Talk:The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints/Archive 2

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Dmerrill, IIRC, Joseph Smith was sealed to a number of women posthumously, but not concurrently with their marriage or sealing to another man. This does not seem to be polyanderous. I don't recall encountering mention of doctrine or practice of polyandery in Mormonism [now redirected to Church_of_Jesus_Christ_of_Latter-day_Saints], even in the early days. --BrantEaton

That's probably because it is little discussed. However, it is well documented. For one example, see In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith by Tood Compton, PhD (classics, UCLA). Or, Mormon Polygamy: A History by Richard S. Van Wagoner. Or, Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith (a biography of Joseph's first wife, who strongly disapproved of his polygamy but was powerless to stop it). Any of those will point you to the primary sources.
The source materials I have found contain declarations by contemporaries of Joseph Smith alleging _his_ polyandery/adultery. Accepting these sources does not establish a pattern of practice or declaration of doctrine for the church. --BrantEaton
Good point, I have to agree with you there. Let's leave it for the moment, and when I start working on the JS biography I will move it there. --Dmerrill

This is of course a contriversial subject, and I have read the primary sources, and have found that Joseph Smith was seeled to women who were already married to non-members. The idea was that sealing to someone was essential for exaltation. There is no evidence that Joseph actually cohabitated with these seelings, and it seems that they were no more than a religious formality. --James L. Carroll

There were many allegations of children from these women, which certainly implies more than sealing happened. We need to do much research before asserting any of that ourselves, of course, which is why it's not in the article.
<joke suggest="Smile: it's funny">Was "Mr. Smith" the only man in the neighborhood for a period of 28 days centered on the 266th day before delivery of these children?</joke>

Can we at least use the words correctly here, folks? Polygamy is plural marriage, of any form. Polygyny is one/many women (in marriage or breeding). Polyandry is one woman/many men (in marriage or breeding). Polyamory is plural dating/cohabitation (that one is well-established but hasn't made it into most dictionaries yet). --LDC

I think we *are* using them properly. Joseph Smith married multiple women (polygyny), some of whom had other husbands (polyandry).

Yes, I think you were using "polyandry" correctly when you asked the first question (note the spelling, though), but I think most of the other text here assumes you were asking about something different.

This is precisely the question: Was polyandry (used to spell much gooder when i were stil in school) a feature of Mormon practice or doctrine at any point, even in its very early period? Some contend (and cite statements supportive of the assertion) that Joseph Smith as an individual practiced polygyny, "traditional extramarital activities," and caused some of these women to practice polyandry. These accounts are (understandably) not widely known in the modern church. The veracity of these statements is likely a subject of dispute. --BrantEaton
Very well put. In fact, I'll copy some of that statement to the article. --User:Dmerrill

Even if Joseph Smith married women already married to other men, it is only polyandry if he thought their original marriages were valid. I honestly don't know what he thought. But I doubt that he would have viewed himself as practicing polyandry. -- SJK

If they were legally married, and he legally married them, it was polyandry, wasn't it? --Dmerrill
I don't know what the early Mormon attitude was toward the marriage laws of the state. Current polygamists twist them around something awful - using strategic marriage and divorce to claim that they aren't married to more than one woman, and separating their concept of sacramental marriage and legal marriage. --MichaelTinkler
This reminds me of an amusing sidenote pointed out to me by a Persian friend. She didn't mind the idea of plural marriage one bit. What she hated was Americans shacking up with their BFs/GFs and cheating on their spouses... all perfectly legal.

Dmerrill: Well, if they were already legally married he couldn't legally marry them, under U.S. law. Everywhere in the U.S. polygamy is a legal impossibility. (Sure, Mormon polygamists have more than one wife in a cultural sense, but legally they do not.) And legal marriage is really irrelevant to polyandry -- polyandry is a anthropological, not a legal, concept. Of course, as an anthropological concept legal considerations can be relevant, but they are not determinative. -- SJK

Hehe, good point. ;-) Whoever gets around to really fleshing that section out will have to clearly document exactly what was really going on. Personally I don't know the intimate details, so I can't say which of these is what JS did. --Dmerrill

Current article humor?

