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. Our annual FAIR conference just over two months away. Check out the list of speakers and be sure to get your reservations made!
- NEW ON THE WEBSITE: The Tanners on the Hereafter: A Case Study in “Studied Ignorance.” Barry Bickmore examines one chapter of the Tanners’ magnum opus, “Mormonism–Shadow or Reality,” and finds that a grossly flawed methodology and approach has produced only a caricature of Latter-day Saint beliefs.
- NEW ON THE WEBSITE: Michael Ash has written a new FAIR brochure “Is the Bible Complete?” to respond to concerns about the LDS acceptance of extra-Biblical scripture.
- NEW ON THE WEBSITE: ASK THE APOLOGIST. Ben McGuire responds to a query about the Kinderhook plates and Joseph Smith’s supposed translation.
- ARTICLE REVIEW: Kevin Barney reviews Jeffrey R. Chadwick’s article “Has the Seal of Mulek Been Found?” that appeared in the most recent FARMS Journal of Book of Mormon Studies.
- FAIR ONLINE BOOKSTORE. The FAIR bookstore has some Father’s Day specials for you. In addition, this month FAIR is offering special discounts on CDs, Windows Media Videos, and DVDs of prior years’ FAIR Conference Proceedings.
- 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
We have finalized our speakers list for the FAIR conference scheduled on August 5th and 6th. The list of speakers is so extraordinary and exceptional that missing this year’s FAIR conference would almost qualify as a sin. I hope to see you there. Don’t forget to get the books you buy at the conference signed by the authors.
Our two newest additions to the speakers list are international recording artist Alex Boye, and author-extraordinaire Matthew Brown.
These are the speakers (starting with our two newest):
- As a recording artist, Alex Boye has sold over 500,000 copies of his hit singles in over fifteen European countries. His voice has also supported such megastars as the Backstreet Boys, N’SYNCH, Mary J. Blige, Chrissy Hind, and George Michael, to name a few. He has performed at the Hale Center Theatre as Jim in the much talked about production “Big River”, and has also played the role of Frederick Douglass in “The Civil War.” Among Alex’s notable accomplishments, he says the highlight of his career thus far has been placing a copy of the Book of Mormon with Prince Charles at one of his concerts. Alex also enjoys his time as a motivational speaker, and doing firesides and musical devotionals across the Wasatch Front and nationwide.
- Matthew Brown is the author I recently recommended for his book Plates of Gold. I just read the book for the second time and recommend it highly. Brother Brown received his B.A. in history from Brigham Young University. He is the author of several books including Symbols in Stone: Symbolism on the Early Temples of the Restoration (with Paul Thomas Smith), The Gate of Heaven: Insights on the Doctrines and Symbols of the Temple, All Things Restored: Confirming the Authenticity of LDS Beliefs, The Plan of Salvation: Doctrinal Notes and Commentary, Plates of Gold: The Book of Mormon Comes Forth, and the forthcoming Joseph Smith: The Man, The Mission, The Message. He has also published articles in the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies (on ancient ritual aprons) and the FARMS Review (on the restoration of temple worship). His contributions to the FAIR Web site include an illustrated paper on inverted five-pointed stars, comments on the Spaulding-Rigdon theory, and various observations connected with the One Nation under Gods project.
- Dr. Richard Lloyd Anderson is considered the expert on the Book of Mormon Witnesses.
- Dr. Davis Bitton served for ten years as assistant Church historian and has co-authored books with Leonard J. Arrington as well as writing several of his own.
- Dr. Daniel Peterson is the author of many books and articles as well as being associate executive director of the BYU Institute for the Study and Preservation of Ancient Religious Texts. Ask any previous FAIR conference attendee if you could miss his talk and you will get a unanimous chorus of “no way.”
- Dr. Dean Byrd has a long list of credentials and has done professional research in gender/sexual disorders. You should seriously read his credentials.
- John Tvedtnes is the associate director of research for the BYU Institute for the Study and Preservation of Ancient Religious Texts and has been an excellent speaker every year for FAIR.
- Dr. Roger Keller, professor of Church History and Doctrine at Brigham Young University, Dr. Keller has a Masters of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, and his Ph.D. in biblical studies and 20th century Christian Theology from Duke University. He was ordained to the Presbyterian ministry in 1971 and was called to be the Senior Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Mesa, Arizona in 1982. He is uniquely qualified to speak to us about the apostasy, the topic of this year’s talk.
- Brant Gardner has done graduate work in Mesoamerican Ethnohistory at the State University of New York and has published in this area. He will be speaking on the historicity of the Book of Mormon. Brant is one of the few people who can talk about Aztecs, Olmecs, Mayans, or even Jaguar mythology and relate it to the Book of Mormon. He is fascinating to listen to.
