articles some - which has the benefit that the CJC would not dominate those articles in a words/article sense. It has the additional benefit of being able to pull all related info into a coherent theology, being able to be specific rather than general (as in most Mormonism articles), and the source material for other groups within Mormonism - at least from my research - was sparse. --<font color="Trödel 20:06, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
An LDS-specific article is fine, but I'd really like to see an article that reviews multiple religious treatments on the significance of animals in relation to the human family. CS Lewis wrote a fascinating essay titled "Animal Pain" compiled in "The Problem of Pain" (ISBN:0006280935/0805420495). Potential issues that could be addressed in a general religion perspective article may be the significance of animal sacrifice, dietary and food preparation customs, animals as deity (literal or metaphorical scriptural presentation and varying religious interpretations; mythological importance and its influence upon religion and culture), among other issues. I'm not launching an objection to your proposal, Trödel, but I think we could take this idea one notch higher that could serve your proposal better in the long run. A premature disentanglement from other Christian/religious perspectives may have people thinking this may yet be another visit to the strange world of LDS peculiarity. A general religion article on animals may be a little more solidified as a root concept, and thus may not have as many merge proposals because it could bring users interested in the topic together from multiple religions to describe their perspectives. The general quality of such an article would most likely reach a larger audience and probably be of better quality simply due to magnitute of traffic on its discussion page. LDS perspectives could certainly be represented there briefly and also internally linked to page you propose. Piewalker 19:32, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
I like your suggestion also - I think both would make good articles. --Trödel 00:18, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

New Article

In the archives there was talk about shortening this article by creating a new article about the Culture of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I went ahead and created it. However, it is mostly just a copy and paste from this article with a brief introduction added. Please contribute to it. --Pahoran513 04:58, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

Financial prosperity of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

I am suggesting that the above article be merged with the main LDS article. It is little more than a paragraph critical of the church Tithing program and looks more like a blurb on corporate Mormonism than a legitimate article. Bytebear 18:57, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

That is fine by me, though I wonder where you will add it; we are trying to reduce the size of this article (or at least keep it from growing). But overall the concept is good (but the Financial article will have to be re-written for redundancy). Pahoran513 23:56, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

Regarding the suggestion to merge this article with "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints", I believe it should not be merged.

My reasoning: a) I feel the article is not written well, or at the very least is incomplete and unbalanced; b) I also feel some readers could regard it as somewhat inflammatory.

Perhaps if there were also articles titled "The Financial Properity of The Roman Catholic Church/Baptist Church/Methodist Church" etc., then this article could well be in order. (Ok, I didn't actually look to see if their were such articles, but I'm guessing there aren't any. Am I right?) --BigMack 20:04, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

We should definitely merge the article into the "finances" section of this page, to the extent it is not redundant. Branch-off articles are supposed to be larger than the summaries that replace them. The time for a branch-off is not ripe. COGDEN 06:44, 4 September 2006 (UTC)

Church Leadership and the Priesthood

Regarding the sentence: "They work full-time for the Church, and those who need it receive a stipend from the Church"

I'm not sure this statement is correct. It's my understanding that church leaders are reimbursed for expenses only, like travel expenses. --BigMack 20:27, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

I agree. There needs to be NPOV citations. It has been a clear anti-mormon POV that there IS a paid ministry in the church, but this simply is not comparable to other churches where ministers or Catholic priests choose their callings as a career. It should be presented that although the LDS leadership is called full time for life, it is not a career, and that they have in most if not all cases already retired from their full time careers and are sustained by their own retirement funds. Bytebear 01:42, 4 September 2006 (UTC)

Membership numbers revisited

I saw the following article in the Des News that discusses membership statistics [1] of scientology. Intereesting that the LDS church gets beat up for having incorrect statistics by Anti-Mormons (in fact, their membership numbers are probably the most accurate according to stark and others), however, when you look at the following statement it is consistent with the southern baptist's definition and american penecostal assn definiation. Seems that catholicism and mormons actually define based on baptism/confirmation stats (and a few others). Hmmm. here's the statement:

"He said membership numbers come from those "on a current mailing list and who participate in various events through the year. They don't participate necessarily on a daily basis. I think the statistics are consistent with how other faiths monitor their membership, and if anything they may be a little low."" (Bob Adams of the Church of Scientology).

In otherwords, if we used that definition, anyone who is a repeat caller to get the latest "family first" video or has visited a family history library more than once, or attended a sacrament meeting, would be considered part of the LDS church. -Visorstuff 18:30, 11 September 2006 (UTC)

The following discussion is an archived debate of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the debate was PAGE MOVED per discussion below. -GTBacchus(talk) 08:59, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

Requested move

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints → The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – Per Wikipedia's guidelines, this needs to be moved. As with The Nature Conservancy, the "The" is part of the name, which they specifically request be used.[2] --Lethargy 19:56, 20 September 2006 (UTC)


Add "* Support" or "* Oppose" followed by a brief explanation, then sign your opinion with ~~~~

  • Support. I'm actually inclined to oppose simply for reasons of simplicity in linking to the article as far as Wiki formatting goes, but it does seem that the "The" is important as can be seen in various points made in the previous move discussion. Sometimes simplicity needs to take a back seat to accuracy. Kafziel 20:07, 20 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Support. I agree that it should be moved. wrp103 (Bill Pringle) 20:45, 20 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Strong support. Simplicity is what redirects are for, after all. :) --Masamage 23:23, 20 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Support. I agree that it should be moved with a redirect from it's current location. --Sue Anne 23:28, 20 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Support there seems to be more flexibility with starting articles with "The" so the precedent is there - we should use the legal name --Trödel 02:07, 21 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I just don't like unanimity! :D. It's been here without the "The" for quite a while and doesn't seem to have caused any problems. Novel-Technology 22:19, 21 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Support I agree it should be moved. It's the official name of the church. Pahoran513 23:33, 21 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Support: It is the official name of the church, so the article name should reflect it. Val42 01:01, 24 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Support -- In my opinion, every organization and individual have the right to determine the name that they'll be known as. We'll just put in a redirect from "Church of..." to "The Church of..." Banaticus 23:03, 25 September 2006 (UTC)


Add any additional comments

  • Previous move discussion (no consensus reached): [3]
  • I think having the article where it currently is may be somewhat misleading, causing many articles I have come across to drop the "The" from the name. At least if the article were moved people might notice the redirect and use the proper name, rather than "the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" --Lethargy 02:28, 21 September 2006 (UTC)
    • If consensus is reached, I would recommend changing as many articles as possible to link directly to the new title. Articles generally shouldn't be edited to fix redirects, but in this case the capitalization is incorrect so it's okay to do it. Kafziel 11:52, 21 September 2006 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

"Members believe..."

There are an awful lot of statements in this article beginning with "members believe...". Something about these statements bothers me. Perhaps it is because in order to back up these statements we would need to cite church officials or doctrine, rather than members. Perhaps it would look better with "the Church teaches..."?

Whatever the reason, something about these statements smells a little fishy... or weaselly. Comments? --Lethargy 02:19, 21 September 2006 (UTC)

The reason "Members believe" is often used is because of "Members" writing the articles. I believe therfore "Members believe" (and they might be right). I very much agree with both of your statements. I do think "Church teaches..." should also have citations. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Impending (talkcontribs) 11:59, 26 September 2006

There are situations where members believe, but the Church doesn't teach, so there can be differences. There is a considerable culture that has grown up among members of the church that is often confused with church teachings. For example, the Stake Presidency in my stake believes that priesthood leaders should wear white shirts and ties (as opposed to other colors). There is no church teaching that supports this position, but it is a common belief, just the same. If you look at General Conference, you won't see many non-white shirts, but you also can't find any church teaching that states that only white shirts should be worn. wrp103 (Bill Pringle) 13:42, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

In that case, it wouldn't be "members believe", it would probably have to be "the Stake Presidency of the blah blah blah stake gives the following advice about white shirts: "blah blah blah" followed by a citation, which you probably couldn't find in that case. Of course, we also aren't writing about that stake, but about the Church as a whole, so I'm not sure that would even be worthy of mentioning. Also, unless I am mistaken, the Stake Presidency is allowed to make decisions they feel are good (I could have used a better word, but my brain seems to have partially shut down today) for their stakes, but aren't necessarily covered by statements by church leaders. --Lethargy 20:11, 26 September 2006 (UTC)
I wasn't suggesting that specific example, but rather than many members believe they should be wearing white shirts and a tie, even though there is no church teaching to that effect. wrp103 (Bill Pringle) 22:25, 26 September 2006 (UTC)
Right, but in any event, how do we go about verifying what members believe? We need to stick to what we can actually verify with reliable sources, rather than our personal experiences (original research). --Lethargy 22:37, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

Lethargy is right OR maybe you should add the "white shirts" angle to this page and all the other Mormon pages. VERIFICATION seems to be missing from all of these pages.Impending 04:14, 28 September 2006 (UTC)


The first paragraph of the History section is causing me trouble. The entire paragraph is what LDS believes is the case, not what is generally accepted. I hate the style of writing where we have to say "according to the LDS" in every sentence, but I can see that there might be confusion. I'm going to try something to make it more explicit. DJ Clayworth 20:01, 24 September 2006 (UTC)

Feel free to revise. But, I would have as much problem with what is "generally accepted" as others would with "what LDS believes." So, please have your "general" sources lined up to support revision. Best wishes. WBardwin 17:54, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

Page move, redirects

I just did the page move as requested. I checked, and you've got over 1500 links coming in now through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints redirect. I'll bet a bot could fix all of those. There are a few more redirects, though I think I snapped all the doubles. None of them except that big one has more than a hundred incoming links or so, and most have none at all.

Also, I found this page: -Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints-, which is a disambiguation page. Maybe some of those redirects should be pointed at it? I don't know. -GTBacchus(talk) 09:58, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

Update: I've filed a bot request here. -GTBacchus(talk) 01:33, 28 September 2006 (UTC)
My bot is currently working on the issue. I'm going to fix all mainspace (not talk) redirects. Hope that helps, Alphachimp 03:08, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

Criticism and controversy section sources

There are a lot of entries in this section that have been tagged as needing citations, but more than that some don't even mention why they are controversial, and others contain weasel words. A few of those that have particular problems which cannot be addressed with {{who}} or {{fact}} include:

I shouldn't need to read his book to hear what his criticism was.
  • Women cannot be ordained to priesthood offices.
What specific problems has this caused?
What criticism have these attracted?
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints officially ended the practice of polygamy with the 1890 Manifesto and, since 1904, has excommunicated members known to practice polygamy and prohibited polygamists from joining the Church. However, references to polygamy remain in LDS scriptures, such as Doctrines & Covenants 132.
Has this angered some

"On June 9, 1978, a new revelation was announced, permitting all "worthy" males to receive the Priesthood."

Somewhere in Wikipedia's manual of style it states that you should not place quotes around words, as we have done with "worthy". This obviously implies that we have a problem with the statement. Perhaps we could just provide an actual quote? --Lethargy 16:37, 28 September 2006 (UTC)
I completely agree. Also, I've removed the conjecture about not being able to be a state that was popularized by western historian Dale Morgan. This was his opinion. Wilford Woodruff said, "I should have let all the temples go out of our hands I should have gone to prison myself...had not the God of heaven commanded me to do what I did." I think that the Mormons had a history of civil disobedience for items that went against their belief, and to say that they wanted statehood more than to obey what they saw as God's law is laughable when you think about mormon history. Pure speculation. I'll try to fix some of these this morning. -Visorstuff 16:53, 28 September 2006 (UTC)
Actually, I had a few edit conflicts while trying to add some tags to the C&C section earlier, I noticed you were working on it :). I think I've tagged enough statements though, so it isn't a problem anymore. Good luck, and thanks for your willingness to help out. --Lethargy 16:58, 28 September 2006 (UTC)
It's not speculation at all. You may want to check other sources than the footnotes of OD1 to determine causes of the cancellation of plural marriage. Todd Compton is a good start. That begin said, nothing in Woodruff's statement is in conflict of doing it because of statehood. --Kmsiever 17:20, 28 September 2006 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure worthy is the word used in the actual quote. Maybe we just need some info about what it means to be worthy of the priesthood? Or maybe it's clear enough already. :) --Masamage 17:17, 28 September 2006 (UTC)
It is used in the quote, but the way it is presented makes it sound like we doubt what is meant by "worthy" (exactly the way I just used quotes). A more complete quote would solve this problem. --Lethargy 17:23, 28 September 2006 (UTC)
Visorstuff fixed it. --Lethargy 17:33, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

Lethargy - I'll let you do more tagging if that works for you and revisit later. Keep up the good work. I don't have as much time to edit as I once had.

Sorry if this seems a bit blunt, Kmsiever, but I'm aware of exactly where each of the statements about utah's statehood and polygamy came from. That said, it, like the belief of some that polygamy will be re-instituted during the millenium is a case of mormon folklore. No president of the church, nor apostle has taught this (other general authorities, including BRMcC did in MD, but prior to being an apostle - other leaders disagreed with his assessment, including his father in law and all presidents of the church since that time who said we simply don't know), nor is there evidence to support these ideas were/are true or the motivation behind denouncing polygamy. Was it a factor? Possibly. Just the same as prison terms, disenfranchisement of members (regardeless if they practiced or not), loss of millions of church-owned acreages (which have never been returned) and other confiscation of personal properties, which was given to military and enforcement personell for personal use, as was done in Missouri. That said, there were much more pressing items such as a bill in congress giving death sentences to polygamists, confiscation of church properties and monies and other issues that were much more a factor than statehood by 1890. Please remember, that the confiscation of money and property led to the church's near bankrupsy issues that led President Snow to re-emphasize tithing. To put it blunt, between 1880 and 1890, the church lost millions (in 19th century money, not 20th century equivelents) of dollars due to polygamy. Cash and property and disenfranchisement were much more a motivation than statehood. The belief about statehood came from morgan's reading of smoot's belief that Mormon polygamy could not be prosecuted under the Edmunds and Edmunds-tucker acts as the act was specific to US territories (not states). That said, if utah got statehood, then polygamy couldn't be prosecuted. In any case, please cite a primary document I may have overlooked, rather than secondary sources and opinions of Compton or Morgan. If you have one, it is possible that I overlooked this as a main reason in any of the discussions leading up to the manifesto.

Masamage and Lethargy - hopefully the OD1 quote will help with wording.

