Talk:The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints/Archive 14

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This page has too many comments debating whether or not LDS doctrines are true or not. Encyclopedias report on religions from the point of view of the religion. Thus we say Mohammad received the Koran from an angel, not that he wrote the Koran.Jkolak (talk) 07:23, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

Well said! Better to get the information about something from the source.

A poem begins in delight and ends in wisdom.--WaltFrost (talk) 20:14, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

That's funny (the original post) as this article allows 'pointo f view of the religion' but a glance over at "Eastern Orthodoxy" has every doctrine and thought proceeded by "Orthodox Christians believe......" Which is the proper take on it (from wiki's perspective)? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:55, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

We definitely DON'T (or shouldn't, anyway) write Wikipedia articles on religious topics in terms that presuppose the truth of the religion in question. At the moment, incidentally, our article on the Koran says this:
Muslims believe the Qur’an to be the book of divine guidance and direction for mankind, and consider the original Arabic text to be the final revelation of God....Islam holds that the Qur’an was revealed to Muhammad by the angel Jibrīl (Gabriel) from 610 AD to his death in 632 AD.
We should use similar wording in writing about LDS beliefs. (talk) 19:44, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

School System

The template on the right has an awkward line break for me in "school system." It's not a big deal--but a bit ugly. I believe the template is editable. Should I edit it? Rogerdpack (talk) 03:25, 22 September 2008 (UTC) It appears to have been cleared up now in IE and FF. Thank you if anyone did it. Now if we can get a higher quality image for that CJCLDS... —Preceding unsigned comment added by Rogerdpack (talkcontribs) 16:51, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

Thank you to whoever added the svg of the image :) Now... Anyone think we should add this line to that box:

"Official Website"

which is also an option? Rogerdpack (talk) 04:29, 22 December 2008 (UTC)


I have writtne a section on LDS polytheism, I have sited all my sourses, it is accurate why does it get deleated —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:41, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

When you state or imply a controversial conclusion such as "Mormons are polytheists" and cite primary sources (such as quotes from scripture or sermons) to support your conclusion, you are engaging in original research, which is not permitted at Wikipedia. You can quote a scholar or other reliable source who associates LDS belief with polytheism, but you can't make that argument yourself. (I've linked those terms so you can follow them to the Wikipedia policy pages that talk about them.)
I'd encourage you to register for a named account on Wikipedia, and if you think something about the LDS church and polytheism belongs in this article, to discuss it on this talk page before trying to re-add the material. Keep in mind, though, that this article is supposed to be a broad overview of the LDS church, and detailed treatment of particular theological questions would not be appropriate here (though it would in satellite articles, and I suspect there's one that already discusses the polytheism question).
In any case, welcome to Wikipedia, and don't worry about having your first few edits reverted; that can happen when you're getting your feet wet, and I hope you don't take it personally. alanyst /talk/ 20:09, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

So despite quoting LDS leaders and prophets that clearly show the polytheistic nature of the religion, it’s wrong to put in here. OK… So in the face of clear evidence from what they call scripture showing a multitude of gods, it’s too controversial and because it’s controversial it can’t be done… OK So notwithstanding Joseph Smith’s own practice of polygamy and his own writings that show his approval of it, this page will say it was all Young… OK

And you call this accurate… why?

Or and mind you just a simple or, are the alternative reasons for censoring even in the face of good citation… oh no of course not, no how could that ever be, no. I mean sure document this teaching from their own writings and supply webster’s own definition of polytheism and it’s still not right. I mean sure in the English language the word gods means more than one, which means polytheism and yea that is just to much of an inductive leap because clearly the teaching and writings of these leaders are not admissible because they themselves lead you to this conclusion.

[Courtesy blanking of unpleasant invective.] 02:53, 3 October 2008 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

My reply to you above was intended to answer your question ("why are my edits being undone") in a way that would encourage you to become a good contributor here, even though you seem to hold different opinions than I do. Your response starts out fine, asking questions that are reasonable for a new Wikipedia editor holding strong opinions to ask, and I'd gladly respond...but then your emotions got the better of you and you resorted to calling names. That's unacceptable. Please remove your comments that attack me, and I'd be happy to resume a cordial discussion. alanyst /talk/ 21:19, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

[Courtesy blanking of unpleasant invective.] 03:31, 3 October 2008 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

It is not "your", but you're, a contraction of "you are". It is a common mistake, but at least you have come to a place where educated people hang out. Cencer is also not a word in English, I think you mean censor. We do not allow censorship of anything on Wikipedia; however, we do not allow stupidity to reign nor do we allow Wikipedia to turn into a personal blog.
Since you seem to enjoy direct language, I will take this opportunity to correct you with direct language. First of all, the sources you use to prove your point do not do so. You either do not understand LDS doctrine or you are being deceitful; I suspect a little of both. Second, LDS doctrine has already been addressed in the article and addresses the topic which you are attempting to make. Third, when an editor reverts your edits and invites you to discuss the proposal, I advise you to take them up on the offer. Fourth, by your behavior it is difficult to assume that you are editing in good faith. Should you continue to act in a similar manner you will be blocked. Cheers. --StormRider 00:30, 4 October 2008 (UTC)
"It is not "your", but you're, a contraction of "you are". It is a common mistake, but at least you have come to a place where educated people hang out. Cencer is also not a word in English, I think you mean censor".
• Thank You for the English lesson ... which leads me to ask you a question I've been wondering about for a while: does C-O-N-C-E-N-S-U-S (concensus) [1] have the same meaning as C-O-N-S-E-N-S-U-S (consensus)? Cheers. Duke53 | Talk 05:36, 7 October 2008 (UTC)
•03:05, October 6, 2008 (hist) (diff) Freemasonry and the Latter Day Saint movement ‎ (RV: POV soapbox; please don't continue to do this. Reach concensus first.)
•17:05, August 19, 2008 (hist) (diff) Joseph Smith, Jr. ‎ (rv: these edits are controversial and requiree [sic] concensus; take it to talk page)
•15:54, June 25, 2008 (hist) (diff) 1831 polygamy revelation ‎ (rv: Sorry, but those are compeltely [sic] rejected and no concensus was met on discussion page.)
•15:03, June 4, 2008 (hist) (diff) m The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ‎ (rv: When your proposal is disputed, please do not make the edit until concensus is reached. Now is not the time for boldness, cooperative effort)
•03:52, May 27, 2008 (hist) (diff) Talk:Internal consistency of the Bible ‎ (→Ehrman and Wallace: concensus first for contested position; references?)
•15:30, May 17, 2008 (hist) (diff) m Demonology ‎ (rv: Please explain on talk page before deleting so much material to gain concensus for your proposed actions)
•12:36, March 25, 2008 (hist) (diff) Talk:Book of Abraham ‎ (Concensus is better than unilateral action)
•15:03, March 24, 2008 (hist) (diff) m Book of Abraham ‎ (rv: Let's be careful of deleting too quickly text just because it is odd; let's talk first to find concensus)
• I'm not surprised that our 'educated' editor hasn't responded to my question ... I guess a certain religious POV makes it okay for 'some' editors to butcher the language and then criticize others for doing the same. "... Cheers Duke53 | Talk 23:51, 7 October 2008 (UTC)
User:75 seems to confuse polytheism with polygamy. Kittybrewster 10:08, 4 October 2008 (UTC)

Ok, so quoting Joseph Smith, the founder, starter, prophet, president, author of the Book of Mormon, author of Doctrines and Covenants, author of Perl of Great Price, seer, and all over king of Mormonism, quoting him talking about gods does not prove LDS to be polytheistic. After all his teachings authoritative? His teachings inspirited? He not a prophet? Who then can say, if not him what LDS believes?

What about Young, again prophet, president, seer, fornicator, adulterer of the LDS church. When he speaks of gods, does that not show polytheism. If not Young who is authoritative to say what the LDS religion believes?

The own songs, the songs they sing in church, talking about gods, these do not reflect their believes? Why do the sing these songs if they are not accurate to their beliefs? Their apostles, surly their apostles have the authority to say what they believe? When their apostles speak of gods, that does not show their polytheism?

Is polytheism the right word? What does the dictionary say? says, the doctrine of or belief in more than one god or in many gods. LDS must believe in more than one, for their god was once a man who was under another god. That’s two right there. Oh but wait, Joseph doesn’t get to say what LDS believe. So maybe their god wasn’t a man on another plaint and Joseph was just full of beans.

But lets press on, The American Heritage Dictionary says, The worship of or belief in more than one god. So according to these dictionaries one only has to believe in more than one god, they don’t have to worship, just believe.

But who can say if they believe in more than one, if the founders, if their prophets, if their apostles, if their hymns do not have the authority to set forth their teachings. You are absolutely right, it proves nothing. Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, George Q. Cannon, Orson Pratt, Joseph Fielding Smith, Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrines and Convents and the Perl of Great Price are without the ability to provide accurate doctrines of their church. The Dictionary is unable to provide us with accurate meanings of words.

Alas, how shall we concluded anything. Or wait a second, maybe that’s not it at all… maybe someone is just trying to pull the wool over the eyes of people… maybe Joseph, Brigham and so forth were polytheists, maybe the teachings of these people is authoritative, maybe the dictionary is right and maybe just maybe someone doesn’t like the conclusions these things point to and thus they censor and control what information can be presented.

By golly, gee will occurs. This subject to much for you, [Courtesy blanking of unpleasant invective.] —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:32, 4 October 2008 (UTC)

You have a rather strong, negative POV, which is welcome, but that does not mean Wikipedia turns into your personal blog. You have a limited understanding of LDS doctrine. To keep it simple, if it is not in the LDS Scriptures, then it is not doctrine. Prophets, seers, and revelators are just men. They are not God or angels, but just men. They are entitled to have their own thoughts and musings, but just because they say something it does not mean it is doctrine or even inspired. Do you understand this simple principle?
Second, read the definition you just gave above...WORSHIP, did you catch that? Do you have any reference for LDS worshiping more than the Godhead? No, you do not. What you are confusing is the concept of deification/theosis/exaltation with polytheism. You must read a lot of anti-Mormon literature because this is the type of silliness for which they excel. The concept of becoming one with God has existed since the time of Jesus Christ. I suppose you do read the Bible and are familiar with his prayer for just that realization for mankind?
Third, you are again incorrect. What we will not allow is for someone with nothing but an axe to grind to spout their incorrect understanding of LDS beliefs and to continue in spreading ignorance. Cheers. --StormRider 17:55, 4 October 2008 (UTC)

1) you please re-read the definitions, "The worship of OR belief..." and "the doctrine of or belief in more than one god". See that little word or. In other words to worship more than one is polytheism, or to just believe in more than one is polytheism. And LDS must believe in more than one. 2) You want it from what LDS calls scripture, fine. Abr. 4: 1-12, 14, 16-18, 20-22, 24-29, 31, Abr. 5: 2-5, 7-9, 11-16, 20, D&C 132: 17-20, 37. 3) So these prophets and apostles are not like the ones from the Bible? The one’s from the Bible, their writings are scripture, their writings are authoritative, however from your view Smith’s, Young’s and so forth are not, thus they are not the same as the ones from the Bible. 4) I have no axe to grind, I only want truth presented, not watered down, white washed, “make us look mainline” crap. I want truth! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:45, 4 October 2008 (UTC)

Ah, the WP:TRUTH. It's no wonder you're so upset; as Defender of The Truth it must be extremely disappointing to have other people fail to recognize it as The Truth.
I'll engage your argument in seriousness for a moment. Polytheism is a broad term that is typically associated with religions such as those of ancient Greece and Rome, or with modern religions like Hinduism or Shinto. As Christianity is generally held to be monotheistic by its adherents, labeling Mormonism as a polytheistic religion like these others serves the point of view of those who claim that Mormons are not truly Christian.
The sources you quote do indeed suggest some concept of "multiple gods" in Mormon tradition, though the extent to which this concept is official doctrine is a matter of debate. Unlike well-known polytheistic religions, though, there is no pantheon in LDS belief, no worship of minor deities, or anything else that places a believer in a position of venerating a being other than God. Thus the term "polytheism" is inappropriate because its connotation is misleading.
Is there a more precise term to use? Henotheism is closer since it describes worship of a single God but recognition of other gods—but it too is inaccurate since it suggests that the other gods can be legitimate objects of worship too, and this has no support in LDS tradition or belief that I know of. From what I've read, the closest label for the statements you have quoted is monolatrism.
Now, the thing is, it doesn't matter what I or any other Wikipedia editor thinks is the best label for the LDS belief in God and/or gods. Saying on our own that Mormonism is polytheistic or henotheistic or monolastric would be synthesizing a conclusion based on our personal interpretation of primary sources. That's the sort of original research that Wikipedia forbids. If there are reliable sources that associate one or more of those labels with LDS belief, that's different, and there's a supportable argument for making that association in Wikipedia.
This explanation might not satisfy you but it's the best I can offer at present. If you are willing to discuss it civilly, I'm willing to consider your further thoughts. But if you make any more personal attacks on me or anyone else, I will ask that you be blocked and I'm confident that what you have already posted will be sufficient grounds for fulfilling that request. I hope it doesn't come to that. alanyst /talk/ 20:07, 4 October 2008 (UTC)

Thank you! Finally someone worth talking to. Finally someone who understands. And in light of this explanation helps me to understand your position.

I may concede polytheism (seen as a loaded term) may not be the best word to use, however Monotheism does not apply to LDS. Webster: the doctrine or belief that there is but one God. LDS can not have but One God or their system falls.

Communicate this truth on this page. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:19, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

We do NOT go by or webster or anything other than wikipedia for definations of words like polytheism. Therefor polytheism is: "Polytheism is belief in or worship of multiple gods (usually assembled in a pantheon) together with associated mythology and rituals." LDS has no rituals or mythology, stories, about any other gods, unless you think that the devil is a god. TAU Croesus (talk) 15:29, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

Your adding to the definition what you want to add to it. “…usually assembled in a pantheon) together with associated mythology and rituals.” That’s not the definition of the word, that’s your view of what the word means. As it stand the definition fits LDS and thus it is accurate to label LDS polytheistic no matter what you want to add to the definition. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Anonymous, I think we're getting close to a mutual understanding. I think we can agree that "polytheism" is not a good word to use. You say above that "monotheism" does not apply to Mormonism. Well, under the definition you gave, it does, since it says "one God" and not "one god". The capitalization implies a named entity, and in Mormon belief there is indeed but one God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. But, I agree that the word "monotheism" is to be avoided too, on the same basis that "polytheism" should be. Neither is a good word because it fails to express important nuances of Mormon belief, doctrine, and/or tradition. And more importantly, since it depends on how you interpret the primary sources, and what you consider to qualify as an authoritative statement of LDS belief, and how you read the dictionary definitions, it's not an objective and uncontroversial decision to use one term over the other. We would have to look to external, reliable sources to provide that kind of analysis. If they can be found, quoting and citing them would be desirable (as long as it's in an article of appropriate subject and scope).
In the end, what's important is to inform the reader in a neutral way. If a label helps the reader understand Mormon belief better and does not bias them toward a particular point of view, that label is appropriate to use. If not, it's better to avoid the labels if they can't be cited to a reliable source. Can we agree on this? alanyst /talk/ 16:58, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

We are not in agreement. Monotheism does not apply to LDS. Webster: the doctrine or belief that there is but one God. LDS can not have but One God or their system falls. Let us look at other definitions of Monotheism, Webster's New World College Dictionary: “the belief or doctrine that there is only one God”. The American Heritage Dictionary, “The doctrine or belief that there is only one God. Collins Essential English Dictionary, “the belief or doctrine that there is only one God. All these definitions, say “only one” or “but one”. Meaning there can only be one. If there is more than one it’s not monotheism. Note the definitions have no reference to worship of only one, instead the word belief is used. So regardless of how many are worshiped, the acknowledgement in the existence of any more than one disqualifies it as monotheism. I stated above, LDS must believe, they must acknowledge the existence of more than one. If they don’t acknowledge the existence of more than one, Joseph was wrong when he said a council of gods got together Journal of Discourses 6:4 and there after. Also Abr. 4: 1-12, 14, 16-18, 20-22, 24-29, 31, Abr. 5: 2-5, 7-9, 11-16, 20, D&C 132: 17-20, 37, all these acknowledge the existence of more than one God. The importance of showing LDS to not be monotheistic, is immeasurable. For an accurate understanding of a religion, one must understand its theology. Thus what group or classification a religion is under is vital (i.e. Polytheism, monotheism, agnosticism, atheism, existentialism, deism, pantheism). Example: One cannot understand Islam without understanding its monotheistic stance. If one was to be unaware of this fact, they would not grasp Islam. Hence, if one is ever to understand LDS and they mistake it for monotheism, they misunderstand it or the word. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:27, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

Sorry, what I meant was that we seemed close to agreement that the labels were probably not useful to understanding LDS belief. I didn't mean to imply that you and I agree about which label is more applicable in terms of "the truth". But you need to accept that there's no point in arguing that aspect of it, since we're not qualified to decide the matter. Nobody is qualified to decide that on Wikipedia. We must rely on reliable sources for the analysis of LDS belief in terms of what -theism it may be classified under. The whole point of WP:NOR is to prevent endless debate among editors who insist on their personal interpretation as the most valid one, or indeed the only one. alanyst /talk/ 17:50, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

We are close to agreement that labels are probably not useful. "Nobody is qualified to decide that on Wikipedia". We are not close to agreement. I'm reminded of Elihu's words, "Let us discern for ourselves what is right; let us learn together what is good... Pay attention, Job, and listen to me; be silent, and I will speak If you have anything to say, answer me; speak up, for I want you to be cleared But if not, then listen to me; be silent, and I will teach you wisdom." Words have definitions which give words meanings, these meanings can be used to measure the accuracy of the uses of the words and as I have attempted to illustrate. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:29, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

And those definitions are expressed in words that have their own definitions, and so forth. So, can you tell me what the canonical definition is of God (capital G, as used to define monotheism) and how it is different from the canonical definition of god (lowercase g, as used to define polytheism)? alanyst /talk/ 19:54, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

What do you ask? Canonical definition? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:10, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

"Official definition", if that is more clear. Why does the definition of monotheism that you have quoted say "one God", with a capital G, while the definition of polytheism uses a lowercase g for "gods"? The answer to that question must lie in the difference between the definitions for God (capitalized) and god (lowercased). These words have meanings and definitions; can you tell what they are? alanyst /talk/ 20:24, 6 October 2008 (UTC)
Not that I would generally advocate it, but this would be a great time for a primary source. The general inference here is one's own research, and unless the church wants to advocate their position as being polytheistic, I see no reason for any debate - although I always find discussion useful. But as I've learned, the best discussions on WP talk pages are often backed up with references. I just hate to see anyone go in circles, as religion can be tricky when it comes to OR and NPOV. XF Law talk at me 05:58, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

We do not use outside sources for definitions, unless those sources are cited on the appropriate pages. Most of your dictionary sources are reliable, but their words are NOT used in wiki for definitions. According to Wikipedia, Monotheism, " the belief that only one deity exists." Look at the definition of deity (according to wiki). "A deity is a postulated preternatural or supernatural being, who is always of significant power, worshipped, thought holy, divine, or sacred, held in high regard, or respected by human beings." Mormons believe that only the Unitarian has significant power, is worshipped, thought holy, divine, or sacred. Other exalted beings that mormons believe in, do not have any power here except that under the direction of God, and are termed angels. So, if you wish to classify mormons as polytheistic, you should be trying to come to a different consensus about the definition of deity on its page. TAU Croesus (talk) 14:14, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

Yea, not really sure what we are talking about anymore. So more or less going to shot in the dark and see where that gets it.

