Talk:The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints/Archive 12

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Featured Article

I'm just curious, why isn't this article a candidate for Feature Article? It lists most and many sources, highly informative, and provides a very balanced view of this Church. If anyone should nominate this article (even for Good Article) I shall support it. Ladybug413

I don't think it's ready yet, though it's making very good progress. It's been a goal of mine (and I'm sure a lot of us) to get this one featured, but it's a difficult task because so much material has to be covered so succinctly. To be FA quality, I think it needs to essentially be a guide, in WP:Summary style, that would provide the reader with a path to find any of the hundreds of LDS-related articles. Maybe not always a direct path, but a clearly-defined one. COGDEN 17:36, 15 May 2007 (UTC)
I agree it isn't ready yet, has too much detail, has duplicate coverage of some information, ... --Trödel 01:19, 18 May 2007 (UTC)
This is my first time on wiki and this has been a favored topic of mine for a while. If there are any needs for references, I have several older texts published by the Church that might help with establishing facts to help bring these pages up to par. Just let me know what is needed. Oh, and forgive me if I bludgeon this entry. Garnster 04:45, 29 May 2007 (UTC) Garnster

Missionary Fund

I think saying missionaries are "paid" is technically accurate, but not the intent of the church. It was changed to balance the burden of families, and families and individuals do still pay their own way, but through the fund. Maybe some history of how it was done prior to the general fund needs to be explained, because when I went on my mission (to one of the most expensive missions), decades ago, I had to pay my own way. Bytebear 18:40, 15 May 2007 (UTC)

I'd say it's more accurate that they are given a "stipend" to cover basic expenses. If they were truly paid, there would be tax withholding issues, etc. A simple test would be whether in the United States the IRS considers the MSF money missionaries receive as taxable wages, which it does not. In addition, the money given by missionaries' family members to the missionary fund is not tax-deductable in the United States. If you claim that as a deduction and then get audited, you'll get nailed. --TrustTruth 19:07, 15 May 2007 (UTC)
Actually, one of the main reasons for the change in funding was so that money donated to missionaries would be tax-deductible. Technically, to be tax deductible, money for missionaries has to be given to the church as a charitable donation with no strings attached, and the missionaries have to be paid direcly by the church without regard to who donated. Also, under U.S. tax law, certain payments by a tax-exempt organization to full-time clergy (like Catholic priests, etc.) are completely tax-free. Anyone who donated to the missionary fund should take the deduction. COGDEN 18:40, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
I don't want to get into an argument over this, but it's not so clear-cut. Publication 526 spells out the specifics. [1] There is even a specific example for a "son [doing] missionary work" as a disallowed deduction. Basically there is an issue with the family contribution to the general fund still being tied to the individual missionary. You could make the argument for deducting the difference between what you pay and what a mission in, say, Chile, really costs every month. In general, as much as I love tax deductions, I would not risk taking this one. But not everyone gets audited! (I am a CPA but not a tax expert.) --TrustTruth 20:33, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
I remember this issue coming up during a Bishopric meeting when I was Exec Sec and one of the counselors had a missionary in the field. At one point, it was customary for people (especially parents) to indicate on the donation slip which missionary they were donating money for. The ward clerk kept track of how much was donated for each missionary against their costs. This was changed, however for the above mentioned tax purposes. The way it works now (or did a couple of years ago) is that people donate to the missionary fund. If they donate to the general fund, the money goes to Salt Lake, but if they donate to the local fund, it is kept by the unit. Each month, Salt Lake deducts a fixed amount, based on how many missionaries are in the field, from the unit's account. If the account is short or if it has an excess doesn't matter. The missionary gets their living expenses each month regardless. Each unit tries to raise enough money to support their missionaries, but if they can't, it doesn't make a difference. wrp103 (Bill Pringle) (Talk) 22:09, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
If that's true then I stand corrected. --TrustTruth 23:23, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
The change was made because of Davis v. United States, 495 U.S. 472 (1990), which incidentally needs an article created for it. -- 23:37, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
I definitely stand corrected. As I don't have the expertise to start that article, I added it to the requested articles list. --TrustTruth 23:51, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
There's actually a growing list of LDS related law articles that don't yet exist found at Category talk:Law related to Mormonism -- 00:03, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

My understanding of the missionary fund concurs with Bill's. My point is that when the missionary him/herself has saved the money prior to leaving or if the parents pay for mission by donating to the local fund, the effect is that the Church is not paying for the missionary. That is solely an accounting method to appease whoever. What is not the case is that the church pays missionaries to serve missions. --Storm Rider (talk) 00:34, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

I would agree that we should look at the practical results and how those doing the missionary work itself view the issue, as opposed to viewing it from technical legal or accounting viewpoints. Do Mormon missionaries think or feel like they are getting paid? From my understanding, they typically feel like they are using their own money, the money of a family member, or the money of friends who have agreed to fund the mission—and this money is certainly going somewhere. Most missionaries would vehemently deny being paid for their work, I would guess. Maybe what the missionaries think isn't 100% legally accurate, but sometimes perception is more important than pedantic accuracy. And I say this even though I am in employment that requires pedantic accuracy. -SESmith 03:03, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
As a recently returned missionary, I can state that myself and my missionary associates certainly did not feel that we were getting paid. The money we received was around $5 per day, which doesn't go very far in the UK! I know that's not a legal argument, but for me, that was my money - I had saved for years to go on a mission. I'm sure that's what 99% of missionaries think. Kristmace 01:32, 8 September 2007 (UTC)

Jewish Questions for Mormons

- Moved to Mmiarchi talk page(talk). All are welcome to join in! Some other interesting theological topics emerging as well. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Mmirarchi (talkcontribs) 18:46, 15 May 2007.

The discussion has moved to User talk:Rambler55. Bytebear 18:59, 23 May 2007 (UTC)


The following entry should be re-evaluated...

"In common with other Restorationist churches, the church [LDS] believes in a Great Apostasy."

I’m assuming "other Restorationist churches" is referring to Christian denominations springing from Martin Luther's Protestant Reformation. This is biased and misleading. No evidence or source has been provided to suggest any Orthodox Christian denomination believes in a "Great Apostasy". Much less an "Apostasy" as defined by Mormonism. Mmirarchi 17:28, 18 May 2007 (UTC) (talk

Martin Luther was not a Restorationist, but a Reformist. You might want to look at the article Restorationism to gain a better understanding of the term. In the context it is applied to the LDS movement, it is accurate. --Storm Rider (talk) 18:03, 18 May 2007 (UTC)
Seconded. --Masamage 20:29, 19 May 2007 (UTC)
ThirdJcg5029 05:07, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

Church membership numbers

The LDS church has a known reputation for overcounting their membership statistics throughout the world. They claim nearly a million members in Mexico. Yet the Mexican census puts their numbers just slightly over 200,000. Similar problems have occurred in Chile, New Zealand, Brazil and other places. This Wikipedia article on the church can't have any credibility for being neutral if it just continues to tout the self-reported LDS church numbers (especially in Latin America) without any mention of the various government reported numbers on other Wikipedia pages. LDS church numbers are obviously inflated based on historical church policies such as usage of a tool called the Unknown Address File and lack of reporting and external, independent auditing of the statistical activity rates. (Alex71va 04:24, 21 May 2007 (UTC)alex71va)

If any, your statements needs verification. This article does not say the church is correct, it says that it reports such-and-such a number and then gives proof of that report. If you're going to go in and say that they're lying, you need a reference too. --Masamage 04:36, 21 May 2007 (UTC)
We need to make sure the article is clearly saying its reporting church numbers. And in reporting numbers, these numbers are open to scrutiny. Sure such scrutiny wouldn't be made over the pulpit in General Conference. But such scrutiny is necessary in order to insure NPOV. (Alex71va 04:59, 21 May 2007 (UTC)alex71va)
Such scrutiny does need a source, and then can be included. Otherwise, as far as I see the article now says "reports" every time the numbers come up. --Masamage 05:02, 21 May 2007 (UTC)
I do not believe either set of numbers are incorrect, but obviously to contest something a person better have a good source. Here is my understanding of the subject. Often numbers are calculated included those who have been baptized for the dead. Am I incorrect in that assumption? If not, it would explain the different numbers and help rectify the issue. Jcg5029 05:11, 21 May 2007 (UTC)
No, baptisms for the dead are not included in church membership records. This particular opinion is a favorite whipping horse for anti-Mormons, and in particular ex-Mormons. The church has no ability to count those who no longer attend church, but have not removed their names from the rolls of the church. This is an identical position of the Catholic church. They are even a bit more emphatic than LDS; once baptized, it is very difficult to have your name removed from their roles. --Storm Rider (talk) 05:16, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

I wonder how accurate census documents are? Do you have any evidence that the nubmers reported for any other church, as reported by the census in question, is exactly the same as reported that by those chruches? Exactly how many Catholics are reported by the Catholic church are in Mexico and how many are reported by the Census?

I am removing your edits because no other church is held to the same standard on Wikipedia. The only thing that has been stated is what the church reports...JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER CHURCH. What we have here is your personal agenda attempting to make it something it is not. We call that POV and standing on a soapbox. Please refrain from doing so; it is best for a personal blog. --Storm Rider (talk) 05:13, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

The question about census accuracy is a pretty good one. Not everybody answers the census, and if they're inactive but have not been removed from the records of the church, they may not list themselves as members. That, and the church numbers include children. I'm not sure the census considers children to have a religion of their own. --Masamage 05:16, 21 May 2007 (UTC)
The LDS Church just reports the number of individuals on its rolls. Isn't this what every church does? These numbers are not even intended to be an indication of the numbers who are attending church or other meetings. We're told there's a billion Catholics or whatever, but I never hear the Vatican announce their average weekly attendance or the percentage of members for whom they have current addresses or phone numbers. Does the Vatican have "external, independent auditing of the statistical activity rates"?? News to me if they do.
In any case, Alex71va is obviously also a little behind in his "facts", because the "unknown address file" no longer exists. Several years ago the LDS Church sent all in the unknown address file back to the unit of the last known address. It stays at the last known address until a new one is found.
This is a non-issue if there ever is one. -SESmith 08:41, 21 May 2007 (UTC)
Neutrality rules on Wikipedia must be respected. See Anyone who does their research on this matter knows that these self-reported numbers are not the consensus, even in the Mormonism communities online. If you believe other churches are inaccurate in reporting their numbers then you can make your POV known on those pages. Its likely on a site like Wikipedia that someday someone is going to total up all the religion numbers worldwide and strive to reconcile this total with the world population totals. If every church inflates their numbers beyond government census numbers then we'll certainly have a large discrepancy. Thus it will help for Wikipedia's credibility to provide as much accuracy as possible. -Alex71va 11:41, 21 May 2007 (UTC)
It appears we have a disputation here, and until NPOV can be respected by all then we will continue to have a general disputation about this Church Membership section. -Alex71va 11:49, 21 May 2007 (UTC)
No one has ever claimed the numbers are "the consensus". All the article states is the number is the membership reported by the church. As wrp103 (Bill Pringle) states below, the solution is simple. -SESmith 22:47, 21 May 2007 (UTC)
It seems to me that the resolution is pretty simple. You need only identify a credible source for your assumption that the numbers are not correct, and then add that information to the article. However, to insert undocumented and unsupported claims is not WP:NPOV, but rather WP:UNDUE. wrp103 (Bill Pringle) (Talk) 13:39, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

You know, this is one reason I've struggled lately to edit much. Most of the arguments and edits like this are rehashed from earlier discussions. You all may want to review the follwoing talk page entries regarding church growth and censuses :

This is further complicated by the change in the 1990s and 200s on membership life expectancy by the US and the LDS church. Until the new census, the US left unknowns persons as living until the age 100, at which time they said they must be deceased. They lowered that number at the new census, as did the church a few years later to typical life expectancy (there is actually a complex formula for this). So the "adjustment" made in the early 2000s is pretty darn accurate (I beleive merrill bateman talked about this - discussed in one of the above links). I'm still listed as an Christian not a Mormon or Latter-day Saint on one census, but as a Latter-day Saint on another. Funnily enough, because I invite the Jehovah Witnesses into my home, I'm also considered a JW on their "study" and membership roles. Yes, there is some errors, some issues with membership, but the LDS Church's is probably the most accurate large religious denomination out there when it comes to record keeping and membership.

Add to all of this my own research (not introduced here) would actually move the number higher, as there are a large number of people who consider themselves cultural church members, or that they are part of the denomniation, but have never been baptized in authorized channels. For example, the "Gay Mormon" survivor contestent a few seasons ago was never mormon, never baptized, but beleived in the church teachings, and fully considered himself a Latter-day Saint by culture and name. Some funadementalists groups consider themselves fully a authorized underground of the LDS church and as such, church members. It all gets pretty hairy when counting numbers. 17-18 million adherents to the Latter Day Saint movement is not an unreasonable figure, and 12-14 of those officially LDS Church members.

Regardless, a person in the US and elsewhere may claim multiple church memberships - and it may be politically and career-wise prudent for them to do so. Until they release their membership via application (the same way they got into the church) or excommuncation, they would have church membership. In places wehre there is a state religion, Mormonism is typically not counted, aside from those who are foreigners or are policially protesting. This would include many latin american countries. This has been hashed and re-hashed. anyway, the links are provided for your reading enjoyment. LDS=most accurate records. Much better than born again believers, or Southern Baptist convention, whose numbers counted for about 50 percent of americans (an impossiblity with catholicism) before they were adjusted for counting double conversions and double baptisms. i've been told that they now rely on survey data for their membership numbers. Regardless, it would not be unusual to see church membership have negative growth before an uptick again. I'm running on... -Visorstuff 14:31, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

Statistics are an interesting thing. Here is something I noticed when looking at the statistics of religions of Southern California (my geographic area) found at I assume they mean Parish/Ward count and not just building count, but it isn't clear.
  • Denominations in Los Angeles County
    • Catholic Church 272 churches, 3,077,114 members
    • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints 271 churches 103,286 members
So this tells me that although the Catholic church has about 30 times the number of members, both churches have about the same number of churches. So, does that mean Catholics are 30 times less active? Do their churches hold 30 times as many people? Do they boost their numbers? Interesting. Of course, this isn't a fair assessment, but it does make you think. BTW, Assemblies of God have almost as many churches, and only 55,000 members. So they are kicking both relgions butts in member to church ratio. Bytebear 21:59, 21 May 2007 (UTC)
Yes, a very interesting thing statistics are. You know, IF the stat you refer to is congregations, then it is of no suprise, as anyone can start up an Assemblies of God congregation just by sending in their dues. You would expect them to have smaller congregations as one pastor's views can be radically different than the next pastor's, and smaller congregations of slightly un-likeminded folks are the result. In addition, I imagine there are a number of home-based congregations. Catholicism and Mormonism on the other hand are geographically-based church structures, and doctrine is very much more correlated in both groups. You don't just move on to another catholic or mormon congregation because you disagree with a pator's view on one doctirnal matter, as other church's members would. you either accept all of the church and its doctrines or none of them. Assemblies of God, in my study have the highest retention rate of any group, partially because of smaller like-minded groups. the LDS church's retention, although of concern internally, is much higher than most denominations i've studied, although penecostal, assemblies of god and church of christ are the highest retention rates i've seen, if their stats are accuate. The southern baptist church doesn't even share their retention numbers, and for good reason - they are pretty bad. -Visorstuff 22:38, 21 May 2007 (UTC)
I was raised Catholic and am now LDS so I have some familiarity with both. I think there are several factors explaining the difference you mention. One is the question of what a congregation is, or what a "church" is, which you mentioned too. A Catholic parish has one building (if I'm not mistaken), but several different meeting times (and days) - members go to church at whatever time they choose and can change from week to week. Typically in areas with a moderate to high LDS population, three or four wards share one building, and each ward has exactly one meeting time. So whether they consider the church to be a building or a ward makes a big difference. Also, there is often a difference in physical size. A typical LDS chapel can hold about 200 people without using an overflow area, while Catholic chapels (do they call them chapels?) can often hold many more than that. I don't have numbers, but 1000 wouldn't surprise me. I'm sure there are smaller Catholic churches too but I think they tend to be significantly larger than LDS chapels. So, put that all together and one LDS building will generally serve something like 600-800 active members and a total of 1200-2000 members, both active and inactive (I have all these numbers at my fingertips because I served as a ward clerk for several years BTW). Again I don't have as many numbers for Catholics, but I did see a Catholic church bulletin mentioning that the parish had 2000 families. Figure an average of 3 or 4 people per family for a total of around 7000 people for that one building. Is that typical? I don't know, maybe someone else can chime in, but it seemed typical to me. I don't have any information at all on Catholic attendance rates, but in my experience it's around 50% in an LDS ward. Nasch 20:45, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

As I said before in previous discussion pages on this topic, the Jehovah's Witnesses and 7th-Day Adventists both have very high retention rates and a very high correlation between members-on-the-rolls and actual-active-members. I guess maybe AoG and other Pentacostal groups do as well, if Visorstuff's research is accurate? If you look into the Mexican and Chilean Censii refered to above, you'll see the the censii show MORE self-identifying JWs than the JWs numbers show official members. Basically, there are both higher-retaining and lower-retaining churches than LDS. Also, churches with higher-correlation and lower-correlation between official membership and actual adherents (Check out and you'll see, for instance the Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc. which has had exactly 2,500,000 members since 1991. Uh huh, riiiight. There was some other group with an even less-plausible count, but I can't find it now.).

Also, I'm sure there *is* still an "unknown address file", or at least was one three years ago. Someone skeptical of my surety though may want to call up Church Headquarters confirm for themselves. Should only take a few minutes.

Hey, Visorstuff, you had said in a previous discussion you were looking forward to reading David Stewart's book when it came out. Well, it's out! Both for sale as a bound book and for free on the site. Go to .