Lethargy, I'll take a break while you fix and add in more cites? -Visorstuff 17:40, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

Unless I am very much mistaken, I may be coming down with pink eye, so I may have to take a break from commenting and tagging (aka whining), although I think what I have added is sufficient. I would prefer it if we didn't use the terms "some" or "others", even when sources are provided, which is something I am not particularly good at myself. For instance: "Some in the Islamic community have criticized the Church's humanitarian service efforts as proseltyzing in many parts of the world, particularly after the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and assosiated tsunami." Could be changed to something like: "in the wake of the 2004 earthquake in the Indian Ocean and the resulting earthquake, the efforts of the LDS Church were criticized by [insert name of person or group criticizing] as “taking food from the mouth of Ghanaians.”" possibly followed by a larger quote using my personal favorite {{Cquote}}:

--Lethargy 17:58, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

Haha. You sound like my boss today - she always reminds me I use "some" "a number of" "various" and similar phrases in my writing too much (and if i didn't write all day, i'd probably do a better job of spelink and CaPiTaliaTION. Point taken. Let me see if I can dig up some better examples for the Islamic criticism and look for word replacements for "some" and "others." I hope to come back to this later today. Good luck with your conjuntivitis - hope you feel better. -Visorstuff 18:29, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

I started feeling like it too :). Actually, I used to —OK, probably still do— have the same problem. Since reading WP:AWW though, I try to take special care to avoid them and notify others when they use them too much. It's difficult though, as "some" seems to come much easier than "Joe Smith, editor of" As a side note, I love the way we have weasel words and peacock terms. I think we need animal names for everything to avoid. --Lethargy 19:01, 28 September 2006 (UTC)
The problem with this section as whole is that it is redundant with other articles. It would make for a cleaner reading if the readers were redirected to articles that are on point. For example, this section is a very weak section regarding controversies. It would be better to have the reader go to "controversies regarding the church of jesus christ of latter day saints" or "criticisms of mormonism". One of the first steps when starting a new article is to search to see if any other articles are similar. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Randolphr (talkcontribs) 23:00, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

Specific biblical interpretation

I removed: "(In a similar way, many times Biblical prophets speak in the first person as though they are the mouthpiece of the Lord<ref>{{lds|Isaiah|isa|53|12}}, {{lds|Isaiah|isa|61|1}}, {{lds|Revelation|rev|1|8}}, {{lds|Revelation|rev|22|16}}</ref>).

This is a particular interpretation of the Bible, presumably specific to the LDS. Firstly and most importantly it needs to be referenced. Secondly, while these prophets do indeed speak in the first person, since they are (claiming to) speak the very words of God, in most interpretations of scripture they don't claim to be omniscient or in any way God. DJ Clayworth 16:23, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

I agree, scriptures are not appropriate references because they have a wide variety of interpretations. If they are quoted by a church leader perhaps we can use them. --Lethargy 18:41, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

Introduction section

In the introduction, the second paragraph seems excessively long. Does anyone else agree it should be shortened, and if so, how should it be done? --Ginkgo100 talk · e@ 21:15, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

Remove all of the doctrinal information. Put that in the body if it needs to be there. This should not be an apologetic site aimed toward "Christians" who do not share the same beliefs. I know this will get a lot of flack from the Apostolic traditionalist, but just say it is a Christian church, and stop trying to balance out all the grace/works, the "real" Jesus, and all that other nonsense, and just move on. Discuss those differences in another article. Bytebear 20:45, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

The main points should be (and few of them are even in the introduction):

  • Was founded on April 6, 1830
  • Was founded by Joseph Smith
  • Events leading to the creation of the church
    • JS claimed to be visited by God and Angels
    • JS claimed to be visited by Moroni
    • JS claimed to translate the Book of Mormon
    • Published the Book of Mormon
  • Movement from city to city
  • martyrdom of JS
  • New prophet is Brigham Young
  • eventual migration to Utah
  • Current status of church (stats, etc)
  • Hinkley as prophet

Notice there is little doctrine other than that which pertains to the cration and history of the church. not much if anything about Jesus Christ. That should go into the body of the article under Beliefs->Jesus Christ.Bytebear 21:04, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia has guidelines for lead sections at Wikipedia:Lead section. In my opinion, what Bytebear posted above seems pretty reasonable, although we may be able to very briefly cover a few beliefs, if it isn't too long. --Lethargy 21:19, 6 October 2006 (UTC)
Another comment: Try to avoid using the word "claim". It is listed at Wikipedia:Words to avoid#Claim and other synonyms for say. It would be more neutral to put "Joseph Smith said..." or "...reported he had been visited...". --Lethargy 21:23, 6 October 2006 (UTC)
Here is a rough draft (largely copy-pasted from existing text) I cobbled together. I tried to follow Bytebear's suggestions as far as I could. I also added a short paragraph on polygamy because, let's face it, that's what many non-Church members have misconceptions about. Please give your comments (it would be easier to post them here rather than on my user page) and feel free to edit this draft page. --Ginkgo100 talk · e@ 22:39, 6 October 2006 (UTC)
I did some copyediting of Ginkgo's original draft, so be sure to check the history for changes. I like the intro--it's concise and covers the main points well, IMHO. My changes were cosmetic. Paul D. Anderson 23:09, 6 October 2006 (UTC)
Rather than Church members—known as Latter-day Saints or Mormons—believe that Jesus Christ appeared with God the Father to Smith and called him to be a prophet and to re-organize the original church established by Jesus Christ on Earth through a restoration. This restoration included the return of priesthood authority, translation of new books of scripture clarifying many doctrinal teachings of the Bible, and the calling of new Apostles. we could just say something like "Joseph Smith reported that he was visited by God the Father and Jesus Christ, who told him he was to organize..."
"Members believe" is a pet peeve of mine because we cannot verify what members believe, but we can verify what has been said. --Lethargy 23:34, 6 October 2006 (UTC)
I agree, I would avoid "Members Believe", maybe "Joseph claimed" (I know I know) or "According to church history...". There are a few places where it reads a little jagged, but it is so much better than the existing intro. Great job. Bytebear 00:23, 7 October 2006 (UTC)

I thought someone was working on a new header paragraph. I am seeing more and more beliefs and explainations being put into it. First it was a huge diatribe on belief in Christ, and now there is a huge paragraph on Faith and Works. I see mainstream Christians need to point out the differences and LDS trying to justify and explain their point of view. Both sides should be presented. They should NOT be presented in the intro section. It's way too long and way too detailed. Look at User:Ginkgo100/WiP02 and let's try to comform to something simpler and more structured. We have a dozen pages on LDS beliefs and practices. We don't need every detail of the faith spelled out in the first paragraph. Bytebear 16:30, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

Some did shorten it, and the Trodel changed it back. Frankly not only is it too long, but it reads like an advertisement, or an evangelistic tract. We wouldn't accept "XYZ corp invites people everywhere to sample their tasty snack food" and we shouldn't accept language like that from a church. DJ Clayworth 17:14, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

I dont particularly blame Trodel. What has happened with this article is someone blurbs out some belief or practice (usually with a negative tone or to point out differences between LDS and traditional Christianity, e.g. faith vs. works), and then others beef it up with full explainations of the context within the LDS faith. This needs to stop. The header should be limited to a few key bullet points as listed above. faith vs. works, trinity vs. godhead, deism, plurality of gods... all of these subjects are too specific to be covered in the header. They should be moved to another section or page. If you want to say "They believe in priesthood authority" then leave it at that and have a see also "Priesthood (Mormonism)" and move on. Can we all agree to that? I don't want to start a revert war, but we need to scope it down to the basics. Bytebear 18:18, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
And I take part of the blame. I should have spent more time when I chopped all the tract-type language from the intro, and replaced it with the simplistic "combination of faith and works" comment. wrp103 (Bill Pringle) 18:34, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
My apologies - I had a brain fart when I saw "faith and works" because it is really more complicated than that, you were right to revert me. --Trödel 19:57, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

Salt Lake Temple Image

Is there a better temple image out there? The one on the site has some relections of light on the corner which makes it look kinda funny. Bytebear 20:55, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

Wikimedia Commons has a few more. --Lethargy 21:03, 6 October 2006 (UTC)
Thanks! I found an image that I like better, but still don't know if I have found the perfect image yet. 22:25, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

Section on Family

I propose to add a section on Family under the Major Beliefs section, or at least add it under Plan of Salvation. One of the major aspects of a Latter-day Saint's faith, as it might be inferred from the recent LDS General Conference, is the family. Yet nowhere in this article do I find a substantial paragraph of information concerning LDS beliefs about family relations. Such a section might include topics such as the Proclamation on the Family, Eternal Marriage, the Church's emphasis on the roles of fathers and mothers, the emphasis on raising children, Family Home Evening, etc. As a backup to my argument, one can find that the sole topic of the LDS Church's Worldwide Leadership Training earlier in 2006 was the Family. Any input/comments? Sylverdin 21:54, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

I went ahead and posted the section on families, entitled "Emphasis on Family." I'm a relatively new user, so hopefully someone can help fix it up so it's better. Maybe add some references or footnotes if needed. Thanks!!! Sylverdin 23:00, 13 October 2006 (UTC)
I took out this paragraph after some editing because I couldn't seem to make it fit:
"The Church's opposition to homosexual relations has resulted in the creation of multiple LDS-oriented support groups not affiliated with the Church. These groups include both those dedicated to affirming gay identity, such as Affirmation and Gamofites, as well as those dedicated to helping those who wish to change such as Evergreen International.
It seems to go beyond an encyclopedic explanation of what the Church teaches about families and I don't feel it fits in the Major Beliefs section. The organizations listed are not affiliated wit the church and should not be presented as such. Ideas? Sylverdin 19:42, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

Controversy section

This was recently removed entirely for being redundant, and then put back; I'd like to ask that some serious discussion be had before someone considers removing it again. This article gets accused of being +POV all the time, and we need that section if we're to have any hope of seeming balanced. Even if it is a little redundant. --Masamage 01:05, 9 October 2006 (UTC)

As with most articles dealing with, well, really any sort of denomination which has gathered controversy, these controversies sections are generally supposed to summarize the bigger article which they point to. Is what was there a summary or what? Homestarmy 01:11, 9 October 2006 (UTC)
I agree that the controversy section should have a summary description of the topic. If the reader wants to learn more, then can follow the link to the main article. Completely removing the content of that section seems inappropriate, IMHO.
If somebody doesn't like the content, they should fix it, not delete it. wrp103 (Bill Pringle) 02:41, 9 October 2006 (UTC)
There is precedent for keeping controversy sections; see, for example, Roman Catholic Church. Moreover, having a controversy section helps balance the article and keep the point of view neutral. Of course, everything in the section must be carefully cited and weasel words avoided.
There definitely needs to be SOME controversy section - It's conspicuous by it's absence. Desdinova 23:40, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

--Ginkgo100 talk · e@ 19:41, 9 October 2006 (UTC)

There is a weasel word tag on the controversy section at the moment. I have changed the following phrase from "Many doctrines and practices of the Church, both past and present, are viewed by many as controversial" to "Certain doctrines and practices of the Church, both past and present, are viewed as being controversial." Reason: what constitutes many and who are the "many" who view these as controversial? If it stays in the original, would it not require a citation? I'm relatively new to this, so tell me if that is right. Sylverdin 14:35, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

COTM proposal

This is the discussion/poll at Wikipedia:Mormon collaboration. To save you a trip to that page, you can vote or comment on it here and it will be counted. Comment as you want, but please only vote if you are able and willing to help with this collaboration.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The tone of this article strikes me as that of a member of the Church, rather than a NPOV and formal tone. It is currently poorly referenced, uses weasel words ("members believe", "some say", "many non-members", etc.) and might be longer than is preferred. I would like to improve this to a point that I can submit it for peer review without obvious flaws in the article.
(vote or comment)


  1. Lethargy 19:39, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
  2. wrp103 (Bill Pringle) 19:56, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
  3. uriah923(talk) 21:32, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
  4. Tom Stringham 01:15, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
  5. You are always welcome to improve articles, and you don't need our permission. DJ Clayworth 13:21, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
  6. This really should, at least, be up to Good standards --Trödel 20:59, 12 October 2006 (UTC)



Major beliefs

There seem to be two things missing from here that I would have thought of as major beliefs. One is the status of Joseph Smith as a prophet. The second is the presence of pre-Columbian Christian civilisations in the Americas. Surely both of these deserve a mention. DJ Clayworth 13:24, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

Totally agree --Trödel 15:49, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
Not only that, there is no major or minor section on the Book of Mormon. It is mentioned in a few places here and there, but there is no paragraph explaining what the book is. This is critical and needs to be addressed. I really wonder if a whole restructuring of the topics is in order. How did this become a featured article in the first place? What did that version look like and is it better than what we have now? Bytebear 18:57, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
It isn't a featured article, it's a good article, but I see your point. If you feel it no longer meets the criteria (and I wouldn't disagree with you), you can submit it for review. It might give us some useful input into how to fix it. --Lethargy 22:19, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
My mistake. I think it is a pretty good article. I made some bold changes today (including a blurb on the Book of Mormon in the intro paragraph as well as in the History section). I hope you approve, and feel free to make improvements. I think sometimes we end up discussing too much and not just making the article better. Bytebear 04:48, 13 October 2006 (UTC)
There is a whole section on Scriptures which describes the BoM in reasonable detail. DJ Clayworth 19:19, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
A while ago, a draft version was created. Is there a reason why it didn't replace the current intro? (Or, was it replaced and what we have is the result of subsequent changes?) wrp103 (Bill Pringle) 19:12, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

Stripping the criticism section

Trodel, you seem to have attempted to strip the entire criticism section down to one sentence per item. I think that needs some explanation. Why do you think this is a good idea? DJ Clayworth 19:56, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

I know I pulled the gun a little earlier myself, but I think my edit summary did explain the edit. My goal is to list the controversy without explaining why it is controversial nor how the LDS church explains it. As to why:
I don't think there is any reason to explain why it is controversial - if it needs to be explained then it really isn't that controversial.
It completely avoids the use of weasel words needed when trying to summarize the controversy "some members believe x," "others y," "most Christians z," etc.
It factually describes the beliefs, postions or doctrines that are controversial (I think everyone can agree that they are)
It makes the article more concise.
My intention is to do this with other sections as well - I started with controversies because it had the tag on it indicating it needed immediate attention. --Trödel 20:06, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

I think a little more explanation is required than a bald statement of the doctrine. For example the summary of the 'apostasy' section really gives no idea of why it is controversial, and you would have to wade through quite a lot of the article you are directed to in order to find out the details of it. I think you'll have even more trouble if you try to cut the 'Major doctrines' section down in the same way. Let's see what other people think.

Incidentally, I think the 'weasel words' section may be out of date now. Most of the controversies have been tidied up. DJ Clayworth 20:15, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

I don't claim that they should each have only one sentence. I just was giving that as a starting point. Should we restore the abbreviated version so that other editors can review the and edit the concise version? --Trödel 20:27, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
I have looked at the criticism section, and it seems to me that we have places in the article for each of them. Blacks in the Priesthood section, Women in the Relief Society section, etc. I noticed someone added a section on Families, which is really good and much lacking in the article, so I added some stuff about Gay mormons with some links to articles dealing with the issues. It seems we have articles called Blacks and Mormonism, Blacks and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Women and Mormonism, etc. Why can't we just reference these controvercies in the text of the articles with links to the refering article.
It seems like the bullet list just looks out of place, particularly when not taken in context with Relief Society for example, or Priesthood authority. When you deny blacks the priesthood in LDS, it's not just saying there is no black clergy. Its bigger than that. It means no participation in preparing or passing sacrament, teaching classes in Elders Quarums, and most importantly going to the temple. A blurb like "Blacks can't hold the priesthood" means nothing to an outsider. But put it in context with the section on Priesthood authority and what it means in the LDS church, and it changes the whole picture. Bytebear 23:50, 13 October 2006 (UTC)
I agree, entries in the controversy section that are already covered in the article can be removed. "Why can't we just reference these controvercies in the text of the articles with links to the refering article." - because Wikipedia is not a reliable source of information. Thanks for working so hard on the article BTW.--Lethargy 00:12, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, I mis-spoke. I meant, just put a "see also" or "further info", and thanks! Bytebear 00:19, 14 October 2006 (UTC)

Let's get the fuller version back. This article already has enough of the feel of an advert. DJ Clayworth 23:56, 14 October 2006 (UTC)

We could just merge specific controversies to relevant sections rather than keeping them in their own section, which might help balance the article out. I'd rather wait for more discussion before doing this, however. --Lethargy 02:36, 15 October 2006 (UTC)


I see several edits where additions of "Members believe ..." or "The church claims ...". I really think these although well intended do not really balance POV, in that the original statement isn't really NPOV to begin with. For example:

The church claims to be the divine restoration of the church established by Jesus Christ in New Testament times. Following the ascension of Jesus into heaven, He continued to direct His church through His Apostles, but as men rejected them and began to kill them, the authentic Christian church, along with its authority and many of its teachings, began to disappear. This led ultimately to the Great Apostasy.

was changed to:

The church claims to be the divine restoration of the church established by Jesus Christ in New Testament times. Members believe that following the ascension of Jesus into heaven, He continued to direct His church through His Apostles, but as men rejected them and began to kill them, the authentic Christian church, along with its authority and many of its teachings, began to disappear, leading to what the LDS Church calls the Great Apostasy.

