Talk:The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints/Archive 17

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neutrality disputed tag

Since this discussion has still not ended, the current article's version should at least be tagged with "the neutrality of this article is disputed". This is the minimum that should be done, and not discuss neutrality on the talk page all the time but revert any changes done to the article's page, as if the current text of the article is undisputed. -- (talk) 16:50, 27 April 2011 (UTC)

New religious movements work group tag on this article

Can anyone explain why, after all of the "Mormonism is/is not a cult" discussions here on WP, this article is still marked with the New religious movements work group tag under WikiProject Religion? -- (talk) 23:38, 4 May 2011 (UTC)

For the same reason Jehovah's Witnesses is tagged the same way. – AJLtalk 00:02, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
wp:Other stuff exists is not a particularly enlightening answer in this context. -- (talk) 20:16, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
The term "new religious movement" is problematic if taken literally, because the LDS Church is not that new, and far newer movements such as Pentecostalism are not included. But as I understand it, the term has a fairly well-defined sociological meaning, and it has most to do with a separation from the dominant religious culture. The LDS Church certainly started out as a "new religious movement" under that definition, continuing at least until it abandoned polygamy. Whether it still is an NRM, or whether it has assimilated into the dominant conservative religious culture of the United States, I'm not familiar enough with the literature to know whether or not there is a consensus. If the Jehovah's witnesses are still considered an NRM, then the LDS Church probably is too. But a quick search on Google Scholar reveals at least some publications arguing that the Jehovah's Witnesses are not an NRM. To maintain the tag here, I think there needs to be a scholarly consensus that the LDS Church is still an NRM. Has anybody established that? COGDEN 20:39, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
Sort of like the New Forest or Brigham being forever Young. -- Avanu (talk) 20:52, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
There are sources that argue that both of them are NRMs, or label them as such. Both should be included in the Workgroup. Remember that the work-group inclusion is not the same as categorizing content. I understand not applying a label on the entry itself if it is controversial or contested, but we're just talking about a workgroup tag on the talk page. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 20:54, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
I think we're talking about both, because the article page is currently tagged with the "Christian new religious movements" category, which is controversial in both its "Christian" and "new religious movements" aspects. COGDEN 21:30, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
The term new religious movement is essentially just an alternative for the more pejorative term "cult". The LDS Church article as previously been removed from all of the (anti-)cult related categories, except for the ones related to this work group. The LDS Church article is 1 of only 7 featured articles for that workgroup (alongside such luminaries as L. Ron Hubbard & Sharon Tate), and 1 of 266 High-importance articles for that workgroup (along with Branch Davidians & Peoples Temple). This appears to add up to yet another venue for labeling the LDS Church a cult here at WP, albeit more subtly then the earlier, now discarded methods for doing this. -- (talk) 22:45, 5 May 2011 (UTC)

A tagalog translation of the Page.

I would like to know if the author of this page would be interested in a Tagalog translation of this page for the benefit of Tagalog speakers. If so, how would one do this? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:33, 26 May 2011 (UTC)

You can upload it to The Tagalog Wikipedia! I dont think It has a Later Day Saints article yet. The Resident Anthropologist (talk)•(contribs) 19:41, 26 May 2011 (UTC)

Disambig nav aid at top of article

Per WP:PRIMARYTOPIC / wp:DISAMBIGUATION, this article is a "primary topic" for Latter Day Saint-named denominations--in which cases a disambig tag is to be placed on the top of this page as a navigation aid for readers looking for other uses of Latter Day Saint, the best listing for which is to be found at List of sects in the Latter Day Saint movement, which includes the Church of Christ (Latter Day Saints), the RLDS, and so forth. Please reference approproiate guidelines before re-deleting to avoid editing according to merely wp:DONTLIKEIT.--Hodgson-Burnett's Secret Garden (talk) 15:11, 1 June 2011 (UTC)

I read the guidelines, but I must have missed the part that says that you have to have a disambiguation at the top of the primary topic. I deleted the last one because it was more confusing than enlightening, and if it's going to confuse people before they even start reading the article, something needs to be changed. This version may be slightly better, but the stuff about the upper-case "D" has got to go. I'm not saying it's not important - it is. It just doesn't belong in the lede. Or before the lede in this case. Adjwilley (talk) 17:09, 1 June 2011 (UTC)Adjwilley
A better solution might be to put the list of other sects in the See also section. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Adjwilley (talkcontribs) 17:46, 1 June 2011 (UTC)
It appears to have been added in 2006, here. And here is a talkpage discussion.--Hodgson-Burnett's Secret Garden (talk) 20:00, 1 June 2011 (UTC)

Joseph Smith founded a movement?

The lead states the Church is "...the largest denomination originating from the Latter Day Saint movement founded by Joseph Smith, Jr. in Upstate New York in 1830". This seems misleading as it implies that Joseph Smith founded a movement. In fact he founded (formed) a Church called "The Church of Christ." Perhaps a movement followed the Church, but written this way the article is either inaccurate or misleading.

Could we not write that the Church is "...the largest denomination originating from the Church of Christ which was founded by Joseph Smith, Jr. in Upstate New York in 1830"?

--Canadiandy talk 05:36, 13 June 2011 (UTC)

Sorry, found another one. Later on it reads, "Like the other churches of the Latter Day Saint movement,...". This seems unnecessary to point out as the Church is already linked to that movement in the preceding paragraph, and their restorationist beliefs are not causally connected to the other churches of the "Latter Day Saint movement". I see no key reason to leave the statement in. Please review my edit and let me know if there are concerns.--Canadiandy talk 05:44, 13 June 2011 (UTC)

"the Church of Christ which was founded by Joseph Smith" is misleading because of several things. It is not the only church called "Church of Christ" and it does not adaquately convey the unique beliefs that are brought out in LDS/Mormonism. What is wrong with the word "movement"? -- Avanu (talk) 05:48, 13 June 2011 (UTC)
Avanu. I respect your position that the name 'Church of Christ' might be problematic because there are other churches of the same name. The common sense solution seems to be to add a simple qualifier (i.e. a disambiguation link or the simple phrase "...named "The Church of Christ" in its early years"). My problem with the term 'movement' is that one is not founded. A movement follows something and suggests populist origins whereas 'organizing' (apologist) or 'creating' (polemic) or 'forming' (more neutral) a church suggests at least leadership by the founder. It would be POV to suggest that Joseph Smith formed a Church based on a populist demand. There are more than sufficient sources to identify that he organized/formed/created a church. --Canadiandy talk 04:17, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
I am seeing no argument here. May i call the question as to whether we can write "...the largest denomination originating from "The Church of Christ" as founded by Joseph Smith, Jr. in Upstate New York in 1830." The careful placement of the words 'as founded' should address the concern that not all Churches of Christ were founded by Joseph Smith. However, if any would like to add the disambiguation links (not my expertise) I would be just fine with that too.--Canadiandy talk 01:07, 15 June 2011 (UTC)
One other thought. Could it not be written "...originating from "The Church of Christ"(later, 1838, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints") as founded by Joseph Smith, Jr. in Upstate New York in 1830." I had avoided that one at first based on the fact that it might be insensitive to some outside the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Yet I am not aware of any splinter groups (yes the Church could be referred to as a splinter group if one wanted to write such in a neutral way) within the so-called "Latter Day Saint Movement" that left prior to the 1838 revelation. So in essence all would share the history of being referred to at one time as "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints". In fact, the absence of the hyphen distinguishes the church then from the church now so that all should be comfortable with this wording.--Canadiandy talk 01:32, 15 June 2011 (UTC)

Use of Abbreviated form of the Church

From the Church's style guide (meant for journalists and other media) we read the Church's request that,

"When a shortened reference is needed, the terms "the Church" or "the Church of Jesus Christ" are encouraged."

While members of the Church might respectfully be identified as LDS (Latter-Day Saints) the Church is not, by belief, theirs. This phraseology would then be insensitive. I recognize that there are other entities identified as "The Church of Jesus Christ", but I would propose we use the abbreviated term, "the Church" ('the' not capitalized). I know this is a common descriptor for the Catholic Church, but clearly the specificity of the article's topic should allow us this contextual latitude.

1. Avoids an insensitive and inaccurate title usage. 2. Respects the good faith request and allowance of the Church. 3. Is less wordy.

Thoughts?--Canadiandy talk 05:59, 13 June 2011 (UTC)

Its not insensitive, its descriptive. LDS might have a style guide for how *they* prefer to be named or written about, but that doesn't mean that it has the same goals as Wikipedia. Of course in the right context, there is nothing wrong with saying "the church has 12 summer programs" or whatever the case might be. But in a general sense, in order to correctly identify *this* religion, the most proper form is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (lowercase 'D' in 'day') This is a specific denomination/faction within the larger Latter Day Saint movement or belief system, whatever term you like. Any shortening of that name should follow from the goal of making sure readers recognize clearly what entity we are referring to. -- Avanu (talk) 06:14, 13 June 2011 (UTC)
In this particular article "the Church" generally seems appropriate because the article is about a particular church, not the movement. 72Dino (talk) 06:18, 13 June 2011 (UTC)
I would say it would depend on the specific context. I don't see it as insensitive to use a more specific descriptor. -- Avanu (talk) 06:27, 13 June 2011 (UTC)
While in some cases within the article referring simply to "the Church" or "the church" would be ok, this edit by Canadiandy1 is problematic because it eliminates useful and standard encyclopedic content in that the first sentence was changed from "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (abbreviated as the LDS Church..." to this "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (abbreviated as the Church...". Ltwin (talk) 06:33, 13 June 2011 (UTC)
Avanu. It's both descriptive and insensitive. When the TLA (Three Letter Acronym) is broken out it reads as 'The Church of Latter-day Saints". It is a key tenet that the followers believe it belongs to Christ and not the members, so such a usage is insensitive. You wouldn't refer to the Jehovah's Witness faith as JW, or the Church of Jesus Christ as the "JCs". The term LDS Church has been attributed by modern media and when a major religion identifies their dissatisfaction with a term in such a respectful manner, I can't see how we would want to do otherwise. If Jewish leadership communicated their offense at being referred to as the "Jews' Church" we would be all over correcting that. How is this different? This may take work, but it should be done.--Canadiandy talk 14:32, 13 June 2011 (UTC)
For better or worse, we (Wikipedia editors) need to be guided by the way The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is commonly referred to in reliable secondary sources. By that standard, I believe we have little or no option but to acknowledge and accept the terms "LDS Church" and "Mormon Church", regardless of whether these labels are preferred or recommended by the church itself, or even whether some segment of the church's membership may object to them. Richwales (talk · contribs) 15:06, 13 June 2011 (UTC)
I have to agree with Richwales. Your belief that your church is of Christ is not changed by what label others give to you. You might go look up the difference in meaning between "of" (ownership) and "of" (composition). It might help ease your mind about what is actually being said when the phrase The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is spoken. -- Avanu (talk) 15:21, 13 June 2011 (UTC)
I agree that removing the LDS's takes away from the clarity of the article. LDS church is a perfectly acceptable name, and calling it "the Church" makes us sound stuffy and arrogant. Like, "yeah, there are other 'churches' out there, but we are "the Church." It's a noble effort, but I don't think this is the place. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Adjwilley (talkcontribs) 15:24, 13 June 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────For clarification of my earlier comment, referring to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as "the Church" within this article is appropriate unless it confuses the reader in the particular sentence or paragraph. Reference to an abbreviated name of the subject, such as the Church, in a Wikipedia article is common. However, I do not think the first sentence should include "abbreviated as the Church" because it is not so abbreviated in common usage, just in this article. However, a short paragraph on why the Church prefers that its members use that terminology (takes the focus off of Jesus Christ) may be appropriate (see this talk/sermon/speech by Boyd K. Packer recently.) 72Dino (talk) 15:43, 13 June 2011 (UTC)

From that reference you just posted:
"The use of the revealed name, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (D&C 115:4), is increasingly important in our responsibility to proclaim the name of the Savior throughout all the world. Accordingly, we ask that when we refer to the Church we use its full name wherever possible.
"When referring to Church members, we suggest 'members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.' As a shortened reference, 'Latter-day Saints' is preferred."
So by the logic we're hearing from Canadandy1, its ok to say "I'm a Latter-day Saint", but not "I'm in a church composed of Latter-day Saints"? Like I said a bit earlier, the first "of" and the second "of" aren't the same meaning. Grasp that, and your problems are over. -- Avanu (talk) 15:55, 13 June 2011 (UTC)
Just a little irony. . . Today's headline on the front page of BYU's Daily Universe reads, "LDS Church seeks balanced immigration laws." — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:13, 13 June 2011 (UTC)
Newspaper headlines are the original Twitter :) in terms of space limits. Space is so tight in a headline that "LDS Church" is probably the shortest and least ambiguous way to identify the church. —C.Fred (talk) 22:30, 13 June 2011 (UTC)
So from what I am reading convenience trumps respect? There is no such church as the 'LDS Church'. Never was. The term is as offensive to some as the term 'Xmas' is to others. In fact at least the term 'Xmas' retains its allusion to Christ (especially from the perspective that the "X" comes from the Greek letter Chi, which is the first letter of the Greek word Χριστός, translated as "Christ"), 'LDS Church' removes it completely. And instead of respecting the good will request of a major organized religion whose people are frequently the victims of bigotry in modern media we are collectively taking the position that because it might be a little difficult, and because it is popularly done (wasn't it popular in 1940s Germany to call the Jewish people some terms that they didn't appreciate either) that we will continue to refer to the name of an organized religion by an acronym which is both inaccurate and offensive?

@Avanu, It is okay to say "I'm a Latter-day Saint." It is also okay to say I am a member of a Church whose membership is composed of Latter-day Saints. But it is not okay to say that the Church is directed (of) by the Latter-day Saints or alternatively to suggest that the Church can be reduced to the sum of who believes in it. Like saying the United States of America is simply the "Land of Americans." Isn't there more to America than just who's in it? I don't believe we take issue with Catholics or Anglicans in their position that God directs and governs their churches through revelation. This would be tantamount to calling them a simple business group which is insensitive to any faith group. I believe the only other acceptable term I have seen apart from those identified by the Church in their style guide is that of 'Church of Jesus Christ (LDS)'. This reduces the wordage as some would prefer, denotes their difference from other "Church[es] of Jesus Christ" and still accepts the reality that its members are referred to as Latter-day Saints. Feel free to use the less favorable terms 'Mormon' or 'LDS' when referring to members, but I will repeat that it is poor form to acronymize the church name of a practicing faith community. What's wrong is wrong, even if everybody is doing it, and what's right is right, even if nobody is doing it. It will take some work, but I think we will all be proud in the end for taking the neutral yet higher road toward courtesy and dignity.--Canadiandy talk 04:01, 14 June 2011 (UTC)

I can't believe that we are even having this discussion. My position on the subject is that I profoundly respect the opinion and thoughts of the leadership of the LDS Church and by using an abbreviation would never want to offend anyone. In places where the context allows for the simple use of "the church" or "Church" in the article and no confusion results, I am fine with that usage. However, that being said, there are times when that is not possible, and it is not desirable to write out the entire name of the church all the time. So I think it is perfectly acceptable in those circumstances to use "LDS Church" is not wrong or offensive. It is an abbreviation and to compare it to anti-semitic slurs is disrespectful to Jews who have had to suffer at the hands of anti-semitism. Ltwin (talk) 04:29, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
For what it's worth, I support everything Ltwin stated in the above paragraph. 72Dino (talk) 05:15, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
This article talk page is not the ideal place to be discussing or arguing this point. I strongly recommend to Canadiandy that he should go read Wikipedia:Manual of Style (Latter Day Saints). If (as I imagine is likely) he disagrees with what is there, he may wish to get involved in the discussion on the associated talk page. I would point out to Canadiandy that the "manual of style" guidelines are the result of a lengthy process of discussion and consensus, so he should not simply jump in and boldly rewrite the MOS material to be more to his liking — that would be an excellent way to get himself blocked (or at least topic-banned) and deprive the rest of us of whatever positive, constructive contributions he might otherwise have been able to make here. Richwales (talk · contribs) 04:52, 14 June 2011 (UTC)

ltwin. Your point is respected. Your commentary on my motive is highly inappropriate. I refer to the Jewish situation because it is something which must never be forgotten and which began with religious disrespect. How dare you accuse me of being disrespectful to Jews. I refer to their history because I believe it is important we never forget it, and that to forget it and not hold things up to that context is insensitive. You agree with this Ltwin, 72dino?? Canadiandy talk 15:06, 14 June 2011 (UTC)

I think he simply means that it is not a fair comparison by a matter of scale. When you have respected church members and leaders using these same terms without blinking twice and when the website addresses are '' and '', its probably safe enough to admit its not really that big of a deal. After all lots of people call themselves things, but what matters more is what we actually do, don't you think? -- Avanu (talk) 15:28, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
(ec)Yes, I do agree with Ltwin on that issue. I do not think using the term "LDS Church" can in anyway be compared to the suffering of the Jews. I understand your intent that using the Church's preferred wording shows respect, and I support the use of the term "the Church" or even "the Church of Jesus Christ" if the usage is clear in the context in the article (but use LDS Church where needed instead of the longer full name), but I don't think that was a good comparison. 72Dino (talk) 15:33, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
I'm going to keep a cool head here. My reference to 1940s Germany is appropriate because it identifies how religious groups begin to be discriminated against, by subtleties including the way we refer to them by name. I never once suggested the level of persecution is the same between the two faiths. You made that leap, not I. But I do hold that persecution of a religion often begins with disrespect. And I do believe that one of the key ways we show can show respect for those who suffered in the 1940s is by seeing such things never happen again by standing up vigilantly against all forms of religious discrimination. If I made any error it was in assuming in good faith that contributors here would show me good faith. I will withdraw myself from this discussion as an olive branch to the contributors here and because my aim is build a greater respect for all faith groups. I will leave with a courteous scolding that in asking for a little sensitivity be shown the labeling of the name of the church, I was ironically accused of insensitivity towards the Jewish people. An apology would have sufficed. A willingness to recognize the frustrations felt by many Latter-day Saints would have been appreciated. What I received I can only identify as intolerance. Avanu and Ltwin, I hope you will reflect on what happened here and not let history repeat itself. With both disappointment and hope,--Canadiandy talk 00:04, 15 June 2011 (UTC)
My impression is that you're working too hard on finding ways for people to give or receive offense or intolerance, and not hard enough on just accepting that it is a perfectly fine shorthand that many people in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints use daily. Rather than have a little pity party paragraph again, just drop it and realize that our goal here is to fairly cover this topic, not overly worry about unusual requests for sensitivity. Every one of us has acknowledged that the terminology you suggest has a place, but at the same time, we are practical editors and not just editors who *must* follow every whim or preference of the members of this church. Take it easy, and you'll be fine. -- Avanu (talk) 05:34, 15 June 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for your advice, Avanu. I'm sorry I posted my "pity party paragraph again". As you advised, I'll drop it and take it easy. Thanks for the kind suggestions. Enjoy your work here. --Canadiandy talk 14:50, 15 June 2011 (UTC)
My point in saying what you quoted was to make it clear that no one is out to get you. A LOT of the editors who write for the LDS-related articles are members of the church. To take a tone like 'gosh, everyone hates me', especially using the word 'accused' when most of the people who write here are incredibly sympathetic to your position is just taking the focus away from the issue and making it about Canadiandy. I believe that you personally are very involved on this particular topic, that is, you are a Mormon, and a very partisan one from what I can tell. There is nothing at all wrong with that, in fact, it represents a viewpoint that is very helpful for such articles. However, there are also editors who despite attempts to describe Mormonism neutrally, do have a personal position that is in opposition to it. These editors are welcome also. So between all the various types of editors, hopefully we get a fairly impartial article as the end result. Not one that is written like a pro-Mormon article, nor one that bashes and lambasts it too much either. We're going to have debates and heated remarks at times, but hopefully we're all here to contribute to the goal of delivering general human knowledge impartially. -- Avanu (talk) 15:39, 15 June 2011 (UTC)
Okay, I'm also sorry for figuring everyone is out to get me, taking a 'gosh everyone hates me' tone, and becoming personally involved in this topic because I'm Mormon. Thanks for pointing that out. I'll make sure I don't make those mistakes again. Thanks for the help.--Canadiandy talk 01:24, 16 June 2011 (UTC)
Really? I'm just done with this. Its like you can't see what you're doing. -- Avanu (talk) 01:26, 16 June 2011 (UTC)
Sorry for not seeing what I'm doing. Thanks for pointing that out.--Canadiandy talk 01:45, 16 June 2011 (UTC)


I have reverted two good faith edits made by, but I don't want to hit WP:3RR (more than 3 reverts) on this so I'm just mentioning it here. Each revert was essentially done with an eye toward overall article quality, but I don't want to go beyond 3 reverts just for this. Just wanting to bring it up here so if anyone else is watching they can take appropriate steps if needed. -- Avanu (talk) 02:45, 16 June 2011 (UTC)

