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. Scott Gordon explains the need for apologetics and the importance of providing answers and responses to questions and challenges that many members and investigators will face.
- FAIR EVENT AT BYU BOOKSTORE. If you will be anywhere close to the BYU Bookstore on October 1 (the Friday before General Conference), stop by and visit the FAIR table. Several FAIR authors will be signing books and talking with visitors. See below for more details!
- FAIR PUBLICATIONS NOW AVAILABLE FROM DESERET BOOK. Deseret Book has taken over distribution of three FAIR books, making them available from the Deseret website and at LDS bookstores.
- NEW ON THE WEBSITE: Where Did Book of Mormon Events Take Place? Michael Ash has added a new brochure to the FAIR library that summarizes the case in favor of assuming Book of Mormon events occurred in Mesoamerica.
- NEW ON THE WEBSITE: Were the Lehites Alone in the Americas? In another FAIR brochure, Michael Ash gives evidence that the Lehites were a small part of a pre-existing cultural mix.
- NEW ON THE WEBSITE: Who Are the Lamanites? In this FAIR brochure, Michael Ash looks at how the Book of Mormon term “Lamanite” is used to describe different groups of non-Nephites.
- NEW ON THE WEBSITE: Is an Historical Book of Mormon Incompatible with DNA Science? Michael Ash has produced yet another FAIR brochure, this one summarizing the flaws in claims that recent DNA evidence shows the Book of Mormon to be non-historical.
- NEW ON THE WEBSITE: A Summary of Five Reviews of Grant Palmer’s “An Insider’s View of Mormon Origins'” (with a Few Comments of My Own). George Cobabe summarizes five reviews from FARMS Review volumes 15 and 16, each dealing with a different aspect of Palmer’s attack on the divine origins of the restored Gospel.
- ASK THE APOLOGIST. Got a question you are dying to ask? Here’s how.
- FAIR ONLINE BOOKSTORE. Check out the latest FAIR Bookstore specials, including CD and downloadable MP3 audio recordings of this summer’s FAIR Conference, the latest FARMS Review, and many others.
- 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
Many people believe there is no need for apologetics. They have no use for it. According to some, apologists are those who spend their time discussing things that are unimportant or that should be self-evident. It has been said that all would be well if we would simply avoid picking up the books that try to destroy faith.
Or such was the case ten years ago. But the world has changed, the information age is upon us. We now have the Internet. Identifying oneself as a Mormon on any Internet message board will bring multiple anti-Mormon claims and website links to support them. Googling on the word “Mormon” will produce many faithful, supportive websites, but it will also produce many anti-Mormon ones.
One faithful young woman’s leader in Orem, Utah, preparing for her Sunday lesson stumbled across an anti-Mormon website, and stumbled in her testimony.
Several teens have posted on the Internet that they have read anti-Mormon web information and had testimony difficulties. In one case, the teen was simply posting a positive LDS message on a message board and she was overwhelmed by the anti-Mormon response.
One new convert wrote to an anti-Mormon website, thanking them for providing the “truth” about Mormonism and showing things the missionaries never told. Unfortunately for that convert, that website was filled with gross inaccuracies and misrepresentations.
One stake in Illinois did an informal survey of those who didn’t continue on with the missionary lessons. One of the biggest reasons given for not continuing the lessons was because of information obtained off the Internet.
Whether it is thousands of people, only a hundred, or just one person who loses his or her faith because of misinformation, it is too many. For most people this issue doesn’t become important until it is a family member. Then it becomes a crisis.
While some anti-Mormon Christian ministries believe they are doing a service by leading people out of Mormonism, they are often blind to the fact the arguments they use can be slightly modified and used against Christianity in general. Some of their arguments have already been used historically against Christianity. Some of the Christian anti-Mormon websites even adopt the anti-Mormon arguments of secularists, atheists, and agnostics believing that it will help achieve the goal. The result is that many who leave the LDS church don’t turn to other Christian denominations but simply leave Christianity completely. Those ministries have to do some serious soul searching. While they believe they are acting out of love, they are turning people against God. What have they really accomplished?
We are pleased that we get e-mails at FAIR every week thanking us for correcting misinformation and helping people through their crisis of faith. It is a rewarding endeavor. We also get e-mails from people who have returned to church because of a strengthening of their faith through the LDS apologetic work done at FAIR and elsewhere.
People leave the Gospel because their faith has been shattered. The answer to a lack faith doesn’t just lie in apologetics. It doesn’t lie in Book of Mormon evidences, nor in arguing over some obscure fact of history. Our faith is built through reading the scriptures, turning to God in prayer, and living the gospel of Jesus Christ. But there is a place for apologetics. It can help remove stumbling blocks and obstacles from people who have been shaken in their faith. It can provide proper answers to those questions that have been raised and allow us to move forward. It can shine the light of truth on half truths, rumors, and historical gossip. It can strengthen the faith we already have.