Current version looks like parody. Should we move it to Humor and replace it with a serious article? --Ed Poor

Christ eternal or eternally existent?

I'm looking at the definition of Christ. Is there a distinction to be made between "eternally existent" and "eternal"? I think the statement as given is technically correct, but it "sounds" more Protestant than LDS. Also, I think there are some senses in LDS theology in which Jesus is equal to God the Father, but some other senses in which he isn't. Certainly, according to LDS belief, Jesus does the will of the Father, not the other way around. Any thoughts? --Eric

Dmerrill's recent rewrite took care of this problem in quite an appropriate way. --Eric

Quote Source?

One quotation I've heard attributed to the LDS is: As man is, God once was. As God is, man may become. Is this an accurate quote from something in the LDS canon? If so, it seems to be a nice concise statement that may warrant inclusion in the main article. --Wesley

Yes, I heard that many times growing up. I don't know the source, though -- I think it was from one of the Prophets but could be wrong. It's been a long time. --Dmerrill
The statement is from Eliza Snow, who was prominent in the early church. It isn't part of the canon, although it is safe to say that it's the LDS view. Its implications can get somewhat confusing. The LDS view clearly is that God has been God (or more precisely that the Godhead has been the Godhead) since "the beginning." So if God the Father has been a man, it was "before the beginning," so to speak. If we're talking about God the Son here, then "as man is, God once was" isn't all that much different from Protestant belief. Ultimately, whatever official teaching there is in the church about "how God became God," so to speak, raises more questions than it provides answers. --Eric
The statement, incorrectly quoted, is not from Eliza snow, but rather from a poem written by her brother Lorenzo Snow found below. The quote should read, "As man now is, God once was; as God now is, man may be" (see Teachings of Lorenzo Snow page 2, 8-9).
Dear Brother:
Hast thou not been unwisely bold,
Man's destiny to thus unfold?
To raise, promote such high desire,
Such vast ambition thus inspire?
Still, `tis no phantom that we trace
Man's ultimatum in life's race;
This royal path has long been trod
By righteous men, each now a God:
As Abra'm, Isaac, Jacob, too,
First babes, then men -- to gods they grew.
As man now is, our God once was;
As now God is, so man may be, --
Which doth unfold man's destiny.
For John declares: When Christ we see
Like unto him we'll truly be.
And he who has this hope within,
Will purify himself from sin.
Who keep this object grand in view,
To folly, sin, will bid adieu,
Nor wallow in the mire anew;
Nor ever seek to carve his name
High on the shaft of worldly fame;
But here his ultimatum trace:
The head of all his spirit-race.
Ah, well, that taught by you, dear Paul,
Though much amazed, we see it all;
Our Father God, has ope'd our eyes,
We cannot view it otherwise.
The boy, like to his father grown,
Has but attained unto his own;
To grow to sire from state of son,
Is not `gainst Nature's course to run.
A son of God, like God to be,
Would not be robbing Deity;
And he who has this hope within,
Will purify himself from sin.
You're right, St. John, supremely right:
Whoe'er essays to climb this height,
Will cleanse himself of sin entire --
Or else `twere needless to aspire.
Lorenzo Snow
(IE, 22:660-61; the poem is dated 11 January 1892.)
It should be noted however, that this statement or others to my knowledge have never been interpreted by Church officials to what exactly 'godhood' consists of. Those who speculate may or may not be right.
Possible sources for the idea comes from statements by various people including, Joseph Smith in the King Follett Discourse, Jesus Christ in the New Testament (see below), and the Doctrine and Covenants.
Psalms 82:6: I have said, Ye [are] gods; and all of you [are] children of the most High.
John 10:33-36The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?

Baptism of Dead

Shouldn't the section on Baptism mention baptism of the dead? --Wesley

I added a paragraph on that under the "Chapels and Temples" heading, since such baptisms take place in temples. --Eric


Almost POV Paragraph

this paragraph:

Compared with other religions the LDS church is a form of Christianity adapted for an American 1800s audience, supporting their contemporary views and providing additional scripture that describes Christ's visit to the American continent following his Resurrection. This has been compared to Rastafarians's describing biblical connections for Ethiopia and claims during the height of the British Empire that the English were the [Lost Tribe of Israel]?.

