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).
- THEY LIE IN WAIT TO DECEIVE. This insightful four-volume set written by Robert and Rosemary Brown is a “must read” for all LDS apologists. The books are now being put up on the FAIR Web site and are distributed exclusively through FAIR. Many thanks to the Browns and our friends at ISPART/FARMS.
- BOOMARANG HITS ON THE BOOK OF MORMON. Matt Roper’s discussion of the anti-Mormon hits on the Book of Mormon that are evidences of its truthfulness. Given at the FAIR apologetics conference.
- CHRISTMAS SALE AT THE FAIR BOOKSTORE. All shipping costs are waived through Christmas.
- DO LATTER-DAY SAINTS BELIEVE JESUS AND SATAN ARE BROTHERS? Michael Hickenbotham’s insightful article on this common topic.
- IS MORMONISM A CULT? Explore this common complaint with Kim Siever.
- 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.
THEY LIE IN WAIT TO DECIEVE
In early 1980 Robert L. Brown noticed that there was quite a bit of anti-Mormon activity occurring in his community. He thought it was odd that people could make a living as professional anti-Mormons and prosper by finding fault with the LDS faith. Rather than take things lying down, Brother Brown decided to investigate the claims being made by these naysayers, as well as to check out their credentials and backgrounds. His research is documented in four volumes, collectively entitled They Lie In Wait to Deceive.
These volumes shine a bright light into the corners that anti-Mormons would rather leave in the dark. You learn how these individuals work to obstruct and distort the truth. Robert and Rosemary Brown even reproduce their source documents so you don’t have to take only their word for what they uncover.
-Allen Wyatt FAIR Senior Editor and Webmaster
These books are certainly a “must read” for anyone involved in the study of anti-Mormonism. It will give you new insights into the lack of credibility and lack of honesty of the people involved. I believe if more evangelical Christians would look at the evidence presented in these books, we would have a lot less anti Mormon books in the Christian bookstores. FAIR would like to thank the Browns and our friends at ISPART/FARMS for making FAIR the exclusive distributor of these four volumes. The books are being converted into electronic format on the FAIR Web site, and are available for sale at the FAIR bookstore.
-Scott Gordon, President Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research
You can find more information on They Lie In Wait to Deceive (and download Volume 1 for free) at this address:
BOOMARANG HITS ON THE BOOK OF MORMON
Matt Roper gave an exciting talk at the FAIR conference this past August. Here are some of the notes from that conference. These notes do not contain everything that Brother Roper talked about or fully explore the topic as he did. But they are given here to give you a brief idea of the topic.
Brother Roper explained that there are elements found in the book of Mormon text that in the past sent critics into laughter, but when reexamined today can be seen in a whole new light. In his talk he explored the difference between evidence and proof. He said,
“Evidence tends to support a position or claim, while proof is usually something that is already established that is accepted without question. Frequently proof only occurs at the personal level and tends to be a judgment, which one makes when the person becomes convinced that the sum of the evidence when taken together is persuasive enough to accept a proposition as established truth.”
He further stated, “People may agree on the validity of the evidence but continue to disagree on what the sum of that evidence means.”
Here are the items that he considers the boomerang hits on the Book of Mormon.
- THE LAND OF JERUSALEM. Critics attacked this as early as 1838. They stated that there is no such land. But then tablets dating 1400 BC were found in 1887 where the name of the land appears five times. It was also appeared in the Jeremiah Dead Sea Scrolls tablet.
- SWORD OF PRECIOUS STEEL. In 1920 a critic wrote that steel was not known to man in those days. But now we know that a form of steel was well known to the near-eastern communities. Now several “steel” items have been found. One carbonized iron sword found is a meter long and dates back to the time of king Josiah, a contemporary of Lehi.
- REFORMED EGYPTIAN. From 1834 to current times critics have scoffed that Lehi, a Hebrew would write in Egyptian script. Gerald and Sandra Tanner state that faithful Jews certainly would not want their scriptures written in that language. But unfortunately for the critics there are many examples of this. (John Gee spoke extensively on this topic at the FAIR conference). Items have been found written in Egyptian where the underlying language is a northwest Semitic tongue. Hebrew and Aramaic text have been found that were written in Egyptian characters that date to Lehi’s time. One of these items is Papyrus Amhurst 63, discovered in the second half of the 19th century. In 1944 it was discovered that while the script was Egyptian the underlying language was Aramaic. The translation turned out to be Psalms 20:2-6. This isn’t the only example; in 1965 and in 1970 several more examples were found that co-mingled Hebrew and Egyptian. There is evidence that the scribes of the day were trained in both scripts.
- HOUSES OF CEMENT. One critic told Heber J. Grant, “There has never been found, and there never would be found a house built of cement by the inhabitants of this country. That should be enough to make anyone not believe in the book.” Now cement technology in pre-Hispanic America is a well-established archeological fact. It paralleled that of the Greeks and Romans during the same period. It shows signs of remarkable skill and sophistication.