Apologetics cannot convince someone of the truth, and it cannot convert. You can’t bash someone into believing. You cannot intellectualize the Spirit. There aren’t enough evidences in the world to convince a nonbeliever. But, there is a proper place for apologetics as it can correct misinformation. Apologetics will never replace a witness from God, but it is a necessary endeavor.
We appreciate those who visit our website and contribute to our cause. We feel our cause is an important one, it has an important place, and we know it has helped countless people. But we also encourage you to read your scriptures, live the gospel and develop your relationship with God. It is through those things that your faith becomes strengthened.
We at FAIR hope we can continue helping people find answers. If nothing else, you can feel confident that we have read the anti-Mormon books, have read the anti-Mormon websites, and have read the many histories that are given. We know all of those dark, top-secret scandals that are known and recorded only in the anti-Mormon literature. But we have also read the other information that the anti-Mormon ministries and books leave out and don’t talk about.
We have read both sides and we have not been shaken in our faith. On the contrary, our testimonies continue to grow. Jesus is the Christ, the Savior of the world. It is in Him we find our salvation. Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. He had the gold plates from which came the Book of Mormon, a Second Witness of Jesus Christ. Gordon B. Hinckley is a prophet of God today. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the church of God.
Our blessings and prayers go out to you. I pray we can assist you and your families.
– Scott Gordon President, FAIR
FAIR Event at BYU Bookstore
This coming Friday (October 1st – the day before General Conference) the BYU Bookstore is sponsoring a FAIR author signing event that will include information and handouts about FAIR and apologetics. FAIR will have a table set up for most of the day, and will be passing out some of the handouts that were used at the recent FAIR conference.
Authors Wayne Arnett and Barry Bickmore will be at the FAIR tabletop display from 2:30 PM until 4:30 PM for the signing and would love to say hello to any FAIR Journal subscribers or friends who happen to be on campus. If you’re not going to be on campus, but have a student or friend at BYU… we would love to have anyone stop by just to say hello. Attracting traffic to the display and signing will help get the FAIR word out.
If anyone happens to be near campus Friday afternoon or have students, etc. who will be on campus… please pass the message on.
FAIR Publications Now Available from Deseret Book
FAIR announces that Deseret Book has taken over distribution of its three FAIR titles making them now available wherever LDS Books are sold. You can also find the titles listed on the Deseret Book website
along with a partial listing of some of the stores that already have the titles in stock. As before, the FAIR website bookstore will also continue to make all three title available as well.
- Wayne D. Arnett, “Defending the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: A Reference Guide”
- Barry R. Bickmore, “Restoring the Ancient Church: Joseph Smith and Early Christianity”
- Alan Denison & D.L. Barksdale, “Guess Who Wants to Have You for Lunch? A Missionary Guide to Anti-Mormon Tactics and Strategies”
Where Did Book of Mormon Events Take Place?
by Michael R. Ash
For over 170 years, believers in The Book of Mormon have speculated about where the events of that record actually occurred. Although the book itself gives many details about cities, rivers, and travel, there is nothing in the text relating to the New World that mentions a geographic feature that we can positively identify. In this FAIR brochure, Ash presents a brief argument in favor of the “Limited Geography Theory,” which is that the Book of Mormon events took place in a relatively small area rather than in an area including both North and South America.
Read the article:
Where Did Book of Mormon Events Take Place? (PDF) by Michael Ash
Were the Lehites Alone in the Americas?
by Michael R. Ash
The Book of Mormon text records the Lord’s dealings with certain descendants of Lehi. Since the text does not overtly mention non-Lehite cultures and civilizations (except for the Mulekites and the Jaredites), most readers assume that the Book of Mormon peoples existed in a cultural vacuum, isolated from any other nations.
Recently, however, a number of Book of Mormon scholars have reconsidered this assumption. Within the text there are a number of details that are somewhat puzzling if the Lehite-only assumption is true, but which make perfect sense if the Lehites were in contact with other peoples. In this FAIR brochure, Ash looks at a few of the evidences and arguments in support of the idea that the Book of Mormon events involved peoples and cultures not directly described in the Book of Mormon.
