Talk:The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints/Archive 9

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The Book of Mormon and The Bible

I heard a recording of Gordon Hinckley saying that the Bible is secondary to the Book of Mormon. If the teachings of Jesus Christ are put below the teachings of Mormonism, then naturally the focus is on something other than Christ's teachings; therefore, Christianity and Mormonism are separate practices/religions. --MLSmateo 23:59, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

Such comments are usually in relation to the which version of the Bible is correct disagreements among Christianity - see (King-James-Only Movement, Category:Bible versions and translations, etc. Since the Book of Mormon contains Christ's teachings - and its very purpose is to proclaim the divinity of Christ, there is no contradiction. "[The purpose of the Book of Mormon is] the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that JESUS is the CHRIST, the ETERNAL GOD,

nifesting himself unto all nations." Introduction

Additionally, since Mormons believe The Book of Mormon to be translated from the ancient text by a prophet, the problems that have beset the Bible and the warring versions re translations are avoided, since the translation is by inspiration from the Lord. "We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God." Articles of Faith:8 Trödel 01:48, 19 June 2006 (UTC) (see full text of my reply)
I will add my personal comments to Trödel's above. I don't know the Hinckley source you are referencing, but the church formally considers the Book of Mormon a companion to the Bible -"Another witness for Jesus Christ"- and also considers it a more perfect book, as the Bible has gone through the hands of many editors and denominations to get to its modern versions. Sections of the Book of Mormon are set in times comparable to the Old Testament in Palestine while other sections are set after Christ's birth, death and resurrection. Most of the contents of the Book of Mormon focus on the teachings of Jesus Christ. A long section late in the book (Third Nephi) records the visit of the resurrected Jesus Christ to a group of people on the American continent. Here He taught the people, prayed with them, healed the sick, blessed their children, and organized disciples to teach in His name. Your definition of Christianity appears to begin after the formal beginning of the Catholic Church and its Protestant offshoots. That is a fairly narrow definition. There have been and will be many variants of Christianity throughout history. Christianity in a more global sense includes all those who worship Christ as deity. LDS members believe Christ is the son of God and the promised Savior of mankind. We are Christians. Best wishes. WBardwin 01:57, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

Ok, well I no longer wish to argue for a classical definition of Christianity. Instead I would like to know where I could find archealogical information about Jesus' visit to the American continents. Surely Jesus existed in the modern day's Middle East and there is archeological proof of this. But I don't remember being taught about Native Americans being Christian until Catholic missionaries destroyed their culture and converted them. Respectfully yours, MLSmateoMLSmateo 04:44, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

Other than the words written by witnesses and followers and preserved/translated by later generations (i.e. the New Testament), there is very little historical/archaeological proof that Jesus Christ ever existed in the Middle East. Christians accept His existence largely on religious faith. As to your request for archaeological "proof", please see Archaeology and the Book of Mormon. Best wishes. WBardwin 04:55, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

Thank you Bardwin, I now see that Mormonism lacks historicity. The settings of the Bible are real places that can be visited today. From what I recall, the Gospel of Mark was written around 50 A.D.-- 20 or so years after Jesus is said to have died. These texts were written in the time directly following Jesus' existence. Though His existence in the Middle East is disputed, there are texts written by Pliny the Younger, Josephus, Suetonius, and Tacitus that mention a trouble maker (Jesus). Where is the physical evidence to support that Jesus was in America with Native Americans, and that a race of people who were white fought a huge war with horses, elephants, and steel weaponry? Where is the proof of Reformed Egyptian? None of this religion makes sense and none of it fits with Christianity. --MLSmateo 08:27, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

What would be the point in proving Mormonism (or rather some of the claims of Mormonism)? Would it convert you? Is your conversion to Mormonism hinging on whether there is physical evidence that Jesus visited the American continent? If not, why is this an issue? --Kmsiever 15:22, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

It's not. I apologize. This doesn't belong here. MLSmateo 21:16, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

Question re. External links

I've twice posted an external link to, a site with facts about Mormonism that seems relevant to this site. It has twice been deleted as "spam." Just wanted to better understand what you guys consider "spam," seeing as how the site is well researched.

Thanks. — Preceding unsigned comment added by SLCMormon (talkcontribs)

The first rv stated link spam, while the second indicated personal web site. Although it might be well researched, it appears to be the work of a single person. Furthermore, it appears that you are the author of the site. In general, it is frowned upon for people to add their own sites, especially if they are fairly new and not well known. Doing a google for your site, I find no other sites linking to it, which is why some may call it link spam.
Don't feel bad. The same thing happened to me when I first joined wikipedia. wrp103 (Bill Pringle) 02:16, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

Is there a chance to add the following Link?

It is an online quiz game that is related to the teachings of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. English language is coming soon...

"are" Christians is not biased POV vs. "deem themselves" Christians

The opening of the article on Christian: "A Christian is a follower of Jesus Christ. There are, however, different interpretations of what exactly that entails."

One of the first lines was changed from "Members of the church... are Christians" to "Members of the church... deem themselves Christians" in the name of NPOV. However, I changed it back because I believe the second version violates NPOV and not the first. It's undoubted that the members of the LDS Church consider themselves followers of Christ as the foundation of their faith. Following those first few lines of the "Christian" article, that in itself should justify saying "Members of the church... are Christians". Furthermore, to say instead that they "deem themselves" Christians, unless that qualification is applied equally to all who consider themselves followers of Christ, is to imply that what they deem themselves is doubtful compared to what they really are, and to evaluate the Mormons' beliefs from the POV of a narrower Protestant belief system and its particular definition of what makes a Christian - a POV by which Catholics would probably also not be considered Christian. Different branches of Christianity have been accusing each other of not truly being Christian throughout the history of Christianity, from the Gnostics, Arians, Pelagians, on up. Besides which, there have been pronouncements by major Protestant authorities affirming that they consider Mormons to be Christians and urging their coreligionists to acknowledge likewise. I'm sure someone here has references to those. - Reaverdrop (talk/nl/wp:space) 17:11, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

I changed "are" to "consider themselves to be", which is a factual statement that (almost) nobody can dispute. Stating that Mormons "are" christians will certainly be considered POV by those who don't agree. They would, however, have a harder time arguing that members don't consider themselves as christian. wrp103 (Bill Pringle) 19:25, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

I would think that the suggestion that Mormons might think they're Christians yet are somehow mistaken is itself POV. You can argue that they're not proper Trinitarians or whatever, but even the suggestion (outside of direct quotes, of course) that Mormons aren't Christians is terribly biased. The most we should do is, in the appropriate spot, quote non-Mormons who claim that Mormons fail their personal Christianity test. Mormons fit the dictionary definition of Christianity, which is necessarily broad, and we should stick to that. Al 19:40, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

I agree with Al - and the present form, "regard... themselves as followers of Christ", doesn't solve this problem. I'm trying to think of this from the point of view of a Hindu or Muslim who doesn't have much experience with Christianity - it's like a Sunni writing that Shia or Sufis "consider themselves followers of Allah" while avoiding calling them Muslims. - Reaverdrop (talk/nl/wp:space) 21:07, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
That is a very good point, Reaverdrop. --TrustTruth 23:24, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

Any thoughts on my revsion from yesterday - it somewhat avoids the issue altogether - which i find unsatisfying but it seems less controversial. Trödel 10:13, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

Mormonism doesn't align with Christianity. The Catholic Church and Protestant denominations practice Christianity. Mormons may be defined as Restorationist Christians. --MLSmateo 09:02, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

Based on what definition? --Kmsiever 21:24, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
Let's try the Merriam Webster Definition of Christianity @ [1]: 1 : the religion derived from Jesus Christ , based on the Bible as sacred scripture, and professed by Eastern, Roman Catholic, and Protestant bodies, 2 : conformity to the Christian religion
Mormonism isn't Christian because they do not believe that people can be punished for Adam's transgressions. But this contradicts the Bible's stories of baptism and conversion to avoid punishment for Adam's transgressions. --MLSmateo 23:53, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
Actually the question is about whether the phrase "are Christians" is appropriate. The definition above is for Christianity; however the same site defines Christian as "1(a): one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ, (b)(1): DISCIPLE..." ("Christian". Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. ) Since members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints profess (to declare or admit openly or freely - "Profess". Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. ) a belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ they are Christian. Trödel 02:13, 19 June 2006 (UTC)
Belief on persons being punished for Adam's transgression was not amongst the definition you listed above. Interestingly enough, the American Heritage Dictionary says Christian is "professing belief in Jesus as Christ or following the religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus." I guess the dictionaries don't even agree. Which, of course, is why we use the Wikipedia definition in this article. --Kmsiever 01:56, 19 June 2006 (UTC)