As far as saying something actually relevant to the article: Alex71va, you're absolutely right that the census figures are far below the official count. I agree totally. If you want to cite an official source as you've been correctly told you need to, see The Law of the Harvest, by David Stewart, linked in above paragraph. However, I advise you not to. You are also being ridiculous and silly trying to make whatever point it is you're trying to make. As stormrider said below, we all agree with you. But should it be put in the article? No. It's not significant enough, I don't think. And the whole reason you want to put it in is certainly not NPOV.Novel-Technology 06:33, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

Whether or not Alex71va has an axe to grind is a non-issue (also: WP:AGF !). The relevant question is whether a factor-of-five discrepancy between census data and church reported data is worth mentioning. Coming from a hard science background, a factor of five sounds pretty big to me. I say mention it (and cite a source). That said, if it really is the case that all religions suffer from a similar discrepancy between church-reported and census data, that should be mentioned as well. In fact, the above discussion suggests to me that there should ideally be a wiki page "discrepancies between church-reported membership and government census data". Phrenophobia 05:36, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

Church "support" of Prohibition

According to this summary, the LDS Church never officially supported Prohibition. I have heard it said that president of the church Heber J. Grant asked Latter-day Saints to vote against the repeal of Prohibition in 1933. See here.

Our article listed "support of Prohibition" as one of the political issues the church has become involved in, along with opposing MX Missile bases, ERA, same-sex marriage, etc. However, unlike these issues, I can find no official statement from the first presidency, quorum of the twelve, or "the church" on the issue. All I can find are reports about Grant's pleadings with the members.

I've removed support of Prohibition from this list and thought I should open this one up for commenting or discussion of references. -SESmith 03:36, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

Nice catch. I often wondered why I had never heard about that. --Masamage 06:35, 24 May 2007 (UTC)
I think it's fair to say that LDS church officially supported opposed the repeal of Prohibition. President Grant made repeated appeals to the church, including statements by him and other general authorities at the April 1833 General Conference, not to adopt the amendment, as did the church magazines and publications. It kind of depends on what you call "official". If the the church actively participated in the campaign, even unofficially or under the radar, I think that counts as an act "by the church". When the Prophet speaks, isn't it supposed to be church policy? Back in the Brigham Young days, it certainly didn't take a signed statement from one of the quorums to set church political policy. When he spoke, the legislature acted and people voted. It's fair to say, for example, that the church supported the vote for women's suffrage in Utah, even though there isn't a signed proclamation from the First Presidency. Same with a 1968 vote to loosen Utah's liquor laws. I don't think there was a signed pronouncement there, either, but there was lots of political activity. COGDEN 19:02, 24 May 2007 (UTC)
Note that on the issue of enacting Prohibition in the first place, it might be a differrent story, since apostle-senator Reed Smoot opposed Prohibition, and he convinced Joseph F. Smith to keep a low profile on the issue. COGDEN 19:02, 24 May 2007 (UTC)
I do not speak for COgden, but I concur with him in this situation. Sesmith, I think your standard for "official" position may be unrealistic when applied to the LDS church. As a church they take few "offical" positions in society at large. The LDS church has taught actively that strict compliance to the Word of Wisdom is requisite for active members to be in good standing. Is this support for Prohibition or did it support Prohibtion? I find it difficult to think that it did not. Grant was not subtle; rather, he was emphatic that drinking was evil. Official support by the LDS church may not require a signed proclamation to have an impact; gambling and playing poker are good examples of when a prophet speaks, saints listen. --Storm Rider (talk) 21:29, 24 May 2007 (UTC)
I agree with that and I'm not doubting the perceived past position of the church—I think it's fairly indisputable. But again, there have been official statements from the church on gambling, so the comparison between the two is inexact. Also, you can sell alcohol and not run afoul of the Word of Wisdom, whereas this would run afoul prohibition. To me, the only question is whether supporting prohibition should be listed in the same category of those political issues for which the church has taken an "official" position by releasing a statement, such as ERA, MX missiles, same-sex marriage, etc. If yes, we need a fairly solid reference which can refer readers to the facts which you cite—Grant being repeatedly emphatic about it, etc. -SESmith 21:56, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

Item has been added back to article but still no reference for it. Anyone know where to look for one? -SESmith 10:41, 2 June 2007 (UTC)


Who removed the section on Mormonism and race?

I spent several hours last night writing a section on LDS doctrines related to race, citing the book of mormon and official church publications, it was up as of 10 minutes ago but now it's gone! who removed it? why? for what reason and with what justification? Everything there was cited clearly to source documents! this is NOT cool. 11:43, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

the more i think about this the angrier it makes me, i quit the mormon church ten years ago (after 16 yeas of membership) out of outrage when i ran across the old doctrines on race that had been hidden and left undiscussed, and now even on wikipedia mormon apologists are trying to censor attempts to tell the truth about what this church teaches. you cannot allege that the quotes were inaccurate or out of context, they were direct from the book of mormon and official church publications, i even included a few quotes showing anti-racist tendancies in mormon scripture for the sake of balance. I guess this explains why all the articles on the lds church have such a ridiculous pro-mormon bias and read like advertisements for the church! all the quotes that are allowed in are relentlessly pro-mormon and talk about how great the church is, even the article on mormonism and people of african descent only quotes black MORMONS who are ok with the doctrine - people who've left the church in protest or on principle are silenced as are non-mormons who rightly point out the church's bigotry.

I don't claim to have a neutral point of view on this issue but the text i wrote was very much neutral - which is more then can be said for the rest of the article! I am so so angry right now.... 11:54, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

ok, last note here. I was able to find the text, which had been removed by Sesmith, a mormon (big suprise), whose comment was

"This added section sounds more like a specialty involving non-basic doctrine and is not appropriate for an article about the organization that this article is about"

in other words, he removed it because he didn't think it was important since it's "non basic" doctrine. how is it "non basic" to argue that the majority of the worlds population - people of color - are "Cursed" by God and that that curse makes them "lazy" and "idle", as the book of mormon says it does? how is it non-basic that the church prohibited inter-racial marriages for over a century and maintained racial qualifications on who could participate in the church? how is it "non basic" to say that black people can only enter the highest realm of the celestial kingdom as "servants"???

answer: there's nothing non-basic about it, racism and racial doctrines have been a *central* element of the mormon religion since Brigham young took over from joseph smith (who had actually ordained black people). and the only thing inappropriate is that mormon apologists refuse to adhere to NPOV and insist on removing everything even remotely critical of their church, even when it's their own general authorities and prophets words being quoted.

I've put the text back, I hope it stays back this time and that wikipedia hasn't deteriorated to the point where this type of censorship is tolerated. 12:19, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

These issues have been hashed and rehashed by editors on this talk page long before your edits were made. It's always a good idea to glance through the talk pages when you decide to add stuff that may be seen as "controversial" to some, even if you think it is not.
I removed the section because the material you wrote is more approrpriately covered in a separate article; one such as Blacks and Mormonism, Blacks and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, History of the Latter Day Saint movement, etc.
I said it was "non-basic doctrine" because it is not central to the LDS Church of today, which is what this article is largely about. You cannot find extended discussions of race in anything that is currently published by the LDS Church. This article is about the institutional organization of the LDS Church. An article about its history is History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where this historical information is covered fairly well.
Issues of race and skin color are indeed a major theme of the Book of Mormon, the keystone of the LDS religion. Vandalism on this issue is inappropriate on Wikipedia. (Alex71va 05:05, 30 May 2007 (UTC)alex71va)
Perhaps you should reevaluate your reasons for insisting that this information be entered in this article specifically. It could be non-NPOV.
Finally, I don't know why you seemed justified in determining that I am a "Mormon" or a "Mormon apologist"—"Mormon" is certainly not a title I would claim myself on WP, and I don't think the history of my edits would justify calling me an "apologist" for the Mormons. But even if I did claim such titles, I think pointing out someone's religious affiliation "as a means of dismissing or discrediting their views" could constitute a personal attack and a therefore a violation of a specific WP policy. -SESmith 22:28, 27 May 2007 (UTC)
Amen to Sesmith. This is a matter of readable organization, not of people flouting NPOV. Try assuming good faith next time, anon user. --Masamage 23:01, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

half the article was on mormons and native americans, not mormons and blacks, and is NOT covered elsewhere. also, the scriptural citations which you removed and which have since been removed AGAIN related specifically to native americans and are CURRENT doctrine, NOT history. It is thus very much relevant to an article on the doctrine of the Mormon church today - at least as relevant as sexuality and the church's position on homosexuality, which are both mentioned (albiet from a biased pro-mormon perspective) in the article. Efforts to remove sources of "controversy" are exactly the sort of censorship I'm objecting too.

If what you object to is the inclusion of historical data I'll remove that and put up a link to the article on mormons and black people, but the information on CURRENT mormon racial doctrine in regards to native americans needs to go back up.

and if you're not a mormon I apologize for jumping to conclusions. 01:50, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

- one more thought, you argue that "You cannot find extended discussions of race in anything that is currently published by the LDS Church." I submit that this is patently false. The Book of Mormon is the central scripture of the mormon religion and the central narrative of that book, the conflict between the Nephites and Lamanites, is a centuries-long race war in which "blackness" is explicitly associated with apostasy and wickedness. how can you seriously argue that the mormon church does not publish on race? every copy of the book of mormon is a white supremacist manifesto. 02:01, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

No one here is arguing for censorship, but this article is an overview of the LDS Church, and there are other articles for the details of which you describe. If you think there isn't an article that fits what you are wanting to present, then make a new article to cover that topic. As mentioned above, there are many, MANY articles dealing with these issues. This just isn't the right article to discuss these topics in detail. There is already too much detail on a lot of topics, and over time, it becomes bloated, and then it gets trimmed down, and people scream censorship. It is a recurring pattern, and it happens all the time. Don't feel you are being picked on, or not heard, but we have been though this before, and history shows that it is better to leave things out, than to expand them, even if they are controverial and you think they should be presented. There just isn't space. Bytebear 02:56, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
Well, it appears you have a one-horse cause, but the topic of this article is the LDS church. It is difficult at times for new editors to get the hang of things, but it is always best to be bold until corrected by others. I heavily edited your repeated edit for various reasons. 1) we only need very brief summaries here given it is the main article. 2) Scripture is seldom self-evident and is inappropriate to quote, in this instance, LDS experts who interpret the meaning. Doing so prevents any confusion or hasty deletes by others, 3) The Book of Mormon article is quite clear on who the Nephites are believed to be; your criticism is unwarrantied and incorrect.
It feels good to feel like you are riding a white horse and correct the wrongs of humanity, but it does not play well here. Most of us got off that same white horse a long time ago. We are editors of varying degrees of expertise and knowledge. Cooperative editing is the best and the only successful manner I know when editing controversial articles, which this is. Cheers. --Storm Rider (talk) 02:59, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

For my part, I would only point out—first, that I said the LDS Church publishes nothing that has "extended discussions of race". The Book of Mormon mentions (what some interpret to mean) race, but it by no means goes into much detail about it. It is vague and brief enough that there are scholars who question whether it in actuality refers to racial characteristics at all. (But that's another story and would be great for a new article if you find it is unaddressed anywhere else—but I think you will find it if you look.) Anyway, the LDS Church has never adopted everything in the Book of Mormon literally, as some are wont to do with scripture; if it did, imagery and figurative speech such as requiring a "broken heart" or making your garments white by washing them in the "blood of lamb" could be very perplexing and troublesome.

Second, I thank you for your apology but I was not looking for one and it does not offend me to be called a Mormon. But, as I stated above, what does bother me is pointing out someone's presumed religious affiliation "as a means of dismissing or discrediting their views". That's not acceptable at WP or anywhere else. -SESmith 04:35, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

Anon 70, I am a bit tired of your bathering on about censorship. You have an issue of utmost importance to you and you have a focus on it. However, and not intending to be brash, it is a personal issue. I will continue to edit the article because your edits do not improve the article. Spencer Kimball was the last prophet that really talked about the Lamanite people, but one could hardly say it is a major issue of LDS church. Also, the overriding subject of the Book of Mormon is Jesus Christ, not race relations. --Storm Rider (talk) 05:15, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
----much less the lack of work ethic of a specific racial caste, as the article as written alleged! -SESmith 06:22, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

well i'm obviously outvoted on this one, which is frustrating, but seems to be one of the hazards of working on a collaborative project like wikipedia. storm rider - if you count up the number of verses on jesus christ (who only actually appears once) in the book of mormon and compare them to the number of verses on race, race is far more central to the narrative then jesus is. and that's leaving aside the good vs evil race war subtext. and anyone who questions that the book of mormon is talking about race or doesn't think the modern church endorses a racist position hasn't read the official chapters summaries at the beginnings of the various verses that talk about race, the modern church is very clear on this.... I spent 16 years in the church and have studied their doctrines inside and out, i'm not speaking from a lack of familiarity with the book of mormon or lds institutions here. but i can see i'm not going to change your mind so i'll take my "white horse" as ya'll put it and spend my time on something more productive.

I *would* appreciate it if there was at least a stub somewhere on the page referring to the LDS Church's positions on native americans, something i have not seen addressed anywhere on wikipedia. but even that may be too much to expect. 03:09, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

That', not true at all. 60% of the verses in the Book of Mormon refer to Christ. "Race" relations has nothing near that frequency, and when it does, it's stuff like "and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female". Anyway, you're mixing up the "curse" in the Book of Mormon with the sign of the curse, which in the first few centuries is the dark skin. After that, it stops mattering anymore because the Lamanites--from whom the curse itself has been removed--are better people, and the skin-change stops happening. If you want to impress us with your scriptural knowledge, saying "16 years" doesn't cut it; you have to actually be correct, too. --Masamage 03:52, 1 June 2007 (UTC)
The Book of Mormon deals with Israelites. Essentially two families plus some scattered other groups, but all Israelites. So how do you think it is talking about race? There is mention of dark skin as a sign, but it isn't like they changed races in the process. -- wrp103 (Bill Pringle) (Talk) 04:07, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

Anon 70, opinions are free to everyone, but attempting to portray opinion as fact is not acceptable. The words white, dark, skin are mentioned exactly 37 times in the Book of Mormon. The terms Jesus Christ, Lord, or Messiah are over 400. I think what you meant to say above is that Jesus Christ appeared in the Book of Mormon once (which happens to be the exact number of times he appears in the New Testament); however, to attempt to portray that as somehow evaluative of His importance is balderdash and deceiptful. The entire Book of Mormon is about believing in Christ, preaching Christ, and following Christ. Anyone with only the briefest of knowledge of the Book knows this. You are letting your passion about a single subject cloud your reason and your logic. --Storm Rider (talk) 04:24, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

Mormon denomination tree

Main branches of the LDS Movement
Main branches of the Latter Day Saint movement
William Bickerton: The Church of Jesus Christ
Sidney Rigdon: "Rigdonites"
Granville Hedrick: Church of Christ (Temple Lot)
Joseph Smith III: Community of Christ
James Strang:
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Brigham Young
Fundamentalist Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Joseph Smith, Jr. portrait owned by Joseph Smith III.jpg
Joseph Smith

The "Template:Mormon_denomination_tree" (pictured above) has been removed by an editor, who has commented that it is an "ugly and misleading graphic". It previously was a the very bottom of the article.

Should this article have the Mormon denomination tree?—What does everyone think? -SESmith 01:27, 29 May 2007 (UTC)

On my browser, the tree is ugly and is hard to read as the information overlaps. As it contains only the major schisms in a very small format, it has a high probablity of misleading the reader. I would suggest a new more comprehensive tree be created as part of a distinct article on the "LDS family" of religious organizations. Then that article could be linked to all appropriate articles. WBardwin 01:33, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
I'm intrigued by this "high probability of misleading". What is the concern here? -SESmith 06:47, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
Other than the emergence of the Fundamentalist Church(es), this chart only illustrates the major schism(s) at the time of JSmith's death. That is not historically accurate. The first small schism occurred some years earlier in Kirtland, Ohio. Then came the breakup of the larger body of the church in the pressure cooker of Missouri and Nauvoo at the prophet's death. A few other small groups broke off in the months after the death, many of which died out or were later absorbed into the larger schisms. The Utah Brighamites also had their share of small splinter groups during the early years before the issue of polygamy triggered the emergence of the Fundamentalists. So this chart (which truly needs cleanup -- about a dozen words overlap on my browzer) presents a simplified picture of a complicated religious history by focusing on one narrow historic period. I believe that misleads the uninformed reader. In addition, the chart's horizontal scale -- focusing on decades of "time" -- is really unnecessary for the information contained in the present chart. So, I suggest that we make a bigger chart -- or make several showing the actual time frame(s) of the various schisms. These charts could be a real asset in a new article dealing with this important topic in the LDS movement's history. The origin of the various schisms is also relevant to the present relationships between the churches, which would also be a good topic to present in the proposed article. Does such an article make sense to anyone? Comments? WBardwin 07:13, 29 May 2007 (UTC)

I think the tree is a valuable addition and a good introduction for the general reader. Until a new version that is agreed to be clearer and more accurate can be produced, I'd recommend replacing this image. TimVickers 18:42, 29 May 2007 (UTC)

I don't find a chart that presents only major denominations resulting from schisms in a church to be "misleading". Overly-simplified for the savvy reader, perhaps, but hardly "misleading". This chart clearly (depending on your browser) presents when the 4 or 5 largest Latter Day Saint denominations emerged. I do understand the general concerns with the ugliness of the chart, its format, lack of comprehensive details etc., but would agree with WBardwin's suggestion that—like most things in WP—those who have a problem with it should replace it with something better. Like TimVickers, to me this seems like a better option than just rejecting it outright because it doesn't meet a higher level of detail or aesthetics. -SESmith 22:41, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
Incidentally, I also find WBardwin's suggestion for an article on the history of the Latter Day Saint schisms to be a great one. -SESmith 22:45, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for the interest -- I'm copying this discussion to the talk page associated with Category:Latter Day Saint denominations - which could be a title for the proposed article. Let's talk/outline the article there. I think there are a few minor schisms which aren't included in this category list. Can anyone add to the list? WBardwin 17:42, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
I, too, find the template visually unappealing. At a minimum, the colors should be toned down. Having less colors would probably help also. The layout seems flawed as well. The title line doesn't line up, and the origins of the branches are difficult to determine. IMHO, a vertical text list with dates, name, and founder would take less space and be easier to understand. -- wrp103 (Bill Pringle) (Talk) 03:03, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
Suggestion -- in terms of visual appeal, my browser really "loves" the {/{buddhism}/} template. Good color and clear distinctions in spacing and written material. WBardwin 20:53, 2 June 2007 (UTC)

While I was reading the article, there were several times (whenever the words "latter day saint movement" appeared) that I wished for a chart just like this one. Put it back. Phrenophobia 05:49, 7 November 2007 (UTC)


