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 12:00 a.m. MST

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Lindon, UT

What's interesting is the fact that the LDS church as not only encouraged is 13 million LDS members to embrace social media, including Wikipedia, to get the Word out. Including telling the truth and sharing their testimonies with the world's populations. All 7 Billion. Actually Wikipedia calculates the world's population today at 6.9 billion. I'm not sure who is really is correct, but since Wikipedia is updated and edited by the minute by 7 (or?) 6.9 Billion people, it stands to reason that some sifting leading to the truth is bound to occur. Let's get over it. Transparency is the new norm. The younger generation gets it. It's time for the old farts to embrace it too :)

A Guy With A Brain
Enid, OK

Article quote: "In an earlier exchange, the missionary told Nicholson that Wikipedia was reliable because the collaborative process ensures its accuracy."

Anyone who believes that misunderstands a simple yet absolutely crucial reality.

It is that 'truth' is NOT defined by popularity.

Never has been. Never will be.

I know that is hard for some of you to understand, but understand it we must.

Orem, UT

It's always fun to have an article about the LDS Church. The comments just go ballistic. So many have opinions on either sides. I also have opinions from my experiences with this Religion, and so I will comment.

I look at it this way. A Wiki on Jesus Christ could say he was arrested, spit upon, hated, defied authority, incited people to rebellion, caused riots in the streets and major discontent, turned families upside down, escaped brushes with secular and religious authorities, caused contention in the temple, or many other unsavory things and each item would be factual. They all happened according to one eye witness or another, but is this the information that is pertinent to knowing or to discovering who He was and would you base your decision on following Him on such an article? Hopefully not.

Or would you try to understand what His followers saw in Him that caused them to change their lives in so many pertinent ways?

I think Wikis can be great and play a valuable role in modern society, but they should be used for less important things than decisions related to salvation, in my opinion.

The Caravan Moves On
Enid, OK

Article quote: "I think I first got on (Wikipedia) because the Bob Jones site was just crazy. There was just crazy stuff, non-true things," Foxe said. "And I said 'Oh, I'll fix that.' And it was kind of fun." Foxe spoke with the Deseret News on the condition that his real name wasn't used."

So let me get this straight:

Foxe wants to have the Bob Jones site display true, factually correct information on it but he's A-OK allowing lies to be posted about the LDS church?

Nice, eh?....

A Guy With A Brain
Enid, OK

Sock puppets.

Boy, have I seen them on these DesNews message boards (and other internet sites) in the last 4 years.....

BTW, I've had the same Wikipedia experience defending the LDS church as Mr. Nicholson has. Kind of ticked me off.

Oh, well, nothing to get permanently down in the dumps about. Truth will prevail. As Brigham Young used to say about those who continually oppose the Lord's church, "Every time they try to kick it down to hell, they only lift it up closer to heaven".

So, thanks for the boost!

Centralia, WA

Dr. Paul E. Minnis an archeology professor at the University of Oklahoma is one of thousands in his field of study who claim that the view that Native Americans
descended from Israelites is completely false. Wikipedia was not the source for this conclusion.

Did someone say there are two sides to everything? Thats nonsense contrived to evade the truth. Did someone say scientology too?

Joseph told his mother that horses ran around the continent. What? 7,500 years ago and long after the demise of the so-called nephites. No battlefields, no iron and other metals as depicted in Ensign and New Era artistry. The Native American is Asiatic. Period.

Eugene, OR

For those who want an alternative to iffy Wiki info re: LDS beliefs, try:

1. Encycolpedia of Mormonism
2. Expressions of Faith: Testimonies of Latter-day Saint Scholars, edited by Susan Easton Black (1996)
3. Pretty much anything by Robert J. Millet

Salt Lake City, UT

"For example, when the subject was the life and teaching of Brigham Young, mention was only made of his first wife. That is obviously incomplete as he had dozens of plural wives as well. But it did not say she was BY's only wife - that would have been inaccurate."

Inaccurate vs incomplete, well... there is that but there's another set of options. Lie of omission and lie of commission. A lie of commission is outright stating something not true, while a lie of omission is leaving out a detail that makes things appear to be something other than they are. Granted I doubt many LDS members think Brigham Young was a monogamist, I'm just saying that in some situations, incomplete can be problematic.

Salt Lake City, UT

"I decided that I didn't want to define our relationship by contention." - Article

That's kind of hard because he was already in contention with a missionary.

It will be interesting to see who gets more to subscribe to it's belief. Many try to 'white wash' history.

Example? I've had self-proclaimed Mormons tell me that Brigham Young was 'very conflicted' about denying preist hood to black males...until 1978.
Amendment 3, 2004
Prop 8, 2008

And yet other continue to claim they 'love the sinner', while ignoring they are even CALLING someone a sinner, which is itself, an insulting term.

Serious. Go to a bunch of strangers and call them 'sinners' all day, see what happens.

You are entitiled to your view. However, to claim all others 'must' follow your view is folly.

Bottom line, there are, what? 14 million mormons?

And 5 billion & some change, non-mormons on earth.

Localized ideaology is put to the test when faced with a world-view consensus.

Let the debate which is the 'true' way, begin.

Murray, UT

Chickenchaser - Please stay on topic. The article is about Wikipedia and the behind the scenes look into a controversial topic and how the information makes it ot the front page - in this case Joseph Smith.

Couldn't wait for the next Michael Ash article to post your degrading comments, eh??

Payson, UT

Any Mormon who has told you that you MUST follow their view doesn't know their own doctrine.
In fact the church only wants their converts to have had an actual spiritual experience confirming what they teach.
This isn't really measurable by an intellectual tool. Nor can it be disproved.

Houston Lake, MO

The biggest problem that I had with John Foxe's edits to "The First Vision" was that he would not understand the most fundamental Wikipedia principles.

Wikipedia articles are supposed to be based on Neutral Point of View. The short definition, from the NPOV page, "Editors must write articles from a neutral point of view, representing all significant views fairly, proportionately, and without bias.

John Foxe consistently resisted having the non-believing POV presented in a neutral fashion. Most attempts to 'neutralize' his non-believing POV were reverted.

John Foxe also resisted having the believing point of view presented at all. He insisted that the historical facts 'proved' that the First Vision didn't happen, and so any attempt to accurately present the believing POV was continually interrupted with his rebuttals or relegated to footnotes.

John Foxe is a very clever man with plenty of time on his hands. During the edit war described in this article I found myself becoming increasingly frustrated with his machinations, this frustration became evident in my comments. And so I walked away.


John Pack Lambert of Michigan
Ypsilanti, MI

Michael De Groote is right about the anti-BYU bias of some weikipedia editors. This is unfortunante. Also unfortunante is the way in which the "no primary research" rule is interpreted.

I often shy away from the heavily covered topics in wikipedia, like Joseph Smith, and spend my energy creating articles on people like Camillle Fronk Olson or Tutsegabitz or Sagawitz. The problem with the not as prominant is that I face the struggle to prove these people merit articles, but that is easier than dealing with biased editors who start with the goal of proving Joseph Smith false.

On the other hand before you enter the wikipedia fray remember the goal is neutrality. If you speak too strongly in favor of Joseph Smith you will be dismissed as violating the neutral point of view policy.

If you study wikipedia policy in depth you do realize that at heart works accurately based on primary sources are better. Be willing to challenge them on trying to say a source is biased.

John Pack Lambert of Michigan
Ypsilanti, MI

An independent source is one not controlled by the subject of its report. Thus, a source written by Richard Lloyd Anderson or Richalrd L. Bushman is independent. They may be influenced by Joseph Smith's teaching, but they are not controlled by him.

The key is to report on the first vision using articles and books written with clear reliance on the primary sources. Richard L. Bushman's "Rough Stone Rolling" is a much better source than Brody's "No Man Knows My History", and Anderson's "Ensign" article on the multiple accounts of the first vision is usable. Also remember that introductions and notes to published first hand accounts of the first vision are of worth.

Beyond this, just challenge the theory. In using the "no original research" mantra to exclude the original sources wikipedia is misinterpreting the intent. This applies much more to issues of notability. If the issue is about historical fact, first hand testimony trumps second-hand testimony based on psychoanalytic readings of Joseph Smith.

Lastly, wikipedia is not a democracy. Even if there are more people arguing for incorect readings of the past, if you can present your accuments more clearly, they have power.

Salt Lake City, UT

'Any Mormon who has told you that you MUST follow their view doesn't know their own doctrine.' - Sigfried | 2:09 p.m. Jan. 31, 2011

I agree with you, and yet again I shall point too:

Polygamy, 1890
Black priesthood, 1978
Amendment 3, 2004
Prop 8, 2008

All are examples of mormon 'beliefs' that affect those who never claimed to follow that fiath.

Don't get me wrong, I personally know what I consider 'good' mormons, who take no interest in my life or anyone elses. The know the word, and follow it as best THEY can. Trying to set the example.

As for 'spiritual experience', I leave that to the person. As I would for you and visa-versa.

And I encourage you to not take my 'Mormon with no name' examples. You are right, they cannot be disproven.

And yet, the legislation examples are up for public review.

Just as with all groups, there are good and bad.

I just wish there was more recent, and better examples of the good.

The recent refusal of state legislature in Utah to pass non-discrimination ordinance, after 11 cities do so, forces me to focus on the bad.

John Pack Lambert of Michigan
Ypsilanti, MI

I hate to use up my four comments so quickly.

I think the reaction of some "I do not go to wikipedia" is an abandonement of the duty that we are under to share the truth to the best of our abilities. We need to remember that accuracy is key to wikipedia and avoid over-zealousness without it.

However as Elder Ballard said, the conversation will go on. Either we can work to aid the accuracy of wikipedia and seek to infuse it with sources that reflect the truth, or we can let it be editted by those who use it to tear down the truth. If we do not work for a solution, than we will suffer more.

A Guy With A Brain
Enid, OK

Hey Pagan -

You asked for 'recent' examples of 'good' Latter-day Saints?

Thomas S. Monson.

I know you'll find SOMETHING (or make something up) to criticize him over.

But a good man is a good man regardless of what fools say about him.


Clearfield, UT

Wikipedia is suppose to have a neutral point of view. They say they strive for articles that advocate no single point of view, represent multiple points of views, and present each point of view accurately and in context, while not presenting any point of view as "the truth" or "the best view". Pro-LDS editors seem to be involved in trying to control the editing of LDS articles by rejecting verifiable, authoritative sources, so any inaccuracies or misleading statements can go unchallenged.

So much for honesty! Now will DS News Post this?

Houston Lake, MO

Response to Jiggle and others who have made blanket statements about all pro-LDS editors.

My experience in the First Vision article was that John Foxe (an anti-LDS editor) tried to control the content of the article so as to emphasize the anti-LDS point of view and minimize the pro-LDS point of view.

As a pro-LDS editor, it was never my goal force the reader to a particular conclusion. I wanted all points of view presented, in a neutral and proportional manner.

I edited in good faith, trying again and again to satisfy John Foxe, only to see him revert all edits that didn't serve his purpose.

On the talk page I tried again and again to explain to John Foxe the principles of Wikipedia, the most important of which is Neutral Point of View, only to see him continue to ignore the Wikipedia policies and to "...control the editing of LDS articles by rejecting verifiable, authoritative sources...", etc.

Following Wikipedia policies did not serve John Foxe's purpose, so he ignored those policies.

Trying to work with with John Foxe got me nothing but increasing anger and frustration. So I walked away.


Layton, UT

I used to participate on an unmoderated newsgroup on mormonism, back when that was the only venue to discuss mormonism on the internet (prior to the WWW). We had one antimormon Calvinist who went by the name of Theophilus. He relentlessly antagonized any proLDS articles, and his method of winning an argument was to always have the last word. He took every means possible to denigrate the LDS position, despite many attempts by LDS postings to attempt moderation. He knew if he could argue long enough, sane people would eventually give up.

We only managed to get rid of Theophilus, by catching him in a blatant lie in which he argued two different contradicting positions in order to prove mormons wrong. We posted his conflicting viewpoints--pointing out his dishonesty--and he mysterious disappeared from the group for good.

John Foxe's deception using a sock puppet reminded me of those early year shenanigans that antimormons engaged in. This man clearly sees his overarching righteousness as justification for dishonesty.

It is precisely the sort of pharisaical hypocrisy that Christ condemned most vehemently when he was on the earth. Those who engage in such behaviors arewhited-sepulchres.

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