LATIN – apologeticus GREEK – apologetikos Apologetics: “The branch of theology that is concerned with defending or proving the truth of Christian doctrines” (The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th edition, Houghton Mifflin Company, 2009).
- SUCCESSFUL COMMUNITY FIRESIDES. How do you put on a fireside that can potentially draw 1300 people, including members of clergy and government, and result in over a hundred baptisms and multiple reactivations?
- WHY APOLOGETICS? Why do we participate in apologetics and is it OK?
- WHAT CLERGY THINK OF THE LDS. Are you curious about what non-LDS clergy think of the Church and it’s members? What do they recommend for reading material?
- ONLINE BOOKSHELF AVAILABLE. FAIR keeps track of books available for apologists.
- HELP WANTED. Learn how you can help defend the faith and further the mission of FAIR.
- ARTICLE SUBMISSIONS. Interested in writing for FAIR? Learn how you can have your apologetics work published.
- PUBLISHING NOTES. Learn how you can become more involved in FAIR and how you can reuse the material we publish.
Welcome to the first issue of the FAIR Journal, a monthly e-journal that highlights recent events in LDS apologetics. We hope that using the format of an e-journal will help more people become aware of the issues surrounding criticisms of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the faith-promoting responses to those criticisms. We also hope to include general topics that strengthen faith, help missionary work or discuss our relationship with other denominations. This e-journal is sponsored by FAIR, a non profit organization at www.fairlds.org.
-Scott Gordon, President. Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research
SUCCESSFUL COMMUNITY FIRESIDES
In August 2001 FAIR sponsored a very successful annual conference. Several notable speakers addressed a variety of topics that ranged from DNA and the Book of Mormon to anti-Mormon arguments that show the Book of Mormon is true. Each month we try to highlight a topic from one of those speakers. This month we will talk about Ross Baron and his hugely successful community firesides.
Ross is the Institute Director at Claremont Colleges and Glendora Institute in Southern California. In response to a local increase in publications and public meetings by local anti-Mormons, Ross recently conducted several community firesides that resulted in over a hundred baptisms and many people being reactivated. These firesides averaged over 1300 in attendance and were attended by as many as 35 pastors and various city officials. His topics have been:
- Are Mormons Christian?
- Book of Mormon: Fact or Fiction?
- Where is the Church of Christ?
- What are the Top 10 Hardest Questions for Latter-day Saints to Answer?
Ross always starts with a hymn, a prayer and a special musical number. Then he presents his fireside, followed by an open question and answer session. Here is a summary of his ten rules for putting on a successful fireside.
- The firesides must be priesthood driven.
- Each fireside needs a clear and exciting subject.
- The firesides must be advertised properly. Advertise in local newspapers using quarter-page ads. (This requires priesthood support and financing.) Use flyers and ask members to spread the word.
- Keep it local–don’t call in an outside speaker.
- There must be massive preparation on the part of the presenters and the fireside must last no longer than an hour.
- You must hold the fireside in a controlled environment, on your own turf.
- Spice things with light humor and self-deprecation.
- Find a speaker that is talented in presentation and able to handle impromptu Q&A sessions.
- You have to control the missionaries. They should not proselyte at the firesides. (Perhaps have one set to give out copies of the Book of Mormon and take referrals.)
- Provide good refreshments.
Notable quotes from the talk:
One of the premises we oft-times get drawn into is this:
Q. The church bases their work for the dead based on John 3:5, 1 Corinthians 15:29, 1 Peter 4:6, 1 Peter 3:18-20…
A. Stop! That is incorrect. The Church doesn’t base work for the dead on the Bible; the Church is not based on the Bible. The Church is based on what the Bible is based on: revelation through prophets.
The Bible for Latter-day Saints is not the object of our faith; it is one of the sources of our faith.
Q. There are 3,900 plus changes in the book of Mormon…so therefore it’s not true.
A. Are you a King James only person? “Yes, the King James version.” Let’s talk about which King James version. I had everybody in the congregation open up their King James bibles, find an italicized word, and when you find the italicized word raise your hand. OK…that’s not in ANY of the Bible manuscripts.