...seems close to the NPOV line.


Article Changes

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and I'm happy to see the Church represented in Wikipedia. However, I'd like to see a few things change in this article:

- The article uses words and phrases like "claim", "allege", and "Mormons believe that" much too frequently. These words draw attention to the author of the article and infer the author's beliefs. I don't think the article should state an opinion, even indirectly.

- The article makes confusing statements like "God the Father is said to be eternally coexistent with matter", and does not provide attribution. The reader is forced to assume the Church said this, but it is not doctrine.

- The article makes assumptions about the beliefs of Latter-Day Saints. For example, the article incorrectly states that Heavenly Father does not lead Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost. The Church teaches that Heavenly Father does indeed lead them.

In general, the article mixes viewpoints from within the Church and viewpoints outside the Church. The article would flow better, and would not require awkward phrasing, if it stated the different viewpoints in independent sections. For example, the paragraph on the word "saints" states how the Church uses it, then the article quickly dismisses that definition. The article does not precisely say who the "other Christians" are. If the article were divided into sections corresponding to viewpoints, there would be ample opportunity to define who is not in favor of that definition.

Just my $0.02.

Shane Hathaway

Dividing it into the sections by viewpoint, as you suggest, may be helpful. Would this be just for theology types of things, or for the history as well? Wesley 14:50 Sep 18, 2002 (UTC)

History Page

Thanks for pointing out the history page. I had not read it before. Interestingly, that page is well written right up to the point where it introduces polygamy. Suddenly the focus shifts to only that aspect and the old issue of Africans and the priesthood. What about the industrious pioneers who, obeying God's counsel, crossed the harsh plains and built a great city? What about the beautiful culture that rose up there? What about the missionaries who traveled far and wide, and the many faithful converts? What about the formation of the Relief Society, now a large, worldwide women's organization? What about the great relief efforts that have been poured into all countries? What about the building of temples and translation of the scriptures into hundreds of languages? What about the thousands of members of the Church who, behind the scenes, volunteered their time and money to make the Olympics of 2002 so successful?

The history of the Church is extensive and quite interesting. Polygamy doesn't have a very large part in it all, and it is only a part of history, not the present. Polygamy is forbidden. In fact, when members go to church, they really don't even talk or think about polygamy. There are far more interesting things to say and do.

So, perhaps the history page should be expanded to include the much more interesting history and the polygamy aspect should be on its own page. In fact, there are comments on the page that suggest the history be expanded. I suppose I should volunteer to do it sometime. ;-)

Shane Hathaway

Baptism of Holocaust Victims

Regarding baptism for the dead for Holocaust victims: Church policy was modified about 5 years ago to specifically forbid this practice. The latest change implies that this is an ongoing issue. Q

Yes, it was. I think the problem is that despite the official statements, rumors have filtered out that the practice is continuing or has continued. Admittedly, these are/were only rumors, but some sectors of the Jewish community felt it necessary to investigate whether these rumors were true or not. Unfortunately, this is not really possible given the secrecy surrounding Temple rituals, which, while certainly legitimate, serves to exacerbate these suspicions. Compare with rumors of plural marriages long after they were forbidden by the Church (For instance, Joseph Smith III in 1904, I believe, but I am quoting from memory here). Secrecy inevitably engenders rumors. Personally, I do not see the point of the Jewish leadership (if somebody wants to mumble my great-grandfather's name, more power to him), but then again, I tend toward iconoclasm in these things. Danny

The wording of the opening sentence seems since the latest change seems rather POV to me: "...revisionist Christian denomination..." Specifically, the use of the word "revisionist." I don't think most LDSaints would characterize their religion as such. Anyone else? -Frecklefoot

Contrary to the NPOV policy, the new wording states an opinion as a fact. From an LDS view, non-LDS Christian religions could be viewed as "revisionist" too. BTW, how'd the talk page get wacked out...the format is very wide now. B
fixed --Eloquence 22:27 Jan 21, 2003 (UTC)
Thanks, Eloquence. One way of fixing the "revisionist" problem is to change the opening to "The LDS Church claims to be a Christian denomination". But this would only be fair if similar rephrases were done on other Christian religion articles. The article's opening statement was appropriate the way it was before the change and so I've changed it back. B