Read the article:
Were the Lehites Alone in the Americas? (PDF) by Michael Ash
Who Are the Lamanites?
by Michael R. Ash
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints frequently use the term “Lamanite” to refer to any Native American, presuming that any people remaining in the western hemisphere after the close of the Book of Mormon must be literal, genetic descendants of Lehi’s sons Laman and Lemuel. Although this may be true, the Book of Mormon itself uses the term “Lamanite” to mean much more than merely a blood descendant of Lehi’s two older sons. In this FAIR brochure, Ash points to genetic, cultural, religious, and other meanings for the term “Lamanite” as used by Nephite authors, and Ash considers the impact of these multiple usages in considering how DNA data could be expected to relate to the historicity of the Book of Mormon.
Read the article:
Who Are the Lamanites? (PDF) by Michael Ash
Is an Historical Book of Mormon Incompatible with DNA Science?
by Michael R. Ash
There has been a flurry of articles over the last two years dealing with the impact of DNA studies on the Book of Mormon claims. In response, Latter-day Saint experts and scholars have frequently pointed out numerous flaws in trying to use any existing DNA study to form a conclusion about the Book of Mormon. Ash has contributed a FAIR brochure that summarizes the various responses to the DNA arguments against the Book of Mormon. Ash points out that (1) the Book of Mormon does not claim to deal with all ancient New World populations, (2) we can’t be sure what Lehi’s or any other ancient Israelite’s DNA looked like, and (3) DNA markers can disappear over time.
Read the article:
Is an Historical Book of Mormon Incompatible with DNA Science? (PDF) by Michael Ash
A Summary of Five Reviews of Grant Palmer’s “An Insider’s View of Mormon Origins'” (with a Few Comments of My Own)
by George E. Cobabe
In 2002 Signature Books published Palmer’s “An Insider’s View of Mormon Origins,” which purports to explain the origin of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the restored Gospel in terms of Joseph Smith’s personal experiences and environment. Opponents of the Church heralded Palmer’s book as a scholarly work that convincingly rebutted Joseph Smith’s testimony that he was divinely commissioned to restore the ancient Church and Gospel.
Since that time, FARMS Review has published five reviews of Palmer’s work, each by a different author or authors and each looking at a different aspect of “An Insider’s View.” The reviewers point out that Palmer’s sources are consistently one-sided and often biased, that Palmer claims parallels that are far-fetched and highly improbable, and that the evidence and arguments from a believer’s point of view are equally valid and more convincing.
Cobabe summarizes each of the reviews and adds additional arguments to refute Palmer’s interpretation of LDS history. Cobabe concludes that “this just isn’t credible history. Not even close!”
Read the article:
- A Summary of Five Reviews of Grant Palmer’s “An Insider’s View of Mormon Origins” (with a Few Comments of My Own) by George Cobabe
- A FAIR Analysis of: An Insider’s View of Mormon Origins (FAIR Wiki)
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.
FAIR ONLINE BOOKSTORE
If you have not yet purchased your audio recording of this year’s FAIR conference, you now have a choice between getting a CD or downloading an MP3 file. You can purchase the audio recordings on CD at
and can purchase and download the MP3 versions at
The greatly anticipated “FARMS Review vol 16, Issue 1 (2004)” is out and generating vigorous discussion as usual. Books reviewed include Sally Denton’s “American Massacre,” Richard Abanes’s “One Nation Under Gods,” and “The Book of Mormon: A Reader’s Edition.” Overviews are offered of trends in Book of Mormon apologetics as well the Mosiah First theories. Purchase this month at $8.75 (compare to its retail price of $10.95). For further details on content, see
Winner of the Mormon History Association Best Book Award, “Lost Legacy: The Mormon Office of Presiding Patriarch” focuses on this inherited leadership position in the LDS Church. Irene Bates and E. Gary Smith explore the history of the Presiding Patriarch, including the tensions created by the conflict between familial authority (the Patriarch) with official authority (the structured leadership of the church). Offered by the University of Illinois Press at $19.95, this month you can get it from FAIR for $15.95.
This next book is from one of our popular FAIR Conference speakers, Roger Keller. Part of the RSC Specialized Monograph Series, “Book of Mormon Authors: Their Words and Messages” details the characteristics of the Book of Mormon authors that not only make them great leaders and prophets, but also distinguish them as individuals with their own unique perspectives and missions. This makes a significant contribution to the argument surrounding authorship of the Book of Mormon, so don’t miss it at $11.85, 30% off the retail price.
Our non-LDS focused offering of the month is from John Sanders, a well known and at times controversial theologist. “The God Who Risks” gives “a profound and often inspiring presentation of relational theism”–an understanding of providence in which “a personal God enters into genuine give-and-take relations with his creatures.” If you are interested in the fascinating discussions surrounding the openness model of God and his interaction with Man, it’s well worth the modest investment of $19.20 (retail $24.00). Reviews at
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).
FAIR JOURNAL ARCHIVES
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