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).
- THE FOURTH ANNUAL FAIR APOLOGETIC CONFERENCE A HUGE HIT! A brief report on the FAIR conference held earlier this month in Orem, Utah.
- NEW ON THE WEBSITE: THE LOST BOOK OF ABRAHAM: INVESTIGATING A REMARKABLE ANTI-MORMON CLAIM. This FAIR Paper presents a review of a new anti-Mormon film entitled The Lost Book of Abraham: Investigating a Remarkable Mormon Claim.
- NEW ON THE WEBSITE: THE ATONEMENT. A fascinating treatment of this subject: the center of the LDS faith. From the Mormonism 201 project (a response to anti-Mormon book, Mormonism 101), the true doctrine of the Atonement shines through brightly. .
- NEW ON THE WEBSITE: MORMONS, CAN THEY BE CONSIDERED CHRISTIANS? An example of how critics (Christian Research Institute in this case) of the LDS use faulty standards to exclude the Church of Jesus Christ from Christianity. .
- ASK THE APOLOGIST. The question this month addresses the Holy Ghost. .
- FROM THE FAIR FILES: THE BIBLE AND THE BOOK OF MORMON. When examining quotations in the Book of Mormon of Old Testament authors, we notice similarities and differences with the King James Version. Why is that, and what does it demonstrate? An impressive comparison–A MUST READ! .
- MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT, SCOTT GORDON. .
- NEW FEATURE: LETTERS TO THE EDITOR. Do you have any opinions on the content of the FAIR Journal? Your comments are welcomed. .
- AFTER CONFERENCE BOOK SPECIAL! Get your own copy of Katherine Daynes’ great new book about polygamy. .
- BOOK SALE: THEY LIE IN WAIT TO DECIEVE (4 volume set) by Robert and Rosemary Brown. Now is the time to get your hands on this remarkable set. .
- JOIN THE FAIR APOLOGETICS LIST. The FAIR Journal isn’t the only communication forum available to FAIR members. .
- 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.
THE FOURTH ANNUAL FAIR APOLOGETIC CONFERENCE A HUGE HIT!
by Cooper Johnson
From scholars, professors, and intellectuals to Sunday School teachers, Bishops and Ward Mission leaders, an international crowd of people from all walks of life gathered for two days in Orem, Utah, to learn more about gospel scholarship and how to answer some of those pesky questions from the critics of the Church of Jesus Christ. The fourth annual FAIR (Foundation of Apologetic Information and Research) LDS Apologetic Conference, according to attendees and presenters, was an outstanding success.
The goal? To turn perceived stumbling blocks (the tough questions about the LDS faith, it’s doctrines, history, and leaders) into stepping stones of knowledge, wisdom and truth. From plural marriage to racism, from Book of Mormon studies to the doctrine of deification, attendees of the FAIR Conference walked away well equipped to address the issues used to attack the LDS faith by it’s critics.
“Where else can you go to really learn about these things?” says Sam Katich. “I mean, let’s face it, the enemies of the Church are all over the place, poisoning the internet, spreading their wings. Never before, has there been such an event that enables members of the Church to come and learn of the answers.”
Mike Ash admits, regarding the conference, “When tackling difficult issues, positions are clarified, new insights are gleaned, and new perspectives are identified. Such issues are really stepping stones to greater understanding and catalysts to better gospel scholarship.”
One of the true highlights of the conference was the presentation of Dr. Royal Skousen. Dr. Skousen has been the editor of the Book of Mormon Critical Text project for the last 13 years. He knows more about the manuscripts and linguistics in the Book of Mormon than probably anyone in the world.
Dr. Skousen presented some of his findings (as many as could be presented in an hour) and commented that the most significant were his discoveries that the process of translation was so systematic and consistent. He has concluded that everything he has learned only adds to the fact that the Book of Mormon was the result of a divine translation process.
The biggest splash made at the conference was the presentation by Renee Olson. Renee is a black female and former anti-Mormon. She was certified by the Southern Baptist Convention in “Mormonism,” at one time. She is now a faithful member of the Church and spoke on the issue of blacks and the priesthood, in addition to racism in the Church, in general.