Joseph Smith described the infinite series of previous gods: Joseph Smith's Sermon on Plurality of Gods (as printed in History of the Church, Vol. 6, p. 473-479) “If Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and John discovered that God the Father of Jesus Christ had a Father, you may suppose that He had a Father also. Where was there ever a son without a father… Hence if Jesus had a Father, can we not believe that He had a Father also…”

Joseph Smith Taught the plurality of gods is based upon Hebrew: “In the very being the Bible shows there is plurality of Gods beyond the power of refutation…” Joseph Fieldign Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith 1976, pg 372

And all the other sources I’ve shown that LDS has a plurality of gods, however it is imposable if you think about it.

There is no first in an infinite line and if there is no first there is no bringing. If you are to claim there is a first there are several problems to resolve: The infinite lineage of gods is not truly infinite, it’s really only a very large number. The god at the beginning of the finite line of gods would be a unique in this succession of gods, and in fact greater in his existence, since he did not come from a line of gods. The first god in this large number of god did no derive his source from another, and therefore always existed without cause. If LDS ever concede that a uncaused God existed, then they destroy Mormon exaltation, because a unique infinite God would exist above all of their finite gods.

However as defined more than one God or Gods is polytheism according to the dictionaries, I have sighted. 1 Cor 8:5 refutes this polytheism found in Mormonism. The words “so-called gods) is not a recognition of other gods, but a denial that any such gods exist. When Paul calls these gods and lords “so called”, he is mocking the possibility of their existence.

Polytheism is repeated renounced in the Bible. Gen 1:1- the opening verse of the Bible declares the truth of one God. The Hebrew is translated as a singular noun, based on the singular verb. He He is uncreated Creator, nothing existed with him in the beginning. The theme of one God is carried on throughout the Bible Deut. 32:39, Ps 86:10, Is 43:10, 44:6, 45:21. Other so-called gods are no gods by nature. Paul refers to the false gods as not true by nature: “When you did not know God you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods” Gal 4:8. All other gods are the products of human imagination. Paul said we ought not think that God is “an image made by man’s design and skill” Acts 17:29 and thereby exchange “the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man”. Mormon’s paint pictures of the first vision accounts of Jospeh Smith with two human-gods appearing in the a light, there are no less images. Thus Mormons have exchanged God’s heavenly likeness for an earthly likeness. Isaiah summed up the issue with the challenge, “to whom, then. Will you compare God? What image will you compare him to?” (40:18).

However now I’m off topic, but to believe LDS one would have to declare the Bible to be wrong. O.T. Ex 8:10 - Deu 4:35, 39; 32:39; 33:26 - 1 Sam 2:2; 7:22; 22;32 – 2 Sam 7:22; - 1 Kin 8:23 – 2 Kin 19:19 - 1 Chr 17:20 - Ps 18:31; 86:10 - Isa 43:10, 11; 44:6, 8; 45:5, 6, 14, 18, 21-22, 46:9, 64:4 - Jer 10:6, 7 - Hos 13:4 N.T. John 5:44; 17:3 - Rom 3:30; 16:27 - 1 Cor 8:4, 6 - Eph 4:6 - 1 Tim 1:17; 2:5 - Jude 25. Either LDS is right and the Bible wrong, or both are wrong, however both can’t be right.

This has begun to enter the world of the absurd. 1 Cor 8:5 in the KJV readers differently than the translation you are using, which I suspect is the NIV. I wonder what the Bible says about adding to and/or taking away? Why would these two verses read so differently and who was entitled to change the word of God? Strange...but I digress.
Though we all appreciate your interest and effort. This is an encyclopedia which strives to focus on facts and not personal opinions. To do this for this article is to focus on what the LDS Church states is its doctrine and beliefs. If you would like to use a reputable source to say that LDS do not know their own doctrine and that they really should believe something different, then let's discuss that.
We are not here to prove which church is true, what doctrines are true, or what you think. Truth means nothing to Wikipedia because it acknowledges that it is not capable of saying what is or is not TRUE. Truth is a personal issue. We can report that John Calving taught x, y, z and that he believed it was true; however, we cannot say that John Calvin taught the truth. --StormRider 18:25, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

Yea, and I bet you really beleive the KJV was written by Paul You miss the point —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:42, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

The point is that the Bible is open to interpretation. That difference in interpretation is why there are over 36,000 Christian denominations in the world today, each of them holding the bible and proclaiming to teach the truth. This is why we require a secondary or tertiary reputable source that defines the meaning of scripture.
For the purposes of this specific article, please use a reputable reference to support your position. If you don't have it, then we are at a end.
You may want to consider looking at other articles where your line of argument may have more applicability: Criticism of Mormonism and Mormonism and Christianity come immediately to mind. --StormRider 18:52, 7 October 2008 (UTC)
I'd just like to agree with Storm Rider. There are many different churches that all believe in the bible, many with doctrines that are opposite, which are backed up with bible verses, and their interpretation. The key is interpretation. Acts 10:9-18. If someone were to interpret Peter's vision, without knowing what Peter did, it seems to me that the rules governing what you can eat were being changed. However, Peter interpreted this vision to mean that the gospel was to go to the gentiles. If only we had an authority from God to interpret other scriptures that confuse the world of christendom. TAU Croesus (talk) 08:26, 8 October 2008 (UTC)

Again, you miss the point. Right now, me and my fiancée are working though a book, saving your marriage before it starts. In the communication section, like the book says you can learn all the “tricks” to communication and still not communicate, because you have never learned to listen. You can hear, however you can’t listen, because it takes work. You have read what I wrote, but you did not understand it. (I’m not talking about some kind of spiritual understanding either) I’m saying you read the words, but the point eluded you. The reason, because you only read, “Anti-momon” words. You’ve already judged me guilty of being “anti-mormon” and therefore misinterpret, seeing only attack, not reason, only hate, not logic. Your response is formulated before you even finish your reading. IF you were to paraphrase my writing my thesis would be completely absent from your elucidation. What we have here is MaCarthism. My point can’t even get across because you’ve already arbitrator it to be simply “anti-mormon”. Let me explain, with another example. In 2008, if you abject to homosexuality in any form, your automatically labeled, homophobic. Honest students of the Bible, object to homosexuality on a moral or ethical basis; and an objecting on a moral or ethical basis does not constitute a phobia. However just like in MaCarthism, your already guilty and not worth even hearing. That is what is going on here. My point falls on deaf ears. I ask, with LDS watch-dogs protecting, censoring this page. There is no objectivity. There is also no honesty. Look where it reads polygamy was encouraged by Young. That’s a half truth, because Young is teaching what Smith taught. Smith not Young was the author of D&C 132. Yet this page puts all the blame for polygamy on Young. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:36, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

A walk down the lane to absurdity. The problem here is the obvious lack of knowledge of the articles on Wikipedia, the neutrality demanded by Wikipedia, and your desire for a single article to say everything there is to say on the Latter Day Saint movement. Read the Joseph Smith, Jr. article, or the Origin of Latter Day Saint polygamy. The fact is that for the LDS Church and the entire Latter Day Saint movement, Brigham Young was the main force to the expansion of polygamy. Nowhere does it say on Wikipedia that he started it.
We don't listen to you? How about you doing exactly what you are accusing everyone else of doing. You have limited knowledge and a strong POV pushing you into a zealous pursuit of a topic that has been throughly hashed out by a multitude of editors. We get this type of one-horse pony show several times a year and it comes from both sides of the issues...those who are most definitely anti-Mormons that just got turned on by their half-witted Evangelical preacher and LDS who do not have an understanding of history or who want to white-wash it.
Our objective is an article that meets NPOV standards, that does not lead readers to a specific conclusion, but just reports facts. For you to excel here, you need to understand the full picture of Mormonism (it is not just the LDS Church and we can't write it from that position) and put down your twists your perspective. Also, glad to know you and your wife working on communication skills. It will come in handy here. Start with listening here.--StormRider 17:24, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

Wow, you illustrate my last point beautify. I can say no more, MaCarthism lives and I rest my case. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:44, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

Said the pot to the kettle. You are at least good for a laugh. I suspect that your communications with your wife are not moving ahead well. --StormRider 19:17, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

I thought that I understood the points. You said Mormons are polytheist. I said that according to the wiki definitions of polytheism, deity, and such, that they are not polytheist. I would suggest taking a doctrine discussion to a personal talk page. This isn't the place to discuss doctrine, and whether it makes sense. It is to discuss the article, and what should be included. TAU Croesus (talk) 21:24, 11 October 2008 (UTC)

mormens are not a calt —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:00, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

Hmmm. Reminds me of an atheist dyslexic who kept trying to prove there was no dog. (No offense intended to dyslexia sufferers, dogs, or atheists.)Cesevern (talk) 01:01, 22 December 2008 (UTC)

Merger proposal

The other article on Sexuality with regards to the church is really short. It seems that it would make more sense to have it be a short section in this article than a separate stub. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

If that article should get merged, I suggest it go to Law of Chastity. --wL<speak·check> 08:05, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
Oppose. Are you talking about Sexuality and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? That article is a good summary article about all aspects of Mormonism and sexuality, including homosexuality, the law of chastity, same sex marriage, polygamy, etc. We need a good summary article, and I don't think that shortness is a good reason, in itself, to merge articles. The best solution is to add content to the short article. Also, it should not be merged with Law of Chastity. COGDEN 19:51, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
Oppose. The subject seems too substantial to stick its entire presentation into the top-level article about the religion as a whole (or to merge it with the Law of Chastity article). -Wookipedian (talk) 23:18, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
Oppose. - page set up with this item as a seperate link is logical - do not fix what is not broke. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:14, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
Oppose. No, Sexuality and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is too big of an issue. Stub section would be ok. --Encyclopedia77 Talk 21:55, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
Oppose. I think we can remove the notice now. Cool Hand Luke 04:53, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

i am a mormon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:18, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

Three distinct beings, as well as three distinct persons

Regarding this statement: (The Church) does not accept the Nicene Creed's definition of Trinity, that the three are consubstantial nor the Athanasian Creed's statement (presumably about the Trinity, with this grammatical construction) that they are incomprehensible.

But the Athanasian creed says that it is the nature of God to be incomprehensible. It doesn't say that the definition of the Trinity is incomprehensible. Being incomprehensible is understood to be part of the nature of God and it is parallel with the creed's statement that God is uncreated, eternal and almighty.

Of course it is possible that the doctrine is incomprehensible -- but that would be a POV. And, of course, not part of the Athanasian creed (which is trying to explain Trinity).

So, IMO the phrase about the Athanasian creed should be dropped. But I might be missing something.

If rewritten, I do not know how this could be stated from a LDS viewpoint, and I don't want to mess up the NPOV so I didn't attempt an edit yet. But as it stands, it suggests a misunderstanding of the Athanasian creed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Edtheist (talkcontribs) 09:35, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

As a factual matter, I think it's true that Mormons disagree with the premise that God himself is incomprehensible (apart from the doctrine). Brigham Young stated:
"It is one of the first principles of the doctrine of salvation to become acquaint[ed] with our Father and our God. The Scriptures teach that this is eternal life, to "know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent;" this is as much as to say that no man can enjoy or be prepared for eternal life without that knowledge." --JD 4:215
So I think it's correct to say that Mormons disagree with the Athanasian creed. However, for WP:NOR purposes, we ought to have a citation that directly references the Athanasian creed in the context of Mormonism, if one exists.

The simplest solution is to let it stand as written. It keeps the article accurate and concise. The reference to the Athanasian creed should not be dropped because it is a creed that plainly contrasts with the LDS doctrine and therefore helps to clarify the LDS position. Alternatively, the statement could be changed to "...nor the Athanasian creed that states 'the Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehesible, the Holy Ghost incomprhensible; but God is not three incomprehenibles, but one incompressible'".Cesevern (talk) 01:09, 21 December 2008 (UTC)

Please do not Misquote or take church leaders comments out of context.

It is extremely important that quotes by church leaders not be edited to state the editor's personal opinion. If a citation links to a talk or discourse of a church leader, what that person says should stand as written and not be edited to npov standards. To maintain npov standards, please state that it is a church teaching but don't change the words of the person being quoted. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:09, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

I agree very strongly with this point of publication. In many instances the words of church leaders have been twisted to produce a negative view of the church (ie anti-mormon). If I get time I will come back with a couple of examples. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:22, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

I concur fully with what has been previously stated above. It is obvious from looking at such sources that no anti-Mormon connotation was intended or implied, so those who twist the words of Church leaders in this manner merely rank themselves infamously among WP's growing list of vandals who don't care at all about article content. If that is the intent behind posting material, the material shouldn't be posted. --Jgstokes-We can disagree without being disagreeable (talk) 19:11, 2 December 2008 (UTC)


In the article, it is stated under Godhead that "The word "Trinity" is not a Biblical term, while the word "Godhead" is used in Acts 17:29; Romans 1:20; and Colossians 2:9."

Acts 17:29 - "Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man"; Romans 1:20 - "For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse;" Colossians 2:9 - "For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily"

Godhead is not used in any of these scriptures, at least not in modern translations. Either the version of the bible should be quoted, the piece re-written, or the piece removed. LittleNuccio (talk) 20:56, 26 December 2008 (UTC)

Good catch. The LDS Church uses the KJV of the Bible and I have improved the language per your request. I also deleted the phrase about the Trinity not being in the Bible; there is no need for the clarification here though it is a correct statement and may be able to be used elsewhere in the article.
There have been a many additions to the article by a new editor. Using specific scriptures is acceptable only if the meaning of the scripture can be interpreted in a single manner. However, if the relative scripture may be interpreted in various different ways, then a secondary, reputable reference must be used. --StormRider 22:02, 26 December 2008 (UTC)

Pew study

It seems a bit odd to highlight one study in this article, and the table takes up a lot of room. Can we better incorporate this info into the membership section and convert most of the table to prose? --Eustress (talk) 22:31, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

No comments, so I've merged the aforementioned section and aligned the table right to conserve space. --Eustress (talk) 19:58, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

Sacred texts

I deleted some unencyclopedic apologetics from the section on sacred texts, but that section could actually use some additional material to take the place of the deleted material--we provide very little information as to what's actually in the Book of Mormon.

I understand that the Book of Mormon article is the place for in-depth information on the Book's contents, but it seems to me that a little more on it is warranted here. (talk) 20:41, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

Just in case anyone was wondering what I deleted:

The Book of Mormon cannot be lightly passed over, as Joseph Smith said, "I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion." (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church, Joseph Smith, p. 57)

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stands or falls, based on the genuineness of that Book. If it came forth, was translated from gold plates by means of ancient seer stones, from reformed Egyptian, was declared correctly translated by an angel to three witnesses besides Joseph Smith, the plates being seen and handled by still eight other witnesses, and actually was an ancient spiritual record of Christ's dealings with a fallen people on the American continents, as Joseph Smith, Jr. said it was, then he is a prophet. If any detail of his unusual account is false, then he is false. If the Book is true, as millions now believe, then he and his successors are genuine prophets, and the church he established under Divine guidance is also genuine and correct.("Testimony of Three Witnesses and Eight Witnesses" at the front of Book of Mormon; Doctrine and Covenants 84:54-59; Moroni 10:4-5 in the Book of Mormon)[1]

In the Judeo-Christian tradition, including in the courts of the land, a testimony presented by two competent witnesses is considered more convincing than the testimony of one, especially if that single witness is testifying in his own cause. The Bible and Book of Mormon set forth the Divine practice of furnishing "two or three witnesses" to important Divine acts.(Deut. 17:1; 2 Cor. 13:1; Ether 5:4) Every religion except that taught by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has only one witness and that is the religion itself. Latter-day saints have witnesses from each of two widely separated nations for the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, one book originating in ancient Israel and one in ancient America, and the two testify of the same God and each other. Those nations produced the Bible and the Book of Mormon, "the stick of Judah" and "stick of Ephraim," which agree in one in testifying that Jesus is the Messiah, the true and livng God of Israel.(Ezekiel 37:15-19; 2 Nephi 3:12; 29:2-14; Isa. 29:11-18; Gen. 48; Jer. 3:18; John 10:16; Acts 10:34-36; Alma 46:24-26; 3 Ne. 10:16, 17; 15:16-24; 16:1-7; 20:22; D&C 3:16; 20:11-12; 42:11-12)[2] (talk) 20:45, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

Good call on deleting the text. Not sure how it snuck in there. --Eustress (talk) 22:20, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

"If it came forth, was translated from gold plates by means of ancient seer stones, from reformed Egyptian, was declared correctly translated by an angel to three witnesses besides Joseph Smith, the plates being seen and handled by an additional eight witnesses, was partly sealed (Isa. 29;11-18), and actually was an ancient spiritual record of Christ's dealings with a fallen people on the American continents, as Joseph Smith, Jr., said it was, then the Mormon position is that one must conclude that he is a prophet."

This sentence doesn't make any grammatical sense. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:00, 11 February 2009 (UTC)


i have no interest in getting involved in a fight over whether LDS doctrine is true, false, or otherwise, but people need to realize that unless NPOV is preserved the article can't stand and will be deleted - to state what the beliefs are is different from making contentions (using archaic language that is not gender-neutral, for one thing . . . ) . . . Wikipedia is not the place to do that, and you will lose access to the audience completely - so weigh decisions based on keeping NPOV - b (who does not set the standards here - just trying to help - think about what you are doing, if you want this audience)betswiki (talk) 20:23, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

working on NPOV

while i was working on this, a section i was working on was deleted - as i said before, i am trying to get this changed into a form with NPOV (which is difficult given what i have to work with . . . but i don't really have a dog in the fight and would just like to help whoever is trying to do the article - i am an experienced copyeditor) but i did add 'from the point of view of Mormons/Church members/LDS people' in many places . . . - bbetswiki (talk) 20:27, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

Discussion of Criticism

I would like to see two issues addressed in the section on criticism:

1. Proposition 8 is mentioned without any explanation of its substance or effects upon California law. This context is important information for any viewer to have in understanding why it is that this proposition sparked such criticism. I suggest the addition of one or two lines explaining the proposition and the Church's role in it's passage in the most unbiased language possible.

