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).
- MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT. The 2004 FAIR Conference is just over three months away. Scott Gordon gives an advance look at this year’s speakers and some of the topics that will be addressed at the conference. If you haven’t already bought your ticket, now is the time!
- NEW ON THE WEBSITE: ANTI-MORMON PROTESTORS. Allen Wyatt provides a set of photo essays about recent anti-Mormon protests at the April 2004 General Conference and the 2004 Mesa Easter Pageant. !
- NEW ON THE WEBSITE: THE 1826 TRIAL OF JOSEPH SMITH. Russell Anderson responds to critics who attempt to use the 1826 “trial” to impugn the reputation and character of Joseph Smith. !
- NEW ON THE WEBSITE: THE PROTEAN JOSEPH SMITH. Dan Peterson looks at the history of the theories of how the Book of Mormon came to be, and concludes that nothing the critics have offered is as believable as Joseph Smith’s own explanation. !
- FAIR ONLINE 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. !
MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
This year’s FAIR conference on August 5th and 6th will be something that you won’t want to miss. We have an excellent group of speakers with a wide range of topics. Our speakers include Dr. Richard Lloyd Anderson, Dr. Davis Bitton, Dr. Daniel Peterson, Dr. Dean Byrd, John Tvedtnes, Dr. Roger Keller, Brant Gardner, Dr. David Paulsen, Mike Ash, Kevin Barney, Alex Boyé, Dr. Andrea Radke, and Dr. Margaret Young. Each speaker has been invited because of his or her knowledge of the subject and because of his or her ability to convey that knowledge to others.
To see information about this year’s speakers, to go
Our talks will be on the Book of Mormon witnesses, the historicity of the Book of Mormon, the basics on the Book of Abraham, the LDS nature of God, the issues related to women in the LDS church, the apostasy, the black LDS pioneers, and homosexuality.
Those of you who have been to past FAIR conferences know that this will be an event you won’t want to miss. This year we have even scheduled in a “meet the speakers” time so you can speak to the various people one-on-one.
We have also moved the conference to a new location just off the 90th South freeway exit in Sandy Utah.
For a complete description of the conference go to this link:
If you sign up now, you can get a discount on your purchases at the FAIR Bookstore at the conference.
For those who are traveling to our FAIR conference, we have negotiated a special room rate at the Hampton Inn in Sandy Utah. The rate is good for August 4, 5 and 6. The rooms are $69 which includes a deluxe complimentary breakfast, complimentary high-speed wireless Internet, free local calls, in-room hair dryers, a new exercise room and a free shuttle to and from the conference.
To make reservations, you can call the Sandy Hotel directly at 801-571-0800 or you can call 800-HAMPTON, or you can sign up at www.hamptoninn.com and use the group/convention code: FAI We do need help promoting the conference this year, so if you have a website, please consider posting a link up for the conference. We will be working on the flyers soon and we will let you know when they are available for download.
by Allen L. Wyatt
Each April and October, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints attend General Conference to be inspired, motivated, and instructed. Along with the tens of thousands of faithful saints on Temple Square there is always a contingent of clamorous, disrespectful, and obnoxious protesters. Although most Latter-day Saints are aware that these protestors appear at General Conference, many do not realize that similar protests, often by the same individuals, occur at nearly every public Church event.
For several years, Allen Wyatt and other FAIR members have observed and documented many of these demonstrations. The intensity of the antagonism towards Latter-day Saints and the Church and the vitriolic criticism of LDS beliefs and practices are shocking to those unfamiliar with the anti-Mormon tactics.
Wyatt has put together a collection of pictures from the April 2004 General Conference and the 2004 Mesa Easter Pageant. He includes comments and explanations for many of these photos, along with responses to many of the attacks on the LDS faith.
The photo essay of anti-Mormons at General Conference can be seen at
The photo essay of anti-Mormons at the Easter Pageant can be seen at
Anti-Mormon efforts at the 2004 Mesa Easter Pageant by Allen Wyatt
The 1826 Trial of Joseph Smith
by Russell Anderson
Critics of the Prophet Joseph Smith often raise the issue of a supposed trial in 1826 where it is claimed that Joseph was tried and found guilty of various offenses, including vagrancy, disorderly conduct, and “glass looking.” Anti-Mormon critics attempt to prove Joseph’s low moral character and propensity to dabble in magic by appealing to records found relating to this “trial.”
In his analysis of the events surrounding the legal action in question, Anderson argues that this was not a trial, that Joseph was not found guilty, that the reports are garbled and contradictory, that early anti-Mormons did not view this as damaging to Joseph Smith, and that the evidence seems to indicate that Joseph Smith did indeed appear to have acted as a seer.
