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Comments about ‘Wiki Wars: In battle to define beliefs, Mormons and foes wage battle on Wikipedia’

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Published: Sunday, Jan. 30 2011 1:37 a.m. MST

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TheAtheist
slc, u

This is outrageous; you want this forum to be level headed and kind in debate. I submit an opinion that is different then that of the LDS church and you do not allow my comment. Censorship at its best.

loidinho
Orem, UT

Hutterite,

I'll take your comment a step farther, because I think we need to look beyond our own biases of organized religion. I remember a quote that states that history is recorded by the victors; something xpat eluded to. There's not a lot of knowledge that can truly be proven- especially in the realm of the humanities. Even the majority of scientific thought is theory which acknowledges a element of doubt. The burden of proof is far greater than a religious problem. I would say it's a human problem.

Instereo
Eureka, UT

I think Wikipedia is a great place to start to find out what is generally taken as the common view of things.

Just look at the numbers. There are 100,000 editors with millions of articles. With an excyclopedia there might be 100 editors for 65,000 articles.

Who's to say they are unbiased. Ideas and interpretation of facts are constantly debated. There are always two sides to everything. So Wikipedia is not something to be feared, abused, or put down but should be viewed as a place to get the lay of the land for a more in depth look at any topic you want to investigate.

I think most people want to learn about what they already know to justify what they already believe. I think the greatest benefit to Wikipedia is that it's a place for all ideas to come together and for people to see that everything has its opposite.

10CC
Bountiful, UT

Wkipedia should be taken with a grain of salt, but In researching controversial topics a wider number of sources should be referenced.

For example, "History of Canada" is likely to be less prone to dramatically different interpretations and biases than "global warming".

Politics and religion naturally lack consensus, and among religions Mormonism attracts attention because it challenges outsiders to question their own religious beliefs. It's certainly not the only provocative religion, but compared to, say, Hinduism, it's positioning will attract scrutiny.

That said, the topic of Mormonism is probably less controversial in the US than the Dalai Lama is in China. (For information why, check Wikipedia. :) )

Idaho Coug
Meridian, Idaho

The LDS historian Richard Bushman was prominently mentioned in this article. He wrote what is probably the most detailed history of Joseph Smith - Rough Stone Rolling. Critics will complain that his bias is that JS is a Prophet. As a believing Mormon that is understandable. But there are few facts of JS's life that were not detailed - both positive and negative. It is an excellent resource for Mormons who want the "unvarnished" or "uncoorelated" truth of Joseph Smith but from a believing LDS viewpoint.

Pianoman99
Salt Lake City, UT

anyone who's gone to college or even high school knows that wikipedia is not credited as a reliable source...

Full-on double rainbow
Bluffdale, UT

Bushman, speaking of Mormon Wiki articles, says "So it becomes a picky piece that isn't inaccurate, but it sort of lacks depth. It ends up being shallow." Notice how he doesn't says that people are spreading lies. Some editors are focusing on "unsavory" pieces of church history.

If someone was claiming to speak for God wouldn't you hold them to a higher standard? You'd expect that all aspects of history would be quite savory. I don't undersand how people can reconcile all of the unsavoryness even when looking at the big picture as Bushman suggests.

Cats
Somewhere in Time, UT

Dear Tweedmeister: Oops! You negative bias is showing.

The LDS Church is spending immense amounts of effort to put out the Joseph Smith Papers which include everything written by, written for or written in connection with Joseph Smith. They are completely unbiased and fair. They are the original documents which are open for anyone to see and study. Nothing is hidden or distorted.

The LDS Church does NOT fear scrutiny. Bring it on. In fact, these papers will help to expose many of the lies that have been told by anti mormons for almost two centuries.

I know a former Methodist Minister who joined the Church. He examined and researched every anti-mormon document he could find. He tracked down every footnote. He concluded that the authors were either completely ignorant or completely dishonest. He was baptized after this long and intense search for truth.

Only if you are unafraid of truth can you find it. The Church does not fear truth. Only those who attack it do.

SLCWatch
Salt Lake City, UT

If I want a simple movie plot outline Wikipedia is sufficent. If I want information on religion or politics...I might as well consult a Ouiji Board for both.

Doctor
Tucson, AZ

Read the article. It never says anything false was posted only negative. Bushman says it is factual, just shallow.

gwest
Melfa, VA

Universities don't accept Wikipedia as a legitimate source for academic work. Neither should anyone interested in anything more than trivia.

The determined, dogged opposition of anti-Mormons tells you more about them than it does about their targets. If you want to know for yourself what Mormons believe, ask one or just walk in the door of one of our meetinghouses on Sunday.