2. The selection of image seems to be tinged with bias. Prominent in the image is a sign displaying in part the words 'stop the Mormons' (there were many signs at the protest that put forth a more moderate message and it could be argued that this was not representative of the protesters). I would suggest the addition of a protest image lacking in such bias. Additionally, the LA protest of the Mormon church, located at the site shown in Westwood, CA, is not well represented by the image. The event was attended by a much larger crowd and a large police presence. The image fails to capture the day of the protest as accurately as it might. Until an agreement can be reached over choice of image I would suggest its removal. SpeedyLA (talk) 08:51, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

"The image fails to capture the day of the protest as accurately as it might." Unless you are claiming that this image was NOT taken at that rally, it is an accurate portrayal. Fairly or unfairly, the lds church was the group that got the most flak and received the most criticism from the media over their part in supporting this amendment. Duke53 | Talk 09:04, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

Actually that image is not in fact a picture of the rally. The rally was a large event that drew a crowd of thousands (not shown in that image). I don't question that this is a picture of a prop 8 protester and I won't speculate as to when it was taken, but it is the narrow focus on one aspect of the protest that I question. Furthermore, while the LDS church certainly received a great deal of criticism it also contributed a great deal to prop 8's passage. As the exact nature of their contribution is currently still under debate it would not be appropriate to discuss the 'fairness' of criticism of the LDS church as of yet. However, many of the signs displayed at the rally promote separation of church and state, equality for all, and other less confrontational messages. With a wide array of signs and messages displayed at the rally to choose from this selection would appear to be biased though I'll concede that the bias may not be intentional. SpeedyLA (talk) 09:26, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

If you have a picture that shows more people at the rally, please have it vetted and then add it. Should there also be a sign I am sure that it would make the protest appear more successful if the picture was not focused on a single individual; however, I am not sure that the we should go out of our way to make the protesters appear as anything than what they are. If the picture is legitimate, I have a difficult time saying it did not exist or was not representative of the protesters complaint. Wasn't the reason for the protest at LDS buildings to protest LDS support for prop 8? It would seem this particular sign demonstrates that objective well.
There is no debate on the contribution of the LDS Church; Church leaders encouraged their members to donate funds and time to pass Prop 8, which members did. Those individual donations have been demonstrated quite well on the web. There is no debate in any scholarly circle that the Church itself donated funds to the battle. You seem be disputing facts already in evidence, but if you have a reliable, reputable reference please use it to support your claim. --StormRider 09:55, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

For Some reason I'm having difficulty uploading the picture to the site, but I would suggest using a picture that the LA times used.,0,937229.photogallery?index=10. This is much more representative of the actual event and shows a wide (rather than selective) display of messages. SpeedyLA (talk) 17:58, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

You might want to investigate copyright issues concerning photos used at Wikipedia before you waste a lot of time trying to upload any pictures. If you don't own a copyright or have permission to use it, then it will not be allowed. Duke53 | Talk 19:18, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
Like Duke said, the picture suggested is non-free content and cannot be used at present. I also think the current picture does a better job than that suggested and others I've seen in contributing encyclopedic value to the article; i.e., one can look at the picture and see what it's about and how it's connected to the article at hand. But if a superior, more encyclopedic free-use pic can be found, I'd be interested in learning more about it. --Eustress (talk) 19:29, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

Certainly a better picture can be found (though I have not been able to find one yet). A the end of the day, however, the current image does vastly misrepresent the nature of the protest in both its attendance and spirit. The event was a rather large gathering of protesters and police and I fear that the current image may have been chosen to minimize the protest in a way favorable to the church (bias). Furthermore, most of the signs displayed at the rally focus on equal rights, separation of church and state, and opposition to the church's involvement in the preposition's passage. The sign makes it seem as though the protest was targeting Mormonism at large. Again this is favorable to the church and though it is not proven certainly smells of bias. Until a more accurate picture can be found this one should be removed. SpeedyLA (talk) 10:20, 1 February 2009 (UTC)

Speedly, I continue to encourage you to find another picture that achieves the goals you seek. However, I suspect that all English speakers were aware of the Prop 8 campaign, that it was a heated debate, that it passed, and that after the election the losing side focused a great deal of their wrath upon the LDS Church. Given that there is an entire article (with pictures) on Prop 8, I am not buying your argument of bias. What this picture does is demonstrate that the protest was focused. I think you are reading into the picture because it is a photo of a single protestor that it infers an insignificant protest in numbers. That is impossible to deduce when reading the section. Why don't you just add a picture from the prop article?--StormRider 15:55, 1 February 2009 (UTC)
After carefully looking at the current picture, I think it was photoshopped, and should be removed. The lighting on the temple seems to be slightly from behind, while the lighting on the protestor appears to be slightly from in front of him. Also the protestor and the temple seem to both be in unusual phenomenon if it were an authentic photograph. The protestor's feet aren't seen...another detail that suggests photoshop (or GIMP, or whatever). And even if you don't agree with these details, don't you find it unusual that there is only one protestor in the picture? If we want to portray the reaction to LDS support of prop 8, we should probably do it with authentic pictures. --B Fizz (etc) 01:17, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
As I wrote my previous comment, I convinced myself =) and so I removed the picture. I hope we find an adequate picture to illustrate the point, but it isn't entirely necessary. --B Fizz (etc) 01:22, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
I haven't chosen to revert, but it does not matter if it was photo shopped or not; that is not a valid reason. The lighting issue does not exist; you're stretching to find reasons. A picture with feet cropped off is a problem? Have you never seen your family Christmas photos? How many did not have their feet in the picture? If feet are not in the picture, does it mean something? What is absolutely certain is that it has nothing to do with being photo shopped or whatever it else. In looking at the picture, it appears that the person was centering the picture on the temple, not the protester. What is significant about this picture is the focus on sign saying stop the Mormons on Prop 8. One protester in the picture being unusual? Geez, go to a bloody protest and take a picture of a single protester. It is not difficult; ask someone to stand still, push the button, viola you have a picture. This is just silliness, but if it makes you fell better, please make sure you really feel good, because there is a downside. Think about it. --StormRider 02:05, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

My apologies for being picky about that picture, but it just seemed unprofessional to me. I've been searching flickr for available share-alike pictures illustrating a temple protest scene. Might I suggest this one or this one? Even this would be ok, though I liked the other two better. I haven't uploaded pictures before and am not really in the mood to learn I leave it to the rest of you to do what you like. --02:23, 2 February 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by B Fizz (talkcontribs)

Only the first one showed their feet so it must be the only one not photo shopped. :) No problems; let's just do without a picture. --StormRider 03:12, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
"No problems; let's just do without a picture. PROBLEM ! The system doesn't work like that and you know it. We will continue to do 'it' with this picture. Duke53 | Talk 06:31, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
  • The subject of this image is not relevant to this article. Do we know if this guy had an important role in the criticism of the church? If the article doesn't talk about him is not necessary to include his picture. --J.Mundo (talk) 07:11, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
•"If the article doesn't talk about him is not necessary [sic] to have his picture." Huh ? Where is that rule written? Duke53 | Talk 07:24, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
• Can we get an administrator's help ? Please help settle this issue ... people are making up rules as they go along. Duke53 | Talk 07:24, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
• Great! Just what we needed: another editor who deletes material, then discusses it. Duke53 | Talk 07:32, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Images: "Images must be relevant to the article they appear in and be significant relative to the article's topic. Their origin must be properly referenced." Again, the image of this non-notable individual is not relevant to this article. Did he had any significant role in the criticism of the church? --J.Mundo (talk) 07:42, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

Well (being bored at work with nothing better to do) I did learn how to upload pictures and put in one of the alternatives I had suggested. It doesn't look that great as a thumbnail, but I think it's a slight improvement over what we had before. What do the rest of you think, is this a satisfactory solution, at least for now? --B Fizz (etc) 08:08, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

Every single reason you used to delete the original photo could be used to delete this one. For example, I don't remember seeing this man discussed in the article, either. Do you own the copyright or have permission to use the image you provided? Duke53 | Talk 09:10, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
Please note that it was Jmundo, and not myself, that mentioned that particular point, we are two separate people. Though the man prominently seen in the foreground of the new picture may not be of any particular importance to the article (no offense to him), and though I wish we had a better picture of the protest situation, I think the new picture is, if nothing else, a little better than the previous. I removed the previous image because it seemed out of place, not quite encyclopedic, since it focused on a single person (in that way, I suppose Jmundo and I think alike). At least the new one has more protesters in the picture. As for copyrights, if you look at that (new) image's own page it will tell you that it was found on flickr and was posted there with a creative commons share-alike licence. I found other pictures on flickr that I thought would work a lot better, but they didn't have a compatible license. Considering then what we do have to work with, is there any reason that the previous image is more appropriate than this one? --B Fizz (etc) 10:27, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
Although I think this type of image is not relevant to the criticism section because the article briefly mention Prop 8, the image is better than the other one. At least we can establish that more than one guy was involved in the protest. --J.Mundo (talk) 13:46, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

The new (current) image does the same thing as the old one for me, so I'm fine with either. --Eustress (talk) 14:43, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

Thank you for finding a more appropriate picture. In the picture the Mormon church is very clearly made out in the background and the sign (one of the no on 8 campaign signs) makes it clear what the protesters are calling for. The new picture does not have some of the problems as did the last such as inaccurate representation of a specific event in terms of message or attendance. Once more thank you for finding a more accurate picture B fizz. SpeedyLA (talk) 15:29, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

A brand new, single purpose account[2] decides that he doesn't care for this picture, so it is replaced with a remarkably similar photo? Doesn't pass the 'sniff test'. Here's a compromise: I'm adding the original back into the article, since they are equal. Duke53 | Talk 16:46, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
You're being way too hostile here. SpeedyLA apparently thought the original was biased toward the church, in that it did not sufficiently show the size of the protest, and that it featured a sign conveying an attitude of religious intolerance rather than the other various motives for the protest—presumably making the church more sympathetic in comparison. In fact, he says it directly in an earlier comment: "I fear that the current image may have been chosen to minimize the protest in a way favorable to the church" You're perpetrating a friendly fire incident here. That's what bad assumptions will lead to. alanyst /talk/ 18:17, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
"Tone it down ..." Funny, I don't remember reading anywhere that you'd become head of Wikipedia. Duke53 | Talk 18:51, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
It is becoming more evident that this may be more of a case of censorship than anything else. Why ? I won't even begin to guess, but an editor's personal dislike of something can't come into play when it comes to deleting items. I am going to re-insert the original picture, and do nothing with the second one. Too much information is never a bad thing, IMO. Let's have the readers see exactly what happened that day. Duke53 | Talk 18:51, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
Too mucn information is a bad thing when it gives undue weight to an aspect of the article. Any picture of this one minor incident in the history of Mormonism is way too much weight. Bytebear (talk) 19:18, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
p.s. "don't believe everything that every editor writes here ... it might be camouflage. My gut feeling is that what was printed on the sign in the original photo is what prompted this whole issue. :) Duke53 | Talk 18:51, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

This is turning into a demonstration of stupidity in action. First, we have a SINGLE SENTENCE talking about Prop 8 under criticism and now we have two pictures. This is completely out-of-balance. Second, the first picture, which is unneeded, was the most relevant because it criticized Mormons. Third, there is in entire article on Prop 8; have any of you read it? There is no need for any pictures here and it should just link to the main article. Left to you own devices editors seem to create crap to argue about. Everyone, would you consider deleting both and being satisfied with linking the article? --StormRider 19:06, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

"This is turning into a demonstration of stupidity in action" That will be enough of the personal attacks. Duke53 | Talk
"Everyong [sic], would you consider deleting both and being satisfied with linking the article?" No ... that would be a case of allowing an editor to practice censorship. Duke53 | Talk 19:25, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
Having both pictures is overkill. And it is POV pushing. I would remove both pictures, and replace them with the Yes-on-8 logo. Bytebear (talk) 19:42, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
Deleting the first one is censorship. Duke53 | Talk 19:44, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for pointing out the typo. You are very good at doing that; an admirable quality. I am not sure that censorship applies in this context. To me the salient issue is that there is a single sentence in to entire article that addresses Prop 8. "Images must be relevant to the article they appear in and be significant relative to the article's topic." It appears that the pictures are not significant to the article. Is someone stating that it is significant? --StormRider 19:46, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
I agree. Given that the section on Critism has one small sentence on prop-8, the pictures are overkill. I toyed with replacing the pictures with the yes-on-8, but realized that the prop-8 issues goes to the moral teachings of the church, and less in the criticism section, at least when dealing with the church as a whole, which this article does. Bytebear (talk) 19:50, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
I feel that the first photo is a perfect example of a picture supporting text in an article. Very significant. Duke53 | Talk 20:00, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
The policy doesn't say "supporting text" but "supporint topic of the article." There's a big difference. Bytebear (talk) 20:08, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
The original photo is directly supporting that section of this topic. Duke53 | Talk 20:14, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
Actally, it is only supporting one line in the section, hardly the topic as a whole, and certainly not the topic of the article. Two pictures for a single line of text? I call that POV pushing. An example would be putting a picture of Hitler Youth on the Pope article. Bytebear (talk) 20:16, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
 :) (Godwin's Law again ? )Feel free to delete the second photo that was added; the only complainant then will probably be the brand new, single issue editor. Duke53 | Talk 20:21, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
  • I'm deleting the first picture of a single guy that doesn't provide any context, we don't need two images for one single sentence. --J.Mundo (talk) 20:30, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
Upon my return from work I shall be escalating this issue to include administrators. Wikipedia does NOT allow censorship and this is simply a 'matter of taste' for a couple editors. Duke53 | Talk 20:43, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
ah, the old "censorship" argument. If you don't get your way, cry censorship even though no actual information is being removed. Bytebear (talk) 21:25, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
• ah, the old swarm & tag team action. Good to see all the old gang back. Duke53 | Talk 03:45, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
• I will (as time allows) address this issue WP wide; seems that every lds-related article goes through this often. Some editors simply won't be happy until WP reads like an lds tract. Duke53 | Talk 03:45, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
*Duke, please do so because it will be great fun. Do you know who is LDS here and who is not? Which ones supported your position? --StormRider 07:08, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
* "Do you know who is LDS here and who is not ?" Do you walk to work, or carry your lunch? This question has as much relevance as the one you posed above (can you say 'Strawman' ?). It is real simple to track editors who frequently post a pro-lds slant to these articles, no matter what their claimed church membership actually is. Duke53 | Talk 03:48, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
I really did not intend to upset anyone. Perhaps you could explain why it is you feel this is censorship rather than simply the selection of a more unbiased/accurate image.SpeedyLA (talk) 22:09, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
Speedy, there is a problem with your position. Your objective is the presentation of the protesters of Prop 8, which is not the topic of the article. This article is about the LDS Church; not Prop 8 or the protesters. Everything here should have one sole focus, the topic of the article, which is the case for every article on Wikipedia. What you are trying to do is make the focus Prop 8 and its protesters. In the context of this article alone, the first picture was sufficient. It demonstrated that protesters were focused on the LDS Church and its members. Your objective was different; it was the breadth, depth, and number of the protesters. That is an ideal topic for the Prop 8 article, but not this one. You were seeing a problem with bias and accuracy, which did not exist based on this specific topic. I still think no picture is the better way to go, but if any image is chosen it should be chosen for its applicability to the specific topic of the article. --StormRider 00:53, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
The former picture was paired with a caption that stated it was a picture of the Los Angeles protest. Whether there should be a picture at all is another question entirely, but the former image did not accurately capture the event. If there is to be an image it should accurately portray the event it claims to caption.SpeedyLA (talk) 01:36, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

The only editor so far who shows preference for the older picture over the newer one is Duke53 (though StormRider does call it "more relevent"). I (B Fizz), J.Mundo, and SpeedlyLA show preference for the newer picture, while Alanyst has not yet shown any preference. Eustress explicitly states a lack of preference. StormRider proposes that we use no picture (which ByteBear seems to agree with, if I'm reading between the lines correctly). So the (somewhat weak) consensus seems to indicate that we stick with the new picture. Am I mistaken? Who knew that one little picture could generate so much conversation? --B Fizz (etc) 00:51, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

  • Interesting, I been accused of being a sockpuppet 1 by Eustress, the user that uploaded the image we are discussing 1. This must be a novel way of neutralizing the discussion. I invite anyone to see my edits history and decide if I'm a sockpuppet. One of my interest is the use of images in Wikipedia,1, 2 and that was my only interest in this article. For obvious reason, I will abstain from any contributions in this page until the matter is resolved. --J.Mundo (talk) 01:29, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
Update: I'm glad that the case was resolved 1. --J.Mundo (talk) 16:52, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

User:Duke53 wrote "Upon my return from work I shall be escalating this issue to include administrators."
OK... I'm an admin and I'll give you my opinion. Duke53 is wrong. First and foremost, this is not an issue that requires an admin to be involved except for the borderline edit-warring and the relatively mild incivility. Too bad admins can't block editors for being lame because this debate almost qualifies for inclusion in the list.
It's not a question of censorship; it's a question of relevance and not giving undue weight. If you look at Criticism of Mormonism, there are plenty of criticisms of Mormonism and the LDS church. Of these criticisms, the LDS support for Prop 8 is only one small example. If there is to be only one picture for the "Criticism" section, a Prop 8 protest is not the most obvious one. In fact, no picture is probably the best approach. If there were a bunch of pictures illustrating the most significant criticisms of the LDS church (hard to imagine what these pictures might be), then one of the two Prop 8 pictures might be included (maybe). But without any other pictures, it's hard to see why the Prop 8 pictures should be included.
If you wanted to include a Prop 8 protest picture in the section of the Criticism of Mormonism article that deals with homosexuality, I'd say that would be OK. But here? It would be giving undue weight to the criticism of their doctrine on homosexuality.
Sorry, Duke53, but that's my opinion. (NB: My opinion about the picture carries no extra weight because I'm an admin. It just counts as the opinion of one more Wikipedian. The part that counts because I'm an admin is the comment about the edit-warring and moderate incivility. Keep it collegial and collaborative, guys.)
--Richard (talk) 01:48, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

Not to stir everyone up again, but I happened across another photo that might be considered for use in the article instead of the present one. Note that it is licensed under a creative commons "Attribution 3.0 Unported" license. I like it because it clearly displays an LDS temple, many protesters, and signs more directed at the church than the generic "no on 8" sign. So if an image is to be used at all, perhaps we might consider this one? I hesitate to mention it due to the ridiculously large conversation that surged from the last picture, but...whatever xP --B Fizz (etc) 19:48, 13 February 2009 (UTC)

I am not interested in adding here. You might consider the Prop 8 article itself. The current picture is in front of a temple and shos many protestors. You seem pretty excited about these type of pictures; it may be time to open your own blog and collect pictures of protests. This topic is simply not important in this article and given its one sentence dealing with this topic and a pciture, it is already out of balance. Cheers. --StormRider 20:11, 13 February 2009 (UTC)
I think the current one is good, but the one you suggest is fine as well. I actually like that it addresses one of the primary concerns of the protesters, but as this sparked a lot of debate last time I'm willing to leave well enough alone. I do have to disagree with storm as I feel this is very relevant to the article and don't think that any mention of proposition 8 should be removed. SpeedyLA (talk) 08:55, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

SPAM is SPAM, no matter the intent

Intent doesn't come into play, no advertising on Wikipedia. Duke53 | Talk 08:01, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Let's look at WP:SPAM. This is obviously not "advertising masquerading as an article", so let's see if the link fails "external link spamming". WP:SPAM states:

Adding external links to an article or user page for the purpose of promoting a website or a product is not allowed, and is considered to be spam. Although the specific links may be allowed under some circumstances, repeatedly adding links will in most cases result in all of them being removed.

...for the purpose of promoting a website or a product... is clearly predicated on intent. Plus, there are some circumstances where the link may be allowed, and I assert that providing evidence for a factual claim in an article (in this case, how the subsidiaries are audited) is a strong reason to allow the link. Finally, the link is not being repeatedly added; there is no campaign to publicize or promote the company that the link points to by placing the link across Wikipedia. I agree that the target of the link does promote a company, which is why I tried to skip the promotional part by adding an anchor to the specific part of the page that backs up the factual claim in this article. alanyst /talk/ 15:31, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
From the disclaimer on the bottom of the page you link to:
This site is owned and operated by Corporation of the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. All material found at this site (including visuals, text, icons, displays, databases, media, and general information), is owned or licensed by us. You may view, download, and print material from this site only for your personal, noncommercial use unless otherwise indicated. In addition, materials may be reproduced by media personnel for use in traditional public news forums unless otherwise indicated. You may not post material from this site on another web site or on a computer network without our permission. You may not transmit or distribute material from this site to other sites. You may not use this site or information found at this site (including the names and addresses of those who submitted information) for selling or promoting products or services, soliciting clients, or any other commercial purpose. Duke53 | Talk 08:19, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
I remember other lds items being deleted here at WP because those rights weren't proved to be granted; some resourceful editor must be able to find an article that proves that this company audits the church, without providing a free ad for them, and without breaking any copyright laws. Duke53 | Talk 08:19, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
Are you asserting that a brief factual statement (that subsidiaries are independently audited by Deloitte & Touche) together with a hyperlink to the source constitutes a copyright violation? alanyst /talk/ 15:31, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

I disagree with the blanket statement made by User:Duke53, "Intent doesn't come into play, no advertising on Wikipedia." Clearly, links to corporate websites are allowed when the article is about the corporation in question.