This may have been discussed somewhere else, in which case feel free to direct me there, but do LDS members consider themselves to be a monotheistic religion? If they do, how is it squared with the statement that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are entirely separate and yet all God? DJ Clayworth 15:47, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

Yes. See more detailed off-topic answer here: User talk:DJ_Clayworth#Monotheism Trödel 18:05, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
You may want to read Godhead_ (Mormonism) for more on this. It is not unusual for various christian groups to believe that they are the same being, or different beings, or different manifestations of the same essense, or whatever the strain of christianity is. Mormonism would say they worship God. A partial discussion of this is found on my talk page at User talk:Visorstuff#Question about Mormon Godhead. Unfortunately, I've not had time to finish the conversation. The church does have official doctrine on the matter, of course, but it is general enough to allow individual interpretations.
So, individual memebers, just like in other denominations, have differing beliefs about God within the LDS Church (the following is reposted from my talk page).
In any case, Mormonism believes that the Father and the Son both have bodies of flesh and bone (not flesh and blood), and the Holy Ghost is a spirit – and they are distinct. Trinitariansim believes that the Son has a body of flesh and bones, but that the Father and Son are spirits – and they are not distinct. The only difference is that Mormonism believes in the distinctness of the persons within the Godhead.
Now, you raised some good questions in your reading of LDS Literature. You are obviously more thought-provoked than most. I'm impressed with your insight. What you are reading and wondering about is similar to the arguments on the matter within Traditional Christianity – or between denominations over the past 2000 years. What is the interpretation of the Niceane creed. In Mormonism, it is what is the interpretation of the Standard works on the matter. Here is a run down on the main schools of thought:
Some Mormons speculate that God is a priesthood office or a title. Like 'Father McKenzie' from the Beatles song 'Eleanor Rigby,' in this view, God would be a title that anyone can attain to based on righteousness and eternal progression. After all a child becomes like his Father –'I have said, Ye [are] gods; and all of you [are] children of the most High (Psa 82:6). 'Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device' (Acts 17:29). However, this view is speculatory.
Some Mormons believe that by 'divine investiture,' Christ is worshiped the same as the Father as worshipping Christ is worship in the Father. (similar to the concept you referred to as Arianism above). Some believe that the Father alone is worshipped and/or that Christ is merely the conduit to worship him. And Jehovah is the one who gave the law that he was to be worshipped, and Mormons believe that Jehovah is Jesus, not the Father (Elohim).
Some believe that Christ is now an exalted being, and has progressed to become a 'god' yet we still worship the Father. Some of this group believes that Christ has always been a god but also experienced mortality.
Some believe that Christ, as their savior is their God. By worshipping and giving honor to him, they are worshipping and giving honor to the Father. Or that because Christ and the Father (and the Holy Spirit) are God, and that is who we worship, but that we pray to the Father in the name of the Son.
Some combine parts of all of the above. I personally do.
And I haven't even addressed the concept of the Holy Ghost and/or Holy Spirit (which is as complex as it is in traditional Christianity).
You see, this is much more complex than an easy perusal. Mormonism is nearly 14 million and beliefs do differ within Mormonism. Most Mormons go by the stated doctrinal statements and don't concern themselves with the speculative details. Others dig into the doctrine and try to figure it out, which is likely what you've read. Look past their speculation and into the points they are trying to make by it, and then you'll understand the culture of Mormonism, but I wouldn't go to them to understand the doctrines of Mormonism.
Bottom line is, it depends on the individual interpretation of stated doctrine. The discussion on my talk page is most enlightening, and hope you read it in its entirety. Hope this helps. -Visorstuff 17:26, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

I just wanted a quick say here... the website says that Mormons worship Christ. AlexMunro 07:30, 15 June 2006 (UTC)

US Department of State

I am not sure the following reference/link is working: Germany: Country Reports on Human Rights Practices - 2004, United States Department of State (The Lutheran Church characterizes the LDS Church as a sect.)

I went to it and serached both sites, but could not find where either group defines the LDS church as a Cult. The link for USDS just linked to the WIKI article for same. I believe the French government identifies Mormonism as a cult, but I would really like to see where the US dept. of State does so. This link needs to be corrected or deleted. Storm Rider (talk) 07:26, 4 June 2006 (UTC)

I just tried it again and it worked fine. And it is not at all the U.S. State Department that refers to the LDS Church as a sect; rather, the State Dept. is giving an overview of human rights in Germany, and noting - as a human rights problem - that the Lutheran Church has labeled the LDS Church as a sect. I think the annotation for the reference should clarify that. I thought it was a useful way to specifically reference the idea that other denominations have labeled the LDS Church a sect, from an authoritative source. The specific passage is about a third of the way down the document, 7th paragraph of section 2(c), and reads:
"Outside the government sector, the Lutheran Church employed "sect commissioners" to warn the public about supposed dangers posed by Scientology, as well as by the Unification Church, Bhagwan Osho, and Transcendental Meditation. The Lutheran Church also characterizes the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints (Mormons), the Jehovah's Witnesses, the Church of Christ, Christian Scientists, the New Apostolic Church, and the Johannish Church as "sects," but in less negative terms than it does Scientology."
- Reaverdrop (talk/nl/wp:space) 09:05, 4 June 2006 (UTC)

LDS, are they christian?

Christian groups strongly disagree to the LDS. They are not Christian. It is wrong to consider them Christian just because they believe in a couple of beliefs of the mainstream church. I believe that the LSD is a dangerous cult. History proves it. LSD leaders have been convicted for sex charges, tax evasion etc. LDS practice polygamy. Don Lafferty ( a mormon) murdered 2 people because he said that God "told him to". —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Well, well, well, you have quite a litany of charges that should be brought up in the article. Could you please verify with a reference that Latter-day Saints practice polygamy? Also, do you have a reference for the "LSD" (sic) being a dangerous cult and why? How has history proved that it is so? Could you also provide references for "sex charges and tax evasion" for all Latter-day Saints? This article needs to have this information in it, if only you had sources. Storm Rider (talk) 01:28, 5 June 2006 (UTC)
It probably wouldn't be too hard to find references for those involved in "LSD" [sic] to have criminal links - a fine observation - but that isn't very relevant to an article about the LDS. :) Given the nature of some of this user's more particularly offensive vandalizations, I think a close eye out for a block referral is in order. - Reaverdrop (talk/nl/ub/w:s/w:l) 02:06, 5 June 2006 (UTC)

One more quick thought--people aren't perfect, no matter what their religion may be. It is unfair to judge a religion based on the mistakes and/or wrong doings of a few of its members. Also, if the article was truly read, one would notice that the discontinuation of the practice of polgamy was mentioned several times. Morgana 09:12, 12 June 2006 (UTC)Morgana

I wish I would have been the first to respond to this one - First of all, Lafferty is not a Latter-day Saint. He was from a small fundamentalist sect related to the Church. Nor have any LDS Church leaders even been accused of tax evasion to my knowledge (nor have any from Lafferty's group, but FLDS have). Obviously no other church has people or leaders accused of sex charges or fraud or anything else in this vein - oh wait, I guess I'd have to look to the Southern Baptist convention, Catholic Church history, Anglicans for more of that. Most 19th century Mormons didn't break any sex laws, as none (aside from adultery) were crimes before the edmunds act. Even homosexuality was legal in the US longer than polygamy was (which I find ironic). In addition, who was sent to take over the territorial government from Brigham Young because he was a polygamist? Alfred Cummings and his two mistresses (which I also find ironic). We have the victorian age to thank for homosexuality being illegal, for child marriage being illegal, for polygamy and more sexual acts being illegal in most states (including oral sex, missionary-style and underage kissing laws on the books in some states - some states also state that a parents permission has to be given prior to kissing) all because of the fear of victorian-era Americans who sought to bring down impropriety (right or wrong) for sexual acts. Thank-you for sharing your ignorance -Visorstuff 00:15, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

It's sad that even on a site that is meant to inform the uneducated, you will still find slanderour (or in this case libelous) arguements that have no validity other than to encourage fighting. For shame - --BuccaneerFilms 16:45, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

Article Title

Why is this article titled "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" and not "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" (which is currently a redirect page to this one)? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Lethargy (talkcontribs)

See above: Norge, what have you done?! Also see archive: THE, move discussion/vote, and Decision About the Name. Novel-Technology 13:37, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

I think the title of this article is wrong. All sects of of Latter-day Saints use most of the writings of Joseph Smith, Jr found in the Doctrine and Covenants. Therein, Joseph Smith, Jr. received the official name of the Church, or "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints." (The LDS Church later adopted the English version or "latter-day" but this isn't used by all sects within the Latter-day Saint movement.) I believe that if their (Mormons) scripture says to add in the article “the” at the beginning of the churches name, then Wiki should respect that. This information can be found in Doctrine and Covenants section 115. I have never once seen a sect of the Latter-day Saint movement that has used the Doctrine and Covenants at least up to section 132 which is disputed by most of the other sects.