I did not intend the word "revisionist" to be a judgement. I believe now that I could have more accurately used the word "corrective." I do agree that all the religious articles should be treated the same, and that it would be impossible to agree on a single modifier for each denomination. However, I do not believe it would be biased to include a statement about the non-traditional context of the LDS church. --BarkingDoc

BarkingDoc, using a term like non- traditional, historical, original, etc. are arguable, BUT I agree that the article should refer to the uniqueness of the church in contrast to most other Christian denominations in the beginning of the article. I've added the phrase "it differs significantly from mainstream Christian religions". Thanks for your input. B

Removing Mormonism

For whatever reason, I've been running around trying to get rid of all links to "Mormonism". It's merely a redirect page. The last one to fix is here in Talk:Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and so I think I'm done. However, I don't know what to do with one of the pages I edited, "Mormonism as a Christian religion". It discusses the seemingly endless question about whether Mormons are "real Christians". There are a couple legitimate arguments or descriptions on the page, but I'd bet much is duplicated on the many other LDS-related pages. Problem is, I don't have the information that would allow me to simply redirect it (because I knew it was redundant) nor the expertise to take bits and integrate them elsewhere.

Perhaps some of you do. It seems wrong to leave this "Mormonism" title out there.

Arthur 21:27 Jan 22, 2003 (UTC)

The article "Mormonism as a Christian Religion" and other articles emanating from the "Controversies of the LDS religion" article are unique; there are no other articles like it. And other articles that do reference these issues should make only brief mention of it and then refer to the primary article. I could see renaming the article to "Mormons as Christians" or "LDS Church as a Christian church" or some such. You just click the "move this page" to rename it. B

Arthur, I understand that getting rid of links to redirects (such as Mormonism) is a good thing. But, as explained on the Church's official website, "the term 'Mormonism' is acceptable in describing the combination of doctrine, culture and lifestyle unique to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints". It is in no way dismissive or demeaning (for example, the Church recently commisioned and published the "Encyclopedia of Mormonism").

As such, it seems to me entirely appropriate to keep "Mormonism" in where it makes sense, and while I'm not opposed to a better title if you can think of one, "Mormonism as a Christian religion" is a tidy summary of the topic. The only more succinct title I can think of is "Are Mormons Christians?" (google it), but do questions make good titles for encyclopedic references? LennyG

Cool! I'll leave it alone.
Arthur 16:08 Jan 23, 2003 (UTC)

Adding New Scriptures

I don't think "adding new scriptures to the King James Bible" reflects the concept well. First, the KJV is just one translation of the Bible. English-speaking LDS Church members use the KJV, but members in other countries use other translations.

Beyond that, "adding scriptures to the Bible" may be confusing.

We could say, "adding scriptures to the scriptural canon" or "canonizing scriptures outside the Bible" or something like that.

The Book of Mormon is considered a separate book from the Bible. Q

Revert Explanation

While the 7-26-03 edit by made some useful tweaks, it also deleted significant, pertinent material without comment. Reverting. B 21:43 28 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Sorry Wesley, but I had to revert it. It is simply not true to say that, according to LDS theology, God is not eternal or omnipotent. God does have these attributes, and while we acknowledge the existence of other Gods, their existence is not really relevant to us and our understanding of the omnipotence of God or our relationship to him. While Joseph Smith said that God was once a man and dwelt on an Earth, he said and we say quite emphatically that God is eternal. Perhaps that means, "in every practical way" or "as far as we as mortals are concerned" or something. I don't know and we don't discuss the mortal life of God. What is essential for the theology is that we worship a perfect, unchanging, quite omnipotent, etc. God. Those other things that Joseph Smith mentioned, well, we will understand what all that is about when we are ready. That is how the Church treats the subject.