I think I might be at 3 now (in 24 hours), having reverted in order to keep the link for Latter Day Saint movement in the lead. -- Avanu (talk) 14:49, 16 June 2011 (UTC)
Incidentally, Canadiandy has removed the link again, but I don't want to run afoul of the 3RR rule by going beyond 3 reverts, so if anyone else wants to address this, please do. Thanks. -- Avanu (talk) 15:03, 16 June 2011 (UTC)
Canadiandy, I think most people here understand and accept that you are trying in good faith to improve this article. However, in addition to the point already made that it's necessary to strike a balance in order to maintain a neutral viewpoint (see WP:NPOV), you need to realize that this one article is part of an assorted collection of pages covering various aspects of a wider religious / historical phenomenon. I would strongly recommend you take some time to read the various other articles on this overall topic (starting with Latter Day Saint movement and branching off as appropriate), in order to gain a wider perspective on the extent of the subject we're dealing with here. Also, please understand that what is already here has arisen through a lengthy (and still ongoing) process of compromise and consensus — not to suggest that the current text is graven in stone and must not be changed, but you simply have to take careful note of what has already been going on before boldly jumping in and rewriting things in a way that may seem more proper to you, but which others may see as unduly one-sided. This is not a "pro-vs.-anti-Mormon" thing — some of the people here who have been disagreeing with you and advocating for the current text (myself included) are active, believing, practising members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have reinstated the earlier version of the lead sentence (mentioning the "Latter Day Saint movement founded by Joseph Smith Jr."), and I would urge you to allow this text to remain as is until you have done your homework (see above) and until/unless you can form a genuine consensus with other editors (here on the article's talk page) for an alternative wording. Richwales (talk · contribs) 15:31, 16 June 2011 (UTC)
First of all, approaching over-editing and then recruiting others here to edit for you looks a little sketchy. As to the accusation of pro-Mormon bias, pro-Mormon would look like, "Jesus Christ restored His Church through the prophet Joseph Smith." Anti-Mormon looks like, "Joseph Smith founded the Latter Day Saint Movement". Neutral looks like, "Joseph Smith organized the Church of Christ (later named the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints)". There is more than sufficient reliable, peer-reviewed sourcing for this history. Why are we scared to allow the connection of Joseph Smith to the clearly held academic knowledge that Joseph Smith founded the Church of Christ? Do we need help resolving this?--Canadiandy (talk) 05:00, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
I disagree. In my view, what you call "anti-Mormon" is fairly neutral; a real "anti-Mormon" version would surely include such tendentious terms as "cult", "fraud", and "non-Christian". As for what should be done at this point, the sort of changes you're proposing potentially affect a whole series of articles and really need to be bumped up to a higher level; otherwise, any change made here is only going to be reverted by people involved with the larger subject. I'll repeat something I wrote here a few days ago: This article talk page is not the ideal place to be discussing or arguing this point. I strongly recommend to Canadiandy that he should go read Wikipedia:Manual of Style (Latter Day Saints). If (as I imagine is likely) he disagrees with what is there, he may wish to get involved in the discussion on the associated talk page. I would point out to Canadiandy that the "manual of style" guidelines are the result of a lengthy process of discussion and consensus, so he should not simply jump in and boldly rewrite the MOS material to be more to his liking — that would be an excellent way to get himself blocked (or at least topic-banned) and deprive the rest of us of whatever positive, constructive contributions he might otherwise have been able to make here. Richwales (talk · contribs) 05:24, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
Richwales. My point is that there is nothing 'pro-Mormon' about my proposal. I am not sure if you are making MOS points relative to the previous discussion we had (which is not relevant here) as to the Church name style. The point about the name ("The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints - hyphen omitted, capital 'D'ay) is unique in the history. Do not confuse it with the present name of the larger church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - hyphen included and lower-case 'day'). In fact, I think this is where I am making a point that has possibly not been made before on the other pages. And yes that may mean others may wish to adapt there but there is no deadline so we shouldn't fear. The key point then is that all (as far as I am aware) of the different churches who are placed under the umbrella of the Latter Day Saint movement were at one time affiliated with "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" (no hyphen, capital 'D'ay). Therefore such a term should not be viewed as offensive, in fact it might be seen as a common ground among each denomination, and is therefore not only more accurate, but also more sensitive to ALL churches associated to the Latter Day Saint movement. I will respectfully not reply to your comment about me editing MOS.--Canadiandy (talk) 05:43, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" is a historical name for "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints". To use such similar names or even a shortened "The Church of Christ" or "The Church of Jesus Christ" would REALLY confuse the reader about our intent. Saying "The church made up of Latter Day Saints" is a little less confusing, but saying "Latter Day Saint movement" gives us a label to point to and help people with the concept of 'those churches that have a connection to Joseph Smith'. I think you're trying to do things in good faith, but I'm not sure whether the things you're choosing to focus on are helping the article much. -- Avanu (talk) 06:37, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
Avanu, thanks for your expression of good faith. You are right that "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" is a historical name for "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints". But it is also a historical name for any others who share a connection to the "movement" Joseph Smith founded after 1838. I am not aware of any offshoots between 1830 and 1838. I can't see any members of the "Community of Christ" (formerly the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) taking offense at reading that Joseph Smith named the early Church "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints". In fact if he didn't why would they then have taken the previous name they did? I think it would help the article especially if the focus could be made that all of these offshoots (it could be argued the Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) is one of them) stem from the original Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. In fact it helps identify the long period of time in which so many people followed Joseph Smith's teachings from (1830 to the schism). As it stands it looks like the church Joseph Smith organized may have been greatly fractured from its outset, which is far from true. --Canadiandy talk 07:14, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
Here's the thing though. You want the uninformed reader (who is probably our target on Wiki articles) to immediately recogize the difference between "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" and "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints". It might be like me running around saying all true Christians are members of the catholic church. (note the lowercase 'c') It would just confuse people. Yes, it is 'technically' correct, but it isn't helping the reader readily understand. -- Avanu (talk) 07:21, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
Also, I have to agree with Rich that what you are calling anti-Mormon is hardly so. I'll declare my POV just to help you see this, although I'm not sure if this will help, but if it were entirely up to me, I would purge the term Christian from most references in this article. But that's why we have a balance of editors, Canadiandy. Having my viewpoint alone wouldn't serve our mission here of creating "encyclopedic" content. It would fit my definition of accurate, but it wouldn't meet the criteria we have of encyclopedic. I have several close friends who are LDS and we've debated and discussed several times until the wee hours of the morning, and yet we still respect one another and share a friendship. We've even gotten to the point of saying each of the other was heretical, but yet we're all still friends. So when I see a perfectly innocent phrase like "Joseph Smith founded the Latter Day Saint Movement" versus what I myself might have put there, I just have to wonder how pro-Mormon you want this article to be. I suppose an acceptable sentence (to you) instead might be "Joseph Smith received a vision to restore the Church and bring saints again to the Earth in these latter days." Which is a true statement in the eyes of a Mormon, but not a true statement for people who don't agree with Mormon theology. -- Avanu (talk) 06:48, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
Avanu, thanks for your honesty. I want you to know that I would never like to see this article stacked with what you call "pro-Mormon" information. I would be horrified to see that. I don't know why I keep getting painted as pushing an agenda, I am trying to push balance and fairness to both sides. That you would like to see the term 'Christianity' purged from here worries me and leads me to question if this is why there is an appetite to purge any references to Christ from the article (thus the debate over Joseph Smith founding a movement vs. him founding "The Church of Christ" (a fact that is sourced by peer-reviewed and prominent non-LDS researchers)). I really think that if you could look at the points I have made in a neutral light you would see them as fair as could be expected in this article. And yes, I understand why you may not like the term 'Christian' as defining the Church. If it were not for the fact that 'Christ' is both a deity and a proper noun I would concede the term Christian with a lower case 'c'. But there is no way around the fact that Mormons believe in Christ and therefore can only respectfully be referred to as Christian based on their belief in him. If you wanted to add the disclaimer early on that they are not typically accepted as traditional Christians by many other faiths, that is fair. But it is not accurate or fair to not identify Mormons as a group who believe in Jesus Christ.--Canadiandy talk 07:34, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
I don't think I made myself or my intentions clear. Just because I don't personally consider Mormons to be Christian doesn't mean that I will remove all references to Christ. I am actually fine with people choosing whatever title they would like for their faith. And we've already had the debate about whether Mormons are to be called Christians in this article and it essentially came to a non-conclusion with a slight bias toward calling them Christian. However, my points were simply about where the neutral-value is in this debate. Every editor has bias, that's understood. But we need to recognize where the other editors and common sense are located in terms of Point of View. I feel like you're pushing a point of view that is not just pro-Mormon, but also evangelically so. In other words, rather than neutral, scholastically-styled arguments, they seem to be the arguments that someone might make if they want to convince people of something. -- Avanu (talk) 08:15, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
Please assume good faith. The only agenda I am pushing is that of true balance and fairness. My position still is that we report the history which is actually inconvenient for both LDS and non-LDS, that Joseph Smith at first did not name the Church what it would be later called, he named it the 'Church of Christ.' Many Christians don't like this point based on their wanting to see Joseph Smith as non-Christian. Many LDS don't like the fact because it seems to ask the question of "Why would God change his mind on he name of the Church?" Looks pretty neutral a position to me. The fact that it is completely supported by reliable sources seems to make this one an obvious fix.--Canadiandy talk 08:41, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
In the lead, having TOO much can muddle the facts. This is one of those times. -- Avanu (talk) 08:58, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
Then we word it that he organized the Church of Jesus Christ in the lede and then break it out later.--Canadiandy talk 13:55, 18 June 2011 (UTC)

Joseph Smith founded a movement? 2

I'm not sure what the edit warring is all about. There was no further discussion and so I made an edit. What is wrong with identifying Joseph Smith organized the Church of Christ? If you don't like it this is the place to discuss.--Canadiandy talk 19:51, 16 June 2011 (UTC)

Theology: restorationist?

I am a member of "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints". The Theology section / banner at the right says it's Non-trinitarian? The first article of faith (from the Pearl of Great Price) states: "We believe in God the Eternal Father, and in his Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost". This is how I would define the "Trinity or Godhead". I think a more accurate term would be "Restorationist" theology. Since the other article of faith (#6) also states that "we believe .. in the primitive organization of the church". See also the article on this at: Which includes a section of the church.

How can we update the theology section to refer to it as Restorationist?

Thanks, — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:14, 16 June 2011 (UTC)

The Trinity is a concept that involves God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit being three personages of the same entity, not separate beings that have a common title. Mormon theology explicity denies the concept of The Trinity, starting with Joseph Smith's own words. -- Avanu (talk) 02:25, 16 June 2011 (UTC)
Restorationist refers to the idea that Mormons are restoring the church to its roots because they believe they have an ancient connection, unlike Martin Luther (for example), who was *reforming* abuses (See Reformation), and therefore returning the church to its roots via correction of those abuses. -- Avanu (talk) 02:28, 16 June 2011 (UTC)
Actually a better term would be differently trinitarian. Mormons believe in a Godhead made up of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost (thus a trinity in the Godhead) but yes they believe differently that the trinity is one in purpose yet individual in form. It is misleading therefore to say they are non-trinitarian. The right thing to do here would be to either not identify the Church in this way, or present a better term. My best proposal is 'non-traditionally trinitarian'.--Canadiandy (talk) 05:27, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
99.9% of the Christian world understands Trinity to be the concept I described earlier. I suspect a HUGE majority of Mormons would disagree with your perspective on the Trinity. Mormons generally use the term Godhead to describe what you are describing. These two terms are not interchangable, and even if consensus here at this article were to use Trinity instead, it would get overturned by further review as being unencyclopedic and confusing to the reader. Mormonism is non-Trinitarian, in fact the idea that God is a literal father of spirit children rather than a will-things-into-existence-creator God is a distinctive feature of Mormonism versus Orthodox Christianity. Mormons often use the phrasing that God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are one "in purpose", but Mainstream Christianity looks at them as one "in being". Trinity = 1 being, 3 personages (not persons). Godhead = 3 persons, 1 purpose. -- Avanu (talk) 06:31, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
Avanu. As long as the phrase 'non-Trinitarian' is spelled with a capital 'T' I can accept your point. I agree that the Church does not teach the 'T'rinitarian doctrine, rather it teaches a 't'rinitarian doctrine. But to suggest that Mormons believe in a Godhead not composed of three figures is false. Still, I wish there were a less confusing way to describe this.--Canadiandy talk 06:44, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
You do realize it is called Godhead (rather than God) because it is inherently a plural set/concept? Mormons are not trinitarian nor Trinitarian, at least by 99% of people's definition. -- Avanu (talk) 06:51, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
Yes, remember that the definition of trinity (lower case 't') is: a group consisting of three closely related members. Thus The Mormons believe Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are closely related members of the Godhead who are unified in purpose. Thus, Mormons view the Godhead as trinitarian though not Trinitarian. So my fair concession that we rewrite "non-Trinitarian" is a perfectly accurate and fair concession. As a Mormon I still see it could be unfairly misleading, but in seeing the fair middle ground it seems that it can only be accurate if it reads as 'non-Trinitarian'.--Canadiandy talk 07:45, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
The word "trinity" (whether capitalized or not) is so intimately connected to the traditional (mainstream) Christian concept of the nature of God that it is, in my opinion, completely inappropriate and misleading to use the term (with or without a capital T) in reference to the LDS belief regarding the Godhead. Attempting to expand (or simply change) the definition of the word in order to make it encompass Mormonism is only going to confuse the reader. Further, in my view at least, such an attempt is completely unnecessary; the LDS understanding of the nature of Christ can be perfectly well explained, understood, and respected without any need to shoehorn it into a mainstream Trinitarian mold. Richwales (talk · contribs) 16:49, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
Even within "Traditional Christian[ity]" (whatever that term means) there are huge variations on the nature of God. From one God in three forms to three Gods in one form to God, Mary, and the Saints... . Go to the WP article on the Trinity and check out the discussion there. From my view, we should avoid the term wherever possible as it is very broad, prone to being misinterpreted, and can be seen as insensitive to many different sects or individuals within the scope of traditional Christianity. As I see it, the best way to use the term is to identify it as a descriptor for anyone who believes in "The Father, The Son, and the Holy Ghost" regardless of from, function, or purpose. But obviously it will be a cold day in traditional Hell before I would expect to see that happen. Peace.--Canadiandy talk 18:07, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── For one thing, in order to fall within the definition of Christianity, you have to be Monotheistic, at least in some sense of that word. Outright following more than one God is in direct opposition to the Old Testament. Stuff about cult of Mary or whatever is not mainstream or 'traditional', so it doesn't apply to such a definition. Despite what you might say here, most Christians have a compatible idea of who God is. If someone begins to change the fundamental nature of God, they are usually declared a cult or heretical. For many mainstream Christians, this is why they view Mormonism as being outside the umbrella of Christianity. But generally the Old Testament ideas of who God is persist in Christianity. -- Avanu (talk) 18:15, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
I couldn't disagree more. This seems to be POV pushing rather than addressing the issue. To be Christian one has to be Monotheistic? Really? So there are no Christians who believe that Jesus Christ had a Heavenly Father, that in the Lord's prayer he was praying to himself? And if they do we tell them they can't be called Christians? You are right when you say that "most Christians have a compatible idea of who God is." But what about the others? Do we just dismiss them? That would seem to be a very un-Christian thing to do. I completely respect your right to your religious beliefs, I also respect they make you a better and more moral person, but I do not respect your attempt to force your opinion on the article here. According to the Christian ethic, the ends do not justify the means.--Canadiandy talk 23:17, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
Monotheism is a pretty basic part of Christianity (and Judaism and Islam). -- Avanu (talk) 23:24, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
Basic, but not essential. A Christian can still believe in God the Father AND God the Son as being distinct beings.--Canadiandy talk 00:08, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
I think you may not understand what monotheism is. -- Avanu (talk) 01:33, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
If by monotheism you mean believing in the Trinitarian concept of there being one God manifest in three forms (Divine/Human/Spirit) I get that. But I also believe there are many Christians even outside the Mormon faith who believe in a Heavenly Father (one God) who had a Son who was born of Mary and who is also a God. This is Biblically depicted at Christ's baptism when a voice was heard from Heaven declaring "This is my beloved Son" and in the Garden when Christ prayed to his Father to let the cup pass from him, or on the cross when he prayed to the father to forgive his persecutors. So I think it is unfair to universalize all Christians as monotheistic when in fact many may adopt an understanding in which there are two distinct Gods (Elohim and Jehovah, Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, or simply, the Father AND the Son). I would accept your statement if you are arguing from a more specific creed or faith group (i.e. Pentecostals of Alexandria, or Anglicans, or even Southern Baptist assemblies declare that 'X') but to universalize your definition of monotheism across all Christianity is quite a myopic position to take, and unfair to many within the Christian framework.--Canadiandy talk 04:45, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
Again, I think you might want to just go look up the word. You simply cannot be a Christian or Jew or Muslim and be polytheistic. And incidentally, it is confusion over basic concepts like these that make me question the depth of your knowledge in the subject of Mormonism and religion in general. -- Avanu (talk) 04:52, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
Other prominent researchers suggest otherwise. Percy E. Turner Professor of Biblical Studies at Rice University writes "One can question whether Christianity ever really became monotheistic - all depends on how convinced you are that the doctrine of the Trinity actually resolves the polytheism of a Father and Son being worshiped. Of course there is absolute resistance to this idea, especially among scholars who want early Judaism and Christianity to be monotheistic. So they have come up with all kinds of ways to contort the sources and their readings of them to make it look otherwise, including playing the heresy card." Ask a Muslim or a Jew if Christians are monotheistic. Again, you can state your position as opinion, but not as a given as it applies to this article.--Canadiandy talk 05:06, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
Ask a Jew if belief in one God is a true characteristic of their faith. They will say 'yes'.
Ask a Christian if belief in one God is a true characteristic of their faith. They will say 'yes'.
Ask a Muslim if belief in one God is a true characteristic of their faith. They will say 'yes'.
What these distinctive faiths believe or say about the other is not the point. The point is that Christians say they are monotheistic because they carry this belief on from Judaism.
Isaiah 43:10 (KJV) 10Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. -- Avanu (talk) 05:29, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
Avanu, you wrote; "What these distinctive faiths believe or say about the other is not the point." Actually, what Jewish and Muslim people have to say about this topic is exactly the point. You see Wikipedia is supposed to represent the research of Jews, Muslims, Atheists, Agnostics, Christians, and so on. If it is controlled by one religious group over another we have a big problem.--Canadiandy talk 08:13, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
Never mind. This discussion is off-topic anyway, and apparently we're not going to get anywhere. You are misunderstanding pretty much each statement made, but we've taken up way too much Talk page time on issues not really related to the article. -- Avanu (talk) 14:15, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
As long as you see the defining of how Mormons view the Godhead as off-topic then we'll never get anywhere anyway.--Canadiandy talk 03:24, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── It seemed to me like we had strayed from that subject onto several tangents. -- Avanu (talk) 05:57, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
You should both take a break from this article and talk page. I agree with Avanu that "nontrinitarian" should remain as is because that phrase has the specific meaning of Christians who do not believe that the Trinity is three indivisibly united beings, which Latter-day Saints do not. It does not mean that they do not believe in the Godhead, a fact which is obvious to anyone who reads the article or visits nontrinitarianism.  M3I5K7E  17:36, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, M3I5K7E. I'm actually involved at the 'Trinity' page to address the confusing practice of referring to a specific belief or philosophy set without capitalization. I'll drop the issue here until there can be proper movement at that page.--Canadiandy talk 00:07, 6 July 2011 (UTC)

Do we need to state the obvious?

In the criticism section we read, "In recent years, the Internet has provided a new forum for proponents and critics of Mormonism". Do we also need to mention that Church buildings are all made with walls and roofs as well? Is there a single religion out there that does not have a forum somewhere for critics and proponents? Is this perhaps an old link that may have been meaningful 8 years ago? Or is it just a subtle way to push a polemic agenda? I notice that conveniently the link leads to an article about Church members who have left their faith (including If the quote is about critics and disenfranchised members only then we should write it that way. At least it should read, ""The Internet now provides a forums for critics and disenfranchised Church members". If on the other hand we are trying to be balanced, there would be equally supporting links to the statement about proponent sites (i.e. In brief, critical sites are sourced, proponent sites are not, which leaves the article with a polemic slant.--Canadiandy talk 17:30, 18 June 2011 (UTC)

Well, since no one else has commented yet, I guess I will. I think it is worded fine as is. It doesn't strike me as pushing any agenda, and the section is called "Controversy and criticism". Is it possible to easily separate Pro-LDS sites like FAIR from the Church itself as far as what they say? The rest of the article is fairly fact based and neutral and I suppose if you can find a neutral way of adding information about sites that support the LDS Church then go for it, but as I said, this section seems fine at the moment. -- Avanu (talk) 04:14, 19 June 2011 (UTC)
My question isn't really whether it is worded right, it is whether it is not merely stating the obvious and therefore unnecessary. How is the article improved by it's being there? Again, can anyone find a religion out there that does not have critical forums about it on the Internet? In fact it makes the sentence it is in very awkward. The statement is made about the criticisms available on the Internet, and then after a comma we read about opposition to the Church's position on Prop 8. I don't see the relation. It would be like a sentence reading, "McDonalds restaurants first opened in 1969, the McDonalds that opened in the town of Osh Kosh last year doesn't have a drive-thru." Avanu, I am sensing a real reluctance to improve this article. Is it already a "Good Article". If not, what are the recommendations for improvement?--Canadiandy talk 16:21, 19 June 2011 (UTC)
Sorry, just followed up my own question. The first reason I saw for this being removed from GA was "neutrality". I agree.--Canadiandy talk 16:39, 19 June 2011 (UTC)
Actually it says several things "neutrality, original research, lack of references, and stability". It takes a LOT for an article to be Good Article status and even more for Featured Article status. Even really decent articles don't make the cut. We're not against improvement, but from what I have seen so far, the edits you've proposed aren't improvements but just minor semantic changes. I'm OK at copy editing, but as far as making this article into a "Good Article", I'm not sure what specifically it would take to get there. Probably addressing the issues listed above would be a good start. But arguing about a fairly settled issue like nontrinitarian is not. -- Avanu (talk) 16:47, 19 June 2011 (UTC)
The point at hand is not the word "non-Trinitarian" but an entirely unnecessary and possibly biased (based on the links selection) sentence. Making an article more balanced and succinct should be a good aim when working toward GA. Unrelated, I hope you do not feel I am arguing with you directly Avana. We seem to be on opposite sides of the argument, but the reality is you and I seem to be the only ones (richwales) discussing here. I think it would be better if we had a senior editor or neutral contributors here, but I guess this is a relatively inactive article. Also, sorry if I argue semantics, but my word sense is one of the strengths I bring to the table. And yes sometimes one word can make all the difference. 'Nontrinitarian' suggests Mormons do not believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, while 'non-Trinitarian' better communicates they do not believe in those three according to the traditional Trinitarian definition.--Canadiandy talk 18:27, 19 June 2011 (UTC)
Huh? I'm not understanding your distinctions between of "Nontrinitarian" and "non-Trinitarian". Their is only one definition of Trinitarian. It has nothing to do with belief in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Oneness Pentecostals are nontrinitarian and believe in the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. It term has everything to do with the nature of those entities and how they relate to one another. I'm sorry if you get offended at my frankness, but honestly I think you are nitpicking. Ltwin (talk) 02:02, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
Sorry for harping on this but this trying to change the meaning of terms for no apparent reasons is bugging me. This article is from the LDS Church's website:

“In common with the rest of Christianity,” Elder Oaks continued, “we believe in a Godhead of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. However, we testify that these three members of the Godhead are three separate and distinct beings. We also testify that God the Father is not just a spirit but is a glorified person with a tangible body, as is his resurrected Son, Jesus Christ. … In contrast, many Christians reject the idea of a tangible, personal God and a Godhead of three separate beings. They believe that God is a spirit and that the Godhead is only one God. In our view, these concepts are evidence of the falling away we call the Great Apostasy.” 2

Not long after the deaths of the Savior’s New Testament Apostles, ideas from Greek philosophy began transforming plain and precious gospel truths. Conflicting doctrines regarding the nature of deity led Emperor Constantine to convene a churchwide council in Nicaea in A.D. 325. The resulting Nicene Creed eliminated the concept of deity as separate beings by declaring Jesus Christ to be “one substance with the Father.”