Undoubtedly this attack on the character of the Prophet Joseph will continue to be raised by those who reject his divine calling, but Anderson successfully demonstrates the weakness of this anti-Mormon chestnut.
Read the article:
- The 1826 Trial of Joseph Smith by Russell Anderson
- 1826 trial for “glasslooking”—Joseph Smith was brought to trial in 1826 for “glasslooking.” Didn’t Hugh Nibley claim that if this trial record existed that it would be “the most damning evidence in existence against Joseph Smith?” (FAIR Wiki Link)
The Protean Joseph Smith
by Dan Peterson
At the 2002 FAIR conference, Dan Peterson surveyed the attempts of non-believers during the last 170 years to explain how Joseph Smith was able to produce the Book of Mormon. After all, the book clearly came into existence during the 1820s and there is no doubt that the young Joseph played a critical role in that process. So one would think that it would be a simple matter for critics to come up with a reasonable and generally acceptable explanation for how Joseph Smith did it. Interestingly, however, that is not the case.
Peterson traces the failed attempts to explain away the Book of Mormon, beginning with the “Joseph clearly wrote it all and the book was obviously written by an ignorant fraud” theory. When it became apparent that the Book of Mormon could attract thousands of believers who found it to be both convincing and self-consistent, critics began looking for a new (and secret) author, someone who had the ability to write a 500-page book of history, sermons, and religious discourse.
Unfortunately for the critics, the early candidates for the secret author of the Book of Mormon all seemed to fall short. The size of the conspiracy needed to produce such a hoax was too great to be believable, and there were too many problems with trying to show that this gang of deceivers could even have known each other during the proper time period.
The single most popular theory during the first hundred years of the Book of Mormon was that Solomon Spaulding’s book, Manuscript Story, was the basis for Joseph Smith’s work. Aside from the fact that it was highly unlikely that Joseph was ever aware of Spaulding’s book, the theory seemed to be the best answer to the Book of Mormon’s origin. Except, of course, that when a copy of Manuscript Story was eventually located in 1884 it could be seen by even the most casual reader that the two books were unrelated.
Over time, new theories had to be proposed, such as Joseph Smith was a charismatic literary genius–leaving for us to choose if he was a conscious fraud; a sincere, pious, and self-deceived fraud; or a demon-influenced fraud.
The most recent theory has Joseph consciously creating a fraudulent manuscript using themes and material from his cultural environment, but somehow ending up with a book that has the power to convince millions of readers of its truth and spiritual power. Peterson points out that this latest theory is both self-contradictory and can’t explain the large number of witnesses to the physical evidences associated with the production of the Book of Mormon.
As Peterson says, “critics of the Book of Mormon have not yet been able even to formulate a coherent counterexplanation, a unified global theory, with which to challenge the traditional story of the book’s origins.” So far, the best and most satisfactory explanation for the Book of Mormon is the one that was given by the Prophet Joseph Smith.
Read the article:
The Protean Joseph Smith by Daniel C. Peterson
FAIR ONLINE BOOKSTORE
Voices From the Dust: Book of Mormon Insights
Add a new perspective in looking at old favorites. S. Kent Brown’s “Voices From the Dust: Book of Mormon Insights” takes the standards of the Book of Mormon, reexamines them and gives increased depth to our appreciation of them. From the topic of spirituality and revelation to the appearance of Christ in the New World, from cultural and sociological analyses to theological instruction, Brown pulls together scripture, research and personal insights to create a work that will appeal to both the beginning scriptural student and the dedicated scholar. It is also available in audio cassettes and CDs. Currently available through FAIR for $15.15 (20% savings off retail price of $18.95).
LDS Church Chronology: 1805-1914
This is a definite must for the LDS history buff. Big savings at 40% off retail ($24.95), $14.95 will get you a 452-page resource of detailed genealogical and historical data. This includes a listing of pioneer events on a day-to-day basis that creates an effective historical context for the researcher. Originally complied by Andrew Jensen, appointed Assistant Church Historian in 1897, this work has been revised by JRC Nebeker and is recommended also for genealogists looking for information about their pioneer ancestors.
Deseret Morning News 2004 Church Almanac
This is the latest edition of the perennial resource for statistics and information about the Church, this year’s book includes coverage of the extensive Church Welfare system along with the usual historical and administrative data. Considering how much effort it saves one’s memory and fingers to have this all in one place, it’s well worth the $12.95 to find some space for it on your reference shelf.
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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