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).
- NEW ON THE WEBSITE: JOSEPH SMITH’S HISTORY CONFIRMED. Critics of Joseph Smith are quick to point to discrepancies in the First Vision accounts. This is an outstanding treatment of this issue, using the published work of an anti-Mormon author as the starting point.
- NEW ON THE WEBSITE: TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE–QUESTIONABLE ARCHAEOLOGY AND THE BOOK OF MORMON. As a call for better archaeological research, this paper provides an analysis of recent published conclusions by three LDS authors regarding Book of Mormon geography.
- ASK THE APOLOGIST. The question this month addresses the calling of an apostle as a special witness. .
- NEW ON THE WEBSITE: THE TRUTH ABOUT “THE GOD MAKERS.” Gilbert Scharff’s classic apologetic work is now available in an on-line format on the FAIR website. .
- 2002 FAIR CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS NOW ON SALE! Did you miss the FAIR Conference? Now is your chance to hear the speakers yourself! .
- MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT, SCOTT GORDON. Read an open letter introducing you to the wonderful world of FAIR on the Web. .
- BOOK REVIEWS ON THE WEBSITE. Looking for a review of that book your friend just gave you.
- NEW FEATURE: LETTERS TO THE EDITOR. Do you have any opinions on the content of the FAIR Journal? Your comments are welcomed. .
- 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.
JOSEPH SMITH’S HISTORY CONFIRMED
by Craig N. Ray
It is no secret that Rev. Wesley P. Walters was critical of claims made by Joseph Smith, Jr., and his followers. Rev. Walters was active in critical circles, and in 1990 published a booklet that put forth supposed proof that the First Vision, as related by Joseph Smith, was a fabrication that could not have been true. In Joseph Smith’s Move to Palmyra and Manchester, NY (A Preliminary Report), Walters based his assertions on discrepancies he noted in Joseph Smith’s story and certain historical records.
The purpose of this paper is to review the claims made by Rev. Walters in the light of a wide range of historical records. Once this is fully and fairly done, it becomes evident that Joseph’s telling of the First Vision is consistent with history, and that Rev. Walter’s criticisms and conclusions easily fall by the wayside.
Read full paper at:
Joseph Smith’s History Confirmed (PDF) by Craig N. Ray
TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE: QUESTIONABLE ARCHAEOLOGY AND THE BOOK OF MORMON
by Brant Gardner
In recent years, two very different books have appeared that discuss the place of the Book of Mormon in the real world. Although they differ widely in the locations where they place the Book of Mormon action, they are remarkably similar in one sadly coincidental detail. Both books use artifacts in support of the Book of Mormon that are known or regarded by experts to be forgeries. Even more coincidentally, both authors know of the controversies, and respond to the debunking of their favored artifacts in similar ways.
The first book is “This Land: Zarahemla and the Nephite Nation,” and the second is “The Lives and Travels of Mormon and Moroni.” The first book places the Book of Mormon lands in North America, with Cumorah in New York and the Mississippi as the Sidon. The second places the Book of Mormon in Mesoamerica. While the geographies are diverse, and the archaeological artifacts must necessarily differ, they both include major sections on artifacts that are tantalizingly representative of exactly what the Book of Mormon states happens. In the first case, there is a representation of early Christians in the Americas, and in the second, examples of the very script of the Anthon transcript! Both of the examples are so remarkable that they would appear to be conclusive proof of the Book of Mormon. They seem almost too good to be true. Unfortunately, they really are too good to be true.
Read the full paper here:
Too Good to be True: Questionable Archaeology and the Book of Mormon (PDF)by Brant Gardner
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. Since an apostle is a witness of Christ and Christ’s resurrection from the dead, how can Latter-day men qualify as apostles? Have they seen Christ? If so why don’t they say so?
Read the answer here:
THE TRUTH ABOUT “THE GOD-MAKERS”
by Gilbert Scharffs.
This classic is now all on-line at the FAIR website, with the permission of author and FAIR member, Gilbert Scharffs. From the Preface of the book, Brother Scharffs writes:
A person could spend his entire life fighting against something, being constantly negative and destroying, without accomplishing much else. In writing a review of a book that attacks The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, an organization loved and held in great respect by many, I realize I too am fighting against something.
My life prior to this undertaking had been centered around speaking up for that which I perceive as positive and good, enjoying visits to the LDS temple with my wife and watching M*A*S*H reruns with the children. These things now will continue.
Being a schoolteacher with a summer off and finding myself with a lighter than usual load, I tackled this project, not knowing where it would lead. Like most of us, I had come across anti-Mormon material from time to time. My response always was ‘This clearly is false; why waste time with it?” Occasionally I felt that someone ought to respond to some of those charges, but found myself with other priorities such as helping my wife raise a family, earning a living, busying myself with church and community service, or doing a crossword puzzle.
Upon reading The God Makers the first time, I had no intention of doing anything about it, but found myself making numerous marginal notes, which mostly said, “Not true.” As a teacher at the LDS Institute of Religion (a campus student center adjacent to the University of Utah) I knew that students who had read anti-LDS literature would sometimes come and ask questions about it. I wanted to be able to respond intelligently and to be prepared for whatever might be asked.