About Mormons being Christians, I think your revision added a POV that is mainly held by members of other faiths, not us. We worship Christ and everything else is an appendage to his atonement, as one leader said. I think the change you made was a little too eager to describe what some other people think about the Church, rather than accurately portraying what we believe (as I think an encyclopedia article should). Cos111 03:45, 1 Aug 2003 (UTC)

What you're saying is nonsense. If God was a mortal man, then became an immortal God, then would that not constitute a change?!? Is it not true that the Mormon God was created by some other God? How then can he be eternal? I don't mean to inject personal bias; I do think the article should be honest about what Mormons teach. Perhaps it should say that Mormons teach that God never changes, yet at some unknown time in the past made the change from mortal to immortal? That they teach he is eternal, but also had to be created? I'm certainly no expert on Mormon theology, perhaps you can help me out here. Wesley 13:30, 1 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Well, I'm somewhere in the middle on this whole thing, personally. Mormons regard God as eternal and omnipotent. But, yes, (most) Mormons beleive that God was once mortal (as Jospeh Smith once said, "As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become."), but that does at all impinge upon His immortality or omnipotence. His mortal life doesn't concern LDS people. The only reason it's discussed at all is to demonstrate that, in all of us, lie the seeds of _potential_ godhood. Also, the LDS beleive that we do not really understand (yet) the true nature of etenity. We are constrained to think in terms of "time"--a concept that doesn't exist in eternity. So to say "over time gained additional power..." puts an eternal matter in linear terms, which the LDS would consider inaccurate. But I think I'm getting too long-winded here. In short, I think the statement "[God] is a created being who over time gained additional power and responsibility" would offend most LDS people because it makes God sound like some sort of administrator and undermines the concept of His omnipotence. —Frecklefoot 14:09, 1 Aug 2003 (UTC)
I think it's worth noting that the Mormon conception of eternity, and of God, is radically different from the rest of Christianity. For almost everyone else, God is the ultimate and only Creator, the only Cause, of all else that exists. God is eternal because God is outside time; God is outside time because time is as a property of the Universe, and God is separate from that. God can also be called eternal because there was never a time that God was not; nothing existed before God.
In Mormonism, the same reasons don't apply, so they must have different reasons. The above don't apply because their God is not the only God, and was in fact created by some other God, and (according to this article at least) once walked as a mortal on some other earth. I'm presuming that in this view, God was not omnipotent until he became God. Perhaps it doesn't seem immediately relevant to a person's daily spiritual life, but it does have an impact on your cosmology and theology.
A similar paradox exists in traditional Christianity: how God became Man without changing, and while remaining fully God. This paradox is acknowledged and discussed and explained at length in the Tome of Leo by Pope Leo (the Great?), and established as doctrine at the Council of Chalcedon. I certainly wouldn't take offense at an article observing that this paradox exists; in fact I think (and hope) it's already noted in the appropriate places, along with how it has been addressed. And Christianity certainly acknowledges that the Incarnation happened at a specific point in time. Has Mormonism ever made similar explanations regarding their God's unchanging, reconciling it with him being created a man and then becoming God? Wesley 14:29, 1 Aug 2003 (UTC)

When I saw Wesley's changes, I could see it was going to take a little more work because of how Mormonism and mainstream Christianity define some concepts such as eternal and omnipotent so differently. In mainstream Christianity, when Christians says omnipotent, they literally mean power that transcends everything. Which is why it gets faced with unusual paradoxes, according to some, about God being able to create an irresistible force and immovable objects, etc. In Mormonism, omnipotent means that God is as powerful as a God can be...he is still subject to the laws of physics,etc....God does not transcend nature, create its laws, etc...he is subject to nature and simply a natural extension of the universe. In Mormonism then, God would be able to perform what seems as miracles to mere mortals because he understands the nature of reality and nature itself so much better than beings less omnipotent and omniscient as himself that he seems to be literally in command of the elements. Crudely and over-simply put, God's science and technology are vastly superior to our own. Second, In Mormonism, ALL matter is eternal (and infinite); that is, matter has always existed and has never been has only been organized, including the earth, for instance. This would also include God, Jesus and even the people of this earth...all are co-eternal in the sense that everything has always existed, but not necessarily always existed in the same state. Thus, I would be co-eternal with God even though I am still mortal. In Mormonism, human beings initially exist in the universe as "intelligence" (whatever that means), develop into spirits (which by the way are also "matter, but more refined or pure" per Doctrine & Covenants) (presumably develop into spirits from intelligence through the interaction (sex?) of heavenly parents), then come to earth to acquire a body, experience, glorification, etc....stir and repeat. So what Wes input earlier is correct from one point of view, but false from a Mormon view because of differences in meaning. I may be wrong in some of the details above..this is just my understanding from Mormon texts that have treated these subjects and are probably not official Church positions, but I use these explanations to show how different the meanings are between Mormonism and the rest of Christendom. B 19:50, 1 Aug 2003 (UTC)

I think Frecklefoot is correct. I'll repeat the best part, "but that does at all impinge upon His immortality or omnipotence. His mortal life doesn't concern LDS people. The only reason it's discussed at all is to demonstrate that, in all of us, lie the seeds of _potential_ godhood. Also, the LDS beleive that we do not really understand (yet) the true nature of etenity. " This is how we view the nature of God, and it would not be an accurate encyclopedia article to say that we do not believe in an omnipotent, eternal, omniscient God. Those qualities are the important things, and that is why we worship him as God. The "details," so to speak, of God that Joseph Smith and others said is neither well understood nor relevant to our worship of God, so we set it aside for a time when we will have further revelation and expanded capacity to understand the nature of God.
I think BoNoMoJo is substantially correct. I would take slight issue with "In Mormonism, omnipotent means that God is as powerful as a God can be...he is still subject to the laws of physics,etc....God does not transcend nature, create its laws, etc...he is subject to nature and simply a natural extension of the universe." At some level God is subject to some laws and such (he could not save us without sending his son to die for us and without our acceptance of the sacrifice), but I doubt that physics as we know it would be included in that. I also wouldn't say that he is "simply a natural extension of the universe."
Yes, the "simply a natural extension of the universe" would potentially be applicable only to Mormons who accept evolution as a possible force in the universe, and the Church has no official position on the validity of evolution. As to God being the creator of natural laws versus being subject to them, I think, there is room in Mormon theology for differences of opinion, but IMHO I think there is strong support for the principle I suggested from such sources as Talmage's "Articles of Faith", a staple reference book in the very small, approved-missionary library. Regardless, Cos' substantive point is most pertinent: there is much about the nature of God that is not finalized yet in Mormon theology, and to go too far beyond that would erroneously shift the focus from the Church's primary theological points to somewhat speculative theories. As some Church General Auhorities might say, "Is knowledge of this subject pertinent to your salvation?" B 21:50, 1 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Wesley said, "I think it's worth noting that the Mormon conception of eternity, and of God, is radically different from the rest of Christianity. For almost everyone else, God is the ultimate and only Creator, the only Cause, of all else that exists." I think that as far as how we think of God and how we worship him, we are quite similar to "mainstream Christianity," if there is such a thing (I heard a lot of wild things from "mainstream Christians" on my mission). We do worship him as the ultimate and only Creator. That's the point of what I said in the previous post. The existence of other Gods is not relevant to how we think of and worship God. We really ignore the idea 99% of the time. There will never, ever come a time when we will cease to worship God as God, and we will never be his equal. I don't think an encyclopedia article describing our beliefs should try to focus too much on something that we don't consider to be very central. We focus on the Savior and how to follow and emulate him, to take part in the atonement. We try to serve others as he did and follow his commandments. That is what our religion is about. In order to know what to worship we focus on the the qualities of God that are essential to know: his perfection, his ultimate love and benevolence, his power and knowledge, his unchanging nature, etc. That is the God of Mormon theology, and what we worship. Cos111 20:33, 1 Aug 2003 (UTC)
BoNoMoJo, I want to thank you for your explanation of Mormon cosmology, and of the different ways Mormons and others use words like "omnipotent" and "eternal". Cos111, you make a fair point about how vague the term "mainstream Christian" can be, so for the sake of being specific I'll confine myself to Eastern Orthodoxy, although many other Christian groups agree with it on these points. Cos111, this really isn't a difference over some obscure backwater issue, as you seem to suggest. Orthodox Christians worship one God, a triune, omnipotent, personal God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who alone are coeternal with each other and enjoy intimate communion and union with each other. This is not the same God that Mormons worship, based on a comparison of what Orthodox Christians and Mormons say their God has revealed to their believers about Himself. We have different ideas about prayer, about worship, and about what our ultimate goal is; for Orthodox Christians it is the full realization of Christ's victory over sin, death and the devil, and intimate union with the triune God, theosis.
I agree now that it would not be correct to say that the Mormon God is not eternal, or is not omnipotent. Perhaps instead the article should address the differences in how these divine attributes are understood? In other words, I still see some genuine differences that are worth mentioning, though perhaps not quite the same differences I saw originally. Peace, Wesley 03:39, 3 Aug 2003 (UTC)