Well, I am not trying to be a pain or anything but I have not noticed much critisism in this article. Without one the article is not as informative as it could be and it also is not as balanced as it could be. So I do not cause a dispute or anything i am wondering if you would have a problem with me starting a small critisism section for this article? Thanks. Have a nice week and God bless:)--James, La gloria è a dio 07:06, 29 May 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for your interest in the article. It is just one of many dealing with the complicated issues relating to the Latter Day Saint movement and focuses solely on the current organization, structure, worship, and operations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Other existing acticles, including Anti-Mormonism and Controversies regarding The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints may provide the more balanced perspective you are proposing. You might want to look them over. However, please feel welcome to bring your ideas and concerns to this talk page as well. With the length of this page, regular editors like to review and discuss material before adding it to the article. Best wishes. WBardwin 07:21, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
Well, what I was thinking was adding a small section with the critisism of the LDS, and then have links to the to articles with critisism in it. Peace:)--James, La gloria è a dio 07:23, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
Here's another article to look over -- Criticism of Mormonism -- it is linked on the page as well. An outline here for discussion would be helpful. Best.......WBardwin 07:26, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
Okay. Great. Thanks a lot:) God bless.--James, La gloria è a dio 07:27, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
Okay. I'm going to make the section latter today. I'll place it here and allow people to comment and make suggestions. Peace:)--James, La gloria è a dio 09:52, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
I just want to add that there was previously a criticism section but it became so unwieldy that there was general consensus to just reference a sister article. The problem is that it is very difficult to distill the criticisms of the church into a succinct paragraph or two. Good luck. --TrustTruth 22:47, 29 May 2007 (UTC)

James, I understand your position and I encourage you read the Roman Catholic Church article for an example of how to handle criticism. I believe that what is good for the goose is good for the gander. I support maintaining policy and following rules and I am committed that his article follow the excellent example of the other. It is always best to emulate good examples, no? --Storm Rider (talk) 23:05, 29 May 2007 (UTC)

Current Membership NPOV

If the LDS church claims approx. 13 million members then how do you get approx. 4.7 million Latin American members (i.e. 13 * .36). This allegation of 36% needs to be substantiated. In general in order to be NPOV, the entire "Current Membership" section needs to neutrally treat all reference data (including census data) for membership numbers. The birthrates and maximum death rates clearly are not in-sync with census rates to account for the allegedly inflated numbers in this article. (Alex71va 04:58, 30 May 2007 (UTC)alex71va)

Until we can resolve these matters of "Current Membership" to neutrally treat all sources of information, this section will be NPOV. This is Wikipedia, and not an informercial for the LDS church's public image. It's a lie to suggest that the "Current Membership" section of Wikipedia in its present form is not disputed. Any vandalism of this dispute thanks to the obvious lack of consensus on this matter will be reported.(Alex71va 05:13, 30 May 2007 (UTC)Alex71va)

As has been stated before many times in this talk page (see archives), the best thing we can do to maintain NPOV with respect to membership figures is write what the LDS Church self-reports and indicate that the numbers are self-reported; any other studies on the membership may be cited with proper citations to reliable and verifiable sources. The article does this, and you are free to add citations. According to my calculations, the numbers provided by Bytebear below add up and work out to between 37% and 38%. So what's the problem here? -SESmith 05:32, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

I did a quick cut and paste from the LDS.COM website statistics:

country church membership
Argentina 355,987
Bolivia 153,674
Brazil 970,903
Chile 543,628
Colombia 154,549
Costa Rica 34,777
Dominican Rep. 102,144
Ecuador 170,736
El Salvador 95,931
Guatemala 205,221
Haiti 13,604
Honduras 120,259
Mexico 1,082,427
Nicaragua 55,369
Panama 41,640
Paraguay 61,308
Peru 416,060
Uruguay 96,943
Venezuela 134,597
French Guiana
U.S. Virgin Islands 491
Puerto Rico 19,609

Total from Latin America: 4,829,857
Total Church Membership: 12,868,606
Percentage of membership in Latin America: 37.5

The list of countries was taken from the Wikipedia article Latin America. Bytebear 05:26, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

Alex, you confuse consensus with complete unanimity; they are hardly the same. This seems to be an issue for you. It appears that Sesmith has already corrected your erroneous placement of NPOV after the sentence that seemed to offend you so much; what you were looking for is a citation or support for the statement.
Wikipedia does not exit to plate our personal desires or issues. It is not a soap box. Though each editor’s contributions are appreciated, those with strong, absolute positions seldom become major contributors to articles.
For your tag to stay on the section, you are required by policy to fully explain the problems with the section and suggest how to correct the problems. If you do not explain yourself I will delete the tag until such time as you fulfill the requirements of placing a tag. Cheers. --Storm Rider (talk) 05:36, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
For starts, the Mexico number of 1,082,427 is certainly disputed. That alone shows approx. 20% inflation for all of Latin America assuming that the other numbers are correct. See footnote #51 on the Wikipedia Mexico article for a link to the national census. The direct link is in case the Mexico article gets modified or vandalized. Look up the data for Brazil, Argentina and Chile and you'll see that Mexico is NOT an anomaly, but a pattern of numbers inflation. This Wikipedia article is supposed to be NPOV, not an infomercial. As the article section on "Current Membership" currently stands its definitely NPOV. I will report any vandalism of this NPOV tag until the controversy is resolved honestly. (Alex71va 05:46, 30 May 2007 (UTC)alex71va)
While you're at it, you might want to stop breaking WP:AGF by A) suggesting that we don't know WP is "not an infomercial" and B) accusing those who disagree with you of vandalism. If you had reviewed WP:VAND, you would know that "Any good-faith effort to improve the encyclopedia, even if misguided or ill-considered, is not vandalism." This is a difference of opinion, and you need to treat it as such. Not everything is a good vs. evil Shakespearan drama. --Masamage 05:50, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

We need an explanation from Alex of how writing what the LDS reports = POV, especially when it is clear from the context of the article that the number comes from self-reports. Alex's claim of POV is like claiming that the statement, "Christians believe Jesus is God" is POV because non-Christians don't agree with the statement! -SESmith 05:55, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

I have no objection to having LDS reported numbers on this section of the article. My objection is to vandalism of the fact that LDS membership self-reported numbers are indeed disputed. As Sesmith suggested above, I will cite studies on the membership with proper citations to reliable and verifiable sources. This I will do in WP:AGF and I will rely heavily on government census data. I suppose that some may change this content in a deliberate attempt to compromise the WP:NPOV integrity of Wikipedia. If this happens then I'll respond appropriately. (Alex71va 06:26, 30 May 2007 (UTC)alex71va)
I find it quite amusing that immediately after you say your edits will be done in WP:AGF you assume that someone may make changes in content in bad faith. The whole point of the policy is that we should assume that others do not make changes in a deliberate attempt to compromise the integrity of WP. C'mon—let's think positive! Make your edits and see if they will stick! -SESmith 11:10, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
Let's compare two geographic areas: Mexico and Utah. What Alex is saying is that if the numbers are inflated, then Mexico would have far fewer congregations, temples, Family History Centers, etc., assuming Utah has more accurate numbers.

Mexico Utah Difference (%)
Membership 1,082,427 1,789,707 40%
Temples 11 12 About even although Utah has larger temples
Congregations 1936 4585 58%
So, Utah has a bit higher activity rate, about 18% assuming Wards are the same size. Bytebear 06:15, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
Another factor is that the church requires more active members/Melch. p-hood holders to create a unit in US/Canada than elsewhere. I'm not sure if "requirements" for a new temple vary by country. Apples to oranges, in other words. -SESmith 06:18, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
I commend you for providing such excellent information. Thank you to all. Alex, not one person disagrees with your position, but most of us disagree strongly with your tone and desire to say anything different than what the articles already say. Have you actually read it? The LDS church reports one thing and other studies show different results. Isn't that really what you are trying to say? What more do you want to say? Have you thought of a personal blog; sometimes it helps to just vent and get it out of your system. Of the editors you are working with I am by far the most willing to offend people (it has to do with being a sour being in a very bad mood for 50 years). I have thought of a personal blog, but I tend to just walk out my back door and dig in the dirt, you should see the weeds I can pull out with excessive amounts of violence; heaven help the black berry vine that tries to grow near trees. You might consider trying it; regardless, Wikipedia is not a source for venting. You never get your way here. Happier edting. --Storm Rider (talk) 07:11, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
---------I don't now if you are more willing to offend people than me! You're commending everyone! And after all, I'm the first person Alex has cited WP:CIVIL to today (see section below)! :) -SESmith 08:06, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
You missed all my teeth grinding; my molars are now just nubs.
What an odd turn of events that we find ourselves on the same side. It always amazes me that new editors come charging in and assume all of us are just manikins that yammer on with no original thought. If they took the time to read the archives they would see the diversity of thought, the numerous times their specific point was discussed, rediscussed, and then discussed again a multitude of times. None of us think alike. We all have our own individual positions, expertise, and knowledge.
Alex seems like a good enough chap, just a bit on the naive side. Of course, to engage such a diverse group and still insist that his personal opinion is the one and only way does demand a certain amount of closed-mindedness. It reminds me of the old saying about a cup that is overflowing never is satiated.
As an aside, Sesmith, I think you were cited for civility because you approached the subject with far too much logic. I also hate it when logic gets in the way of my personl opinions. Sometimes it is "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead"; blinders provide such bliss. It is time for sleep. Peace to all of you. --Storm Rider (talk) 08:38, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
The logic is that the census numbers speak for themselves. Now the question remains whether it is official Wikipedia policy to only report LDS church numbers in this article.(Alex71va 10:11, 30 May 2007 (UTC)alex71va)
We still have yet to see you add actual content about this topic that is accompanied in the article with discrete and verifiable citations. All you've done so far is add "NPOV" tags and discussed things on the talk page. Make an edit, add a citation, see if it sticks! That's how everybody edits articles in WP, and I don't think you are going to be granted any special dispensation to avoid having to do what we all do when we want to make a change. But if all you can come up with is saying raw "census numbers speak for themselves", it's probably not going to cut the mustard in a well-developed WP article. -SESmith 11:02, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

1890 reference in header paragraph and NPOV

Post-manifesto polygamy!! Wilford Woodruff & Lydia Mountford, Woodruff's son Abraham Owen Woodruff of the Quorum of the Twelve, Matthias F. Cowley, John W. Taylor, Marriner W. Merrill and many others took plural wives after 1890. BTW I grew up in a LDS ward where one of the men in our Ward named Joe Eyring came from a family where his father had 2 wives who he married in 1893 and 1903. They were plural married in Mexico with the approval of the Brethren in Salt Lake. In fact Joe's eldest sister Camilla was married to Spencer Kimball, who was president of the church at the time I was growing up. Do your research on post-manifesto polygamy. It's a well-acknowledged truth. And this 1890 number has no business being in a NPOV header paragraph on the church. (Alex71va 06:06, 30 May 2007 (UTC)alex71va)

Key word in the article sentence in question is "officially". It was "officially discontinued in 1890". It continued unofficially post-Manifesto. I added the citation for the "official" suspension of plural marriage later in the text of the article where it is discussed in more detail. An official statement by a legal body can't be "POV". But you truly are wowing us with your knowledge of LDS history (rolls eyes) ... -SESmith 06:15, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
Considering the controversy over post-Manifesto polygamy, the use of the word "1890" in the heading paragraph without at least a footnote explaining the controversy compromises the integrity of Wikipedia. And I'm not rolling my eyes at anything you write because that would not be WP:CIVIL. (Alex71va 06:31, 30 May 2007 (UTC)alex71va)
Why don't you then make such changes and add such footnotes with explanations and citations instead of placing "NPOV" tags all over the article? If the consensus is that such information is beneficial to the article, it will stick. Right now the consensus is that haphazardly smacking everything with the "POV" label is counterproductive for the article. Using platitudes like "it's a well-acknowledged truth" helps little.
And incidentally, there is no "controversy" over when the 1890 Manifesto was issued, which (I'll say it again) was the OFFICIAL end of plural marriage. You are confusing "official"—meaning "formal"—events with "actual" or "in practice" events.
And since you seem keen on instructing me about WP:CIVIL, maybe you could explain how suggesting any changes to a specific edit you make until a situation is resolved "honestly" (your word) is "vandalism" (your word) fits within that guideline? You're reaping as you sow, Alex. -SESmith 07:50, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
Whatever you say here can't change the fact that this "officially ended in 1890" statement is misleading in its context. And this is not just a personal opinion. Do your research on the matter and you'll see its shared by many reputed historians(Alex71va 10:25, 30 May 2007 (UTC)alex71va)
I made a change that is possibly a solution. I said "discontinued beginning in 1890", which I think is both accurate and neutral. In the intro, as brief as it has to be, I don't think we need to get into the details any more than that. 1907 isn't really the date when you could say polygamy was de facto discontinued. To some extent, the practice was tolerated into the 1930s, when some practicing polygamists were still speaking at General Conference. COGDEN 10:29, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
I think this change is a good idea. It completely avoids the problem of misunderstanding the difference between official church acts and the way the world works in practice, which is apparently what is needed here to avoid confusion. Maybe we need more "reputed historians" working on this page .... -SESmith 11:05, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
Good change but with one suggestion. Instead of saying that polygamy began to be discontinued in 1890 I think it would be more neutral to say that it began to phase out around 1890. I don't have the data in front of me. From the time of the 1879 Reynolds decision we began to see a dropoff in the number of new polygamous marriages. And there certainly wasn't any genoicide done on existing polygamous marriages and as a result some LDS plural marriage families were still in existence after WW2. Heber J. Grant would've been a cohabiting polygamist during his presidency if it hadn't been for 2 of his 3 wives dying young.( 12:25, 1 June 2007 (UTC)alex71va)

This area was a difficult time for many polygamous families. As a genealogist I am very familiar with my wife's family history. When the manifesto came out it had a devastating impact on most of them and caused the break up many. In her family history all of these plural marriages were put aside as far as any form of cohabitating; it simply stopped. Choices were made as to which wife would be "the" wife, sons were given charge of the now single mothers, and often these women moved away from where their husband was living. I strongly suspect that her history is relective of the majority of Latter-day saint families. My point is that after 1890 things were not just running as before. Did plural marriages take place? Yes; however, relative to prior periods it was very rare. The 1890 Manifesto was a watershed moment in our history. --Storm Rider (talk) 14:42, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

I agree. To say polygamy was phased out beginning in 1890 is probably an understatement of the effect of the Manifesto. I haven't seen any studies, but it's probably true that large share of Mormons followed Woodruff's recommendation in the Manifesto (and the Manifesto was only a recommendation, if you read the text) not to continue cohabiting or to enter new polygamous marriages. Of course, there were also a sizeable number of people, especially church leaders, who ignored the advice to stop cohabiting (Joseph F. Smith, for example), and there were many post-1890 polygamous marriages sanctioned by the church, but probably there was a big drop in the number of actual polygamous families soon after 1890. I wish we had statistics on this. COGDEN 18:41, 1 June 2007 (UTC)
My family history generally supports Storm Rider's observations. People living in northern Utah and Southern Idaho responded to the Manifesto quite quickly. They set up different households for each wives, or had sister wives live together and support one another. Most of the polygamists in my family were quite elderly at the time, and none took additional wives. From the histories of other relatives and friends, it appears that polygamists living further away from the federal pressure on church headquarters responded more slowly to the new order. Some large families lived communally for some time and some additional marriages were sanctified. As for source(s) with statistics, I suspect there have been some graduate papers, etc... But I personally don't have any at hand. I would support an "gradual" abandonment of polygamy viewpoint on this and related articles. WBardwin 01:32, 2 June 2007 (UTC)
I agree with the above statements. The Manifesto reads like a recommendation as COGDEN said, but at conference it was presented to a sustaining vote "as authoritative and binding", so I don't think the vast majority members saw it as merely a recommendation, and the results were as COGDEN said—most members followed the "recommendation" and probably felt their sustaining vote bound them to do so. 1890 was clearly a bigger change for the church at large than the "2d Manifesto", which affected the (relatively) few who were still entering into plural marriages. —SESmith 06:52, 2 June 2007 (UTC)

LDS as a denomination?

"denomination" can be a problematic word because "denominationalism" assumes a certain parity and near-interchangeability between denominations that some branches of Christianity reject.

Methodists, Presbyterians and Lutherans seem to accept the label "Christian denomination". Catholic and Orthodox churches reject this label because they insist that they are the "true Church" and certainly not "just another Christian denomination". Jehovah's Witnesses also reject the label for the same reason.

I would have thought that the LDS church would also reject the label for the same reason. Perhaps I'm wrong?

--Richard 17:19, 2 June 2007 (UTC)

This is a good point, but I don't know what word the church uses to describe what we are looking for, "one of the groups claiming to be descended from the church originally formed by Joseph Smith". Does someone know and can provide a reference? Val42 17:44, 2 June 2007 (UTC)
I have spent some time this afternoon and within the LDS church there is not a clear preference; nothing remotely similar to the conflict that some feel about the term "denomination". Interestingly, the Joseph Smith story talks about other denominations and their apostasy. One may interpert an aversion from this to the term, but it would be an interpretation. Several reference books seem to skirt the issue. Deonmination is often the equivalent of sect and both are used interchangably. Richard, I do find it unusual that Mormonism has not echoed in a more definitive manner the same issues that Catholicism feels about the term. Both are equally adament on being the Church of Jesus Christ. Really good topic to explore further. --Storm Rider (talk) 21:17, 2 June 2007 (UTC)

"legally formed the church"?

The word "legally" was inserted into the sentence "Joseph Smith legally formed the church".

I assume that this is not intended in contradistinction to "illegally forming the church" so the natural presumption is that it is meant to distinguish between activities prior to the formation of the church as a legal entity. This seems to be an unnecessary distinction unless there was a formal document like "articles of incorporation" that Smith filed and, even then, I don't see why this is that important. It would seem to me that legalities like incorporating a church are minor details in the history of the church. Given that there are no significant hurdles to forming a church as a legal entity, it is pretty much just a formality and therefore not really worth nothing noting.