“It was, by far, the best thing on the race issue I’ve ever experienced,” according to Kevin Barney. “Renee has a certain credibility that none of us could ever muster.”
Dr. Kathryn Daynes, a BYU Professor of History, and author of the recently released book, More Wives Than One, shared the results of her lengthy study on plural marriage from the arrival of the saints in Utah to the 1890 manifesto. Her findings were absolutely outstanding. “Dr. Daynes shared much light on the issues of who, what, when and why, regarding plural marriage,” Gale Tenney said.
Of course, the scholars from the FARMS/ISPART group are always favorites and played the role of bookends. John Tvedtnes kicked off the conference on the topic of biblical inerrancy and the changing position of Evangelical scholars, in addition to other very recent movements and findings at the scholarly level.
Dr. Daniel Peterson took his familiar position as keynote speaker to end the conference and presented an absolutely delightful view of the failure of the critics to find a sound, naturalistic explanation for the origins of the Book of Mormon. From the days of the early church, 170 years ago, to today, Dr. Peterson demonstrated the absolute failure, time and time again, of anyone to present an alternative explanation to the divine origins of the Book of Mormon and the prophetic call of Joseph Smith. There is nothing left, but the divine, to explain it.
Other outstanding speakers were Mike Ash, who spoke on the effects of anti-Mormon research on LDS scholarship, Russell Anderson, who spoke on the 1826 Trial of Joseph Smith, Roger Cook, who spoke on the Judeo-Christian roots of the doctrine of Theosis (e.g. deification), Dr. Tim Heaton, who presented the results of his gathering demographic statistics on LDS members, and Brant Gardner, who presented an incredibly unique perspective on the Gaddianton Robbers of the Book of Mormon.
Not a soul left the conference disappointed. “The FAIR 2002 Conference was a great success. I enjoyed it from so many perspectives,” shared Craig Ray.
“I thought this was the best apologetics conference yet,” concluded John Tvedtnes, one of the speakers from FARMS/ISPART. “Even the couple of speakers who didn’t deal with apologetics issues gave us some very good information. I learned a lot of new things and in my book, that makes the conference a success.”
This year’s FAIR Conference will be difficult to top. But, I know, from inside sources within FAIR, that the management team is already putting together some surprises, that will definitely raise the bar. Stay tuned to the FAIR website (www.fairlds.org) or subscribe to the FAIR Monthly Journal, at their home page, to get the latest news on the next conference.
THE LOST BOOK OF ABRAHAM: INVESTIGATING A REMARKABLE ANTI-MORMON CLAIM
by Ben McGuire
The Institute of Religious Research (IRR), an anti-Mormon organization, is currently promoting and showing a film entitled The Lost Book of Abraham: Investigating a Remarkable Mormon Claim. While touted as a documentary and passed off as a scholarly production, the sole purpose of this production is to attack The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the beliefs of it’s members. Much of the film is quite accurate, but much is also misleading. For those who understand the latest in scholarship about the Book of Abraham, this movie brings to mind the old saying that Satan will tell you a thousand truths to get you to believe a single lie.
Read the full article:
by Ted Jones
A review of one chapter in the anti-Mormon book, Mormonism 101. This is part of FAIR’s Mormonism 201 project.
Quoting from the introduction, Jones states, “Well, I guess that is what this review is really all about: to determine if the LDS position is as consistent with, or perhaps more consistent with, the Bible teachings, as those of mainstream Christianity today. McKeever and Johnson seek to emphasize ‘alleged’ differences between the early LDS Church leaders and those of more current venue. This amounts to a bias on their part, because they assume, and want their readers to assume, that such a difference actually exists, and that the difference is significant, that it indicates an ‘apostasy’ of the LDS Church from its beginning to the present day. The only way they can make this position valid however is to ignore statements from both time periods, statements which, when made, indicate that there is no such division. It is the observation of this reviewer that what most evangelical writers wish to see is a Mormon Systematic Theology, a volume that will give answers to all their gospel questions, and explain Mormon doctrine in a very neat and concise manner. What they fail to recognize (or choose to ignore, since they have studied the subject for so long!) is that letters written to a son-in-law do not hold the same authority within the Church as a talk given at a General Conference, which in turn does not hold the same authority as the words of canonized scripture.
