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).
- FAIR CHRISTMAS MESSAGE
- NEW ON THE WEBSITE: THE WHITE HORSE PROPHECY. The authenticity and interpretation of the so-called White Horse Prophecy has been eagerly debated since it was first reported in the mid 1850s. You can read George Cobabe’s analysis of this reported prophecy in a new on-line FAIR paper.
- NEW ON THE WEBSITE: THE RESTORATION OF THE ANCIENT CHURCH: JOSEPH SMITH AND EARLY CHRISTIANITY. Barry Bickmore’s 1999 book can now be read online on the FAIR Website.
- JEFFREY NEEDLE REVIEWS WAYNE D. ARNETT’S “DEFENDING THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS”.
- MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT, SCOTT GORDON.
- SALT LAKE CITY FAIR GATHERING. There will be an informal gathering of FAIR members in Salt Lake City on Sunday, January 4. Check the details below and mark your calendars if you will be able to attend!
- FAIR LDS BOOKSTORE. Check out the monthly specials available in the FAIR LDS Bookstore.
- 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.
- FAIR JOURNAL ARCHIVES
2003 FAIR Christmas Message
by Allen L. Wyatt
Depending on who you ask, Christmas is about many things. Common answers include “Christmas is about children,” or “Christmas is about love,” and even “Christmas is about giving.” All of these answers, of course, are true, but they are not exclusive. The meaning of Christmas is much more, but it is still simple–Christmas is about Christ.
At this time of year, men and women of faith from around the world celebrate the birth of the Christ child. In a million different ways, the mortal birth of a divine being is celebrated individually and collectively. Long ago our brother, our mentor, our advocate, and our savior was born into humble surroundings. At the time, few recognized His birth. But those who sought Him could find Him and be taught and blessed by Him. The same holds true today: Those who seek Him can find Him still.
There are many who try to say that the message of Christ is not relevant in today’s world, or who find fault with the way in which the LDS teach His message. Indeed, that is one of the reasons why FAIR exists. Even Christ had His detractors, and in the final analysis what one believes is a matter of faith. FAIR seeks to provide solid reasons why faith is possible and reasonable. We seek to feed faith and nurture it, in contrast with those who ridicule LDS teachings and seek to destroy the faith of others who do not believe as they do.
As members of FAIR we boldly proclaim that Jesus of Nazareth was the promised Messiah. He was the only begotten Son of the Father, was born of a mortal mother, and lived a sinless life. He willingly accepted our sins and was crucified by those who rejected His claims of divinity. But He conquered death, and on the third day rose from a tomb that could not hold Him captive.
We proclaim that He lives today. Almost two millennia after He walked the dusty roads of Galilee, we can learn of His ways. We can learn to walk as He walked, to recognize His voice, and to follow His lead. We can become His disciples as we subject our will to that of the Father, repent of our sins, and lay claim to the Atonement He freely offers.
We invite all to come unto Christ. We invite you to partake of living waters and never thirst again. We invite you to join with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in raising your voice in giving praise, honor, and glory to Him whose name we humbly bear.
We at FAIR wish you and yours a very merry Christmas this holiday season.
The White Horse Prophecy
by George Cobabe
Probably few members of the Church have actually read the so-called White Horse Prophecy, and many have likely never heard of it by name. Yet most Church members have probably heard somewhere of a time when the United States Constitution will “hang by a thread” and be saved by the elders of the Church.
The White Horse Prophecy was attributed to Joseph Smith by two faithful brothers approximately ten years after the death of the prophet. They recorded their recollections of a private conversation where Joseph Smith was reported to prophesy many events pertaining to the Church, the United States, and the nations of the earth.
In his paper, George Cobabe reviews the historical sources for the White Horse Prophecy, along with some of the comments made by Church leaders since it was first published. As George points out, the Church has never accepted the White Horse Prophecy as either authentic nor authoritative, and it has never been incorporated into the canon of the Church.
Certainly elements contained in the White Horse Prophecy were later repeated by 19th and early 20th century LDS leaders, such as Brigham Young. And the overall thrust of the prophecy is similar to accepted prophecies and comments by Joseph Smith and others–namely that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would be persecuted, the nations of the earth would be in turmoil, the United States would experience extreme hardships, and that the Latter-day Saints would ultimately prevail. But the White Horse Prophecy has also been criticized as inaccurate and unauthentic by a number of prominent Church leaders, including Joseph F. Smith and Bruce R. McConkie.
In his paper, George Cobabe looks at the various issues surrounding the prophecy itself, but also addresses the general issue of Church adoption of prophetic statements into its canon. Cobabe also looks at charges made by anti-Mormons that the LDS Church believes that it will some day assume control of the United States government.
This is an excellent introduction to the White Horse Prophecy and apologists who have faced attacks based on these and similar issues will find this paper very helpful. The full paper in pdf format can be read at
The White Horse Prophecy (PDF) by George Cobabe
The Restoration of the Ancient Church: Joseph Smith and Early Christianity
by Barry Robert Bickmore
The text for Barry Robert Bickmore’s book, “The Restoration of the Ancient Church: Joseph Smith and Early Christianity,” is now on the FAIR Website. This book was first published by FAIR in 1999 and is available through the FAIR bookstore. For those who prefer to read it online or who simply can’t wait for the book to arrive, check out this new resource at
Restoring the Ancient Church: Joseph Smith and Early Christianity by Barry R. Bickmore
Bickmore’s thesis is that many of the doctrines that Joseph Smith claimed to restore do, in fact, resemble doctrines believed and taught by Christians in the first few centuries following the death of Christ. Remarkably, in many cases the closer to the New Testament era one looks, the more interesting the parallels become. Bickmore presents fascinating evidences of the apostacy in addition to his analysis of various doctrinal views, such as the nature of God and salvation, and a discussion of early Christian rituals. This very readable book is recommended for anyone looking into LDS apologetics.