Is it just me or is it overkill to add NPOV statements three times in the same paragraph? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Bytebear (talkcontribs) 23:08, 12 October 2006

The problem (as I see it) is that if we state church doctrine and phrase it as if it were facts, that is POV. Indisputed facts can be stated plainly, but beliefs must be labeled as such. Again, IANAL, IMHO, etc. ;^) wrp103 (Bill Pringle) 03:19, 13 October 2006 (UTC)

I think we only need to state that it is a belief once - as once a position has been properly identified, it should be presented sympathetically, and to emphasize that it is a belief has negative implications. --Trödel 04:20, 13 October 2006 (UTC)

Bankruptcies in Utah

Does anyone else see a leetle problem with the criticism that there is a causal relationship between the Law of Tithing and Utah's very high bankruptcy rate? The article cited as authority for the claim mentions Utah's elevated charitable giving and large family size in passing, but spends the bulk of its discussion on the problem of extremely high credit card debt. Is there some authoritative source that can document a causal relationship between the faithful paying of tithing and going bankrupt? It currently says The Law of Tithing is often criticized, except the cited article doesn't criticize it. the relation of tithing to bankruptcy is minimized or ignored in Mormon sources, except there's nothing backing that up, either. If there was no relation of tithing to bankruptcy then it would hardly be surprising that no-one mentioned it, would it? And if there were, perhaps somebody has documented it reliably somewhere. Otherwise I think this passage is somebody's lame attempt to sneak in POV. Mike 08:06, 14 October 2006 (UTC)

If a family is struggling on 100% of their income than they will struggle more on 90% of their income. The simple math of that is what is authoritative and it is so simple that requiring a study showing a causal relationship is a lot like requiring a study to see if scraping one's skin causes one to have scrapes on their skin, all else being roughly equal. Moreoever, the issue of tithing and bankruptcy has been a significant subject of legal scholars for decades or more, as well as several court cases. Just google tithing AND bankruptcy and all sorts of stuff turns up connecting the two. Arguments that would reject this would be what is POV, because underneath whatever words might be said is thinking that says something like, "That can't be so because God is supposed to bless us more if we tithe." CyberAnth 11:03, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
Here is an interesting source:
“It’s clear the LDS Church influence plays some kind of role in bankruptcy,” Godfrey says of their findings. “I had students look at different religions. The LDS Church is the only one that talks about financial literacy from the pulpit. But there tends to be some weird cultural values that may encourage people to engage in riskier financial transactions.” He describes these as informal myths—beliefs that, though neither taught nor encouraged by the church, form among some members. Blind faith, in a sense.
Godfrey’s students discovered two myths that stem from the tithing regularly practiced by many church members as a kind of price of admission to the faith. One myth says that tithing will protect a person from financial harm. The second is that tithing will result in financial blessings.
CyberAnth 11:15, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
"In Utah, the reasons extend to larger family size, higher charitable contributions and lower-than-average per-capita income levels, Matthews said.,1249,595072079,00.html CyberAnth 11:22, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
And here are anecdotal earfulls on the matter: CyberAnth 11:27, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
Yes, and they're so delightfully even-handed about the general subject aren't they? Mike 21:25, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
That is why I called it "earfuls". At the same time, it is anecdotal evidence, don't you think? CyberAnth 01:11, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
"...the reasons extend to...higher charitable contributions..." seems rather anecdotal to me, sorry about that. I don't need a study to prove that if someone is having a hard time living on 100% of their income, then living on 90% is harder. But that is a straw man. The assertion in the WP article is not that paying tithing while in tight financial straits makes things harder, but that it is an important causative factor in the high bankruptcy rate. Giving 10% does not necessarily cause bankruptcy. It causes a tighter budget. And Utah's higher than average charitable giving and the higher bankruptcy rate is a correlation, not a causation. Are there actual figures that demonstrate a causation relationship between the paying of tithing and the bankruptcy rate? So far, all I see are anecdotes, and Godfrey's students (who is Godrey, anyway?) coming up with myths and subjective and speculative assertions about weird cultural values that may encourage people to engage in riskier financial transactions. The biggest part of the Deseret News article talks about credit card debts that are significant fractions of annual income! Sure, add tithing to that particular mix and maybe you got the straw that broke the camel's back, but it is not fair to say that paying tithing caused the bankruptcy. On the other hand, the DN article has a graphic showing that the next most bankrupt state is Tennessee, likewise a heavily Mormon state. <snicker> Mike 21:25, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
Godfrey is a BYU prof. Also, if everything has to positivistically "proven" to be included in this article, then the article is going to get short awfully quick. At the same time, it is fact to state something like "some scholars and anecdotal evidence suggests there is a correlation between widespread LDS tithing and Utah's high bankruptcy rates", or something like that. CyberAnth 01:17, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
Godfrey's page at BYU:

I moved the criticism of tithing as related to bankruptcy to the criticism section and removed the POV material, such as However, the relation of tithing to bankruptcy is minimized or ignored in Mormon sources. I don't know what to do about the other parts, since they seem to be more a matter of statistic interest than anything else, but where should it go (if anywhere)? Mike 23:45, 14 October 2006 (UTC)

Disposable income for the state of Utah (the amount of income after taxes available for spending and saving) was ranked 45th in 2000.[1] The family costs of supporting missionaries in the field is not deducted from tithing and is generally not paid for by the church.
I agree causality is multifactoral, not just tithing. At the same time, "the relation of tithing to bankruptcy is minimized ... in Mormon sources" has authorial support ("ignored" is overstating the matter). CyberAnth 00:57, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
Could you explain this statement: " ... if everything has to positivistically "proven" to be included in this article ... ' ? I cannot find the word 'positivistically' in any dictionary. If you are using it as a form of pos·i·tiv·ism then I am really confused. Duke53 | Talk 03:14, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
I mean it as form positivism.
Cyberherbalist said, "Is there some authoritative source that can document a causal relationship between the faithful paying of tithing and going bankrupt?"
He later said, "Are there actual figures that demonstrate a causation relationship between the paying of tithing and the bankruptcy rate? So far, all I see are anecdotes."
I rejected the need for that sort of study and wrote the sentence you are wondering about.
My sentence excerpt could be re-worded like this: "If everything has to referenced to studies done according to a scientific model to be included in this article, then the article is going to get short awfully quick."
You would not want to apply a double-standard, would you? CyberAnth 03:39, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
No, double standards BAD. Was I proposing one? That seems to be your suggestion, CyberAnth, but I've re-read the above a few times and don't see it... genuinely puzzled. Could you elaborate? Mike 20:35, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

Can we remove the weasel words "has been criticized" and name specific critics?

"Also, if everything has to positivistically "proven" to be included in this article, then the article is going to get short awfully quick."
That's not necessarily a bad thing ;)
"it is fact to state something like "some scholars and anecdotal evidence suggests there is a correlation between widespread LDS tithing and Utah's high bankruptcy rates""
See Wikipedia:Avoid weasel words, as well as Wikipedia:Verifiability, which states:

"The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth. "Verifiable" in this context means that any reader must be able to check that material added to Wikipedia has already been published by a reliable source, because Wikipedia does not publish original thought or original research."

Like many other things in this article, this still needs verification. --Lethargy 04:07, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

CyberAnth, as I suspected: a made up word. Tsk, tsk.
Amen, Lethargy ... there are way too many 'vague' declarations of fact in numerous Wikipedia articles. When even the descriptive phrases about articles can't be verified (at least by a dictionary) then it is time to cut the fat from the bone, IMO. 'Truthiness' does not equal verifiable. Duke53 | Talk 04:24, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
LOL. I learned "positivistically" in college, which is, in fact, in some dictionaries and frequently in scholarly papers. [4] I agree my example verbiage was weasel words, I was just being brief. "[Scholar name] and anecdotal evidence at [source] ... [ref #1] and [ref #2] is the way to do it. You can see in most of my contribs that is what I do.
"Truthiness" - is that a made up word? ;-). Sounds like a word I used in an article to describe Twain's Roughing It, "true-ish". CyberAnth 05:56, 15 October 2006 (UTC)


I don't have an issue with the citation, or their coorelation. But I do think it is not really a controversy or even criticsm. The implication is that tithing should be abolished or that church members ae being pushed too hard into giving funds to the church (which is a criticsm but only to those who oppose the church, or organized religion in general). A couple things to consider. First, the church is not going to abolish tithing, and any reputable study would not suggest such a thing. Second, the church has always encouraged its members to be self sufficient and not rely on government intervention including bankruptsy. I think maybe a section on conserns or Church conserns. It is not just a criticsm from outside sources, but a real consern of the leadership within the church. Bytebear 20:52, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

Just because a church's authorities are not inclined to abolish something because of adherence to a dogma does not de-ligitimize criticism of the same. In fact, it strengthens the criticism to show a problem with not the surface practice but the foundation of it. CyberAnth 21:27, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
The point is this. Tithes and offerings are not controverial in and of themselves. All churches that I know of ask for donations of one kind or another, and it is clearly a biblical principal. And the bankrupsy issue being discussed is not a critism or controversy. It is an issue within the church, so my point is valid. The criticsm presented is that "tithing is bad". This is simply not true. Bytebear 21:47, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
Another issue is that the Deseret News article not once mentions the Church in any way. There is some reference to culture, lage families, charitable doations, and low income levels. To attribute this reference to the church and define one factor (charitable donations) to tithing is a bit too speculative for my tastes, even if it seems obvious to an inside observer. Also does it affect the church as a whole? Are there any studies that say that Mormons around the world are going bankrupt or in poverty because the church takes their money? To attribute an issue with at most maybe 200,000 members of a 12 million member church is wrong. If you want this information in Wikipedia, put it in the Utah article, where it belongs.Bytebear 21:59, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

Missionary program

I noticed that missionaries are only mentioned twice, both in the Use of church funds section, stating that money is used to support missionary programs. Perhaps we should create a subsection about Mormon missionaries, since the Church has a very active missionary program, and all young men are encouraged to go on one. That being said, I don't know what sources to use to create this section. Where can I find how many missionaries there are and other statistics? --Lethargy 19:59, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

Seems a good idea. A good source for this would be the church website in the "Newsroom" I found this link there: [5].
Be bold. I think a section on church programs would be a good start, and include Welfare, Missionary program, Relief Society, ect. Maybe even a spinoff article should be conisidered.Bytebear 20:39, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
The problem with being bold is that it requires effort, and I'm lazy. :) Perhaps we can squeeze in some mention of the "raising the bar" for missionary service that was introduced a few years ago? Here are two sources I managed to dig up, hopefully there are others:[6][7]

Temples and the ordinaces

I have moved the Temple section to a main header, as I feel it is important enough to warrent it. There has been a bit of discussion on private talk pages regarding Baptism for the Dead, and it is sorely lacking in this article. I don't want the article to be bloated, but I am thinking categorically that we should include a section under Temples for "Endowment", "Eternal Marriage and Sealings", "Baptism for the Dead", and "Other ordinances". I don't want a lot of details but have See also headings for each section.

An alternative is to move the Temple section under Beliefs, but I don't want to end up throwing everything under Beliefs as a catch all. Bytebear 04:03, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

Baptism of the dead

After reading some more about this subject I feel that an expanded section on it should be added to the page. I didn't realize how controversal it had become, epecially when it concerns Holocaust victims. Since it is an official policy of the church I feel that it should be included on this page; a separate article seems to lessen the severity of this practice. Duke53 | Talk 17:45, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

Agreed, but don't expand it too much, this article is already too long. We should be able to find references in online newspaper articles about the Holocaust victims controversy. Additionally, information about the Catholic Church not accepting Mormon baptisms might be appropriate in the baptism section. --Lethargy 23:07, 17 October 2006 (UTC)
More info:
Also, it is Baptism for the dead, otherwise it would just be creepy. --Lethargy 23:21, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

History of the church

I am working on beefing up the History section of the article. I added a good solid paragraph from the Utah article about early settlement, but it lacks citations. It even has a fairly even handed paragraph on Mountain Meadows Masacre, so don't accuse me of pro-LDS POV. I also changed the polygamy section to Plural Marriage. I think the main paragraph should be moved to the Beliefs section however as it is too broad to fit into any one paragraph of history. So PLEASE help make the article better by adding citations and correcting my errors.

And if anyone is reading Rough Stone Rolling, please highlight and annotate it. It's a great resource that we should be citing left and right.

Bytebear 05:57, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

New Disambig page for Main page

Hi I've moved the disambig page to -=The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (disambiguation)=- please do not link to it but link all pages to the appropriate article. The origianal Disambig page was the same name as this articl minus the THE and minus the hyphen. It was catching all sorts of links that were supposed to be sent here instead. So i switched it. :) Peace. --Home Computer 15:57, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

Unfortunately, this change causes some problems. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints page refers to multiple churches, whereas The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (note the spelling and the The) refers to only one church, and thus needs no disambiguation. I'm changing it back. COGDEN 16:10, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

Hi, thanks for your comments. I understand your concern. The disambiguation page recieved over 100 misapropriated links. That is, OVER 100 links to it that meant to go to the mainpage instead, due to the obvious typos and what not. A real disambiguation page needs to be clearly differeentiated (such as with (disambiguation) after the title (see Bible (disambiguation))) and not generate accidental traffic due to typos as was unfortunately happening. The new disambiguation page is clearly marked as is this mainpage with links to all the others. Peace. --Home Computer 18:57, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

Just a thought, if you'd prefer moving the disambig pate to Latter Day Saint movement(disambig) I'd have no prob with that as it would fit categoriclly but it doesn't share the same titles in it's word for which the disambig was created. --Home Computer 19:14, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

If you think that this is a problem, then we should call the disambiguation page Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (disambiguation). The spelling and hyphenation here make a huge difference. While it is arguably correct to refer to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (because it was an early alternate spelling, though now incorrect), it is entirely incorrect to refer, for example, to refer to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Strangite) as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Personally, though, I don't care about misappropriated links. People who spell The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints incorrectly should change their spelling. COGDEN 20:15, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
I like your suggestion. If you feel like doing that I fully support it. just as long as the old name still directly refers to the new name as per the hundred or so missed links. :) Thanks for talking this out. --Home Computer 21:43, 17 October 2006 (UTC)
I did it, but it still seems awkward to me. I'd rather that people correct their Wikipedia articles to refer to the proper church. COGDEN 23:02, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

Same images

An image is repeated (picture of a vitraux).