[ most spelling errors on Talk Pages are not worth fixing; this one was ;&) ] --Richard 21:48, 2 June 2007 (UTC)

Thus, IMO, the word "legally" suggests to the reader a nuance that isn't actually there. It is distracting for the reader to wonder "gee, I wonder why that word is there. what point is the author trying to make?"

--Richard 17:25, 2 June 2007 (UTC)

The term legal in this instance probably is a poor choice. The restoration took place over several years. As a boy Joseph Smith had his first vision and is told to prepare himself. He does so and eventually is given the gold plates. In a very short time he translates a portion of the record into what we know today to be the Book of Mormon. Throughout this period there were many additional visions and manifestations. My choice of the word was to designate that a precise event took place, a culmination of his visionary mission. I was not attempting to indicate that legal documents were signed; however, I think that is the case, but I haven't confirmed it by reference. Thank you for reading; your efforts and work is much appreciated. --Storm Rider (talk) 21:21, 2 June 2007 (UTC)
I recall that the church was formed using the minimum number of people to legally organize a church, according to local laws. I agree that the phrase should state that he formed the church w/o any form of the word "legal". -- wrp103 (Bill Pringle) (Talk) 00:58, 3 June 2007 (UTC)
That is the language I recall, but I have gone to get a reference for it. IMHO, they functioned as a small group of believers, which I suspect one could call a church, but the church was formally founded in 1830. --Storm Rider (talk) 01:56, 3 June 2007 (UTC)
Maybe the word we are searching for is simply "formally" or "officially" or something in that vein? There were meetings of believers prior to 6 April 1830 but it was on that day that the church as an organization was formally established. Before that you could say a "church" existed in the sense of a group or gathering of believers, but it was all informal and without an officially accepted leadership, etc. -SESmith 02:06, 3 June 2007 (UTC)
Why use an adverb at all? "The church became a legal entity on April 6, 1830." --Masamage 02:16, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

Questions for some content improvement

I have some questions/comments on some content in this article as it stands now.

"He initially governed his followers as a theocratic leader, and openly encouraged the practice of plural marriage, which Joseph Smith had tried to keep secret."

(1) Openness about plural marriage began in 1852. (2) Brigham Young and other apostles tried to keep it secret too until 1852.

"When word of the practice got back to Washington, D.C., the United States sent federal troops there in 1857, deposed Young, and replaced him with a non-Mormon territorial governor, though Young still wielded significant political power as President of the Church."

(3) References on the decisions of Congress and the White House back in 1857, plus the political attitudes of the new Republican party on “barbarism” should be considered. This sentence makes it look like the US government sent troops to Utah just because they started openly practicing and preaching about polygamy.

"Young was followed by other powerful leaders, who were defiant in the face of U.S. efforts to outlaw polygamous marriages in the territory."

(4) This sentence makes it seem that the U.S. was trying to make polygamy illegal AFTER Brigham Young’s successors were in charge. The truth is that polygamy was already illegal and outlawed in Utah during 1862, approx. 15 years before Brigham Young died. All the talk of “U.S. efforts” after Young died was about efforts to enforce the laws on the books which the outlaws were defiantly disobeying.

“The church's most significant scripture, the Book of Mormon, was published by founder Joseph Smith, Jr. in 1830, and is a story about various groups of pre-Columbian Christians, which Smith said he translated from golden plates buried near his home.”

(5) Generally accurate, but its not easy to read and could use improvement IMHO.

(6) Any particular reason why the CHURCH NEWS is not mentioned in the list of "Official periodicals: current and historical"?

(Alex71va 19:08, 2 June 2007 (UTC)Alex71va)

(4): The legal efforts against polygamy continued until 1890, and took place in Congress, the courts, and finally the Supreme Court.

(6): Church News is not a church publication. It's a publication of Deseret News, which is owned by the church, but is managed independently. COGDEN 03:22, 3 June 2007 (UTC)
The legal efforts against "Mormon" polygamy are still taking place today. In Illinois polygamy was illegal BEFORE Joseph Smith arrived there from Liberty jail. In many other states it was illegal. Its still ambiguous whether polygamy was illegal in Utah territory before 1862. But it is clear that polygamy was illegal in Utah from then onward. After the unaminous 1879 decision in the Reynolds case it should've been GAME OVER on polygamy for those who believe in obeying, honoring and sustaining the law. But they resisted like outlaws throughout the 1880s and as a result Congress had to waste time/energy on bringing them into compliance instead of focusing their energies on other pressing matters in American society like child labor abuses.(Alex71va 03:37, 3 June 2007 (UTC)alex71va)
"Its still ambiguous whether polygamy was illegal in Utah territory before 1862." This is way off topic but interesting and applicable to the comment above. There's a legal principle, the rough idea of which is this—when a law is passed, it is to be assumed that the new law is changing the law and not merely confirming what is already the case UNLESS there is clear evidence that it is merely a confirmation. Because the Morrill Act outlawed polygamy in U.S. territories in 1862, most legal commentators have said that it must be assumed that it was not illegal in U.S. territories prior to this since it is unclear one way or the other whether it was in fact illegal prior to 1862. States had outlawed it but there was no law governing the U.S. territories on the matter. That being said, there really is no comparison between the level of enforcement exerted by the U.S. government pre-1890 and post-1890. There were extreme efforts to enforce until the Manifesto; after that efforts at enforcement dropped off massively.-SESmith 04:00, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

Criticism of the Criticism Section

I have added a new criticism section. It is not great but it is a start. Feel free to edit it. God bless:)--Sir James Paul 01:24, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

I'm surprised that there wasn't a "Criticism" section before. Don't be surprised if this section is moved up or edited. I have made some edits to what you have added, for clarity. Val42 01:59, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
I was also surprised that there was not already a criticism section. I do not care how people edit the section. God bless:)--Sir James Paul 02:35, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
The reason there is, er was, no criticism section is that it tends to get very large as everyone throws in every criticism under the sun. There are just too many to post all of them here, and opening the door, even a little, has led to a bloated article. There are articles for criticism, namely Criticism of Mormonism, not to mention more specific issues like Blacks and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Homosexuality and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, etc. It has been discussed before, and I, and others feel that opening this door is only going to lead to article bloat. The criticism section should be removed, and a link to the full article on the subject is sufficient. Bytebear 08:05, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
If consensus is to delete the criticism section then I am fine with it. If it is decided to keep it we should, in my oppinion, should reach a consensus on what criticism to have in there to keep it from getting to big. God bless:)--†Sir James Paul† 12:07, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
Read through some of the archives, there might be some insight as to why it was removed. Bytebear 19:24, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

One of the problems that arises is that this is an article about the LDS Church, not an article about "Mormonism" or the Book of Mormon or an LDS leader such as Joseph Smith or Brigham Young. Many of the common criticisms directed at the LDS Church that some would want to include here are actually criticisms with Mormonism or the Book of Mormon or one of its leaders rather than the church itself. The church just gets caught up in it because it teaches Mormonism and believes in the Book of Mormon as scripture. For example, the fact that the church did not allow blacks to hold the priesthood until 1978 can be a legitimate criticism against the LDS Church. But the charge that the Book of Mormon contains "racist" passages is a criticism of the Book of Mormon and is not a criticism legitimately addressed in an article on the LDS Church. We wouldn't have a discussion of "racist" passages in the Bible in an article on the Catholic Church.

If we keep the criticism section, we will be dealing with keeping this distinction unendingly since many don't distinguish between criticizing the church and criticizing these other things. –SESmith 23:40, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

I think we should junk the Criticism section. Any criticism of a particular element of the church should be located where that element is discussed. As to criticism in general, criticism by members is already discussed in the church discipline section. Criticism on specific points of doctrine is not really a coherent subject, and is part-and-parcel of each individual article on Mormonism (except for anti-Mormonism, which we can mention briefly in the "History" section). COGDEN 21:27, 18 June 2007 (UTC)
I would agree with COGDEN on these points. It seems like a problematic section to maintain as a distinct section. -SESmith 23:48, 18 June 2007 (UTC)
I agree with COGDEN. A section on "Praise" would be as relevant (and, if criticism is fair game, such a section would make the whole thing balanced or NPOV), but such a thing is very uncommon. Various official vantages for or against the church are relevant to whatever sections that discussing aspects of the church may fall under. -- 22:28, 31 July 2007 (UTC)

Mine is not necessarily critism, but a question. When a Morman female dies, does she go to the spirit world like a man and will she get an imortal body after judgement on her works alone? A Morman once told me that a woman can only get an imortal body like her husband if he approves it once he has his. In other words, no matter how good a life a woman can lead on earth, she can't make it to Heaven if her husband doesn't want her there. If that is a true belief or something close, shouldn't that be mentioned in the airticle? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:07, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

I have never heard of that before, and I've heard a lot of whacked-out (yet incorrect) beliefs ascribed to Mormonism. That's definitely not an official doctrine. --TrustTruth 19:14, 6 September 2007 (UTC)
That is a new one for me also. It is an interesting story, but it has not basis in fact. A woman is just as independant as a man; both will die and their spirits will go to the spirit world. I suspect that where some of the confusion started is that LDS believe in eternal marriage; however, their union is based upon the sole actions of the man any more than it is based upon the sole actions of the woman. The bottom line however is that personal exaltation is contingent upon an individual's relationship and discipleship to Jesus Christ; man and woman alike. --Storm Rider (talk) 19:45, 6 September 2007 (UTC)
I have heard that before, and am amazed that some rumors stay alive. I have found that when somebody hears something about the Mormon Church that they can't believe is true, then it probably isn't. ;^) -- wrp103 (Bill Pringle) (Talk) 00:15, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
It might have roots in truth... I have heard that a husband, as part of his priesthood, gets to have the resurrection of his family delegated to him when the time comes for everyone to be raised. Is that true? If so, you can see how they're related, although this version does not mean the guy can just decide to blow it off. --Masamage 01:30, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
  • I have heard a statement that a husband will call his wife to him, or something similar, but I have never heard that this action was accompanied with power or authority. On the day of resurrection all will be called forth from the grave and families will be reunited, but that is the end of it as far as I know. I don't even know how I would research this. I did spend some time reviewing all writings regarding the resurrection, husbands and wives and I could find nothing that would lead me to anything similar to the above. I did find the following rather often in several books and magazines:
"I think it has been taught by some that as we lay down our bodies they will so rise in the resurrection with all the impediments and imperfections that they have here; and that if a wife does not love her husband in this estate, she cannot love him in the next. This is not so. Those who attain to the blessings of the first or celestial resurrection will be pure and holy, and perfect in body. Every man and woman that reaches to this unspeakable attainment will be as beautiful as the angels that surround the throne of God. If you can, by faithfulness in this life attain the right to come up in the morning of the resurrection, you need entertain no fears that the wife will be dissatisfied with her husband or the husband with the wife, for those of the first resurrection will be free from sin and from the consequences and power of sin. This body is "sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural bdy, it is raised a spiritual body. And as we have borne the image of the earthly, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly." Conference Report, April 1949: p. 137 also the Journal of Discourses 10:24
This does have roots in truth. I have heard it taught in church that the resurrection is an ordinance that will be performed by priesthood holders. However, remember that everyone will resurrect. Also, as part of the Temple Endowment, the husband has the responsibility to call his wife through the veil by her new name, without which she cannot enter into the presence of the Lord.Descartes1979 19:00, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

I disagree with you guys. The church has always been a controversial organization, and continues to be today. The article is not complete without a more explicit mention of the criticism of the church. A simple reference at the article is not nearly enough to be intellectually honest IMO. Perhaps we can create a criticism section, and make a rule that it can't be more than one or two paragraphs, and have an explicit reference to the Criticism article? I will add this section and you guys tell me what you think.Descartes1979 18:38, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

I just think you have opened a can of worms, not by Mormons, but by every critic of the church who wants their pet "proof" of the horrors of Mormonism to be stated in this article. The section you added will become bloated, will cause a ton of edit wars, and will eventually end up as it was, with a link to an article open to all critics to debate over. This article is too important and too general to be bogged down with such issues, and therefore, those issues should be removed. It's really a matter of keeing out the bloat so the wikipedia community can focus on making the article better and avoid meaningless debate. Bytebear 01:13, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
Feel free to disagree, but when there's a see also link to the same article below it, it just doesn't need to be included. If there MUST be a criticism section, let it ONLY contain the main article link. Anyways, it doesn't....believe it or not....belong in this article. Not every LDS related article belongs in this one. There are separate ones for a reason. I don't care about the content, just keep it separate. Carter | Talk to me 01:29, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
Sorry - I couldn't disagree more with you guys. This article is huge, but no mention of the criticism of the church except on tiny link at the end? That just isn't NPV in my opinion. There should be something more there. All religions have criticism, but the LDS church has garnered more than most, and has been highly controversial, and this article just isn't complete without mentioning that. Isn't there something we can do to have a small section, but keep it from getting bloated as you guys fear? Unless there is a better reason why not to keep it, I will re-add the section in a few days. What do you guys think?Descartes1979 04:35, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
You're has garnered more thank most WHICH IS WHY IT HAS IT'S OWN ARTICLE! There is an article strictly on the criticism of the church. Just leave it alone. I mean, does it not make sense? This article is huge which is why separate articles had to start being written including that one. I'll reiterate, not every subject relating to the LDS church needs to be included in this article. Once again, there's a reason criticism has it's own article. Carter | Talk to me 05:24, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
There is an article dedicated to criticism. This is not that article. Leave it as a link. Bytebear 06:18, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
I am still not persuaded - am I wrong in saying that people won't get an accurate picture of the church if we leave it out? I understand why it has its own article - and I agree that the section should be short, hitting only the highlights. Thing is people come to this article more than any other to get an understanding of what the church is all about - so putting all the criticism into another article, although it is an efficient use of space, is not quite fair I think. In other wikipedia articles, when a section is split off into its own article, they still have a summary section with the highlights so you get an accurate picture on the main article (I hope that last sentence made sense). I still think a small section should be there with just one or two paragraphs. What do we have to lose? The article will be more complete and accurate, and it will refer people to the other article if they really want to dig in to the criticisms of the church. Descartes1979 18:08, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
In this type of situation I like to look at other similar articles. In this case I would look towards the Roman Catholic Church article. I would be hard pressed to provide another church that has as much criticism as the Catholic church and yet there is no Criticism section. All criticism is left for other articles with exception of the role of the Catholic church in civilization where the sex scandals have been mentioned. When a reader is seeking information regarding the LDS church, I think they are trying to find out what the church is and not what other people think about the church. However, those links to other articles are vital for those readers who want to pursue all other areas. --Storm Rider (talk) 18:29, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
Good point - but look at the articles on Scientology, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Seventh Day Adventist - all of them have a small "Controversy and Criticism" section with a few paragraphs, which also points the reader to a larger more comprehensive article for more details. Descartes1979 20:39, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

You and I could come up with some interesting conversation why the largest Christian church has no criticism section unlike some of the smaller groups. It is one of the short comings of Wikipedia and the tyranny of the majority. However, I personally believe the ideal is that demonstrated by the Catholic church article and the others should be brought into a reflection of it. What others think about individual churches is secondary to the topic. Interestingly, the major doctrinal criticisms of the church are already mentioned in the article: polygamy, Godhead, and the concept of theosis or exaltation. The way the subject matter has been addressed is to include it in the respective individual sections and linking the subarticles rather than have a specific section. I think it is a matter of choice; rather than go back and take out the other criticisms to gather them in one section, past editors choice to address the topics as they were introduced. I tend to agree with the past editors. --Storm Rider (talk) 20:57, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

Faith, Repentence, Baptism, Gift of the Holy Ghost

I missed it, why were these taken out of the Beliefs section? Thanks Novel-Technology 02:29, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

They are spread throughout other sections. Check the section on ordinances, for example. It made sense to discuss baptism and the confirmation together with other ordinances. Faith is discussed throughout the article. COGDEN 20:49, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

The Church vs. The church

I read somewhere on another talk page that the correct noun usage of "the Church" is as a proper noun, being that we are talking about a single entity. Before I go through the article and capitalize "church" everywhere, I wanted some input from others. Bytebear 05:54, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

You might want to bring this up on Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Latter Day Saints). There was considerable debate on capitalizing "The" - but I don't remember much discussion on Church vs church in general context. Best wishes........WBardwin 06:04, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
I have added a comment on that talk page, so if anyone has concern, please chime in there. I would like to have the correct usage defined to avoid naming issues or concerns. Bytebear 06:35, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

This issue was recently discussed at length HERE. The consensus was to retain "the church". -SESmith 09:55, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

Good Article Nomination

I really can't see why this page has been removed from the Good Articles category. I have read other articles on subjects with less passion from the wikipedia community which need much more improvement and are left as good articles. I don't support bad articles getting the name of good articles, but what I am questioning is the reason and motive this article was removed from the Good Articles. Was it simply because the article is about a church that some people very much disagree with? Anyway food for thought! I have read through the article a few times and feel the article deserves Good Article status. Every article on wikipedia can always be bettered, even those with Good Article status. Redrok84 18:13, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

"Restored" is not NPOV

The American Heritage Dictionary defines "restore" as "1. To bring back into existence or use; reestablish: restore law and order. 2. To bring back to an original condition: restore a building..." [2] Presumably, the article is not claiming that no one was following the teachings of Jesus before Joseph Smith came along. Consequently, the phrase "restored through" asserts that Smith's version removes distortions introduced by other Christian denominations. This is, to say the least, not a matter of universal agreement. If that's the position of the LDS Church, "allegedly restored" would be acceptable. But "as preached by" seems like a more polite way of removing the advocacy. [Please note: Though a resident of Salt Lake City, I am ethnic Jewish and find all Christian sects equally plausible or implausible.] Ribonucleic 21:34, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

You're right. Someone must have slipped that in unnoticed recently. --TrustTruth 22:06, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

South park episode of mormons

did you guys check out the south park episode of mormons? Hilarious. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 06:00, 28 July 2007.