A review of Bickmore’s work is available on the FAIR Website at
A Look At Barry Bickmore’s Book From a Non-LDS Perspective by David Waltz
A Review of Wayne D. Arnett’s “Defending the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
by Jeffrey Needle
Title: Defending the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Author: Wayne D. Arnett Publisher: FAIR/SHIELDS
Year Published: 2003 Number of Pages: 48 Binding: Large booklet ISBN: 1-893036-06-5 Price: $3.95
“Defending the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” is a short exposition exploring the methods of the Church’s critics, and how to understand, and meet, their challenges. It contains many helpful summaries and definitions, and some good quotations from Church leaders and even some Church detractors.
As Arnett’s booklet notes, anti-Mormonism has been part of the Mormon experience from its inception. Beginning with Joseph Smith’s first announcement of his encounter in the Sacred Grove, scoffers and other enemies have tried to discredit both the Church and the Restoration that forms its foundation.
The tradition of criticism continues unabated. Recent interest in polygamy, the Mountain Meadows Massacre, and other aspects of Mormon history and practice, have been explored by scholars and journalists, some of whom have misrepresented the events, either by design or by ignorance. Members of the Church are sometimes unprepared to respond to these criticisms.
Arnett does not set out in so brief a work to offer full explanations or extensive histories. Arnett does, however, offer a basic critical apparatus in a non-threatening, accessible format, understandable to most people. He also supplies a very good bibliography that interested readers can utilize to study further into those areas that are of interest.
Included in the booklet:
- a short glossary of words used by critics, but not always fully understood;
- a rationale for the existence of critics, and why they persist to this day;
- an understanding of the role of a Prophet (and a timely caution to members of the Church that they may *overstatethe prophetic gift, and thus contribute to the confusion);
- a short list of logical fallacies, helpful when you *knowsomeone isn’t making sense, but you can’t put your finger on the precise problem;
- an attempt to categorize the kinds of attacks made by critics;
- a short list of Internet resources for those who want to learn more.
This is a lot of information, packed into a very small publication. As might be expected, none of the above topics is treated exhaustively, but all are treated fairly and concisely.
Arnett has performed a service for the Church, much as FARMS has in their book, “Echoes and Evidences of the Book of Mormon.” By taking a large, complex theme, and reducing it to an understandable minimum, Arnett has provided a helpful starting point for Mormons, and others, to meet the critics and defend their faith in an organized and reasonable manner.
I recommend Arnett’s pamphlet for those wanting a good beginning to understanding, and answering, the critics. And yes, it’s just a beginning. There’s yet much to be written.
MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
As 2003 comes to a close, I want to express my appreciation for the hard work and financial contributions that people have given in support of FAIR. I would also like to thank Dan Peterson and the other members of the ISPART/FARMS team at BYU who have been very supportive of our mission.
For tax purposes, there is still time to make a tax-deductible contribution to FAIR before the end of the year. You can do it here:
I heard two interesting stories this week. The first story is from Elder Williams, who is serving in my ward. In his last area they had a part-member family where the husband had read some anti-Mormon literature and didn’t join the Church because he felt he could never get his questions about those issues resolved. One day he stumbled across the FAIR Web site and started reading. He read several of the articles and realized that they contained the answers he was seeking.
He called the missionaries and had them come over and teach him the discussions while his wife was at work. After the third discussion, he called his wife at work and told her he was getting baptized. She didn’t even know he was talking with the missionaries. As you might imagine, she was elated. It was the articles on the FAIR Web site that removed the stumbling blocks and prepared him for the missionary discussions.
The second story comes from my son who recently returned from his mission in Pennsylvania. He served mostly in Gettysburg, Chambersburg, Bloomsburg. (I have another son still serving in Denver.) While there, he met a member who formerly was a Lutheran minister. The member said he really appreciated one book which helped cement his testimony. When the member pulled it out, it was well used and highlighted. The book was “Restoring the Ancient Church” by Barry Bickmore, which is published by FAIR. The member said it discussed the issues he studied as a minister, but from an LDS perspective. As he read the book, it filled him with joy and tears came to his eyes as he related this to my son.
It is gratifying to see that FAIR is having a positive effect in people’s lives.
-Scott Gordon President, FAIR
Salt Lake City FAIR Gathering
FAIR is sponsoring an informal get-together in the Salt Lake City area at 7:00 pm on Sunday evening, January 4. We will be meeting at an LDS ward house at 363 East Vine Street in Murray, Utah 84107. It has a stained glass window and is directly across the street from Murray Park. To find it, find where Vine Street crosses State Street in downtown Murray (approximately 4900-5000 South). Turn East on Vine Street, and the building is about half a mile on the left (North) side of the street.
This is an informal social gathering for adults; no children, please. There is no charge for the event. If you are interested in attending, please RSVP to me through the FAIR Contact Page. (We need your RSVP so we know how many refreshments to plan for.)
FAIR ONLINE BOOKSTORE
Thanks for all your support of the FAIR Online Bookstore this year. It has been a great year, and we are looking forward to an exciting 2004.
Be sure to check out our monthly specials:
– The FAIR Bookstore Staff
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).
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