IMO, the problem with the link to the Deseret Trust website is that it doesn't serve the intended purpose (to support the statement about all LDS entities being audited by Deloitte & Touche). All the link does is establish that Deseret Trust is audited by Deloitte & Touche. Thus, the link looks spammy because it focuses on Deseret Trust when there is no indication in the article that Deseret Trust is a major LDS entity and more importantly, that its audit relationship with D&T is representative of the audit relationships of all other LDS entities. In any event, the website is essentially a primary source and the article is basically asking us to make the leap from the fact that D&T audits Deseret Trust to the conclusion that D&T audits all LDS entities. It would be better to reference a secondary source that makes the assertion about LDS entities directly. --Richard (talk) 18:42, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Richard, those are excellent points. Citations that show how individual subsidiaries are audited would support a qualifier like "Some of its...entities are audited by an independent accounting firm", but I don't like that phrasing because it seems to imply that some are not independently audited, when in reality there just might not be evidence either way. I've looked around for a categorical statement that D&T is the auditor for all the church's external subsidiaries (or at least that they are all independently audited, even if more than one auditor is involved), but I've had no luck with Google. Perhaps the statement just needs to be reworded or taken out as unverifiable. The article is long enough that it probably wouldn't suffer by omitting mention of how the church is audited, and there's an entire article elsewhere about church finances that can discuss it in depth. alanyst /talk/ 19:41, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
The link does not really so very much; it is harmless, but ineffective. The site itself is not being used, but is being linked, thus not violating any Wikipedia policy. What is evident is that Deloitte audits the Church. Is the Southern Baptist Church audited by anyone? How about the Catholic Church? If others are not audited, it would be interesting to highlight. It would not be helpful to delete that the Church is in fact audited. For some reason the fact that the audit is not released to the public is highlighted as significant. Does any Church released their public records? If not, that should be deleted.--StormRider 20:32, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
Hi StormRider. You wrote "What is evident is that Deloitte audits the Church". What is the support for that statement? The website in question supports the assertion that Deseret Trust is audited by Deloitte & Touche. How do we get from there to "the LDS Church is audited by D&T"? Given that there are multiple corporate entities that perform different functions in the church, is it even possible to make the assertion "the LDS Church is audited by independent auditors"? I think we need a secondary source that says that explicitly or else we could be accused of OR or synthesis. NB: I am not saying the LDS church is not audited by independent auditors. I'm just saying that we need better support for the assertion to conform to Wikipedia guidelines. --Richard (talk) 20:56, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
Hello Richard, it is always a pleasure working with you. Here is what is mentioned on the Criticism of Mormonism article:
In addition, the church employs an independent audit department that provides its certification at each annual general conference that church contributions are collected and spent in accordance with church policy.[3]
Granted we only have the word of the LDS Church, but as with all references, we just report what is stated and allow readers to determine for themselves. Does this help? --StormRider 22:16, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
Hi StormRider, thank you for the compliment. Likewise.
The excerpt from Criticism of Mormonism is useful (I've added it to this article). However, it describes something different from Deloitte & Touche (to wit, it describes an internal but independent audit department). My problem here (and it's not a huge one, I'm just being picky) is that this article provides references to prove that two organizations use D&T. One is BELO Corp (who are they?) and the other is BYU. If I see two brown cows, can I conclude that all cows are brown? Obviously not.
How do we know that all LDS organizations are audited by D&T? Is it documented somewhere?
There's a great joke in this regard...
English major looks out airplane window and says "Look! Two lovely brown cows grazing in a pasture in Utah"
Math major says "Two cows, brown hue, standing in a field somewhere west of the Rockies"
Physics major says "Two cows standing somewhere in the United States, brown on this side"
Bioengineering major says "Two brown cows but I can make clones of them which are black and white!"
--Richard (talk) 22:42, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

This not not an area where I have much knowledge. I did do some searching for support, but did not find too much. The language used should only reflect what the references support and not stretched. The joke was good; humor is always appreciated! --StormRider 23:09, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

Oh, goodness. Richard, you slaughtered that joke. For anyone who wants it in its correct form, here you go: An astronomer, a physicist and a mathematician are on a train in Scotland. The astronomer looks out of the window, sees a black sheep standing in a field, and remarks, "How odd. Scottish sheep are black." "No, no, no!" says the physicist. "Only some Scottish sheep are black." The mathematician rolls his eyes at his companions' muddled thinking and says, "In Scotland, there is at least one sheep, at least one side of which is black." --Fusionshrimp (talk) 02:22, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

Seeking feedback on some new LDS articles

Hi all,

After some discussion on Talk:Criticism of the Latter Day Saint movement, there seemed to be consensus that the article was too long and needed to be split up. (Well, there are problems with organization and quality as well but it's hard to come up with a good article organization when the article is too big.)

So, I have now created Criticism of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as an article that focuses on criticisms that are specific to this church. I have also created Criticism of Mormon sacred texts to cover criticism of the Book of Mormon and the Book of Abraham.

Your help in improving these articles is solicited.

--Richard (talk) 06:48, 5 February 2009 (UTC)

Did you mean perhaps Criticism of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints which is correct name of that church (note differences in "Latter Day" vs "Latter-day")? -- (talk) 15:26, 5 February 2009 (UTC)

Revelation section should be reduced

It seems to me that the section on revelation is much too long and goes much too far in depth on a few points. Although it is tempting to simply chop out some of the paragraphs, like the "Compatible with the Apostle Paul..." paragraph or the "In the Judeo-Christian tradition..." paragraph, it might be more desirable to move the information to another article. Revelation (Latter Day Saints) is one possibility, or perhaps we should create a Revelation (Latter-day Saints) article. Either way, the information currently in the Revelation section of this article is lengthy enough to be its own article. Another problem: noting scriptural references in parenthesis (Matt 22:29) is pervasive in this section, but completely absent from the rest of the article. It may be appropriate for church manuals, but (in my opinion) should be avoided when writing Wikipedia articles. While I enjoy fixing small grammar, punctuation, or NPOV errors, reworking an entire section is too involved for me. But I hate to see the section this way, so I invite the rest of you skilled editors to address these problems. =) What do you think? --B Fizz (etc) 23:21, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

Well, I went ahead and made some edits on this section, removing large portions of it. Please review the changes and modify/discuss as you feel appropriate. I think it still needs major work to become Wikipedia-style writing. --B Fizz (etc) 09:27, 5 March 2009 (UTC)


No mention of the garments worn by Mormons? I would have expected a comprehensive article to include this information. Is it located elsewhere on Wikipedia and I'm just not finding it? Wowlookitsjoe (talk) 18:03, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

Look at Temple garment.--StormRider 18:26, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

Use of Tithing

The "Finances" section of the article currently states "The church uses its tithing funds to construct and maintain buildings and other facilities; to print the Scriptures for missionary work; to provide social welfare and relief; and to support missionary, educational, and other church-sponsored programs." The official church website is then cited as evidence. But the church does not release their financial records so there is no way of knowing if this is true. It would be more accurate to say that the "The church claims that its tithing funds..." or "According to church authorities, the church uses its tithing funds to..." This change is especially pertinent since there has been some speculation about the church's use of tithing money after media reports on its financial support of Proposition 8. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:09, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

You're an idiot. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:19, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

I would go with something like "reports to use" or the like. Saying you "claim to use your money on X" seems a little attacking. Cheers! Rogerdpack (talk) 22:56, 10 April 2009 (UTC)

section title change for "Public reception"

Didn't the "Public reception" section used to be "criticism of the LDS church"? I propose that it should be changed back to reflect the content of the section. "Reception" would imply both positive and negative responses from the public. Currently the body of the section only contains criticism. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:17, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

The Mormon article should conform to the Wikipedia:Disambiguation standard for well known primary topics

From discussion from the Talk:Mormon page:

The Mormon article should conform to the Wikipedia:Disambiguation standard by being redirected to the article covering the well known primary meaning of the word as there are many other disambiguous less known secondary meanings. In the top of the primary article there should be a "redirect|Mormon" tag: , clarifying that the article Mormon is redirected to this article. The Mormon (disambiguation) page will then be referenced by default at the top of the primary article, clearly specifying all the secondary meanings of the word Mormon. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is by far the most well known meaning, most often referenced and most often visited. -- (talk) 08:58, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

So you're proposing that Mormon direct by default here? Just wondering. Rogerdpack (talk) 02:46, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for asking. Yes I am proposing a redirect from Mormon to this article. See also the discussion at Talk:Mormon. -- (talk) 09:21, 28 April 2009 (UTC)

Missing information

What about these items (from United Methodist Church)? Tom Haws (talk) 08:55, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

  • 2.4 Social issues
  • 2.4.1 Abortion
  • 2.4.2 Alcohol
  • 2.4.3 Capital punishment
  • 2.4.4 Gambling
  • 2.4.5 Homosexuality
  • 2.4.6 Military service
  • 2.4.7 War
  • 3 Worship and liturgy
  • 4 Organization

I think a good church article should include those in a clearly outlined way like that. Tom Haws (talk) 08:55, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

At least some of that info is scattered throughout the document. Some is ill defined (military service--nothing really official, capital punishment, nothing really official, that I know of). If that helps any :) Rogerdpack (talk) 02:47, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
this is a summary article. There are sub-articles covering most if not all of those topics. There is just too much information for one article, so you have to pick and choose what is most important to the reader. Bytebear (talk) 23
37, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

Seeing as including all of that would make the church's page even longer, I don't think it necessary to specifically mention EVERYTHING. It's long enough as it stands. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Chasicle (talkcontribs) 01:15, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

I think most of these issues are at least touched upon in various parts of the article already (except capital punishment, military service, and war), but maybe they should be brought into one location. I do think that one thing a reader might be looking for is a statement of the church's position on various social issues, and we might want to make it easier to find them.
Overall, this article is too large, though, and needs to be trimmed in a few places. We already have so many sub-articles about the church, so we don't need to go very deeply into any one subject. This article should be very broad and as comprehensive as possible, but not very deep on any one issue. COGDEN 17:21, 7 May 2009 (UTC)


I wonder if perhaps the "branches" image shouldn't be updated to have the LDS branch something like 4x larger than the rest. Not as an attack on the others but more as a useful imagery. Thoughts? Rogerdpack (talk) 02:51, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

Currently the graph is very deceptive. It gives the same value to groups that are almost non-existant as it does to the CC and the LDS Church. The graph reveals nothing about size of the groups and their membership. It would be an improvement if we could provide a graph that did both: show all the groups and their membership. I wonder if we could use a bar graph instead? --StormRider 22:00, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
Not a bad idea. Another issue: the current graph shows the Temple Lot Saints line as thick as the Community of Christ. I think all the lines either ought to be the same width, or they should be carry some sort of information relating to relative size. I don't think exact proportionality is feasible, though, given how much the LDS Church dwarfs everybody else. COGDEN 17:28, 7 May 2009 (UTC)

Project: trimming the article, relying more on sub-articles

This article is 88 kb of text, and far too long. So we need to find ways to triage what needs to appear in this article. Every important detail about the LDS Church cannot be in the article, and for any subject where there is already a sub-article, we should not worry about trying to re-create everything in the sub-article here on this page. I think the most bloated section is presently the "Teachings and Practices" section, which takes up about 50% of the article text. We already have a Beliefs and practices of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints article, and the present "Teachings and Practices" section is about the same size as that sub-article. I think we can significantly trim the "Teachings and Practices" section, but that means we will have to accept that not every detail of Mormon doctrine can fit in this article.

This article, in my view, ought to be, essentially, an Introduction to the LDS Church directed toward someone with no personal stake in the subject matter. (Not the kind of introduction you might be presented by either LDS missionaries or evangelical Christians.) That means that the article should include a summary of everything notable about the religion, with particular focus on how it differs from generic Christianity. We should ask, "What would a reasonably-intelligent non-Christian, who is familiar with Christianity but has only an academic curiosity about the LDS Church and no interest in either being recruited or proving it false, want to know about the LDS Church?" COGDEN 17:58, 7 May 2009 (UTC)

Here is a more specific proposal: Lets simplify the "Teachings and Practices" section to the following headings:
  1. Sources of authority
  2. Similarities with other Christianity
  3. Overview of distinctive doctrines and practices
  4. Differences with other Latter Day Saint movement faiths
COGDEN 17:33, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
I absolutely agree with the specific as well as the general proposal to trim down the article. The proposed headings will still need to have relatively extensive treatment, but even so I think that the total content of the "Teachings and Practices" section

could be reduced significantly. In my opinion, the amount of coverage that any given teaching or practice of the church gets in this article should be substantial enough to give a basic understanding, while succinct enough to spark interest and leave the reader wanting to delve into the sub-articles for further information. That's the real magic of the internet - when we hand the reader only the information that will interest him/her, and give that reader the power to choose both when to expose him/herself to more information and which information he/she wants to see. Don't count on me to make substantial changes to the article; however, I will try to help you synthesize ideas, and I will review the changes that are made, and whatnot. ...but what do you think? ~B Fizz (talk) 19:51, 8 May 2009 (UTC)

I've taken a crack at this, and tried to mention everything that is most significant and noteworthy. Many topics are not directly mentioned, but these subjects can easily be found via the sub-articles. COGDEN 20:45, 11 May 2009 (UTC)
While I don't review them thoroughly, I do glance at the changes every so often and they look good as far as I can tell. Upon scanning the newly shortened "criticism" section, it feels like the word "criticism" is used too much. While it seems very NPOV at the moment, the way it is written is also a little dry. Would someone care to slightly modify the wording to give the section some variety? If not, then maybe I'll get around to it sometime. Keep up the good work, COGDEN ...but what do you think? ~B Fizz (talk) 01:31, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
2 Similarities within Christianity

This seems redundant to the second paragraph at the beginning of the article. Pehaps the one at the beginning of the article could be removed or a note could mark "for beliefs in common with other Christians see Similarities within Christianity below.

Also the second paragraph of "Similarities..." in fact, does not focus on similarities but rather differences, and should be condensed and merged with Overview of distinctive doctrines and practicesCesevern (talk) 15:13, 14 June 2009 (UTC)

At it exists now, it says "Comparisons within Christianity," which seems appropriate. I think it's valuable to have two separate sections, one based on a comparison with other Christianity, and the other discussing things that are unique within Mormonism, and are not really obviously comparable to anything within other Christianity. COGDEN 21:21, 18 June 2009 (UTC)
At first glance, I would tend to agree with Cesevern. Mormonism's differences with Christianity are likely to be differences with other religions too...I personally would group them in one section and mention the contrast with mainstream Christianity despite its not being in a section dedicated to comparison with Christianity. Just throwing my two cents seems more like a stylistic matter of opinion--and in this case it might be beneficial to lean towards whatever style that can cut the article's size down a little more. ...but what do you think? ~B Fizz (talk) 04:38, 19 June 2009 (UTC)
My concern was not the existence of the separate sections, but rather that the content of the section "Comparisons..." is weak. It begins with the same information as is found at the beginning of the article. Then in the next paragraph it diverges from the topic of comparisons... and describes how it is different (contrasts). The differences are better suited to the topic of the subsequent section Overview of distinctive doctrines and practices, and should be there instead. Cesevern (talk) 03:07, 25 June 2009 (UTC)

I have hacked a bit of fluff out of the "geographic distribution and membership" section. Have a look-see and make sure I didn't mess it up too much. ...but what do you think? ~B Fizz (talk) 04:38, 19 June 2009 (UTC)

Article ending

While I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that Encarta has given up and will be offline before the end of this year, you still have to admit their LDS Church article ending sentence is much more tactful than ours: "An unusual combination of biblical Christianity, American pragmatism, millennialist expectations, economic experimentation, political conservatism, evangelical fervor, and international activity, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is still a dynamic, rapidly growing religion in an uneasy relationship with the surrounding culture." If you were to actually read this whole article through (on Wikipedia), wouldn't you expect it to sort of wrap up at the end, like the encarta one does so (surprisingly) well? Another item to add to the lengthy yet invisible todo list for this article. ...but what do you think? ~B Fizz (talk) 04:59, 19 June 2009 (UTC)

Article Naming Conflict Problem

A user is wanting to radically change the Wikipedia Naming Conflict guideline, particularly with relevance to cutting the section on self-identifying names. If this section were changed it would raise a lot of problems on pages like this, since the name the group calls itself (eg LDS) would no longer be automatically preferred as article title over the more popular name others give it (eg Mormon.) Not many people are involved in this proposed change, which could cause hundreds of hours of havoc and edit-warring on articles like this It would be useful for people to comment on Kontiski's proposed change, or state whether you would prefer policy to stay as it is, at. Wikipedia talk:Naming conflict Xandar 20:00, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

There are extensive rules guiding the naming of LDS related articles Wikipedia:Naming_conventions_(Latter_Day_Saints) Are these proposals going to alter anything in these guidelines? Bytebear (talk) 19:13, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
No, this will not necessarily make any difference. The naming policies call for the most common name in reliable English language references to be used; most of these use the same title we do (with or without the definite article) in order to achieve the necessary precision. WP:NAME has been around since 2001, the page under discussion since only 2005. That is, the "most common name in reliable references" rule has been around for the entirety of the existence of this article, and has been correctly applied throughout - leaving the article has remained at its original title, or close variants thereof. Knepflerle (talk) 13:43, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

is the LDS religion obscure and unimportant?

Is the LDS religion obscure and unimportant? I thought it was a religion with a significant following. In the United States article, others want to mention the major religions but insists on not mentioning the LDS church. Is the LDS really obscure? I think not but would like your editorial opinion. User F203 (talk) 18:32, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

It is the fourth largest denomination in the US. That alone makes it significant. Add to that the history of the settling of the West, other historic incidents come to mind as well, like the Mormon Battalion or the discovery of Gold at Sutter's Mill. Mormonism is probably the most prolific religious movement in the world that was started in the United States. Seems to me, it would be odd to leave it out. Bytebear (talk) 18:43, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
If there is a reliable source and also one that is not connected with the LDS, then it would be a good addition to this LDS article, that it is #4. User F203 (talk) 18:54, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
It depends on how you count membership. According to this chart Religion_in_the_United_States#Religious_bodies, LDS is #5, but according to other stats they are #4 considering there is overlap between Southern Baptist Convention and National Baptist Convention. I think it's hard to put something into the United States article. I would consider a small bit about how freedom of religion has allowed several new religious movements to grow in the US, including quaker, shaker, LDS, JW and Nation of Islam. Bytebear (talk) 19:04, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
Appears that they are only listing the largest of the large denominations on that page, though it would make sense to me for them to list minor ones. Rogerdpack (talk) 16:36, 14 August 2009 (UTC)
As of now, it looks like there are only discussions on that page of broad religious groups, rather than denominations (with the exception of the Catholic Church). I think that's appropriate, because there really isn't much difference between, for example, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Free Methodist Church, and the United Methodist Church. The LDS Church belongs in the broad Restorationism group, which is relatively small, and sometimes grouped with Protestantism. While the LDS Church may be among the larger denominations, as a total percentage of Christianity it is a small part. COGDEN 17:28, 14 August 2009 (UTC)

Cleaner template

My thanks to whoever cleaned up the template so it no longer has an ugly purple background on the churches name--or perhaps it was the template itself--either way much thanks :) Rogerdpack (talk) 16:36, 14 August 2009 (UTC)

Why is this in the WikiProject LGBT studies?

