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 illustrates the difficulties involved in defending the character and comments of those that are not alive to respond for themselves, and he encourages those involved in apologetics to be “faith builders” rather than “faith busters.”
- NEW ON THE WEBSITE: Old Themes and Stereotypes Never Die: The Unchanging Ways of Anti-Mormons. Craig Foster’s 2003 FAIR Conference presentation discusses how lurid, anti-Mormon literature follows the historical patterns for other similar street literature, and modern anti-Mormon writers have continued in the same vein.
- NEW ON THE WEBSITE: Anti-Mormon protesters at the October 2004 LDS General Conference. Once again, Allen Wyatt has put together a collection of pictures taken at General Conference, with responses to the issues raised by the protesters.
- ASK THE APOLOGIST. Got a question you are dying to ask? Here’s how.
- FAIR ONLINE BOOKSTORE. This month’s FAIR Bookstore specials include works dealing with the controversial Priesthood ban, the last days in the life of the Savior, death and resurrection, Sheri Dew’s latest, and a “self-help” for victims of pornography.
- 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
With apologies to our international audience, I’d like to use this month’s President’s Message to talk about the upcoming election in United States. I’m certainly not going to endorse either candidate or party. I know good Latter-day Saints who are Democrats, Republicans, Conservatives, Liberals, and Socialists, and I’m sure there’s even a communist or two. What I would like to do is point out some things I have noticed during this political season that relate to religious apologetics.
Each side of the debate is passionate about its position and each side has claimed it is in some way more enlightened or smarter than the other. Arguing hasn’t resolved the differences. Being a better debater doesn’t make one right, having a better public relations campaign doesn’t make one right, and having the more established position doesn’t make one right.
On the college campus where I teach, I was asked to serve on a panel to discuss some of the political issues facing the United States. When I asked why they asked me to participate, I was told that they needed a moderate; someone who could articulate the position without acrimony. As the other panelists spoke, I could see they were not chosen for those same character traits.
From one panelist, I heard that George Bush was a war criminal who willingly participated in the conspiracy to bring 9/11 to our shores. Terrorism was just a myth that was used to prop up George Bush’s failing presidency and to line the pockets of his corporate friends.
From another panelist, I learned that John Kerry was a traitor to his country who lied about his wartime accomplishments and who is currently aiding and abetting the enemy insurgents in Iraq just as he did with Vietnam.
As I listened to the panelists speak, it dawned on me how difficult it is for the audience to discern the truth about, or the character of, those candidates, even though they are alive and are able to answer the charges against them. How much more difficult is it for someone to discern the truth about a person who has died and cannot explain his motives, defend his actions, or clarify his beliefs. This is particularly true for someone whose life and teachings have been controversial, such as Joseph Smith and other early Church leaders.
There are two routes one can take in apologetics. One can be a faith builder or a faith buster. As I type the word “apologetics” into Google, I find a number of organizations who have articles which try to tear down the faith of members of various denominations including Mormonism. By contrast, there are other organizations which seek to defend themselves against false charges, and seek to build up the faith of their members.
Our goal at FAIR is to be faith builders. We try to present articles that will build faith in the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ and try to avoid articles that tear down the religious beliefs of others. That does not mean, however, that we will fail to point out inconsistencies in methodology or motives of those who seek to destroy our faith.
I hope we all can recognize the good in others, avoid contention, and seek the Spirit as we participate in Mormon apologetics.
– Scott Gordon President, FAIR
Old Themes and Stereotypes Never Die: The Unchanging Ways of Anti-Mormons
by Craig L. Foster
Sensational and lurid exposes of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been circulating since the earliest days of the Restoration. Despite the almost total absence of any supporting evidence, and regardless of the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, these stories and accusations continue to be brought forward with each generation of anti-Mormon writers.
In this transcription of his 2003 FAIR Conference presentation, Foster places these literary productions into their historical context– showing how this form of street literature was common in the era when The Church of Jesus Christ was established. In addition, the attacks against Mormonism closely follow the patterns used in attacks against many religious movements and organizations. Anti-Mormon authors, from Eber D. Howe in 1834 to Jon Krakauer in 2003, use identical tactics and methods in attacking the leaders and adherents of Mormonism.