Every single sincere person ought to ask themselves what motivates anti-Mormons. Envy? Bigotry? Prejudice? Fear of "competition?" Insecurity? There's no good reason for any of what they do.

Such efforts wouldn't be tolerated if they were directed against Jews or some other religious minority. Why should such behavior be granted any credence whatsoever by reasonable people?

troubs
Enterprise, UT

...and so the war in heaven wages on, only now its within the pages of Wikipedia.

Uncle Rico
Sandy, UT

Hutterite: organized

please use spell check as your post points out a young inexperienced mindset

tweedmeister
Yakima, WA

To Cats: I think the fact that DN deleted my comment apparently to which you refer demonstrates the fear of perusal and scrutiny that you believe does not happen. My comment was on-topic and not abusive. It merely mentioned an author that the LDS church is at odds with who described the LDS church as having a need to make all its history proprietary and to disallow straight-up historical commentary by non-LDS. BAM! Case closed.

Jiggle
Clearfield, UT

@qwest

If you want to know for yourself what Mormons believe, ask one or just walk in the door of one of our meetinghouses on Sunday.

While this might be true to an extent....I would find those people biased. I would also talk to a person who has left the Church after being in it for many years....perhaps raised in the Church....for they have looked at it with a depth deeper than those that stay.

Every single sincere person ought to ask themselves what motivates anti-Mormons.

Simple disagreement motivates so-called anti-Mormons most of the time. Yes, there are exceptions and that is called Anti-Semitism. Simply put...they have a different truth and express it like any Mormon does. I'm certain Mormons disagree with Atheism so with the logic most Mormons use....they would be anti-atheists. Mormons always act like people shouldn't disagree with their religion and if they do they are Anti, Envious, Bigoted, Prejudiced, Fear ful or are Insecure. That goes both ways you know. Quit playing the persecution card and realize people are not anti for simply disagreeing and saying so.

Full-on double rainbow
Bluffdale, UT

@Cats

The average member has no idea about some of the unflattering church history. Your "bring it on" attitude will lead people to question faith as it did to the missionary in the article. Again, according to Bushman all of the info in wiki was correct, just unflattering. People will seek the truth, as you suggest, and that truth will be very difficult to swallow.

Richie
Saint George, UT

Wikipedia does have some usefulness, but history, especially religious history is not one of them. If I want to study LDS doctrine I go to the scriptures and prophets only. Apostles are pretty good (except early ones) but Seventies can be wrong. Wikipedia is useful if I want to look for airplanes, automobiles, Ships, and old movies.

Idaho Coug
Meridian, Idaho

Charles - I know that Richard Bushman's "Rough Stone Rolling" is not the "church". But it is written by a believing member who believes JS was and is a Prophet.

I get where you are coming from if you are referring to the standard LDS coorelated material used for SS, PR and RS. But material is being presented about JS and LDS history by believing authors and historians that does NOT whitewash the truth. Cats mentioned the JS Papers. These are positive steps quite frankly.

I know more than one person who fell away reading RSR and the Papers may have a similar effect on some who think nothing occurred outside of what they were told in seminary and sunday school. But there are LDS resources that are presenting the whole story.

Molly Mormon Mom
Riverton, UT

Thanks for the article! Some of these comments claim that Wikipedia is not allowed as a source for research papers. This may be true for many institutions of higher education, but the majority of high schools and middle schools still allow it as a cited source. As a result, most teenagers (including young LDS missionaries) feel that Wikipedia contains the most reliable information on the internet. We need to teach our children that Wikipedia, while containing a lot of accurate and reliable facts, is not the best source for unbiased information, especially when it comes to religion and politics. My husband and I will be having that discussion with our children today.

Mukkake
Salt Lake City, UT

This article is long-winded, but short on information, and is a few years behind. Just because wikipedia isn't 100% positive for the church doesn't mean it is worthless.

Because DesNews wont allow me to link to outside material I'll post the following and you can look it up for yourself:

"Other criticisms center on its susceptibility to vandalism and the addition of spurious or unverified information, though scholarly work suggests that vandalism is generally short-lived, and an investigation... found that the science articles they compared came close to the level of accuracy of Encyclopedia Britannica and had a similar rate of "serious errors".

I love all the people who mention on here that "most professors don't allow wikipedia as a source". Most professors wouldn't allow an encyclopedia of ANY KIND as a source because they are not PRIMARY SOURCES. Encyclopedias are summaries at best and are only useful as quick reference tools. The are jumping off points. You get a general sense of whats going on and then you LOOK AT THE CITATIONS and continue from there.

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