There is a brief mention of possible homophobia, and one line about Prop 8. Is that enough to get in the WikiProject LGBT studies? Joshuajohanson (talk) 21:29, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

I personally do not think it is, but some of those within the LGBT community felt that it was of vital interest to their interests to include it. I am rather ambivalent; however, I do prefer to see a fair application of tagging. I looked at the Talk:Catholic Church article and it was not listed. The CC has been as active as the LDS Church in support of marriage between man and woman, etc. Same with Talk:Southern Baptist Convention. Just one of those curiosities. --StormRider 22:27, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
I think it's appropriate to list Homosexuality and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Sexuality and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints within the LGBT studies project, but this page is really off-topic for that project. If the Sexuality and Homosexuality articles didn't exist, then maybe there would be a stronger argument. COGDEN 22:45, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
I recommend we wait and see if there is any support for this and then after a week or two delete it. Does that make sense? --StormRider 22:51, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
That makes sense, StormRider. However, many aspects of the LDS church have no affect on the LGBT community, which makes it unusual that the article would be tagged with that particular WikiProject. I agree with COgden, those subarticles do have high relevance to LGBT studies. Of course, our fellow editors in any wikiproject are always welcome to contribute to any article that they wish, whether or not it is officially inside the scope of any given wikiproject. If, however, a significant portion of the people working with the LGBT wikiproject feel that this article should indeed be included in their wikiproject, I would not feel any need to oppose. ...but what do you think? ~B Fizz (talk) 22:36, 27 August 2009 (UTC)

Criticism Section

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is a specific denomination, so why is there a link (Criticism of the Latter Day Saint movement) to all criticism of the LDS movement, basically combining all denominations and organizations and giving the appearance that this denomination is affiliated, liable or condoning of separate denominations? Considering that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has never accepted or condoned any break off denomination, they should not be liable, criticized or even related for what a separatist church does. I would see no reason to criticize Protestants for the actions of Roman Catholics or vice versa, so why is it acceptable in this article? I have no problem with having a sub-article for criticism, but it should be specific to this denomination only. The same respect is openly given to other religions and denominations on Wikipedia and it would merely be correct and logical to format this article in a similar manner. I propose either a new article for criticism, or to remove the link entirely. The current article is a criticism of the LDS movement, therefore it should remain linked to the LDS movement article which encompasses all LDS denominations. I do not see how the criticism of multiple churches could possibly be considered as accurate or informative of a single church. The proper word is "misleading", and there is absolutely no reason why this denomination should not have a separate page for criticism as opposed to "conveniently" linking it to all other LDS denominations. I will wait to hear your thoughts and comments before I change anything. Unless proven otherwise, I will proceed to edit the article. Sharpsr1990 (talk) 18:39, 13 September 2009 (UTC)

I am removing the link "Criticism of the Latter Day Saint movement." You are free to create a new page titled "Criticism of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints", but any revert or edit back to the previous link will be removed immediately unless discussed here on the talk page.
Sharpsr1990 (talk) 13:26, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
I think it will be replaced. The issue is that when the title of the article was changed to Latter Day Saint movment, as I recall, much of the criticism centered on Joseph Smith and other members from the beginning of the movement. It would have been repetitive to have two articles that had a majority of the articles focused on Joseph Smith. More importantly, after Joseph Smith the majority of the criticism focused on the LDS Church and every little on the other groups. Instead of having a criticism page for every church, it was decided to have a central article for all of them. --StormRider 15:48, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
Understood. I did not know that a consensus had been reached and it sounds logical. I will retract my edit immediately.
Sharpsr1990 (talk) 20:46, 14 September 2009 (UTC)

Revisions of story regarding to succesion in line.

It has been suggested that I come here first to discuss such changes as stories. I would like to propose that my old revision be put back in as I did say that " it is said that the following occurred" I did not say that it actually did and I am simply trying to make sure that people see it from both sides. I did not say that it happened for sure, I am simply saying that it was one of the proposed stories. I would like in put and feedback as well as ways that I could change it in order to get the story reinstated into the article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ridoco234 (talkcontribs) 19:31, 14 September 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for coming to the talk page. Your topic -- accounts of transformation during the LDS Succession Crisis -- comes up quite frequently on this page. In the Wikipedia effort for neutral-point-of-view (NPOV), it and related accounts dealing with revelation are contentious issues and difficult to present. These events are based on first hand personal experiences and events. Although this type of event/experience is are often used as narrative in church publications and lessons, there is no way to prove that the events occurred. Some people, LDS or non, assert that these stories are actually folklore. Longtime editors try and keep this Church/organization article as Wikipedia neutral as possible, with assertions about the Church, history, doctrine and practices supported by multiple recognized sources. You might look over other LDS related articles and consider approaching this topic there. Thanks and best wishes. WBardwin (talk) 19:46, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
Thank you for responding I am glad that I could understand that. I guess the account is correct in its current form as after the proposed revelation the saints did udnerstand and choose him. Thank you for helping me understand. After all I am pretty new. Ridoco234 (talk) 19:51, 14 September 2009 (UTC)

Reason for Smith's assasination

There's a line in the "Joseph Smith era" section that bothers me.

After Missouri, the church built the city of Nauvoo, Illinois, where Smith served as the city's mayor and leader of the militia. As church leader, Smith also introduced the concept of plural marriage, and taught a form of theocratic Millennialism which he called "theodemocracy". As a result of public disagreement over these two issues, Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum Smith (second in line to the presidency),[15] were assassinated on June 27, 1844 by an angry mob.

The final sentence implies that "public disagreement over the issues of plural marriage and theodemocracy" resulted in the Smiths' assasination by an angry mob, an assertion that feels too closed. Is there a way to open up the statement to admit the existence of other possible factors? One problem, I think, is that the idea of a "theodemocracy" carried with it a lot of other factors such as the Mormons' (particularly Smith's) rising political power at the time. Those factors that lead to the assasination aren't as easily visible to today's readers.

But I couldn't really think of how to reword the sentence properly. Suggestions? ...but what do you think? ~B Fizz (talk) 22:41, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

I agree. I think it is a bit POV to claim both that it was the religious practices (both the "theodemocracy" as well as polygamy. We need good sources, but I think it had more to do with power struggles from former church leaders, animosity with neighbors over land and political ideologies (slavery, property lines, immigration). Smith's assassination was not just against the man for his beliefs, but was influenced by the idea that if you kill the leader, the movement would die with him. Bytebear (talk) 22:51, 21 September 2009 (UTC)
The cohesive Mormon voting block, the group's tendency to trade only with one another, and the general (but not exclusive) Mormon animosity to chattel slavery also were causes of dissention and violence. Media hysteria really stirred up opposition groups in Illinois, and probably contributed to Joseph's death as well. Any kind of causal statement would be difficult to craft and defend. I would imagine a different cause would be seen as primary by each historian we might cite. WBardwin (talk) 03:32, 22 September 2009 (UTC)
I agree this is an oversimiplification, although theocracy (which includes religious, economic, and political dimensions) and polygamy were the two root causes of most of the issues above, and this is well documented. The most direct cause of Smith's death, of course, was his decision to destroy the Expositor, which was only a problem because it accused the church of theocratic aspirations and polygamy. The Expositor destruction fanned the flames of Illinoisans who were already uncomfortable with Mormon theocratic power. I don't think there is any reliable documentation that slavery was a significant cause of Smith's death. Smith was not even an abolitionist, and I don't know of any contemporary sources that cite slavery as a factor. (If someone can point to one, then great.) It was mainly about the fear among Illinoisans that Smith was attempting to exercise treasonous power as a Mormon dictator, and that Smith was personally corrupt, as evidenced by his supposed luring of virtuous women into lives of debauchery. There may have been other factors, but these did not lead directly to his death. Therefore, I would propose the following edit:
"After Missouri, the church built the city of Nauvoo, Illinois, where Smith served as the city's mayor and leader of the militia. As church leader, Smith secretly introduced other church leaders to concept of plural marriage, and initiated the framework for a theocratic Millennialism which he called "theodemocracy". Many local Illinoisans were uneasy with Mormon power, and their unease was fanned when Smith suppressed a newspaper containing an exposé regarding these developments, leading to his arrest for treason. While in prison, Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum Smith (second in line to the presidency),[15] were assassinated on June 27, 1844 by an angry mob."

This skips a lot of information that may be worth mentioning. The attitude of the surrounding peoples and how they were incited by Sharp. More importantly, the charge that was initially brought was not treason, but riot against the Nauvoo's town officers. Each was released on bond and were to await the next term of the circuit court. Before the hearing, another charge was introduced, that of treason against both Joseph and Hyrum. Governor Ford considered the charge without merit because Nauvoo had good reason to fear an invasion by mobs caused by the continued inflamed remarks of Sharp and others. Regardless, Ford refused to intervene and allowed the charges to stand which resulted in committing both Joseph and Hyrum to prison without a hearing. Going to prison was Ford's way of "protecting" them from mob action.

I can't get behind the charge of forming a theocracy as being a major concern on the lips of the surrounding citizens. Polygamy was on their lips. Conversation was not so enlightened as to describe that the Mormons, because of their numbers, had gained too much economic and political control. Charges were more outlandish and designed to inflame anger. Here I am thinking of the Warsaw Signal proclaiming: "Citizens ARISE, ONE AND ALL!!! Can you stand by, and suffer such INFERNAL DEVILS! to rob men of their property and rights, without avenging them. We have no time for comment, every man will make his own. Let it be made with POWDER AND BALL!!!" The caps are the papers. No, conversation was not calm, not elevated or intelligent. It was scandalous and we need to describe that that environment. --StormRider 18:38, 23 September 2009 (UTC)

I agree that this was not about some academic disagreement over Mormon theology, but my proposal above does not claim it was. I think the way to look at is this: polygamy and theocracy set up the framework for a situation where Smith was seen as a abusing his power and undermining traditional values. Smith was killed because he was seen as a corrupt theocratic power, with emphasis on the "corrupt" and the "power". But the theocratic aspect of this was significant. Had Smith merely been a powerful corrupt secular mayor (which were a dime a dozen in those days, as today), I don't think he would have had nearly the resistance he had. It was not just his power, but the fact that the power was theocratically melded to the mind of tens of thousands of Mormons. As to Sharp, he certainly riled people up in anger as to the destruction of the Expositor, but the whole Expositor issue was so galling to people because it only seemed to confirm what the Expositor had claimed: that Smith was a theocratic dictator who considered himself above the law. Sharp basically said, see, I've been telling you all along that Smith was a corrupt theocratic tyrant, now you have proof, because look what he did to the Expositor. COGDEN 01:39, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
In reading the commentary, it seems to me this paragraph is there simply to present a POV involving a wikilink to "theodemocracy." It serves no other purpose than to further an agenda for inclusion of this link. Bytebear (talk) 01:49, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
COgden, my question would be did the citizens have a conscious thought/criticism of "theodemocracy" and Joseph Smith or is that more of a historical interpretation of the events that unfolded? I believe that there is a strong case that the actual acts of Joseph Smith were irrelevant to why he was murdered. This event was not the result of a well planned, premeditated murder, but more the result of an explosion of emotion resulting from editors consciously choosing to inflame the citizenry against the Mormons. It was a mob run amok. The event that set off the time-bomb was the destruction of the printing press.
I think some care needs to be used when writing this also. A mob killed Joseph Smith, rather than Joseph did x, y, and z and therefore he got himself killed. It is appropriate to lay blame where it belongs and to this point I think we may be sanitizing the story too much. If we just report the facts we will do a better job. --StormRider 07:09, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
No, I don't think anybody in Smith's time, other than his closest associates, really understood his theocratic theory. And the word "theodemocracy", though coined by Joseph Smith, was not even really used by Mormons in common conversation. I agree that you can't really say that Smith caused his own death, but you can say that his actions touched off a powder-keg that led to his death at the hands of an angry mob. I don't think any reliable Mormon or secular scholar would dispute that. But you can't really go so far as to say that mob was a bunch of dumb, excitable sheep that a few newspaper editors riled into a convulsive frenzy. Guys like Sharp and Law were just the Rush Limbaughs, the Glenn Becks, and the Ann Coulters of their time, who just mobilized and focused an underlying angry sentiment. The only difference is, back in those days, angry mobs didn't just go to a town hall meeting and yell "socialism" to their elected representatives. In those days, they went and had themselves a good lynching. That angry sentiment was built up over a long time, as a result of rumors of polygamy, Smith's alleged exercise of theocratic power (including his endorsement of Hyrum's revelation that church members should vote for the Democratic candidate for Congress), and a few other issues like the attempted assassination of Lilburn Boggs, which Smith was accused of having a hand in, as well as doctrinal issues other than polygamy and plenty of accusations that Smith was dishonest and corrupt. Religious bigotry was probably a factor as well, but the bigotry was fed by all of the above. COGDEN 01:12, 25 September 2009 (UTC)

Excommunication standards and process

Is this the correct article/place to discuss excommunication standards? We haven't really discussed what commitment, membership and participation really mean in the Church. Material below by User:Pepwaves removed for discussion. WBardwin (talk) 20:22, 23 September 2009 (UTC)

It is currently the only church in America that excommunicates members for engaging in any relationships besides committed, mongomous, heterosexual marriage. Consequently, church members married to other adherents have some of the lowest divorce rates in the country at 13% [4]
I am not find the reference on the Salt Lake tribune's archives. The language is too loose; it is not relationships, but rather adultery. Excommunication "may" occur, but certainly does not always occur. I suspect that it is the rare exception by a very wide margin. I am not sure of the value of the divorce rate within a context of excommunication. It seems like the edit is attempting to accomplish too much in too few words. --StormRider 21:08, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
The section was from a series of good faith efforts, many deflecting attention from polygamy, but I think I agree it tries to cover too much. We haven't addressed, here or anywhere, what being an "active member" really means in LDS/Mormon society or what impact excommunication would have. Perhaps that would belong in the Culture of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints article? Best........ WBardwin (talk) 21:17, 23 September 2009 (UTC)

Use of Scripture reference

Our new editor, User:Pepwaves, has been placing the scripture reference below into the article. I've reverted, and encouraged him/her to come to the talk page and discuss. But no response other than reverting, sigh. It's not a bad phrase -- but I thought the wording and reference should be discussed. I will not revert again. WBardwin (talk) 21:41, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

They consider themselves part of Christianity. LDS Church theology includes Christian doctrines of salvation only through Jesus Christ, [5]
I agree scriptures should be avoided unless supplemented by a reliable source that is making the point. Scriptures alone are too subjective. As to "they consder themselves part of Christianity," I always thought that was POV fluff. Every non partisan organization considers themselves part of Christianity, and those outside of Christianity would also feel that. We can discuss controversies with other Christians groups elsewhere, but it seems too POV for the lead. Bytebear (talk) 00:37, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
Not only that, but this particular scripture does not support the point that is trying to be made in the article. That scripture talks about what Nephi and his family believed in the Book of Mormon. It says nothing about what the modern LDS Church believes, unless you make a large interpolative leap--assuming that the LDS Church believes everything that Nephi believed. COGDEN 01:21, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
So, our quick concensus here is that the scripture reference should be removed? But Bytebear is right that the current version, i.e. They consider themselves part of Christianity. is simply lame. A simple declarative sentence would be better, Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are Christians. but that will be immediately and repeatedly challenged. Other ideas? WBardwin (talk) 03:51, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
The predominant view is that the LDS Church is part of Christianity, though not traditional Christianity. A few in the fringe say that Mormonism is not part of Christianity at all, but that nuance is better left to Mormonism and Christianity. I see no problem saying that "Jesus is a central element of the LDS faith, and the church is generally considered to be a non-traditional part of Christianity". The presently-quoted Joseph Smith quote about Jesus could be put in a footnote, because it is not needed and is overkill. COGDEN 00:42, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
I am thinking something alone the lines of "LDS do not consider themselves Catholic or protestant, but a separate branch of Christianity based on restorationist ideas" Crude but accurate, and there are many good sources by church leaders based on this definition. Bytebear (talk) 05:18, 29 September 2009 (UTC)

Sorry for the confusion. I know this is a tightly embattled subject; however, to post other people's statments about what the LDS believe, and not have a statement from the LDS perspective stating what they themselves believe is antithetical to everything that Wikipedia stands for. Set the belief out there, 2 Nephi 25:26, and let the reader decide for themselves. A typical view of Christianity is that if a person believes they must rely on Christ for salvation, they are Christian. Would COGDEN prefer a statement from the prophet, or an apostle stating that we are Christians? I have no problem with someone quoting from the Qu'ran to explain what Muslims believe, and it would probably be more reliable than a statement from a critic of their faith. Would a section about the debate over the LDS Christian assertion be appropriate so readers can decide for themselves? --Pepwaves (talk) 05:41, 25 September 2009 (UTC)

I think the point about the LDS believing in Jesus is well represented in the article. Jesus' name appears in the title of the article, the first, second, and third, paragraphs, and all throughout the article. Plus, the article even has a touching picture of Jesus. No need to belabor the point by quoting scripture too. This article has limited space resources. More detailed material about the exact relationship between Mormonism and Christianity is better left to Mormonism and Christianity. COGDEN 00:33, 29 September 2009 (UTC)

I would just like to know how anyone could think that quoting scripture is acceptable. Maybe I'm just not as familiar with wiki guidelines as others, but how could that possibly be NPOV or be considered "encyclopedic?" Specifically in the intro, that bit about "holding strong in their faith of Christ... Even Wikipedia users try to marginalize and distort their faith..." again, how is that anywhere near acceptable? Also that Family section of the article, that's just a long quote from the church. is that level of self-advertisement/propaganda really allowed? Geoffruh (talk) 05:06, 29 September 2009 (UTC)

No it isn't, and it has been removed. Mike R (talk) 05:09, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
I put the lengthy section about the family is useful in informing readers of the LDS stance on families. I agree that it is too long for a Wikipedia page and I will trim it down. --Pepwaves (talk) 22:30, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
Actually, after reading through the article, I have many issues with it: Quoting Joseph Smith as a means of demonstrating the accuracy and verifiability of historical events in the "Joseph Smith Era" section; further down in the same section, claiming that the people who killed Joseph Smith, were "an angry mob," do you really know what mood those people were in at the time?; the entire "Teachings and practices" section seems to fail NPOV, especially the "2.1 Family," as i mentioned above, is just one long quote from the church; most of the citations are directly from the church or supporters of the church; all of the "External Links" lead directly to church websites, many to "official websites of the church" as the heading claims, most do seem frivolous, and having a section called "academic forums" with links to "encyclopedia of mormonism," primary sources, and a PBS documentary seems to make the claim that these are "academic" disingenuous at best. Geoffruh (talk) 05:56, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
A PBS documentary isn't academic? And I have never heard the murderers of Smith as anything but an angry mob. What are your suggestions for alternate descriptions? Bytebear (talk) 01:16, 30 September 2009 (UTC)


Recently an edit added that 31% of Americans do not consider Mormons Christian. I eventually tracked down the source as this "LDS should promote positive image, Elder Perry says" from the Deseret News. The problem is the statistic is not scientific, nor is it even cited in the article. The article says:

Recent studies, he said, found that "51 percent of people have no awareness of Mormon practices and beliefs," that "47 percent of people do not have a favorable view of Mormons," and "that 31 percent of people believe that Mormons are not Christian."