Q. I have the quote that will definitively tell all of you here about Mormonism and about how it is false. Unless we accept Joseph Smith we cannot gain salvation. That is utterly false; it is blasphemy. They claim to be Christians, but that is absolutely false. How do you respond to that Mr. Baron?
A. Can I ask you a question? “Certainly.” Imagine you are living in A.D. 34; you are in Jerusalem. It is Acts Chapter 2, Peter is preaching about Christ and Him crucified. You feel the Spirit. Can you reject Peter’s testimony and accept Christ? “Ummm.” That is exactly how we feel about Joseph Smith. He is a modern-day Peter.
Anti-Mormons are a great thing for us. They help the scholarship of the Church and strengthen the members. There has been an increase in convert baptisms because of the anti-Mormons.
If you would like to order this talk on an audio CD, visit our publications page:
Near the top of the page, in the GREAT NEWS! section, you will find a link to order the audio CD.
Additional conference presentations will be available on audio, video and through printed transcripts in the near future.
When you say the word “apologetics” to the average member of the Church you often get a blank a stare or a question such as, “What is ‘apologetics?'” Beyond that elementary question is the question of whether it is appropriate for members of the Church to engage in apologetics. Should Latter-day Saints be actively engaged in the defense of their faith against defamation and misrepresentation?
If you are interested in the basis of doing apologetics work, check out the free FAIR Paper entitled “Why Apologetics?”
Why Apologetics? (PDF) by Lance Starr
WHAT CLERGY THINK OF THE LDS
FAIR was recently featured in the Deseret News for their survey on non-LDS clergy. It talks about what they believe about the LDS and what they recommend for reading. To review the survey results on which the article was based, visit this page:
A Survey of Clergy Opinion on Mormonism by Scott Gordon and Dennis Egget, Ph.D.
ONLINE BOOKSHELF AVAILABLE
The Internet makes it possible to share huge amounts of information. There are many books available online that are of interest to apologists. If you are interested in a sampling of the books available, visit the FAIR Online Bookshelf:
FAIR needs your help. We need people to volunteer in the following areas:
- Ensign Link Manager. This person would keep our Ensign links up to date. The position involves identifying the Church magazine articles that could be useful in discussing the doctrines and practices of the Church and identifying the Internet addresses for the articles.
- Book Review Editor. This person would search the Internet for book reviews on books of interest to apologists. They would also encourage and accept submissions of book reviews and edit them.
- Editors. We are in need of people willing to read articles and edit them.
We welcome article submissions for the FAIR Web site. If you would like to submit an article, please review the editing guidelines at:
Submit your article to the FAIR Journal Editor. An appropriate article would be one that affirms the truthfulness of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
While LDS apologetics (in the broadest sense) deals with refuting critics of the Church, articles don’t necessarily have to deal with anti-Mormonism, but may deal with some new evidence of the Book of Mormon, some interesting scripture interpretation, a viewpoint or quote from the early Christian Fathers or other historical figure, an interesting lesson idea, an inspiring missionary story, Church history, or your view on a current event related to the Church or a piece from a historical journal.
We may also accept articles from people who are not members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that may not necessarily meet the guidelines of supporting the church if it is a topic of general interest to people involved in apologetics.
A submission may range in length from several pages to a single paragraph.
FAIR is not owned, controlled by or affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. All research and opinions provided in the FAIR Journal and on the FAIR Web site (http://www.fairlds.org) are the sole responsibility of FAIR, and should not be interpreted as official statements of LDS doctrine, belief or practice.
If someone has forwarded this e-journal to you and you would like to join you should go to www.fairlds.org and click on the Membership link.
If you are very interested in apologetics and would like to actively participate in FAIR you should consider joining our apologetics e-mail list. Visit www.fairlds.org and click on the Membership link to join this list as well.
If you manage your own e-mail list, and wish to include some of these thoughts or articles on your list, contact us through our Web site, at this page: www.fairlds.org/contact.psp. We have a fairly liberal policy of using our material so long as you contact us first to gain permission and clearly identify that your source was FAIR.
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