- BOOK OF MORMON NAMES. There are many examples of critics making fun of the names. One critic went so far as to check with William F. Albright, a scholar from Johns Hopkins University. The critic described him as someone who is “renowned in ancient Semitic studies.” Dr. Albright explained that he was Protestant and therefore not a believer in the Book of Mormon. He also expressed doubts that Joseph Smith could have learned Egyptian from any 19th century sources. He said that it is surprising that two Egyptian names, “Paanchi” and “Pahoran” appear in the book of Mormon in close connection with the reference of the original language being reformed Egyptian. He thought that Joseph Smith must be some kind of “religious genius.”Walter Martin made great fun of the name “Alma” as it appears in the book of Mormon. He suggested it had the meanings of betrothed virgin, or maiden. Alma is a woman’s name meaning lass, virgin, young woman. It would be much like “A boy named Sue.” But in 1960 an Israeli archeologist translated the name on a discovered land deed as “Alma, son of Judah.” Additional research shows that the name Alma shows up on items dated back to 2200 BC. Other names such as Josh and Sam were criticized, but they have been found as well as Sariah, Aha, Ammoniha, and many others. The striking thing about these names is that they don’t just turn up in the ancient near-east, but they also turn up in the right time period.Some of these names were only discovered in the past 10 years and would have been unknown to Joseph Smith. The Hebrew root for the word Jershon from Alma 27 means “to inherit.” The word Shiblom in Alma 11:16 was originally written as Shilom on the Joseph Smith manuscript. It was then changed on the printer’s manuscript to Shiblom. Shilom has the meaning in Hebrew of “retribution, fee, recompense, or reward.” This would make sense given that the discussion is about monetary units.”Nahom” is another interesting one. Not only is the site there as talked about by S. Kent Brown in his presentation, but the term is interesting as well. The Hebrew root of the word means “to comfort, to console, to succor, emotional pain or mourning for the dead.” All references to Nahom apply to death. Of course, Ishmael was buried at the place “which was called Nahom.”Another interesting one occurs in Mosiah 9:9 where it says, “And we began to till the ground, yea, even with all manner of seeds, with seeds of corn, and of wheat, and of barley, and with neas, and with sheum…”. Sheum may be unfamiliar to us, but it is a perfectly good ancient Mesopotamian name for grain. It is principally used for barley but other grains as well. Could Joseph Smith have derived this name from another source? It would be a trick. The language the word came from couldn’t be read until 1857, 13 years after Joseph was dead. How did he come up with the name and use it in the correct agricultural context?
- In 1910 Charles Shook wrote about Barley. “Where’s the proof?” he asked. Barley was not to be found when Americans came. Not a vestige of barley has ever been found. All respected scholarship says that barley is only a modern new world crop. There was no barley in the new world.However, recently several specimens of domesticated pre-Columbian barley were discovered by archeologist at a site near Phoenix, Arizona. There have been additional discoveries made since that first one. It is a North American domesticated grain crop that previously had not been identified that dates back to 2000 years ago.
Lessons from this? This does not prove the Book of Mormon true. These are pieces of evidence that can be discussed.
Lessons to learn?
- We need to be patient. Things change, new discoveries are made.
- We need to be realistic. There may be questions we don’t have answers to. But we need to keep looking.
- Ask yourself: “What do I know?” It would be foolish to throw away everything that you know because of some item that you don’t know, or questions that you have. A lot of questions that we have, we may never know. But think what would have happened if you had decided to leave the Church in 1975 over the barley question. All reliable scholars at that time said there was no evidence of pre-Columbian barley in America. Five years later they discovered it. Wouldn’t it have to been tragic if I had left the Church over it?
There was no archeological evidence of lions in the Bible until 1982. Sometimes the archeological evidences haven’t caught up with literary sources.
If you would like to order this talk on an audio CD, visit this page:
The presentation will be available on video and through printed transcripts in the near future.
CHRISTMAS SALE AT THE FAIR BOOKSTORE
To allow people to do their Christmas shopping we have waived all shipping costs on the FAIR bookstore. This limited time offer should allow you to purchase Barry Bickmore’s book, Restoring the Ancient Church, or the complete set of They Lie in Wait to Deceive by Robert and Rosemary Brown. We have other books and audio CDs also available.
DO LATTER-DAY SAINTS BELIEVE JESUS AND SATAN ARE BROTHERS?
Professional critics of the Church of Jesus Christ often accuse members of the church of believing that Jesus and Satan are brothers. This assertion is usually made in an accusatory tone and accompanied by the unspoken question, “How could they believe such a heresy?” In this thoughtful, insightful article, author Michael Hickenbotham explains the true nature of this distinctive LDS belief, explores its scriptural and historical foundations, and demonstrates how modern Christianity has abandoned this doctrine which was generally accepted as orthodox teachings among the ancient Jews and early Christians.
You can download this paper for free at the FAIR Web site:
Do Latter-day Saints Believe Jesus and Satan are Brothers? (PDF) by Michael Hickenbotham
IS MORMONISM A CULT?
The Church of Jesus Christ is often labeled by its detractors as a “cult,” hoping to paint the Church with the dark implications of the word and trying to equate the Church of Jesus Christ with groups like Heaven’s Gate, the Branch Davidians, Jim Jones and other religious splinter groups that have relied on extreme proselyting techniques to gain and hold members. In this article by Kim Siever, the author explores the question of what constitutes a cult and how the Church of Jesus Christ and modern, mainstream Christianity compare and contrast to the definition.
You can download this paper for free at the FAIR Web site:
Is Mormonism a Cult? (PDF) by Kim Siever
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.
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