I replaced the image with that of the Christus Statue. I think a good picture would be of a baptism or of laying on of hands for the obvious sections. Bytebear 22:31, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

I see a ton of great pictures at[8] but I assume they are invalid for use due to copyright issues. That just sucks. Bytebear 00:35, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

Death of Joseph Smith

Did Smith shoot (and maybe kill) some people the night he himself was killed? I have read a couple articles that say that this is so. Duke53 | Talk 01:04, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

Undetermined. Ancilliary evidence in this case means witness accounts or claims by those present, or that was presented at the murder trial.
There is ancilliary evidence that six people in the mob were shot in the stairwell - whether by smith or others. At least one died from his wounds, after having his wound fester for a numbere of months. Not sure that Smith's gun fired six bullets or not. There is also ancilliary evidence of one man dying as he rose his sword to decapitate Smith. All of these could be fact, interpretation of events, or folklore of those present. At the present time, there is not enough evidence that I'm aware of to point to it as undisputed fact, although i believe that the evidence is strongly in favor of at least one shot being fired in self-defense by Smith into the doorway and striking at least one man.
Please keep in mind that Smith was not "incarcerated" in the Jail as we think of prisoners today, but was rather staying there as a "guest" of the Governor "for his protection" awaiting new charges that were to be investigated (and the governor apparently "forgot" to take Smith with him to Nauvoo as part of that) that under today's laws would be dismissed under double jeopardy rulings as well as other laws. And that it would be illegal to arrest him under the details of the Nauvoo Charter and court filings that took place there, granting his freedom. It is amazing how Habeas Corpus and other legal means, including court jurisdictions, have changed since that time. Although not very accurate - the article Death_of_Joseph_Smith,_Jr. is a good place to look for sources. -Visorstuff 01:43, 17 October 2006 (UTC)
There isn't much more detail in that article than this one ... though it does say that Smith had a weapon that had 6 barrels; therefore it must have fired at least 6 projectiles. I will research this further, as it adds a different perspective to this article. Duke53 | Talk 02:03, 17 October 2006 (UTC)
You really do need to read Rough Stone Rolling, its a really good detailed read. I just read this chapter last night. He did have a six shooter, apparently three of the barrels jammed,but he did get off up to three shots. The circumstance was that the Governor went to Nauvoo to talk to the Mormons and assure them of their leaders safety. But he also had his band of malitia near Carthiage even though they were the most antagonistic, he felt that they would not attach the jail because surely it would cause the Mormons in Nauvoo to retaliate and probably kill him. Well, they dressed in black face and a hundred or more men stormed the jail. The jailer was sympathetic to the "prisoners" who were waiting trial as stated above, so he gave them his upstairs bedroom. According to Rough Stone Rolling, the men barged in and just started shooting. Hyrum and Joseph had guns, but Hyrum was killed right away, and Joseph did fire as best he could, but the gun jammed. John Taylor was hit in the leg and fell breaking the famous pocketwatch. Joseph ran to the window sending the Masonic sign for distress and was shot dead. A fourth man (can't remember his name) but he was Joseph's secretary and scribe, hid under the bed and survived. I can go and find the exact text of the account, but go to your library or bookstore and get this biography. Then annotate it and reference your research here! Bytebear 16:38, 17 October 2006 (UTC)
What is the famous pocketwatch? Also, from what I have heard, the masonic distress signal thing is a theory based on the fact he said "Oh Lord my God!" which is close to the masonic call for help.
The famous pocketwatch is the watch that John Taylor was wearing, which was believed to have stopped a bullet from hitting and possibly killing him. Mike 15:04, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
Sorry been a bit busy - Duke53 - it is pretty evident that if Smith shot, only three balls fired and three misfired. sorry I missed this detail in my original post. -Visorstuff 09:38, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
For what its worth, Smith seemed to have fired three unaimed shots through the gap between the doorframe and a partially opened door, evidently more for the purpose of suppressing incoming offensive fire than for trying to hit the assailants. Mike 15:04, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

Criticism and controversy

I've reverted the edits that incorporated this into the rest of the article. This section is a summary of a daughter article and needs to stay. CovenantD 04:36, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

I'm fine with the section remaining separate, but you reverted my own unrelated edits to the section headings. --Lethargy 04:39, 17 October 2006 (UTC)
Considering the sheer number of edits used to wipe out the controversies section, it will be easier for you to just redo your sections headings edit. CovenantD 04:47, 17 October 2006 (UTC)
I am a bit upset. I worked very hard to incorporate each and every criticism into the article, and now your revert has screwed up everything I did today. Please don't blindly revert changes, because you not only reverted the changes to that section but to all the other work that was done. If you want the section in, thats fine, but had you read the article or seen my changes, I think I did a very fair job of representing those issues in the article. Bytebear 05:35, 17 October 2006 (UTC)
Ok, I am calmer now. I have cleaned up the reverts that were lost when CovenantD reverted edits. I have incorporated all of the important criticisms into the section to which they apply. There are two very prominant links to criticisms at the end of the article, so I really don't thing we need the redundancy. If you have a specific criticism that needs to be addressed, find a place in the article and put it in, or let's discuss it here. See my commends above about the ban on priesthood and how it has no context as a bullet point in a list, but has better context in the Priesthood section of the article. Bytebear 05:55, 17 October 2006 (UTC)
Please see Wikipedia:Summary style. This article followed that format. Please return it to the form laid out in the style guide. CovenantD 06:22, 17 October 2006 (UTC)
I am well familiar with Wikipedia's style guide. This article did not follow it. I think it does follow it much better now. I didn't see anything about requiring a "Controveries" section, but I did read somethign about using well formed paragraphs and avoiding POV branching, which is exacly what I did when I integrated the controveries section into the article. I also added each section with a "See also" or "Main article" template, which is also encouraged. So, before you criticize my edits, maybe you need to know what you are talking about. Bytebear 06:34, 17 October 2006 (UTC)
Reading through earlier sections of this talk page, I see that there is strong desire to have a controversies section, even citing precedent for it in other articles. I wish you wouldn't so completely disregard that. CovenantD 23:49, 17 October 2006 (UTC)
There is also a strong desire for this to be more balanced, something difficult to achieve if we separate the controversy stuff into its own section. That being said, we could just do both. --Lethargy 23:53, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

<unindent>In many ways this article should function as a disambiguation page with summaries. Look through the rest of it and you'll see that most section branch off into their own articles. When a section gets too large, it is spun off into it's own article with a summary of that article here. By removing the Controversies section in this article, it ceases to function as that balanced point of further reading and becomes a footnote instead. CovenantD 00:14, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

Links in the article?

I wanted to read this link: [18] ^ Anderson, Karl Ricks, Joseph Smith's Kirtland: Eyewitness Accounts,1989 but it leads nowhere. Do I have to find a copy of this book somewhere to verify the cite (and many of the other cites)? Duke53 | Talk 04:56, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

Unfortunately, yes. Web references are only one source for information. Bytebear 05:36, 17 October 2006 (UTC)
Then adding all those cites is worthless to many (if not most) of us. Duke53 | Talk 07:11, 17 October 2006 (UTC)
Some of the most reliable and informative sources are still available only in printed form. (Which usually isn't followed to the letter anyway) AuburnPilotTalk 15:33, 17 October 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps, but I will be searching for sources which are available to all Wikipedia users to supplement the ones already given. Duke53 | Talk 16:12, 17 October 2006 (UTC)
It is unfortunate that the internet does not have all the information we want. My favorite source of early chruch history is Rough Stone Rolling, by Bushman. It's a very well researched and thorough biography on Joseph Smith. It really gives a good understanding of the Mormon War and other conflicts with Misourians and other unfriendly neighbors. The book is over 700 pages and really covers all the bases. It really should be referenced a lot more in these articles. Bytebear 16:20, 17 October 2006 (UTC)
Not having read it my first question would be whether it is NPOV. Is the author associated with the LDS in an official capacity or as an employee? Duke53 | Talk 16:35, 17 October 2006 (UTC)
From Publishers Weekly How should a historian depict a man's life when that man, and his religion, remain a mystery to so many 200 years after his birth? Bushman, an emeritus professor at Columbia University and author of Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism, greatly expands on that previous work, filling in many details of the founding prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and carrying the story through to the end of Smith's life. Many continue to view Smith as an enigmatic and controversial figure. Bushman locates him in his historical and cultural context, fleshing out the many nuances of 19th-century American life that produced such a fertile ground for emerging religions. The author, a practicing Mormon, is aware that his book stands in the intersection of faith and scholarship, but does not avoid the problematic aspects of Smith's life and work, such as his practice of polygamy, his early attempts at treasure-seeking and his later political aspirations. In the end, Smith emerges as a genuine American phenomenon, a man driven by inspiration but not unaffected by his cultural context. This is a remarkable book, wonderfully readable and supported by exhaustive research. For anyone interested in the Mormon experience, it will be required reading for years to come. (Oct. 10) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Other reviews available [[9]]
Bytebear 18:19, 17 October 2006 (UTC)
Somewhat off topic, but the references aren't properly formatted. We should have a references section which names all of the books used, including ISBN numbers, and a separate notes section which provides page numbers from said books, as well as links to other sources not listed in the references section.See Wikipedia:Citing sources. Also, avoid using Ibid, because other users might place a footnote between these, and it would no longer be correct. --Lethargy 23:30, 17 October 2006 (UTC)
I agree. We need to clean up a lot of the references and add more to make the article solid. I also noticed a lot of "The Church believes X" as well as "The church follows Y". Can we be consistant? I suggest lower case "church" unless specifically saying "Church of Jesus Christ". Bytebear 23:34, 17 October 2006 (UTC)
The last time I checked, church is capitalized when preceded by "the" in some other articles, such as Roman Catholic Church. Plus, "the Church" is requested in their Style Guide, and I don't see any reason not to do it. --Lethargy 23:42, 17 October 2006 (UTC)
Ok, so then is the consensus to use "the Church"? little "t", big "C"? What about "the Church of Jesus Christ", little "t", refering to the original name and "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints", big "T", refering to the current name? Bytebear 00:31, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

Emphasis on Family

Should this be moved to the Culture section rather than the Beliefs section. Maybe break the section up on doctrinal vs. cultural lines? Thoughts. Bytebear 21:53, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

My thoughts on the subject is that the Church's stand on family is not so much a cultural standpoint as it is a "doctrine" of belief. Perhaps there are some cultural aspects, such as large family size and earlier than average marriage age. However, I think that most of it lies more in the realm of beliefs (or doctrines taught by the Church). The Proclamation, Eternal Marriage, Family Home Evening, and Same-gender marriage opposition seem to be less "cultural" than they are "teachings". But yes, I agree that there could be something said about families in the cuture section. For example:, why Brigham Young University has one of the youngest marriage ages of any univeristy ;). But back to serious matters, maybe we should change the section heading to read "Eternal Family" rather than "Emphasis on Family" as that displays more of a belief than a cultural idea. What do you think? Sylverdin 20:29, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

Removing the Worship service section

I don't feel that the Worship service section adds very much useful information to the article, and for the sake of making the article shorter, and therefore easier to read, I think it should be removed or severely shortened, mentioning just the sacrament and testimony meeting perhaps. Additionally, it is not referenced enough, and is mostly original research and possibly incorrect, for instance "Although all women and girls meet together briefly at the beginning of the hour for a prayer, hymn, and announcements..." this is not done in my stake. --Lethargy 22:21, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

How about a spinoff article Latter-day Saint worship services? It is getting a bit long and detailed. Bytebear 23:31, 17 October 2006 (UTC)
Or Worship services in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with a redirect from the one you suggested. Latter-day Saint worship services sounds more like the name for a category than an actual article. --Lethargy 23:39, 17 October 2006 (UTC)
Having done a bit of research, I will make a new article called Service of worship (Mormonism). Bytebear 06:01, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

Delisted from GA status

For problems with neutrality, original research, lack of references, and stability, I have delisted this from GA standard. If you disagree, you can seek a review at Wikipedia:Good articles/Review. --Lethargy 23:37, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

Bold text

"Part of this 'perceived' threat may have resulted because of a speech given by Sidney Rigdon (and approved by Joseph Smith) on July 4th, 1838 that declared: "And that mob that comes on us to disturb us, it shall be between us and them a war of extermination; for we will follow them until the last drop of their blood is spilled; or else they will have to exterminate us, for we will carry the seat of war to their own houses and their own families, and one party or the other shall be utterly destroyed". [10]"

This has been edited several times (the first time was by me, not sure who did it the other times) but has been reverted with the edit summary "this is an exact copy of the original; do not revert it again or I will report it as vandalism. Editors are not allowed to edit quotes to suit themselves."

The problems with the bold text (as well as the quotes for perceived) are that it advances a POV, and that the actual original does not have the text in bold, that was added by the website which hosts the quote. --Lethargy 02:19, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

It doesn't necessarily present a POV, it shows that this man Rigdon used the word 'extermination' well before the order was given. Care to show the 'actual original' ? The source I cited has it the way I presented it; if you want to show another source which has it differently I will take a look at it. I will consider it vandalism is my visible citation is changed again.Duke53 | Talk 02:43, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
Here are 2 without the bold, not sure if they are any more reliable though:[11][12] --Lethargy 02:49, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
I'm starting to believe that some folks here are going to delete, challenge or edit anything or everything that is not written by a mormon or issued by the LDS church. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Duke53 (talkcontribs) 03:00, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
Additionally, I hope we can find a better source, this one doesn't seem to meet the criteria for a reliable publication. --Lethargy 02:37, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
I should say not. The quote with the bold text in it is okay, but it needs to be quoted as it appears in the book, not as it appears on this website. This website says that "some faithful Mormons" reported the events in such-and-such a way, without indicating where it got those quotes; it seems to me that we ought to use sources that are at least as well-documented as we expect ourselves to be. --Masamage 02:45, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
Exactly the point I was trying to make: the quote should not be altered from its original form. --Lethargy 02:49, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
Another page on the very same site includes the very same quote with no bold text for the very same words. [13] AuburnPilotTalk 02:48, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
I added a reference to the original source of the quote -Comprehensive History of the Church, vol. 1, page 441. I hope this clarifies things, and if anyone has this book, please confirm that there is no bold in the quote, but I cannot imagine that it would be bolded. Bytebear 03:14, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
You question verifiable displayed sources but we are supposed to believe some stranger who says they have a copy of this book? Doesn't pass the smell test. Duke53 | Talk 03:28, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
The person who made the website you're quoting is a "stranger who says they have a copy of this book." I am an actual person who has (access to) a copy of this book.--Masamage 04:04, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
And you can't prove that to me, can you?. Duke53 | Talk 04:13, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
Well, yes. I could take a picture of myself holding it, and then fax you a copy of my driver's license and birth certificate. Just to be sure, you did see the scan I just linked, didn't you? --Masamage 04:21, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
I see no link that proves anything you just claimed. Duke53 | Talk 04:39, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
This link right here--a fresh scan of that page in the book, with the relevant words underlined in red and arrows pointing to them. If that's not enough for you, I don't see how anything would be. --Masamage 04:51, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
I can see that someone has access to a page (or a picture of a page) from some book ... somebody else from here could have E-mailed you that picture for all I know. Verify, verify, verify; you haven't done that at all. Proving something and claiming something are entirely different. Duke53 | Talk 05:01, 18 October 2006 (UTC) p.s. Assuming Good Faith works both ways, AFAIK.
Okay, let's be clear. Do you, in fact, want me to take a photo holding it and fax you my driver's license? Because I'm not going to unless you physically go to the library and look for this book yourself. In the interest of fairness, I may also request a photo of you entering the library, a signed letter from a librarian confirming the book is not there, and a copy of that librarian's college diploma. Or, alternatively, you could suggest another way that I could "prove" I'm not a fundamentally dishonest person, preferably a way more reasonable and less insulting. --Masamage 05:12, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
Lady, let me make one thing clear to you: what I asked for was a verification for a source cited in an article ... you jumped in and said that you had access to a book. That means absolutely nothing to me; when I add something to an article I add sources that are verifiable at that point in time. I see most of this article has sources that are not easily available to many (if not most) Wikipedians. It is up to the person adding the statement to cite verifiable sources. I really don't care in the least what you do, now or ever, but cite sources when stating something as fact.. Duke53 | Talk 05:27, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
The issue isn't the reference, it is your contention that the reference has bold emphasis within the text. Masamage has clearly shown the source to not include bold empahsis. If you disagree, say so and I will set up mediation. Or we can just drop it. It's your choice Duke. (And watch the personal attacks)Bytebear 05:34, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
The source I found and cited had bold emphasis. I made a good faith effort to cite a source (after I found it I had no reason to serach further); the issue is actually whether I can question sources that I can't verify. You do whatever you think you have to do; so will I. One thing I am going to request is for this entire article to be purged of weasel words. Duke53 | Talk 05:42, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
What? Since when am I not allowed to cite a book? o___O --Masamage 05:31, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
Again, spin ... I never said that. I said that I didn't have to take your word about something you say you have read. BIG diff. Duke53 | Talk 05:38, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
Uh, okay then. If you weren't saying that, I guess there's nothing to debate. I will stop responding to this and, with a clean conscience, leave the article the way it is now. --Masamage 05:45, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
I think its time to bring in an administrator, since clearly nothing will satisfy Duke. Bytebear 05:22, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
Please do. --Masamage 05:28, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