See Portrayals of Mormons in popular media for more info on how that fits with other depictions of Mormons. -- 02:05, 31 August 2007 (UTC)

Nauvoo Expositor issue

Some editors are trying hard to, but there's really no point in playing out the "legally justified or not" arguments surrounding the destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor press on this page. I suggest Nauvoo Expositor might be a better place for that, or even perhaps Death of Joseph Smith, Jr. This article is long enough as it is ... a brief mention should more than suffice. –SESmith 05:41, 14 August 2007 (UTC)

Agreed. Some article should talk about it, but not this one. --Masamage 06:25, 14 August 2007 (UTC)


I'm sure I'm opening up a can of worms, but it seems pretty absurd that there is almost nothing in this article about LDS's history on race relations. I understand that this is covered more fully in other articles, but the fact that we have an article called Blacks and the Latter Day Saint movement means that the contents of that article ought to be at least briefly deal with the contents of that material. As it is, the history is rather whitewashed, with it only stating that blacks could not be priesthood holders, rather than the much broader history of racial prejudice. I think some NPOV discussion of this issue is in order on this page. john k 19:32, 18 August 2007 (UTC)

Unqualified suggestions of racial prejudice are non-NPOV too, and qualifying them takes up a heck of a lot of space. This article has a long history of being so detailed it's not useful at all; there's just too much to cover. Linking to a long, detailed article on the subject is much more effective. --Masamage 19:43, 18 August 2007 (UTC)
Who said anything about unqualified suggestions of racial prejudice? LDS had officially racist precepts until 1978. This was pretty infamous at the time, and ought to be briefly mentioned here. As it is, we have a deeply misleading statement about Blacks not being allowed to be priesthood holders, which obscures a much broader issue about Blacks being officially held to be racially inferior. This is an important issue, and ought to be mentioned in the article in a clear and NPOV way, along with a link to the main article. One could easily devise a paragraph which gets the gist of this across. And of course, this would be accompanied by a link to the main article. john k 19:59, 18 August 2007 (UTC)
Please make your suggestion for a paragraph. Wikipedia is very much a user-driven encyclopedia. It usually means that the person who is most concerned about making a change actually makes it then it gets thoroughly edited by others. Since you think that this information should be added, please make the addition then expect for it to be extensively edited. If you don't think that your edit is ready for being in the main article, then write it here, and others will work on improving it. — Val42 22:58, 18 August 2007 (UTC)
Racially inferior is a mouthful; when you propse something please use reputable sources to substantiate this POV. Also, define racially inferior for the reader so that context is understood. Given that Blacks at the time of Joseph Smith did hold the priesthood and then the preisthood was later restricted is a good place to start. Of course, then to be NPOV you would have to go back to the Old Testament and discuss that from the very beginning of the priesthood it has always been restricted. Also, the LDS church always accepted black members and was never segregated; unlike the majority of the Protestant churches in the US. Even today you will find Protestant churches in the southern US that do not allow blacks to be members of their church. You see how this necessarily turns into an article very quickly. It would be highly POV to simpl drop in a statement that is highly POV like you have suggested above. However, there are always brighter minds to come along and you might be the editor to word it in such a way that an entire article does not need to be inserted in teh main article to address this subtopic. --Storm Rider (talk) 23:37, 18 August 2007 (UTC)
Certainly it's a complicated subject, and my knowledge of it is perhaps too limited for me to be the person to write a good discussion of it. My basic sense is that the current discussion of priesthood holding is hopelessly euphemistic. That Blacks were not allowed to hold the priesthood was based on an explicit theory of racial inferiority, with the curse of Cain, and all that. The curse of Cain (or the Curse of Ham, or whatever) was a common enough view in the 19th century, but by 1978 I think most everyone had at least officially abandoned it, even the de facto segregated churches of the South. I am interested in which northern mainline protestant churches forbade blacks from being members. Obviously, Blacks rarely joined these churches, and were generally members of largely black Baptist and Methodist churches, but, as I understand it, Blacks rarely joined LDS, either. I'm not committed to any particular language, I just think the issue could be better dealt with than it is here. If we have an entire article about LDS attitudes towards Blacks (as we do) that article deserves to be briefly summarized here. john k 06:48, 19 August 2007 (UTC)
I count three explicit mentions of the policy in the article. I believe there used to be a more-compartmentalized summary of this subject (and many others) in the article, probably something along the lines you're looking for, but in the interest of brevity much of that was integrated into the article's body. This article used to be huge, but it was trimmed down and broken into sub-articles per wikipedia guidelines. I think that from a neutral pov, the current treatment of the subject in this article is fine. --TrustTruth 07:12, 19 August 2007 (UTC)
Actually, a lot of black people joined the church prior to 1978; it had huge success in Africa even before official proselyting began. And every "doctrine" ever invented to explain the practice was indeed invented; no official reason for the practice was ever instituted. Joseph Smith recommended it so that the church didn't get sucked into pre-Civil War politics, and he died before anything else could be done with the idea. So yes, a lot of Mormons were racist or held to this or that concept of racial inferiority, but it was never officially sanctioned by the church. --Masamage 21:22, 19 August 2007 (UTC)
Africa is not a proper comparison, if you're trying to show Mormons as being better on race than northern Protestants - white Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, etc., missionaries were also in Africa. There were few American Blacks in LDS, just as there were few in most predominantly white religious groups in the US. Obviously rac was at least partially sanctioned by the Church, in that the Church discriminated against Blacks officially, by not letting them enter the priesthood. There also seems to be plenty of statements from Brigham Young that include explicit doctrines of Black inferiority used to explain why Blacks couldn't hold the priesthood - I'm not sure how that qualifies as unofficial. Maybe it wasn't doctrine, but there was an officially discriminatory policy which was supported by racist statements of the second most important figure in the religion. This officially discriminatory policy, the only justifications for which that were ever given, so far as I can tell, were racist ones, was only abandoned in 1978. I think at least a brief statement about the racist views (whether or not these were official dogma of the church, or merely off the cuff remarks by Brigham Young, et al) which underlay the ban on Blacks in the priesthood is in order. john k 22:20, 19 August 2007 (UTC)
If you look at the talk page archives, you can see we've been over this ground before. The problem with the 'racist' word is that it is difficult to maintain npov when using it. That being said, you are free to be bold and make npov edits to the article. --TrustTruth 00:04, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
While I am using the word "racist", I'm not suggesting that the article necessarily has to use that word - I definitely want the article to be NPOV. I do think it should be more explicit and direct about the situation than it is at the moment. john k 16:09, 20 August 2007 (UTC)

Racist is a very strong term; however, if the shoe fits, it should be worn. You have stated that you do not feel you possess the expertise necessary to write the edit; however, this would seem to conflict with your confidence in making the allegation. That is not the best position for an editor who strives to make NPOV edits. Here is my understanding of the history:

  • The LDS church never segregated members and allowed all people to be baptized. If it was racist this would never have been allowed.
That is certainly not true. There are different kinds and degrees of racism. john k 16:07, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
  • The LDS church did not actively prosylete in all nations, even when they could have later in their history (I have no support for ability, but it is my personal opinion). I still am not sure if the LDS church is in every possible nation that is open to allowing missionaries; however, I think that no church makes a more concerted effort to fulfil the Great Commission.
  • The LDS church, during the presidency of Brigham Young, restricted the priesthood to all worthy men except those of African descent. During the time of Joseph Smith blacks had been ordained to the priesthood. This conflict is curious and I think does open the church to critcism that some leaders created policies to meet their own peculiarities.
Or, one might say, Brigham Young was a racist (and, certainly, most men of his day were racists - it is hardly a vicious attack on him to admit that he was a man of his day), and he created policies based on that racism. john k 16:07, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
  • The priesthood, from the very beginning, has always been restricted to a select group for one reason or another...tribal affiliation, sex, etc. God does not seek all individuals to be identical to the other and obviously has reserved the priesthood to the few.
What priesthood are you talking about? A restricted priesthood, like that in Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Anglicanism, or Eastern Orthodoxy, is quite distinct from the Mormon idea. Quite clearly, the LDS idea is that the priesthood is not restricted to the view - any adult male believer could be a priest, except black men. This is special pleading. john k 16:07, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
  • If this is racist, then I suspose we would need to call the entire Judeo-Christian religion racist. Of all the people on earth there was only a single convenant people that knew the one true God. Think about it, a few thousand people with a single God condemned the world and all their Gods, cultures, etc. Jesus Christ would necessarily be racist because he only came to teach a single people, the Jews. In reality, Jerusalem was a backwater town and if he really wanted to teach the world he would have least gone to true population centers. It was not until after the time of Christ beginning with Peter that gentiles were actively taught.
The Jews have generally not believed anything about anyone being condemned for not being Jewish. Christians, of course, have since almost the beginning proselytized to non-Jews. The exact initial nature of Jesus' teaching is so lost in the past that
  • There has been no single reason for the restrictions of the priesthood throughout history except that this is the way God demands that it be.
Restricting the priesthood to descendants of Aaron, or whatever, was about a priesthood caste within a much larger society. Restricting it to men does, of course, represent the sexism of pretty much all societies up to the present. Creating a priesthood which gave it to all adult male believers, except Blacks, is racist, and there's no other way to describe it. The fact that this was frequently justified in terms of explicitly racist notions of Blacks having the mark of Cain, or whatever, only makes this clearer, even if these were never official church doctrines. john k 16:07, 20 August 2007 (UTC)

Segregation of people is racist; this has never been done by LDS or any group I know of in the Latter Day Saint movement. Restriction of priesthood ordination is not an issue of sexism, racism or any other ism; it is an issue of faith. That is what this article focuses on; the fact that the church at one point had more restrictions than they do today. One may call it racist, but that would only be a POV. --Storm Rider (talk) 00:47, 20 August 2007 (UTC)

Segregation is only one kind of racism. Racism, at any rate, means prejudice or discrimination based on race. This policy seems to be by definition racist. john k 16:07, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
Please add new contributions to the bottom of the section. Adding comments into the middle of an existing conversation is hard to follow.
There is a big difference between prejudice and racism. I think it would be difficult to demonstrate that the LDS church is prejudiced, and almost impossible to make a case that it is racist. There may be individual members that fit into those categories, but as far as church doctrine and practices are concerned, I have seen no evidence of either. -- wrp103 (Bill Pringle) (Talk) 18:47, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
First point - in case you are suggesting this I am certainly not saying that the LDS church is currently racist - it explicitly abandoned its racist doctrines almost thirty years ago. The issue is whether it was racist. Second point, perhaps we are confused about the definition of "racism". American Heritage gives two definitions:
1. The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others.
2. Discrimination or prejudice based on race.
Now, whether the first definition ever applied to the LDS church is perhaps open to debate - certainly there were many within the church who justified the church's discriminatory policies on the basis of beliefs that would certainly qualify. But I don't see how there can be any debate about the second - the LDS church practiced discrimination based on race until 1978. As such, it was explicitly "racist" under the terms of this second definition of racism. Which is to say - no, in fact, there is not necessarily a "big difference" between prejudice and racism. According to definition #2, which is the one I was going by, racism is prejudice or discrimination based on race. john k 19:02, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
Just a few questions to help me distiguish NPOV motivations; would it also be appropriate to identify the Judeo-Christian God as racist because of his preference for one people or race? Assuming you agree, would it be appropriate to list all Judeo-Christian religions as racist given their initial preference for Jews? Would we necessarily have to identify that Jesus was also racist because of his focus on the Jewish people during his ministry at the expense of all others? Answering this questions would help me to understand your logic and thoughts and their neutrailty.
I personally think that there might have been individuals who were racist, but I have never understood LDS history to teach inferiority between children of God. There may have been a difference in blessings or worthiness, but never a question of inferiority. Also, you mentioned the descendants of Ham, of Cain; this belief was certainly not unique among Christians whether they were Mormons or not. --Storm Rider (talk) 20:05, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
Sigh. The idea of the Jews as a "chosen people" arose in ancient times, and its exact meaning is not clear. Certainly the idea that Christians were prejudiced in favor of Jews because they viewed Jews as a chosen people is absurd. The Jews' own view of themselves as a chosen people is certainly ethnocentric, but, given the time it arose, can hardly be viewed as racist in a modern sense. As far as Jesus himself, I don't see how this can possibly be a useful discussion. The traditional Christian view, at any rate, is that Jesus arose from among the Jews, and his own earthly ministry was to the Jews, but that his message was for all people. This has been the message of Christianity since virtually the beginning, and is, if anything, explicitly anti-racist. This whole thing is a sideshow. Whatever the nature of Jesus's mission, or whatever (personally, I have no dog in any of this - I'm agnostic), this is all rather distinct from the fact that until thirty years ago, Blacks were treated as second class members of the LDS church, and that this second class treatment was generally justified by racist teachings. I don't see how the idea that Blacks were all hereditarily "cursed," and thus not be allowed to be equal members of the church, can be interpreted as anything but a racist belief. This is not to say that other groups were not racist, or that particular racist ideas like the mark of Cain were unique to Mormonism. But deflecting this to some absurd discussion of whether Jesus was a racist isn't going to help anything. john k 21:05, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
"Blacks were treated as second class members of the LDS church". This is one example of you using a non-NPOV statement to prove a point. I have many references in LDS history where that statement is patently false. This is why your argument is being challenged. Bytebear 21:12, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
It is not "patently false." That's absurd. All adult males except blacks were allowed to be priesthood holders. I don't see how that can be seen as anything but "second class status" for Blacks - Blacks were not allowed to attain the same rank within the church as whites (and other non-blacks) were. This is pretty much the definition of second-class status. I'm sure you can make some sophistical arguments about why I'm wrong, but, at the very least, my statement is "debatable' rather than "patently false." You can do your special pleading all you like, but to anyone who's not a member of your church, this is all pretty plain. But whatever. Given that no non-Mormons appear to have anything to do with this article, I imagine you folks will be able to have your way no matter what I say. john k 04:38, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
I am a non-Mormon and have edited a fair bit on this article. I'm not terribly interested in entering the debate about how black people are or were treated by the church or its members, but I do think the issue is more nuanced than the black-and-white worldview (ooo, bad pun) that John Kenney and others seem to be advancing. I also think there are sufficient mentions of the blacks and the priesthood/temple issues in the article and someone searching for the meatier articles on this topic specifically will have no trouble finding them if they come here. This article isn't about that issue in particular, nor is it a specialty article dealing with Mormon doctrine or the history of the church. It's main focus should be on the LDS Church as it is now as a legal and religious institution. Take the debate to Blacks and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is an article that sorely needs to be improved. –SESmith 05:02, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
The issue is mentioned in passing and indirectly. The idea that the LDS church is or was racist is a common one among non-Mormons, and I think the issue deserves to be addressed directly and clearly in this article. I don't think I have a black and white world view on this. That nineteenth century Mormons were casually racist is entirely unsurprising - most white Americans were, including many white Americans who were passionately opposed to slavery. That these racist beliefs incorporated themselves into official church practice is also unsurprising, and it is unsurprising that the common racist ideas of the day (mark of Cain, curse of Ham, and so forth) were used to justify these discriminatory practices. No religion deserves to be judged on the basis of beliefs it held 150 years ago which were generally common throughout the larger society, and I have no interest, more broadly, in having this article "judge" the LDS church on race and find it wanting. such would be ridiculous. Furthermore, that these racist practices survived until the civil rights movement began to make overt racism unacceptable in American public life is also relatively unsurprising. None of this seems to me to particularly condemn the LDS church as noticeably worse on the race front than a lot of other American institutions (although 1978 was just a bit on the late side). But it should be seen for what it is - a part (and only a very small part) of America's long-standing problem with race. That is to say - racism infected the LDS church, just as it infected many, many other American institutions. The fact that the LDS church in the United States has been traditionally not only very, very white, but geographically centered in a very, very white part of the country almost certainly delayed any reckoning with these issues, and probably explains the late date of the change. There is, so far as I can tell, nothing inherently racist about LDS beliefs. But the fact that the group had racist practices for a long time - and that these continue for rather somewhat later than was acceptable in broader American society - is a significant fact, and ought to be addressed clearly, and not whitewashed. The article and Blacks and the church is, indeed, quite bad, but that certainly doesn't excuse this article from dealing with the subject. john k 05:53, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
I understand your points and have no quibble with them—I just don't think more than several mentions of it in this article is appropriate or necessary seeing as how there at least 2 specialty articles that deal directly with this, as well as specialty articles on the history of the church and a large number of articles that deal with a surprisingly variety of esoteric and obscure church doctrines, practices, texts and teachings. If we tried to address all of these in this article in the depth that some editor feels is legitimate, the article would be monstrously long. It used to be, and that's why there are so many specialty articles. Blacks and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints could be a great article that addresses in detail all the points you mention, if only someone could or would put forth the effort to do so. The fact that that article sucks is not an excuse to turn this article into what that article should be. :) Apart from broad overviews, the history and doctrine should be left to the articles that deal with those. This article is primarily about an organization as it exists today. –SESmith 06:00, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
All I think there should be here is a paragraph (not even necessarily a long paragraph) which specifically deals with race. That is all I want. I do not think that this is disproportionate treatment, and I don't see how this is that outrageous a request. The exact contents of such a paragraph would be open for debate. Perhaps the best approach, though, would be to improve the specific article, and then return here with a suggestion that that article be epitomized here. john k 06:09, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
I know you already stated you don't feel you're the one to write such a paragraph, but perhaps if you took it upon yourself to become versed enough in Mormon history to write it, you would find that the current treatment is, after all, enough. --TrustTruth 06:15, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
Wow, brilliant. The best part of it is, that if I decided to do research and wrote a paragraph, that would simply indicate that I was still not well-versed enough, because I didn't realize that the current treatment is sufficient. Way to delegitimize disagreement. john k 06:28, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
He/she said "perhaps"—I don't think the intent was to delegitimize what you have been saying. Let's all try to assume good faith. I understand John's request and can see where he's coming from and I don't think it's unreasonable request at all for someone to think that a paragraph would be justified in this article; but I do think it is telling that the vast majority of editors who are familiar with the Latter Day Saint movement and all the WP articles dealing with it feel that the article addresses the issue sufficiently. As far as I know, there is no secret plot to suppress this information and keep it out of the article. I think we all just believe in good faith the coverage is good how it is here, but that the specialty articles could be improved. –SESmith 07:39, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
I agree that one additional paragraph outlining the issue would be just fine. --Masamage 08:38, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
Oh, my apologies - I did not see the "perhaps." I withdraw my initial response. Indeed, this is perhaps true. To SESmith, I don't think there is a secret plot to suppress the material. I do think that there is an (understandable) impulse among Mormon editors to try to keep discussion of this subject out of the main article about their faith, because it is both embarrassing and a justly discarded relic of the past that no longer has any relevance to the church as it practices today. Anyway, as I've said, I only want a short paragraph on the issue, which is an important historical one. It is perfectly understandable that a church founded in the mid-nineteenth century United States would have picked up the racism that was endemic at the time. And given the situation of the LDS church centered in a very white part of the country where the echoes of the civil rights movement were quite distant, it is understandable that this racism was not discarded until somewhat later than one might otherwise expect. All I want is some clarity and directness about it. The main coverage should certainly be done elsewhere. john k 13:23, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
Please assume good faith. From my experience on Mormon articles, most editors do not edit on impulse, they edit based on getting both the facts and the context straight. Not all editors you are talking with are Mormons. --TrustTruth 15:16, 21 August 2007 (UTC)