Access the entire book on-line at:
The Truth About “The God Makers” by Gilbert Scharffs
DID YOU MISS THE 2002 FAIR CONFERENCE?
Do you want to know what all the hype was about? The 2002 FAIR LDS Apologetic Conference Proceedings are now available on audio CD for only $19.99!
Click here to visit the FAIR store:
Once in the store, click on the link titled “2002 FAIR Conference Proceedings.”
MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT,
An open letter from the President of FAIR, introducing the FAIR Web site.
Welcome to the FAIR Web site. One of the difficulties in looking for answers on the Internet is finding those answers without going through hours of searching. With that thought in mind we have put together this guide to help you find your way around the FAIR Web site and to help you find answers to your questions.
- Our most important resource is the Apologetics Index. The Apologetics Index is a large topical guide. Using a topical index format, sometimes several layers deep, it will give you access to many resources to help deal with your questions. The Apologetics Index will not only give you access to the various articles on the FAIR Web site, but also link you to many other resources including relevant articles out of the Church’s Ensign magazine, the Encyclopedia of Mormonism, the FARMS Web site, and links to other apologetics Web sites on the Internet. Please note: articles posted on other apologetics Web sites have been chosen because of their value to the topic at hand, but are not controlled by or endorsed by FAIR.
- If you don’t find we are looking for through the topical format of the Apologetics Index, you can type a keyword into the Search Box at the left of any FAIR page to quickly search the entire Web site. You can also go to the FAIR Search page where you can complete your search and also get help and tips.
- You may find your answers using the Book Reviews link on the left. Many anti-Mormon as well as LDS books are reviewed here. The most informative and popular review is the chapter-by- chapter discussion of Mormonism 101 by Eric McKeever and Bill Johnson. We title this book review Mormonism 201. I highly encourage you to read this review. It deals with many the standard issues of anti-Mormonism and will help in answering many of your questions. There are some great chapters dealing with blacks and the priesthood, the apostasy, the nature of God and many other issues LDS are confronted with. You really should look at them all, as they contain a wealth of information. Don’t forget to check out the introductions as well: one by Church member Marc Schindler and one by our Catholic friend David Waltz. There are many other book reviews from FAIR and from FARMS to check out as well. You can also link to these book reviews in the Apologetics Index.
- Our next most important resource is the FAIR Online Bookshelf and the FAIR Books sections. This section of the Web site contains some one-page brochures on various topics and many complete books in electronic format both on the FAIR Web site and on other Web sites. Some of the books that may be of particular interest to you are One Minute Answers to Anti- Mormon Questions, They Lie In Wait to Deceive, and The Truth about “The God Makers.”
- We have a Message Board available; access it by clicking on the Message Boards link at the left. Look for answers to your questions here or post a question yourself. You will need to register if you want to post messages on board. Please be aware that the message board is an open Internet forum, and the messages posted there do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of FAIR. In other words, you will find messages posted by those supportive of the Church as well as those antagonistic toward the Church.
- You can ask a question directly to FAIR by e-mailing your question to the Webmaster. Your question will be forwarded on to our FAIR Apologetics List. Our list is made up of LDS apologists with a variety of backgrounds. When you e-mail us a question, you may get back a number of responses from the various individuals on the list.
- FAIR has an online bookstore with many books published by FAIR and other publishers. Some of the more popular books published by FAIR are Restoring the Ancient Church by Barry Bickmore, Guess Who Wants to Have You for Lunch by Alan Denison and Darryl Barksdale, and the four volumes of They Lie in Wait to Deceive. Another popular item is the audio CDs from talks given at FAIR 2001 and FAIR 2002 conferences. There are various other books and audio CDs you can purchase as well.
- If you don’t find your answers on the FAIR web site, you can check out the other Web sites that we link to in our Links section.
- Most importantly, sign up for the FAIR Journal, a monthly e-mail journal that will keep you up-to-date on the issues and changes to our Web site. To receive the FAIR Journal (it’s free), click here
We hope you enjoy your visit to the FAIR Web site. If you find our Web site helpful, please make a donation. FAIR is an all volunteer, nonprofit 501(C)3 Corporation, and all tax-deductible donations we receive are used to help the organization.
We welcome submissions of articles and book reviews (check out the FAIR Editorial Style Guide before you submit your paper). E-mail your paper or book review to the Webmaster.
Finally, if you would like to take a more active role in FAIR you can join our Apologetics List. This list is for those who are interested in helping other members deal with issues of anti-Mormonism.
Feel free to E-mail us with any suggestions at webmaster.
-Scott Gordon, President Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research
The above letter can be found at http://www.fairlds.org/webguide.html with all the embedded links in place.
BOOK REVIEWS ON THE FAIR WEBSITE
Looking for a review of that book a friend just gave you? Try searching the 90 book reviews found on the FAIR Web site (FAIR reviews and FARMS and others). Reviews of most books critical of the LDS faith can be found here.
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.
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: 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 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.