- Dr. David Paulsen has been published widely on the philosophy of religion in both international and national venues, including The International Journal for the Philosophy of Religion, Analysis, The Harvard Theological Review, Faith and Philosophy, and the Journal of Speculative Philosophy. For those of you who are philosophy fans or who have questions about the LDS view on the nature of God, this is the man to see.
- Dr. Andrea Radke comes highly recommended by her peers and her students. I called several people at BYU to ask who would be best suited to speak on the issues related to women’s issues in the LDS church and her name was one of the first recommended. I asked one person where she had heard Dr. Radke speak; she stated that she had taken a class from Dr. Radke and found she could not miss class for fear she would miss another interesting day.
- Dr. Margaret Young has written several books including the Standing on the Promises trilogy, which she co-authored with Darius Gray, president of the Church’s “Genesis Group.” She was a favorite speaker last year and will be great again.
- Kevin Barney and Mike Ash did the much appreciated basics of apologetics presentation last year. This year they will be doing a special session on understanding the Book of Abraham.
This conference will truly be the place to be in August.
To see more information about this year’s speakers, go to
We will be having a fund raising auction at the conference again this year, so if you have any old books you would like to donate, please don’t forget to bring them.
We have 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:
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
The Tanners on the Hereafter: A Case Study in “Studied Ignorance”
by Barry R. Bickmore
Anyone who has been exposed to anti-Mormon literature has almost certainly come up against the work of Jerald and Sandra Tanner, either in its original form or in the countless books that rely (often unattributed) on the Tanners’ publications. The best known and most often referenced of the Tanner publications is “Mormonism–Shadow or Reality” (MSR). This is an enormous compilation of material of “over six hundred large-format pages of closely packed text that would easily fill one to two thousand pages in any standard book format.” In his article, Bickmore focuses on a single chapter of MSR, chapter 14, “The Hereafter.”
Bickmore begins by noting that the Tanners’ work has long been criticized as containing only citations supporting their argument and leaving out evidence that would weaken or contradict their conclusions. This includes selective editing by the Tanners, where they have intentionally edited out phrases, sentences, and paragraphs that weaken or contradict the interpretation they want the reader to accept.
In “The Hereafter,” the Tanners contend that the Book of Mormon statements relating to heaven, hell, and judgement display a nineteenth-century anti-Universalist mindset, and that Joseph Smith’s own theology mutated over time to become a complete reversal of the Book of Mormon theology. Bickmore argues that the Tanners have mischaracterized the theology of the Book of Mormon as well as that of Joseph Smith. Both are more complex than presented by the Tanners and the two are easily harmonized.
Bickmore contends that the Tanners’ own fundamentalist approach to scripture and prophetic statements, their selective use and editing of evidence, and their long-held hostility to LDS beliefs and practices are the causes of any supposed contradictions between the Book of Mormon and later LDS theology. This chapter of MSR is an intentionally unfair and biased summary of LDS beliefs, and the arguments presented are unbalanced, unsupported, and untrue.
Read the article:
The Tanners on the Hereafter: A Case Study in “Studied Ignorance” by Barry Bickmore
Is the Bible Complete?
by Michael R. Ash
FAIR has made available a collection of short brochures to answer specific issues often raised by critics of the Church. Ash’s new brochure, “Is the Bible Complete?” responds to the concern over the LDS use of extra-Biblcal scriptures. In his response, Ash deals with Biblical passages that are often used to attack the LDS position, as well as giving several examples of early Christian era and Reformation era Christians who did not accept the modern fundamentalist belief in inerrant and closed canon.
Read the article:
Is the Bible Complete? (PDF) by Michael Ash
See all FAIR brochures: http://fairlds.org/apol/ai201.html
ASK THE APOLOGIST
FAIR invites the public to submit questions relating to LDS beliefs, practices, and history. Some questions are asked sincerely by members and investigators, others are clearly hostile questions challenging the veracity of the Church and its teachings. Many of these responses may end up on the website as a FAIR paper or brochure. If you have a question, simply mail it to our Questions address.
A recent question was sent in to FAIR asking for explanations of a number of issues surrounding the supposed translation of the Kinderhook plates by Joseph Smith. The questioner asks why the Times and Seasons would “focus so much on the plates” and why Joseph Smith would discuss their origin and contents if the plates were fraudulent.
Ben McGuire responded by pointing out that at the time in question, Joseph Smith was no longer editor of the Times and Seasons, and that with the woodcuts and affidavits included in the article, the length was not extraordinary. McGuire also notes that since the source for the supposed translation of the plates is also rife with errors about the finding of the plates and that no translation has ever been discovered, any comments from that source about a translation by the Prophet Joseph are also highly suspect.
Read the article:
- Ask the Apologist: How Do We Explain Early Comments about the Kinderhook Plates?