“This review of their chapter on the Atonement will seek to present the LDS position, not in a ‘favorable’ light, but in an accurate one. And that is what is needed most here: accuracy and honesty. Those who would bear false witness against another person or Church are seriously condemned by the Savior, and if Messers McKeever and Johnson have studied The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as thoroughly as they claim they have, then they are certainly guilty of bearing false witness. They claim that their book “is the result of our concern for those who belong to the LDS faith as well as for those Christians who want to better understand the beliefs of their Mormon friends, relatives, and neighbors.”5 As this review will indicate, those friends, neighbors and relatives of the LDS Church will not have gained any real insights into the LDS faith by reading this book. Indeed, they will have been seriously misled regarding what the Latter-day Saints truly believe.”
Read the full review:
MORMONS; CAN THEY BE CONSIDERED CHRISTIANS?
by Cooper Johnson
How many times have you heard “Mormons can’t be considered Christians,” only to be followed by standards that aren’t Biblical? Some of the largest and most well-respected “Christian” organizations are producing more and more information on the “Mormon Church,” and providing all the reasons why Mormons aren’t Christians. Is it warranted? Are their reasons Biblical?
On July 26, 2002, a friend of mine brought to my attention an article posted on the home page of the Christian Research Institute (CRI) about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Since CRI is considered to be “the largest, most effective apologetics ministry in the world,” one might expect an article posted on the home page of this organization to be a well-written, scholarly piece of work.
With a mission statement that identifies the objective of providing “Christians worldwide with carefully researched information and well-reasoned answers,” one’s expectations of CRI’s work might be understandably high. With its leader, Hank Hanegraaff, President and Chairman of the Board of CRI and host of The Bible Answer Man radio program, and author of several books on Christianity, one might consider the probability of excellent scholarship to be reasonably high. Let’s take a look.
Read the full article:
ASK THE APOLOGIST – FAIR Journal feature.
Welcome to Ask the Apologist. Here we post questions that we receive from FAIR Journal subscribers, from the Web site, or from the FAIR Apologetics list. FAIR apologists will answer the questions, and the results reported here and on the Web site.
Q. (from a Professor not of the LDS faith) To quote one of my students, “What’s up with the Holy Ghost?” If it is one of the principles of LDS faith that embodiment is a necessary phase in exaltation to godhood, how is it that the Holy Ghost has apparently bypassed this phase?
Read the answer:
- Divinity without a body?—Critics charge that since LDS doctrine teaches that a body is required for exaltation, the Holy Ghost cannot be fully God, because he does not have a physical body. (Link)
THE BIBLE AND THE BOOK OF MORMON
by Alma Allred
For over 100 years, Mormon archaeologists have searched in vain for indisputable proof of Book of Mormon civilizations. As men focus their attention in other areas of research, bits of cultural and linguistic evidence come to the forefront as additional testimonies of the Book of Mormon. Within the pages of the Book of Mormon are many quotations of the Old Testament that closely follow the language of the King James Bible. There are however, many passages that differ from the King James Version. By comparing the differences with other versions of the Old Testament, we can see evidence that the Book of Mormon is an authentic record that adds to a correct understanding of all scripture.
Read the full article:
The Bible and the Book of Mormon by Alma Allred
MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
by Scott Gordon, President
Thanks to all who helped make the FAIR conference a big success. I think everyone had a great time and learned many new things. I also had fun putting names from the e-mail list together with their faces.
One thing that sets FAIR apart from other groups is that our conference presentations are always given in the context of the truthfulness of the gospel. Every time I go to a FAIR conference, I am not only intellectually stimulated, but my faith in the gospel is reaffirmed.
I appreciate all of you who gave up your time or traveled great distances to attend. I will work toward always making the FAIR conferences worth that time and effort.
If you were at the conference this year and have comments or suggestions, feel free to e-mail me at the FAIR Contact Page. I look forward to seeing you next year!
-Scott Gordon FAIR President
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR – NEW FEATURE
Do you have any opinions on the content of the FAIR Journal? Your comments are welcome.
Send all letters to the editor, Cooper Johnson, at this address:
Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee your letter will be published. However, all letters will be carefully considered.
AFTER CONFERENCE BOOK SPECIAL!
We had several requests after the FAIR conference for the book by Kathryn Daynes, “More Wives Than One.” For a very limited time we are offing this book through our conference bookstore.
Kathryn Daynes has done geneological studies of who was married to whom in the period of plural marriage. She has some unique insights that will dispel many myths and enlighten both scholars and general readers alike. This is a book that should be in everyone’s library who has had questions about the practice of polygamy.
To order this book, visit the FAIR Bookstore:
Once at the store, click on the “After Conference Specials” link on the left side of the screen.
Now is the time to get your hands on THEY LIE IN WAIT TO DECIEVE (4 volume set) by Robert and Rosemary Brown. Each book normally sells for $12.50, which adds up to $50.00 for the entire set of four.
HERE IS THE SPECIAL OFFER!
- Purchase any two books for $17.50. (30% OFF)
- Purchase the set of four for $24.99 (50% OFF)
A more revealing look at how LDS critics work does not exist. The Browns research is unmatched, in efforts to verify the claims of many anti-Mormons. Thanks to the Browns, we now know all about the deceptive practices of critics of the LDS faith. Note, these books are not doctrinal defenses of the LDS faith, but do more to expose the deceitful and dishonest practices of anti-Mormons. The Browns actually researched documents, obtained affadavits, obtained transcripts, verified facts from all kinds of institutions and the documents are actually included in these books. It is truly an amazing set of works.
- They Lie in Wait to Deceive by Robert L. and Rosemary Brown
- Volume 1. A detailed look at the antics of “Dr.” or “Prof.” Dee Jay Nelson and his crusade against the Book of Abraham, as well as some enlightening information about the work of Jerald and Sandra Tanner.
- Volume 2. Learn the truth behind well-known anti-Mormons such as “Dr.” Walter Martin, Wayne Cowdrey, Howard Davis, and Donald Scales.
- Volume 3. This is the magnum opus on the works of the late “Dr.” Walter Martin, a radio personality who would often use his pulpit to denegrate and deride the LDS faith.
- Volume 4. Focuses on the efforts of professional anti-Mormons such as Ed Decker, Richard Baer, “Dr.” Richard Fales, “Dr.” Charles Crane, and “Dr.” John L. Smith. Also includes additional information on Jerald and Sandra Tanner.
JOIN THE FAIR APOLOGETICS LIST
FAIR sponsors two mailing lists. You already subscribe to one of them–this one, which is used to publish the monthly FAIR Journal. It is a great tool for those who want to keep on top of the latest in apologetic efforts here at FAIR.
Our other mailing list, the FAIR Apologetics list, is a different type of beast. It is an unmoderated list in which FAIR members share their thoughts and outlooks on points of doctrine and discuss how to respond to recent and oft-repeated criticisms of the LDS Church. It is a “safe harbor,” so to speak, where those dedicated to defending the restored gospel of Jesus Christ can meet and discuss matters of common interest.
It is also a very busy list, with more than 100 messages per day quite common. Even so, the topics discussed and the viewpoints exchanged are both fascinating and enlightening.
If you want to be part of the FAIR Apologetics list, we invite you to apply. You can do so here:
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 FAIR Publications 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 Join FAIR link to join this list.
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:
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 and by adding a link to the FAIR Web site (www.fairlds.org).
If you would like to sign up to receive the FAIR Journal automatically, click here.
To return to the index of past FAIR Journal issues, click here.