British Israelism

I moved the paragraph below (added by from the article (Overview). It seems controversial at best. If others decide it belongs in the article, it can be moved back, but I've never heard British Israelism as being a tenant of the LDS Church.

In line with the teachings of British Israelism, they also teach that their white members are direct descendents of the lost tribes of Israel, which means they get a slightly different (not better) set of blessings than the ones given to humankind as a whole.

Frecklefoot 20:41, 18 Sep 2003 (UTC) (since you won't log in, I can't refer to you as anything else), unless you can provide a credible source for your claims on the doctrine of British Israelism, I vote to leave it out of the article. I am not a Mormon Bishop, but I am LDS and I've never heard of such a teaching.
If you're referring to the Church's Patriarchal Blessings, yes, we beleive that we are adopted into tribes, but not that the Germanic people are literal descendants of the tribes of Israel.
I'm willing to be proven wrong. If several people think it should stay, then fine. Until then, I'm reverting it back out. However, I find it interesting that this change is the only contribution you've made to the 'pedia. —Frecklefoot 18:15, 19 Sep 2003 (UTC)

I agree with you Frecklefoot - the placement of the information did not follow a logical flow or seem relevant to that part of the entry. I am the one that added in the info about lineage and adoption (patriarchal blessings) to attempt to clarify the rather racial remarks that added in, since the church believes all members have specific responsibilities, regardless of racial background. I agree with you that most Mormons know that being white, does not give certain responsibilities - as the church believes native americans, jews and others have specific responsibilites and blessings. This information should have a new page if the individual who added it in feels that it is really that important of a point to make. Thanks for deleting this part of the entry out, as it is not a church doctrine or widely-held church belief.
To whomever keeps putting this information back, please justify why you feel this is important in this section before reposting. I believe you do not have a complete understanding of this subject and would like to understand where you are coming from, as it is unusual and undocumented. Please respond.
Relative to this, I edited the British Israelism article to be more NPOV. Anyone interested can take a look at my change and make any further changes they like. But let's try to keep it NPOV and not say that Mormons whole-heartedly beleive in this theory. I, for one, don't.
I also created a wikilink there for "patriarchal blessing" if anyone wants to take a shot at creating that article. —Frecklefoot 18:31, 22 Sep 2003 (UTC)

Mormon Missionary article

Does anyone know if their is an article specifically on Mormon missionaries? I've created a section in the missionary article about LDS missionaries, but if there is a specific article on them already, I could just provide an item in the See also: section. —Frecklefoot 18:31, 22 Sep 2003 (UTC)

I haven't seen one specifically on the topic. As an RM I'd be more than happy to contribute. If you'd like my help, let me know via email or talk page. Visorstuff

British Israelism Again

British Israelism again? Some mention of it may fit somewhere in this article, but the latest addition is just false:

As longtime adherents to the British-Israel theory (see item 10 in the Articles of Faith), they teach that their white members are direct descendents of the lost tribes of Israel, which means they get a set of blessings and responsibilities above and beyond those given to all mankind. This doctrine especially comes into play when a Mormon receives his "Patriarchal Blessing". The patriarchal blessing given to non-Israelite church members is slightly different from that given to Israelite members, but no less glorious and heavenly.