Before putting in POV text like "illegal acts by Mormon members" I would recommend finding a verifiable source. Just a thought. Bytebear 03:18, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

Already cited: Joseph Smith's involvement with an illegal bank. Duke53 | Talk 03:28, 18 October 2006 (UTC)03:25, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
I agree that the Kirtland Safety Society should be mentioned in the article. But I would write it more NPOV. Here are a couple quotes from the other article (emphasis mine):
Critics have charged that the KSS was engaged in illegal, unethical or fraudulent actions nearly from its formation, while others contend such charges are at best inflated and at worse baseless.
Under the advice of non-Mormon legal counsel, the Kirtland Safety Society Anti-Banking Company (KSSABC) was formed under revised articles on January 2, 1837 as a joint stock company to serve as a quasi-banking institution. Quasi-banks operated as banks (sometimes in conjunction with other business activities) although they had no formal bank charter. These corporate institutions were not uncommon in their time as banking regulations throughout the country were limited. Whigs went so far as to encourage businesses to operate as quasi-banks. Even after the national bank failure in 1837, there was no widespread opposition to quasi-banks in Ohio until 1873.
Although I agree that the failure of the bank may have caused anti-mormon upheaval, it was just one piece of the puzzle. Bytebear 03:42, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
Put a spin on it if you wish: "the failure of the bank may have caused anti-mormon upheaval". The subject here is why they left, I believe that their own fear of prosecution was a factor and that's how I added it, as one of several reasons they fled. Duke53 | Talk 03:58, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
A factor for Joseph Smith, but not the church as a whole. The church left because either the government forced them to leave, or they were attacked by mobs and had their houses and farms burned. Bytebear 04:10, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
And that would be your POV ... exactly what Wikipedia tries to avoid. I say that the church left because their leader was going to be prosecuted for his criminal behavior. Duke53 | Talk 04:16, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
Actually it's the general consensus of unbias historians. Look, we all want the article to be good. To do that we have to find sources that are verifiable. Using anti-mormon sources give the article less credibility and denigrates the "facts" presented. Bytebear
The 'facts" per the LDS church, right? *cough**cough* ... I'm not playing that game with you. You say that your 'facts' are verifiable but that I have to take your word about having read it in a book that isn't easily available for many of us. Right. Duke53 | Talk 04:36, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
You just broke, not for the first time, three official WP policies (1, 2, 3) and a guideline (1). I would appreciate it if you would review the rules. --Masamage 04:58, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
I would appreciate it if you learned what verification actually is, but we can't always get what we want. Duke53 | Talk 05:11, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

Folks lets calm down. Please read history of the church and comprehensive history of the church as to why the church migrated from ohio to Missouri. It was a planned move since 1832 based on the revelation to build up Zion and for the church to move there. That move was delayed by the revelation to build and finish the temple. The temple was dedicated and the "keys were restored" about the same time (1836-7) the Safety Society was established (as were other anti-banking institutions (see the Kirtland Eyewitness accounts book - easily available from Amazon, if you have any issues finding it at your local LDS/Deseret/Seagull or other bookstore). Smith fled to zion due to threats on his life, but it wasn't until 1838 that he a revelation was receieved that it was time for the rest of the saints to sell land and gather in missouri, which led to the election year and bloc voting issues over slavery that caused the gallatin battle, which led to the extermination order. The land sales were not complete until 1839 about the time that smith was imprisoned in richmond jail due to Boggs' executive order making being mormon an act of treason against the state. Having spend time with the smith papers and reading the actual sources mentioned (most of the sources mentioned can be found at just about any university library) this was a planned migration that was delayed due to the promise of temple blessings that seemed to take place at a convienent time, but was planned for long before. I can see why it is easy for duke and others to come to that conclusion, but from a historian's perspective it was more coincidental than cause and effect - especially when smith didn't direct the migration for some time thereafter. hope this context helps - and to be honest, volumes 1 and 2 of hsitory of the church really are the best sources - especially BH roberts footnotes - which tend to be controversial in many LDS circles (as they are not "faith promoting," but historically sound).

Now, as an admin - some advice. As far as verifiability - I'm confused at this discussion, as it quickly degenerated for absolutely no reason. Duke53 - you appear to be saying not to quote anything that is not online. I know that is not what you mean, but that is how it is coming across. Masamage, please slow down and try to understand what he is saying as far as verifiability. I think that with the current citing system, we can provide the quotes from the books in the footnotes. As far as bolded text, that is from the website you are referring to, not the original text - at least the copy I have. Bytebear, keep up your good work, but be slower to jump to historical conclusions without reading the primary documents. Too many of the editors on these pages try to follow secondary sources which have other's theories instead of looking at the primary documents, which then leads to POV in these articles. All I'm saying is taht the three of you in this dispute not draw historical conclusions where there is either no evidence, or where there is evidence pointing the otehr way. to state as much would qualify as WP:OR - statements such as "I say that the church left because their leader was going to be prosecuted for his criminal behavior (Duke53) and "The church left because either the government forced them to leave, or they were attacked by mobs and had their houses and farms burned" (bytebear) are not only both historically unsound, but are original research and theories promulgated by the uniformed, which neither of you should be with today's reseach technology. -Visorstuff 10:10, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

Visorstuff, what I'm getting from your comments here are that the only sources that we should have complete faith in are the official histories of the church. Is that what you mean? I'm not sure that would be considered a NPOV by most people.
My idea of a verifiable source is one that I can show to anyone who questions a statement that I may add to an article. I realize that not everything is available online, but don't expect me to take anybody's word that they have a source at home that conflicts with one that is available online ... I am not a PhotoShop expert by any means, but I could whip up a convincing source about almost anything in a few minutes, then post a link to it.
With all the modern technology available to us all the chances for deceit increase rapidly. You suggesting that I get to a bookstore to try and verify each claim made seems to defeat the purpose of an online encyclopedia. The burden of citing verifiable sources falls on the person making claims about a subject, not the person questioning those claims. Duke53 | Talk 18:09, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
If I may comment. Simply because something is posted on the internet does not mean that it has been published at all. Being avaliable online does not make it "published." The following is from the Wikipedia standard on Verifiability (emphasis added):
"Information on Wikipedia must be reliable and verifiable. Facts, viewpoints, theories, and arguments may only be included in articles if they have already been published by reliable sources. Articles should cite these sources whenever possible. Any unsourced material may be challenged and removed." Wikipedia:Verifiability
It may seem like a lot of work to do this, but it is a rule that Wikipedia has. Maybe it isn't followed very closely, but that's why our contributions are so important. We can verify that online sources are indeed credible. There are many sources that I would NOT include if I were writing a college paper, because it would threaten the validity of my research. The same holds true with Wikipedia. The Sources section has great guidelines. Sylverdin 18:56, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
A question: how does Joseph Smith's diary qualify as a source? It is, on it's face, strictly POV; did he publish his diary? I'm not talking about the LDS church publishing it later, did he publish his diaries? Duke53 | Talk 19:46, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
I'm afraid I was not commenting on any specific instance of sourcing. In order to give an educated answer your question I would have to be more involved in the current discussion, which I am not. Sylverdin 20:01, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

Duke53, please slow down and actually read what I wrote. I'm not suggesting that we only use the history of the church (and, yes to your other question, much of it and smith's journals was published serially in the times and seasons, etc. by Smith during his life). I am suggesting we use primary documents and quotations from the sources on items rather than someones interpretation of someone elses interpretation of someone else's research on various topics. I'm just as happy quoting from Hurlburt as Roberts.

Yes, I am suggesting that if you need to verify something taht you take the time to do it properly. I am the geek that goes though footnotes in Britannica to read where they get information, and do the same with academic papers and here. Does it take effort? Yes. But if you want good articles, you need to use sources that are not always readily available. Most university libraries have sharing programs and can get copies of the sources listed in this article with very little effort. You should try it sometime.

And if it were that easy to read a source, we really wouldn't need an encylopedia (or wikipedia) to share information. We could just post a link instead of having an article.

Unfortunately there is something called copyright that disallows everything written to be posted on the internet. What I am suggesting is that you, me and everyone else read primary sources, rather than some internet site which would be a tertiary source. The history of the church, while it may be POV, is one such primary source. So would the Warsaw Signal (non-Mormon), Harper's weekly, and more.

I am going to guess you have no academic training, based on your questions "how does Joseph Smith's diary qualify as a source?" There are three type of sources used by historians. Let me break it down:

  • Primary sources are typically written concurrently to events - considered the most reliable or the most accurate based on the perceptions of the writer.
  • Secondary sources are the second most reliable. They are typically written by historians and encyclopedia writers (what wikipedia strives to be) based on their reading and research of primary sources. They pull together all available research and evaluate it and come up with the story they want to tell. Wikipedia trys not to come to conclusions on matters like other encyclopedias or other secondary source writers. We strive for NPOV, which no other encyclopedia or secondary source does. We are unique in this.
  • Tertiary sources are those sources that are written based on reading and research of secondary sources or a combination of seconary and primary sources. This would include books like Kingdom of the Cults where Walter Martin may quote or allude to Brodie's biography and the book Wife No. 19 to describe polygamy. He is taking their research as fact, rather than reading the primary documents themselves.

History of the church is one primary document, as it was published (for the most part) serially during Smith's life by himself. Yet, so are journal entries of Luke Johnson about this time period about persecuting the Mormons, which would corraberate the details I've shared above, but from the opposing side.

If you want to have a watered down version of the article without details and primary sources that are truly verifiablle, the article would read something to the effect that someone claiming to be the church has a web site at Everything else could be doctored as you say.

Based on your statement: "My idea of a verifiable source is one that I can show to anyone who questions a statement that I may add to an article" How do you suggest we prove that the document or book says what we say it does? -Visorstuff 21:40, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

P.S. - The other thing you can do if you have an issue verifying is to leave a note at Wikipedia:WikiProject Fact and Reference Check. -Visorstuff 21:42, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
Apparently you guessed wrong. You are telling me that Smith's uncut, unedited diaries were published by him? Where can I find them?
Question: why does the LDS church not allow researchers access to all their historical documents? My 'guess' would be that they are hiding things. "As Apostle Boyd Packer declared in a notorious 1981 speech, "There is a temptation... to want to tell everything, whether it is worthy or faith-promoting or not. Some things that are true are not very useful.... In an effort to be objective, impartial, and scholarly, a writer or a teacher may unwittingly be giving equal time to the adversary..." If they are indeed concealing some parts of their history the LDS church makes everything they do reveal highly suspect to many of us. Duke53 | Talk 23:31, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

I'm 'guessing' that the plan to ignore me has spread from more than just Bytebear and Masamage so I will just continue as if people were truly willing to make the article as truthful as possible.

The reason I asked if Smith's diaries were published unedited (by him) was this little item I found while researching:

"The nineteenth-century propaganda mill was so adroit that few outside Brigham Young's inner circle were aware of the behind-the-scenes alterations so seamlessly stitched into church history. Charles Wesley Wandell, an assistant church historian, was aghast at these emendations. Commenting on the many changes made in the historical work as it was being serialized in the Deseret News, Wandell noted in his diary:

I notice the interpolations because having been employed in the Historian's office at Nauvoo by Doctor Richards, and employed, too, in 1845, in compiling this very autobiography, I know that after Joseph's death his memoir was 'doctored' to suit the new order of things, and this, too, by the direct order of Brigham Young to Doctor Richards and systematically by Richards. The Quorum of the Twelve, under Young's leadership, began altering the historical record shortly after Smith's death. Contrary to the introduction's claim, Smith did not author the History of the Church".[14]

If there is doubt about the truthfulness of the actual author of the History of the Church then perhaps there could be doubts about its contents is all I'm saying. Duke53 | Talk 05:59, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

Just because people don't respond doesn't mean they are ignoring you. (Sometimes it is best to let people vent. ;^) You seem to distrust anything by Mormons (which is fine), and I have no interest in trying to change your mind. I think it is great to have people around with different viewpoints who can catch POV issues, and hope you continue to contribute.
Yes, it is a shame that the LDS Church doesn't make their historical documents available to scholars. And yes, the LDS Church tends to produce revisionist history. That just makes our job more interesting. ;^)
I disagree with your concept of verifiable sources, however. Being available online doesn't make a source more verifiable than traditional paper resources. I would much rather see a citation for the Encyclopedia Britannica than a quote from any day. ;^) If the citation is a book, anyone can go to a bookstore and/or library and verify the citation. If the reference is to a web site, the content can change at any time, which makes it difficult to verify. (Just think of the changes that go on in Wikipedia. You can refer to an article today, and tomorrow it might be deleted and/or completly rewritten.) wrp103 (Bill Pringle) 12:59, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
In this case a couple of editors actually discussed plans to ignore me, so I think it is safe to say that it is going on. No bookstore here (nearest one is 80 miles), but I did go to our library and look for sources. I found one by Jon Krakauer and another by Robert Mullen that look quite interesting. Your statement that the " ... LDS Church tends to produce revisionist history" makes me question the practice of using them as a primary source even more. 16:09, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
I think you would be hard pressed to find any church that doesn't try to spin its own history. The changes that I'm aware of are (IMHO) fairly minor, and the older editions are readily available to compare if needed.
I'm not sure people are actually ignoring you. More likely they aren't confronting you. Obviously, you have strong feelings, and most likely trying to change them would be fruitless. wrp103 (Bill Pringle) 16:46, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
We never "discussed plans to ignore" you. We said the argument was stupid and pointless and shouldn't be continued. As for Jon Krakauer, he's a great writer but he gets his facts wrong like I can hardly believe. --Masamage 18:03, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
"Let's drop the issues with Duke on the LDS talk page. It's clear he gets off on arguing about nothing, and i think the best way to end the issue is to just ignore him". I think that you should contact Wikipedia about somebody posting under your name here, as that is a quote (allegedly) made by you on a user's talk page. I 'guess' I was confused by what was meant by that statement. p.s. That link was from a statement issued by the LDS church two weeks before publication of Krakauer's book, right? :) Duke53 | Talk 18:13, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
Oops ... that was on your talk page, put there by another editor who was involved in this thread. My bad. Duke53 | Talk 18:22, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
I'm ignoring your unbelievably angry fightiness, not the issues relating to the article and its improvement. --Masamage 18:31, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
Oh, one more thing ... I really, really don't care if you ever respond here: I will continue to talk here, and to try to make the article as truthful as possible. If you choose to help work toward that end, fine; if not, that is also fine. Duke53 | Talk 18:37, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
Good. --Masamage 18:38, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
"I'm ignoring your unbelievably angry fightiness". 'Nother word I must look up in the dictionary. Believe me, I am not the least bit angry, but I will not allow blatant POV to be used here. Are you now ready to admit that ignoring me was discussed? Duke53 | Talk 18:43, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
Yes, forgive me, I misread it when I went back to check. --Masamage 19:06, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, I can see how that would be easy to misread. Duke53 | Talk 22:54, 19 October 2006 (UTC) verify, verify, verify.
Thank you for understanding. --Masamage 06:02, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

A little higher up in this section wrp103 (Bill Pringle) commented:

Yes, it is a shame that the LDS Church doesn't make their historical documents available to scholars. And yes, the LDS Church tends to produce revisionist history. That just makes our job more interesting. ;^)

Since I had heard rather the opposite about availability of historical records at some point, I went searching and found a post at Times and Seasons (yes, yes, a blog written by Mormons). In cogent point, the writer (who is evidently a profession researcher) states:

The Archives are open – wide open – magnificently open. No, you cannot get immediate access to every document you might wish to see. But in almost eight years of spending virtually every business day mining the Archives, I have yet to run out of treasures, nor have I ever disappointed a client by being unable to find sufficient data for a project.