Okay, so I think we're all agreed that main coverage of the issue should be elsewhere, that NPOV can and will be maintained, and that there is no cabal. Hooray! That said, the introduction of a single paragraph could certainly beneficial; does anyone still disagree? If so, why? If not, what information might it contain? --Masamage 20:46, 21 August 2007 (UTC)

I disagree. My view is that the current treatment is fine; the article is long enough. However, nothing is stopping an editor from adding the paragraph. Be bold. --TrustTruth 21:02, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
I would support a consolidation of the materials already present in the article into a paragraph if the other mentions of the issue were eliminated. In other words—if we're going to consolidate it into a paragraph, let's consolidate it. If we're not going to, we can keep the scattered mentions of it throughout the article. Let's not have both. –SESmith 22:32, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
That sounds good to me. --Masamage 23:43, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
That's fine with me, as a basis for how to do it. john k 06:45, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
I agree with that approach. -- wrp103 (Bill Pringle) (Talk) 08:42, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
I'm assuming, JK, that you are going to do this, since you were the one to suggest it? –SESmith 09:17, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
I'll try...let me mull it over a bit. john k 16:48, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
I can help formalize it once there's a general shape to what information it contains. --Masamage 18:28, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

It really should have at least a paragraph on the racism of the church. —Preceding unsigned comment added by LEDominator (talkcontribs) 06:08, 16 November 2007 (UTC)

"The" in article title

Why isn't this article at Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? This is the pattern we follow for similar constructions, like Church of England, Church of Scotland, and so forth. Wikipedia naming conventions say not to use direct articles except in things like the titles to works of art. john k 21:06, 18 August 2007 (UTC)

The official name of the church has the "The" in it. See Wikipedia:Manual of Style (Latter Day Saints). It was a good question; thank you for your efforts to make Wikipedia stylistically uniform. --Storm Rider (talk) 21:12, 18 August 2007 (UTC)
The Church of England is also an official name. So is The George Washington University. As far as I can tell, we only include "the" in titles for things like artistic works, and pretty much never in institutions. There are probably some exceptions, but the whole thing doesn't seem very clearly thought out. john k 15:51, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
Why would the time of the institution be at issue? The LDS Church naming concentions, including Mormonism and "Latter Day" definitions is one of the most thougth out naming conventions in Wikipedia, and it is much clearer and better used than on any other media site I have ever used. Neither age nor consistancy should be the issue, but rather clarity (of which consisitancy becomes a tool). Please read and re-read the archives as these are rehashings of old points. Bytebear 21:06, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
I don't see how this is an issue of clarity. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is perfectly clear. john k 21:08, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
Actually, I think it goes to your other examples. George Washington University is less clear, and I would argue that that and other articles should follow the "The" standard. But that's my opinion. Bytebear 21:14, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
How is it less clear? There is only one George Washington University. john k 04:33, 21 August 2007 (UTC)

Your point is one that has been brought up before; however, in this instance it has been agreed multiple times that we are following the correct standard. The Manual of Style indicated above also clarifies this point. --Storm Rider (talk) 21:18, 20 August 2007 (UTC)

John Kenney has a point, but I think it's more significant in pointing out the lack of consistency throughout Wikipedia than an indictment of the LDS naming conventions. Storm Rider is correct that the Manual of Style for Latter Day Saint articles is better developed and more uniformly applied than most other manuals of style on WP. Part of the reason for the inclusion of the "The", in my opinion, is that there is such a large number of Latter Day Saint denominations with similar names that small changes like including an article can help to distinguish one group from another, i.e. Church of Jesus Christ (Cutlerite) vs. The Church of Jesus Christ; Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints vs. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; and so forth. (If you don't know the difference between those last two, then you're in no position to criticize the LDS MOS.) Those who have developed the LDS MOS have clearly thought these through and I think they have come up with the best possible solutions, even if they are not consistent with other areas in WP. –SESmith 05:08, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
All I will note is that Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints redirects to this article, as well it should, even if there are other organizations using the same name. I don't see how any clarity is added by including "the" in the article title, given the existence of the redirect. john k 05:37, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
Well, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints does not; nor does Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The idea is to not rely on people's knowledge as to whether the church uses British-style or American-style hyphenation. (Since most people would assume an American-based church would use the American-style hyphenation, but it does not. Hell, most people don't even know two different styles exist, let alone what they are—and they probably also think organizations that use either are interchangeable. They are not.) Thus both the name of the article and the fact that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints redirects here. In any case, as Storm Rider says your point has been brought up and hashed and rehashed until there is nothing left to hash and unless some dramatic groundswell of consensus develops to bring the name of this article out of the LDS MOS and into THE George Washington University MOS, we're all just going to have to live with the inconvenience of an article that uses the proper complete name of an organization. –SESmith 05:43, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure I understand how this redirect set-up adds, rather than reduces, clarity. That nearly identical names redirect to different pages is a problem - It strikes me that they should perhaps all redirect to the disambiguation page. john k 06:07, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
In fact, I think I'm going to say straight out that this redirect system is exactly the kind of way that redirects should not be used. Nearly identical names with slight differences in orthography should not be redirecting to different articles. They should either all go here (as the most likely referent if someone says any variant of "church of jesus christ of latter day saints," whatever the capitalization or use of hyphens), or they should all go to the disambiguation page. I'll even go so far as to withdraw my request for a move of this page, in the interest of moving towards a sane redirect policy. The current one is a morass of confusion for anyone who is not already familiar with the various terms employed. john k 06:12, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
Yes, but as I've been trying to point out, it is difficult to avoid at times with so many names being so similar—it's easy to say how things should work, but getting a consensus on how to set it up is another ball of wax altogether. I personally could support having Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (with or without hyphen) redirect here, but then there would be an uproar from those non-Latter-day Saint "Latter Day Saints" (are you getting this?) who work on pages in the Latter Day Saint movement, because they'd protest that Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was the name of the organization that started out as the Church of Christ, and that this name has no business redirecting to the page about the Mormon Church. It's all very complicated. Similar problems and disputes arise over the use/redirect of terms like "Mormon", "Latter Day Saint", "Mormonism", "Latter-day Saint", "LDS" and so forth. Hence the LDS MOS was developed, which has tried to resolve a few issues, albeit imperfectly as you have pointed out. But the system seems to have hit a position where most people are happy with how things look. –SESmith 07:49, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
The difference between "Latter Day Saints" and "Latter-day Saints" is one that only, well, Latter Day Saints understand. This article is meant to be written not for the initiated, but for the layman. That a group largely consisting of people who are deeply familiar with all these distinctions has agreed to a particular set of redirects does not really prove anything. It seems to me that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as by far the largest Latter Day Saint denomination, clearly has primary use over all these terms. Joseph Smith's short-lived original organization (which, of course, Latter-day Saints believe to be the same organization which they now belong to) is certainly not a primary use, nor are any of the smaller other sects, most of which no longer call themselves anything including the terms "Latter-day Saints". Anyway, the basic point is that redirects should make sense to people who don't already understand all the various orthographical distinctions. If such a situation causes uproar among adherents of certain smallish religious groups, then so be it. john k 13:29, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
Let's just say I agree with you in theory, but I have concerns as to how it could be implemented without fairly substantial conflict and lack of consensus. Checking Category:Latter Day Saint denominations, I see about 12 different groups that use "Latter Day", "Latter-day Saints", or "Latter Day Saints" in their name, with another one using "Saints of the Last Days". Granted, some of these are defunct and the majority are presumably quite small. But there are few sects in fact that would reject the appellation. All Mormon fundamentalist groups would accept being called Latter Day Saints, even if that terminology is not in their name (e.g. Apostolic United Brethren). The only major ones who really might not be thrilled to be called Latter Day Saints are the Community of Christ and The Church of Jesus Christ, though they would probably get more upset over being called "Mormon" and could probably live with the Latter Day Saint designation; but you're right that in these cases their main opposition to the use is the potential for confusion with the LDS Church.
I do personally agree with you, John, that the page could and should be renamed Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I think that would be hard to gain consensus on.
Anyway, in the meantime, what does everyone think about at least redirecting Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (disambiguation) instead of Church of Christ (Latter Day Saints)? I think John is right that most "uninitiated" people that type in "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" would be looking for this article, not the one on the original Latter Day Saint church. –SESmith 22:46, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
well, I certainly agree. john k 06:44, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
Regardless of clarity, I think the article should use the official name. Useight 05:41, 21 August 2007 (UTC)

How about: put a disclaimer right at the top to the effect that there are several churches with very similar names; this covers the largest one, for others see the disambiguation page. Phrenophobia 06:10, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

LDS Template

I was just looking at the LDS movement template located at the bottom of the page. Might I suggest that this great Latter Day Saint historical template be placed at the historical section of the article. It almost appears hidden at the bottom of the page right now. I think that since the template concerns early church history for this, and other, organizations it should be located in or around the historical section of the article. What does everybody think??? Jcg5029 03:42, 2 September 2007 (UTC)

To me it looks more like something that was designed to go at the bottom of an article page. Ubi Terrarum 10:13, 5 September 2007 (UTC)
A history template away from the history section?? Below references?? May I suggest looking at the discussions which helped make this template be formed. It used to be located on every Latter Day Saint movement site in the early portions on the right hand side. A major reason why this template was formatted this new way was so it could be placed within an article at a relevant section. Aka the history. Jcg5029 20:05, 5 September 2007 (UTC)
I more meant my statement to be a personal opinion as opposed to a guess as to the actual intention. The intention behind its creation doesn't change my perception of what it looks like. I just am of the personal opinion that it looks better at the bottom of an article, that's all. Ubi Terrarum 21:44, 5 September 2007 (UTC)
Frankly, I'm not a big fan of that template. I recall a lot of complaints about the colors being too much. That is why I prefer it at the bottom of the article (so I don't see it very often. ;^) -- wrp103 (Bill Pringle) (Talk) 21:54, 5 September 2007 (UTC)
I do agree the Utah LDS specific green portion of the template jumps out pretty hard, but the LDS movement portion was toned down and (my thought) looks pretty nice right now. Would a happy middle ground be separating the two? Or is the other section also not appealing? Jcg5029 23:38, 5 September 2007 (UTC)
I still think they look like something a programmer came up with when they discovered how to specify color. (I know, because I've done that! ;^) Positioning two different kinds of strong green colors isn't my favorite color combination. Try softer tones, maybe even pastels. ;^) -- wrp103 (Bill Pringle) (Talk) 21:15, 10 September 2007 (UTC)
How about earth tones? At the very least, drop the aqua. --TrustTruth 22:12, 10 September 2007 (UTC)
A better idea: how about a little navigation box on the side, instead of a banner template that spans the entire width? We seem to do pretty well with little side navboxes for a lot of other stuff. - Reaverdrop (talk/nl) 22:15, 10 September 2007 (UTC)
It was a sidebar template several months ago, and then got changed to the bottom bar. I never liked the new version, but I think there is room for both, until consensus is met. Bytebear 02:44, 11 September 2007 (UTC)
Sidebar, horizontal bar, bright, pastel—whatever it is, I just prefer to have it out of my way when I'm trying to read an article. On the side is fine, and so is at the bottom of the article. At the top of a section in the middle of an article—no. Rich Uncle Skeleton (talk) 02:52, 11 September 2007 (UTC)

Virginia Temple?

On the map that displays which political entities include LDS temples, the commonwealth of Virginia is colored with dark blue, implying that a temple exists in the state. As far as I know, there is no temple in Virginia. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:07, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

I fixed this now. SESmith 04:35, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
I would recommend adding darker colors for states (or countries) with multiple temples. Bytebear (talk) 00:22, 28 November 2007 (UTC)


I think this entry may have been the victim of some vandalism. Every abbreviation "LDS" is "LSD", even the references at the end. I don't have the time to go through and change them all. Just thought someone should know. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:12, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

It's very clear this is writen by the LDS to make themselves look Christian. Like most stuff on Wikipedia about LDS is by LDS and for LDS there is no way it's natural or accurate —Preceding unsigned comment added by O22ZY (talkcontribs) 19:08, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

Give the voluminous back-and-forth discussion that has occurred on this article since its inception, I strongly disagree with this assessment. Any user, Mormon, non-Mormon, whatever, is free to make edits to the article to fix any problems. This has been done in the past and nothing is preventing any user from doing this now. I was just reading the article today and admiring how far it has come at presenting the LDS church from a neutral point of view -- not pro, not against, just a neutral presentation of the facts (with some exceptions of course). In no way does this article warrant a neutrality tag. For these reasons, combined with the fact that the editor who added the tag appears to be a sockpuppet, I move that the tag be removed. --TrustTruth 19:57, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

Someone keeps putting in a tidbit about education that is linked to a source with some dubious claims (formerly citation 61). The articles which the website provided links to to back up its claims have nothing to do with the claims made on the site, and even worse one of them links to the website which has since either removed or changed its location -- LEDominator November 2007 21:50 PST

YouTube video

Does this video describe Mormonism correctly? If so, then it sure does it a lot better than this confusing and lengthy article and also provides some key points of Mormonism that this article does not. For example, it says that Jesus and Lucifer are brothers, and God has multiple wives in which he has trillions of spirit-children or whatever they're called who rule other planets as gods. It also says that Mormons believe blacks to be those who remained neutral rather than take the side of Jesus (those who did became the white race) or Lucifer (those who did became demons) and thus were cursed with black skin. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:00, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

The cartoon comes from the film The God Makers. Read the article and decide for yourself. It has been denounced by various anti-defamation organizations as "spiritual pornography". Bytebear (talk) 00:19, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
No, it is not an accurate depiction. It has a few details that are right, but most of it is incorrect and does not describe Mormon belief. Useight (talk) 02:34, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
"It has a few details that are right ... " Would you care to point out the details that are not right? Duke53 | Talk 08:05, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
There have been many rebuttals to the book and film. There are references on the article. Bytebear (talk) 18:51, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
Where, in Wikipedia, are these 'many rebuttals'? I read the article and can only find some general objections ... nothing rebutting most of the claims in the film, and those objections are not cited. Duke53 | Talk 04:35, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

Duke53, I'm actually suprised that you even allow the above to associate you with alluding to the Godmakers as even remotely acurately portraying Mormonism. We don't need to have a rebuttal on this stupid movie in wikipedia. That is not the point of Wikipedia. for historical purposes, multiple non-LDS groups criticize the movie, the message and the use of half-truths - for exmaple, the Apolgetics index quotes multiple sources about how awful the movie is ( and the National Conference of Christians and Jews, describes it as "making extensive use of 'half-truth', faulty generalizations, erroneous interpretations, and sensationalism. It is not reflective of the genuine spirit of the Mormon faith." Even the Tanners criticize the work ( for multiple articles about the movie from the tanners) and Jerald said that it hurt his own efforts to convert Mormons to mainstream christianity. A simple google search will bring up multiple rebuttals to the movie. It is about as lame as it goes. Common sense should show most that even the first few seconds of the video is incorrect, from the misstatement that God the Father lives on a planet called Kolob to his sitting around all day having “endless celestial sex.” That is not even close to some of the folk doctrine in Mormonism, let alone the real doctrine.

As for the claims referred to above: - "Jesus and Lucifer are brothers" - both were created by God, and in that sense they are. Mormon scriptures are quite clear that Jesus is also our father, and our God. Jesus and Lucifer are not equals, nor have they ever been. - "God has multiple wives in which he has trillions of spirit-children" - We are all children of god, all trillion or so of us who live on this earth, but there is no evidence that God has multiple wives. - "blacks to be those who remained neutral rather than take the side of Jesus" - there were no neutrals in the war in heaven. you either decided to accept the atonement and come to earth or you did not. See Blacks and Mormonism and Blacks and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. - That we can "rule other planets as gods" - this is false doctrine. church members believe they can become gods - not Gods. See discussion taking place right now at Talk:Mormonism_and_Christianity on this very topic. There I included the following from Jeff Lindsay's blog. Which prominent Church LDS leaders issued the following statements?

  1. "Do we cast blame on him [God] because we were not made gods from the beginning, but were at first created merely as men, and then later as gods? Although God has adopted this course out of his pure benevolence, that no one may charge him with discrimination or stinginess, he declares, 'I have said, ye are gods; and all of you are sons of the Most High.' ... For it was necessary at first that nature be exhibited, then after that what was mortal would be conquered and swallowed up in immortality."
  2. "Yea, I say, the Word of God became a man so that you might learn from a man how a man becomes a god."
  3. "The Word was made flesh in order that we might be enabled to be made gods.... Just as the Lord, putting on the body, became a man, so also we men are both deified through his flesh, and henceforth inherit everlasting life."
  4. "He [Christ] became man that we might be made divine."
  5. "But he himself that justifies also deifies, for by justifying he makes sons of God. 'For he has given them power to become the sons of God' [John 1:12] If then we have been made sons of God, we have also been made gods."

Muliple choice answers: A. Joseph Smith; B. Brigham Young; C. Lorenzo Snow; D. Gordon B. Hinckley; G. Saint Irenaeus; H. Saint Clement of Alexandria; I. Saint Athanasius; J. Saint Augustine

You guessed it - the quotes came from the last four, not the first four. See here. Crazy Mormons, I mean early Christian fathers, I mean Mormons, err, uh, wait...

One start at a point by point can be found at SHEILDS (, although i find even starting to address this movie is frustrating because of how many inaccuracies and direct falsehoods there are. It is like saying that all christians (including Mormons) are canibals and beleive that they will one day have wings that will allow them to fly, and that apples are evil, that Christ flew around like a bird, etc. In any case, it is good to see you are still around. -Visorstuff (talk) 05:25, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

"We don't need to have a rebuttal on this stupid movie in wikipedia". Oh, okay. But an editor said (and this seems to have been changed in the version of this thread now being displayed on my screen: "It has a few details that are right, but most of it is incorrect and does not describe Mormon belief." Wikipedia does not allow unsourced statements ... cite, cite, cite sources when you make such a declaration, right? Duke53 | Talk 05:46, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
Duke53, you're right that statements need to be cited... if you're talking about statements made in article space that aren't completely uncontroversial. (An uncontroversial statement such as "Africa is a continent" can be left uncited, per common sense.) Here on a talk page, an editor can offer their own opinions and editorial judgments related to the article, and they don't have to cite anyone else for support. Assessing the reliability or relevance of a source, for example, is one of the main purposes of these talk pages, and one can say "this source is completely unreliable [or irrelevant] for reasons X, Y, and Z" without citations. Of course, it does bolster one's arguments if one can show external sources that support what one is saying, but unless those statements are going to wind up in the article, there are no WP policies requiring them to be backed by citations. Such matters are resolved through discussion, persuasion, and achieving consensus, and citations can help but aren't essential in all cases. I hope this clarifies things. alanyst /talk/ 06:26, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
An editor making a blanket statement on a talk page does not bolster his argument one iota ... it is simply his opinion; in fact, an argument could be made that such statements diminish an editor's argument. Duke53 | Talk 06:48, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
I don't want to talk about it in a context not related to this article because Wikipedia is not a forum, but Mormons don't believe that God came down and had sex with Mary; nor believe that God has many wives, only one; nor believe that Joseph Smith did more for mankind than Jesus did. There's three off the top of my head, I don't feel like watching the video again. And I didn't make any blanket statements like "the video is completely wrong" or anything. Useight (talk) 06:56, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
"... but most of it is incorrect ..." qualifies as a blanket statement, IMO. Duke53 | Talk 07:03, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

"Where, in Wikipedia, are these 'many rebuttals'? I read the article and can only find some general objections ... nothing rebutting most of the claims in the film, and those objections are not cited." Wow! I don't think that you are seriously suggesting that I should have loaded The God Makers article with a bunch of strong pro-LDS rebuttals when I wrote it. I suppose I could have, if I were attempting to write an apologetic tract rather than a Wikipedia article. The purpose of the article was to describe the film and events surrounding its release, not to discredit it, despite the fact that I personally think Decker's magnum opus with its cheesy cartoon is the most laughable thing I've ever seen. My favorite part is when Jesus "beams down" to the American Continent. Enough fun, I've got to get back to "Starbase Kolob" now. The article is there...the rebuttals are out, have at it folks. Bochica (talk) 20:41, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

"I don't think that you are seriously suggesting that I should have loaded The God Makers article with a bunch of strong pro-LDS rebuttals". I wasn't suggesting any such thing; all I asked for was an editor to back up claims he made here on this talk page. Duke53 | Talk 00:13, 30 November 2007 (UTC)
The God Makers article has several external links to various rebuttals. You know where to look. Bytebear (talk) 00:59, 30 November 2007 (UTC)

Honestly, I think this conversation has gotten a little off track, but to answer the original question " says that Jesus and Lucifer are brothers, and God has multiple wives in which he has trillions of spirit-children or whatever they're called who rule other planets as gods. It also says that Mormons believe blacks to be those who remained neutral rather than take the side of Jesus (those who did became the white race) or Lucifer (those who did became demons) and thus were cursed with black skin.... Well, accoding to the LDS religon, they do belive that Jesus and Lucifer are brothers, I can't find anything that actually staes that God 'has many wives', and I can't find anything anywhere about Blacks remaing 'neutral'. I don't think that the whole thing about how Lucifer and Jesus are brothers is notable enough for the article, but if someone else does I wouldn't really oppose.... ~ Bella Swan 23:55, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

The issue of Jesus and Lucifer being brothers is covered in Devil in Christianity fairly extensively. The problem is, the doctrine isn't that "Jesus and Lucifer are brothers", but that all of the spirits of God are brothers and sisters. Pointing out two of God's children and saying they are brothers is used in sensationalistic anti-Mormon rhetoric (like the film being discussed), but it does not fully explain the LDS belief. Interestingly enough, the LDS Bible Dictionary does not touch on this relationship directly[3]. The article on Angels [4] does say "The scriptures speak of the devil’s angels. These are those spirits who followed Lucifer and were thrust out in the war in heaven and cast down to the earth" but does not speak of angels as children of God, although it is more clear in the entry "War in Heaven"[5] which says "The conflict that took place in the premortal life among the spirit children of God", but the article on the Councel in heaven [6] does say "The occasion in premortal life when the Father presented his plan to his spirit children who would come to this earth." So you can take all of these truths and conclude that Jesus and Lucifer are brothers, but there is a lot more to it than just that. I would be ok with saying something like "Mormons believe that all of God's children are spirit brother's and sisters, including Jesus and the rebellious angels", but that opens another can of worms, in that there is a subtle difference between "spirit brother" and "spiritual brother" as they mean two different things. It also begs to explain the concept of the Godhead, and the role of Jesus Christ as the "First born of the Father"[7][8][9] and the "only begotten of the Father in the flesh"[10][11][12], again, two different concepts, as "first born" implies there was a second born, so LDS conclude this to mean first spirit child, and not "in the flesh". So, adding this little tidbit of trivia opens up enough information to create an entire sub-article (or cover in existing articles). I think it is not important enough to cover here, but should be, and is covered elsewhere. Bytebear (talk) 01:24, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

Criticism revisited - Merge?

I hate to bring up a rehashed topic once again, but I think a criticism section is warranted. I know, I know - I brought this up a while ago, and was willing to submit to the vehement opposition that I received. However, a few of us have been doing a bunch of work on the Criticism of Mormonism article - that hand in hand with a review of the POV fork article under Wikipedia guidelines, brings me to the conclusion that the articles really ought to be merged. Perhaps not every nit picky criticism in the other article needs mention in a larger article like this one, but I wonder if we can integrate some of the information into each topic in this main article, then give a brief summary in a criticism section (per Wikipedia guidelines), and then refer out to the main criticism article. In the past you guys have cited examples such as the Koran, and the Catholic church articles as articles that don't have a criticism section, but the more I think about it, the more I think those articles are not in line with Wikipedia guidelines either. Thoughts?Descartes1979 19:04, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

From the POV Forking guidelines: "the original article should contain a summary of the 'Criticism of ... ' article."Paisan30 (talk) 20:44, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
I agree that this main article should contain a brief summary of the key criticisms. One approach that may be less contentious is to phrase the summary of criticisms more in a historical way, than an "in your face" list of criticisms. Here is some rough text that I threw together for the Criticism article (I know it is poorly written, it is a work in progress :-), if anyone wants to edit it in-place here on the Talk page, go ahead .... Noleander (talk) 21:44, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

Possible Criticism paragraph ... feel free to edit in-place here

The LDS movement has been subject to significant criticism since its early years in New York and Pennsylvania. The criticism often focused on the church's rapid growth and unusual doctrines. Criticism continued after the church settled in Missouri, culminating in the 1838 Mormon War. After the church relocated to Illinois, criticism persisted and led to the assassination of Joseph Smith in 1844. After Smith's death, the Succession Crisis ensued, and various denominations of the movement struggled for power, levying criticisms against each other, primarily regarding authority or doctrine. In the late 1800's, many criticized the LDS denomination, the largest branch, for its practice of polygamy, and federal legislators actively began passing laws designed to weaken the LDS church. Throughout the history of the movement, critics have questioned the legitimacy of Smith's revelations, and the historicity of the Book of Mormon and the Book of Abraham. Notable 20th century critics include Jerald and Sandra Tanner, who published The Changing World of Mormonism In recent years, the internet has provided a new forum for critics, including sites such as In modern times, criticism often focuses on claims of intolerant attitudes, racism, sexist policies, and secrecy.
You might want to read Criticism of the Latter Day Saint movement, a distinct article on the topic. WBardwin (talk) 00:54, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
I think this is a great summary. I agree with presenting it historically, which is much more immune from NPOV problems, because the criticism is an uncontroversial historical fact, whereas the pros and cons of any particular criticism are best merged with the subject matter being criticized, so that you can get both views in the same place and in the same context. COGDEN 01:25, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Someone else added a new "Criticism" section to the bottom of the article ... the phrasing was a bit crude, so I replaced it with the above paragraph. Feel free to improve it. Noleander (talk) 15:26, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

American Indians and the Book of Mormon

There is no discussion about whether the Book of Mormon is scientifically correct. Native Americans are NOT the Lost Tribes of Israel. DNA proves it. It is well known. If you want your religion to be accepted, you need to come to terms with this, just as you altered the view of African-Americans surrounding the passage of the Civil Rights Act in the 60s. Until then, you will be seen as a cult. (JDB) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:38, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

See Book of Mormon#Historicity for that discussion. Alanraywiki (talk) 22:48, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
If the tribes are lost, how can DNA evidence prove that they aren't related? As a biochemist, I question your logic. Ryanfrei (talk) 00:35, 11 December 2007 (UTC)
Actually that would be very easy, since the lost tribes of Israel are related to the other tribes of Israel (obviously) and we have plenty of descendants of the other tribes left to compare with. DJ Clayworth (talk) 19:35, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

Moroni was not an "angel"

He was supposedly a resurrected prophet as stated here"after his death Moroni was resurrected and became an angel". It would be like calling Jesus an angel after His resurrection.

Also the "angel" link in the history section of the article "Joseph Smith translated from a book of golden plates that were buried near his home in a place shown to him by an angel." sends the reader to an article about Moroni(prophet) which has a talk page for a different article titled Angel Moroni. Does Moroni(prophet) not need its own talk page? Mr.grantevans2 (talk) 02:36, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

In Mormon theology, angels are not separate species than humans. They are simply messengers from God. As such, Moroni fits the category. As to Moroni being Resurrected, I don't know that he was. I don't think there is any documentation on that, but I could be wrong. See LDS Bible Dictionary: Angels and Index of scriptural references to Moroni. I do think you have an argument for merging the articles Moroni (prophet) and Angel Moroni. Bytebear (talk) 02:47, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
This article should not be a representation of Mormon theology. Mr.grantevans2 (talk) 02:58, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
Why not? I suppose it should be about your theology? Bytebear (talk) 05:09, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
The article should be about the Mormon theology but should not adopt uncommon word definitions used within the theology unless it's a quote. Mr.grantevans2 (talk) 14:50, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
No, articles properly adopt the language that is commonly applied to the subject in question. Mormons commonly refer to the the post-mortal Moroni as an "angel", so that's how the article should refer to him. The article is at Angel Moroni, and it's also usually a good idea to refer to things with WP articles by the WP article name. Also note that the article Angel has a section about Latter-day Saint views on angels, so it's not an "uncommon" definition that's being snuck into the article — it's one of many legitimate uses of the word by world religions. It's the same issue with whether Mormons are Christian or not — everybody has their own ideas about it and there is no right or wrong answer, so WP adopts what Mormons call themselves, and categorizes the religion as a Christian religion. Snocrates 09:13, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
I can not find any secular dictionary that considers resurrected humans to be angels. Only the Mormon one does that and this is not a Mormon encyclopedia. [13][14] Mr.grantevans2 (talk) 15:57, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
The use of the term angel is appropriate for the following reasons: 1) As noted, it is the terminology used by the subject of the article; 2) Most of the secular dictionaries at do not specifically exclude the use of the term for a resurrected being, and 3) the origin of the term angel is from the Latin angelus and from the Greek angelos, both meaning messenger (per the dictionaries), which Moroni was. Alanraywiki (talk) 16:37, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
Good try but it really does not wash. Resurrected beings are not angels otherwise Jesus would be called an angel during the time he was(supposedly) in the Americas. When was the first reference in LDS literature to Moroni being an angel? I noticed this in the Moroni article "Latter-day Saint theology can be interpreted to mean that after his death Moroni was resurrected and became an angel". Could you expand upon the history of that interpretation? Mr.grantevans2 (talk) 21:33, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
This use of the term "angel" is not even supported by LDS scriptures:[15][16] you will not find Smith using the term either. "Personage" and "Messenger" is what was used, not angel. Mr.grantevans2 (talk) 13:31, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
That would be incorrect; Moroni is referred to as an angel in the Doctrine and Covenants. Please see here. You have to be careful before making such final judgements when it is so obviously not the case. --Storm Rider (talk) 02:45, 26 December 2007 (UTC)
Joseph Smith met Moroni; what did he call him? Several things but not an angel. Mr.grantevans2 (talk) 11:50, 26 December 2007 (UTC)

Regardless of theology, it is a verifiable fact that Mormons frequently, perhaps even customarily, refer to him as "the Angel Moroni." Dpbsmith (talk) 02:25, 26 December 2007 (UTC)

I know from personal experience that he is referred to as the "angel Moroni", but is its verifiability up to Wikipedia standards? — Val42 (talk) 05:44, 26 December 2007 (UTC)
I certainly think so; see the two references I supplied in this edit. I'm sure numerous better ones could be found. Dpbsmith (talk) 11:16, 26 December 2007 (UTC)
This article can not use terms just because Mormons use them without attributing the usage of that term to Mormons. Why did Smith not refer to him as an angel here? Since Smith called him a "personage" and "messenger" then those are the terms we can agree on; there is no reason at all to force the term angel into this article. I do think dpbsmith's edits are useful and will restore them. Mr.grantevans2 (talk) 11:32, 26 December 2007 (UTC)
For whatever it might be worth, dictionary definition of 'angel' is:

1. A typically benevolent celestial being that acts as an intermediary between heaven and earth, especially in Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Zoroastrianism. 2. A representation of such a being, especially in Christianity, conventionally in the image of a human figure with a halo and wings. 3. angels Christianity The last of the nine orders of angels in medieval angelology. From the highest to the lowest in rank, the orders are: seraphim, cherubim, thrones, dominations or dominions, virtues, powers, principalities, archangels, and angels. 4. A guardian spirit or guiding influence. 5a. A kind and lovable person. b. One who manifests goodness, purity, and selflessness. 6. Informal A financial backer of an enterprise, especially a dramatic production or a political campaign.

This seems wide enough to me that I think it's inappropriate to exclude Moroni, and in fact I think the Mormon terminology should be used with the briefest of possible qualifications in the text. E.g. "the Angel Moroni (as Mormons call him)." The editors who say Moroni is not properly an angel really have the onus of producing a good reference that addresses that point and shows that it is an important issue to non-Mormons. If it is important, then a few sentences or paragraphs elsewhere in the article should explain the point; otherwise, a footnote saying "Some Christian theologians object to this use of the term 'angel' because Moroni was thus-and-such,' with a reference, would be sufficient.
To dispute about whether Moroni should be called an "angel" seems to me to be on the same level as quibbling about whether the Mormon Tabernacle is really a "tabernacle," whether the Episcopal Church is really "episcopal," etc. Dpbsmith (talk) 11:43, 26 December 2007 (UTC)
My question is "Why" ? Why use a term which is debatable ? Why not use the terms used by Joseph Smith which are not debatable? Mr.grantevans2 (talk) 11:50, 26 December 2007 (UTC)


I will agree with Dpbsmith 's suggestion that "Mormon terminology should be used with the briefest of possible qualifications in the text. E.g. "the Angel Moroni (as Mormons call him)."" Can we settle on that? Mr.grantevans2 (talk) 11:54, 26 December 2007 (UTC)

There is Lots left out of this article

These are important distinctions which should be right up front in the article. 1: Mormons believe Jesus went to South America to teach his other children after his resurrection. 2: There is no "holy trinity" 3: Temple marriage is forever as in forever; even if divorced. 4: Good Mormons can achieve the status of God for their own world after death. Hence, Mormons believe there are many Gods. Mr.grantevans2 (talk) 02:58, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Those are all important if this article was about comparing Mormonism to traditional Christianity, but there is another article for that. In fact, Mormons would probably say the most important things people need to know are 1) a belief in Jesus Christ 2) a belief in living prophets 3) a belief in eternal families (at least you got one right). You see, the importance of various topics really depends on who you talk to. This isn't about comparisons to your beliefs. A Jew or Hindu doesn't care one bit about where Jesus visited, or about your Trinity, or about your misunderstanding of the LDS afterlife. You are way to narrow in your view. It isn't all about your church. In fact, it isn't about your church at all. Bytebear (talk) 05:07, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
Probably so this article does not become overwhelmed with doctrine, some of these items are addressed elsewhere in Wikipedia:
1: Mormons believe Jesus went to South America to teach his other children after his resurrection.
See Book of Mormon#Another Testament of Christ. However, as noted in my edit of this article it is not known if Christ came to South America, just somewhere in the Americas.
2: There is no "holy trinity"
See Godhead (Latter Day Saints).
3: Temple marriage is forever as in forever; even if divorced.
Actually, this is incorrect. A sealing may be canceled.
4: Good Mormons can achieve the status of God for their own world after death. Hence, Mormons believe there are many Gods.
See the Plan of Salvation section of the church article.
Some of the articles could probably use expanding, but I hope this helps a little. Alanraywiki (talk) 06:26, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
See also Mormonism and Christianity and Criticism of Mormonism. It's a big subject. Cool Hand Luke 11:52, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Mormons believe they can each become a God equal in power and status to Jesus's Father

Thanks to Alanraywiki for directing me to the Plan of Salvation

This means that Mormons believe there are many Gods,not just 1 as most Christians believe. This distinction should be very prominent in this article, I think.

Degrees within the celestial kingdom

"Smith taught that the celestial kingdom itself is subdivided into three "heavens or degrees".[12] Only those individuals who are sealed in celestial marriage to a spouse in a temple while alive (or after death by proxy) will be permitted to enter into the highest degree of celestial kingdom.[13] These individuals will eventually become "exalted"[14] and will be permitted to live "the kind of life God lives".[15]"

What Is Exaltation?

Exaltation is eternal life, the kind of life God lives. He lives in great glory. He is perfect. He possesses all knowledge and all wisdom. He is the Father of spirit children. He is a creator. We can become like our Heavenly Father. This is exaltation.


“Chapter 47: Exaltation,” Gospel Principles, 301

These are some of the blessings given to exalted people:

1. They will live eternally in the presence of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ (see D&C 76).

2. They will become gods.

3. They will have their righteous family members with them and will be able to have spirit children also. These spirit children will have the same relationship to them as we do to our Heavenly Father. They will be an eternal family.

4. They will receive a fulness of joy.

5. They will have everything that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have—all power, glory, dominion, and knowledge. President Joseph Fielding Smith wrote: “The Father has promised through the Son that all that he has shall be given to those who are obedient to his commandments. They shall increase in knowledge, wisdom, and power, going from grace to grace, until the fulness of the perfect day shall burst upon them” (Doctrines of Salvation, 2:36)."

The extracts above show the extent and firmness of the religion's acceptance of the multiple and equal gods belief. Mr.grantevans2 (talk) 12:13, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

LDS believe that there is only one God[18],[19],[20],[21]. What you are doing is what we call sythesis. You are putting a conclusion in where facts are not in evidence and distorting the meaning of the facts you do have. A God is something that is worshipped and there is only one God that is worshipped by LDS or will ever be worshipped and that is God the Father, His Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. We will eternally worship God; God will always be the center of our worship and no God will ever take his place.
LDS believe in the Bible; you might want to review what it says. Look at Romans 8:17. Based upon this verse LDS believe exactly what it says; that we will be joint-heirs with Christ. What is the definition of heir? The dictionary states:
1. a person who inherits or has a right of inheritance in the property of another following the latter's death.
2. Law.
a. (in common law) a person who inherits all the property of a deceased person, as by descent, relationship, will, or legal process.
b. Civil Law. a person who legally succeeds to the place of a deceased person and assumes the rights and obligations of the deceased, as the liabilities for debts or the possessory rights to property.
3. a person who inherits or is entitled to inherit the rank, title, position, etc., of another.
4. a person or group considered as inheriting the tradition, talent, etc., of a predecessor.
LDS do not believe the Bible was mistaken in this verse (or others); it is true and is the word of God. LDS believe that through Jesus Christ we may become joint-heirs with him. In ancient times this doctrine was known as theosis. What the early Patristic Fathers taught was “God became human so humans would become gods", St. Athanasius of Alexandria). St. Maximus the Confessor wrote, "A sure warrant for looking forward with hope to deification of human nature is provided by the incarnation of God, which makes man god to the same degree as God Himself became man.". There are many other Fathers that spoke on this topic with very similar statements. They all believed that man could be joint-heirs with Christ and inherit the same thing that he inherits from God the Father. However, becoming joint-heirs with Jesus Christ does not mean that God will cease to be worshipped by us or that we "lose" our God. In the truest sense we become one with God and the Son as Jesus prayed that we would be.
Do LDS believe we will be joint-heirs with Christ, YES; resoundingly yes. Does that mean we become gods? Yes, but we will never be God. LDS are no more believe in plurality of Gods then did the early Patristic Fathers. You are melding the two concepts without understanding the meaning of scripture or the teachings of the LDS church. In fact, you are twisting the teachings of the LDS into something that is not believed.
The concept of the Trinity is equally confusing to some people as what you infer about the teachings of the LDS church. Islam teaches that Christians are not monotheistic becuase they believe in God the Father, His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. That is three beings and three does not equal one. Christianity in 325 began to formally teach that there is one God in three beings. However, as theologians teach today, the Trinity is a mystery and cannot be comprehended by man...though there are three, there is only one. LDS teach there are three and together they make one God. LDS most often use the term Godhead[22],[23],[24]. I have always found it interesting that this is the term used by the Bible (as demonstrated in the citations) and not the term trinity. I have never understood the need to create new words or doctrines when the Bible does an adequate job of teaching the simple truths of Jesus Christ and the early apostles.
I will change your edits to align them with correct LDS teachings. --Storm Rider (talk) 13:31, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

Can Mormons have their own planet after death?

The section on exaltation implies that they can have the same power and authority over a planet that God does over earth and I have read in books that this is the case. Is that true? Is there a clear official LDS source for that because it is quite interesting I think and also should be prominent within the article. Mr.grantevans2 (talk) 12:40, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

The doctrine of the LDS church is found in the Standards Works; the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenenants, and Pearl of Great Price. When teachings become doctrine they are added to the Standards Works of the Church. In addition, the prophets and apostles of the church interpret scripture and define what scripture means.
There have been a few leaders, even prophets, of the LDS church that have discussed these concepts, but none of them have been accepted as doctrine nor have they been clarified. It is like being told in that we are joint-heirs with Christ, but given no further clarification. What does in mean in its entirety? The Bible simply does not provide a complete teaching or understanding of this doctrine. Some LDS believe that becoming joint-heirs with Christ will mean that we will assist God in creating additional worlds, but it is not taught in scripture. We know that in eternity we will not be floating amongst clouds, strumming haprs, and singing. LDS believe that God has a plan for eternity; that it is dynamic and active. Most Christian churches end their teaching that those who are saved will live with God for eternity. To do what? Does God really need or desire his creations to only sing His praises for eternity? I personally do not think God is so shallow as to need my incessant confirmation that He is Great. Instead, He seeks for me to align myself in thought and action with Him. To me that is a more accurate definition of exaltation, to be one with the Father even as Jesus Christ is one with Him; that my will will be His will in all things and at all times. --Storm Rider (talk) 13:48, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
Interestingly, an LDS public relations representative recently denied that the church believes that exalted people will rule over their own planets. Not sure what to make of that, though. LDS PR representatives are "official", but do they have the authority to nullify the doctrines taught by prior LDS presidents? COGDEN 17:41, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
I don't recall any past LDS president ever using the phrase "rule over a planet". That is anti-Mormon Mormon doctrine. Bytebear (talk) 17:59, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

I just located these quotes on a few websites but do not know if the 2 men are reliable sources on Mormonism or whether the quotes are accepted by LDS as being accurate. Lorenzo Snow and Orson Pratt:

  • "Lorenzo Snow is remembered for his couplet "As man now is, God once was; as God now is, man may be."


  • Orson Pratt addressed this passage in a sermon delivered February 18, 1855: "we believe in the revelation given through Joseph Smith, which says there are many Gods, and that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are Gods, and that all good men in this Church shall become Gods? the number of Gods is infinite."

Are these accepted by LDS as accurate quotes and were these 2 men authorities on Mormon beliefs? Mr.grantevans2 (talk) 21:12, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

As many of you know there is great debate about whether or not the church teaches that we can "rule" over planets. Lorenzo Snow's quote was prior to him becoming church president. the closest we have is JFS in Doctrines of Salvation. However, we should look to Church president Gordon B. Hinckley's statements on the matter.
I do not deny that church leaders in the past have taught this, but it is not scripturally based that we can have our own planets. What is scriptureally based is that men can become "gods" (small g). What that means is any one's guess. Since that doctrine appears in both the Bible and Doctrine & Covenants, Mormons in the past and other christians have historically interpreted it differently. The church today clarified this teaching in the gospel principles manual, as well other publications.

I've written elsewhere on this wiki:

"Some feel that Mormons are polytheistic because Latter-day Saints believe they can become 'gods' (see undefined definition above) and 'like' God (see theosis or deification). This does not neccessarily mean that they can become omnipotent creators of technicolor worlds with purple dinosaurs. It does mean that they will be co-inheritors of exaltation - something our mortal minds do not comprehend. President Hinckley was criticised when he told Mike Wallace that he understands the philosophy behind us becoming creator-gods, but that he doesn't think that the church teaches it. To me, that was funny, because those who realize that the doctrine is much more complex than how most culturally believe it, accepted his explanation, while others thought that is strange that President Hinckley would deny that. It was simply a clarification of doctrine."

I also wrote about this in detail here.

Once again, I don't deny that it may have been taught in the past by top church leaders, but it is not scriptural doctrine (but a folk doctrine based on good philosophy), and therefore not doctrine of the LDS Church. Church leaders are much better today about staying doctrinally sound. -Visorstuff (talk) 21:32, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

I am going to reverse the question posed by Mr.grantevans2:

Are these accepted by [Christians] as accurate quotes and were these [4] men authorities on [Christian] beliefs?

  1. "Do we cast blame on him [God] because we were not made gods from the beginning, but were at first created merely as men, and then later as gods? Although God has adopted this course out of his pure benevolence, that no one may charge him with discrimination or stinginess, he declares, 'I have said, ye are gods; and all of you are sons of the Most High.' ... For it was necessary at first that nature be exhibited, then after that what was mortal would be conquered and swallowed up in immortality." -Saint Irenaeus
  2. "Yea, I say, the Word of God became a man so that you might learn from a man how a man becomes a god." - Saint Clement of Alexandria
  3. "The Word was made flesh in order that we might be enabled to be made gods.... Just as the Lord, putting on the body, became a man, so also we men are both deified through his flesh, and henceforth inherit everlasting life." - Saint Athanasius
  4. "He [Christ] became man that we might be made divine." - Saint Athanasius
  5. "But he himself that justifies also deifies, for by justifying he makes sons of God. 'For he has given them power to become the sons of God' [John 1:12] If then we have been made sons of God, we have also been made gods." - Saint Augustine

Can you accept early Christian fathers and reject the same concepts by Mormon leaders? Bytebear (talk) 22:29, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

Bytebear, I do not accept the concepts of the people you quote above to any more or less degree and besides, we are writing a secular encyclopedia, I think, so my own spiritual beliefs are not relevant at this talk page. Mr.grantevans2 (talk) 13:29, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
The point is, you are trying to introduce concepts that do not exist as you present them. To misrepresent Mormon beliefs is POV. I am giving you the benefit of the doubt, because there are a lot of misconceptions on Mormon theology, and even quite a few theologicial ideas within Mormon culture, that are not official LDS beliefs. It would be equivilant to emphasizing images of Mary and Jesus found in toast or oil stains on the Catholicism article, or saying that Catholics believe in canabalism, or that (in the example above) Catholics believe they can become gods, and are therefore polytheistic. You cannot exclude Catholics from the same issues that you claim Mormons are avoiding. Bytebear (talk) 19:16, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

God has a wife?


What's the LDS view on whether God has a wife? Mr.grantevans2 (talk) 21:17, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

Yeah. See Heavenly Mother (Latter Day Saints). See also Mormon cosmology. I think you'll be impressed with how thoroughly we cover these topics. Cool Hand Luke 21:22, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
User:Mr.grantevans2, before you post any more redundant sections here about LDS Church doctrine, I think it might be worth your while to look through some of the Latter Day Saint WP categories, specifically Category:Latter Day Saint doctrines, beliefs, and practices and its subcategories. If you can identify a doctrinal subject not covered adequately by an article, it may be more worthwhile to bring it up at Wikipedia:WikiProject Latter Day Saint movement. There's little point using one specific article talk page about a church organization (i.e. this one) for a discussion of these broad doctrinal points that may transcend one specific organization. This talk page is not intended to be a discussion board for debating the doctrines of Mormonism. Snocrates 05:53, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
I think this article will be the primary source of LDS information for most readers of this encyclopedia, especially those with only a passing interest in Mormonism as a result of the recent media and political attention to the church. Therefore, I am attempting to include aspects of the LDS religion which I feel most non-LDS members with a cursory interest could expect and be entitled to find up-front in the main article. We can not expect casual readers to dig through all of the categories to discover the more distinctive elements of LDS practices and doctrine. Mr.grantevans2 (talk) 13:03, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
There's no way that we could list everything that someone may be interested in into the introductory paragraphs let alone give it fair treatment. For instance, in the discussion currently going on in Talk:Blacks and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints#Term needed for the policy, there are quite a few subtleties even in this one topic. — Val42 (talk) 04:32, 22 December 2007 (UTC)
I agree, User:Mr.grantevans2, that your stated goal for the article is impractical. This is an encyclopedia with different articles about different subjects. This article is not a general discussion board on Mormonism. It is an article about a church organization. You also seem to have little faith in the astuteness of WP readers to find information. Snocrates 05:06, 22 December 2007 (UTC)
In the grand scheme of things, God's wife is not so important to this organization. You've said elsewhere that readers should be exposed to apparently un-Christian LDS tenets. It seems to me that Mormonism and Christianity would be a more appropriate article for these details. 05:14, 22 December 2007 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Cool Hand Luke (talkcontribs)
I'm hearing what is being said. I only looked at this article short time ago and to me it reads more like a recruitment brochure prepared by church adherents ,inclusive of internal terminology, rather than a secular encyclopedia article fit for general public consumption. I am only trying to include a few of what seems to me to be interesting aspects of Mormonism which the general public might not be aware of. Just the other day Huckabee threw out to the media some line about Mormons believe Lucifer is the brother of Jesus and it's likely there will be more of these 1 liners hitting the news wires. Its likely that media attention will draw to this article more people who know little or absolutely nothing about the religion and I think its a good idea to just get all the distinctive and interesting, if unusual, Mormon doctrine right up front in this primary article so that the encyclopedia article does not come across as being non-transparent. Maybe I'm wrong in my appraisal of the article but its hard to tell since so many of the editors here are LDS (meaning I'd like to see the opinions of some non-LDS on this subject). Mr.grantevans2 (talk) 05:52, 22 December 2007 (UTC)
This article does not read like a recruitment pamphlet, and I'm beginning to wonder whether you've actually read it.
It emphasizes the corporeal body of God, polygamy, and baptism for the dead in the lead block. It fairly covers how blacks were excluded the priesthood until 1978. It mentions the Heavenly Mother, and the LDS Church's repeated attempts to baptize holocaust victims. It covers the Garden of Eden's location in Jackson County, Missouri. And it does indeed cover the relationship between Jesus and Lucifer.
This is a gateway article, so it has links on these and other topics that goes into more detail. I really don't see the omissions that you're referring to. There's a lot of ground to cover: from Utah territorial history, to sacrament, to the business holdings, to Mormon cinema. It's an overview, and the links will tell curious readers virtually anything they could ever want to know about this organization. Cool Hand Luke 12:23, 22 December 2007 (UTC)
I do not think this should be a gateway article. It should be the primary article which readily informs a general public reader as to the basics of the topic. An encyclopedia's primary article on a topic is a basic resourse for general readers where they can quickly pick up the information they are most likely to be interested in when they come to the topic in the encyclopedia. Of course there should be linked expansions of all the aspects of a topic for those who want to dig deeper into the subject matter but the information most sought after by the general public should be quickly available. To get back to my example, if someone read the Huckabee zinger and came here to find out if it was true (that LDS sees Jesus and Satan as brothers) what steps would they go through to find out? How long would it take? I think this article should have a section titled "How LDS doctrine differs from most Christian churches' doctrine" or "LDS beliefs unique among Christion churches" and that way the new reader of this subject who is looking for that specific information (and I predict there will be increasing numbers of those as the presidential nominations and maybe election-if Romney is nominated- goes forward) will be able to use this encyclopedia as a quick reference. Mr.grantevans2 (talk) 13:35, 22 December 2007 (UTC)

As you say Mr.grantevants2, this article is "a basic resourse for general readers where they can quickly pick up the information they are most likely to be interested in when they come to the topic in the encyclopedia." Those who want to spend more in-depth time reading about ancilliary things like kolob or whether or not God has a wife, or if Jesus and Satan were spiritually begotton by the Father, can do so quickly. Wikipedia should not be a political nor proselyting tool. We do not change the face of wiki just because of an political election. If someone sees the huckabee "zinger" they could do a google search and find a link to wikipedia just as easily as coming here - which is in fact, what the majority of people do. -Visorstuff (talk) 14:02, 22 December 2007 (UTC)

Thank you Visor; I just tried your googling suggestion and this is what I found. There is no link to wikipedia within the first 10 pages of Google search results on that zinger and usually I would not be going more than 10 pages to search for information on any subject. I agree with you that articles should not be refaced because of an election and I am not suggesting that. I think a primary article's emphasis should always be on what information the public is likely to be the most interested in as opposed to being a gateway article and I am just saying that in this particular circumstance it is even more important than usual that the emphasis be on what information the public is likely to be the most interested in. Mr.grantevans2 (talk) 14:26, 22 December 2007 (UTC)
What you are essentially saying is that we need to merge into this article: Mormonism and Christianity, Godhead (Latter Day Saints), Heavenly Mother (Latter Day Saints), Mormon cosmology and Plan of Salvation (Latter Day Saints). Perhaps you would want to add some others to this list? However, this is impractical for several reasons, size being one of them. — Val42 (talk) 15:40, 22 December 2007 (UTC)
I do not think much more needs to be added in order to cover the really big distinctions. In fact, I think it could be written where less words are used than presently. Mr.grantevans2 (talk) 19:34, 22 December 2007 (UTC)
I think your concept of being "interesting" to readers is more closely aligned with Criticism of Mormonism and not an article about the LDS church and the mundane beliefs in God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, lived and died a perfect life, was crucified for our sins, rose the third day, and is the only way that man may be saved, baptism, laying on of hands, etc. What you seek seems to be the sensational as portrayed by those outside of the LDS church. Those who are most proficient, at least the most prolific, would be Evangelcial websites. Seldom are they accurate, but they do fit your objectives more closely. --Storm Rider (talk) 17:21, 22 December 2007 (UTC)
Your assumptions are wrong. Criticism is not synonymous with interesting and neither is synonymous with sensational. I find these distinctions interesting, maybe unique, and most of all, important, but not sensational nor anything to criticize. Mr.grantevans2 (talk) 19:34, 22 December 2007 (UTC)
Val42 has explained the impracticality of moving so much material into this article. Such an article would be against our general project-wide guidelines in any case. See WP:SUMMARY. This is supposed to be an overview article. Moreover, as Snocrates has said a few times, this is the overview article on the LDS Church, not LDS cosmology or even theology. We mention distinctive historical, theological, and historical elements of the LDS Church, but in a very real way, the core of this article has to do with mundane topics. The LDS Church is run by a particular a hierarchy. It owns real and intellectual property, it sends missionaries, runs private colleges, supports scouting, co-ordinates aid work, and claims to have 13 millions members. This must be an encyclopedia article that summarizes all of these topics. This is not frequently asked questions about Mitt Romney. Cool Hand Luke 21:22, 22 December 2007 (UTC)
Cool's points are good ones (except for the last sentence :)) I'll withdraw from this discussion for awhile and read more of the material so that I can maybe be of more use. Mr.grantevans2 (talk) 23:14, 22 December 2007 (UTC)