“Other councils followed,” Elder Oaks explained, “and from their decisions and the writings of churchmen and philosophers there came a synthesis of Greek philosophy and Christian doctrine. … The consequences persist in the various creeds of Christianity, which declare a Godhead of only one being.”

Ltwin (talk) 02:02, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

Another great difference which Ltwin touches on above is that for orthodox Christians, God was always God and nothing more or less; this relates to the Trinity because Christ is not only one in purpose, but one in substance, and so in many ways this changes the understanding of who Christ is. According to Mormon theology, God was once less than he is now; a man, who is now an exalted man (God). The Godhead concept and Trinity concept are not interchangable. -- Avanu (talk) 07:22, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
Actually, I think most of the 'lurkers' are not willing to engage on this particular debate. Please note, in the criticism section, it mentions 1820's, then 1830's, 1840's, latter half of 19th century, then 20th century, and then "In recent years". The overall theme of the section is criticism and how it has changed over time. It is a reasonable approach. -- Avanu (talk) 19:15, 19 June 2011 (UTC)
I agree 100 percent. Some editors choose their battles wisely. Ltwin (talk) 02:02, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
I'll take a look. Sounds fair if that's the progression. Still it would be fair to add an apologist link to counterbalance the critical link, especially when they are mentioned. Regardless, I have gone through and broken the complex sentence into two simple sentences (dropped a comma, the word 'and' and added a period. The sentence did not seem to require a connection.--Canadiandy talk 23:40, 19 June 2011 (UTC)

'non-Trinitarian' v. 'nontrinitarian'

I'm not good at the advanced functions within WP but it looked like the above section started to devolve into a discussion about the term 'non-Trinitarian' which was my proposal for clarifying the typology of the Church. I'd love if someone could pull those previous 'off-topics' into this section (or collapse them as ad hom).

To clarify,

non-Trinitarian (my proposal) is the best neutral way I have found for identifying the fact that Latter-day Saints do not believe in the common 'Trinitarian' (belief framework) definition of deity. Whereas 'nontrinitarian' suggests Mormons do not believe in a Godhead composed of three beings, which the above quotes attest is false. Thus, 'non-Trinitarian' not 'nontrinitarian'. Perhaps the hyphen could be dropped, but not the capital. Mormons believe their Godhead is composed of Heavenly Father, his son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. That's three. Except for 'trinitarian', is there any other term that can better communicate that they believe in a Godhead composed of 3 distinct beings? Because 'nontrinitarian' isn't it. I thought I was being neutral proposing 'non-Trinitarian'.--Canadiandy talk 07:31, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

My first question: Is this distinction between "non-Trinitarian" and "nontrinitarian" your idea or do you have reliable sources for it? If this is something you have thought up yourself, then it falls under WP:No original research. Ltwin (talk) 08:08, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
I've never seen it written as "non-Trinitarian". It's always "nontrinitarian" or "non-trinitarian". I think this fine distinction intended by the capitalization would be lost on most readers. Plus, I don't see a problem. In all fairness, Mormon theology is nontrinitarian under the meaning of that term. If the reader doesn't understand the term, he or she can follow the link to the nontrinitarianism article. COGDEN 10:27, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
I went ahead and changed it to non-Trinitarian when Canadiandy first mentioned it weeks ago because (in that instance) it seemed like an easier thing than continuing to debate it. @Canadiandy, Trinity refers to GOD (1 being). Not the Godhead. Trinity is 1 God in 3 personages. Godhead is 3 people acting in concert. Have you have a Mormon teaching you these things or is this some independent kind of conclusion? The problem with this is very much like if I started walking around saying I'm in a catholic church. Yes, its a lowercase 'c', but for most people, the distinction would be lost. So yes, technically you could say any three things that can be grouped are a trinity, but the Trinity sense is so prevalent that you would end up confusing people and spending more time explaining than just avoiding the word and using another. Especially when you then use "trinitarian", because it just really confuses people more at that point. Simple solution, don't use the word, its misleading, its confusing, and 99% of Mormons wouldn't call themselves Trinitarian or trinitarian. -- Avanu (talk) 13:03, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
I agree Avanu. The best solution is to eliminate the terms 'trinitarian' or 'nontrinitarian'. @Ltwin, how is hyphenating or capitalizing a word to clarify something "original research." To simply hyphenate two accepted words should not require sourcing. The word 'trinitarian' has lots of sourcing (usage) as does the concept 'Trinity'. And I think the prefix 'non' does not require sourcing. I propose removing the terms trinity, trinitarian, or nontrinitarian. There is too much confusion and debate around the terms.--Canadiandy talk 04:59, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
It needs to stay "nontrinitarian" (no capital letter, no hyphen) — and it should remain in the article in that form. As Ltwin said, we're engaging in "original research" (forbidden per WP:NOR) unless this novel terminology can be substantiated via reliable sources (which, as far as I'm aware, it cannot). To say that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is "nontrinitarian" simply means that said church does not subscribe to the traditional, mainstream doctrine of the Trinity — a factually correct statement regarding LDS theology, an important point to be made in an article about the LDS church, and something which most knowledgeable, believing Mormons really don't have a problem with. To be sure, many (non-LDS) Christians do try to argue that one can truly believe in the divinity of Christ only if one believes in the Trinity doctrine; the LDS church rejects this argument, and there is no need (or desirability) for us to bend the accepted definition of "Trinity" to make it fit the LDS teaching. Richwales (talk · contribs) 05:32, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
Hopefully without going too off topic here, the main problem between 'mainstream' Christianity and Mormons with respect to the belief in God is the idea that God was once a man (aka non-divine). Personally, I think that one can make a reasonable case that because of the ineffable nature of the Trinity, a person can doubt the Trinity-concept without being 'outside' of Christianity. However, saying that God was once a normal human being takes things a step further. (Just commenting regarding the comment made above by Rich) Also, I'm not trying to say that this stuff needs to be a part of the article. I'm just trying to help clarify the Trinity/Nature of God questions and differentiation questions that I think Canadiandy is asking. -- Avanu (talk) 05:43, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
Richwales. It makes absolutely no difference what "many Christians" argue or believe. The article should work from a neutral position not a polemic one. And I don't see how adding the prefix 'non' or grammatically capitalizing a word creates new terminology. The only other way to write it accurately then would be to word it as "Not traditionally Trinitarian while believing in a Godhead composed of a trinity of beings". I'm fine with that if you prefer. I just figured by capitalizing 'Trinitarian' it would correctly identify the term as a Proper noun based on it reflecting a philosophy or belief group and not an adjective reflecting the properties of their deity. In fact if 'nontrinitarian' is the common term, it is as gramatically incorrect as 'noncatholic' or 'nonmormon' would be. Fixing grammar is not introducing new terminology. The sense I am getting is that there is an old boys network which refuses to allow that Mormons actually believe in Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. Why the big fear of referring to Mormons as 'trinitarian'? I'm sensing a huge polemic push on this one and I don't know why? Mormons believe in and worship Jesus Christ, but there is a huge reluctance to call them Christian, they believe in The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, but they can't be referred to as trinitarian. They don't worship Mormon but they can be called Mormon. They haven't practiced polygamy for over 100 years but that is the most prevalent issue discussed when addressing Mormonism (forget the fact the early Bible prophets practiced it for centuries while a very very small group of Mormons practiced it for a very short period of time). This is Orwellian language laundering at its most bizarre. I look forward to the day the polemics are gone, the apologists don't have to waste their time fighting them, and the article reads accurately ('literally'?) and without any bias on either side of the issue.--Canadiandy talk 21:53, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
You might just as well ask why Christians aren't called Hebrews or Jewish. Why don't people use the word trinity to describe the 3 branches of US government? The fact is, 'literal' or not, words carry more meaning than just what is literally on the face of the word. Cheerful and gleeful, large, portly, or fat might mean almost the same thing, but people choose one or the other based on subtle differences in meaning. Almost every time anyone uses the word 'trinity', they mean The Trinity. But I don't understand why you keep arguing for what I would call 'fringe' positions. If I went and asked most Mormons if they had a problem being called Mormon, most would say it is fine. If I asked them if they believe in a trinity, they would most likely say no. If I ask whether they believe in a Godhead, they would most likely say yes. You have some very unique views and we're writing an encyclopedia that attempts to describe things to a general audience, not debate the fine points of whether we *could* use 'trinity' or 'Trinity', but actually giving people knowledge. This debate over trinity is even farther out there than the debate over whether to call Mormons by the term 'Christian'. There's a lot more reason and sourcing to refrain from calling Mormons 'Christian' than there is to start using 'trinity'. I'm not sure why you seem so intent on these fringey views, but my impression is that you're probably new to your faith, or you just like arguing offbeat points. -- Avanu (talk) 22:19, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
Listen, this is getting ridiculous. I'm not against fixing grammar; I am against calling the LDS Church something it is not and confusing and misleading people. Calling them trinitarian or non-Trinitarian is confusing, misleading, and original research. Show us where they are called "trinitarian" or "non-Trinitarian" in any reliable source? Unless you can show that then it is original research. Ltwin (talk) 22:25, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
I don't expect anyone to call the Church 'trinitarian' though I don't know what else you would call a faith who believes in a Godhead composed of three literal beings. But if we can't call them what they are, we also shouldn't be calling them what they aren't 'nontrinitarian.' The 'nonTrinitarian' proposal was my effort to cause the least disruption. The only other accurate approach seems to be to remove the reference altogether from the summary box (it would take too much space to include the proper qualifiers) and identify the research later in the article where it can be broken out. If it is necessary that we include a term 'tritheist' would fit best, but it too is problematic as the Holy Ghost is not (as I understand it) a God, but acts with authority as a member of the Godhead. Still at least this term implies that Mormons do believe in a Godhead being composed of the Father, His Son, and the Holy Ghost.--Canadiandy talk 22:54, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
Mormons already have a term, Canadiandy. 'Godhead'. It is a word that is sourcable and widely used. The terms trinity, tritheist, etc are not, and would just be misleading. As we've said earlier, Trinity or trinity when used in reference to Christianity mean One God Being in 3 persons. Monotheist. To say Tritheist in relation to Mormonism would instantly put them outside Christianity and Judaism. -- Avanu (talk) 23:01, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
Avanu, I am neither new to my faith, nor feel I am arguing an offbeat point. I will sum up and end discussion by pointing out that I don't care whether the article identifies Mormons as not Trinitarian (capital 'T'). If you asked my if I was Trinitarian (capital 'T')in my beliefs, I would say I was not. But if you then suggested our Godhead was not trinitary (small 't') I would disagree. I agree Mormons are not Trinitarian. And the proper term for that according to grammatical tradition is to identify them as 'nonTrinitarian'. But as I said before, if you want to use the phrase "Believe in a Godhead composed of 3 distinct beings though not in the traditional Trinitarian sense" fill your boots. I just thought 'nonTrinitarian' would have sufficed. I am not stating this to argue, I will let it stand and say no more here. I just wanted to make sure people understood what my position was because I suspect there was some confusion, because I can't see for the life of me how capitalizing 'Trinitarian' (which is already a common practice, see both WP articles on 'nontrinitarianism') is creating new terminology. 'Trinitarian' is common in the research, and so is 'non'. Even then we almost need to reword it now as 'nonmoderntrinitarian' to be accurate as the idea of the Trinity was fairly contentious in early Christian history. Anyway, thanks for the input and the patience, I hope I didn't cause any bad feelings. --Canadiandy talk 17:57, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
The decision of whether to see God as existing in 3 personages was the contentious part. This is what people call The Trinity. For some, this was seen as a departure from monotheism, which is clearly spelled out as wrong in the 10 Commandments. For others, it was reconciled by statements like "I and the Father are one", which indicated to some believers that God and Christ are the same entity, just a different expression of that entity. The concept of 'trinity' meaning a mathematical set of three things was never contentious. -- Avanu (talk) 18:04, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
I think there is a strong consensus among both Mormon and non-Mormon writers that: (1) the terms Trinity and trinitarian refer to the formulation of the Christian deity as having three "persons" unified as to their "being", (2) that the LDS Godhead is not the Trinity, and (3) that all denominations that formulate the Christian deity differently than as the Trinity are fairly called nontrinitarian. I think any attempt to mess with these conventions would only result in confusion, and in this case the proposal sounds like original research. COGDEN 18:34, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
COgden, I agree with you on the first two points, but I do not view attempting to improve on what is now a confusing practice as "messing with conventions." Working to correct sloppy grammar (which is the cause for confusion), while time consuming, seems a worthwhile endeavor. As Bruce Cockburn writes, "The trouble with normal is it always gets worse." As to your "Original Research" accusation, the way the guideline reads it addresses "facts, allegations, ideas, and stories" not the correction of past grammar usage. I think that would be a bit of a stretch and I'm actually surprised at the moat that has been put up around this one. But clearly the consensus is to let it go for now and so I'll take it up with those involved at the 'Trinity' page who are likely more informed on this than us here. In fact, if you take a look there they use the term openly ('Nontrinitarian' and 'nontrinitarian' mid-sentence). --Canadiandy talk 00:14, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
COgden. Into researching your claim that "...the LDS Godhead is not the Trinity" I found this quote from Talmage; "“The scriptures specify three personages in the Godhead: (1) God the Eternal Father, (2) His Son Jesus Christ, and (3) the Holy Ghost. These constitute the Holy Trinity, comprising three physically separate and distinct individuals, who together constitute the presiding council of the heavens.” Again, I recognize that this might not be the common interpretation of the term 'Trinity', but it no group should hold a monopoly on the term. This is the same reason we are stuck with terms like "Latter Day Saint movement" because it is the only way to recognize that different faiths hold differently to the original church Joseph founded. Thus my position that the Church not be referred to as nontrinitarian (especially if the term is all lower case) but perhaps as a religion believing in a non-traditional Trinity. The wording could be discussed, but nontrinitarian is erroneous and should be removed. I have noticed a real fracture at the 'Trinity' and "Nontrinitarian" pages. The term 'nontrinitarian' there is at best identified as problematic. I think that should give us at least the latitude to rethink identifying the Church as 'nontrinitarian.'--Canadiandy talk 22:57, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
The major departure in LDS belief regarding the trinity is that LDS believe that the Father is an embodied, exalted man. Consubstantiality is rather vague; so it is difficult to say whether or not the LDS agree with this point. Other than that, the LDS rather readily agree with many points of "Trinitarian" belief. Contrast with Jehovah's Witnesses, who do depart further from Trinitarian beliefs, specifically regarding Jesus. Dismissing the LDS Godhead as "not the Trinity" is misleading; I am unaware of reliable sources supporting such a statement. ...comments? ~BFizz 04:17, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
By definition a trinity is a group of three things. So the irony is that Mormons (who believe in exactly three distinct beings forming their Godhead) are identified as not worshiping a trinity, while traditional Christians (who actually only worship one being, albeit in three forms) are identified as being Trinitarian. In fact, if the term had not been attributed to the Unitarians, the term 'unitarian' would be the ideal descriptor for traditional Christians IMHO. I'm not trying to ruffle any feathers, I just think this is one of those hugely confusing semantic moments. And WP seems the best format in which to deconstruct the terms in an encyclopedic way. Where is Derrida when you need him?--Canadiandy talk 05:19, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
You could also say Heavenly triad, because definitionally, it means three things. But we just don't do that. The thing you keep arguing for is to undermine the plain terms that make things more clear to people and replace them with terms that confuse people more. Despite the silly arguments at the Trinity page (which by what I can tell is trying to focus on the Christian Trinity and people keep wanting to add in other 'trinity' concepts), you only make things more difficult for people when you start appropriating well-known terms. -- Avanu (talk) 07:35, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Interestingly, this text has been up at Nontrinitarianism for a while: "Strictly speaking, it is not appropriate to categorize the Latter-day Saints as "Nontrinitarian." Rather, it is more accurate to describe them as Non-traditional Trinitarian, meaning their belief in the Trinity does not conform to all of the traditional beliefs in the Trinity." I'm not sure who is responsible for this text, but I do agree with it. The suggestion to use "non-traditional trinitarian" wasn't far off the mark, although it is a little awkward for the opening sentence, imho. ...comments? ~BFizz 08:30, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

I agree. The argument here seems to be between two terms, both of which are slightly inaccurate. My recommendation is to drop "nontrinitarian" from the first paragraph, and find a way to work "non-traditional trinitarian" into the second paragraph (there are many ways it could work). Things are usually more complicated then black vs. white, republican vs. democrat, trinitarian vs. nontrinitarian. If somebody asks me if I am republican or democrat, I have to think for a minute, because I'm not really either, and I'd rather not be "pegged" as either. For the same reason, I don't think we should have to "peg" Latter-day Saints as "trinitarian" or "non-trinitarian," because both convey the wrong idea. Adjwilley (talk) 15:34, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

Criticism of gold plates account

The "Controversy and Criticism" section appears to take a chronological approach. So, naturally, it starts with the 1820s and states "In the late 1820s, criticism centered around the claim by Joseph Smith, Jr. to have been led to a set of golden plates from which the Book of Mormon was reputedly translated." Is this really true, though? Smith, according to his claims, didn't even acquire the gold plates until 1827, and didn't publish the Book of Mormon until 1830. Is there really evidence of criticism during this period, given how obscure/unknown Smith was at the time? Smith didn't even organize a church until 1829. This sentence seems like a gap-filler to ease the transition into the 1830s criticism, but I am calling its authenticity into question. Did this criticism (re: gold plates) really exist during that time (the 1820s)? ...comments? ~BFizz 21:46, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

There was newspaper criticism in 1829, by "Obadiah Dogwood", editor of the Palmyra Reflector. That's barely in the 1820s. COGDEN 03:45, 17 July 2011 (UTC)
If there is not more than one source in the 1820's then it should be stated individually. Otherwise the term 'criticism' sounds like a plural or collective. If there is no other source the article should read, "In 1829, one newspaper criticized the claim by Joseph Smith, Jr. to have been led to a set of golden plates from which the Book of Mormon was reputedly translated." That would be fair and accurate.--Canadiandy talk 02:39, 18 July 2011 (UTC)
Since it is a chronological approach, it makes sense that information would be more sparse the earlier you go. It is entirely fair as stated now, and in fact there is criticism of the discovery recorded in official Mormon history, see Lucy Harris as one prominent example. The idea that the newspaper was the first and the only person to be critical of Smith is silly, since its easy to see why people would criticize a guy who was claiming to talk to an angel and receive golden plates from that angel. -- Avanu (talk) 22:02, 18 July 2011 (UTC)
There definitely was local criticism, Lucy Harris being one of the more vocal. But I just checked, and actually there was more than one newspaper in 1829. There was the Palmyra Reflector and the Palmyra Freeman (Jonathan A. Hadley, ed.) At least one article from the Freeman was reprinted in the Niagara Courier, the Rochester Daily Advertiser and Telegraph, and the Painesville Telegraph (Eber Dudley Howe, ed.), and the Salem Gazette. This was the article entitled "Golden Bible" originally dated August 11, 1829 in the Freeman. Abner Cole's preprinting and ridicule in the Palmyra Reflector started in December 1829, but most of it was in early 1830.COGDEN 00:31, 19 July 2011 (UTC)
Interesting. I wasn't aware that the story was so widespread so early. The sentence does say "in the late 1820s"; I don't have a problem leaving it as is. ...comments? ~BFizz 00:22, 19 July 2011 (UTC)
Yes. The "Golden Bible" article came out just about a month after the translation was finished, and at that point, nobody outside the Mormons had seen the manuscript yet, but the "gold bible" story was the kind of sensational news story that spread quickly during that era. COGDEN 00:44, 19 July 2011 (UTC)

How about 'binitarian' instead of 'nontrinitarian'

It seems that the entrenchment of the term 'nontrinitarian' in the jargon of religious research means it will be a while before we can fix that one up. So I would propose another alternative which seems neutral, supported in the common research, and clear in meaning. The reality is that it is confusing to suggest Mormons are nontrinitarian when they indeed believe the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost to be three distinct beings (a trinity of beings). But the powers that be (in charge of the article) seem heck-bent on ever allowing Mormons to be referred to as trinitarian. So my outside the box (but inside the research) thinking brought me to suggest a term that the Catholics have used to define Mormon theology for some time, 'binitarian.' In truth, Mormons do not worship the Holy Ghost, though they do worship both Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. For some background on the term see the Wikipedia article 'Binitarianism'. I also like the fact that the term is attributed to the Catholics who are generally in a unique position of disagreeing with our faith while being respectful of it and its people. I would much rather have my faith defined by the Catholics than some of the cynics and antagonists of our faith and culture. Please, anything but 'nontrinitarian,' that is offensively (though likely undesigned) misleading.--Canadiandy talk 05:44, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