Again, the Doctrine and Covenants section 115 from the LDS Church reads "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" while the version from the Community of Christ (formerly the RLDS Church) reads: "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints." Other sects have also modified this section to read the name of their particular sect, such as the OLDS reads in this section, "The Original Chruch of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints." They all have the article in there. I think Wiki should add it here.

I think this should be considered when a vote is made! -- AlexMunro 07:27, 15 June 2006 (UTC)

I think you are confusing the purpose of this article - this article is specifically to be about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There are other churches that have similar names that are at the other location. If you want to explain the different naming issues at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints - that it is that name by revelation and the different sects in the latter day saint movement took on different names - the appropriate place to discuss those issues would not be on this article. Trödel 14:21, 15 June 2006 (UTC)

Abortion Quote

This quote is purportedly from the General Handbook of instructions - which was replaced in 1998 by the Church Handbook of Instructions. Book 1 discusses this topic a few times.

Additionally the quote misrepresents the policy which is more closely described as: (paraphrasing) the church opposes abortion for personal or social reasons and members should not pay for, encourage, perform or receive an abortion except in the case of rape/incest, the life of the mother is at risk, or a severe defect exists which the baby will not be able to survive long past birth. Even in these cases members are encourgaged to determine the best course of action for their situation through meditation and consultation with their Bishop/Stake President and divine confirmation through prayer. Trödel 15:22, 8 June 2006 (UTC)

Considered Christian

I'm not entirely happy with this.

The "before" version seems accurate, neutral and comprehensive. It is true that there are Christian sects that deny the Christianity of Mormonism, and it would be as POV of us to suppress this belief as it would be for us to endorse it. Likewise, saying that Mormons consider themselves to be Christian neither affirms nor denies the truth of this, which is likewise neutral.

Keep in mind that there are Christian sects, particularly those considered fundamentalist, who define Christianity so narrowly as to exclude many mainline and liberal Protestant sects, and usually to exclude all of Catholicism as well. As much as we might consider this silly, it's a simple fact that they believe this. We need to report these beliefs, not hide them.

Would anyone object to my reverting this change? Al 22:31, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

I don't the the phrase "consider themselves Christian". How about editing/creating a newer paragraph:
Members of the church—known as Latter-day Saints regard Jesus Christ as their Savior and the head of their church. They view Jesus Christ as the Son of God and a member of the Godhead. Members believe the church to be the restoration of the original church established by Jesus Christ on Earth. Thus, they do not consider themselves part of the Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant traditions. Some of the other Christian groups to do not consider Mormons to be Christian because they do not accept the Nicene Creed and have additional canonical scripture.
This is only a quick draft. Initially, I thought such counter arguments should belong in the controversies section; I am still not convinced it should not. It would be like requiring the Roman Catholic church to state that some do not view it as Christian, which it does not do last time I looked. Thoughts? Storm Rider (talk) 22:49, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

Sorry, I'm jumping in mid-stream and have probably missed this already I think it is worth stating that LDS self-identify as Christians. Something like this:

Members of the church—known as Latter-day Saints regard Jesus Christ as their Savior and the head of their church. They view Jesus Christ as the Son of God and a member of the Godhead. Members believe the church to be the restoration of the original Christian church established by Jesus Christ on Earth. Thus, they do not consider themselves part of the Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant traditions. Some in these traditions do not consider Mormons to be Christian because they do not accept the Nicene Creed and have additional canonical scripture.

But I love the thought, and completely agree with the direction. -Visorstuff 23:59, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

I think these are steps in the right direction. We should definitely state that the LDS Church (not merely its members) identifies as Christian. As for mentioning on Catholic Church that there are Christian sects which deny the Christianity of Catholicism, that's perfectly reasonable. As per the undue weight rule, we don't have to report every view, but significant ones deserve their place, no matter how silly or offensive they are. Al 02:07, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
I oppose taking the "are Christians" out - although I know it is begging for vandalism. Why? As Reaverdrop pointed out above, "The opening of the article on Christian [says]: 'A Christian is a follower of Jesus Christ. There are, however, different interpretations of what exactly that entails.'" I think it is clear that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are followers Jesus Christ - the nature of the Godhead, and the accusations of not being a monothestic religion, etc. can be explained in detail elsewhere. Maybe one could add:
"From the time of its founder, Joseph Smith, the LDS Church has been a magnet for controversy because of the unique doctrines it taught: the reappearance of God and angels to man, the nature of the Godhead, leadership by a modern prophet, etc. Leaders of other churches have even labeled members as heretics, claimed they can not be Christian, etc. due to these beliefs..."
or something like that Trödel 02:24, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

Just to be clear about this, it is is not 'some Christian sects' who deny that Mormons are Christians, it is virtually the entire rest of Christendom. Catholics, Orthodox and virtually all branches of Protestantism. Even other sects like the JWs. We should make sure that this is included in the article.

We should not say they 'are Christians' even in an introduction because it is not even the majority view. While I would not suggest that we write they 'are a heretical cult that calls itself Christian' (a statement which would be easy to justify as being the view of most people, certainly most Christians) we should certainly not take their self-description as being the only viewpoint. DJ Clayworth 15:25, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

Some references: [2] [3]
As has been stated ad nauseum, the definition we use on Wikipedia is not dependent on how much of Christianity considers a religion to be Christian. --Kmsiever 15:49, 19 June 2006 (UTC)
It's not just about the definition. If we accept only the viewpoint of an organisation when it is describing itself then we have to write " the only true church, founded in person by Jesus Christ" about some twenty or thirty different churches. We also have to write that David Irving writes the truth about the Holocaust, because that's what he says about himself. To simply say that LDS is Christian without qualifying it in any way is to paint a hugely misleading picture. DJ Clayworth 15:56, 19 June 2006 (UTC)
It is about the definition on Wikipedia. If we consider the viewpoints of other denominations ind determining whether to list one as Christian, than many other denominations would not be listed as Christian. even Catholicism would be taken off the list. Wikipedia cannot use subjective definitions and still maintain NPOV. --Kmsiever 16:06, 19 June 2006 (UTC)
This isn't a black-and-white question. We can record the different viewpoints on a subject without having to arrive at a judgement ourselves. The number of people who consider Catholics not to be Christians is very small, even neglecting the Catholics themselves. The same is not true for LDS. Wikipedia needs to accurately record the variety of viewpoints, not just pick its own definition and ignore any alternatives. When the 'alternative' viewpoint is the majority one that applies even more. DJ Clayworth 17:04, 19 June 2006 (UTC)
Hello DJ, I think we all would be surprised at how many churches deny Christianity to Roman Catholicism and also think that it is the "great Whore of Babylon". I think the allegations are laughable, but none of us would have to go far to find support by thousands if not millions for that type of thought.
The definition of Christianity is an important question to pose. Historical Christianity has a major problem with any theology that does not make obeisance at it's alter. 4th century definitions of Christianity has nothing in common witht he defnition of Christianity of the 1st century; there is nothing remotely similar between them. Of course LDS do not accept the position of Historical Christianity, they view it as having been the fruits of apostasy. Many truths still remained, but their creeds were/are not acceptable to God. LdS are restorationists and presenting them as anything else is folly.
Getting to the point, I strongly believe that the article should state simply in the introduction that the church is Christian. In the appropriate section in the body of the article it is appropriate to describe the rejection of other churches to this claim of Christianity because LDS reject the Nicene creeds, all creeds really, have additional scripture. Does that sound acceptable? Storm Rider (talk) 17:38, 19 June 2006 (UTC)
The number of Christians denying Catholicism the title Christian is well short of a majority, even neglecting Catholics themelves. The same is definitely not true of LDS. Anyway, I'm not arguing that we should come right out and say that they are not Christians. But some mention certainly has to be made of the fact that other Christians don't consider them so. DJ Clayworth 18:11, 19 June 2006 (UTC)
So would you consider it acceptable to mention they are Christian and then in Controversy section stating that many Christians think the LDS church is not Christian or even a cult? Storm Rider (talk) 18:51, 19 June 2006 (UTC)
I totally agree with Storm Rider here - introduce the Church as being Christian, and include disputations of that by some other groups in the "controversies" section. The problem here is the controversies are metastasizing into the rest of the article. I haven't seen any references or indications of non-original research in the argument that only a few quacks consider Catholics not to be Christian but just about everyone doesn't consider the LDS to be Christian. I refer again back to the opening line of the Wikipedia article on Christian that I quoted earlier (although they've gone and fiddled with it since then, not in any way inconsistent with the point here): "A Christian is a follower of Jesus Christ. There are, however, different interpretations of what exactly that entails." The current version works perhaps even better: "A Christian is a follower of Jesus Christ, believing him to be the Son of God and the savior of human souls from sin and death." Hmmm... check; check; check. Yep, the LDS are Christian.
Just about every Christian group in history has had some doctrinal reason why they could deny other groups to be "really" Christian, but I again think a Hindu or Muslim first learning about the LDS Church from this article would be as confused as if I read an article on Shia written by Sunnis that opens with "Shiites consider themselves to be Islamic..." Calling the LDS Church a Christian church is not submitting to its own POV of itself; it is just following the broad definition of Christian as defined in that article, or any other definition not set in stone by a single denomination around its own favorite doctrines. Any details beyond that are by definition controversies, and belong grouped with the other controversies...
...Speaking of which, the "controversies" section has sprouted a whole new "are they really Christian" blurb at its intro, before and outside of the bullet points, as if it were some kind of overarching theme of all the listed controversies that follow. It also repeats material that is already in the bullet points. After reviewing all the discussion on the topic here, I have found no explanation for why this should not be folded into the bullet points as well (and trimming the repetition), so I am making that change. - Reaverdrop (talk/nl/w:s) 06:46, 20 June 2006 (UTC)

I have written what I think is a decent resolution to this debate, which itself threatens to gain eternal life. My earlier change in the very first sentence from "(a form of Restorationism)" to "(a form of Restorationist Christianity)" doesn't seem to have provoked any outcry, and I think it's a decent way to introduce the Church as being Christian at least in the sense of being within Christianity. Then, in the second paragraph, instead of the back-and-forth about how to word that the Church "considers itself Christian" or whatnot, AND instead of what was leaning toward introducing the Church by how it is different from other churches, I introduced the Church by explaining its core beliefs in a nutshell. Anyone who reads it other than an on-his-toes exclusionist Protestant will get the message about the Christian sentiments of the Church, by referring to the facts of the core beliefs, rather than a definition that interprets them. At the same time, the explanation states the core beliefs of the Church as matters of fact that are factually verifiable and not dependent on this or that definition or POV on who or what is "really" Christian. What do you say... can we call it settled? - Reaverdrop (talk/nl/w:s) 07:17, 20 June 2006 (UTC)

I like what you did, although I would like it to end with "Thus, they consider themselves Christian, but separate from the Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant traditions." wrp103 (Bill Pringle) 13:20, 20 June 2006 (UTC)
Very nice idea, Bill. - Reaverdrop (talk/nl/w:s) 20:28, 20 June 2006 (UTC)
My latest edit - Reaverdrop wrote "rvt - the rewrite was to state the facts of their Christian beliefs in lieu of this sort of wording - "though they consider themselves Christian" implies disparagement that they actually are Christian" - hmmm - I didn't think about it this way. I would prefer something like. "Thus, they are Christians, but separate from the Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant traditions." Trödel 18:49, 21 June 2006 (UTC)
Even though some Christian sects will reject other Protestant sects, there seems to be no objection to the workd grouping them all together, yet throw the LDS church into the mix and everyone gangs up on the Mormons. Maybe the Wikipedia article should note that the LDS church believes in Jesus Christ, and is a Christian religion; however all other Christian churches unite in their efforts to defame the LDS religion.--BuccaneerFilms 16:58, 12 July 2006 (UTC)


There seems to be an overabundance of capitalisation in this article. Do we need to have ever third-person pronoun referring to deity to be capitalised if this is not a religious publication? Does Church need to be capitalised when preceded by LDS or Mormon? Does Biblical need to be capitalised? Does Urim and Thummim need to be capitalised? Do Apostles, Seventies, Stake Presidents, Bishops need to be capitalised? And so on. --Kmsiever 14:57, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

It seems that you already know the answers because of the corrections that you have made. But for the benefit of others:
  • It is the standard in Judaism and Christianity to capitalize third-person pronouns referring to Diety.
  • Capitalization of "church" in the contexts listed is a matter of dispute. Since neither is a proper noun, I don't think that "church" should be capitalized in these cases.
  • Again, a matter of dispute. Again, I don't think that it should be capitalized.
  • "Urim and Thummim" is the name of a specific set of items, so it should be capitalized.
  • When used as a title preceding a person's name, any of these should be capitalized. When referring to the "Quorum of the Twelve Apostles" (often shortened to just the "Apostles") or the "First Quorum of the Seventy" (or "Seventy") or one of the other "Quorums of the Seventy", they would be capitalized. There are no quorums of stake presidents or bishops, so they wouldn't be.

The rule is, if it is a name or part of the title of a specific person, organization, place, thing or collection of things, capitalize it. Otherwise, don't. Val42 02:11, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

LDS views of other Christians

This is entirely separate from the discussion above, but it's always puzzled me. LDS members are very vociferous about claiming that they are Christian, and just as valid form of Christianity as other denominations. Are they as vociferous about admitting that the other denominations are also valid forms of Christianity? Maybe a member could oblige me with an answer. DJ Clayworth 16:00, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

I know of no Christian sect that the Mormon church does not consider christian. The Mormon church believes in an inclusive definition of Christian. --Kmsiever 16:03, 19 June 2006 (UTC)
Then why, when they come to my door and I tell them I'm a Christian, do they try to convert me to their faith? Surely if they consider other denominations to be Christian that would be unnecessary. Similarly when another Christian becomes an LDS member do LDS require them to be re-baptised? DJ Clayworth 17:07, 19 June 2006 (UTC)
Because their definition of Christian has nothing to do with whether they think everyone should be Mormon or not. --Kmsiever 17:34, 19 June 2006 (UTC)
So basicly they consider that being a Christian is not good enough, but you need to be a Mormon as well. If they believe that Mormons shouldn't really be surprised that other Christians consider them to be outside of Christianity. It's tanatmount to saying that we want to be considered part of your club (and get all the benefits of saying we are part of a nice, normal-sounding religion) while actually we are saying that your club has got it wrong and you need to be a member of our club instead. DJ Clayworth 17:42, 19 June 2006 (UTC)
A great question. LDS firmly believe that inidividuals of other churches are certainly worthy of the title Christians; they believe in Christ, they strive to follow Him, and so many of them are the best examples to the rest on how one is a true Christian. However, LDS believe that to know of Christ is insufficient. LDS believe that Christ directed his followers to be baptized. Baptism does not take place unless the baptizer has the proper authority. That authority LDS believe was lost during the apostasy.
LDS have one of the largest dedicated missionary forces in the world because of Christ's commission to go into all the world and teach His gospel. LDS believe that they have a fullness of the gospel not present in other churches. If we did not serve our fellow man we would be falling short in our descipleship.
Interestingly, LDS believe that all people who have ever lived upon the earth will have the opportunity to hear the gospel, receive baptism, and all other ordinances needed for exaltation prior to final judgement. Our Father in Heaven's plan of Salvation provides every opportunity for all to return to Him. Those who do not return to Him will do so by their personal choice. Hope this helps. You have asked a great question, but also one that leads to many other conversations. Storm Rider (talk) 18:00, 19 June 2006 (UTC)
We crossed in our edits. The bottom line is telling another they are not Christian because they do not believe as you do is the height of arrogance. No man knows another's heart and can define who is Christian and who is not. A Christain is one whose sins are forgiven by Christ. If you think you or anyone else is capable of that determination, then we have another problem. At best you can say Mormons are not part of Historical Christainity and nothing more. To deny another's very belief in Christ or even to denigrate it is beyond the pale of mortals. You misunderstand, we don't really care about being a part of "the club". We reject the club and their creeds as the doctrines of men. Love the people, but the creeds are soundly rejected. However, we are offended when our belief in Christ is denied by those who are not in a position to do so. I think we really need to get over it, many of us do not worry about how others perceive us, and simply live our testimony of Christ and allow God to be our judge. This a little too abrupt, but I don't have a lot of time right now. Storm Rider (talk) 18:08, 19 June 2006 (UTC)
I'm quoting from the article here: " [LDS believe they are] the sole source of priesthood authority necessary for ordinances of salvation". As I understand this, LDS believe that only through the LDS can you be saved. Is this correct? DJ Clayworth 15:50, 20 June 2006 (UTC)
Not quite. LDS believe that it is the only source of priesthood authority at this time. Certainly Moses doesn't have to become a Mormon to be saved; we believe that he had the priesthood, as did many others in past history. The LDS church is one instance of the "true" church, even though there were many other instances in the past. LDS believe that only those who have been baptized by someone in authority will be saved. We also believe that at this time, only the LDS church has the priesthood authority to perform the ordinances of the Gospel. wrp103 (Bill Pringle) 16:38, 20 June 2006 (UTC)

Carrying the idea further, LDS believe it is their responsibility to help provide these ordinances for all men, regardless of when they lived. CHildren who die before the age of accountability, those who never had the chance to accept the gospel and others who didn't understand the fullness of the gospel will be saved in the celestial kingdom. Using the "club" example compared to who will make it to the CK, Mormons will definitely be a minority - which is fine. Spreading the gospel and making its ordinances available to all men is church member's responsibility - definitly not a club. This was recently discussed at a blog - see, as not a lot of mormons and non-Mormons really think through this issue and its implications. They can't quite get through the you have to be baptized by one holding the authority, and many see it as a club, regardless of the doctrine behind it. Most get stuck on the "yeah you have to be mormon to be saved" when that's not the doctrine at all.

In fact, church leaders, includign the first presidency have repeately stated taht other churches have their place in god's plan and do much good. The difference is that we have authority. Other churches help people in their spiritual journey back to god, and people are not penalized for believing in them only as far as they reject the church and its authority after having an understanding of the fullness of the gospel. In my opinion, not many study out the church enough to really reject it with any amount of knowledge. For a church that claims it is the only true church, we are very inclusionary, not exclusionary. Bring what you have, let us add more - when you get to the point to have more added - whether in this life or the next. We see time and eternity as on our side for conversions, but still feel the urgency to be saviours on mt zion, to quote zecheriah and get all folks saved. -Visorstuff 17:44, 20 June 2006 (UTC)

The Trinity

The very bottom of the article states:

Although the Latter-day Saints use the word Trinity to describe their view of the Godhead, it differs substantially from the doctrine of the Trinity accepted by other Christian churches. the LDS consider the Godhead to be made up of three distinct and separate beings, while mainstream Christianity considers God to one being made up of three Persons.

I'm a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I don't recall ever hearing members of the church refer to the Godhead as the "Trinity." This term is usually used only when comparing Mormon theology with that of other Christian denominations. So, it should be changed. Maybe I'll do it, but I'll see if anyone has a different experience than me.... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribsWHOIS)

I agree - the term trinity is rarely, if ever, used by members to describe the Godhead (in English anyway). Trödel 12:56, 22 June 2006 (UTC)
However, it is used throughout Talmage's Jesus the Christ, by Oaks, Holland and Hinckley in general conferences. I believe when dealing with such strong doctrinal works such as that, which is close to as official as they come, we should leave it in, but with a stated caveat that most Church members don't use the term culturally. -Visorstuff 16:14, 22 June 2006 (UTC)
Would be curious to see the use in context - as the only reference I could find by Oaks (in like 5 min or less) was not one endorsing the use of the word. Trödel 18:46, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

You may want to start here: Jesus the Christ, James Talmage and search for the word Trinity. gotta run, but will share more in just a bit. -Visorstuff 19:04, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

Okay - these two are all from JTC - the rest of the refernces are in regard to creeds:

Chapter 4: "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."

Chapter 10: "The incidents attending the emergence of Jesus from the baptismal grave demonstrate the distinct individuality of the three Personages of the Godhead. On that solemn occasion Jesus the Son was present in the flesh; the presence of the Holy Ghost was manifest through the accompanying sign of the dove, and the voice of the Eternal Father was heard from heaven. Had we no other evidence of the separate personality of each member of the Holy Trinity, this instance should be conclusive; but other scriptures confirm the great truth."

And in articles of faith, he wrote:

This unity is a type of completeness; the mind of any one member of the Trinity is the mind of the others; seeing as each of them does with the eye of perfection, they see and understand alike. Under any given conditions each would act in the same way, guided by the same principles of unerring justice and equity. The one-ness of the Godhead, to which the scriptures so abundantly testify, implies no mystical union of substance, nor any unnatural and therefore impossible blending of personality. Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are as distinct in their persons and individualities as are any three personages in mortality. Yet their unity of purpose and operation is such as to make their edicts one, and their will the will of God. (Articles of Faith, p. 37)

You see, the term was much more en vogue until Joseph Fielding Smith pushed for a more scriptural term "the Godhead" be used in doctrinal teachings, to differntiate from the doctrine of the trinity, which we do not accept. But we do believe in the holy trinity - just not like everyone else. I'll see if I can pull more modern references, but these from "one of Mormonism's finest minds" should suffice. -Visorstuff 20:15, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

Besides being one of Mormonism's "finest minds", Talmage is the only one with two books in the church-sanctioned "missionary library" that the church recommends for missionaries, including both of the references named above that use the term "trinity". That alone makes the sourcing for LDS use of "trinity" pretty authoritative. - Reaverdrop (talk/nl/w:s) 23:40, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

Article length

Is there a way to shorten this article? It's now at 70KB in size. --Kmsiever 13:55, 1 July 2006 (UTC)

I would break off the "Meetings" section and the "Culture and Practices" section into two separate articles and leave a link under "See Also". Both article titles may need to be modified such as, LDS culture and practices and LDS meetings. Thoughts? Storm Rider (talk) 15:58, 1 July 2006 (UTC)
We could probably do the same thing for "Major Beliefs" ... moving that into an article of its own, and replacing it with a brief bullet list and a reference to the main article. wrp103 (Bill Pringle) 21:31, 1 July 2006 (UTC)
I agree with the idea of putting the "Major Beliefs" in a separate article. But that could also re-open many a can of worms over content disputes. But definitely the article should be shortened. User:Pahoran5131 July 2006
I have conflicting opinions about moving the Beliefs section to a new article, so I want to think more about it. I would also like to see some support for these actions prior to creating the new articles. Let's wait and see if we can get some of the consistent editors to comment. Storm Rider (talk) 07:09, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
I don't know that I'm consistent, but I would rather keep it all one article. The Welfare/Preparedness section could be shortened. So there's something to do if you're looking for work. I also enjoyed the old shorter intro more than the current. Novel-Technology 05:38, 8 July 2006 (UTC)
I don't really count as consistent, but I do approve of the idea of breaking major beliefs, and probably meetings, off into separate articles, with bulleted lists in the main. this article is too long, and it's confusing and a little scary for readers.Master Runner 18:21, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

Any further thoughts on this matter? This article is twice as long as the recommended maximum size. From those who have issued support, there seems to be agreement that at least Major Beliefs be moved out. For the record, I also feel Culture and Practices and Meetings could be moved out. --Kmsiever 14:56, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

Now these are all great ideas, but who is willing to do the work? And I really don't see a consensus on moving the major beliefs section. Honestly, I support the move, but it appears that not many others do. We should probably wait for more comments from editors and such before making such a drastic move, as it would be rude to take such a unilateral action without much discussion. --Pahoran513 17:06, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
I agree. Storm Rider had suggested Meetings and Culture and Practices and nobody objected, so I would assume they are fairly safe. He had expressed some reservations about Major Beliefs, though. We haven't had much feedback from many of the regular editors, so I would hold off on Major Beliefs until we get a better consensus (even though it was me who first suggested it. ;^) wrp103 (Bill Pringle) 17:48, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

External links

I added the feastupontheword wiki link after seeing some of the other links. I'm not sure if it's appropriate here, but I'd think it's more appropriate than some of the other links. --RobertC 08:15, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

CUNY survey info

The blurb on the CUNY survey was removed [4] - with a note to see the talk page, but no discussion is here, at least yet. What is the problem with the info? It is from a solidly researched academic study; it's relevant, and it serves the cause of NPOV by balancing out the other info on church membership, which otherwise does not give any idea of a distinction between members on the books (which still includes me, for instance) and those who self-identify as Mormons (not me, for instance). The blurb doesn't include any subjective judgment on the relative authoritativeness of CUNY's findings versus the other sources of info on church membership, it just presents it, with the context info for the reader to weigh for herself. I think it should stay. Thoughts? - Reaverdrop (talk/nl/w:s) 08:54, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

I deleted the following edit that was previously in the article and deleted previously:

A survey by the City College of New York in 2001 based on the religious group with which respondents identified with, found that there were 2,787,000 self-identified LDS adults in the United States in 2001, a 1.3% increase from the same survey done eleven years earlier, and making the LDS Church the 10th-largest religious body in the U.S. by self-identification. [1]

First of all, the survey was of over 50,000 households. It is a statistical deduction and not an actual count. There is a reason for the old saying, lies, damn lies, and statistics. A review of the methodolgy section on the cited matieral is worthwhile. It is very difficult to interview 50,000 households and then state unequivically that there are 2,787,000 members in the US. Don't go into the detail, I know the methodology having studied more than just a few statistics classes in college. The way the edit is written, and the analysis for that matter, provides for more certainty than what really exists. It is not lies, it is worse; it is statistics. I think it misleads the reader.

If one is trying to disprove the membership numbers reported by the LDS church, just state you don't believe the LDS church and you think they either inflate, deflate membership, whatever position you wish to take. More importantly, the information is over six years old. What value do we provide the reader today on membership numbers when we can report exactly what is reported annually. It would be different if there was not a annual source for numbers, but in that there is, use the current numbers.

You might want to look at the archives for further discussion. Storm Rider (talk) 08:59, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

Dang Reaver, you are fast. I did even get finished typing this and you already put in an edit.—Preceding unsigned comment added by Storm Rider (talkcontribs)

More discussion at User_talk:Reaverdrop#What_on_Earth - basically, there is a compelling need, in the service of NPOV, to present some kind of info on the difference between church-reported membership statistics - which includes counting not only absolute inactives, and atheists who abstain from asking for their name removed out of sensitivity to their family (ahem), and members they've lost track of until records indicate they are 110 years old, for instance - and there's a compelling need for such info to come from an authoritative, neutral source. Although it is five years old, this CUNY survey best fits that bill among sources I am aware of.
As for the 50,000+ households, that is a HUGE survey. The typical scientifically valid survey covers about 1,000 random households, which renders an accuracy of plus or minus three percent. Although it is an extrapolation, 50,000+ households puts the margin of error into a fraction of one percent. Without some kind of extrapolation, what other possible way would there be to get this kind of information? The CUNY people report on table 81 that the Church's stated U.S. membership the same year was 5,311,000, versus 2,787,000 who identified themselves as LDS - with the important distinction that CUNY only counted people 18 and up, while of course the Church is counting all the baptized kids 8 and up plus younger kids of LDS families. I don't know how that makes things come out, but it is a much, much larger difference than the margin of error of the survey - I also thought this sort of thing was too much detail for this article, when the short blurb I added conveyed the gist of the info, with readers able to investigate the source for themselves if they feel prompted. - Reaverdrop (talk/nl/w:s) 09:42, 6 July 2006 (UTC)
We are not comparing apples and apples. One is an actual census that counts children and the other is a 2001 survey based on a random digit-dialed telephone survey of 50,281 American residential households in the continental US that focuses solely on adults. I can't tell you how much I enjoy answering questions for a survey; I suspect that this might not be the best way to get the most accurate answers. Further, one is current census, as of December 31, 2005, and the other is from an analysis published in 2001.
Also, huge is a relative term. There are over 110,000,000 households in the US; is 50,000 huge compared to 110,000,000?
Without an explanation of the survey results being presented, one appears to provide credibility, but it is for two separate issues; that are apples and oranges. There is no credibility when the data provided is for different sets of data.
Your objective is to discredit or to discount the LDS churches membership count. This should be approached in a more forthright manner. One that puts the critique on firmer ground. It would be far better to state that the membership totals of the LDS church do not account for those members who no longer participate in any meetings; have joined other churches, etc.
This issue seems to come up with some regularity. Do you think it would be best to just delete any information regarding memebership totals? I would be just as comfortable not mentioning membership numbers due to the problem it causes. As an alternative, do you think it would be possible to simply clearly state all of the shortcomings of the membership roles of LDS church. Storm Rider (talk) 19:20, 6 July 2006 (UTC)
I wasn't trying to discredit anyone, I just wanted to give additional information - in a way that I thought would be more neutral, by simply stating a few basic results from a neutral, large, academic survey, as opposed to making some comment of questionable sourcing and POV along the lines of "of course, only a fraction of the church's reported membership are active believers..." As for the lack of an exactly contraposed data set, there are only so many sources available, and all the issues you mentioned of lack of parity between the CUNY numbers and the LDS numbers are there for the reader to learn of and evaluate - the reader can see that it is from 2001, and that it only counts adults, etc. As for not trying to discredit, I have no objective to "discredit or to discount" the Church's numbers, only to introduce additional, objective evidence, in the interests of objective, factual information, which the Church itself doesn't provide in the case of activity rates, or particulars of their accounting methods for counting membership; I don't think the CUNY numbers are really negative at all - when you take into account the children that CUNY doesn't count, and the fraction of the Church's numbers that have died but are still unwittingly being included, the percentage of baptized LDS adults who self-identified as LDS for the survey must have been quite large - probably a lot larger in fact than the actual active membership, doubtless helped by a chunk of people who rarely to never show up to church but nonetheless consider themselves LDS. I'd be all for stating an estimated calculation of the percentage of the Church's reported 2001 membership that are adults, and comparing that side by side with CUNY, except that would be getting into an NOR-vio. As it is, I think stating the Church's official count of U.S. membership from 2001 (would you be able to provide that? I haven't found it yet) next to the CUNY number, with the note that CUNY only counts adults, would allow people to get the relevant information in the most neutral, informative way we can until CUNY or someone else comes up with a more reliable survey. (And statisticians - I am not one - would be able to provide details on how 50,000 is a huge sample group with a margin of error well-known to be very low. Surveys do not guarantee reliable answers, and coming from a physics background I am more than willing to criticize the relative softness and squishiness of sociologists' research methods, but I think there is a pretty good reason for finding it more likely than not that there is not a substantial fraction of the random American population in which Latter-day Saint pranksters are inspired by a survey to systematically underreport their own religion while other pranksters are inspired to falsely report their religion as Catholic or Protestant.) - Reaverdrop (talk/nl/w:s) 19:40, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

Please don't think I was stating that you were being malicious; that is not the point I was trying to make. The point was to discredit (as in discredit an point of debate) the validity of the membership roles of the LDS church. I don't have a problem doing so, but want it to be an accurate portrayal. Given that there are few comprable resources and none as up-to-date as that published by the LDS church, I still think it best to simply state the shortcomings of the roll itself than trying to prove it using an analysis that is not apples and apples. Also, leaving it upto readers to do an indepth study of both sets of data presupposes readers who go to great lengths to gain information. I suspect more readers are more casual in their reading. If we are going to use the CUNY survey, then I think we should add all of the explanatory material; it will be lengthy, but we ensure NPOV and balance to the information provided. I would also say that the LDS church rolls undoubtedly need further clarification so that the number is understood as to what is really being represented.

Churches, regardless of denomination, do not have an exact, accurate method for reporting membership numbers. None is capable of stating with a high degree of accuracy that exactly 20% of members attend church. I have heard of studies of "activity", but I am not familiar with them. Tom Haws (He used the handle, Hawstom), an editor that used to be quite active on WIKI, was familiar with research that covered many religions. I suspect if we dug through the archives we would find some of his edits. One thing is certain, membership totals reported by churches are not reflective of the numbers of people who are fully active in church attendance. It would not surprise me that the majority of members reported in all churches are inactive.

I have not attempted to find 2001 LDS membership numbers; we should be able to find it in the Spring 2002 General Conference report on But I still think we weaken the argument by using this as the central point. I think it could be used as a secondary evidentiary source to support the claim, but we are turning the membership sentence into a major point of the article, which it is not. This was similar to how this evolved the last time it came around. Storm Rider (talk) 20:20, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

All good points, Storm. Thanks. Maybe a few other editors have some thoughts...anyone? - Reaverdrop (talk/nl/w:s) 20:24, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

I side with Reaverdrop, the survey is valid and useful, but it would have made more sense to put in in the same sentence as the "6th largest" sentence. Here I'll show you... Novel-Technology 02:26, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

Gosh, maybe I am completely devoid of logic, but to state it as you did only creates an illusion of "someone is lying" that does not need to exist. Thus my qualification of the data from CUNY. I think the information now is of less value and weaker, but if you insist on thinking a six year old survey is all important guys, knock yourselves out. This is a path that we have walked before, I suspect that we will walk it again. Welcome to a public encyclpedia.
I would caution you Novel, that a cooperative effort is not completed when you decide that it is. The purpose of the discussion page is to jointly arrive at a solution and Reaver had invited other input. His request was not a request for someone to make a unilateral decision; both of us are more than capable of doing that. In the future, I suggest you limit your actions to contributing on this discussion page rather than taking an action prior to arriving at a final decision. Storm Rider (talk) 04:34, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
Regarding Church statistics for 2001 -- 11,394,522 -- please see: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints/Membership history. As I haven't looked at the CUNY survey, I can't express an opinion on its validity. However, the contact numbers are huge in terms of statistical sampling and so should give a fair result. I would have no objection to including the information if the statistical limitations were clearly stated, including comparing it to the appropriate year of Church statistics, clearly stating "adults" counted only, and including the percentage error (with an explanation for the reader what the error rate means). Best to all. WBardwin 06:29, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

"In the future, I suggest you limit your actions to contributing on this discussion page rather than taking an action prior to arriving at a final decision.", said Storm Rider. So, you are offended by my edit. So, you instruct me: do not edit the page, rather propose all changes first on the discussion page, wait for some ineffable phenomenon called "a final decision" to appear, and then and only then make any changes. I am sorry if I further offend you by disagreeing, but this seems impractical and unworkable. Especially with this edit, wherein I rearranged much of the material to be in the footnote, it would have been wasteful to try to communicate it on the discussion page. It is not hard to undo an edit. I am not personally attached to this edit. Feel free to delete it. And when did I claim the cooperative effort was finished, or that I was even a part of it, or that there even was one? I claimed nothing, in fact. I simply showed you one way it could be.

Further, the presentation does not imply lying. What it does clearly imply is that there appear to be fewer self-identifying LDS than LDS officially on the rolls. A hypothesis, by the way, that I do not find especially earth-shattering -- all the data show there are such things as "inactive members". I doubt many would disagree. It also demonstrates that there is more than one way to measure the size of the Church, especially in comparison to other churches which have different membership-counting procedures.

Anyway, what this really is all about is a disagreement between you and Reaverdrop, and I can pretty much guarantee that no one else who's around at the moment really cares, and whatever happens will happen. See "Enduring to the End" for a parallel situation: the fact is only Reaver and I really cared whether it's there or not. There's only so many simultaneously active editors. Waiting for a "final decision" is going to be fruitless. And by the way, I'm not mad at you Storm Rider, I'm just a confrontational writer at times. I'll bow out of you two's dispute. Novel-Technology 05:41, 8 July 2006 (UTC)

Novel, I am not offended in the least. However, when there is a typical disagreement about edits we talk about it on the talk page. What you did is make a unilateral decision. I think I stated quite clearly that I understood statistics; my college background is in mathmatics. As I have stated, I do not think it is appropriate to compare apples with oranges when trying to prove a point. My counsel was to just address Reaver's point directly, rather than to prove it with a survey that is misleading. Again, (this gets tiresome repeating myself, but it seems no one really reads comments/responses; they just state desire to argue points already conceded) state why the memebership numbers reported by the LDS are an accurate representation of actual members attending church.
Of course, I would also then like you to go to every other organization that reports membership numbers and state why they are not accurate either. This only seems to be a problem for a few groups. I will have to admit I think these kinds of issues are petty, but if someone wants to bring it up; go for it. But, don't do it by cloaking oneself in a survey that is not a good comp. for the argument. I am not saying the survey was not acceptable to be added, but I am saying it was not appropriate for the way it was being presented and used. Storm Rider (talk) 18:22, 8 July 2006 (UTC)

Related to this, I would love to see stats on number of Wards, Stakes, Temples, as these are concrete examples of growth. Also, if you look at early church history, Joseph Smith was constantly trying to establish Stakes of Zion, so it would be interesting to see stats on this Bytebear 04:52, 19 July 2006 (UTC)

Bytebear, would you be able to do this analysis and report back? It would seem to be an additional manner to demonstrate growth of the LDS church. Of course I am sure there are still going to be those that are convinced that the LDS church really isn't growing at all and it is just a figment of the imaginations of a few stalwart followers residing in Utah. Gosh, I think my cynical side is showing; that and I just get tired of the constant sniping. Storm Rider (talk) 06:39, 19 July 2006 (UTC)

Constant sniping? I deleted my own stupid edit way back when, since you were complaining about it. Clearly you considered it unilateral and arrogant and worthless and inappropriate, so it's gone. You won, man. Can't you handle victory? Yes I do read what you say. I understand what you're saying that you think the whole point of mentioning a scientific survey of religious affiliation is to make the church look like liars so why not just come out and say the church are liars? I just disagreed. I didn't see it as negative on the Church in any way, but rather just another way of trying to get at the reality of "How many LDS are there in the USA?" I think the church counts their members based on who's baptized, not who considers themselves Mormons, and you know what? I'm right! I just thought it was useful info. No agenda on my part, man. Be chillin'. Novel-Technology 04:35, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

Can somebody come up with a reference for this study? I see people continue to tweak the text, so some of you know what it is, but I'm still not sure exactly what the survey was, let alone the results. wrp103 (Bill Pringle) 18:21, 27 July 2006 (UTC)
Here you go:
>American Religious Identification Survey, City College of New York Graduate Center. Principal Investigators: Professor Barry A. Kosmin & Professor Egon Mayer. Study Director: Dr. Ariela Keysar. "Random digit-dialed telephone survey of 50,281 American residential households in the continental U.S.A (48 states)... collected over a 17-week period, from February to June 2001 at the rate of about 3,000 completed interviews a week... The primary question of the interview was: What is your religion, if any? The religion of the spouse/partner was also asked. If the initial answer was 'Protestant' or 'Christian' further questions were asked to probe which particular denomination." This survey found that there were about 2,787,000 self-identified LDS adults in the United States in 2001, making the LDS Church the 10th-largest religious body in the U.S. by self-identification. This represented a 1.3% increase from the same survey done eleven years earlier. Storm Rider (talk) 18:36, 27 July 2006 (UTC)

Multiple article organization

I've noticed that the group of articles on the LDS church is somehwat poorly organized. LDS gets you a disambig., while LDs redirects you strait to an article titled Latter Day Saints, which is very short and does not make it easy to locate this article. Latter-day saints is an entirely different article. none of the available articles are very long, and mose make it hard to find this article. I would suggest either better interlinking, or, preferably, make these pages redirect to this article, akthough you could have latter day saints be an article on the etymology of the term, linking to this article. Master Runner [[[Wikipedia:Counter-Vandalism Unit|<font color="#b34040">C</font><font color="#66b38c">V</font><font color="#408cb3">U</font>]]] 20:27, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

I have to agree with this - I still remember how confusing I found the LDS sites were when I started editing here about 2 years ago. Maybe a short infobox on these main redirects would be helpful?? --Trödel 20:38, 6 July 2006 (UTC)


I removed "discontinued" from the subsection heading for Polygamy, along with an unnecessary bolding of "officially revoked" (which is against WP:MOS anyway). This isn't a necessary addition, as anyone taking less than a minute to glance over the section will find it abundantly clear that the CoJCoLDS no longer practices plural marriage. The HTML hidden text explaining that it was to differentiate the CoJCoLDS from other LDS branches which still choose to practice polygamy was also less than convincing, and was removed as well. Tijuana Brass¡Épa! 22:22, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

Polygamy is highly controversial, and it is listed under major practices of the church. I do not think it unreasonable to note that it is discontinued. I mean, there's the list in the table of contents of practices of the church, and as you can clearly see Mormons do preparedness stuff, and have worship services, and, oh yeah, practice polygamy. Right? Again, polygamy is highly controversial and also unpopular and also extremely, extremely commonly thought by non-members to still be practiced. It's kind of like, let's say the Lutherans used to sacrifice live chickens and that's one of the big things absolutely everyone thought of when they thought of Lutherans. "Live chicked sacrifice" is just really closely associated with "Lutherans" in people's minds and most people do not really know where the Lutherans stand on the issue today -- they just assume that it's still practiced. Then let's say that the Lutherans discontinued the practive in the 1700's or ten years ago or something and anyway they don't do it any more. In that case wouldn't it be reasonable and informative to make a note of "(discontinued)" in the "Live Chicken Sacrifice" header? Just to clear up an incredibly, incredibly, incredibly widespread misconception right off the bat? It's like if everybody thought airplanes could swim, in the article on "Swimming Creatures" for the subheading on airplanes, maybe don't you think it should say "Airplanes (can't really swim, by the way)" or something? Novel-Technology 04:24, 24 July 2006 (UTC)
So, why do we list it under practices of the church? --move it from modern practices to History with a title like "Former practice of plural marriage/polygamy]]? Should clarify things, I would think. WBardwin 04:44, 24 July 2006 (UTC)
I moved the section to History to give it a try. Does that better address the problem? WBardwin 05:32, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

Hey, yeah, that seems great. Good idea. I was fine with it in Practices too, with the (discontinued), but putting it in history is good too. Novel-Technology 21:38, 25 July 2006 (UTC)

It looks much better there. I see something that I don't think is correct in that section. Only men can be sealed to more than one woman. Women can only be sealed to one husband. If a widow who was sealed to her first husband wants to be sealed to her current husband, she has to get a temple divorce from her first marriage. Men, however, can be sealed to as many women as they marry, as long as only one of them is alive at any time. Perhaps the original intent was if two converts who had been married before go to the temple, it is not uncommon for each to be sealed to their previous spouses (assuming they are both dead, of course.) wrp103 (Bill Pringle) 22:17, 25 July 2006 (UTC)
The restrictions on sealings is only engaged for the living. It does not apply to the deceased. For example, should a deceased woman have had more than one husband during her lifetime she may be sealed by proxy to each of her husbands. People too easily focus on the confusion created by such ordinances; however, LDS feel they are following God's direction and He will sort out all confusion.
The concept of free agency is viewed as an eternal principle of the Gospel of Christ. Each person will be able to choose their eternal companion from amongst these multiple sealings; non-member and member alike. In fact, the distinction of "member" does not exist after this life. All are children of Heavenly Father, there is only one Kingdom with many mansions. The fact that one is sealed to another is of primary importance. Storm Rider (talk) 22:30, 25 July 2006 (UTC)

The Twelve Apostles

Please consider changing a phrase in the second paragraph from, "which included the return of priesthood authority and the Twelve Apostles" to something like, "which included the return of priesthood authority and the calling of Twelve Apostles". This removes an ambiguity, where a casual reader might interpret the current wording to mean the return of the original Twelve Apostles. --Ming

Church-friendly websites

Under "Church-friendly websites, unaffiliated with the Church", please consider adding one or both of the following links and descriptions: - the LDS Church among world religions - LDS Church statistics


I really don't think the first link should be added--it doesn't relate specifically to the LDS Church. It would work well in, maybe, Religious denominations or another similar article, but not here. However, I feel that the second link could be appropriately added into the article, but nothing would be missing if it were left out. Does anybody else care to comment? Pahoran513 16 July 2006

Good points! Thoughts on the credibility value of the second link: is truely "unaffiliated", whereas most of the sites listed in this category seem to be the work of members? Also, from a research perspective I'm not aware of another site that has this nice of a (supportive) demographics presentation (including the Wikipedia article). Best wishes --Ming

I found the second link very interesting, and think it should be added. Besides the useful information, the fact that it is independently compiled adds a degree of credibility to it. I found it interesting that the second link made a point that, in the US, the correlation between the number of people claiming to be LDS and the number reported by the church was very close. That subject came up a while ago, and it appears that the church figures are quite accurate, assuming that the site has done some good research. wrp103 (Bill Pringle) 02:25, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
interesting pattern of thinking. The first statistical study (from what we've heard at Wiki - see above) indicates that there is a significant discrepency between church reported statistics and personal religious identification. The prompt Wiki editor response was: "not valid -- comparing apples and oranges." But the second study, which (from what we've heard at Wiki) indicates a tight correlation between church reported statistics and personal religious identification. And the prompt response?: "it appears that the church figures are quite accurate." Folks -- I've worked with statistics for a long time, they are simply numbers. (And I won't even start on the reliability of internet stats.) And making comparisons and judgments based on reported results sets up trouble. If we cite anyone's numbers here (the Church's, those printed in the Deserted News, any statistical study) we have to cite all the parameters of the data, the data sources, the sample sites and sizes, and the error rates. Even then, the conclusions can be rationally questioned. In my opinion, these types of statistical comparisons would be better referenced on the current page showing Church source population data. I'll go find it and post it here. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints/Membership history WBardwin 03:12, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
Don't forget to point out that both comments were made by different people. I didn't say anything about the first discussion. Also, note that I didn't say the church figures were accurate, I said the church figures appear accurate, assuming that the site has done some good research. Big difference. I don't recall (and didn't bother to look into) who made the other claims about the numbers being inaccurate. I know from the units I have worked with that they are pretty good at maintaining their membership records. I also know that those who don't consider themselves Mormon any longer can simply request that their names are removed from the records and it happens. Because of pressures to maintain good Home Teaching statistics, there is an incentive to remove the records who don't want contact with the church because they don't consider themselves members any more. Those who don't want contact but still consider themselves members are usually tracked separately for Home Teaching purposes.
As far as I can see, this site doesn't have an agenda. They claim to have compared official numbers with those from a generic survey, and found that half the time one set of numbers was slightly higher than the other. They then stated the numbers appeared accurate, but clarified that they can only conclude that for the US, since the independent study was only performed within the US. So, it appears they are being careful in drawing their conclusions.
The other thing I was impressed with was (and I didn't look at other religions on that site), they appeared to have certain "canned" charts, like the US counties with highest population percentages. Since, for LDS, that meant simply the highest counties within Utah, they added another chart for the top counties outside of Utah. Again, it seemed that they took the time to look at the results and add/modify reporting where it made sense.
In conclusion, it appears to me that the site presents a balanced view of their results. I know nothing of how reputable they are, how accurate the survey they refer to is, etc. They lump LDS in with Christian when talking about major religions, so they don't seem to have any axe to grind, etc. As I said above, I don't know who made the other claim about inaccuracies, so I don't know if those folks had any kind of agenda for making those claims. wrp103 (Bill Pringle) 11:36, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
Oh, I'm not claiming an agenda at all or faulting the church numbers or the other two surveys. I don't know enough about any of them to evaluate their reliability. I do know, from a historical perspective, that very early church numbers have statistical limitations due to lost records, excommunications and rebaptisms, apostacies, etc. And, from some recent efforts in family history, I've learned that local clerks are quite good about reporting births, baptisms, termination of membership and temple information but have been quite derelict in reporting deaths. A supervisor at the church's family history library tells me some church units are years behind -- one in particular I was interested in hadn't reported any deaths for 14 years. It is remarkable how long lived we Mormons are. So, I was trying to point out that, with human failings, study parameters and assumptions must always be understood when using statistics based on human reporting and self-identification. We can't do that kind of analysis and comparison here as it is really independent research. We could cite church figures and each of the studies individually -- in as close a common format as possible -- and provide enought information to allow the reader to make their own judgment, however. Best wishes. WBardwin 07:31, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

LDS and History

"The historical legitimacy of the Book of Mormon: there has been much contention over the accuracy of some of its archaeological and historical elements."

much contention? there isn't a non-LDS scholar who would even consider the historical claims of the book of Mormon - as far as the modern academic consensus is concerned, it's absolute nonsense. 'much contention' is putting it extremely mildly, there hasn't been "contention", there has been flat out rejection from everyone but the LDS church itself. where, exactly, can one find a legitimate non-Mormon scholar who supports any of the claims of the book of Mormon, (at least as far as pre-Colombian Jews in the Americas, ironworking, and other claims that fly in the face of all historical consensus)? this article needs some serious cleaning up by none biased academicians - claiming there is 'contention' or 'no consensus' is just sugarcoating the fact that no one outside of the church supports any of these claims. misrepresenting the scientific community's longstanding view on these claims is little short of purgery.--Feralnostalgia 17:46, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

I think you mean perjury rather than purgery. I think we get the gist of what you are saying, but no one is testifying under oath here. This is an issue where there is little ability to prove to a sufficient degree to those with an opposing agenda.
It does not matter how much evidence exists it would never be sufficient to cause or force belief. Take the Bible; there is such a vast amount of information that is completely without archeological foundation, but some people will believe it. No evidence of Adam and Eve, none for Moses, Abraham, Enoch, Jacob, or Isaac. A vast number of the cities stated to have existed in the Bible are not supported by any archeological evidence. Without the evidence for these people and their cities, the whole story for the need of Christ and the chosen people of God is at best a fairy tale. Does it force a Christian to deny their faith? Of course not. Does it even cause the majority of them to doubt? Not for a moment.
Regardless of your position, there is ample evidence for much of what the Book of Mormon purports. Unfortunately, it is similar to the bible and that much of it is without current, concrete archeological support. It is a subject of faith and not empirical fact.
Wiki's purpose is not to define what is true in areas of faith, but rather to present the topic.
Also, you might want to take your isse to the appropriate article: Archaeology and the Book of Mormon. Storm Rider (talk) 18:17, 18 July 2006 (UTC)
For the record, Feralnostalgia, the Book of Mormon makes absolutely no historical claims whatsoever. It just is. It is adherents of the LDS faith who make the claims (historical, archaeological, or whatever). --Kmsiever 18:24, 18 July 2006 (UTC)


I removed the "unaffiliated" phrase from the external web site's description after looking into domain ownership and operating characteristics of the listed sites. Church membership and owership are an affiliation. --Ming

  1. ^ American Religious Identification Survey, City College of New York Graduate Center. Principal Investigators: Professor Barry A. Kosmin & Professor Egon Mayer. Study Director: Dr. Ariela Keysar. "Random digit-dialed telephone survey of 50,281 American residential households in the continental U.S.A (48 states)... collected over a 17-week period, from February to June 2001 at the rate of about 3,000 completed interviews a week... The primary question of the interview was: What is your religion, if any? The religion of the spouse/partner was also asked. If the initial answer was 'Protestant' or 'Christian' further questions were asked to probe which particular denomination."