That whole paragraph is false thru and thru...patriarchal blessings indicate into which tribe a member of the Church is adopted...there is no claim that a member is necessarily a "direct descendant" and color ("white") has nothing to do with it. "non-Israelite church members"?! What?! there is no such thing in the Church. Every member baptized into the Church and given the Gift of the Holy Ghost is entitled to be adopted into a tribe of Israel regardless of race or anything might go so far to say even if the member were by chance a direct descendant, that member may be adopted into a different tribe. Despite Arline's POV on this doctrine, it is NOT the doctrine of the Church NOR the members at large. B 04:47, 20 Oct 2003 (UTC)

I agree with BoNoMoJo here. Is this the same person that keeps adding this stuff? —Frecklefoot 15:57, 21 Oct 2003 (UTC)

I think we are in agreement that this somewhat resembles doctrine, yet drastically different (The church's beliefs about the Trinity vs the Godhead would be a good comparison - it differs nearly more than it is similar). I agree that this should NOT be included, as it seems out of place in the article and irrelevant to a LDS Church overview. In addition, there is nothing in Mormon doctrines about "white" members receiving any different blessings than those of other colors, so I am removing that part and editing the entry by this same person (Arline) whose only contribution to Wikipedia is on this page in the form of British Israelism. Arline mentions that people told him they believe in BI - which may be true, I believe in my employer, but neither are church teachings.

Read the Mormon churches own Articles of Faith. Item number 10 talks of the literal gathering of the tribes of Israel. If it was talking about spiritual Israelites, or Israelites by adoption, it would not have used that wording. I suggest that you aren't an old-time Mormon, or aren't even a Mormon at all. Or perhaps you are trying to hide and white-wash the Mormon churches racial teachings. It may be politically inconvenient for those beliefs to be publicly known, but they are a matter of public record, and to remove them from this article is to hide an important part of your churches theology. I stand by everything I wrote in this article. --Arline

Arline, the only person of the 4 people currently involved in this discussion who is not an "old-time Mormon" is YOU. Arline stated: "5 mormons, including 3 missionaries, all told me in person they believe in British Israelism". Arline, very few missionaries-in-the-field have even heard the term "British Israelism" let alone even understand what that doctrine is. You have 3 matured, returned missionaries repeated tell you now that British Israelism is not a doctrine of the Church... Nor is it believed by the members at large nor is it even believed by a significant number of members...and even if it was believed, they would be mistaken that it is a doctrine...and your anecdote does not make it so. It would be one thing if you cited an authoritative Church source that interprets Article 10 in the way that YOU do. But Article 10 does not mean what you imply it does. It means simply what it says it does: that the tribes of Israel (and by implication that could be by direct descent or adoption) will literally be gathered together. There is no authoritative Church source that interprets article 10 in the manner you do...not a single one. Don't misrepresent the Church's doctrines and stop propogandizing with your prejudicial bigotry against Mormonism. B 23:40, 21 Oct 2003 (UTC)

Well said, BoNoMoJo. I had never heard of BI until I saw it mentioned in this article. After reading the entry on BI, I didn't find it consistant with any Church teaching, and I've been a member as long as I can remember. Even if you do find one source, Arline, to back up your claim, it does not make it valid. Any valid church doctrine will be backed up by numerous sources. For example, many church leaders have discussed repentance. —Frecklefoot 14:02, 22 Oct 2003 (UTC)

This is fascinating. I had never heard of BI until I read this talk page. What Church doctrine does say is that all members who are not literal descendants of Israel are adopted into the tribe of Ephraim. Patriarchal blessings are not always clear as to whether a person is a literal descendant or if they are adopted. I'm white, and my blessing names my tribe as Ephraim; my wife is black/latina and her blessing says Ephraim as well. My mission president was latino and is from Judah. Most people in Brazil, where I served my mission, are either Ephraim or Manasseh, implying that they are descendants of Lehi and/or Ishmael, or else they were adopted into the tribe of Ephraim. Most of those people are non-white.

Rotten link

User: tried to add [1] under the official websites section. Obviously it shouldn't be there, but I didn't know whether it was worth putting into opposing views or somewhere else. Probably not, so I just reverted and moved it here. Angela 06:55, Nov 2, 2003 (UTC)