Both terms (trinity and binity) are invalid for Mormonism. You seem hellbent on using the word trinity. Is this a word that you find yourself using in common speech? "I'll have a trinity of eggs, and sir, do you have change for a score note? I need to get a quarter hogshead of fuel." It's simply not that common, and Mormons don't use it. -- Avanu (talk) 07:43, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
I don't think that's technically correct. Mormons do believe the Holy Ghost is a person, and one of the three divine beings of the Godhead. Binitarianism is based around the belief of two individuals, typically believing that the "Holy Ghost" is not a person, but rather a generic term referring to God's influence (if I understand correctly). In this regard, LDS belief is "trinitarian": belief in 3 persons. I removed that sentence at Binitarianism, because the Catholics were calling Lectures on Faith bitheistic, trying to point out inconsistencies in Mormon doctrine, which is not bitheistic. ...comments? ~BFizz 08:11, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
Misleading and inaccurate. Mormons are kind of a weird mix between trinitarian, polytheistic, and monotheistic. They believe that there are many gods, but only worhip one - the Father. "worship the Father in the name of the Son by the power of the Spirit" (Our Relationship with the Lord - BRUCE R. MCCONKIE) Some would argue there is one god, some would argue three, some would argue more, and they'd all be right. It's kind of a slippery concept, but "bitarian" is not the way to nail it down. Adjwilley (talk) 14:56, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
@Avanu. No it is not a common term for Mormons, but then neither is 'nontrinitarian'. @BFizz and Adjwilley. Binitarian does not suggest Mormons do not believe in the Holy Ghost, merely that they do not worship him directly. Your quote by McConkie suggests that we worship God the Father through the Son, but that does not exclude us from also worshiping the Son (Jesus Christ). In fact, according to Ballard, "We worship one Godhead, consisting of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. We strive to return to their presence through repentance made possible by the Atonement of Jesus Christ." So in this context we are both unitarian and trinitarian. But if it is common practice we are talking about, it would be uncommon to think of Mormons worshiping the Holy Ghost independently. I believe the sense of most Mormons is that they would worship Christ if he were to appear before them. And they would worship their Heavenly Father if he were to appear before them. But they would not be sure as to how to proceed if the Holy Ghost were to appear before them in his spirit form as his role exists in a 'codependent' way as a member of the Godhead. So, it is accurate to call Mormons monotheistic based on their worship of one Godhead. It would also be accurate to identify them as trinitarian based on the fact they worship a Godhead which is composed of a trinity of beings. It would be misleading to refer to them as polytheistic because they worship only that Godhead or trinity. And it would be therefore inaccurate to refer to them as nontrinitarian because they are trinitarian in their worship (see Ballard). So there is research and source for calling the Church trinitarian. My proposal for binitarian was an attempt at a compromise given the fact it is lacking, yet still an improvement on 'nontrinitarian'. At least it had an underlying and accurate context (we worship both the Father and the Son). But I still hold that trinitarian (lower case) is the better way to go. And unitarian (if qualified correctly, i.e. worship one Godhead composed of three distinct beings) is another correct statement. And all else failing I would even accept 'binitarian' if qualified, even though its source was a Catholic paper on Mormon heresy. That's how flexible I can be. What I can't accept is the label 'nontrinitarian' or even 'Nontrinitarian'. It is possibly the most misleading of all.--Canadiandy talk 15:28, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
Again, it sounds like you don't know Mormonism. And what exactly is non-traditional trinitarianism? Way too many weasel approaches here to get something to sound like what it isn't. -- Avanu (talk) 20:13, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
Mormonism could only have been arguably called binitarian while the Lectures on Faith were still part of the Doctrine and Covenants. I don't think the issue is whether Mormons specifically direct their devotions to the Holy Spirit. Trinitarians don't pray to the Holy Spirit, either. What matters is that the Holy Spirit is considered to be a member of the Mormon Godhead. Bruce R. McConkie's formulation does not reflect the 20th century LDS theological orthodoxy. To see what the theological orthodoxy is, look to Roberts, Talmage, and Widtsoe rather than McConkie. COGDEN 22:35, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
It sounds like this argument is pretty one-sided in favor of those wanting to keep the lead as it is written. Perhaps it's time to close this thread if there is no one else to weigh in on Canadiandy's side.  M3I5K7E  01:29, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
COgden. Then you agree that Mormons should be defined as having a trinitarian theology? @Avanu, as I see it non-traditional trinitarianism is a belief in the trinity (Father, Son, Holy Ghost) that does not coincide with the traditional one god in three forms theory. And I don't appreciate the "weasel approaches" accusation. I will be up front in identifying that I am trying to find a better identifier than "Nontrinitarian" as that is a very misleading term. I've been flexible and fair-minded. In fact at one time I was willing to use a term which was referenced by a Catholic writer in an article accusing Mormons of heresy. I have tried very hard to focus on a balanced approach to improving the article. Your verbal attacks do nothing to support your position or the article. So seeing there is a move to end discussion I will call the question. Who here feels the label 'Nontrinitarian' accurately describes the Mormon theology on deity without confusion?--Canadiandy talk 03:04, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
I feel that "nontrinitarian" is a deceptive way of labeling the LDS view of the Godhead, due to the many similarities between Trinitarian and LDS views. For example, both Trinitarian and LDS views oppose modalism. Labeling the LDS view as "trinitarian" is also deceptive, however, since LDS theology does depart on a couple "important" points. (Are any points "unimportant" when declaring the nature of God?) My recommendation would be to drop "nontrinitarian" from the lede. Note that theosis is a separate and somewhat unrelated issue. ...comments? ~BFizz 04:48, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
I agree, BFizz. It's horribly confusing to label LDS theology as 'nontrinitarian.' The thought that a religion's belief could be referenced according to what it is not is cynical at best. The fact it isn't correct either makes it doubly inappropriate.I propose we simply remove it from the lead and the summary box until there is a better consensus--Canadiandy talk 06:03, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
nontrinitarian is not deceptive, considering how the general audience, including Mormons will understand it. When I say "weasel approaches" it is much like the term "weasel words". @Canadiandy, you need to stop taking statements of a different position and labeling them "attacks". If you would like to describe fully how you see the Mormon deity and how that does not translate into a nontrinitarian viewpoint, please do so, otherwise, let the current wording stay, since most people here are still saying it is acceptable. -- Avanu (talk) 06:29, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
The sense I get from the consensus is that since its confusing and problematic to remove it rather than to edit it, until there is a better term or understanding of the LDS theology. Adjwilley says drop it, COgden agrees Mormons are trinitarian, and BFizz says to drop it. So do I. That makes 4. The only ones arguing to keep it are you and MIKE. Please revert my edit which simply dropped the word 'nontrinitarian' in the lead.--Canadiandy talk 06:45, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
Consensus does not mean 'middle ground'. Although I think compromise is a great solution at times, there's no consensus for any change yet with regard to this subject. Consensus means we have an agreement on a change, and I'm not seeing that yet, in fact many of the editors seem very satisfied with the current wording. Again, if you could fully explain your views on the Mormon deity then the group could examine that and see if it seems to accurately fall in line with what you propose to change it to, which at this point, I'm not even sure what you want it changed to. Adjwilley's statement was refuted by Cogden. Cogden didn't agree with your analysis. BFizz is the only one who has clearly lent support for your changes. And there are tons of lurkers watching this debate who haven't chimed in mostly because they probably think (or hope) its going to just stop being debated at some point. -- Avanu (talk) 07:01, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
Respectfully, I disagree with your analysis. I'm not sure how you get to speak for all the "lurkers". As to my position on the LDS theology on the deity it was stated many times earlier. I will repeat for you my position and the Church's position as clarified by M. Russell Ballard, an apostle of the Church. He states; "We worship one Godhead, consisting of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost." I count three. That looks pretty close to the Trinitarian philosophy (though there may be subtle differences). And so there is a definite appetite here not to reword but to simply drop the term 'nontrinitarian'. The consensus disagreed with my first proposal to reword as 'Non-Trinitarian'. They then disagreed with my second proposal to reword as 'binitarian'. But there seems to be general agreement a third proposal (not mine though I agree with it) to simply drop the term. So I will call the question. Do you agree with simply dropping the word 'nontrinitarian'. I do.--Canadiandy talk 13:25, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
By the way, I meant to amend my request above earlier, but I didn't get a chance until I had already seen your reply. I was going to say that more important than your philosophy or mine, or your analysis or mine, are reliable sources that represent a mainstream Mormon position on this topic. (see WP:DUE) Just because you can count three, doesn't mean that is how it is viewed or described by The Church, or by scholars who study The Church. This probably should have been the first thing we did, and unfortunately we got wrapped up in a discussion on it. -- Avanu (talk) 14:07, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
Just to be clear, my opinion is on the previous thread, which seems to have died. I think "nontrinitarian," "Trinitarian," and "binitarian" all have problems, and I would support deleting "nontrinitarian" in the first paragraph and inserting "non-traditional trinitarian" somewhere in the second paragraph, where the extra words wouldn't cause too much awkwardness. Adjwilley (talk) 17:02, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
Canadiandy, as to your question above, I do not agree that Mormonism is trinitarian, and I think that nontrinitarian describes the theology accurately and without confusion. Almost all nontrinitarian theologies believe in a Father, Son, and Spirit in some sense. Calling them nontrinitarian simply reflects the fact that their deity/deities are not a Trinity as defined by the creeds. Most importantly, however, the term nontrinitarian is widely used to describe Mormon theology in the literature. Dividing Christian theologies between trinitarian and nontrinitarian is conventional and appropriate, given that probably something like 94+% of all Christians are trinitarian, so being nontrinitarian is something to be noted. Statements by Russell Ballard are not inconsistent with nontrinitarianism. For example, Oneness Pentecostals also believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but they are nontrinitarians because they believe the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one person. The Jehovah's Witnesses believe in a Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as well, but they are strictly monotheistic. Both of the articles for these denominations, by the way, mention their nontrinitarianism in the first sentence, though I don't think that is necessary here. COGDEN 18:15, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I've removed the word "nontrinitarian" from the opening sentence. I feel that the following second-paragraph text suffices for the point: "LDS doctrines regarding the nature of God and the potential of mankind differ significantly from mainstream Christianity." ...comments? ~BFizz 18:45, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

The use of Trinitarianism and Nontrinitarianism in this discussion has not been in keeping with the generally accepted definition and usage for those terms. For simplicity sake I'll quote here from Trinity (and please lets not bother with the "WP is not a RS" tangent):
Starting with Christianity in the 4th century, from its very first documented usage in relation to Christian understanding of Deity, the term Trinity has meant the understanding of the Godhead promulgated by the First seven Ecumenical Councils, as it appears in the Nicene Creed. You can't redefine the term after 16 centuries of usage merely based on a rudimentary understanding of the word's morphology in English. Trinitarianism describes forms of Christianity that adhere to the Nicene Creed's understanding of the Godhead, while Nontrinitarianism describes forms of Christianity that substantially differ from it. God in Mormonism is wholly Nontrinitarian, and it rejects all of the Ecumenical Councils; in fact it points to these councils as signs of the Great Apostasy, and sees itself as a restoration of an earlier, purer form of Christianity. Just because the LDS Church doesn't teach the Trinity doesn't mean it doesn't believe in a form of the Godhead. -- (talk) 21:41, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
My opinion is that the current wording should stay. The word "Trinity" when discussing Christianity has a specific, longstanding meaning which the LDS Church does not believe. They are nontrinitarian as that word is used to classify Christian groups. It is not Wikipedia's job to change the longstanding use of words. If we do that, it will just cause confusion. Ltwin (talk) 22:12, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
Comment "nontrinitarian restorationist Christian religion" none of those three quantifiers are absolutely needed in the first sentence. I am not going to sit and argue whether that the best label but do We need all those in the first sentence? Its a really poorly written sentence would it not be more logical to simply say
To me that would be a more grammatically correct sentence. Secondly it tells you the most basic information about the subject and We can stop wasting time with trying to come up with perfect quantifiers. The Resident Anthropologist (talk)•(contribs) 22:18, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
When academically classifying the various forms of Christianity, the first most basic criteria is if it is Trinitarian. After you establish that the LDS Church is not, the next subdomain is restorationist. The essential taxonomy for the LDS Church is: Religion →Christian → Nontrinitarian → Restorationist → Latter Day Saint movement → The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. All of these terms should be in the lede paragraphs for this article, if not in the first sentence. -- (talk) 22:29, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
Incorrect, you have described a theological taxonomy not a secular academic one. We dont need to put the full taxonomy in the first sentence or even necessarily in the Lede. The most essential one there is in Ladder Day Saint movement. If it's part of the LDS movement then those first 4 elements are not needed as they are a given when discussing the LDS movements. The Resident Anthropologist (talk)•(contribs) 22:43, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
"you have described a theological taxonomy not a secular academic one" -- then what is you view of a secular academic taxonomy for the LDS Church? Taxonomy is an important tool in understanding groupings. -- (talk) 22:59, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
Ideally one that recognizes the diverse influences of early Mormonism but that though is neither here nor there. The latter part of my statment is the important one. You evidently believe its useful but I disagree, so lets not argue about that. However you insist on utilization of such a taxonomy then why is necessary to include all that? Simply saying is part of latter day saint movement implies all those quantifiers as part of being latter day saint. The Resident Anthropologist (talk)•(contribs) 23:11, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
The term "Latter Day Saint Movement" is far less well know than either Nontrinitarian or Restorationist. In some people minds the movement is virtually indistinguishable from the LDS Church. I was actually agreeing with you that those terms doesn't necessarily need to be in the first sentence; however they are key in defining the LDS Church, and so they should be in the lede. -- (talk) 23:23, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
LDS movement does have that caveate but I would argue that mean zip to 99% of people who are coming to learn information on the LDS church. Nontrinitarian means very little outside most outside of conservative protestantism. Restorationist is more useful term but again is not essential to understanding the movement. The Resident Anthropologist (talk)•(contribs) 23:31, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
"God in Mormonism is wholly nontrinitarian". This premise is false. It is mostly trinitarian, with a few "significant" departures. I'm tempted to take the issue up at God in Mormonism, which labels the Mormon belief nontrinitarian. Do we actually have sources stating that LDS/Mormon beliefs are "nontrinitarian"? There seems to be a sentiment among some editors that if we do not explicitly call the LDS "nontrinitarian", then we are implicitly calling them "trinitarian". Such is not the case. How about using neither of these two terms, since LDS belief does not fall neatly into one category or the other? ...comments? ~BFizz 04:56, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

Review what Joseph Smith says:

Section Six 1843-44, p.370

I have always declared God to be a distinct personage, Jesus Christ a separate and distinct personage from God the Father, and the Holy Ghost was a distinct personage and a Spirit: and these three constitute three distinct personages and three Gods. If this is in accordance with the New Testament, lo and behold! we have three Gods anyhow, and they are plural; and who can contradict it?

Section Six 1843-44, p.370

John was one of the men, and apostles declare they were made kings and priests unto God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It reads just so in the Revelation, Hence the doctrine of a plurality of Gods is as prominent in the Bible as any other doctrine. It is all over the face of the Bible. It stands beyond the power of controversy. A wayfaring man, though a fool, need not err therein.

Section Six 1843-44, p.371

...Hath he beheld the eternal world, and is he authorized to say that there is only one God? He makes himself a fool if he thinks or says so, and there is an end of his career or progress in knowledge. He cannot obtain all knowledge, for he has sealed up the gate to it.

Section Six 1843-44, p.372

Many men say there is one God; the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are only one God. I say that is a strange God anyhow--three in one, and one in three! It is a curious organization. "Father, I pray not for the world, but I pray for them which thou hast given me." "Holy Father, keep through Thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one as we are." All are to be crammed into one God, according to sectarianism. It would make the biggest God in all the world. He would be a wonderfully big God--he would be a giant or a monster....

-- Avanu (talk) 05:19, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

Indeed, LDS belief does not support the "same substance" part of the Nicene creed, when interpreted to mean that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are the same being. Don't confuse trinitarianism with the "heresy" of modalism, though. Trinitarian belief is that they are indeed 3 persons, not 1 person with 3 modes. Compare LDS belief to the Chalcedonian Creed which elaborates on the "same substance" detail: "[Jesus is] consubstantial with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood". I'm not saying we should use "trinitarian" to describe LDS belief, but I am saying that "nontrinitarian" is a misleading description, since LDS are closer to trinitarian beliefs than almost all "nontrinitarian" traditions. ...comments? ~BFizz 07:41, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
I don't think there's sufficient support in the literature for your idea that Mormonism is somehow less nontrinitarian than other nontrinitarian theologies. It's like pregnancy: you really can't be "just a little" nontrinitarian. The Trinity has a precise definition, and the Mormon Godhead ain't it. I agree that, if we were indulging original research we could imagine a continuum of theologies, with strict Jewish-style monotheism on the extreme left end and pantheism on the extreme right, where modalism, trinitarianism, Mormonism, and polytheism are somewhere in the middle. But on this continuum, trinitarianism is a single point, not a range. Mormon theology is no more trinitarian than it is polytheistic. And it is just as clearly nontrinitarian as it is non-polytheistic. COGDEN 08:51, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
"The trinity has a precise definition". Hardly. Even among "trinitarian" churches there are disagreements about various details, for example, the filioque issue, or subordinationism. ...comments? ~BFizz 17:32, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
  • The Community of Christ may be binarian, but The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would actually be classed as trinitarian if that term did not imply accepting 3 persons but one entity as formulated by the Niceane Creed. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints endorses God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost. They all are accepted as divine beings with authority over this earth. The only reason the belief of the Church is viewed as "non-trinatarian" is because trinitarian is not just accepting 3 beings as one God, but accepting it according to the formulations of the Nicean Creed. While it may be true that there is not a "precise" definition of what the trinity counts as, the allowed deviation is not great enough in poeoples minds to call The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints "trinitarian". The general speech of Latter-day Saints would include saying "we reject the concept of the trinity". Instead we view God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost as three seperate beings. This is not unitarian or binarian, because it still includes the acceptance of three beings with full and equal standing, it is just non-trinitarian, because trinitarian implies something beyond justr having 3.John Pack Lambert (talk) 18:00, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

Besides the original research being presented here based on the English morphology of the word Trinity, what reliable sources say the LDS Church is Trinitarinist? First, in keeping with the LDS Church's stated preference to be allowed to define itself, I searched on for "Trinitarinism" (0 results), "Trinitarinist" (0 results), and "Trinitarin" (9 results). Of the nine results on Trinitarin, here are the results, in order presented:

  1. Holland, Jeffrey R. (2007), "The Only True God and Jesus Christ Whom He Hath Sent", General Conference Addresses  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
    Our first and foremost article of faith in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is “We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.” 2 We believe these three divine persons constituting a single Godhead are united in purpose, in manner, in testimony, in mission. We believe Them to be filled with the same godly sense of mercy and love, justice and grace, patience, forgiveness, and redemption. I think it is accurate to say we believe They are one in every significant and eternal aspect imaginable except believing Them to be three persons combined in one substance, a Trinitarian notion never set forth in the scriptures because it is not true. (Italics added)
  2. "Our Readers Write", Ensign, 1972  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  3. Backman, Milton V., Jr. (1989), "Preparing the Way: The Rise of Religious Freedom in New England", Ensign  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
    It wasn’t until the 1680s, when England imposed toleration on Congregationalists, that Trinitarian Protestants could finally worship in public.
  4. Nelson, William O. (1987), "Is the LDS View of God Consistent with the Bible?", Ensign  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
    Fusing the ideas of church theologians, such as Irenaeus, Origeu, Tertullian, and Athanasius, the Trinitarian formula of three spirits in one was finally accepted as official doctrine by the council of Nicea in A.D. 325. (Italics added)
  5. "Chapter Two: Joseph Smith's New England Heritage", Church History In The Fulness Of Times Student Manual, 2003 
    But Joseph Smith was not bound by his New England heritage. In his lifetime he introduced gospel doctrines and ordinances that directly opposed his Puritan background, but exceeded any previous theological formulation of any other religious leader in their scope and clarity. For example, his concept of a personal and caring god opposed the Calvinistic idea of a stern god of justice. Revelations declaring the Godhead to be three separate and distinct personages directly contradicted traditional Calvinistic trinitarian theology. (Italics added)
  6. Nibley, Hugh (1972), "Islam and Mormonism—A Comparison", Ensign  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
    The central theme of Moslem as of Christian theology is the nature of God, and while the Moslem doctors boast of being free of the contradictions and obscurities that have ever marked the course of trinitarian theology, their wholehearted acceptance (along with the Christians and the Jews) of the God of the Alexandrian school-men—absolutely, exclusively, totally, inconceivably one—soon got them into even worse predicaments than the Christian theologians. (Italics added)
  7. Horsley, A. Burt (1971), "Lutheranism", Ensign  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
    The Augsburg Confession of 1530 has continued to be a constitution for fundamentalists. Some modernists, however, profess views not consistent with its prescriptions. This confession, authored by Phillip Melanchthon, Luther’s trusted disciple, was designed to present the evangelical beliefs and at the same time avoid unnecessary conflict with the Catholic tradition. Among the traditional elements preserved in these articles of faith were the creedal trinitarian doctrine of God, original sin, literal resurrection, millenarianism, the “real presence” of Christ in the host of the Lord’s Supper (however, without transubstantiation or consubstantiation), the second coming, and infant baptism. (Italics added)
  8. Christensen, Joe J. (1971), "The Church of England", Ensign  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
    As with all other churches that profess the traditional Christian creeds, the concept of God for a member of the Anglican faith is triune—a trinity in unity. According to the Book of Common Prayer, the important point is that “God should be experienced in a trinitarian fashion.” (Italics added)
  9. Horsley, A. Burt (1971), "Roman Catholicism", Ensign  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
    The Catholic concept of God is found in the traditional trinitarian doctrine of the creeds. (Italics added)

Note that there were no results when using a prefix of "non" and "non-" when searching on variations of the words listed in the queries above.

There is no evidence here that the LDS Church holds itself as trinitarinist. On the contrary, in the first and perhaps best result of this list, Jeffrey R. Holland declares Trinitarianism to be false. This was a general conference address by a General Authority (specifically a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles), which has been thru the Priesthood Correlation Program before being published, to ensure that it is consistent with the standard doctrinal teachings of the LDS Church.