- Kinderhook Plates—A set of small plates, engraved with characters of ancient appearance, were purported to have been unearthed in Kinderhook, Illinois, in April 1843. The so-called “Kinderhook plates” have been something of an enigma within the Mormon community since they first appeared. While there are faithful LDS who take a number of different positions on the topic of these artifacts, most have concluded that they were fakes. This article summarizes some key information that critics often exclude from their discussion of the Kinderhook plates, and the extent of Joseph Smith’s involvement (FAIR Wiki Link)
Review of “Has the Seal of Mulek Been Found?”
by Kevin Barney
I hope people have read the Jeffrey R. Chadwick article, “Has the Seal of Mulek Been Found?” in the latest JBMS, 12/2 (2003). It is excellent, and important for our work, I think.
As you may recall, in 1984, Robert F. Smith (who is not LDS but is sympathetic and has done work for FARMS in the past) made a fascinating, and I think highly cogent, argument that the person identified as “Malchiah the son of Hammelech” in Jeremiah 38:6 was Mulek of Book of Mormon fame.
In the book of Jeremiah in the King James Version (KJV), the word “Hammelech” that appears was transliterated as a name, that is, it was left as a Hebrew word rather than translated. But it probably should have been translated as “the king,” as it has been done in a number of more recent Bible translations. The element “ha-“, together with the doubling of the next letter, is the Hebrew definite article “the.” “Melek” is the Hebrew word for “king.” And in the context of Jeremiah 38, “the king” is clearly Zedekiah.
Further, the name Malchiah is a KJV transliteration for Malkiyahu, which would mean “Yahweh is my king.” This is a typical theophoric name of the 7th century B.C. (“Theophoric” or “god-bearing” means that the name of God is a part of the name.) Since the vast majority of names of this period bore the -yahu element, it was not unusual for there to be shortened, or hypocristic, forms of these names as well.
Smith points to a similar theophoric/hypocristic pair of names in Jeremiah. Jeremiah’s scribe was Baruch, whose full name was Berekyahu, or “Berechiah” as it occurs ten times within the KJV (e.g., 2 Chron 28:12). Thus, “Mulek” would be a reasonable hypocristic form for Malkiyahu, since when you remove the theophoric element, the second syllable would lengthen and changes would take place in the vowels as well (as can be seen in the Baruch example).
This idea has been around for a long time and is a point well taken, I think. What the Chadwick article adds is that a seal belonging to this Malkiyahu has been discovered. The article shows pictures, along with a transcription. The seal says “lemalkiyahu ben ha-melek,” which means “Belonging to Malkiyahu, son of the king.”
The article addresses these key questions:
Q: Is the seal a forgery?
A: There is no evidence to suggest that it is.
Q: Should “son of the king” be taken in a literal, biological sense, or could it be a title for an officer or functionary of the royal court?
A: The biblical evidence suggests the expression should be taken literally.
Q: Which “king” was Malkiyahu the son of?
Chadwick does a good job with this. What is so significant is that here we may have a material, physical artifact that may have once belonged to a person named in the Book of Mormon. This stamp seal thus is on a level of importance comparable to the NHM altars.
People are always asking for archaeological evidence of the Book of Mormon. This is an important find for us to be able to include in that mix.
Read the article (note: this will require a valid FARMS login name and password):
Has the Seal of Mulek Been Found? Jeffrey R. Chadwick, Journal of Book of Mormon Studies: Volume – 12, Issue – 2, Pages: 72-83
FAIR ONLINE BOOKSTORE
Father’s Day is almost here! Wondering what to get dad? Check out this month’s huge selection of specials to find the perfect gift. Order by June 4th to assure delivery by June 20th. http://bookstore.fairlds.org
Just can’t wait until this year’s conference? Here’s something to fill those empty hours until August: this month’s special on past FAIR Conference Proceedings. We’re looking to fulfill your insatiable hunger for the best in apologetics by offering these fascinating CDs, Windows Media Videos, and DVDs at volume discounts.
For each item after the first you order, you get an additional 5% off all of the FAIR Conference Proceedings items in your order, up to a total order of eight. Buy one at the usual price of $9.95, buy two and get a 5% discount, buy three and get a 10% discount, etc. For orders of nine and over the price is $5.95 each.
At this price, you might want to consider buying multiple copies of Apologetics 101 to pass on to friends and families confronted by investigators and critics. DNA, still a hot issue, is discussed by Dr. Jeffrey Meldrum in The Children of Lehi: DNA and the Book of Mormon. Other topics include the Mountain Meadows Massacre, Polygamy, Racism, Book of Mormon Evidences and Apologetics over the years. Check them all out at:
Special shipping prices also apply: $0.95 for the first item and $0.25 for each additional item.
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.