Foster concludes by pointing out that lurid, unsubstantiated tales of secret immorality and demonic practices are nothing more than classic themes that have reappeared with nearly every out-of-favor religion, including first and second century attacks against Christianity itself.
Read the article:
Anti-Mormon protesters at the October 2004 LDS General Conference
by Allen L. Wyatt
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has attracted critics from its earliest days. Wyatt has created a photo essay of pictures that provide a small glimpse at the efforts of some critics of the Church. Under each picture you will find some comments by the photographer, as well as some links that provide additional information that explain the sensationalistic claims of the protesters.
The photo essay of anti-Mormons at General Conference can be seen at
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 Contact address.
FAIR ONLINE BOOKSTORE
Multiple offerings from our own FAIR Bookstore this month include a book dealing with the controversial Priesthood ban, a highly recommended scholarly collection addressing the Savior’s last days, works dealing with death and resurrection, Sheri Dew’s latest, and a “self-help” for victims of pornography.
Black and Mormon
The articles of the collection “Black and Mormon” explore the social mechanisms and implications of the pre-1978 ban on black members holding the Priesthood and the impact these had on the Church and its members, an impact that is still felt today. A serious and at time troubling examination, this book will challenge you to examine your own understanding and assumptions of racism, discrimination, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Edited by Newell G. Bringhurst, a professor of history and political science, and Darron T. Smith, a graduated student who has lectured at UVSC and BYU, it can be purchased for $29.70, a savings of %15.
Celia’s Boy is the intimate, personal story of a man’s struggles during the last century, when both America and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints experienced significant and remarkable growth. Allen Johnson Sr., who was born in 1915 and died in 1999, was the first African-American to receive the Priesthood in Texas. His experiences that led him to the Church in 1961 as well as those of the Great Depression, the Civil Rights Movement, and life in the military from the segregated units of WWII to the Vietnam War are portrayed with faith and compassion. A man active not only in his faith, but also in his community, Brother Johnson’s story is an inspiration to all who wish to face adversity with honour and devotion to God. This special is available for $21.20 (%15 off retail).
Walking in the Sand
“Walking in the sand” is a Ghanaian expression that means “alive and well,” an appropriate title for a history of the LDS Church in Ghana. The book covers the time from the foundation of its unofficial, but faithful congregations, to the official opening of the country to LDS missionaries, through the growth and persecution that followed. Written by Elder Emmanuel Abu Kissi, a respected doctor and Area Authority Seventy in Ghana, “Walking in the Sand: A History of the Church of Jesus Christ in Ghana” is available this month from FAIR Bookstore for $18.65.
No One Can Take Your Place (3 CDs)
As Christmas approaches (how many of us are seeing snow already?) it’s time to start looking for gifts for friends and family. For a change of pace from the usual book, try Sheri Dew’s latest offering on CD: “No One Can Take Your Place.” Centering on issues of self-fulfillment and happiness not only for ourselves but others, this collection of Sister Dew’s insights will bring you a greater understanding of who you are and what you need to do to reach true joy. To get this great buy at $11.85 (30% off retail).
Heal My Broken Heart: An LDS Guide for those Bound by the Deadly Sin of Pornography
Pornography has become pervasive in our society and it has reached deeply even into some families of the Church. For those who are dealing with the shattering effects of this sin and addiction, Ruth Davidson and Tamara Davies provide a guide that includes not only true, personal stories, but scriptural, spiritual, and practical advice from Church leaders. “Heal My Broken Heart,” from Deseret Book is being offered for $11.95 (%20 off retail) and is available.
From the Last Supper through the Resurrection: The Savior’s Final Hours
“From the Last Supper Through the Resurrection: The Savior’s Final Hours” by Richard Neitzel Holzapfel and Thomas A. Wayment (editors) is a collection of 13 outstanding essays from 14 gospel scholars. It includes more than 538 pages covering the last days of our Savior’s mortal ministry. With thought-provoking detail on a range of topics such as legalities, crucifixion methods, Jewish burial customs, the Last Supper, Gethesame and of course the Resurrection, you are certain to find greater understanding and perspective on this essential and fundamental event of the Gospel. The list price is $24.95, but FAIR has it for this month at $19.95.
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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