Next we could look at what the Encyclopedia of Mormonism, BYU Studies, and FAIR has to say, but that will take more time than I have right now. -- (talk) 19:27, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

Also, found a really good article on that seems right on target with our discussion here: Peterson, Daniel C.; Ricks, Stephen D. (1988), "Comparing LDS Beliefs with First-Century Christianity", Ensign  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help) -- (talk) 19:50, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
Actually, Holland declares a [particular] Trinitarian doctrine, specifically the doctrine of consubstantiality with the common interpretation of "the same being", to be false, rather than declaring all of Trinitarian belief false. Mormons eagerly denounce the creeds and councils as part of the great apostasy, but despite this Mormon belief happens to fall well within the Chalcedonian Creed. I again repeat my sentiment: failure to label the church as "nontrinitarian" does not constitute a proclamation that it is instead "trinitarian". The thrust of my argument is that LDS belief is too close to "trinitarian" to comfortably call it "nontrinitarian". Each denomination draws the line of heresy somewhere different; I have seen no scholarly work that clearly stated that homoousios must be interpreted as "of the same being", and that therefore LDS belief does not fit the bill. In contrast, I have (and you may fairly call this original research) seen the Chalcedonian clarification on Nicene doctrine, which correlates Jesus's "consubstantiality" with the Father to his "consubstantiality" with Man; interpreting "homoousious/of the same substance" to mean "of the same nature", referring to Jesus's "fully divine" and "fully human" natures. Mormons easily agree that Jesus is "fully divine", and in that sense of "of the same [divine] nature", that Jesus is consubstantial with the Father. If consensus despite me is to keep the word "nontrinitarian", then so be it; I've said about all I can say on the matter. ...comments? ~BFizz 20:15, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
In Jan Shipps's Mormonism: The Story of a New Religious Tradition, the term "trinitarian" is used exactly once (pg 80) and it is not used in reference to the LDS Church/Mormonism itself. No other forms of the term (not even Trinity) appear in that work. If she doesn't need those terms in an 232 page scholarly work describing Mormonism in depth, maybe we don't need it here on this WP article either. -- (talk) 22:01, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
All I've seen thus far are some rather clever arguments why, despite the consensus of the academic world, Mormons can nevertheless be defined as trinitarian. There's no basis for that in the literature. Even Mormon apologetic literature agrees that Mormonism is not trinitarian, except for a small group of neo-orthodox writers at BYU who are seeking to move Mormon theology toward mainstream Christianity. Maybe in a century or two, if the neo-orthodox Mormon scholars like Stephen Robinson have their way, Mormonism will morph into something like social trinitarianism. But that's not the state of Mormonism today. The Mormon god(s), as almost all Mormons understand them, and as authoritative Mormon literature describes them, are not the trinity. Not according to me, but according to all the mainstream secondary sources who write on the issue, and even many highly-partisan Mormon sources such as the Encyclopedia of Mormonism and the Ensign.
As to whether the article can just ignore or obfuscate the fact that Mormonism is nontrinitarian, I don't think that's an option. I'm not saying that the word nontrinitarian must necessarily appear in the opening sentence or even in the lead, but it is crucial somewhere in the article to accurately distinguish Mormon theology from trinitarianism. Most of the work of how to do this has already been done at Mormonism and Christianity, so we don't have to reinvent the wheel here. COGDEN 07:39, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
I concur, anon. I personally believe that Shipps ignored the term for the reasons I have mentioned in this discussion, but that is beside the point. (I apologize for my lengthy "original" arguments above; tbh, it was only recently that I learned that Trinitarian belief is not modalistic.) I propose we remove the word "nontrinitarian" from the opening sentencem and that we not use "binitarian", "trinitarian", or any other trinity-related term in its stead. Does anyone oppose this proposition, despite the absence of such terms in Shipps's work? I reiterate my statement from a while ago: I feel that the text in the second paragraph adequately notes the distinctness of LDS belief regarding the nature of God (and also theosis); removing the word "nontrinitarian" therefore does not remove this concept from the lede. ...comments? ~BFizz 07:54, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
The text in the second paragraph says: "LDS theology includes the Christian doctrine of salvation only through Jesus Christ, though LDS doctrines regarding the nature of God and the potential of mankind differ significantly from mainstream Christianity" and the second and third paragraphs in the section on Comparisons with mainstream Christianity seem to cover the nontrinitarianism thoroughly. In addition, if one glances to the right, "Theology: Nontrinitarian" is the second entry in the infobox. I think nontrinitarian is a bit heavy for the first sentence, and agree that it can be removed with no replacement. The information is still there; the first sentence is easier to read; this thread dies. Win. Adjwilley (talk) 15:28, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for bringing the discussion back to specifics away from this theoretical argument. I agree we should be focusing more on concrete article language than on trying to nail down the precise nature of Mormon theology, which is notoriously slippery as a theoretical matter. The fact that nontrinitarian is in the infobox helps things. The main reason that we want this word to be in the article is simply for comparison purposes with other denominations. I don't the first sentence has to include the word nontrinitarian necessarily, but the problem is: how would we describe the LDS Church in the most general terms, without using that word? I don't have the answer, but I'm open to suggestions.
One problem is that if we go down the road of categorizing the LDS Church and trying to put it into its proper taxonomy (i.e., restorationist, Latter Day Saint, Christian), then we probably have to include nontrinitarian as well. However, we could alternatively make the first sentence about history, rather than theological classification, and leave discussions of distinctive theology to the second paragraph, where we have a larger word budget. For example, what if the first couple of sentences read something like this: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (abbreviated as the LDS Church and colloquially referred to as the Mormon Church) is the predominant denomination of Mormonism. It is also the largest organization within the Latter Day Saint movement, a diverse group of Christian primitivist churches based on the teachings of Joseph Smith, a religious leader who rose to prominence during the American Second Great Awakening. COGDEN 18:56, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
I really like COgden's proposed wording. I only have one microscopic nitpick: the "it is also" phrase seems redundant. Although there is a distinction between "Mormonism" and "the Latter Day Saint movement", it is a small one. Perhaps we could leave off "the predominant denomination of Mormonism" part? ...comments? ~BFizz 21:38, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
So the revised wording would read something like: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (abbreviated as the LDS Church and colloquially referred to as the Mormon Church) is the largest denomination within the Latter Day Saint movement, a diverse group of Christian primitivist churches based on the teachings of Joseph Smith, a religious leader who rose to prominence during the American Second Great Awakening. I could definitely live with that. Thoughts Canadiandy? -- Adjwilley (talk) 16:37, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
Given the either/or choice between referencing Mormonism and the Latter Day Saint movement, I think the former is better, given that the Latter Day Saint movement is an obscure term important only to scholars, while the term Mormonism is even more recognizable than the name of the LDS Church. COGDEN 20:31, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
On second look, I would also scratch the description of Joseph Smith ("a religious leader who rose to prominence during the American Second Great Awakening"), which is sort of a tangent within a tangent. We already say "colloquially referred to as the Mormon church" so I think we're OK on that point; either way works though. ...comments? ~BFizz 20:36, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm really not comfortable with "the largest denomination within Mormonism", since (1) I think it's far more common for people in general to think of "Mormonism" as synonymous with (rather than a superset of) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and (2) many of the offshoots from the church Joseph Smith founded explicitly object to being called "Mormon" or being classified as part of "Mormonism". While I do have reservations in general about the term "Latter Day Saint movement", I think "the largest denomination within the Latter Day Saint movement" may be the best (or the "least bad") description to use here. Richwales (talk · contribs) 21:11, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
I agree the "mormon" is has definite history for that makes older LDS members uneasy. While many of us live in Generation where being "mormon" is largely just the same as being "Lutheran" or "Jewish" the term still has strong connotations to most. The more conservative mainline denomination still use it with derogatory meaning. It thus behooves to use a term with out the value-laden and judgmental terminology. That applies to non-trinitarian as well, many denominations cut the line between Christian and non-christian based on denying the trinity as key indicator of being non-christian. LDS member feel that the conventional trinity is an incorrect characterization of god. LDS members also find the suggestion that they are not christian extremely offensive. We should limit ourselves on using such words that make the subjects of the article feel attacked by our terminology and characterization. The Resident Anthropologist (talk)•(contribs) 22:08, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Although ResidentAnthropologist makes some good points regarding the connotations surrounding various terms for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I want to emphasize here that I am thinking primarily about maximizing clarity and minimizing confusion in the terms we use. Richwales (talk · contribs) 22:24, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

The current lead is completely fine. We've had a lot of discussion that really just pushes things around, but doesn't get us very far and the current lead is accurate and has been fine for quite a while. The word "mormon" is not 'value-laden' for THIS church, considering that they use it prominently in ads and even have a website of Most LDS members would say that the term nontrinitarian applies to them just fine, and while we can't control what people find offensive or not, the idea that we can't use a word because it offends some very small subset of people essentially means that we would end up with a bland and pointless article. Let's just leave it be for now. -- Avanu (talk) 00:01, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
How about this slight rework of the lede: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (abbreviated as the LDS Church and colloquially referred to as the Mormon Church) is the largest denomination originating from the Latter Day Saint movement, a restorationist Christian movement founded by Joseph Smith, Jr. in Upstate New York in 1830. (imho "in 1830" could be omitted but it's fine to include it too) ...comments? ~BFizz 04:06, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
I would be happy with any of the above. I don't really have a preference on Mormon vs. LDS - though the LDS part is already in the title of the church, and COgden is right that "Latter-day Saint movement" would probably end up being more confusing then helpful. So perhaps a slight bias towards "Mormonism." (Latter-day Saint movement is also #1 in the infobox.) -- Adjwilley (talk) 14:27, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
How about "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (abbreviated as the LDS Church and colloquially referred to as the Mormon Church) is the largest denomination in Mormonism, a Christian primitivist movement started by Joseph Smith during the American Second Great Awakening." That seems neutral enough that people shouldn't have problems with it. Latter-day Saint movement, and non-trinitarian have been dropped. For reference, the lead currently reads: "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (abbreviated as the LDS Church and colloquially referred to as the Mormon Church) is a nontrinitarian restorationist Christian religion and the largest denomination originating from the Latter Day Saint movement founded by Joseph Smith, Jr. in Upstate New York in 1830." -- Adjwilley (talk) 18:24, 17 July 2011 (UTC)
Looks good to me. ...comments? ~BFizz 15:36, 18 July 2011 (UTC)

Arbitrary break

I implemented the above revision and was reverted by Avanu for the "emphasis on Second Great Awakening and lack of distinctive adjectives." As for the Second Great Awakening, I don't see what the problem is. It's a time period, and the one in which Mormonism was started. As for the adjectives, I assume Avanu was referring to "Restorationist", as the only other adjective I removed was "nontrinitarian", and there was pretty good consensus for that. The current "Restorationist" redirects to Christian primitivism, which I added, so we actually don't lose anything there. Restoration is also covered in the first sentence of the second paragraph. I think we all agree that taxonomy is important, but it doesn't need to be in the very first sentence of the lead. Most of it is in the infobox already, and it's also discussed in the first and second paragraphs. The current string of adjectives is quite a bit for your average reader to swallow. I mean, there are 4 wikilinks in a row, and it's not clear if it's all just one big link unless you mouse over them. I'll wait until tomorrow before reverting. -- Adjwilley (talk) 21:39, 18 July 2011 (UTC)

I don't believe there is a consensus for removing 'nontrinitarian'. As for the Second Great Awakening, Joseph Smith said his beliefs were motivated by a rejection of all other 'cults', his term for other faiths/religions of the day. Is there some support that his movement was a part of that Great Awakening, or did it just happen to coincide with it? -- Avanu (talk) 21:53, 18 July 2011 (UTC)
Correction: Smith called them "sects" not "cults." The Joseph Smith article uses Second Great Awakening in the lead and the Early Years section, and it seems that the "religious enthusiasm" of the time was quite influential. I never claimed the movement was a part of the great awakening, just during. I suppose one could argue both ways on that. -- Adjwilley (talk) 22:43, 18 July 2011 (UTC)
Yes, 'sects' sorry, poor memory on that. The impression might be that Smith was part of the Second Great Awakening, however, I would think his 'revelations' would have been more of a reaction to it, than a part of it. -- Avanu (talk) 22:47, 18 July 2011 (UTC)
On the nontrinitarian argument, I think the recent consensus has been to drop it from the first sentence. Note: I'm ignoring the arguments about replacing it with binitarian, etc. We're way past that. -- Adjwilley (talk) 22:53, 18 July 2011 (UTC)
I thought I might find some consistency by looking at other pages of a similar nature, Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, United Methodist Church, Southern Baptist Convention, but it seems that sometimes it is like the LDS page, and sometimes it isn't. So, I guess change it however it works best. -- Avanu (talk) 23:07, 18 July 2011 (UTC)
Just throwing this out there: I have yet to see a reliable secondary source use the precise word "nontrinitarian" in order to describe the LDS Church. I have seen the LDS church denounce "trinitarian belief", I have seen trinitarians denounce "LDS belief", but I have not seen a professional in the study of religions use the classification "nontrinitarian" in reference to LDS belief. If this is such an obvious and important classification, why didn't Jan Shipps use it? ...comments? ~BFizz 04:28, 19 July 2011 (UTC)
Try the phrase "not trinitarian". -- Avanu (talk) 05:05, 19 July 2011 (UTC)
Shipps doesn't even say that. Shipps does say "...what follows here is an argument that Mormonism is a separate religious tradition and that it must be understood and respected on its own terms", and that "...Mormonism started to grow away from traditional Christianity almost immediately upon coming into existance." ...comments? ~BFizz 07:07, 19 July 2011 (UTC)
That Mormonism is nontrinitarian is almost so self-evident as not to need mention The word most frequently appears in reference to Mormonism in works that simply give Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses as examples of nontrinitarian religions. for example, the word is frequently found in sociology books like this one), or theology theology books like this one. The writers who have probably written most about the Mormon opposition to trinitarianism are Mormons. So you'll see the word used in a few Mormon sources like this book review] in BYU Studies. However, Mormons typically don't have occasion to categorize their own religion within a broader context, so while they talk a lot about trinitarianism and why they believe it is wrong, they don't necessarily use the word nontrinitarian to describe their own beliefs. The problem is, while everybody agrees Mormonism is nontrinitarian, nobody can agree on a positive term to describe it, such as tritheistic, henotheistic, polytheistic, monolatristic, etc. If academia agreed on a positive term, that would be better, but there is no such agreement, and there are problems with all of the above terms. Thus, the best we can do is probably the broad category of nontrinitarian.COGDEN 11:03, 19 July 2011 (UTC)
Thanks Avanu, I will redo the revision, which will take nontrinitarian out of the first sentence. It is still in the infoboxes and explained in the second paragraph and later in the aricle. If you you would like to work the word into the Comparisons with Mainstream Christianity section, I would support you in that. -- Adjwilley (talk) 15:17, 19 July 2011 (UTC)
Avanu asked for a source linking Mormonism to the Second Great Awakening. The Wikipedia article itself does that, as well as this book: A religious history of the American people By Sydney E. Ahlstrom - page 387 (go all the way to the bottom of the page). I'm going to revert again, though this will "technically" push me over 3RR. But then, Avanu "technically" crossed that today as well. I say technically, because there was some confusion around our first reverts - Avanu's first one only undid part of my edits, leaving two links to Latter Day Saint movement in the lead. I reverted that, asking him to revert both my edits to avoid confusion later on, which he did. So I'm not going to try to nail him on this, and I'm reverting in good faith that he will do the same for me. @Avanu, if you have any more objections to this edit that haven't already been hammered out here, please list them specifically here. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Adjwilley (talkcontribs) 17:47, 19 July 2011 (UTC)
The change Adjwilley has continually made implies that Joseph Smith was taking part in the Second Great Awakening in his creation/restoration of his unique religion. The question that needs to be answered via Reliable Sources is whether scholars would consider him to be a part of the Second Great Awakening, a reaction to it, or something just coincidental. In addition, other than a lot of discussion taking place, I haven't seen a definitive consensus that says the existing lead falls terribly short of OK. -- Avanu (talk) 00:49, 20 July 2011 (UTC)
The source you quote above says "Less worthy were the attacks on Masonry, Mormonism, and Catholicism." and "evangelical Protestant churches ... reached their high point of cultural influence." and, finally "In this experimental atmosphere, moreover, unconvential prophets and radical church reformers seemed always to find a following, and three memorable American contributions to world religion had their origin: ... and above all, Mormonism." None of these statements is a clear indicator how Mormonism fits with the 2nd Awakening, and the final quote implies that it is the allowance for unconventional ideas that gave Mormonism a start. This implies that Mormonism was a break from the Awakening where 'evangelical Protestant churches' were the major player. -- Avanu (talk) 00:57, 20 July 2011 (UTC)
Now we're just being nitpicky. It's not a controversial statement. Fact: Mormonism started during the Second Great Awakening. A statement like that doesn't need a citation, especially in the lead. (BTW: Bushman's Mormonism: a very short introduction mentions the Second Great Awakening on page 9, and how the revivalism started Joseph Smith looking for salvation.)
Arguing about how Mormonism fits in the Second Great Awakening would be quite unproductive. Whether it was a break, or a major player, that doesn't change the fact that it started during the SGA and that the SGA was influential. And if Ahlstrom finds Mormonism to be the most important start-up of the SGA, I think we can mention it here.
So I guess the question is, what is your real problem with the term? If you think it is an attempt to "Christianize" Mormonism, that's not what it is. The SGA provides important historical context, and an elegant way of saying when Mormonism started (instead of April 1830, which doesn't quite do it credit. . . it had roots earlier on, and many developments later). Also, the Second Great Awakening language was not my addition. If you look at the preceding discussion, you can trace it to COGDEN's first suggestion for a revised wording.
One last note: Please realize that this is not my battle. . . A lot of people put a lot of time into this discussion. BFizz, COgden, Canadiandy, and others contributed more than I did. I was just the sucker who happened to write the final wording. I don't have a horse in this race, but it seems you do. -- Adjwilley (talk) 02:41, 20 July 2011 (UTC)
I feel that the whole of the changes skews the lead into making Mormonism sound very much like another garden variety Christian religion. I had a very long discussion about the removal of the word 'Christian' entirely from the lead in the past, and now it's almost like we're mainstreaming it. Regardless of what many LDS like to say or feel, there is a large difference in belief between LDS and mainstream Christianity. -- Avanu (talk) 03:46, 20 July 2011 (UTC)
It's good to know where you're coming from. I wasn't around for the discussion on 'Christian', but I can imagine roughly how it went -- Mormons saying they are Christian, non-Mormons saying they aren't, experts saying it's more complicated than that. . . One advantage I see to the revised wording is that I think there will be fewer people who hate it. I think the old wording makes two claims that make two different groups of people uncomfortable. The 'nontrinitarian' has obviously made certain people here uncomfortable, as can be seen above. At the same time, you have indicated that calling Mormons Christian doesn't sit right with you. You might notice that both those links are gone in the proposed revision. There is still a link to Christian primitivism, but that is more accurate than the one to Christianity. I'm sure you can appreciate that.
The other thing I don't like about the old wording is the overall readability. "Nontrinitarian restorationalist Christian religion" is quite a mouthful, and the long string of prepositional phrases at the end is what my English teachers taught me to avoid ("from the Latter Day Saint movement founded by Joseph Smith, Jr. in Upstate New York in 1830).
So, in summary, we have improved readability, improved accuracy, better historical context, fewer "distasteful" words for both Mormons and non-Mormons, which will make for a more stable article. This is a revision that has had input from a lot of people, and while it's not perfect, I think most would agree it's better than what we have currently. We've come a long way here, and I hope you'll consider compromising. If you have any specific suggestions for improving the new wording, please let me know. -- Adjwilley (talk) 19:22, 20 July 2011 (UTC)

A quick vote

As many have probably noticed, Avanu and I have been unable to reach a consensus on a revised wording for the first sentence. I thought it would be helpful to see how the community feels about the proposed revision before going any further. Please vote "#1" (no change), "#2", or "#3" to the proposed wording below.

  1. "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (abbreviated as the LDS Church and colloquially referred to as the Mormon Church) is a nontrinitarian restorationist Christian religion and the largest denomination originating from the Latter Day Saint movement founded by Joseph Smith, Jr. in Upstate New York in 1830." (current language in article)
  2. "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (abbreviated as the LDS Church and colloquially referred to as the Mormon Church) is the largest denomination in Mormonism, a Christian primitivist movement started by Joseph Smith during the American Second Great Awakening."
  3. "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (abbreviated as the LDS Church and colloquially referred to as the Mormon Church) is the largest denomination in Mormonism, a Christian primitivist movement started by Joseph Smith in Upstate New York in 1830, a time in which the American Second Great Awakening was in full swing."

Vote here

  • #2 -- Adjwilley (talk)
  • #2 -- Richwales (talk · contribs) 17:23, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
  • #3 or #2, I have no objection to either one -- Richwales (talk · contribs) 20:29, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
  • #2 -- I think it's an improvement. COGDEN 17:36, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
  • #3 -- for me, my greatest opposition is the idea of tying together a mainly Protestant Christian movement with Mormonism as if they are part of the same movement, yet I can't say they aren't at least 'joined at the hip' in some way because of the religious fervor of the period. -- Avanu (talk) 19:07, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
  • #2 preferred, #3 acceptable. ...comments? ~BFizz 21:33, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
  • #2 I don't know if it should be identified with the 2nd Great Awakening or not, I don't know. But the ending of the third sentence sounds clunky. Ltwin (talk) 21:47, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
  • #2 seems best. It is shorter; could be shortened further by removing some scholarly terms at the first of the sentence that mean nothing to most of us. Charles Edwin Shipp (talk) 01:12, 22 July 2011 (UTC) PS: My Mormon wife agrees and laughed at the last three words of #3, FYI.