So, who are "people" and where is this study done? I removed the source and the statement. If you really asked all people, I would say 95% of the world population would never have even heard of Mormonism. Clearly the statement was cherry picked for emphasis, and has no real scientific merit. Bytebear (talk) 16:39, 29 September 2009 (UTC)

The source of that information appears to be from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. Alanraywiki (talk) 22:12, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

Explanation for reversions by Pepwaves requested

Pepwaves, can you please provide a clearer explanation for the following edits and reversions:

  1. Please justify your assertion that the modern era of LDS history began at Utah statehood. Mormon scholars date the modern era to the end of plural marriage. Utah statehood is a political matter, and affected church history, but was not the turning point that the end of polygamy was. In fact, Utah statehood was just one of many effects of the end of polygamy. You provided no explanation for your reversion, so could you please explain here?
  2. You insert the following text into the historical section: "The LDS church believes the original church that Jesus established was lost and has been restored again in our day. They further believe that a priesthood, the authority given to man to act in the name of God, with apostles and a prophet to lead us, has been restored as have all necessary ordinances of salvation." Your explanation is that "Giving the actual text is much more objective and informative to the readers." However, this is doctrinal material. It does not belong in the historical section relating to Joseph Smith. If you think it does, please explain why.
  3. In conjunction with the portion in the intro that says that traditional Christian denominations do not consider the LDS Church to be within traditional Christianity, you want to add the additional clause, "despite their belief in Jesus Christ as the son of God and savior of the world." Your explanation is that "Because the opening paragraphs are so important, if we are going to give readers the view Mormons are not Christians, let them see the other side as well in the same sentence." However, please look closely at what the first part of this sentence says: it says that other Christians do not consider the LDS Church to be within traditional Christianity. Nobody is (officially) saying that Mormons aren't Christian. And the LDS Church itself agrees that it is not within traditional Christianity. Moreover, the phrasing of this addition is not neutral according to WP:NPOV.

COGDEN 22:04, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

I think my desire to put Utah statehood instead of polygamy as the turning point has several motives. One of them is that from an academic standpoint, the modern age of the church is very complex, and narrowing it to the one issue of polygamy is misleading. Slavery debate was the defining issue of the era. National attitudes of religious toleration shifted. Having a transcontinental railroad to connect the church to mainstream world of the East helped eliminate seclusion. Mass communications generally dispelled ignorance, and all of these events culminated in Utah achieving statehood.

I did not input the second section about the priesthood in the historical section. I can see both sides of the debate and it would be undertandable for it to be moved.

The third point is understood. I think that putting something like, "they are a 3rd branch of Christianity distinct from Catholicism and Protestantism" might be the most informative. I don't think it adds much to say that lots of people view them as distinct from Christianity. Frankly, in casual conversations with people, those that have this view either have a negative bias or aren't very well informed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Pepwaves (talkcontribs) 00:41, 3 October 2009 (UTC)

I think these are good points, and they certainly should coincide with the History of Utah article. But, we need good academic scholarship on the topic. Does Jan Shipps have any books or papers covering this topic? Other sources? Bytebear (talk) 01:45, 3 October 2009 (UTC)
As to the end of polygamy being the turning point separating the pre-modern and modern eras, there is very strong scholarly basis for this. For example, Arrington's The Mormon Experience begins its "Part Three: The Modern Church" with the sentence "The twenty years following the Woodruff Manifesto brought critical choices to Mormon leaders....." By the structure of his work, Arrington clearly traces the beginning of modern LDS history to the end of polygamy. Similarly, Jan Shipps stated in her Sojourner in the promised land that "the Manifesto served as the dividing line between the distant and recent past, making way for a voluntary integration of the Saints into American culture even as they maintain Mormon distinctiveness." (p. 309).
Stuff like the transcontinental railroad, the telegraph, Utah statehood, and slavery did not significantly change the structure, doctrine, and organization of the church, nor did they affect how the church was perceived by other Americans--nearly to the extent that the end of polygamy did. The 1890 manifesto came during the second greatest crisis in LDS Church history (the first being the death of Joseph Smith). The LDS Church was in many ways a different church after the end of polygamy. It changed from a revolutionary, theocratic, anarchist organization practicing one of the "twin relics of barbarism" (Republican Party's words, not mine) into a patriotic, mainstream organization promoting monogamy, the nuclear family, and conservative American values.
That Utah statehood happened around this turning point is because Utah statehood was an effect of the end of polygamy. Utah statehood would not have occurred without the 1890 Manifesto. Moreover, Utah's status as a state with benefits of representation in Congress was dependent upon it completely abandoning polygamy, which is the reason for the 1904-06 Smoot hearings and the Second Manifesto. Had the church not issued the Second Manifesto in 1904, or continued its clandestine practice of post-1890 polygamy during the Smoot hearings, Utah statehood would ultimately have had little effect on LDS acceptance by Americans. The true turning point was the end of polygamy.
Moreover, even the LDS Church does not apparently consider Utah statehood to be as significant an element of LDS history as the end of polygamy. In its Our Heritage publication, an overview of LDS history from the LDS perspective, it discusses the end of polygamy (in its "Period of Trials and Testing" chapter), but doesn't even mention Utah statehood. COGDEN 19:37, 7 October 2009 (UTC)
It seems like the pivotal issue here is whether the transcontinental railroad, the telegraph, tolerant attitudes and elimination of the slavery issue did not significantly affected how the church was perceived by other Americans. We may have to agree to disagree. To say that the church only became patriotic and conservative after abandoning plural marriage is a gross overstatement. There is no church that has more ardently expressed the divinity of the Constitution and the founding of this country than The LDS faith since its inception. In fact, D&C 101:80 recognizes that by scriptural decree, the founding fathers were men specifically called of God to do the work they did. Whether you believe the D&C was inspired of God or not, one must concede that the LDS church stands alone in holding such pious reverence for the founders' mission that it should be canonized. Thus, the assertion that the 19th century LDS church was unpatriotic is unfounded. Further, the narrowing of the modern perception of Mormonism to polygamy, though extremeley important, it is far too narrow and potentially misleading. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Pepwaves (talkcontribs) 15:25, 9 October 2009 (UTC)
I never said that the 19th century LDS Church was unpatriotic. They were very patriotic as to the ideals of Americanism and constitutionalism, but they deplored how these principles were put into practice by the actual United States of America. They viewed constitutionalism as a fundamental moral principle that transcended politics and any specific implementation. Constitutionalism was about things like freedom of speech and religion, due process, equal protection, etc.--the things that they were denied because they were polygamists.
The patriotism of the LDS Church in the 19th century was different than the post-polygamy patriotism. In the 19th Century, the Mormons were like the hippies of the '60s who loved America and its underlying ideals, but deplored its policies and were not afraid to defy those policies. Though they loved constitutionalism and even the U.S. as an institution, they thought God disapproved of the United States Government and its anti-polygamist citizens who had killed their prophet and driven them out of Missouri and then out of the country altogether. Indeed, they fully expected that God would take vengeance upon "this nation" for the death of "the prophets" (i.e., Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, David W. Patton, and Parley P. Pratt). This earlier hippie-type patriotism was pretty much abandoned by Joseph F. Smith during the Smoot hearings. To ensure that Congress would start seating Utah's elected representatives, Smith had to try to neutralize anything within LDS practice that could be seen as out of step with mainstream Americana, and to convince America that Mormons were just as patriotic as other Americans. Thus, after polygamy ended in the early 20th century, the church's patriotism gradually morphed into the more outward, symbolic type of patriotism: the flag-waving, Norman Rockwell–Irving Berlin type of patriotism seen within the church today. COGDEN 00:05, 10 October 2009 (UTC)
As to "agreeing to disagree", that's fine, but in editing the article we will have to follow the most prominent academic sources, which say that the modern era of the LDS Church really began with the end of polygamy. COGDEN 00:05, 10 October 2009 (UTC)
The most common word associated with Mormon in every study I have seen is "polygamy." This myopic view of the church is tragic in light of the complicated and good influences of the LDS church. Our pornography-addicted, sexually-obsessed, adulterous society will increasingly become preoccupied with polygamy. I would like to see Wikipedia rise above that. As for a hippie movement, you and I were not there and must depend on the words of people like Thomas Kane who wrote to his parents, "Their leaders...are without any exaggeration a body of highly worthy men and they give me their most unbroken & childlike confidence. He found the Saints to be “honest and pure hearted, guiltless seemingly of evil thought”; he lamented that a people “so innocent, should, for conscience sake in our 19th century, be beaten, robbed, ravished and murdered.” Mormon

attitudes toward persecution particularly impressed Kane, as the Saints “thank God in prayer for it day and night; and . . . congratulate themselves on having abandoned for ever their pleasant homes.” The Saints retained their patriotism in the midst of their “unmanly persecution” and the federal government “may look in vain elsewhere for more generous and patriotic supporters.” Their numerous virtues—“pious though not austere—honest, frugal—self sacrificing, humane, decorous”—convinced Kane he would “hunt in vain through our Eastern States for any community of equal size, better entitled no matter how great its pretensions to the name of Christian.” To have been taken seriously by men much older and more experienced than himself must have been deeply satisfying for Kane, and he boasted of his own influence with the top tier of Mormon leaders, writing, “I am admitted into all their consultations as though a Elder of the 1st class . . . I honestly believe that they would not disobey my advice in any important matter unless it touched their creed.” His experience at the camps led him to “love more & more this suffering people.” Indeed, he had possibly “found in this the mission of my life. . . to save some fifteen thousand souls from misery if not extermination, and make the happiness of perhaps fifty thousand. . . if God spares my life, I will save them from the dangers which now menace them—as great as those which they have gone through." I believe your characterization of the LDS church as any kind of a hippie movement is misguided, and shows a bias that does not belong on the pages of Wikipedia. --Pepwaves (talk) 15:42, 10 October 2009 (UTC)

These ideas put forward by Pepwaves(talk) appear to be a reflection of opinion. Even if there are a score of references from authorities within this religious group, it might well still represent opinion and Consensus reality. -Fremte (talk) 18:29, 10 October 2009 (UTC)

The first sentence

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (abbreviated as the LDS Church, often colloquially referred to as the Mormon Church) is the largest denomination originating from the Latter Day Saint movement restored by Joseph Smith, Jr. circa 1830.

Should it not say "founded by Joseph Smith"? or use another word. This is odd wording, perhaps an artefact of some editting? So far as general info is concerned, this group originated with this man then. If the assertion is that Smith restored a prior existent religion, then this sounds POV, i.e., a matter of belief or faith, and must be reworded neutrally. --Fremte (talk) 22:07, 6 October 2009 (UTC)

I changed it to founded by. It it too early to include the concept of restore in the lead. I also made the membership numbers more concise. I also did not think it was a correct statement because no one has done any analysis of worldwide membership. It seems on all religion articles there is an argument about membership totals. Skeptics want to minimize and adherents want to inflate. I believe the language is clear that the church reports their numbers and that should be sufficient. --StormRider 23:19, 6 October 2009 (UTC)
For those who believe in God the Father and Jesus as separate beings, it is fair to say that "Jesus created the earth" though perhaps more correct to say "The Father created the earth through Jesus." I can't imagine why it wouldn't be fair then to say that "Joseph Smith founded the LDS Church" rather than "Jesus founded the LDS Church through Joseph Smith." Though the way the current first line stands, the assertion is that Joseph Smith founded the Latter Day Saint Movement, out of which came the LDS Church. Which is just fine. As far as the membership question goes...whether or not you believe the exact numbers being thrown around...I think that it's pretty safe to say that LDS Church membership is higher than that of the Community of Christ, whose membership is higher than the other Latter Day Saint religions. Now that it's clear that I don't think it's got POV problems, does anyone else feel the first line is a little clunky? I just wish it were a little snappier; a little more interesting. I guess with a name so long, it's kinda hard to get it very snappy. ...but what do you think? ~B Fizz (talk) 02:31, 7 October 2009 (UTC)
I appreciate the move to "founded". This is clearer. About the subsequent comments, don't know that I get what is meant. It would be fine to say that "[whomever] believes that Jesus/God/[any other being] created the earth", but not okay to "Jesus created the earth". The former is a statement of the beliefs, the latter a POV statement. So it is okay I think to say "LDS [or other description of the group] believe Jesus is the founder of their [relgion, church, belief system etc] through the [divine revelation] by [whomever] to Joseph Smith. -- Sorry for the extensive square brackets, not completely sure what might belong in these parts of sentences. --Fremte (talk) 21:03, 7 October 2009 (UTC)
"Founded by Joseph Smith" is correct both from a Mormon and secular perspective. Joseph Smith himself said, in the Wentworth letter, that "I have written the following sketch of the rise, progress, persecution, and faith of the Latter-day Saints, of which I have the honor, under God, of being the founder." COGDEN 00:27, 10 October 2009 (UTC)
Precisely. COgden said what I was trying to say but in a more succinct and understandable-by-a-general-audience way. ...but what do you think? ~B Fizz (talk) 05:06, 11 October 2009 (UTC)

Concerns with Controversy sec cleanup?

Pepwaves: What is your concern with the Controvery section cleanup? --Noleander (talk) 14:30, 7 October 2009 (UTC)

FYI, my goal was to make that section more encyclopedic by:
1) removing "OR" tags that were obsolete
2) removing odd quote about contemporaries who liked Mormons
3) clarify wording
Is your concern the apologetic quote? If you really want that in the article, I suppose it would be okay, but perhaps in a subsection? As it was placed, it was stuck right in the middle of a nice chronological flow, and stuck out like a sore thumb. Plus the quote was out-of-place in a top-level article like this. Detailed "see, look at this!" quotes belong in lower-level articles.
--Noleander (talk) 14:41, 7 October 2009 (UTC)
And, for reference, here is that paragraph that is odd:

On the other hand, the church was also occasionally the subject of journalistic praise during this era. After spending a summer with the LDS in the early 1870s, historian John Codman concluded that the LDS in Utah did a better job of ridding their communities of gambling, drunkenness, and prostitution than the rest of the country: "In all my voyages and travels about the world, I never before passed three months in a community more industrious, upright, honest in dealing among themselves and with others, quiet, inoffensive, loyal to government, temperate, virtuous, and religious, than these Mormons."[93]

--Noleander (talk) 14:49, 7 October 2009 (UTC)

Pepwaves: In your change comment you wrote "No removing sound cited material & replacing it with uncited inflammatory words.". I dont recall "replacing" any text at all. Can you illustrate the "replacing" that was a concern? Thanks. --Noleander (talk) 14:52, 7 October 2009 (UTC)
Pepwaves: How about this: We re-introduce those several clean-ups to the section, and you can surgically undo the 1 or 2 that are of concern to you, whatever they are. If it is the quote, may I suggest that you solicit input from other editors as to the appropriateness in _this_ article (if you think the quote is that important, perhaps the "Criticism of COJCOLDS" article is a more appropriate place?). --Noleander (talk) 15:14, 7 October 2009 (UTC)
Noleander, I think the controversey and criticism section is pretty strong. I am not comfortable with the slaughter and atrocities agains the Mormons being referred to as a "Mormon War". I think we downplay the suffering of minority groups throughout history whenever we try to accuse them of "bringing it upon themselves." Further, one of the main sources of hostility towards the church historically has been their position on slavery as abolitionists. If the section is trying to deal with historical controversey, which it obviously is, the article is incomplete w/o mentioning slavery. --Pepwaves (talk) 05:13, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
  • "Mormon War" term: Im not very familiar with that topic (I did not contribute that sentence to this article). Isnt that a standard term for the event? Perhaps you could solicit input from other editors on that term.
  • "Bringing it upon themselves" - is that phrase in the section? I didnt see it last time I looked. Feel free to remove it if it is there.
  • Slavery: Slavery is already covered in Blacks and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints article. Feel free to add it into this article if it is not already here. I think the key criticism regarding slavery is: "In 1852, the Utah Territorial legislature, while it was dominated by LDS church leaders, voted to sanction slavery in Utah. Utah was the only western state/territory to do so".
--Noleander (talk) 13:43, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

Culture - Family subsection

I don't think the The Family: A Proclamation to the World should be cited so extensively in this section. While the document understandably has an effect on LDS culture, it seems more like a doctrinal subject to go under the Teachings and Practices section. ...but what do you think? ~B Fizz (talk) 05:57, 11 October 2009 (UTC)

Certainly, we can't just quote half of the Proclamation here. COGDEN 06:32, 11 October 2009 (UTC)
(Historical note - the quote was replaced with a summary)

I appreciate the summary presentation over the lengthy quotation, but as it stands it focuses on doctrine. I reiterate my concern: put doctrinal discussion in the "Teachings and Practices" section, and culture-related content in the culture section. While COgden's initial summary may not have done the Proclamation justice, Pepwaves's changes have made it grammatically confusing and out of place. Pepwaves, please reconsider the presentation of this material in the Culture/Family section and tailor it to the topic on hand. ...but what do you think? ~B Fizz (talk) 22:14, 11 October 2009 (UTC)

I tried rehashing the summary - not to be considered the perfect final version by any means. Yes, I simplified. No, we cannot cram every bit of doctrine that is discussed in the document into this article. Please review the change and help me to work the paragraph into the "culture" context. Or we might consider moving it. But I do think that the Proclamation helps to describe the underlying thought behind LDS culture. ...but what do you think? ~B Fizz (talk) 02:24, 13 October 2009 (UTC)

The "ref" tag is for...?

Under the assumption that anyone even reads this Wikipedia article, I highly doubt that anyone actually reads the references. Maybe they'll check one or two. I feel that too much parenthetical information is being crammed into references. Furthermore, no one really cleans up the references because no one reads them anyways.


<ref>According to reminiscences written in the 1830s, Smith's early ministry was preceded by a personal quest for truth culminating in 1820 with his First Vision, in the woods near his home. Early accounts of this vision say that Jesus told him his sins were forgiven. Later versions say Smith was told that all Christian denominations had become corrupt, and further indicate that Smith saw multiple heavenly beings, including both Jesus Christ and God the Father. Though unknown to early Latter Day Saints, this story became a significant part of LDS history as told by Mormons.</ref>

How is this a "reference"? Isn't that what the ref tag is for...references? The controversial statements in this comment also seem to require references of their own.