So much for official unavailability of historical documents. Mike 03:09, 21 October 2006 (UTC)

Here are a few other quotes from your source (a blog, a secondary source?):
”Yes, some materials are restricted, in very narrow categories: An item may be private (pertaining to living people, or to the running of the Church as an institution); confidential (financial records, church courts); or sacred (temple). Those materials are precisely what many people do want to see, of course, which gives rise to complaints about “closed Archives.”
”So who does get to look at the un-expurgated “minutes of the high councils at Kirtland, Pottowattamie and Winter Quarters, early Relief Society,” as well as other old materials about “the running of the Church as an institution?”
”I want to ask a question about something that has always intrigued me: I once spoke with one of your co-workers who lives near me. We were at a social function and found ourselves with plenty of time to shoot the breeze. As this person has had as much access to church documents (including, I would wager, many of the restricted ones) as anyone I know, I took the opportunity to air out all the interesting, silly, funny, and strange questions I had accumulated about such subjects. Included in this litany of questions were some queries about, for instance, the minutes of the council of fifty, the existence of the seer stone and the sword of laban (or, rather, their “existence” in the archives), and some related questions. I thought many of these questions almost silly, based as they were are rumors and speculation. When I asked this brother these things, however, he changed suddenly–he had been giving intelligent and lucid answers to many other questions but he suddenly became evasive, foggy, and sheepish. I tried to press him a bit but he was obviously uncomfortable, so I dropped that line of questioning, whereafter he returned to his normal intelligent self."
"So glad you posted this - you’ve had the same experience in the historical office and archives I have. I was so frustrated at the perception that has been perpetuated by rumors from that paper and of anti claims of “secret” archives unavailable. It was my experience that the staff at the historical office bent over backward to accomodate a request."
"I still remember the Christmas-like anticipation I had after requesting BY papers information and waiting for the request to go upstairs, wondering If this time I’d be able to see the few pages I “needed.”"
"This brought back a lot of memories - thanks."
"Comment by Visorstuff — 10/18/2006 @ 5:33 am""
”Would you refuse to read the Book of Mormon because the sealed portion hasn’t yet been opened”?.
I am starting to feel grossly outnumbered here, so I am thinking of inviting some of the folks from some of the sites I have been visiting to contribute here. I don't know if that is WC (Wiki Correct) or not, but I think that I could use some help researching things. After all, I am just an uneducated person who doesn't know much about these things. Duke53 | Talk 03:42, 21 October 2006 (UTC)
You would probably have better luck requesting help at the relevant policies' talk pages (e.g. Wikipedia talk:Neutral point of view and Wikipedia talk:No original research), since users there will be familiar with Wikipedia's policies, this is recommended on some policy page or other. Also see Wikipedia:Resolving disputes and Wikipedia:Requests for comment. --Lethargy 02:39, 22 October 2006 (UTC)
You might want to get an army of people to assist you. You are quickly gaining a reputation for being combative and more interested in acting as a troll, rather than in creating excellent articles. Given your recent comments on Talk:Mountain Meadows Massacre and your edits to the article, you have this notion that only your POV is valuable and everyone else is wrong. I do hope you are able to get some assistance from an admin (although it is not surprising that no one is eager to respond to your request; I wonder why?), in fact a whole company of admins would help to ensure that you understand the mannner in which articles are written on WIKI. Also, you seem to have a handle on reading the more simplistic anti-Mormon websites; you may want to expand your research to the source documents and reputable historians. Your reputation on WIKI is made by your edits and actions; I would be concerned thta it is becoming less than positive. I urge caution and encourage you to think of how you might edit by concensus rather than edit warring. Storm Rider (talk) 06:49, 21 October 2006 (UTC)
"You might want to get an army of people to assist you". Well, since you seem to think that 'majority rules' rather than factual accuracy, I might want to. I am loving how you have come up with a couple different classifications: 'anti-Mormon' and 'reputable historians'. Does someone have to be a faithful follower to be a 'reputable historian' ? You seem to believe so. As to expanding my research to source documents: I have a problem trusting anything that has been altered whenever those in charge saw fit to change it. Duke53 | Talk 17:57, 21 October 2006 (UTC)
Duke, unless you are blind to it, there is a heavy difference between an anti-historian and a mere historian. The former may indeed be a reputable historian if engaged in research outside the object of his antipathy, or, his "anti-object", if you will, but when researching that anti-object he does so with a particular slant in mind or axe to grind. If he or she is researching and writing on something of mere great interest he would probably do a creditable and credible job of analyzing sources and writing expositions that increased understanding of the events, people, and times. But when he enters into the task of analyzing the history of his anti-object, suddenly objectivity gets tossed out the window and careful analysis and consideration becomes a search for that which will best serve the antipathy. The truth and factual accuracy is sacrificed on the altar of expediency in service to the antipathy, which to that person becomes The Truth. Such persons then become no more reliable as historians on that subject than those who could be described as "pro-historians" (the "anti-historian"'s mirror image). You asked Does someone have to be a faithful follower to be a "reputable historian" The answer is "Of course not." But is one whose eye always takes the jaundiced view and who prefers to interpret events in the darkest light going to be a reputable historian who produces reputable history? Not likely. Because while a reputable historian strives for objectivity, to be as free as possible from bias, both the anti- and the pro-historian both live for their bias, feeding it on whatever it takes to affirm it, be it fact or fiction. Mike 21:51, 21 October 2006 (UTC)
One question before I rebut the above. Is "anti-historian" an actual word? If not, (and I can't find it in any dictionary) can I rebut your premise with madeup words also? Duke53 | Talk 22:57, 21 October 2006 (UTC) p.s. If you made up the word, then the rest of your premise becomes personal research, which is a Wiki 'No No'.

I am not involved in this debate or in editing the article, but I would like to respond to Duke53's challenge of Smith's edited diaries as a valid source. The answer is yes it is. It is a POV source, which is good. Go back and read WP:NPOV, and notice that it does not say not to represent points of view, but to represent them equally. This means sourcing POV material, in the interest of creating an article that represents all points of view, even those an editor may find distasteful.

Aside from this, please assume good faith and avoid personal attacks. --INTRIGUEBLUE (talk|contribs) 01:27, 24 October 2006 (UTC)

Just thought I'd point out: Since it was a *speech* given by Rigdon, the word "extermination" was neither bold nor non-bold in the original. It was spoken. Novel-Technology 16:09, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

Respect in Discussion

It seems that there are a number of individuals with very strong ideas concerning the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While having strong ideas is a good thing, it is also neccessary to share those ideas and feelings with respect. And we can't simply wait for the other person or persons to be respectful first. We have to begin it ourselves. Just a little reminder to remember that respect is essential in our conversations (EVEN if we don't agree with the other user). Have a great day (or night, whatever time zone you're in!) Sylverdin 19:15, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

Response to specific questions of Duke53

Duke53, I'm not sure why you have so much anomosity toward us - and me in particular. I've not contradicted you or any of your edits, only tried to share context and guide the discussion. Frankly I'm suprised at your reactions.

That said, you obviosuly believe in some aspects of Mormon (or exmormon or AntiMormon) folklore. Let me take each of your comments one by one.

First a definition. An autograph is something that is penned directly by someone. It is the ultimate of primary documents. An autograph is something like a journal or the original book of mormon manuscript in the handwriting of oliver cowdery. He later made a copy which is called the printers manuscript, which would not be called an autograph, as it is a copy. Hope this makes sense, as I'll use the term below.

  • question:"You are telling me that Smith's uncut, unedited diaries were published by him? Where can I find them?"

Yes, portions of Smith's diary (uncut) were published under his direction during his life (please see a copy of early church publications - which contained even his now-controversial "egyptian alphabet work." Many more has been published as "the Papers of Joseph Smith" and "the Words of Joseph Smith" and "Personal Writings of Joseph Smith"- you can do an search for Dean Jesse and other authors. Pretty much everything he has ever written is now published and available in autograph (scanned) format, and has been verifed by both mormon and non-Mormon historians as authentic. However, after the Saints came to utah, they republished the history of the church into seven volumes. Some items were changed to meet historical accuracy, to downplay some events (due to the political climate of the 1870s-1890s) and other items. If people want to read the original, you can still purchase originals of times and seasons and millenial star or even get scanned copies from multiple sources. I for one, have purchased them (I buy some rare Mormon books and other documents). Even in the preface of the history of the church volume 1, it says that many items were changed, and in some cases, footnotes describe why they were changed (in some cases they don't). It was never a big secret. Just like changes in the book of Mormon were discussed at length in the Ensign when they came out with the new version. The changes are the most accurate to autograph copies (not printer copies) of the transcribed Book of mormon manuscript.

  • Question:"why does the LDS church not allow researchers access to all their historical documents?"

The idea of a closed archives is a myth. I've never met a historian that has gone to the church archives that has made this claim and meant it, aside from the tanners. In fact, see a recent discussion of this myth at [15] by a well-respected historian. I've also spent time at the church historical office and church archives. You obviously have not, or you would not make such a claim. No you can't check out items, but you can transcribe whatever you want, and make copies of most other items. When you go in, everything is available except loose uncatalogued items and minutes from meetings of the following: the first presidency, the quorum of 12, the presiding bishopric, and the council of fifty (unless they have been supeoned during a court case. Also, specific revelations, such as the revelation discontinuing polygamy, the John taylor revelation on the priesthood are typically not made available to the casual researcher. Once something has been catalogued, it is made available to everyone. You just have to request it. Now, as for the "secrecy" of these minutes, I know of no CEO/CFO/lawyer minutes that any corporation lets go public. Each of these groups discuss financial matters, legal issue and other information that most corprations don't release eaither. Remember the Church is a non-profit corporation, and as such follows standard corporate procedures. This is yet one. The myth was created by two sources. Arrington and the Tanners. Arrington was the church historian, and tanners were an anti-Mormon group. Arrington's issue was that in teh 1970s, one could go through shoeboxes of letters prior to them being catalogued, and that you could see envelopes, and other historical items that to most would seem insignificant, but to ahistorian gives even more insight into the writer. That was done away with new catalogue systems - now a researcher must think to request a copy of the envelope, not jsut the letter. As for the tanners, It's easy to say something is not made avaialbe and that the church is "secretive" on items that way you don't have to prove what you are saying. Most of the stuff they wanted were either revelations or minutes of the above listed meetings.

  • Question: "Boyd Packer declared in a notorious 1981 speech, "There is a temptation..."

That was in a speech given to seminary teachers of high school students. Of course they wouldn't share "everything" with a 15-year old. Who would? Your high school teacher probably didn't discuss why some believe gravity is a theory not a law, or what problems there are with evolutionary theory, or why geometric math makes 1+1 more than 2. Rather you learned gravity works, evolution is observable and 1+1=2. Are those wrong? No. But they don't paint a complete picture. In teh LDS church personal study is encouraged on the deeper topics, but not to teach to high schoolers.

  • Queston: what about "Charles Wesley Wandell's quote"

See comments above about why things were changed in response to the first question.

  • Question: "If there is doubt about the truthfulness of the actual author of the History of the Church then perhaps there could be doubts about its contents is all I'm saying"

There are doubts about every historical event. That is the nature of history. Again, had you had formal historical training, you'd know many of these details. Most of Smith's journals were actually written (under his direction and then approved) by his personal secretaries that were with him at the time of the events recorded. Like presidents of the United States, journals are recorded by diction or by staffers. No difference.

  • Question: "What about the 'revisionist history' statement by John Krakauer?"

John spent no time at the church historical office doing any research for his book. He simply doesn't know. I rather think that what we have is a much more accurate picture of what happened. For instance: you have three peices of historical evidence. one journal entry says that on a a certain day smith said that he believed that men lived on the moon. Two other journal entries from that day by others say that he was in another town giving a speech about slavery. So, could he have made such a statement? Which do you believe? Answer: none of them - you throw out the incident, as there is no additional evidence to prove that smith was in either location. However, if you found a boat ticket, or other evidence showing smith was in one place at that time, then you can solidify which event took place. Does the church quote from either source in this instance? no. But a historian may quote from both.

Back to your original concern, there is enough evidence for many of the items in the article. I'm fine with including or un-including information that is or isn't accurate, but we have to be careful to include enough to help the reader understand context. In the instance above, we may include both sources on wikipedia, but let the reader decide. If you have some other primary evidence that seeminly discounts what is here, please add it in and let the reader decide what they think. No need to un-include something just because we think the source is POV. Every source has a POV, as we all see things through our own eyes. See Wikipedia:Verifiability.

Hope this helps, as you seem to have bought into a lot of folklore and half-truths that are promulgated by the uninformed (I do not think maliciously). Most claims and "groundbreaking findings" made by the exmormon community were discussed at length in the Ensign or Church news and are of no suprise to church members who read them - from changes in the book of Mormon to the Salamander letter. And you can verify what I'm saying on your next trip to SLC to the historical office. East wing of church office building, past the metal detectors and security guard. Why don't you find out for yourself by making a bit of sacrifice instead of being blindly obedience to those who say they know, but really don't?

I hope you are not offended as none is intended, but it does seem that you've obviously already made up your mind about this and have confirmation bias, which is fine. All i'm asking is that you spend time and effort checking sources for yourself, rather than trusting the internet. -Visorstuff 22:44, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

I will go over your response item by item, after you explain the discrepancies between what you just wrote to the words of a person who was there when the Book of Mormon was written: (emphases mine) "I will now give you a description of the manner in which the Book of Mormon was translated. Joseph Smith would put the seer stone into a hat, and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light; and in the darkness the spiritual light would shine. A piece of something resembling parchment would appear, and on that appeared the writing. One character at a time would appear, and under it was the interpretation in English. Brother Joseph would read off the English to Oliver Cowdery, who was his principal scribe, and when it was written down and repeated to Brother Joseph to see if it was correct, then it would disappear, and another character with the interpretation would appear. Thus the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God, and not by any power of man." Thank You. If this is the word of the Lord then no changes should be necessary or allowed.Duke53 | Talk 23:04, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

Not quite sure what your question is, as it has nothing to do with what I wrote. I will answer, but please stay on topic, as you seem to be just wanting to argue rather than examine what is written. If I remember right the topic is integrity of sources.

If the book of mormon was translated today, it would undoubtedly use different word choices as vocabulary has changed. Even Joseph Smith and Brigham Young stated this. So are you saying we should have kept publishing errors in the Book of Mormon that are not what SMith gave in his dictation?

There are four different accounts of the process of translating - Whitmer's is only one. Harris claimed Smith used "spectacles" that were "the" urim and thummin. David Whitmers claimed he looked at a seer stone in a hat. His Brother said he would wear a breastplate and urim and thummim, and Cowdery said a seer stone, urim and thummim and after the priesthood was restored, he used no device to aid in translation. (I didn't include family member accounts, such as his wife and brother). None of the accounts contradict each other, but rather corraberate. Remember, Urim and Thummim is the process of using a device for getting divine answers. See Urim and Thummim. So whether or not smith used a breastplate with clear stones, a spectacle, a hat, one of two odd stones, himself or a palm pilot to translate is irrelevant, as the word usage the Smith used urim and thummim to translate would be correct in each case. Some just choose to interpret as a pair of glasses, including Brigham Young and yourself, niether of whom would know as you both weren't there.

The recent changes to the Book of Mormon, as stated in the book of Mormon introduction and the ensign magazine, which published the changes, is to bring the current text back in line with the original penned by Cowdery as dictated by Smith. When something is transcribed by a printer (especially with lead type) mistakes happen, such as an entire paragraph missing in Alma 32 that has been missing from every book of mormon prior to 1981, when the error was corrected after the church purchased that section of the original manuscript. Or "White and Delightsome" to "Pure and delightsome" as in the original text (and which was edited back to the original by Smith in the 1838 edition, but reverted to "white" in the 1842 edition. Simply put, no one knew these items were wrong until the originals were found and studies, as the printer's manuscript had some errors as well. Remember, (I'm sure you've read this in your study of the Book of Mormon) that Cowdery made two copies of what he wrote from Smith's mouth - the second had some transcription errors, just as hand-written bibles from the middle ages often do. That's what happens when you copy 600 pages by hand. Therefore, changes back to the original or what Smith edited (as he was the translator) should be allowed. It makes the text more accurate to the original and gives the book more integrity. However, no one seems to point out that part, they just claim that changes were made. I've actually gone through and made comparisons to versions myself I have an 1830 copy, and many other early utah period books of mormon that I've compared. Have you?

Please remember, Wikipedia is not a place for Apologetics - either pro or con. (if you don't know, apologetics is the systematic defense of a position - which you are engaged in and encouraging other mormon editors to engage in your and their respective positions). You and they are not here to convince each other of the wrongfulness or correctness of your respecive views or to prove a point. We are here to share sources and ideas and let the reader decide. If you have soruces, add them. If not, Wikipedia is not a forum to argue. If you want to do that, I'd recommend a Mormon or exmormon bullitin board or Yahoo Group. -Visorstuff 23:42, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

First, your slams at my 'lack of education' or 'simplistic' views are getting old. Second, I took this version of events because the man was there when it was written. Unless he's a liar or somebody who re-wrote things is a liar then there can only be one 'correct' version of events. Either way, somebody isn't telling the truth. As far as 'apologetics' being allowed here, that is what I seem to be surrounded by on this page. You folks can quote the company line, chapter and verse, but that doesn't mean the rest of us have to accept or believe it. I will add my edits, cite them and defend them. The sources I add will be available for everyone to see, live with that or don't, that's the way I will be doing it. If you wish to question the sources then you will have to get an outsider to help. Duke53 | Talk 00:15, 20 October 2006 (UTC) p.s. Sarcasm is a weapon of the weak ... you seem to have that move down pat. As to your research with your 1830 copy I will give you a 1990s saying: "garbage in, garbage out", meaning the output is only as good as the data entered ... your 1830 version may be flawed, as far as either of us know.

Again, you haven't read what I wrote. How is whitmer's account wrong? How is cowdery's accoutn wrong? how is the HOC account wrong? They are consistent.

I'm not slamming your 'lack of education,' however, your responses lead me to asnwer you in this way, as you wouldn't respond how you do if you had that understanding - or if you read what is written.

I have handled multiple 1830 books of mormon. My replica is accurate to the original. I'm still not sure your point. -Visorstuff 00:50, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

I do wish however, that you'd actually do some real research rather than taking someone else's internet site as fact. Of course holding a letter penned by Smith himself doesn't seem to satisfy as much as a the "accuracy" of some Geocities site to some. For example, there are multiple errors in transcription with the whitmer quote from the original pamphlet. Your quotation has been modernized. -Visorstuff 00:57, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

You may asnwer [sic] as if I had read it (which I did) or understood it (which I did); I just don't believe it. With all the changes you admit to being made, why are you so sure it's 'accurate' to the original ... why not just use the 'original' always? How do we verify what is the 'original'? Because the church tells us? Again, I don't believe them. You have to believe them, I do not have to believe them. Duke53 | Talk 01:05, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
Actually, we don't have to believe them. I love the Eyring quote: "My religion only requires me to believe the truth." ;^) As with most sources, you try to obtain the oldest version(s) available and compare with other versions to determine what types of changes might have been made. This applies to journals, historical accounts, scripture manuscripts, etc. wrp103 (Bill Pringle) 02:13, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

I'm dizzy from your logic. You believe what you read on the internet, but you don't believe the original documents. Confirmation bias? Yes. Its always a conspiracy isn't it? This is a completely asinine conversation, as you only want to argue.

You asked two questions which I will answer.

1. "why are you so sure it's 'accurate' to the original?"

Cause I've actually spent time looking at both the original published versions, the text written by cowdery, the printers manuscript and my current edition (and others). As a historian, i'm positive that the documents i examined were what they were. This is what I do.

2. "... why not just use the 'original' always"

That's what we'd like to do here - but you have a problem with sourcing them as they are not on the internet. plus...

If the original you speak of is the manuscript written by cowdery: Its hard to pass around a 175+ year old handwritten piece of paper to everyone who wants to read the original text written by oliver for everyone who wants to read the book of mormon. There were no Xerox machines back then.

If its the printers manuscript - there were errors made when it was copied by hand from the original. Its close - and what was used in some versions.

If its the first edition, why use a copy that has ink smears from the printing process and misspellings from a printer who liked to spell words differently than Cowdery, and kept errors from the printers manuscript while the original was kept safe. and at times the printer accidentally left out entire paragraphs? He was human too.

Even the tanners discussed the changes in some of their work. They pointed out why the text changed in some cases, and they pointed out the doctrinal ramifications (albeit small in my opinion) that they made.

If you need to discuss further, please move this to my talk page, as we are completely off topic at this point. A question to start off for there - why do you think changes have been made? Maybe all of us are lying about that too? The church said they were going to make changes and discussed the changes before they were made in church publications - but since you don't believe anything they say, perhaps there aren't changes then? So then this discussion is moot and done.

Historical research takes effort. You apparently don't want to give effort. -Visorstuff 03:07, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

Duke, you wrote: How do we verify what is the 'original'? Because the church tells us? Again, I don't believe them. You have to believe them, I do not have to believe them. The problem is, there is a manuscript, in fact several manuscripts. An original one, that disparate sources agree was produced in a particular way, or ways with some minor differences that suggest that more than one method was employed, and evident hand-copies of the original or other hand-copies. You seem to be assuming from the jump that it is all lies. Smith lied. Cowdery lied. Whitmer lied. Bush lied (heh). They all agreed together to lie, about the way the plates were translated, about the very existence of the plates, about any and all of the divine manifestations that were claimed. All lies. I do not have to believe them, you say. Every document is a lie.
The problem here in this article is not what you want or don't want to believe. It is the historian's problem. The sources say this or that, and the historian's task is to sort out what is written along with other contemporary sources that may say something about what actually happened. Can the historian come to a conclusion about the factuality of the event in its purity? Sometimes. Sometimes not. This is a case of not. The events being described are all very closely held, in the sense that those who claim that they happened happened to them alone with no others to witness it. A "reputable historian" might conclude that it is something that might possibly have happened the way it is claimed, but the tool for finding out is not historical research, at least with the available evidentiary material. In the meantime, one can write interesting and even-handed essays about it all.
But there are some who cannot, will not, and dare not believe that the events happened, for whatever reason. They must label everything that corroborates that which they dare not believe as a lie, and leap to believe everything that contradicts, or seems to contradict that which they will not believe. Even an even-handed approach, that says Well, there is some consistency in the documents, and there is some degree of plausibility to parts of it, but we can't tell whether this event actually happened or not is not enough. The thing must be denied, at every level, and with every fiber of being. I may be wrong, but this is where you seem to be. May I gently suggest that perhaps this is not the place from which one can write an NPOV article on the subject? Mike 23:02, 21 October 2006 (UTC)

Length of this article

This article is getting ridiculously long. As of now, it's 181 kB, which is twice as long as the article for the Roman Catholic Church, which has a history about five times as long, and 100 times the membership. The problem is, everyone thinks this page has to be everything to everybody, and we end up duplicating work that goes on in other pages. Much of this article is about church history, which is extensively covered in several other articles, including History of the Latter Day Saint movement and History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Another problem is that the article goes into too much detail on the various doctrinal issues, which are explained ad nauseum on other pages. There is no need to repeat everything here. There are too many other issues that should be discussed on this page to fill it up with duplicate historical or theological information. Considering interest in this article, it should have obtained featured status long ago. This article should essentially be a summary article—an introduction to meatier articles elsewhere. Is anybody interested in helping with the pruning? COGDEN 00:14, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

I agree with you COGDEN, this issue arises every six months or so, as folks keep thinking minor details need to be added in. I think however, that the current dispute by Duke53 will need to be resolved before cutting. -Visorstuff 00:53, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
I have made an attempt to take some of the longer sections and putting them in separate articles, for example Service of worship (Mormonism) which still needs clean up on that page. I think the beliefs and practices section should be a one or two paragraph summary with a "Main" link. I think the history section is pretty close to what I would like included, although it could be paired down in length. Even the Book of Mormon section could be reduced a bit. Do we really need the entire summary page quoted? Let's figure out the main sections, have each link to a "main" article and reduce each section to a paragraph of two. Bytebear 01:02, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

Good work, however, i'm struggling a bit between Service of Worship (Mormonism) and Sacrament meeting. I think there is also a sunday school page. Is there too much overlap there. Also shouldn't it be Worship services (Latter-day Saint)? Wording is a bit clunky to me. But like the result/how it turned out in general. Thoughts? -Visorstuff 03:10, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

I didn't realize there was such redundancy and we should take advantage of it. If we can merge in the info from the Worship article into these other articles, I am for that. The original section on Worship service had Sacrament meeting, Sunday school, Primary, as well as General Conference. I also think Stake Conference should be added somewhere. So, I looked around and found Service of worship which seemed like a fairly comprehensive article on protestant services in general, and in keeping with the naming convention I used (Mormonism) although it is recommended to use (Latter Day Saints). Funny, but there is no specific naming convention for (Latter-day Saints), so I figured I would go with the most common naming convention. And I agree that the fervor needs to die down a bit before we start cutting (which is what I intended when I opted to ignore the issue). Bytebear 05:58, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

Bytebear - I completely agree with you - you are onto something - lets merge where it makes sense. I actually think that Latter-day Saint worship services would be the ideal name, after having thought about it, and have it be more of a quick overview and disabiguation page that points to articles on Sunday School, Sacrament Meeting, General Conference, primary, stake conference and other articles.

COGDEN, what do you think about the (Latter-day Saint) appendage to articles for naming conventions. I see you've revisited the Latter Day Saint and Mormonism naming conventions lately - is it time to make some better changes to the conventions? -Visorstuff 16:07, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

I think the naming conventions definitely need a reworking. I've updated the Wikipedia:Manual of Style (Latter Day Saints) with what I think are becoming the de facto best practices, but the Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Latter Day Saint) are a bit confusing. The conventions currently suggest the parenthetical (LDS Church), but I wonder whether (Latter-day Saint) (or (Latter-day Saints)) might be better. We just haven't yet really had articles that needed the very-specific parenthetical. I'm also torn between (Latter Day Saint) and (Latter Day Saints) as parentheticals. In many situations, such as the name of the above Manual of Style, the parenthetical (Latter Day Saint) seems strange, as if the Manual itself were a Latter Day Saint. Do you have a good reason, Visorstuff, to favor the singular form? COGDEN 22:55, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
I think the plural (Latter Day Saints) should rule over the singular form (Latter Day Saint). I completely agree with you on that, and will suppport it fully. It is the style used by the associated press as they talk abou "other Latter Day Saints churches," but I'm not so sure of Latter-day Saints over Latter-day Saint. I'm undecided on that one. My reasoning is that you may be talking about the "Latter-day Saint Church" as it is referred to in historical documents. Its not referred to in the plural in historical documents. I need more time to noodle that one before making my decision on what I prefer. Thoughts to persuade me? -Visorstuff 23:36, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
For the specific church-based parenthetical, maybe we should stick with (LDS Church) as it is now in the naming conventions. Of course, I still haven't seen an article where I think the parenthetical is justified. COGDEN 18:30, 21 October 2006 (UTC)
'I've copied this discussion thread to Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Latter Day Saint). COGDEN 18:30, 21 October 2006 (UTC)

I merged two smaller sections (Unique Authority and Calling of the Prophet) under beliefs and placed them in Leadership and Priesthood. They were only a paragraph in length and much of the info already seemed to be stated in the other section. If someone can read it and see if there is still redundancy, that would be great!!! Thanks! Sylverdin 17:56, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

Naming Conventions

I changed the article Service of worship (Mormonism) to Latter-day Saint worship services, but I still wonder if this should be the correct usage. What about these conventions ( I use Priesthood as an example with info from the naming convention guide):

Articles about the religion, doctrines, belief systems, and cultures of the Latter Day Saint movement, and that could apply to more than one Latter Day Saint denomination, should use the word "Mormonism".

Articles about only one Latter Day Saint denomination should use the full name of the denomination as it exists on the denomination's Wikipedia page.

So which should we use?

  1. Worship services of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  2. Worship services (Latter Day Saint)
  3. Service of worship of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  4. Service of worship (Latter Day Saint)

I am leaning toward the second as we can add info for other denominations somewhere in the article and "Services of worship" sounds too hoity toity. Bytebear 20:54, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

I'm not sure, but my first impression is to go with the first choice. The article is about the worship services of the LDS church. It's not about worship services in the context of the Latter Day Saint movement. Also, I don't personally like the term service of worship, which sounds like badly-translated Latin. The service of worship article ought to be merged into the church service article, in my opinion. Maybe Church services of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a possibility. COGDEN 21:13, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
I would go with the first one, which is close to (of instead of in), but better than what I suggested above. Also, I'm guessing that the other denominations have different meetings than the LDS Church, so this should have its own article. --Lethargy 21:29, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
Ok, I will make the change. Bytebear 21:57, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

Suggestions for what to change

Here are my suggestions for areas that can be summarized These are my opinions, so please give constructive feedback:

  1. The intro sounds good and is a fairly good length.
  2. The history subsection titles look good
  3. merge "The church today" into the history section
    1. shorten the subsections "Name of the Church", "Gordon B. Hinkley" and "Current membership" into a few paragraphs.
    2. Spin off Name of Church to a separate article if needed.
  4. "Sacred Texts"
    1. Remove the intro paragraph from "Book of Mormon"
    2. Beef up D&C
    3. Change PoGP into a paragraph from a bullet list
  5. "Other publications" - Could be shortened
  6. Beliefs and practices
    1. Needs a ton of trimming
    2. spin off First Principals and Ordanances. Maybe into the Articles of Faith article?
    3. Shorten Godhead to
      1. Role of Jesus Christ
        1. Jehovah in OT (too obscure to mention here)
      2. diff between trinity
      3. physical aspects
      4. Exhaultation (maybe a separate section than Godhead, maybe Salvation of Man?)
      5. Heavenly Mother (too obscure to mention here)
    4. Continued Revelation could be shortened, and Hinkley could be moved here.
    5. Leadership and the Priesthood should be shortend a lot.
      1. get rid of the loss of authority, as it is covered in the intro, the early history, and beliefs.
    6. Plan of Salvation - I can see this whole section removed without a tear.
    7. Tithes and offerings - actually not a bad section
    8. Emphasis on Family - Again, I could take it or leave it. Maybe shorten and move to the culture section
    9. Missionary program - I like the quote and the paragraph is good with me.
    10. Important to note, and maybe make it parallel the Priesthood section. Needs to be beefed up and add links to Women and Mormonism
  7. Worship services - was shortened, could still be tightened up a bitl
  8. Other metings. A bit long, spin it out to separate articles?
  9. Temples - suprisingly short which is good considering all that you could add.
    1. I would like to see something on Eternal Families here
  10. Education - good example to what a section should be like. Short but with a spinoff article
  11. Culture and Practices. also short, and other than the Word of Wisdom which could be merged into Beliefs, I could see this section go.
  12. Finances - I think this section isn't all that important, but thats just me. Tithing is mentioned in Beliefs. Holdings should be spun off or removed.
    1. Social and welfare should be mentioned as a program of the church maybe.
    2. "Other programs" can be scrapped as far as I am concerned. maybe a mention of Boy Scouts, but even that isn't so critical to the church as a whole. (More a concern for the Boy Scouts I think).
  13. Controveries is just right. Too many to pick and choose what to display, so the links work well.

Bytebear 23:01, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

I strongly agree with removing the obscure and speculative stuff, like Heavenly Mother and Jehovah in the OT. --Lethargy 01:59, 22 October 2006 (UTC)
I went ahead and removed the obscure stuff. Everything I removed can be seen here. We could still include a see also for Heavenly Mother, but I'm not sure if it should go in The Godhead or the See also section. --Lethargy 02:15, 22 October 2006 (UTC)
I made a paragraph out of the info on Pearl of Great Price. The wording may need a bit of polishing but it's better than a bullet list. Bytebear 03:43, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

Before I do any trimming on the article, I wanted to get some input. I think the first principles and ordinances section is too long and can be reduced to a single segment. I also like "The nature of God" as a title rather than "The Godhead". It just seems to be more understandable to the causual reader. The Plan of Salvation also seems a bit bloated. Maybe a section called "The nature of man" instead? Bytebear 22:16, 1 November 2006 (UTC)

I was about to say that the First principles and ordinances of the Gospel section be rewritten to be much shorter, but I see you beat me to it. I completely agree: this and the Plan of Salvation section need to be a lot less wordy, we should try to keep it as simple as possible and avoid deviating from what the sources state. I'm thinking we should use a sledgehammer rather than a chisel and completely rewrite these sections. --Lethargy 23:06, 5 November 2006 (UTC)


I think the tags at the top of the article are not useful in identifying what sections/areas need improvement. For example, the intro has no weasel words that I can find and some sections have no neutrality problems - we should move tags to those sections that need the specific help.

Agreed, let's see if we can find which sections they are referring to and move them there. --Lethargy 19:35, 22 October 2006 (UTC)
I'm not sure what the tag was for, but there are sort of weaselly statements such as:
  • "Traditional Christians sometimes take umbrage at the Church's rejection of Trinity,and even have called the Church "non-Christian" for not accepting the creeds and beliefs held by the larger Christian Community." - I added a {{fact}} tag.
  • "This claim has caused some strife amongst other Christian religions who reject the LDS belief in exclusive authority." - already tagged for citation.
  • "Additionally, at times when President Hinckley's predecessors were in poor health, Hinckley performed many of the duties of the Church's presidency as established by precedent and revelation." - I guess "many" could be explained.
  • "Many callings are limited to priesthood holders, with qualifications usually related to the particular calling." - how many are many?
  • The Culture and practices section. - already tagged as needing citations, I switched to the {{unreferenced}} template.

--Lethargy 19:52, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

My edits to intro

"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the LDS Church or the Mormon Church, is the largest denomination within the Latter Day Saint movement, Its adherents describe itwhich describes itself as the restoration of the original 1st century Christian church and. Adherents view themselves as Christians, though not part of the Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant traditions."

The church describes itself this way according to the reference.

"The church teaches that Jesus Christ appeared with God the Father to Joseph Smith, Jr. and called him to be a prophet and to re-organize the original church established by Jesus Christ through a restoration ofrestore elements that had been missing from Christianity since the Great Apostasy. This restoration> included the return of priesthood authority, new sacred texts, and the calling of twelve apostles. Like other Latter Day Saint denominations, the church claims succession tofrom the Church of Christ founded by Smith in April 6 1830, following his translation of the Book of Mormon from which adherents—also called Latter-day Saints—get their nickname Mormons."

"Smith led the church until his violent death in 1844. After a period of confusion where the church was led by the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and various claims of succession were made, Brigham Young led a group of Mormon pioneers away from the former church headquarters in Nauvoo, Illinois and eventually enteredto the Salt Lake Valley of Utah in July 1847. Young was ordained President of the church in December 1847, and the group following him became The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Clarify that there was a dispute after Smith’s death, Brigham Young led a group to Utah and it is now the church which is the subject of the article.

The church is Now an international organization, the church has its world headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah remains the world church headquarters, where Gordon B. Hinckley serves as its fifteenth President. In 2005 the church reported a worldwide enrolled membership of over 12.5 million[2], although many of those members no longer affiliate with the organization.

(text moved in red)
Removing this “many” is a weasel word – this can be explained in detail later. For example in the 3 wards I have had access to records in Utah, New Jersey and Florida about 6, 13, and 9% (respectively) of those on the rolls were not “members” i.e. they were children of record who were not baptized or spouses of members who have a “non-member” record created. This is clearly original research (OR), as is the “many no longer affiliate with the organization is also. But unless someone has published research that takes “Ward list numbers” and actual membership counts and compares them with surveys such as Columbia’s, we should not be doing anything other than reporting the results of the survey or other published material. These conclusions are OR whether they are drafted here or on the many random blogs and websites that discuss the issue – on both sides – and do not meet the attribution standards. --Trödel 15:39, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
Ward lists are not the full story. There is a large pool of membership records at church headquarters which are not assigned to a particular ward or branch, because the wards or branches have lost track of them. When someone moves, for example, and home teachers don't have a forwarding address, the current practice is for the ward clerk to send the membership records to church headquarters. I think church sources (can't remember where) say that the total number of non-participating members is about %50. 50% is, in any case, the "retention rate" for new converts. There are people in church headquarters whose job it is to track these people down, but the number of people involved, and the amount of time needed to investigate each one, is obviously overwhelming. COGDEN 16:12, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
Totally agree - and don't even get started on the tracking of specific international records - my point is that there are two many variables and it is all original research - I was just using an opposing example. We need to stick to published analysis or surveys and not draw conclusions. --Trödel 16:40, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
You are right Cogden - the average time a name stays at church headquarters though is under six months. Many are sent back, but thats a stat I read once - I'll have to dig up the reference for it.
Let me look at Stan Albriect and Marie Cornwall's religiousity of members research - they say that somewhere between 3-8 percent of people leave the church permanently over time, although it is quite cyclical. Some decades have much larger loss than others (the church has had a net decrease in members a couple of times, if i remember right). With the recent rise of arguements against the church such as the DNA claims, a new rise of folklore and use of statistics, etc., it could be as high as 10 percent currently. Your statistics would be in line with all of this.
On the other hand, the same study says about 50-60 percent of church members are not active at any given time. More than 80 percent of this less active group will return to activity at some point in their life for at least a brief time, but may fall back into that pool. I was amazed at the religiousity by age - it is quite predictable. I've got some drafts of this that I was going to add to the Exmormon article a while back, but it was removed. I'll see if I can find. -Visorstuff 16:18, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

Requirement for converts to give up polygamy

Converts from areas where polygamy is an accepted practice typically must end such relationships.

This is probably a pretty rare thing, which explains why I have never heard this before. I would assume that this policy applies to those practicing polygamy where it is illegal as well, and I'm not sure if "typically" is accurate or not. Can we find a source which verifies this? --Lethargy 02:46, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

Yeah, the 'typically' is weird. If this is true (which it seems like it would be, but we do need a source), it'd be true for everybody. --Masamage 03:00, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

Image of Christ visiting America deleted?

It appears that the image was deleted. Was there a source statement for that image? It looks like a bunch of non-sourced images were deleted recently.

Also, I noticed a red category on requested images. wrp103 (Bill Pringle) 23:14, 29 October 2006 (UTC)

It's a copyrighted painting that was erroneously uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, which doesn't allow images whose use is based solely on fair use. The fair use claim is a bit questionable, anyway, since the image was a large, high-resolution picture. COGDEN 06:41, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

Possible Vandalism? 10-31-06

If you read The Godhead, 3rd paragraph, Joseph Smith comment is:

These are incomprehensible ideas to some, but they are simple. It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the Character of God, and to know that we may converse with him as one man converses with another, and that he was once a man like us; --> yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did; and I will show it from the Bible . . . Jesus treads in the tracks of his Father, and inherits what God did before; and God is thus glorified and exalted in the salvation and exaltation of all his children . . . It is not all to be comprehended in this world; it will be a great work to learn our salvation and exaltation even beyond the grave.[46]

(Yea, that God himself, ...)Does this sound right or has someone changed the comment?

That sounds right to me. Joseph Smith often used Biblical language, like "yea" in place of "yes" or "indeed." Thanks for checking on that. ^^ --Masamage 19:24, 1 November 2006 (UTC)


In an attempt to remove the non-neutrality tag from the article, can anyone and everyone chime in on what issues you feel are not neutral and what needs better or less coverage? If you feel the article is neutral note that as well. Bytebear 05:42, 2 November 2006 (UTC)


I believe that the article needs a significant amount of revision to remove jargon. While people who are familiar with the topic may already know what the Godhead is, the casual inquirer isn't going to automatically understand that part. I believe that religions generally attempt to describe God and the relationship between God and man. Accordingly I believe that a note on the nature of God should come before faith in JC. The changes I've made have been scrapped, although the dispensations part has remained. I'd like to see a consensus reached on article order and I recommend the LDS Articles of Faith as the starting point. Article one, quoting from memory, states that the LDS Church believes in God the Eternal Father, Son JC, and the Holy Ghost. Eljamin 17:25, 2 November 2006 (UTC)Eljamin

I agree; you raise a very good point. We just need to be careful about our wording, is all. --Masamage 19:27, 2 November 2006 (UTC)
I absolutely agree we need to reduce jargon. As to your suggestion to use the LDS Articles of Faith as a starting point for this article, I'm not sure that's the best idea. Some of the Articles, honestly, aren't that notable for purposes of a Wikipedia article. For example, what church doesn't believe in being "honest, true, chaste, benevolent," etc. (Art. 13), or believe in worship according to one's conscience (Art. 11). And Article of Faith 1 doesn't actually say anything notable about the Godhead. At the same time, there are numerous beliefs of the church that are not included in the Articles, which are extremely notable. For example, temples, the Endowment, sealings, work for the dead, tithing, etc. These are much more notable, for example, than the church's rejection of Original Sin (Art. 2) or its belief that Zion will be located in North America (Art. 10). COGDEN 19:31, 2 November 2006 (UTC)
Although those are excellent references to use when we do state that the church rejects Original Sin and encourages its members not to persecute people of other faiths. --Masamage 19:41, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

I think you should try to research, somewhat, what the books, that the Latter-Day Saints believe in, actually say. There are a few places that have caught my eye, in which vague nouns are given to people that have been identified or have been said to have identified themselves by people in the Pearl of Great Price, namely in Joseph Smith - History, which is a written account by Joseph Smith himself.


I'd like to change the heading away from Godhead and to a less jargony title like, "The Nature of God." I would do it myself, but I'm afraid that I'd unlink a lot of things elsewhere in Wikipedia. I don't know much about editing. I also disagree with the factual points made in the Godhead section. Although it is true that the LDS church proclaims that God ("Elohim") is omnipotent, what is meant by that is quite different from what an evangelist Christian means, for example. He would insist that Elohim created everything ex nihilo - out of nothing. A simple reading of D&C 93:29 reveals that the D&C proclaims that Elohim is incapable of creating or destroying intelligence and that man is co-eternal with Elohim. These are blasphemous beliefs according to many Christians. A reading of BH Roberts ( also raises a lot of points that fly in the face of the Wikipedia Godhead section. One can argue that BH Roberts is expressing BH Roberts opinion which is not the same as the 12 LDS Apostles officially blessing something as THE TRUTH, and I take that point as somewhat valid, but not enough to enable us to entirely dismiss these writings. I further quote: “The Holy Ghost as a personage of Spirit can no more be omnipresent in person than can the Father or the Son, but by his intelligence, his knowledge, his power and influence, over and through the laws of nature, he is and can be omnipresent throughout all the works of God” (Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1939], p. 61). So the omnipresent part needs to be qualified, too. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Eljamin (talkcontribs)

I agree with "Nature of God", and I think the entire belief section should reference scripture as a primary source, then Ensign articles, and then outside references. Because this section is about what the church professes to believe, I don't consider this to be NPOV, although others may disagree. I would start the section on the nature of god with D&C 130:22: "The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us." The D&C has a ton of scriptural references to the nature and makeup of deity and they should be referenced. Bytebear 00:15, 4 November 2006 (UTC)
I generally try to avoid scripture references, since many religions interpret them differently. IMO the best sources would be church manuals, general conference talks, the Ensign, etc. --Lethargy 02:03, 4 November 2006 (UTC)

Removed info

In the name of trimming down this article, I have removed several paragraphs from the article which I consider too in-depth for an overview article such as this one. The largest removal was the last four paragraphs of "The Godhead" which you can find here. The other removal was the first two paragraphs from the Missionary program section.[16]

Since we are trying to shorten this article, I may have more removals to post later. --Lethargy 23:29, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

  1. ^ article.