Arguments for Changing

  • Simpler wording, easier to read. "Nontrinitarian restorationalist Christian religion" is quite a mouthful, and each word is a separate link.
  • Eliminates long string of prepositional phrases ("from the Latter Day Saint movement founded by Joseph Smith, Jr. in Upstate New York in 1830").
  • Second Great Awakening provides some historical context
  • Fewer "distasteful" words for both Mormons and non-Mormons, which will make for a more stable article. ("nontrinitarian" and "Christian" links are gone.)
  • Important taxonomy words that were removed still have a very prominent position in the infobox (nontrinitarian and Latter Day Saint movement). The nontrinitarianism is also treated in the lead's second paragraph, and the second and third paragraphs in the section on Comparisons with mainstream Christianity.
  • restorationist is just a double redirect to Christian primitivism.
  • If nontrinitarian is such an important classification, why didn't Jan Shipps use it? (borrowed from a post by BFizz)
  • Mormonism is more recognizable then Latter Day Saint movement.

Arguments against Changing

  • nontrinitarian is removed.
  • Link to Second Great Awakening implies that Mormonism was part of the Second Great Awakening, implying that Mormonism is part of mainstream Christianity
  • The changes skew the lead into making Mormonism sound very much like another garden variety Christian religion.
  • Linking Mormonism to Second Great Awakening needs a citation.
  • The current lead is accurate and has been fine for quite a while.
  • The term Mormonism has a value-laden history with some negative connotations (borrowed from a post by The Resident Anthropologist).
  • So far these arguments are skewed, because I have written all of Avanu's arguments based on his posts above. I hope he will correct me where I got it wrong and clarify his arguments. -- Adjwilley (talk) 16:30, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

Other Comments

I will leave this voting section here for one day, and then move it up under the #Arbitrary break section so it won't disrupt the discussion in other sections. -- Adjwilley (talk) 16:30, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

I'm OK with or without the extra detail about NY and the Second Great Awakening, but in this case I favor brevity. For example: "...a movement started by Joseph Smith in 1830." ...comments? ~BFizz 21:37, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
On April 6, 1830, Joseph Smith Jr went through the rules of the state of New York to establish The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with six members in a forming meeting, others attending. From that came 'Mormon doctrine' and what could be called 'the Mormon movement', not the other way around. Charles Edwin Shipp (talk) 01:31, 22 July 2011 (UTC) A movement didn't lead to the LDS Church.
Actually, he established the Church of Christ, which later underwent several name changes and a few breakoffs. The proposed text never says that the movement led into the LDS Church, it just says this church is the largest part of it. ...comments? ~BFizz 04:56, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
I have now moved the Voting section to it's rightful position under the Arbitrary Break section so other discussions can go on without this getting in the way. Thank you all who voted on this. I felt a little weird myself about calling Mormonism a 'movement,' but I think it will be ok. It can always be revised later. (The same goes for the Second Great Awakening. . . while I didn't like the little bit tacked onto the end in #3, we could possibly do something similar in the future.) For now, I will just apply #2 to the article, and if it needs to be changed, we can deal with that later. -- Adjwilley (talk) 16:12, 22 July 2011 (UTC)


If editors are still worried about the "connection" we seem to be asserting between Mormonism and the Second Great Awakening, there are still some word tweaks that could be performed to satisfy the issue. For example, instead of "during", we could say "around the time of". Or like I have suggested before, we could drop it. Thoughts? ...comments? ~BFizz 19:52, 22 July 2011 (UTC)

The current edit seems very good (as of Thurs, 7/28/2011). . . . Charles Edwin Shipp (talk) 20:24, 28 July 2011 (UTC)

Wall Street Journal article

The August 3, 2011 Wall Street Journal had a front page article about how The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is non-partisan and uses the term "actively apolitical" in explaining how it proactively avoids interfering in partisan politics. My edit was reverted and I would like there to be discussion on why there should not be a sentence stating the church is apolitical (or perhaps a word like "nonpartisan") per the reference. 72Dino (talk) 15:55, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

To say "partisan politics" is not quite right, because the word partisan can have a fairly broad meaning, to include support for a faction or cause. It would be more accurate to say, "The LDS Church is officially neutral as to political candidates and parties, but occasionally lobbies or campaigns for particular legislation. For example, in 2008, the church recruited its members to canvass neighborhoods, collect signatures, make telephone calls, and donate money in support of a California referendum banning same-sex marriage." COGDEN 19:02, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
Maybe revising to "occasionally lobbies or campaigns for particular legislation addressing what the church considers moral issues" (emphasis added), just to clarify the type of legislation. The only concern I have regarding Prop 8 (and its predecessor Prop 22) is that it might be considered recentism as this article spans many, many years (and Proposition 8 is discussed two sections later in the article). However, it may be a well-known example, at least in the U.S. The reference supports your approach and my addition. 72Dino (talk) 19:55, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
Except, not every issue the LDS Church has taken up has been a moral issue. For example, the church opposed basing a U.S. nuclear missile system in Utah. The church has also recently lobbied in Utah on immigration law issues, which the church intentionally framed as not a moral issue. The church also lobbies in foreign countries for things like obtaining legal status for the church, and lobbies local governments to allow the building of temples in unpopular places. Finally, the church has lobbied on tax law issues, to maintain charitable deductions in state tax codes.
As to recentism, I thought about that and that is an important concern. However, I think it's good to use an example, and the Proposition 8 campaign was as notable, if not more so, as any of the church's older campaign efforts, such as anti-ERA and anti-21st Amendment. I would rather discuss Prop. 8 in the main body of the text, rather than in a separate criticism section. The way the article is now, we have a section discussing LDS involvement in politics, and then a separate section discussing criticism of LDS involvement in politics. I think it's more balanced, and more neutral, to discuss criticism in the same section where you discuss the thing being criticized. I think we could probably even get rid of the "Criticism" section by moving the material to other parts of the article. COGDEN 22:37, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
Like I said in my edit summary a moment ago, I can only see the intro on the WSJ article, but take this quote, for example.
"We now have two Latter Day Saints running, and the potential for misunderstanding or missteps is therefore twice what it was before," Michael Otterson, the LDS managing director for public affairs, told the Journal. Earlier this month, Mr. Otterson used a blog post to challenge opponents who label the LDS a "cult"—even before that charge had surfaced.
The church has reason for concern. A Quinnipiac University poll found that 36 percent of voters said they are somewhat or entirely uncomfortable with voting for a Mormon.
Already, the church said it has reined in the participation of officials in political campaigns and reshuffled a public advertising campaign to avoid appearing to interfere in politics. Church officials now monitor the Internet, television broadcasts and print publications daily to sniff out even a hint that anti-Mormonism is entering the 2012 campaign.
Without seeing more of the article, I can't be sure, but is the LDS church trying to protect itself from Romney and Huntsman or are they trying to protect the image of Romney and Huntsman by giving people reasons to like Mormons more? Its not clear and its very hard to use the term 'apolitical' and be serious about it when this seems to be about courting potential voters. -- Avanu (talk) 23:24, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
To answer the question of how the church is actively apolitical: "In the United States, where nearly half of the world’s Latter-day Saints live, it is customary for the Church at each national election to issue a letter to be read to all congregations encouraging its members to vote, but emphasizing the Church’s neutrality in partisan political matters." (source) The church has been doing this for quite a while - I'm not sure exactly how long, but it definitely predates Romney. -- Adjwilley (talk) 00:42, 4 August 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────The entire article is clear that the church is steering clear of anything remotely considered part of the election not to improve how Romney and Huntsman look, but rather to ensure fair portrayals of the religion under increased coverage in the media (like a front page article in The Wall Street Journal.) That is what Otterson is referring to. And the author of the WSJ article is the one that use the term "actively apolitical." Later on in the article it states how permanent church employees are not allowed to campaign or fundraise for presidential candidates so there will not be a perceived endorsement. And, while the church takes a stance on certain propositions, it does not endorse any candidate. Avanu, I think you would get a better idea of the nature of the article if you read the entire thing. I don't think it is appropriate for you to remove an edit on an important topic supported by a reliable source because of your misunderstanding of the nature of the article. 72Dino (talk) 02:03, 4 August 2011 (UTC)

I'm not able to read the entire article, but from what I can tell, the quote that has been added is not a very good representation of what the source is saying. -- Avanu (talk) 02:25, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
It's true about being able to read the article. You have to subscribe to the WSJ to read it. What 72Dino is saying though doesn't seem off-base to me, and the (primary) source I linked above confirms that. I think COgden's "officially neutral" suggestion above is probably a better wording than "actively apolitical." -- Adjwilley (talk) 02:58, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
I was able to get creative and get access to the entire article, but I think it is a pretty fine line between being a bystander asking for fair treatment, and what we see like this:
church officials jumped on a Fox TV station in Memphis after it aired a mocking news broadcast in which a reporter asked people on the street if they knew Mr. Romney believed the Garden of Eden is in Missouri
Perhaps without intending to, this is a pro-Romney action as well as a pro-Mormon action, because it ends up vigorously defending a belief held by Romney.
In May, journalist Warren Cole Smith published a long treatise on why a vote for Mr. Romney would be a vote for the Mormon Church. Mr. Smith's essay was on the relatively obscure evangelical website Patheos. The Washington Post's religion section published the church's response.
So in this example, we have an obscure opinion writer being confronted by a mainstream publication on behalf of the LDS church. The Church's response acknowledged that featuring upbeat image boosters in early primary states this fall could lead to accusations that the LDS is trying to boost the Mormon candidates. So, even the Church is acknowledging that this might lead people to believe LDS is trying to manipulate politics. -- Avanu (talk) 05:08, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
If you want to know what LDS members truly believe in, read the Book of Mormon and our Articles of Faith, then pray to God to know if what you have read is true. Read the promise in the book of Moroni. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:29, 24 October 2011 (UTC)

Deseret News is wholly owned by the LDS Church; don't use as sole source

With this Section inactive since September, any new discussion on the same subtopic should be in a new Section.
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

Deseret News is owned by the LDS Church. Deseret also owns KSL News, the local Utah NBC affiliate and a number of other media outlets. Therefore there is a conflict of interest when using these as the sole sources for this and other LDS articles. (talk) 04:28, 4 September 2011 (UTC)

Is there a specific place in the article that you find problematic in this respect? ...comments? ~BFizz 05:26, 4 September 2011 (UTC)
Hmm. So if the Church owns an affiliate of NBC, then do we also need to restrict NBC as a source as well?--Canadiandy talk 07:40, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
While I agree that using the Deseret News as a sole source would be a bad idea, I fail to see that as a problem in this article. There are some sources from that newspaper being used, but other sources that are most certainly not "wholly owned" by the LDS Church are also referenced. I also know that the Christian Science Monitor is also "wholly owned" by a religious institution, yet it is considered a reliable source on a great many topics. That there is certainly room for bias here that should be monitored, unless there is a specific complaint there is no reason to dismiss this source. There is a bit of a bias so far as the Deseret News does tend to do chest thumping in terms of whenever there is something positive to say about the LDS Church and has full-time reporters who cover stories about the church when that happens, some of that is to be expected. That also implies there will tend to be more coverage about the church in general in that newspaper. Also expect that if anything negative needs to be said about the LDS Church, the Salt Lake Tribune will most certainly report about it, as will KRCL and a couple of other "local" news media outlets as well as other media outlets in the Jell-O Belt. --Robert Horning (talk) 11:22, 8 September 2011 (UTC)

Just include two sources, especially on the most important details, even thought the Deseret News is respected and reliable. Charles Edwin Shipp (talk) 13:17, 8 September 2011 (UTC)

That gets back to the root issue: Where is the problem? Can you name a section that you think has an issue? The sources are available in abundance, and if you can find a source that is reliable and can be used in some section, apply the source and add the reference. Is there an issue of a source or reference being deleted here that is under contention? My only word of caution here is to avoid WP:UNDUE and POV pushing if you are purposely trying to avoid Deseret News as well. So far, I haven't seen any rationale for why references to articles in the Deseret News need to be deleted here. It also isn't the sole source being used to generate this article, contrary to the implication, even if perhaps some other sources of information could be gathered and might make this a better article. --Robert Horning (talk) 12:27, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
Original poster has not responded, and no evidence of bias has been produced. I'd consider this section closed unless such evidence is discovered in the future.  White Whirlwind  咨  04:11, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

Theology lacking in Infobox

I did a random search of religions (Catholicism, Lutheranism, Baptists). I noticed that for them each under the topic of 'Theology' in the infobox there is an extensive list of key doctrines. The only thing here is the simple term, 'nontrinitarian'. In fact that only identifies what LDS are not, as if their whole theology is to oppose Trinitarianism (and I still am of the opinion they are trinitarian). Perhaps this could be the next aim for improving the article. To start off consider the following key doctrines of their theology;

Modern Revelation
Atonement of Jesus Christ
a Godhead of three distinct beings
Priesthood restoration
Free Agency of all people
Universal nature of the family
Spiritual pre-existence of mankind

--Canadiandy talk 21:55, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

The reason is that Template:Infobox LDS Church seems to be based on Template:Infobox Christian denomination. That template provides a key for the parameter. The "Theology" parameter is defined as "theology = (main theology, i.e. Calvinism, Arminianism, Baptist, etc.)". So it is not designed as an all inclusive list. According to this definition, I'm not sure what the "main theology" of the LDS Church would be besides Mormonism or Restorationism. But you are right, "nontrinitarian" is inadequate. Those other templates that you cited were not designed to be denominational infoboxes but to be a "Part of a series on ..." template. The comparison isn't a good one. Now if you want to create a similar template, go for it.
Another question this brings up. Why does this page have its own Template:Infobox LDS Church when it is used exactly the same way as any other denomination? This makes it hard to change the infobox because the parameters are not available in edit mode. You have to first know that Template:Infobox LDS Church exists (which most people don't) and then go there to edit the infobox. Wouldn't it be simpler just to copy and paste the Template:Infobox Christian denomination format into the article and fill in the parameters that way? Ltwin (talk) 02:48, 17 July 2011 (UTC)
I don't have an answer to the latter question, but I agree as to the theology parameter. The LDS Church doesn't have a standard Christian theology or soteriology. So you could definitely say it is nontrinitarian, but the LDS Church is definitely not Calvinist and not quite Arminian, either. I don't think Canadiandy's suggestion is a good idea, because that list of doctrines (1) don't have Wikipedia articles per se, and (2) are not standard theological/soteriological categories and therefore are not helpful to the average reader without a great deal of further explanation. COGDEN 03:56, 17 July 2011 (UTC)
Good points Ltwin. @COgden, my list was meant for a starting point of discussion. I am confused by your position, COgden. Are you saying that since LDS doctrine is not documented enough here that it should only be summarized simplistically (and likely misleadingly)? Isn't this exactly what Wikipedia is designed to improve upon or change? I don't propose doing this overnight, merely the hope that this might be worked on. At Catholicism their theology includes Baptism, Salvation, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Ghost). These apply easily to Church theology. At Baptists we see the topic on Apostles, Crucifixion, Resurrection, Gospel, Old testament, New Testament, Jesus in Christianity, and Virgin Birth. If you wanted to we could start with these and then add on as we find sourced information for the more unique doctrines as I listed. So which would you see as the most key or most relevant to start with?
Holy Spirit
Old Testament
New Testament
Book of Mormon (there is an active page for this)

--Canadiandy talk 06:37, 17 July 2011 (UTC)

@Canadiandy1, non-trinitarian is not the same as anti-trinitarian. The idea that "their whole theology is to oppose Trinitarianism" is not found in such a word. If you want to define Mormon theology in an infobox, you have to put asterisks next to everything because almost for every item there is the idea that "this is just like Christianity, except for this bit". This is very much why I dislike the use of the word Christian when referencing Mormons, however, that is not consensus, and so I don't pursue it (any more). From your list above:
Baptism - not only for the living but the dead also
Salvation - the entire concept diverges from mainstream Christianity
Gospel - bunch of additional writings and prophets which add a lot of changed understandings and interpretations from mainstream Christianity
Crucifixion - Mormons don't even see this as 'the big deal', not as much as the garden
Resurrection - not exactly sure what Mormons think about this, but almost certain its unique
Father - used to be a man, became a God somehow
Son - literally born in a spiritual way, like a human is born, of the aforementioned Father via sex with Heavenly Mother
Holy Spirit - same as above sort of?
Not sure what you're wanting to do now, but could you explain it better? I'm just perplexed. -- Avanu (talk) 07:58, 17 July 2011 (UTC)
Forgive the slight deviation from the topic, but LDS belief about the resurrection is that 1) upon death, the soul separates from the body, and 2) everyone born in this world will eventually receive a resurrected body, generally meaning that the soul reunites with the body, which is mended or repaired or "perfected" in some way such that it is immune to all disability, sickness, and decomposition/ageing. In other words, the LDS believe in a literal physical resurrection, as they believe Jesus was physically resurrected and afterwards retained his resurrected body. See also this 2000 General Conference talk by LDS leader Dallin H Oakes, or the (shorter) LDS bible dictionary entry on Resurrection. ...comments? ~BFizz 22:08, 17 July 2011 (UTC)
You're right BFizz. The link to 'Resurrection' will, I believe, connect Mormons to the belief that while Jesus Christ was crucified, he rose and lived again.--Canadiandy talk 02:34, 18 July 2011 (UTC)
Note that in the case of Catholicism and Baptists, the infobox you see is Template:Christianity, which is also on this article right after the first infobox. For Lutheranism, it is Template:Lutheranism, which is comparable to Template:Latter-day Saints at the bottom of this article. If you look at the pages that link to Template:Infobox Christian denomination (the template you are referring to on this article), very few actually use the "theology" option at all. If we do want to use the "theology" parameter to categorize the LDS church, then its rather difficult to place LDS belief in categories without making up words: Theocorporealitarian (belief that God has a physical body), Premortalitarian (belief that human souls existed before life on Earth), Divinizationist (belief in theosis or exaltation), etc. ...comments? ~BFizz 21:50, 17 July 2011 (UTC)
Agreed, BFizz. It would be nice if the Church's infobox looked more like the 'Lutheranism' infobox. I have long ago resigned myself to the fact that even though we believe in Jesus Christ, named our church to reflect his divine role and ownership, and include his name somewhere in every ordinance or priesthood action and prayer; because we don't worship Christ the way many others do, we don't get to be called or referred to as Christian. Still I think we could do this without the complex jargon you suggested. For example, 'Godhead', 'Eternal Family', 'Baptism', 'The Bible', and even "Restored Apostolic Succession" could be linked in much the same way. Again, I don't expect this to be an easy task, but leaving the whole of Mormon theology as 'nontrinitarianist' is both shallow and misleading. Thanks for your insights.--Canadiandy talk 02:34, 18 July 2011 (UTC)
Isn't the way one worships an essential part of whether they are a Christian? After all, Jesus didn't say, 'worship however you like', and Mormons add a ton of rules, so I would think you would feel even more that way.
21Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
So lots of people will have thought they were following Christ, when they were not in fact. That includes people of every faith. Saying "We have Christ in our name" does absolutely nothing. It is our actions that make us followers of Christ, not the name we give ourselves. OK, rant over. -- Avanu (talk) 12:57, 18 July 2011 (UTC)

OK, my on-topic response now. Of the items you mention 'Godhead', 'Eternal Family', 'Baptism', 'Bible', 'Restored Apostolic Succession', only 'Eternal Family' and 'Restored Apostolic Succession' are unique concepts to Mormonism. The others 'Godhead', 'Baptism', and 'Bible' are just viewed differently by Mormons. So I'm not certain what those would link to, so that people would understand correctly what is meant. -- Avanu (talk) 13:01, 18 July 2011 (UTC)
Avanu. It seems like you feel you have a monopoly on Christianity. Yes Christ didn't say, "Worship however you like." But I also don't think he said "Don't send money to the Bakers." The Bible was not written by him, but by his followers. It was a spiritual record, not policy manual on Church protocols. As a result, one of the only constants in Christianity is that those who label themselves Christians are constantly disagreeing with each other. Consider the Irish situation, still. As my Dad (not a Mormon) says, "Jesus, save us from the Christians." Personally, I don't share his position. While I may disagree with a number of the ranging doctrines within some of the modern Christian sects, I see them for the great part as well-intended people who are doing the best they can with the knowledge they have, and who are a large force for good in this struggling world. As to Baptism and the Bible, we believe in both in a manner sufficiently common to allow linkage to the articles. Is the problem that we baptize by immersion? Many Baptists do, and I don't think you would call them unChristian. Regarding a link to the Bible, Joseph Smith wrote, "We believe the Bible to be the word of God." That we also believe in modern revelation and the Book of Mormon does not exclude us from a belief in the Bible. Respectfully, I sense a strong polemic bent in your rant and that is not helpful to the discussion. While I am a Mormon, when I discuss I try to view the Church as though I were not of the faith with an aim to fairness. I would (and have done) act with the same respect when commenting at the page on Luther or Catholicism. Even though I don't agree with their faiths I try to be fair and keep an open mind. Please, if we are to act in a Christian manner we need to act as the Good Samaritan and respect each others differences.--Canadiandy talk 15:57, 18 July 2011 (UTC)
As far as Baptism, it is the Baptism for the dead that I was specifically focused on. And to be completely accurate, the Greek word "baptidzo" means 'to immerse'. As far as a polemic bent, I have felt that very strongly from you in almost every interaction with you, though to be fair, it seems like you've been getting a lot better. I suppose since you brought up the "well, we have Christ in the name", I get specifically very tired of that logic, because its completely empty. There can be lots of very logical arguments made for Mormonism, but that isn't one of them. -- Avanu (talk) 16:10, 18 July 2011 (UTC)
I believe the term you are looking for is 'apologetic' not polemic. I think you are missing a very important context in your discussions here. This page is about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is completely appropriate in a fair way to identify what members (or the collective of the Church) believe. It is fair to state, "Mormons believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ" or "Mormons identify themselves as Christian." On one end of the debate it is unfair to say Mormon doctrine is the only correct doctrine, but it is equally unfair to say, "Mormons are not Christians" or "Mormons do not believe in the Trinity" without at least qualifying it. That would be POV and contrary to Wikipedia guidelines. A reasonable qualification might look like, "While Mormon doctrine on Christ's nature differs from that of most traditional Christian faiths, Mormons see themselves as a Christian people." Or, "Mormons believe in the Trinity (God the Father, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit) differently than most other Christian sects in that they view their "Godhead" as being three distinct beings. What is frustrating is not in having my beliefs exposed to the world, it's when that is done inaccurately. I believe that in the meridian of time Jesus Christ was born of Mary. He taught in the temple, he healed the sick, he raised the dead, he was baptized of John. I believe he was cruelly crucified on a cross and that on the third day he was resurrected. I believe he atoned for my sins and the sins of all people. I believe that he is the only way people can receive salvation. We may differ in our belief on what color his robe will be when he returns, or whether he now has a tangible or only spiritual body, but it is offensive to have someone refer to my belief as being not Christian. I appreciate your POV. I would fight to protect your right to have it. But please don't let your Karma run over my dogma.--Canadiandy talk 20:41, 18 July 2011 (UTC)
Its easy to sound similar when all you mention are the similarities. Mud, Gravy, and Milk can sound like the same thing if all you do is mention that they're liquid. We don't believe in the same Christ, in the same nature of that Christ, much as you would like to say otherwise. For some reason it seems like you feel my personal opinions somehow relate to what we put in the article. I've seen the bias that you have and you've seen mine. The real point is whether this can be put aside to write a reasonable article. Your initial comments were not nearly as even-handed as your current ones seem to be, so maybe you're just learning the way Wikipedia works. But regardless, if someone makes an illogical argument, I don't expect to have to support it. -- Avanu (talk) 21:34, 18 July 2011 (UTC)
Avanu has a good point that we need to be careful about using standard Christian terminology to refer to Mormon concepts on Wikipedia. We need to think about how the average reader will interpret what is being written. In something like an infobox, where you don't have much room for explanations and caveats, we just have to be especially careful not to imply that Mormons teach standard Protestant or Catholic theology, when that is not the case. COGDEN 01:05, 19 July 2011 (UTC)
@ Avanu, I re-read my initial comments. Can you explain how they were not even-handed? @COgden. My first position was to include links that were more unique to Church theology (though I don't know why we need to distance Mormons from more orthodox Christian theology because of subtle differences). Are you supporting my initial post where I suggested we include the following doctrines?;
Modern Revelation
Atonement of Jesus Christ
a Godhead of three distinct beings
Priesthood restoration
Free Agency of all people
Universal nature of the family
Spiritual pre-existence of mankind

--Canadiandy talk 15:38, 19 July 2011 (UTC)

I think you need to look a little further back in time for what I meant by "initial comments". Right out of the gate you started by telling us how insensitive the wording was to Mormons because of words like 'Mormon' and 'Latter Day Saint movement'. But back on topic... the infobox will have a ton of text if we include all the various ways it is unlike mainstream Christianity. Despite the idea that many Mormons have that says "Mormonism is indistinguishable from Christianity", the only way that is a true statement is if you say Mormonism is the only Christianity (aka ... redefine Christianity). And many people do not believe it is Christianity at all. -- Avanu (talk) 16:07, 19 July 2011 (UTC)
I have faith in the group's ability to identify a small core of prominent theological doctrines. And I don't think the doctrines have to be strictly unique or strictly orthodox either. The goal here is not to prove Mormons are Christians, but it also isn't to prove they are not. It is simply to lay out for readers what the theology is (not what it is not). So with a little taxonomy (Top to bottom), perhaps;
Godhead (three distinct beings)
Atonement of Jesus Christ
Restored Priesthood
Modern Revelation
Scriptures (Book of Mormon, KJV Bible)
Eternal Families
Free Agency

This seems to hold a nice balance of key doctrines which are both unique (Godhead, restored Priesthood, Book of Mormon, eternal families) to the Church and common throughout Christianity (Atonement, KJV Bible, individual agency). I see this as an important improvement, but if others here feel the article is better with the simple summary 'nontrinitarian' I'll let it go. In making your decision please ask this question. If you were to ask an average Mormon to summarize her beliefs, what is the likelihood she would say, "Oh, that's easy, one word, nontrinitarian"?--Canadiandy talk 18:50, 19 July 2011 (UTC)

Here are my thoughts:
The problem is that term mean something completely different to trinitarians than to Mormons. To most Christians, godhead means the nature or quality of God, which includes all the usual aspects of trinitarianism.
This is one area where perhaps Mormon soteriology is relatively mainstream, but it doesn't tell you much to say that Mormons believe in atonement, because even Jews believe in atonement. More precise would be to say that the Mormon belief in the atonement falls somewhere between Calvinistic penal substitution and the Arminian governmental theory of atonement. The only problem is, I haven't seen a source yet that says that explicitly. So using that in an infobox without a citation is problematic. Plus, Mormon doctrine isn't simply one or the other. I guess you could just generalize and refer to the generic substitutionary atonement. But still, we need a source.
Restored priesthood
I think that Mormon views on both restoration and priesthood are unique within Christianity. The Mormon priesthood, for example, is not simply membership in a body of priests or believers, but is rather a more mystical power sort of like gifts of the spirit. So I think "restored priesthood" is Mormon jargon that an outsider doesn't necessarily understand. A better term might be restorationism or Christian primitivism.
Modern revelation 
There is a (not very good) article entitled continuous revelation, and I think the term is commonly understood. So "continuous revelation" might be a candidate for an infobox.
We aren't really saying much to say that the LDS Church believes in scriptures. Anyway, this kind of falls under the continuous revelation category.
Eternal families 
Again, I don't think we can just include this Mormon jargon without an explanation. I don't think the average reader understands what this is referring to.
Free agency 
Saying that Mormons believe in free agency doesn't say much. Even Calvinists believe in free agency.
COGDEN 00:25, 20 July 2011 (UTC)
First, thanks for your helpful input, COgden. I have no problem dropping the last two (Eternal Families, Free Agency). And I agree that the term 'Godhead' needs a qualifier (i.e. 'Godhead' (composed of three separate and distinct beings)). I would be fine also with "substitutionary atonement" though it would be nice to see the name Christ in there as in "Christ's substitutionary atonement". And 'restorationist' would be fine. How about;
A Godhead composed of three separate and distinct beings.
Substitutionary atonement through Jesus Christ
Continuous revelation
I know there is still lots to be done, but how is this for a start?--Canadiandy talk 04:06, 20 July 2011 (UTC)
So, after all of that we see 'nontrinitarian' and 'restorationist' as two of the terms, and 'substitutionary atonement', which isn't a unique Mormon concept, as well as 'continuous revelation', which isn't really a good description of how Mormons feel either.
As far as 'revelation', Mormon prophets have uniquely said that the living prophet is superior to the written canon, because he's present now, I assume. And relating to atonement, Mormons believe that the atonement started in the Garden of Gethsemane because he sweated blood, not necessarily on the cross. In fact, the image of the cross is often rejected as a Christian symbol by many Mormons.
So, again the question goes back to, how much text do you want to fill the infobox with in trying to explain these concepts? -- Avanu (talk) 04:55, 20 July 2011 (UTC)
@ Avanu. To answer your concerns;
So, after all of that we see 'nontrinitarian' and 'restorationist' as two of the terms...
Actually, nontrinitarian isn't there at all
and 'substitutionary atonement', which isn't a unique Mormon concept
Who said it had to be unique?
as well as 'continuous revelation', which isn't really a good description of how Mormons feel either.
actually it is a very good description of how Mormons feel.
As far as 'revelation', Mormon prophets have uniquely said that the living prophet is superior to the written canon, because he's present now, I assume.
I don't see your point here, there is no link to the Bible or Book of Mormon so your point seems moot
And relating to atonement, Mormons believe that the atonement started in the Garden of Gethsemane because he sweated blood, not necessarily on the cross. In fact, the image of the cross is often rejected as a Christian symbol by many Mormons.
First, the image of the cross is not rejected by Mormons, only its iconic use. We respect the motivation by which others use it, but find its display unnecessary. Second, Mormons believe Christ atoned for the sins of all on the cross. Whether they believe the atonement began in the Garden or not does not exclude our belief in the atonement. Denying Mormons that theology is tantamount to saying that because Catholics baptize by anointing or sprinkling rather than by immersion they do not believe in baptism. And would that make them not Christian? Your rationale here seems to be POV and not WP guidelines. Avanu, I do not expect you to have a deep knowledge of the complex theology of the Church. I hope my response does not come across as an attack, I merely wanted to address each of your concerns.--Canadiandy talk 15:59, 20 July 2011 (UTC)
@Andy, "I do not expect you to have a deep knowledge of the complex theology of the Church", from what I can tell you don't seem to have that either. The responses you gave to my comment weren't really addressing what I said. Maybe I could have worded it better, but I think you just prefer to see things a certain way. "continuous revelation" is a belief somewhat held by mainstream Christians, but in a hugely different way than Mormons. That's why I mentioned the beliefs about the superiority of the revelation TODAY (versus previous) and the living prophet held by LDS. Also, mainstream Christians do not see anything more than a prayer happening in Gethsemane, yet Mormons somehow manage to see this blood-shedding act of atonement happening there. Again, VERY different. And, like it or not, 'nontrinitarian' is there because you said "A Godhead composed of three separate and distinct beings." I could go on, but it really aggravates me trying to discuss this with you because you do a thing that some Mormons do where you will not accept definitions as they are. We can't have a real conversation because you don't accept words as they are commonly defined, but as you want them to be defined. And my frustration with this aspect of things biases me to otherwise good changes that you might propose because I'm on guard to see if this is the twisting of words, or just words. -- Avanu (talk) 19:02, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── It's an issue that anyone familiar with the interplay between Mormonism and traditional Christian theology is aware of. The two sides use the same terminology, but the underlying theological framework is often quite different. I don't think this is necessarily an intentional deception on the part of Mormons--it's just that most Mormon scripture was written at a time when Mormonism was decidedly more Protestant, yet the things that make Mormonism distinct are grafted within that original Protestant linguistic framework. Since the development of Mormon theology in the 1840s, Mormonism has been evolving for over a century and a half with almost no theological engagement with the outside Christian world. There are presently a few Mormons scholars trying to re-connect and re-situate Mormon theology within the language of mainstream Christianity, but most Mormons are not aware of those efforts, and are about as familiar with traditional Christian theology as most traditional Christians are familiar with Mormon theology. COGDEN 19:46, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
A fair assessment COgden. I'm interested in your read on my last proposal. I think it matches some of your leanings and looks to be fair and as short as one might want.--Canadiandy (talk) 02:51, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
Because of the nature of infoboxes, I don't think there is enough room to put more than perhaps two classifications there for theology. Modern Mormonism doesn't exactly fit within any widely-understood category of Christianity except that it is Christian primitivist and nontrinitarian. But the Christian primitivist part is already implied by mention of the Latter Day Saint movement in the infobox, given that the Latter Day Saint movement is a type of primitivism. So I can't think of a change that's better than the status quo. COGDEN 18:45, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
I have to say I'm shocked and extremely disapponted you see it that way COgden. First, given the lengthy size of other infoboxes at religious articles, I don't see why a few accurate descriptors would be a problem. Secondly, the logic that because the Church doesn't fit hole 'X' means you can't define it as being 'Y' (even if 'Y' has to be explained, isn't informing people WPs main purpose?) seems to be limited and narrow. Finally, your point about "widely-understood categories" is quite inaccurate. If you mean "understood well by the 27 people at WP who follow these articles with encyclopedic interest," I agree. But if you were to poll 1000 random people (even academics) and asked them what a primitivist nontrintarian religion might look like, I doubt you would find 10 who would understand that terminology or jargon. I am not saying we dumb down the article, but it shouldn't be so jargonistic as to mislead or confuse. But if you are so keen on seeing the status quo (which uses one key theological determiner which is both inaccurate, unfamiliar, and a term which seems unsourced and is possibly even original research snuck through the articles here), then fill your boots. I see this is a losing battle and I have better things to do. At least I tried. This one's all yours too. You sure know your research, but, sadly, I really question your logic. In closing, I wonder how Joseph Smith would feel knowing the 13 Articles of Faith had been reduced to the simple sentence, "We do not believe in the Trinity"? --Canadiandy talk 07:48, 28 July 2011 (UTC)
I don't think this particular infobox is necessarily designed to encapsulate every important point about the religion, or to be a replacement for a Mormon creed such as the 1840 articles of faith. I don't think any infobox could do that. The infoboxes are mainly used to classify the religion and list certain pertinent facts. The infobox is not an appropriate place to explain anything that needs explaining. If it can't be described in one or two words, it doesn't belong there. In fact, there really is no particular reason the infobox has to say anything about the religion's theology. All I'm saying is that if the infobox mentions LDS theology, about the only thing you could say about that that will fit in the infobox is that it is nontrinitarian. COGDEN 08:11, 28 July 2011 (UTC)
COgden. You wrote, "If it can't be described in one or two words then it doesn't belong there." Actually, the infobox for Lutheranism has so many terms it is collapsible. It includes;
Law and Gospel
Sola gratia
Sola scriptura
Two Kingdoms
Priesthood of all believers
Divine Providence
Marian theology
Theology of the Cross
Sacramental Union
And nowhere in there does it focus on what Lutheranism is not. They get twelve determiners, the Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) gets one and it is an confusing and elitist negative. Is there a senior editor out there willing to weigh in on this one? I call bias. I don't see how this could be anything but. And no, COgden, I am not accusing you of bias, just the article. As you said, "I don't think this particular infobox is necessarily designed to encapsulate every important point about the religion." Well given the entire Mormon theology is summed up in one sketchy word I have to agree there. I just think it could try to encapsulate a few (I proposed 4) important points. That would still only be 1/3 of what the Lutheranism page includes. A senior unbiased editor, please?--Canadiandy talk 04:32, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
Honestly, you just make me grit my teeth a bit, Andy. You say stuff like "confusing and elitist negative" but unless you study religion all the time, most of the terms off the Lutheran list are confusing too. You say crappy stuff like "I call bias", when in reality the editors on the whole here are just trying to keep the article on target. You just seem to have a knack for being a bit grrrrr-inducing. If I had the impression that your changes were really about educating people, I probably wouldn't feel this way, but every change you propose seems like it is either designed to introduce bias or 'combat' the perceived bias you feel. Maybe nontrinitarian isn't sufficient, but my goodness can you maybe just try to stop looking at this as a contest for pushing your view onto the article and look at it as a teaching tool that might be able to be improved? -- Avanu (talk) 04:57, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
Avanu, you wrote, "most of the terms off the Lutheran list are confusing too." Well it would be expected as they are terms which reflect their unique beliefs. And for the most part they are terms originating from that faith. But they are at least terms which force the reader to delve deeper to understand them, whereas 'nontrinitarian' is likely to make people think that Mormons do not believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost and so they will likely come away with an erroneous understanding of what Mormons believe. And on top of that it is a term which is almost completely foreign inside the LDS faith. It is offensively condescending to have academics try and dictate (and create jargon for)what we believe in (or don't) especially when they are at best confusing the matter in doing so. And if you read my comments carefully I did not call bias on any editor, merely the article. As to your discomfort with my discussion here, I'm sorry, but like Martin Luther, I would be untrue to myself and others if I just crawled into a bunker and didn't say anything. I've tried to be tolerant of your beliefs and apologize if things got heated, but clearly you are on a side of the argument which is antagonistic towards Mormon theology and so perhaps this is the wrong page for you of you are looking for a comfortable debate.--Canadiandy talk 05:21, 29 July 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────As usual, you miss the point entirely. I'm not irritated by someone wanting to improve the article. I'm irritated that its simply about you claiming bias with almost every single post you make. And now, you claim it on me. I think for most of the editors, what nontrinitarian means is clear. Like COGDEN tried to explain to you, when 95% of Christianity *is* Trinitarian, this is a quick shortcut to say, 'hey, these folks are different in this area'. It might not explain perfectly, but it does explain it very well for a single word. I'll repeat it again... your approach with the constant bias gets old, and it would be a lot nicer if you could simply focus on *improvement* more than being some bias-fighter. I'm already sure you'll misunderstand me, but I am trying to explain to you why I think you're not getting further with this. -- Avanu (talk) 05:32, 29 July 2011 (UTC)

Canadiandy, I don't think the Lutheranism article uses a different type of collapsible infobox that allows them to present more information. That doesn't help us use the infobox we have now, which has room for just one or two terms in the theology area. Another difference is that their infobox is designed to hold links to related articles, not to provide a concise list of facts about the religion. The Lutheranism article does not need to provide such concise facts, because Lutheranism is a denomination, not a specific church, unlike this article.
But maybe all the above discussion doesn't matter. I just had another thought: Really, the best description of the theology of the LDS Church is simply the term Mormonism. Why don't we just use that word, rather than nontrinitarian, and link to the Mormonism article? Mormonism is, after all, a specific variety of nontrinitarianism. Better to be as specific as possible. COGDEN 08:48, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
I've added Mormonist to the infobox, but I'm unsure whether it should be Mormonist, Mormonistic, Mormonism... etc? -- Avanu (talk) 13:33, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
I have very little to say about the whole discussion, only that I think Mormonism would probably be better than Mormonist. I'm ok with leaving the nontrinitarian there too, but don't have any strong feelings either way. In my limited experience, COgden is probably the most "senior unbiased editor" in the room, so if he recommends something else, I'll likely be fine with that too. -- Adjwilley (talk) 21:25, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
I love the term Mormonist, and I wish it would catch on, but the standard word is Mormon, which doesn't make sense. (You don't call an advocate of Methodism a "Method".) Plus, not all Mormons (e.g., cultural Mormons) believe in Mormonism. So I would put Mormonism in the infobox. As to keeping "nontrinitarian" there also, I don't really have a strong opinion on that, either. Both are correct: one is more general and one is more specific. COGDEN 23:04, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
However, there are several examples in line with "Mormonism -> Mormon", for example, "Catholicism -> Catholic", "Hinduism -> Hindu", "Protestantism -> Protestant". ...comments? ~BFizz 06:04, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
This little tangent has made me smile more than once today. So what is the religion of a Southern Baptist? Southern Baptism? :-) -- Adjwilley (talk) 22:11, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
COgden, I am good with the link to Mormonism. Finally we have some actual connection to what the Church's theology is (not what it isn't). As long as we can get rid of the confusing reference to 'nontrinitarianism' I would be very comfortable with the change. However if 'nontrinitarianism' stays I am of the opinion it is actually an even bigger problem (i.e., the theology of the Church of Jesus Christ is that they are nontrinitarian Mormons). On the issue of 'Mormonism' v. 'Mormonist', I personally don't like either, but especially not 'Mormonist.' And not just because it was coined by Avanu. The label 'Mormon' is originally a term coined by opponents of the early Saints. Not only do both terms connect to this negative history, but 'Mormonist' grammatically alludes to the idea that a 'Mormonist' is one who follows Mormons or the Prophet Mormon. Weird terminology. Mormonism is only a step up because of common global usage and so I will be comfortable with it for now. Thanks for your help here COgden.--Canadiandy talk 06:27, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
Andy, you've been told over and over that nontrinitarian isn't a 'slight' or 'attack' or confusing, but for some reason, you're pushing an agenda here. If you look at Template:Christianity, you have the following:
{{Christian denominations |expand-catholic={{{expand-catholic|}}} |expand-eastern={{{expand-eastern|}}} |expand-protestant={{{expand-protestant|}}} |expand-nontrinitarian={{{expand-nontrinitarian|}}}}}
Notice that there are just 4 general divisions, because for 99% of Christianity, this is how it shakes out.
We're here not just to serve people in the LDS, but people who have no connection to it as well. I didn't coin Mormonist, I just looked at what the infobox was asking for and came up with a term that seemed to match. If you do a Google search, it is easy to see many references to this word. The idea that people name a religious movement after a significant person is hardly new. Calvinists, Lutherans, Millerites, Mennonites, etc. I just don't understand why you have to be so partisan in this. When the LDS Church is running ads saying "and I'm a Mormon", your quaint attachment to the idea that its an insult just make no sense. Almost every post you make, you have to complain how this article isn't favorable enough for your own religion. While I can understand such a rationale, I doubt it would be well-received if I constantly pushed for a mainstream Christian POV in this article. We're supposed to be striving for an article that is balanced, and I think 99% of people with any understanding of Christianity know what nontrinitarian means.
I think everyone has tried to patiently explain this all to you and I don't know why you seem to just push for non-standard interpretations in an article that is for a general audience. One of the things that annoyed me when I initially dealt with Mormons is that a large number of terms that a Christian uses are redefined by Mormons. So when you try to have a conversation about something it gets very muddled because of the fact that you're really speaking two different languages but the words are the same.
Anyway, I feel like you're just being stubborn, and I feel that you're being very partisan in this, and if this is the case, I wish you would stop. -- Avanu (talk) 14:12, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
On another tangent, I've touched Template:Christianity a couple times in the past, specifically I've helped fix the "expand" parameters when they somehow got broken. I had a feeling it might get brought up here. I've had it in the back of my mind to take this discussion to the template talk page, but I've always been afraid of the tiresome slugfest that would inevitably ensue. Frankly, the "Nontrinitarian" distinction doesn't make sense. Either you're "Western", or "Eastern", or "Protestant", sure. Those distinctions have been made historically for centuries, especially given the East-West schism, and the Protestant reformation, which generally make it fairly clear who fits in where. But "Nontrinitarian" seems to be the label chosen to mean "Other churches that don't fit in with the other three large branches". I find it strange that all Christian groups that don't seem to fit in with "Eastern", "Western", or "Protestant" (historical branches) supposedly all fit nicely into "Nontrinitarian" (a doctrinal, rather than historical, distinction). ...comments? ~BFizz 11:33, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
If you weren't part of the old Holy Roman Catholic Church before the Schism, you were called a heretic. After the Schism, you were Catholic or Orthodox, or a heretic. After the Reformation, you were either a Protestant, Catholic, or Orthodox, or guess what... a heretic. We're not calling people heretics so often anymore, but if you don't fit in Protestant, Catholic, or Orthodox, or even 'Restoration', what else is there to easily 'label' people? We could simply leave off labels and let people read and figure out what to call Mormons on their own. Personally, I don't think nontrinitarian is a problem. Its like nonfat or nonpartisan, we aren't confused by such terms. We know what the milk is, if it is nonfat, or what the debate is, if its nonpartisan, so the idea that nontrinitarian is so unbelieveably confusing seems to me to just be a straw man here. Trinity clearly talks about the essential nature of God and it refers not to the number of entities, but the fact that these 3 entities are ONE essence. Super clear to 95% of Christians. -- Avanu (talk) 12:58, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
"Heretical" would probably be a better categorization, but obviously unusable for our purposes at Wikipedia, due to its negative connotations. ...comments? ~BFizz 15:32, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
Andy, I think you should compromise a bit on this one. Nontrinitarian has been removed from the lead, and Mormonism has been added to the infobox. Time to give a little. That said, I think it might be a good idea to put nontrinitarian and Mormonism on separate lines with nontrinitarian first (so it doesn't look like it's a nontrinitarian branch of Mormonism). Example:
Theology: Nontrinitarian
I've never formatted infoboxes before. Can this be done? -- Adjwilley (talk) 15:53, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
I've made that change. -- Avanu (talk) 16:02, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
Okay, Avanu. Our discussions here will now end. I tried to be courteous and respect your points but the attacks and off topic accusations are over the top. I'm not feeding the troll any more.--Canadiandy talk 21:16, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
You're someone who we can't please, Andy. You see nearly everything as an attack, even the word Mormon. You edit almost exclusively within articles that are related to Mormonism, and edit with a goal toward influencing the POV toward what you consider favorable. So what can be done? If I actually saw a reasonable argument made about why nontrinitarian would be confusing to the average reader, I would immediately be in favor of changing it out for a better term. But nontrinitarian is very clear and not at all misleading, except to you. The argument that adding 'Mormonism' would help was decent, so it got added, but the problem with adding terms in the Infobox is that they need to be compatible with the larger understanding, and Mormonism has a different language for things that the mainstream, so while I think your point about it being lacking is decent, there's not a lot we can add there without beginning to mislead people. If you feel attacked here, maybe you could broaden your range of topics (ie edit non-Mormon articles) and get some perspective, but I'm certainly not 'trolling' you, I'm simply willing to see a broader point of view here. -- Avanu (talk) 21:56, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
I had a chance to speak with a Mormon friend of mine. He is a bit of a smart alec at times, so it was hard to tell how serious he was being, but he said, depending on how you decide to look at it, Mormons could easily be called Monotheistic, *OR* Polytheistic, and he was really not a big help with this stuff after I asked him to look at the debate on this page. He said things like 'tyranny of the majority' a few times, and essentially we kind of went around and around with him both respecting and simultaneously challenging whether the larger community should be defining terms for the 'whole'. For example, are the largely atheistic Unitarian Universalists a Christian group (they do believe in Jesus, sort of), how would they view the debate on Trinitarianism, etc. Generally I think my friend was just being a pain, because he enjoys it at times, but I guess for us in Wikipedia, we simply need to look at what our sources say... maybe a compromise for Canadiandy1 might be to simply put "Not Trinitarian" in the infobox? -- Avanu (talk) 00:54, 6 August 2011 (UTC)
  • This is not the place to debate religious views. However specifically on the LDS Church and how it views Christ's suffering on the cross this is a relevant quote from "Before He was crucified, Jesus prayed to God in the Garden of Gethsemane on our behalf. Christ's suffering for our sins in Gethsemane and on the cross at Calvary is called the Atonement." While this probably does put Mormons emphasizing the suffering on the cross less than other Christians, it certainly shows a belief that the suffering on the cross was neccesary to complete the payment of sins.John Pack Lambert (talk) 06:53, 8 December 2011 (UTC)