Another example:

<ref>Smith's position as President of the Church was originally left vacant, based on the sentiment that nobody could fill Smith's shoes. Years later, the church established the principle that Young, and any other senior apostle of the Quorum of the Twelve, would be ordained President of the Church as a matter of course upon the death of the former President, subject to unanimous agreement of the Quorum of the Twelve.</ref>

Controversial statements. No actual reference provided. I'm not saying it's completely wrong. I'm just saying...why are things like this wrapped in a ref tag? Should we sweep through the article and deal with them somehow? I want to hear what y'all think about this. ...but what do you think? ~B Fizz (talk) 06:08, 11 October 2009 (UTC)

Ref tags are used for general footnotes as well. However, I agree that much of the material in these footnotes has to go. It is non-NPOV, and superfluous to this very general, comprehensive summary article about the LDS Church. Footnotes should not be a place where people can pursue tangential pet theories or points of view. This article simply cannot hold every bit of information about the LDS Church. We have to cover the subject comprehensively, but in a very summary manner. COGDEN 06:26, 11 October 2009 (UTC)

Introduction is terrible

Fellow editors, the lead of this article has evolved into a poorly written, factually dubious piece of editing. This new phrase about a "single man" to be "The Prophet" is simply not correct and it reads like an obnoxious pamphlet of the worst quality. First of all, the Quorum of the Twelve are all held to be prophets. The president of the Church is held to the same standard and is also called to be the current prophet of the church. The introduction must summarize the article's content and not create new language. I am not sure if I should just begin editing the article or present my views here. --StormRider 17:16, 12 October 2009 (UTC)

It might be shortened, jargon and technical things left out. Not needed to discuss what are considered their sacred texts, the manner in which they govern it. Be careful not to assume any previous knowledge of the group. I'd suggest this for the first paragraph:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (abbreviated as the LDS Church, often colloquially referred to as the Mormon Church) is the largest denomination originating from the Latter Day Saint movement founded by Joseph Smith, Jr. circa 1830. The church is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, and has established congregations (called wards or branches) worldwide with membership of approximately 13.5 million[5] (about 6 million in the U.S.).[6][7Adherents are usually referred to as Latter-day Saints, LDS, or Mormons. They view faith in Jesus Christ as the central tenet of their religion.[8] Latter-Day Saints are often considered by other faiths to be a non-traditional members of Christianity[9][10]

A short third paragraph might be okay. --Fremte (talk) 18:13, 12 October 2009 (UTC)

I like it. If there are no other comments, let's implement this edit and then continue.--StormRider 23:49, 12 October 2009 (UTC)
Having a canon of scripture that extends beyond the Bible is (as far as I understand) unusual for a religion that claims to be Christian; I think it should be mentioned in the intro somewhere, though more than two short sentences on it is overkill. The proposed first paragraph looks good; it could be better with a little more active voice.
For example, the final sentence:
  • Alright: Latter-day Saints are often considered by other faiths...
  • Preferable: Other faiths often consider Latter-day Saints...
Unique and interesting features of the church should be outlined in the introductory paragraphs; I'd say cut the fluff but don't remove material just because it's covered later in the article. ...but what do you think? ~B Fizz (talk) 01:56, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
I think too much has been cut out of the intro. A good intro will summarize the entire article, and neither leave holes nor provide undue space to any one section of the article. The intro will also need to provide a brief answer to the main question on a reader's mind about the subject--in this case, that question is, what is different between the LDS Church and other Christianity?, which is not really discussed here. In addition, compared to other subjects, the intro spends far too much time on the church's extra-Biblical canon, as well as its priesthood structure. We either need to strip these subjects or balance them with other summary content from the article. I would prefer a little of both. COGDEN 17:52, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
I agree with you COgden, but I would emphasize not only what is different, but what is in common. Excluding the beliefs in common with the majority of Christianity, which are the foundational beliefs of the LDS Church, goes too far. --StormRider 18:00, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
The intro used to have that material fairly recently, including both similarities and differences, but it was deleted. COGDEN 18:57, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
I thought it did, but for some reason it was edited out; now would be a good time to bring it back.--StormRider 19:16, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

Intro is getting better

I think this section of the third paragraph is too complex for the intro. I find it hard to follow and my eyes glaze over, i.e., two kinds of Quorums, president, first president, priesthood, laity etc.

The President is at the head of a hierarchy which includes a First Presidency of three men, a Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and other larger bodies (called quorums) of general authorities, who themselves lead and administer down the chain of authority to local congregational leaders. At the local level, these members of the priesthood are men drawn from the laity and work on a purely volunteer basis without stipend. All worthy male members beginning at age 12 are routinely ordained to positions within the church's lay priesthood. Women do not hold positions within this priesthood, but may serve in an array of other leadership roles.

Can this possibly be summarized in a way that tells us that there is a structure with out the detail that loses the reader? Remember it has to be aimed at the general reader not those in the know. (I am not one in the know myself). "The President heads a hierachical structure with various levels down to local congregations. Congregations are lead by male priests drawn from their numbers (laity). Males may be ordained to lay priesthood after age 12. Women are not eligible for the priesthood and may lead in other ways."

Just suggestions. --Fremte (talk) 18:35, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

I think that's a pretty good summary, just the way you describe it above, except I would change "male priests" to "male clergy"--("priests" in the LDS Church are actually 16 year old boys). COGDEN 19:00, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
If someone wants to take my attempt and put it in with errors corrected that'd be good. -- that is an unique use of the term 'priest' I think. --Fremte (talk) 00:47, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
I made some changes to that paragraph, largely based on your suggestion. Anyone/everyone, please review and smooth it out, it felt a bit choppy the way I left it. ...but what do you think? ~B Fizz (talk) 02:14, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
Il est élégant. Improving edit by edit. --Fremte (talk) 02:21, 15 October 2009 (UTC)

Box quote for Joseph Smith

The present version of the article now has a box quote for Joseph Smith. The quote selected is the one where Smith describes what Moroni first said to him, i.e., Smith's name would be had for good and evil, etc. I have no strong objection to including a box quote here, but why this quote in particular? Joseph Smith said a lot of interesting things, and a lot of interesting things were said about him. This particular quote is not really that amenable to floating quote boxes. If we have to have a quotation for this section, what about one of the following?:

  • "I shall die innocent, and it shall yet be said of me--he was murdered in cold blood." --Joseph Smith
  • "Whatever his lapses, Smith was an authentic religious genius, unique in our [U.S.] national history." --Harold Bloom
  • "He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Moroni; that God had a work for me to do." (without the subsequent clause about his name being used for "good and evil", etc.)

COGDEN 18:52, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

I generally do not like quotes, but they have their place. What appeals to me about this specific quote is that "fits" Smith so well. His name is revered among LDS and others of the Latter Day Saint movement; however, it is equally reviled among the anti-cult groups and other Christian churches. He is known as either saint or hereitic; man of righteousness and scoundrel and sexual pervert.
I am not rejecting these other quotes, which are very good, but only emphasizing this one has its place in the article somewhere. --StormRider 19:21, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
One of my problems with that part of the quote is that it is redundant. It says the same thing twice: First, it says "that my name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues", then it says "or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people". Maybe if we just quoted:
"[The angel said] that his name was Moroni; that God had a work for me to do; and that my name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues...."
COGDEN 19:47, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
That works for me; I see no reason not to truncate some quotes when only repetition is present. I also don't think the quotes loses any emphasis that is intended by repetition. --StormRider 20:20, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
The answer to your initial question, "why is the quote there," is that the quote used to be inline. I felt it didn't flow inline, so I threw it in a quote box. I agree with the sentiment "why this quote," and feel that it would fit just fine on JSJr's article, but not so well here. That being said, I don't strongly object to the quote being in this article. Maybe if I think about it more I'll see why others feel it should be included. It does, after all, alludes to how the LDS church was, according to Smith, established by divine decree. As far as truncating the redundancy goes, I have no opinion either way. ...but what do you think? ~B Fizz (talk) 21:42, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
My preference would be just not to include a box here, since we already have a portrait of Smith and space is precious. I definitely don't think the quote should stand inline in the text. Considering how much history is packed into these few paragraphs, there just isn't room for a long quote. COGDEN 00:30, 15 October 2009 (UTC)

NPOV and LDS membership numbers

We need to be careful about the claim that the LDS Church is the "fourth largest Christian denomination in the U.S." This is not true, by any fair and neutral standard. If LDS Church membership is counted the same way that the other competing organizations on the list are counted, it is not in fourth place. For doctrinal reasons, anyone who is baptized into the LDS Church normally becomes a "member" for life, even if they join another faith or become areligious, agnostic or atheist. That's great and useful for internal church records. However, when you compare the LDS Church to other churches, you have to use the same methodology as the other churches, or the result is not neutral. If the United Methodist Church counted their members this way, then any former-Methodist convert to Mormonism would get counted twice, and vice versa. Using a level playing-field for counting membership, the LDS Church would be around 8th place in the U.S., which is still impressive. COGDEN 23:11, 16 October 2009 (UTC)

I was not aware that the Methodist or Southern Baptists kept precise records. The Catholic Church records in a similar manner, when baptized their name is recorded and never removed. Is there any similar method of counting except using the reported membership numbers of churches?
We can report facts and we can report criticisms, but we can't exclude information because we think the comparison is apples and oranges. There is an absolute overabundance of anti-Mormon claims that the size of the LDS Church is barely a shadow of the reported numbers. However, I tend to not get very excited over any church's claim about membership. Report the number and report the claims by third parties and move on. --StormRider 06:39, 17 October 2009 (UTC)
COGDEN's proposal is sensible, neutral, and reasonable. The suggestion by StormRider to "report the claims .. and move on" is how Wikipedia used to be in the old days. But I think the consenus is - especially on mature, important articles like this one - to start "polishing" the articles to be more encyclopedic, more professional. The writing style of "he says, she says" is very amateurish (although it is a fast and simple way for articles to initially get created). But it is now time for editors to move past the "he said, she said" style and start writing in a more encyclopedic fashion. COGDEN's proposal does just that. --Noleander (talk) 12:21, 17 October 2009 (UTC)
I have yet to see any policy change that states we ignore reliable references and substitute opinion. When you find that, please share. I do not encourage a he said, she said style of writing and I do not write in the manner. It is not sensible and neutral to ignore reliable references. It is not sensible to assume that the LDS counting records are somehow different from every other church's count. It is not sensible to, once having made pesonal assumptions, to implement them unilaterally in this article while ignoring all other articles that simply report the membership count of their church.
This desire to be exercised about the membership counts of only some churches is odd. I see the exact same periodic exercise on the Catholic Church article. I find it silly. What Wikipedia has done, does, and will do is report the facst of reliable references. The only thing I have supported is to report those facts. The style of writing is something different entirely and I have not commented on it. -StormRider 15:31, 17 October 2009 (UTC)
I agree with Storm. Can we really determine by activity in any church? I know a lot of Catholics who only go to church on Christmas and Easter, if at all. There is membership and there is activity, and we can only use numbers presented by our sources, and we simply cannot speculate on what the "truth" is. Bytebear (talk) 16:23, 17 October 2009 (UTC)
The ideal situation would be if we could find a citable source that makes the desired comparison. While it may be a policy made in the earlier days of Wikipedia, I think that WP:SYNTH is still a good guideline for what to do in this situation. Find a reliable source that has said something like what COgden is saying, and use that information in the article. That kind of material is controversial; without a good source it will likely be removed from the article.
To state it as a response to Bytebear's question: no. We (here at Wikipedia) should not be determining activity in any church. But if someone else has done a good job of it, then we could and probably should include it in the article. ...but what do you think? ~B Fizz (talk) 18:26, 17 October 2009 (UTC)
Responding to Storm Rider above, the method used by the Catholic Church to report their membership number doesn't matter for purposes of a "top denominations" list, because it would easily come out in first place either way. For the churches further down on the list, the methodology makes a difference. Every church on this particular list counts its members differently. Some, such as the United Methodist Church, have actual rolls. Others, such as the Church of God in Christ and the National Baptist Convention of America, estimate their numbers based on attendance. If there is going to be a direct comparison, we need to not be comparing apples and oranges. For us to be able to cite a ranking list on Wikipedia without a great deal of 'splainin', the methodology has to be the same for all the religions involved. Otherwise, the LDS Church's number will be inflated, since the LDS Church loses a relatively higher percentage of technical "members" soon after they are baptized, and thus has a lot of people on its rolls who are no longer part of the religion, do not consider themselves Mormons, and often are members of other churches.
There is, for example, the A.R.I.S. poll performed by CUNY, which asks adults, "What is your religion, if any?" (Only about 50% of technical adult members of the LDS Church identified the church as their religion.) This poll ranked the LDS Church as the 8th largest "denomination"--which raises another issue, because this poll is directed to religious denominations, and not specific church conferences or organizational bodies. For example, this poll lumps all Methodists together. As to whether we should be comparing "churches" or "denominations", that is another question that complicates things. Many Protestant congregations are affiliated with some body or conference of some sort, but they are also affiliated with a larger denominational grouping. It's hard to say what is the "church" for purposes of a comparison of "churches". If we were to say that the LDS Church was as of 2001 the 8th largest religious "denomination" based on polling data, that would probably be a neutral statement suitable for an article lead.
There is another 2001 study (the Barna study) based purely on weekly attendance, which concludes that the LDS Church is the 7th largest denomination in the U.S. based purely on weekly attendance. This study found that about 71% of people who self-identify as members of the LDS Church (which is itself 50% of the number on the LDS Church rolls) are weekly churchgoers. Since this is a relatively high percentage, the church's ranking increases if "size" is counted this way. COGDEN 22:53, 19 October 2009 (UTC)

Christianity of the LDS Church

Fremte and an anonymous editor had a little scuffle recently about whether we should say that the church is a Christian church. Surely this has been discussed before? In any event, there's no denying that it is a restorationist church. The first two words of the "restorationism" wikipedia article are "In Christianity..."

I think that the phrase "is a restorationist Christian church" (capitalization necessary?) is perfectly correct from all perspectives and this is why: the statement clearly implies that the church is not a part of traditional christianity by using the qualifier "restorationist." I didn't want to revert, though, until we had discussed the issue.

The problem we have is that the average reader would not necessarily know that "restorationist" implies "Christian" in that sense, making either the omission or the inclusion of the term "Christian" look like POV. My opinion: use "Christian." ...but what do you think? ~B Fizz (talk) 04:01, 19 October 2009 (UTC)

Browsed through the archives. Archive 6 has one, and archive 9 has multiple discussions on the issue. Don't forget Archive 10, Archive 11, and Archive 13.
You can't honestly say that you've come to the right conclusion until you have read them all. (That was about 61% sarcastic.)
Aside from developing a newfound respect in StormRider's continued participation in the discussion, I have also discovered that we might need a template box on this talk page of the currently-accepted decision of whether or not to use the word "Christian" to describe the church. (That was about 77% sarcastic, the second half of the sentence; the newfound respect for StormRider is 0% sarcastic.) ...but what do you think? ~B Fizz (talk) 05:17, 19 October 2009 (UTC)
No problem in calling it a Christian church if the statement also says that it is controversial, disputed, or otherwise no a fact. To say it simply "is" is not factual if Mormonism and Christianity says this is a controversy. Think of the reader who happens on the article completely unknowledgeable. They see that it is said to be Christian, so they think, okay, just like Methodists or Greek Orthodox. But it is not. It is at least one of these: Christianity-plus, Christianity-different, non-Christianity. I don't think it can be said simply in such an openning statement, therefore it should 'lose' the word Christian. Unless someone has a better solution. --Fremte (talk) 19:18, 19 October 2009 (UTC)
In response to "It is at least one of these: Christianity-plus, Christianity-differnet, non-Christianity.": Are you saying that "restorationist Christian" is not clear, or are you saying that it is not accurate? I feel that "restorationist Christian" serves the function of differentiating from traditional Christianity.
Also, did you ready any of the past discussions I mentioned? Please don't pretend to be the expert without doing any research. ...but what do you think? ~B Fizz (talk) 19:54, 19 October 2009 (UTC)
I responded as follows to a message on my talk page regarding my reversion of User:Fremte's edits on this and the Mormonism and Christianity page. I took the tone of that message as agressive and demanding, and found the assumption that I am an editor with 'vested interests' alarming. -- ...I don't appreciate, in general, the wholesale edits to LDS articles you have been making without appropriate discussion. When I have the time, I (and others, I'm sure) will go over those edits in more detail. As for these two minor reversions, note that they are only partial and deal with one issue. I did not agree with the material's removal -- that is what a reversion is. The Mormon Christianity issue is a primary reason for regular vandalism and has led to many reversions on this basic church page. The topic has been discussed a myriad of times on talk pages, archived, and talked about again. The LDS Church belongs in the Christian Restorationist category and the term "Christian", in some context, belongs in the lead. Yes, some Christian groups, behaving in an unChristian-like manner, dispute the label but their contention is the issue that belongs later in the main article. ... That basicly states my view on this issue. WBardwin (talk) 21:48, 19 October 2009 (UTC)
This is a perennially-difficult question, how to express this in a way that everyone would agree with. What about the following: "The LDS Church teaches that it is a restoration of the original Christianity of Jesus. While sharing many common elements of Christian doctrine and practice, it is distinct from traditional Christianity because of its additional authority other than the Old and New Testaments." I think both Mormons and non-Mormons would agree with that. COGDEN 23:12, 19 October 2009 (UTC)
It may also be noteworthy that the German, French, Italian, and Portugese Wikipedias all use their equivalent of the word "Christian" to describe the church, while the Spanish Wikipedia takes an approach similar to what COgden has suggested. I didn't take the time to check any other languages. We are not obligated to copy other Wikipedias, but it is insightful to see what they have done. ...but what do you think? ~B Fizz (talk) 01:57, 20 October 2009 (UTC)
The question of Christianity can be quite simple based upon the definition of what is being a Christian. Looking at the definition in an encyclopedia we get:
"1. of, pertaining to, or derived from Jesus Christ or His teachings: a Christian faith."
"2. of, pertaining to, believing in, or belonging to the religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ: Spain is a Christian country."
"3. of or pertaining to Christians: many Christian deaths in the Crusades."
"4. exhibiting a spirit proper to a follower of Jesus Christ; Christlike: She displayed true Christian charity."
"5. decent; respectable: They gave him a good Christian burial."
"6. human; not brutal; humane: Such behavior isn't Christian."
"7. a person who believes in Jesus Christ; adherent of Christianity."
"8. a person who exemplifies in his or her life the teachings of Christ: He died like a true Christian."
Based upon the above definitions it would appear to be rather simple to identify if something is Christian...follow Jesus, his teachings, possess moral teachings, and believes in Jesus? Viola, it is Christian.
The problem evolves when churches begin to define Christianity based upon their own doctrines and beliefs. For example, Trinitarian churches are quite vocal that only Trinitarians can be Christians; every conflicting belief system is outside the pale of Christianity. These churches that are identified as heretical or as cults.
We then come to the final question, who gets to define Christianity? I have always concluded that in a secular, non-partisan milieu such as Wikipedia, the definition that should/must be used is that found in the dictionary. When we are speaking from a POV we then get to choose which definition we use to evaluate churches.
From what context are we speaking; secular or religious? How neutral should we be? Is it okay to upset those in the Anti-cult movement who are adamant about which church is a cult and which is not? How important is defining how each church feels about the other? Many Baptist groups think the Catholic Church is a cult; does that need to be included in the Catholic Church article? The Catholic Church does not accept LDS baptisms i.e. a LDS convert to Catholicism is required to be re-baptized; how important is that here? The vast majority of Christian churches are Trinitarian; how does that impact those churches who are not Trinitarian?
The scholarship of the last 50 years has dramatically changed the landscape of Christian history and how theology is discussed. The idea that there was a single Christian church is denied by every scholar with any degree of expertise. The concept of what the Bible is and how cleanly it exists form the words of the first apostles is understood to have been affected by translation errors, the introduction of new scripture, and differences in where the translation occurred. Along with these changes comes the understanding that what once was thought to be orthodox is not the first truth, but only the one that conquered the competing belief systems. There have always been competing belief system within Christianity and orthodoxy exists only in the mind of the speaker and fellow adherents.
Aside from this long-winded comment, I don't really see a problem with COgden's proposal. Fremte's comments about Christianity plus, etc. are POV. -StormRider 05:54, 20 October 2009 (UTC)
Gee thanks for instructing me thoroughly about POV in your POV comment ! Just as one example, any survey of Christianity shows a canonical list of scripture that does not include any LDS books, or anything else new. None. Not even apocrypha. New claims of divinely inspired scripture is an entirely different issue than textual criticism of the accepted biblical canon. A word here or there, or a suggestion that certain verses or lines have been added or altered does not a new bible make like this church has, or rather several of them. Period. To say other is POV and the stuff of argument. But we're not here for a lesson in LDS apologetics as keen as many are to provide same. Per chance are most of the editors of this page are adherents to this church? .... Well we did get farther towards a more objective and smoother reading this time along, with absolutely no progress the previous time a number of months ago. Later, and I mean indeed later.
COGDEN's suggestion is far more useful and reasonable: "The LDS Church teaches that it is a restoration of the original Christianity of Jesus. While sharing many common elements of Christian doctrine and practice, it is distinct from traditional Christianity because of its additional authority other than the Old and New Testaments." --Fremte (talk) 16:05, 20 October 2009 (UTC)
So those churches that use the Apocrypha in their Bible aren't adding to scripture? So is there a set canon or a canon of choice? Who gets to choose what is acceptable and what is not and where was this authority given? Again, you are talking doctrine and absolutely nothing to do with Christianity. Remove doctrine from the conversation and your argument falls apart in toto. The concept of Sola Scriptura is not held by the Catholic Church because Tradition is held to be of equal value to scripture. The LDS Church does not have a new bible; that is your perception. It is better said that the LDS Church has additional scripture. What is the difference between scripture and Tradition? Are they valued differently in the Catholic Church? What is good for the goose is good for the gander.
I am not discussing LDS apologetics, I am talking from a secular position (review a dictionary) and applying what is logical for one must be logical for all. This is what is so weak in any discussion about Christianity and church doctrine. Too many editors are completely ignorant of the history of Christianity and they confuse doctrine with historical fact. Look at the current discussion on the Talk:Catholic Church page about a similar problem. It is only belief or doctrine that Peter is the founder of the Church of Rome. The unfortunate problem is that there is no historical facts to support the claim. History has no record of Peter ever visiting Rome. It is extremely difficult to get Catholic editors to accept this even with numerous reliable references from other Catholic historians to support the facts.
Religious topics can be just too weird at times. Too often pot is calling kettle black and remaining completely ignorant of their own position. It is too emotional for zealots to see the beliefs of others in a neutral capacity. Fremte is an excellent example. Completely ignores dictionary definitions, only accepts her doctrine of beliefs, and points to arguments that have nothing to do with a definition of Christianity and concludes, "Aha, that is different and therefore it is not Christian." Belief in Jesus and Jesus himself is relegated to a minor hindrance while the doctrine du jour is elevated to an absolute requirement to pass the new definition of what is "Christian". So long to Jesus and bring in Synod of Hippo as the new standard of being a Christian. Aside from using a dictionary, another of the things that has always aided me when analyzing this is asking could Jesus and his disciples be determined Christian by the belief? If they did not possess the belief and/or did not teach it, I concluded quickly that what is being discussed is doctrine and belief of others and has nothing to do with an accurate defintion of Christianity. -StormRider 16:46, 20 October 2009 (UTC)
I think that the view that the LDS Church is not even within the broad category of Christianity is a relatively small minority view, though probably not within WP:FRINGE territory. The official position of most mainstream Christian religions is that the LDS Church is not within traditional Christianity. And the LDS Church itself would agree with that, as would most secular scholars. So I think that's what we have to say on the article. Putting editing aside, however, I think Storm's characterization of the scholarly, areligious, historical perspective is accurate. Christianity started as a pretty broad, pluralistic tent of inventive beliefs about Jesus, almost all of which Jesus himself could never have dreamed of, and gradually narrowed into one particular set of orthodoxies as the power of the Roman Empire overcame viewpoints that had less powerful constituencies. The LDS Church is no further from the present orthodoxy than any of the other Christian sects in the first three centuries A.D. But this is just the secular, historical point of view. The ahistorical, religiously-partisan perspective is a valid one as well, and we can't ignore it for purposes of editing this article. COGDEN 18:59, 20 October 2009 (UTC)

Church or church?