There is no "Mormon Church", only Mormon people (conference talk).

For your interest, here are my notes on a talk by Elder M. Russell Ballard this morning. "The importance of a name" Your good name is important—it is also true among the religions of the world. D&C 115 “For thus shall my Church be called.” Take upon you the name of Christ. The full name of the church is important. It may be long but describes what it is. Every word is important. Simply and humbly declare we are His disciples. The nickname ‘Christian’ was a distraction with the early church. We continue to use the full name and discourage “Mormon Church” unless explained. It is practical to call our collective people Mormons, such as in but should not keep members from using the full name of the Church, whenever possible. Feb 21 2001 letter from the First Presidency mentioned this. In 1948, the prophet said to remember that by divine commandment, only one church on the earth today bears his divine name.
This is the link. (Cf other conference talks.) Hope This Helps .!. Charles Edwin Shipp (talk) 19:23, 2 October 2011 (UTC)

The article already mentions that LDS leaders have discouraged the use of the name "Mormon Church". Regardless of what the Church's leaders do or don't want, however, the article needs to acknowledge (in a neutral fashion) the existence and widespread use of this name because an abundance of reliable sources confirm that it is commonly used. — Richwales (talk) 21:34, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

Not really Christian...

"Several doctrines and practices of the LDS Church are unique within Christianity. The Mormon cosmology and plan of salvation include the doctrines of pre-mortal life, three degrees of heaven, and exaltation. According to these doctrines every human spirit is a literal spirit child of God, and humans may achieve exaltation, which means that they may become gods and goddesses just as Jesus Christ is a God." This is a direct quote from the Article. By the way, the Archived Discussion was focused not so much on this as on whether they believe in the Bible and whether they deny polygyny.

I'd like to draw attention not to polygyny, but to polytheism. Christians believe in only 1 God, period. Not only can humans not become gods of other universes, but in fact contrary to popular belief Christianity teaches that humans can not become Angels let alone lesser gods of some sort. A human who has reached Paradise is a Saint, not an Angel. Angels are entirely acorporal non-human souls that God created before he made us.

Now, let's contrast this to Mormonism where humans are given the ability to become other gods (and goddesses for that matter) of other universes younger than our own (created when that person achieves divinity). The fact is that Mormons are not Christians (even if they say they are, they're basically pretending) because they reject the core-most Doctrines of the Faith. The Article should either acknowledge this by calling them non-Christians (saying "Although the name of the church includes 'of Jesus Christ,' it is a non-Christian church and an entirely separate religion" and explaining further from there), or it could call them heretical Christians/heretics. The latter is an older term that has been out of fashion since the Enlightenment if not the Renaissance, so I would frankly suggest the former. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 09:56, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

I understand your concern, many christian sects have many different beliefs from one another. Following the wikipedia article on christian, I think simply following the basic teachings of Christ and the new testament (the Gospels in particular), to be the only important test. If you have any actual new sources that can add to the article that would help, but we can't simply edit an encyclopedia based on someones personal belief. BoccobrockTC 18:34, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
The definition of Christianity as the religion founded and taught by Jesus Christ is not my personal belief. It's an ancient and universal definition.
Now, the issue with the Mormon belief that humans can become gods, and why they shouldn't be called Christians, is precisely that Jesus Christ taught monotheism. My source is Matthew 22:37-39. "Love God the Father Almighty with all your heart, soul, and mind, and worship only him. The second [commandment] is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
Basically all Christians would call Mormons a separate religion, which means calling them Christians on Wiki, against the common wisdom, is simply a bias in favor of Mormon claims. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 20:02, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
But is the common wisdom that they are a separate religion? Do the majority of scholarly reliable sources assert that it's not under the umbrella of Christianity? That's what will need to be demonstrated to remove it from the introduction—or at least to put it behind a phrasing like "they consider themselves Christian, but most scholars consider…" —C.Fred (talk) 20:15, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
User:The Mysterious El Willstro is rehashing the same tired old argument that's already been settled by community consensus. The majority of peer-reviewed reliable sources agree that Latter-day Saints are Christians as the term applies to religious groups. If you take issue with that (as a number of modern evangelical Christians do), you'll just have to deal with it. The criticisms of the Latter-day Saints by evangelical and other Christian groups are, I think, mentioned quite fairly in the article as it is.  White Whirlwind  咨  20:46, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
This article was written by a man with a Ph. D. on this very topic, and is therefore scholarly: [1]. There are doctrines that all actual Christians (Roman, Eastern Orthodox, and Coptic Catholics, as well as Reformed Christians alike) affirm, and Mormons reject. Foremost among these are Monotheism, Holy Trinity and Dual Nature of Jesus Christ. Again, that source has a scholarly author! He himself is a Baptist, but he cites Roman Catholic and otherwise Christian theologians as some of his own sources. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 05:50, 18 December 2011 (UTC)
Albert Mohler's doctorate is from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary — an institution affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention — so the fact that he has this degree does not in and of itself make his writings impartial. The LDS Church article already clearly indicates that "LDS doctrines regarding the nature of God and the potential of mankind differ significantly from mainstream Christianity", and that "Many have accused the LDS Church of not being a Christian church at all" because of these differences, and this ought to be sufficient for our purposes here. A more detailed, comprehensive treatment of what properly comprises Christianity can and should appear in the separate article on that subject, as well as in the article on the Divinity of Jesus — which articles present the subject as much more complex than Mohler would appear to put it. — Richwales (talk) 07:14, 18 December 2011 (UTC)
In the end, each denomination decides for itself if it is Christian. Charles Edwin Shipp (talk) 11:13, 18 December 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── As somebody who happens to be LDS, I'm fine with somebody claiming that Mormonism is not Christian.... but that is something which is in the eye of the beholder. BTW, the "scholarly publication" above is hardly scholarly as it is really more of a blog posting and hardly fits the definition of a reliable source, dismissing any sort of further appeal to logic or understanding. None the less, the view that Mormonism in and of itself (or the LDS Movement for the purists) is not part of mainstream Christianity is something I have embraced so far as that I don't mind distancing myself from the Crusades, IRA bombings, The Holocaust, and other dismal failures of Christianity over the centuries. Yes, I know there are "sins of the past" in LDS history too, so it isn't completely without blame, but by far and away Christians have missed the message of Jesus Christ far too often as well while professing loyalty to him and acting in his name.

Rolling this back into a discussion of this article rather than turning this into a forum about the non-Chritian nature of the LDS Church, I fail to see what relevance this really has in terms of article development. The section Comparisons with mainstream Christianity deals with this topic along with Mormonism and Christianity as a whole article to deal with this subject. If there is something to be said and a reliable source with something genuinely NPOV to add to this discussion, I would suggest bringing it up on Talk:Mormonism and Christianity and end this discussion properly. Talk pages should not be a forum for general discussion of a topic, although some minor latitude might be permitted if you are trying to legitimate add content to improve the quality of the article. Wilstro needs to let this issue die a good death unless something legitimate needs to be raised here regarding this article. --Robert Horning (talk) 04:23, 23 December 2011 (UTC)

Mormon people and LDS Church support of initiative to block gay marriage

Requesting topic ban on all Mormon Church members if this continues. You have something to discuss do it here and do it soon ... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:00, 22 December 2011 (UTC)

Proposition 8 is already addressed in the article and does not belong in the lead section of this article. A lead section is an overview (see Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Lead section). 72Dino (talk) 19:21, 22 December 2011 (UTC)

OK... You need to address it in the lead section. Take the source material, pray about it, and ask God what is the best thing to say. His will be done ...

:) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:24, 22 December 2011 (UTC)

(edit conflict)
Please watch the imperious tone and personal attacks here, in edit summaries, and on individual talkpages.
As finally toned down after several attempts to edit-war in highly POV opinion and unsupported content, the latest incarnation may be almost acceptable.
Use of the POV term "marriage equality" would need to be replaced by the NPOV descriptive term "same-sex marriage".
Description of the ("likely" according to the source) fine as being for "fraudulently reporting" is unsupported by the source supplied. In addition, mention of the fine in the lede – and arguably anywhere in the article – is completely undue weight. A $5,000 fine for technical violations is immaterial pocket change for any modern U.S. political campaign. Characterizing late reporting – not even failure to report – of $37,000 out of $40,000,000 as fraud is laughable.
The fact that the church takes a common Abrahamic religion stance in opposition to homosexual activities may be worth a one-sentence mention in the lede, probably in the last or second-to-last paragraph where male and female roles and sexuality are discussed. It is not noteworthy enough for more emphasis than that. Fat&Happy (talk) 19:48, 22 December 2011 (UTC)

There are articles titled marriage equality, hardly a POV term. I am glad you have admitted you are a member of the Mormon Church. The title of the source article speaks for itself, and it doesn't matter how much money was involved the Mormon Church LIED about it, just like the Church LIED about the murders of 150 people in Mountain meadows until in 2007 after forensic analysis of the skeletons showed Mormon Militia killed these people did the Church Prophet finally admit the murders were committed by Mormons. As recently as 2007, Mormon Missionaries desecrated a catholic shrine in Colorado, performing re-enactments of bizzare mormon rituals involving decapititation (killing of Nehor), human sacriface, and incest and polygamy on the altar of the shrine. Lots of references on that. I think Chruch members should be topic banned from this article based upon your tone. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:45, 22 December 2011 (UTC)

And I find it astounding that the Church will avoid accountability for its actions in denying basic human rights to LGBT people, and try to keep its hounds spinning all the content. People want to know what the Church really is about, from every view, not just the Mormons. Time to take this to the ARBCOM. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:50, 22 December 2011 (UTC)

Anyway, enough rant from me on this. I accept your proposal above. I will retone the content and I believe it is accurate of the Church's true views. Also, as for those missionaries, I think the MTC in Provo needs to teach equality and tolerance classes ... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:01, 22 December 2011‎ (UTC)

(edit conflict)
"I am glad you have admitted you are a member of the Mormon Church."
Might I respectfully suggest polishing either your reading glasses or your reading skills, whichever is responsible for that completely false representation of anything written here. Fat&Happy (talk) 23:15, 22 December 2011 (UTC)

Done. Feel free edit it and make it more palatable. It's an important issue in a lot of peoples minds and is very relevant. ... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:09, 22 December 2011 (UTC)

  • Unless someone objects to the proposed changes, please post your comments here for discussion. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:16, 24 December 2011 (UTC)

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has come under significant criticism by LGBT groups and supporters for its position on traditional marriage in the public forums. Recently the Mormon Church supported California Proposition 8 in California and were fined admist claims they had misreported their involvement by the authorities, although the amounts of money claimed were small and were subsequently attributed to accounting errors by the Mormon Church. The Mormon Church did however to its credit, publicly apologize for the incident and has reiterated its position that it embraces and loves 'all of god's children' and attempts to work with LGBT members who are struggling with their sexual identity through love and compassion. Even critics of the Mormon Church have commented that the Mormon Church's approach to people of LGBT orientations is more accepting than most mainstream Christian Groups.[2]

Undue weight to a trivial matter; some factual inaccuracy; not supported by the only source (Joanna Brooks blog) provided so far; some non-neutral POV – that's for anywhere in the article (note that the LDS Church's opposition to single-sex marriage and support for Prop. 8 is already in the article). If intended for the lead, too much detail in addition to all of the above. Fat&Happy (talk) 05:09, 24 December 2011 (UTC)
Again, does not belong in the lede. The lede is an overview of the church. This information was put in before the history and doctrine. The brief mention of Proposition 8 that is already in the article is the proper weight of the subject. This detailed information may be more appropriate (if it becomes properly sourced) at Homosexuality and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 72Dino (talk) 05:27, 24 December 2011 (UTC)
Wow! What an article, not only does it state that only recently did the Mormon Church allow interracial marriages (????) and it also says if I am bisexual I have a mental illness. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:48, 24 December 2011 (UTC)
You know, now that I think about those pictures I saw on the internet of Mormon Temple Garments with the green fig leaf aprons do look a lot like KKK outfits. It all fits. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:50, 24 December 2011 (UTC)
These are all very vague comments but none of them offer any constructive changes or specific examples that provides any substantive foundations that support objections to the exclusion of this material. It should be included in the article. Justamanhere (talk) 08:42, 24 December 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia is an encyclopedia — not a gossip column. Charles Edwin Shipp (talk) 15:00, 24 December 2011 (UTC)

Notice you are into "geneaology" and "family History" -- Hmmmm. It's also not a platform to promote a Fiction Novel as American History and to indulge the fantasy of one particular group. Justamanhere (talk) 15:49, 24 December 2011 (UTC)
I suggest the paragraph of three sentences at the bottom of the Article is sufficient and well-written. Charles Edwin Shipp (talk) 16:13, 24 December 2011 (UTC) . . . PS: Yes, you should visit < > Thanks for noticing.
Very interesting content. I notice it states 'the church has come out with certain protection for LGBT people'. I guess this is somewhat akin to Separate But Equal in the late 1960s when Blacks and Whites had 'separate but equal' restrooms. What do you think. Sounds very slanted against the church as though the church is promoting discrimination and stereotyping. Could certainly be worded in a more neutral fashion. (talk) 17:05, 24 December 2011 (UTC)
Please try to stay logged in to your registered account of Justamanhere. Using both IP addresses and the user account can cause confusion in these discussions. The IP addresses you used before being registered are probably okay. Thanks, 72Dino (talk) 17:16, 24 December 2011 (UTC)

To User:Justamanhere: I've reverted your edit. I'd say that "certain protections" is more neutral, because everyone can agree that they are certain protections. When you insert "fundamental human rights," there goes any neutrality. CL (T · C) — 18:28, 24 December 2011 (UTC)

Agreed. Your point is well-taken. Charles Edwin Shipp (talk) 22:35, 24 December 2011 (UTC)
There is so much anti-Mormon editing going on at the bottom of this Article that I am no longer going to participate. I thought all of this negativism was moved to a separate Article: Criticism_of_The_Church_of_Jesus_Christ_of_Latter-day_Saints . . . bye, Charles Edwin Shipp (talk) 05:00, 26 December 2011 (UTC)

User:Justamanhere posted some content he wished to add that was reverted by another editor while I was responding. My comments were: "These additions have serious WP:Notability, WP:NPOV, WP:Reliable sources, and non sequitur logic issues that would need to be addressed before they have a snowball's chance of going into the article. The entire 'Colorado incident' – more than three sections in his revision – would need to be reduced to one paragraph or less for WP:Notability (events) reasons."  White Whirlwind  咨  05:31, 26 December 2011 (UTC)

Inaccurate Attribution Needs Fix

The article reads,

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is widely known for its worldwide humanitarian services. The church's extensive welfare system, LDS Philanthropies, is a branch of the Presiding Bishopric. Initiated during the Great Depression, it provides aid for the poor, financed by donations in the form of tithes from church members. It is responsible for philanthropic donations to the LDS Church and other affiliated charities, such as the Church History Library, Brigham Young University and the Church Educational System, the Perpetual Education Fund, the Polynesian Cultural Center, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and efforts dedicated to providing funds for LDS missionaries and temple construction.[120] Money from the program is also used to operate bishop's storehouses, which package and store food for the poor at low cost. Distribution of funds and food is administered by local bishops. These local storehouses distribute commodities to the needy as requested by local bishops on a "Bishop's Order for Commodities" form (referred to as a bishop's order). Bishop's storehouses also provide service opportunities for those receiving assistance and for those desiring to serve missions or to volunteer in the church's welfare program. The day-to-day operations of the storehouses are run by elder missionaries as store managers.[121]

The problem with the above wording is that it confuses "Tithes" with other "Offerings". Perhaps the big culprit here is the statement, "financed by donations in the form of tithes from church members." The humanitarian services are funded through separate funds listed on a donations slip on lines separate from the "Tithing" line. On a tithing slip one would find a line for "Tithes" (funds buildings, maintains BYU, funds Church Educational System), "Fast Offerings" (these funds are used locally to assist individuals with basic needs, though in units where funds are underused they are redistributed to other areas where they are needed for the same purpose) "Humanitarian Aid" (funds only humanitarian aid programs), "Perpetual Education Fund" (goes only towards that program).

My recommendation to correct this error is that we simply shorten rewrite,

financed by donations in the form of tithes from church members.


financed by donations from church members.--Canadiandy talk 19:08, 7 January 2012 (UTC)

Inclusion of link to film

Inclusion of a link to 8: The Mormon Proposition in the Controversy and criticism of this article is inappropriate. It is mentioned in Criticism of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where detailed information belongs. There are a lot of films for and against the LDS Church, and this particular film is nowhere near impactful enough to merit mention is this main article. —Eustress talk 05:00, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

How is it possible that a recent major documentary film specifically criticising the Mormon Church is not appropriate in a section labelled controversy and criticism?
But the following sentence... Is relevant to Controversy and Criticism how exactly? (My apologies for calling it propaganda, but that's exactly what it sounds like and it's far less relevant to this section than the link to the documentary.)
Light Defender (talk) 05:30, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
Belittling the merit of a documentary that the LA Times called "An outstanding and urgent example of the investigative documentary" that "is all the scarier for its straightforward presentation of how the LDS Church succeeded in getting California's Proposition 8 on the ballot in 2008 and then getting it passed. As an exposé, there could hardly be a stronger case for ensuring and strengthening the separation of church and state" Does not make it inappropriate!
Light Defender (talk) 05:58, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
I've taken this issue to dispute. Wikipedia:Dispute_resolution_noticeboard#The_Church_of_Jesus_Christ_of_Latter-day_Saints_discussion Light Defender (talk) 07:27, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
Light Defender, there is a whole separate article for this link to the documentary. If such a section was to be included on this page, it would be pretty much a form of "bashing" and considering there is a whole separate article for this (Criticism of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), to include the link on this page would violate WP:NPOV.Curb Chain (talk) 07:40, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
Not notable enough for inclusion. Referencing on the "Criticism" article is sufficient. If the film were included, the dozens of other such films (On the content page Category:Documentary films critical of Mormonism there are 4 films listed including this one - not dozens. And perhaps you're right the other 3 should also be mentioned in this section? Light Defender (talk) 14:58, 14 February 2012 (UTC)) that have been made over the years would have to be included as well. The dispute resolution move was ill-conceived and will be shut down quickly, if it hasn't already.  White Whirlwind  咨  07:49, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
Who says it's not notable enough? The Mormon Censors? Not the LA Times. Not the NY Times. Not Variety Magazine. Not the Wall Street Journal. Etc Etc Etc... The Mormon attempt to deny and trivialise this documentary does not make it less notable. If it wasn't so highly controversial and critical of the Mormon Church, why are so many Mormons intent on keeping reference to it off this page? Light Defender (talk) 13:16, 14 February 2012 (UTC)