Ok, so I've noticed this in other denominational articles to and thought I'd get opinions here. When reading this article, when the LDS church is referred to simply as "the church", "church" somtimes begins with a capital letter and other times with a lowercase letter. It's not a big deal, but I think an article should have a standard usage. So for the LDS Church, when referred to simply as "the church" in the article, should "church" begin with a capital letter or not? Ltwin (talk) 02:26, 24 October 2009 (UTC)

Although it's difficult to be consistent, on LDS related articles standard usage should generally follow Wikipedia:Manual of Style (Latter Day Saints)#Avoid use of "Mormonisms". So editors should try and use "the church" in this article. Thanks for asking. WBardwin (talk) 03:13, 24 October 2009 (UTC)

Biblical Inerrancy

Question about the viewpoint of the article. If Biblical text was corrupted by man-made doctrine over the millenia (untill the restoration), why don't we see many supposed "Early Church" idea's reflected within the text? Dosen’t that seem counterproductive? For example, LDS are quick to state the idea of the Triune God (Trinity) “can't be found in the Bible” and is “man made”. So if the early church was truly guilty of tampering / corrupting Scripture, wouldn’t main ideas like the Trinity be significantly more prevelant in today's Scripture?

The purpose of this page is for discussion of how to approve the article. Your question seems more interested in having the LDS prove its doctrinal positions to you. Though gaining an understanding of the doctrines of other churches, religions, etc. is laudable, it is off-purpose for this page and Wikipedia.
Short answer to your question: Not necessarily. Any corruption of the Word of God is too much. Attempting to state, "Well, we only have the Comma Johanneum to verify an actual addition was made that that is only one phrase. and therefore not really a significant issue. You are probably familiar with a common criticism of LDS scripture such as the Book of Mormon; that it is an addition to the Bible (a misapplication of the scripture). In this instance, the criticism is better applied in that someone actually added to the actual Bible.
Let's focus on the improving the article. --StormRider 17:48, 22 February 2010 (UTC)

Sources of Authority

All Good points about the article. However, I have one issue about the "Biblical Authority" comment. It reads something like, "Scripture is considered accurate so long as it's translated correctly". Can we expand on that? What does that mean exactly - are we talking about versions of the Bible (ie. KJV, NIV, etc) or are we refering to the LDS proposed "corruption" of the orignal manuscripts?

In regard to the original writtings, I dont see any historical citations in the article for known origins of the Bible. Perhaps a link to the Christian Bible page should be placed there?

So again, what's meant by "Scripture is considered accurate so long as it's translated correctly". Translated from what? We can't aurgue that even the KJV contradicts some foundational LDS teachings. Here's my point - if you haven't seen an "undefiled" manuscript of the Bible (i.e. pre "apostacy") and compared it against the modern KJV, how would you know it was "degraded"? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:05, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

It's a little bit complicated issue. I think there are several points of view within the LDS Church, and no real official pronouncement by the organization. Adherents used to believe (and this is basically how it is portrayed in the Book of Mormon) that there was some pristine original Bible that was complete and perfect, but that over the years it became degraded and corrupted through repeated transcription. We know historically that there never was some pristine original Bible, and I think most Mormons acknowledge that. The Bible didn't even exist as a single book until well after the date that we have surviving manuscripts. Nevertheless, most Mormons believe that each of the individual books underwent some such period of flux during the few years between when they were written and when they were standardized the way that we find them in early manuscripts.
Some Mormons believe that the Joseph Smith Translation represents the Bible "translated correctly". However, other Mormons believe that Smith's translation was incomplete. And then there's the fact that Smith translated some of the same material twice and came up with two different results. Plus, Smith's version carries over some of the known errors of the Authorized King James Version without correcting them. Thus, a few Mormons consider Smith's translation not to be a "translation" at all, but an inspired reworking of the KJV. I'm not sure how fruitful it would be to go into all of that here in this very summary article. COGDEN 23:35, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
I would explain it with slight variations. First, I don't think there is any concept of a "perfect" or "pristine" collection of writings known as the Bible that was lost. LDS believe that there was a perfect gospel given to man by Jesus Christ. Over time that gospel was changed. Precepts were lost and/or was added to. The Creeds for example are seen as the creation of the doctrines of man rather than given by God. The clarity one finds in the Book of Mormon for baptism, views on child baptism are lost in the Bible we now today.
LDS do not believe in "a" Bible or book of scripture. The Bible and the Book of Mormon are simply accounts of God's interaction with man. Since God continues to interact with man then scripture is not static, i.e. revelation continues and the recording of revelations or modern scripture continues. I am not aware of Joseph Smith ever indicating that his translation of the Bible was actually complete, but rather he finished as much as he could.
In brief, simple truths were lost and truth was inflated or tainted with the teachings of man. The result is that the Bible comes to us having been translated multiple times over the centuries by man - translated solely by the intelligence of mankind from original manuscripts no longer in existence. I hope this fleshes out some of COgden's points. --StormRider 00:10, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
I think Storm is on the right track. The Bible (and the Book of Mormon) is/are simply the writings of prophets. They are only as "correct" as they are not only accurate to the original words or best translation of the words of the prophets, but also the correct interpretation by modern prophets and individual confirmation through the Holy Ghost. Bytebear (talk) 01:12, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
Essentially then, the Wikipedia user is left with the same unanswered question. Since the LDS movement openly believes the Bible has undergone several "man-made corruptions", the Bible would then need to be viewed as entirely unreliable. We can't really "pick and choose" what parts are doctrinally pristine. So then, "Scripture is considered accurate so long as it's translated correctly", doesn’t seem like a clear explanation to the average reader. By LDS definition, Scripture is inherently "inaccurate". We shouldn't appear to mince words or be deceptive. Does the Church believe in the final authority of Scripture even when "translated" correctly? No, absolutely not. This is especially true on points when the Bible outright contradicts the Book of Mormon. The article seems to elude that the LDS Church allows debate when considering the Bible's "reliability" (i.e. "as long as it's translated correctly...) Not true. The LDS Church will not accept any teaching (regardless of "translation") that contradicts it's own doctrine. Readers need to understand that point. The LDS Church disagrees with "Traditional Christianity" on this issue – that needs to be explained. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:04, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
It's probably worth mentioning the 8th article of faith, part of the LDS cannon of scripture, for those who are unaware. Also, be aware that the LDS Church is not the only Christian denomination that does not believe in biblical inerrancy or biblical infallibility (see Bible#Christian theology). There is no black-and-white point of disagreement with "traditional Christianity" on the topic. I do agree, however, that "as far as it is translated correctly" is not clear for most non-LDS readers; what, then, can be said to clarify the LDS position? ...but what do you think? ~BFizz 17:20, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
I don't think the statement in this article is any more unclear than the LDS doctrine. To the extent that it is deemed to be "translated correctly", LDS have essentially the same view of the Bible as mainstream Christianity. I don't think there's any need, in a summary article such as this one, to go further and risk giving the impression that Mormons have some established doctrinal answer to what "translated correctly" means, and how you can know the difference.
I wouldn't say that most LDS believe that scripture is inherently inaccurate. Maybe a liberal or academically-minded minority believe that, but the majority believes the Book of Mormon to be 100% accurate, final, and infallible, and the Bible to have been 100% accurate, final, and infallible the day its components were written by its authors. Both books (together with the Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price) are the final scriptural authority. This is the view that Mormons preach from the pulpit. In academia, of course, even Mormon scholars tend to be more realistic about the inherent limitations, imprecision, unfinality, and unauthorability of human language, just like mainstream Christian scholars. That's not a difference between Mormonism and mainstream Christianity--that's a similarity. COGDEN 18:52, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
I still feel the issue needs to re-worded or explained. To the average non-LDS reader, it's very unclear. Keep in mind, the page will probably be viewed mainly by non-LDS readers - so it should be spelled out.
Also, not wanting to stray from the subject too much, but I don't agree that "Mainstream Christianity" shares a similar Biblical view with the LDS Church. In many ways, that reality underscores the need to revise the article somewhat. Not able to speak for everyone, but the foundation of the "Protestant" or "Evangelical" Church is rooted in Sola Scriptura (Latin for "Scripture alone"). Not true for the LDS Church. That's why when you visit a non-LDS home, if the person professes to be a "Christian" (even a marginal one), they will only reference the Bible. Moreover, you can easily alarm them when you begin to spout references from the Book of Mormon. Why? Because no other work is recognized by Evangelicalism - it isn't natural to Christian thinking. Surely you've experienced that scenario. So then, no doctrinally based, conservative Protestant would agree with the proposal that the LDS church shares the same view of Scripture. Superficially, perhaps. But when you actually spend a few minutes examining the differences, the gap only widens until it's too large for us to bridge.
How do you think the section should read?
Please sign your edits on the discussin page with four tildes (~) or by clicking the sixth from the left logo above on the banner (it looks like a pen drawing an "f"). --StormRider 18:43, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
First, Anon, you cannot equate Sola Scriptura with Christianity. That view represents a minority Christian view which is not shared by Catholicism or Orthodoxy (Protestants being less numerous than they). Second, we are talking about the Mormon view of the Bible as the word of God--not the only word of God. And in that context, liberal Protestant and Catholic academia is now quite comfortable finding evidences of human thought and authorship within the Bible, as are liberal Mormon apologists. Most conservative Mormon academic scholars would probably disagree with that, and attribute any seeming imperfections in the Bible to transcription error, believing that the original pristine texts were a perfect representation of the unchanging mind of God. COGDEN 19:55, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
Not sure how germane this is to our topic, but I wanted to briefly respond. When we consider "Christianity", in the broader sense, I agree with COGDEN.
However in my humble belief, Sola Scriptura, in its purest form, does represent the majority of Protestant groups. For example, mainstream Baptists - the largest Evangelical group -recognize no other authority apart from Scripture. In addition, major public figures within Orthodoxy such as Billy Graham, Charles Swindoll and John F. MacArthur, all adhere and teach the doctrine of "Scripture Alone". Not that these individuals have "absolute truth" or "perfect theology" - by no means. Rather, it simply reflects that within Orthodoxy, the infallibility and uniqueness of present day Scripture is openly taught.
I would agree that Sola Scriptura is the predominant view of Protestants, and especially American Protestants. But as I mentioned above, these views Protestant views do not define Christianity, and are in fact a minority within Christianity, most Christians being either Catholic or Orthodox. In fact, not that I'm endorsing his views, but Harold Bloom has argued that basically, the non-American form of Christianity (and non-American Judaism, for that matter) is not directly about the Bible text at all, but about the creeds and doctrinal formalisms established centuries ago by the preeminent Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, and Jewish clergy. It's really only within the U.S. that the Bible has emerged for the first time in history with a life of its own within a new American tradition similar to Gnosticism. Thus, he thinks that on a certain level, Mormons have more in common with Southern Baptists than either of them have in common with traditional Christianity. Of course, Mormons and Southern Baptists themselves would undoubtedly disagree. COGDEN 18:53, 21 January 2010 (UTC)

I appreciate your reply. Moreover, even if our conversation is viewed as less germane to the topic, I’m happy to continue our dialog. From a Baptist standpoint (please don’t paint me with a broad-brush), my faith group does adhere to the concept of Sola Scriptura. So I do speak from experience on this point. In fact, I’ve never been obligated to any "creeds" or "ordinances" that truly cannot be located somewhere in the 66 books of Scripture. Granted, I’m not a theologian and can’t explain with exactness every doctrinal detail – the LDS can't either.

However, let me try to explain why the mainstream (i.e. Orthodox or Traditional Christianity) believes in Sola Scriptura. I’m not referring to Catholics which frankly, have disappointed Christianity all together (another topic). We believe and place faith in the inerrant, unchanging nature of God’s word. The same way the LDS place faith in the Book of Mormon as “another testament”. However, unlike Mormonism, mainstream Christianity believes verses like 1 Peter 1:25, Isaiah 40:8 & 59:21, and Matthew 24:35 (to name a few), all indicate the word of God will never change or depart from humanity. It stands opposite to the LDS inspired notion that God’s word has changed over the centuries.

So here’s the dilemma… without placing faith that God’s word has remained pristine, we have no way to know what teachings have been corrupted or not. If God said it would abide forever, I plan to take Him at his word – period. I plan to accept His enduring Testimony. Why would anyone question that? He's the same God who delivered men through a blazing furnace and a nation through the Red Sea. Why couldn't He then miraculously preserve a book? In turn, have you, as an educated and independent person, examined the historical background of the Book of Mormon? Joseph Smith? You’re comfortable and satisfied with you findings? And you’ve arrived to the irrevocable conclusion that a "restoration" was needed because God’s word - the word He promised would never change - was eventually changed. Was there a time limit on His promise that ended after 100 AD? The dichotomy is very interesting. —Preceding unsigned comment added by HBSOCAL (talkcontribs) 15:09, 22 January 2010 (UTC)

Yes, this caliber of conversation is not germane to the article and it moves into the area of...debate. Christian orthodoxy is defined by Catholicism simply because they are they largest block of Christians in the world by far. As far as scripture being inerrant, you may want to look at "Lost Scriptures" and "Lost Christianities" by Bart D. Ehrman, "From Jesus to Christianity" by L. Michael White, "The Mystery and Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls" by Hershel Shanks. None of these scholars are LDS and all of them can demonstrate where the Bible today has been...modified by man. In fact, one quick one to look at is the Comma Johanneum. This two verses do not exist in the oldest texts making most scholars think that they were added to the Bible.
As far as the article goes, LDS are literalists generally when it comes to interpreting scripture. They do not think that God changes his word, but that God still speaks to mankind. It is of little value to exchange verses; suffice it to say that LDS believe their doctrines are based upon scripture. Cheers. --StormRider 15:54, 22 January 2010 (UTC)

Thanks for your reply. You're right, it's not germane to the article. However, I checked out some of your sources. Nothing really thought provoking. Will continue to review articles for potentail errors / points of discussion. Thanks.HBSOCAL (talk) 18:49, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

Christianity box?

Would it be appropriate, instead of simply including the Christianity portal link, to use the {{christianity}} template in this way?

{{christianity | state=collapsed | expand-nontrinitarian=yes }}

Do note that the link on the template in the nontrinitatian section points to Latter Day Saint movement, and not to this article directly (so technically this particular article isn't "Part of the series on Christianity"). Though that could be changed. ...but what do you think? ~B Fizz (talk) 07:39, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

My gut reaction is a vote no. Per MOS:IMAGE, the pic used on the template (a large, ornate crucifix) not only lacks relevance to the LDS Church but is considered taboo by LDS faithful. The current portal link seems sufficient to me. —Eustress talk 06:13, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
I have proposed that Jesus' face be used on the template instead of a cross. I don't know how that will turn out, but is the image your only concern, Eustress? ...but what do you think? ~B Fizz (talk) 03:16, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
The template image has been changed. I'm going to place it in the article, and see what the reaction is. ...but what do you think? ~B Fizz (talk) 01:46, 11 December 2009 (UTC)

Removed text

The following text has been tagged as lacking a supporting citation for significant amounts of time and have been removed until verification from a reliable source can be found:

After the American Civil War, the church also came under nation-wide criticism[citation needed] after the Mountain Meadows massacre in southern Utah. (Tagged for over 2 months)
About ten percent of its funding also comes from income on investments and real estate holdings.[citation needed] (Tagged for over 11 months)
Eustress talk 19:20, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
I removed an unreliable reference from Finances of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints supporting this same statement. The cited website said it got its statistics from Chapter 7 of the Ostlings' Mormon America (HarperSanFrancisco, 1999). Though the data is 10 years old, it may still be relevant. ...but what do you think? ~B Fizz (talk) 03:35, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
I don't know anything about the financial statements, but the Mountain Meadows massacre statement is easily cited. I'll find something. COGDEN 17:35, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
  1. ^ Cite error: The named reference References in text was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ Building Faith With the Book of Mormon by Glenn L. Pearson, Bookcraft:SLC, 1986, p. 57)
  3. ^ Cantwell, Robert W. (2007). "Church Auditing Department Report, 2006". Ensign. 37 (5): 6. Retrieved 2008-02-22. The Church Auditing Department has been granted access to all records and systems necessary to evaluate the adequacy of controls over receipts of funds, expenditures, and safeguarding of Church assets. The Church Auditing Department is independent of all other Church departments and operations, and the staff consists of certified public accountants, certified internal auditors, certified information systems auditors, and other credentialed professionals. Based upon audits performed, the Church Auditing Department is of the opinion that, in all material respects, contributions received, expenditures made, and assets of the Church for the year 2006 have been recorded and administered in accordance with appropriate accounting practices, approved budgets, and Church policies and procedures.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  4. ^ Bob Mims, "Mormons: high conservativism, low divorce, big growth - 3/99," Salt Lake Tribune, 1999-MAR-6, at:
  5. ^ Book of Mormon 2 Nephi 25:26 reads, "And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins."