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 discusses recent comments made by Dr. Richard Mouw, president of the Fuller Theological Seminary, who was recently invited to speak in the Salt Lake Tabernacle.
- NEW ON THE WEBSITE: “Did B.H. Roberts Abandon His Faith in the Book of Mormon?” and “Evasive Ignorance: Anti-Mormon Claims that B.H. Roberts Lost His Testimony.” In these two articles, McKay V. Jones exposes the erroneous assertion by anti-Mormon critics that B. H. Roberts, General Authority and scholar, lost his testimony of the Book of Mormon.
- NEW ON THE WEBSITE: “Did Brigham Young Say that He Would Kill an Adulterous Wife with a Javelin?” Mike Parker examines Brigham Young’s often-quoted statement to show how anti-Mormons have pulled it out of its original context and ignored its biblical reference.
- RESOURCES ON THE WEB: “How to Respond to Enemies of the Church. An Open Letter from a Father to His Missionary Son.” Meridian Magazine publishes Richard LaJeunesse’s letter on defending the faith.
- ASK THE APOLOGIST. Got a question you are dying to ask? Here’s how. Also, this month the Journal features a response by Kevin Barney to a question about the wording used in the Joseph Smith Translation and the Book of Mormon.
- FAIR ONLINE BOOKSTORE. Now is the time to visit the FAIR bookstore to take advantage of our pre-Christmas discounts of up to 60% off list price.
- 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
On Sunday, November 14, noted evangelical speaker Dr. Ravi Zachariah and Fuller Theological Seminary president, Dr. Richard Mouw, spoke in the Salt Lake City tabernacle to an interfaith audience. This was an historic occasion meant to promote understanding and to develop better relations between the different denominations.
On that evening, Dr. Mouw made some notable comments, many of which bear repeating. “Our public relations between our two communities have been–to put it mildly–decidedly unfriendly,” Dr. Mouw said. “From the very beginning, when Joseph Smith organized his church in 1830, my evangelical forebears hurled angry accusations and vehement denunciations at the Mormon community–a practice that continues from some evangelical quarters even into this present day. And I think it is fair to say that some Mormons have on occasion responded in kind. Friendship with each other has not come easily for our two communities.”
Dr. Mouw then went on to describe his meeting together with LDS scholars and forming friendships. He then stated, “I know that I have learned much in this continuing dialogue, and I am now convinced that we evangelicals have often seriously misrepresented the beliefs and practices of the Mormon community. Indeed, let me state it bluntly to the LDS folks here this evening, we have sinned against you. The God of the Scriptures makes it clear that it is a terrible thing to bear false witness against our neighbors, and we have been guilty of that sort of transgression in things we have said about you. We have told you what you believe without making a sincere effort first of all to ask you what you believe.”
According to the Southern Baptist Convention’s Baptist Press (BP), Dr. Mouw later clarified his comments by stating, “There is a “discernible pattern of sinning against LDS” members by evangelicals. He also said that authors such as Walter Martin, who “oversimplified Mormon teaching,” and Dave Hunt, who represented Mormonism as “Satanic in its inspiration and practice,” are “bearing false witness.”
We at FAIR welcome Dr Mouw’s comments and believe they will help in promoting understanding between our communities. They come to us as a breath of fresh air. But not everyone agrees. There are some in the evangelical community who were upset by his comments, believing they might “give credence to the Mormon message by muddying the waters,” and “[send] a message to Mormons that they are a part of mainstream Christianity.”
Dr. Mouw’s complete speech can be read at
“We Have Sinned Against You” by Dr. Richard Mouw
Two other articles discussing the event can be read at
We understand that most evangelical Christians don’t believe that LDS are following the “true gospel.” While there are legitimate differences in our beliefs, we have always maintained that the Mormonism taught by many of the anti-Mormons bears little resemblance to the faith that we follow. We are grateful for Dr. Mouw for having the courage to agree.
– Scott Gordon President, FAIR
Did B.H. Roberts Abandon His Faith in the Book of Mormon?
by McKay V. Jones
Evasive Ignorance: Anti-Mormon Claims that B.H. Roberts Lost His Testimony
by McKay V. Jones
In both of these articles, Jones reviews the evidence and reasoning used by anti-Mormon critics who claim that B. H. Roberts, a General Authority during the late 19th and early 20th century, lost his testimony of the Book of Mormon. The charges stem from several papers written in the 1920s by Elder Roberts in which he examines arguments that critics could use to attack the historicity and divinity of the Book of Mormon.
Elder Roberts correctly points out that enemies of the Church could and did attack the Book of Mormon on numerous fronts, areas where science and/or scholarship of his day either failed to support or even seemed to oppose the Book of Mormon claims. Elder Roberts’ own explanation for his writings was that he was “describ[ing] potential future lines of attack on the Book of Mormon in order to equip ‘future Defenders of the Faith’ to respond to them.”
But contrary to modern anti-Mormons’ assertions, there is no evidence that Elder Roberts’ testimony wavered at any time up to his death. Indeed, there is substantial evidence to the contrary. To the end, Elder Roberts’ statements, public and private, and his whole-hearted service to the Church and restored Gospel all testify of his abiding belief in the Book of Mormon as divinely inspired scripture. Elder Roberts died in 1933, a generation too early to see the rise in Book of Mormon scholarship among Latter-day Saints, but he was a convincing witness that the Book of Mormon could be defended as the word of God.
Read the article:
Did B.H. Roberts Abandon His Faith in the Book of Mormon? by McKay V. Jones
Read the extended article:
More information is available on this topic in Professor Daniel C. Peterson’s review of James Spencer’s “The Disappointment of B. H. Roberts” as published in the FARMS Review of Books.
Read the review:
Yet More Abuse of B. H. Roberts by Daniel C. Peterson
Did Brigham Young Say that He Would Kill an Adulterous Wife with a Javelin?
by Mike Parker
Anti-Mormon critics frequently comb through 19th century writings and sermons looking for comments that can be used to disparage Latter-day Saint leaders. Their goal is to persuade members, investigators, and those outside the Church that those leaders were undeserving of any claim to divine inspiration and that consequently the Church itself must be false. Such snippets can only achieve the intended shock value when pulled from their literary and cultural environments.
One frequently-used comment was made by Brigham Young in 1865. In an address delivered in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, President Young spoke of being able to put a javelin through an adulterous wife’s heart. Standing alone, such as statement is shocking to readers today. What eager critics fail to do is to explain then context in which this was given, particularly the Biblical allusion to Numbers 25:6-15.
In his paper, Parker discusses this and other statements involving “blood atonement” and shows how modern anti-Mormons misrepresent the statements of early Church leaders.
Read the article:
How to Respond to Enemies of the Church
by Richard LaJeunesse
A recent edition of Meridian Magazine included an interesting article dealing with apologetics. It is a letter written by LaJeunesse to his son, who was on a mission. In this lengthy letter, LaJeunesse gives his son a number of pointers in dealing with people who attack LDS beliefs.
LaJeunesse’s advice focuses on how to properly reason with people who are trying to prove something about The Church of Jesus Christ rather than how to deal with attacks on specific Mormon beliefs. He shares four specific guidelines that are important when responding to someone who is attempting to prove a point.
- Set standards of proof. Understand what can and cannot be proved and agree on how truth can be found and understood.
- Start with the nature and character of God. This is “where every intelligent discussion of religion should begin in any event.”
- Always examine the premise of any argument. Often those who attack the Church do so with assumptions about how a prophet should always act, what the Book of Mormon claims about New World civilizations, or inerrancy in prophetic writings.
- Hold anti-Mormons to the same standards to which they hold the Church. Arguments that a critic finds absolutely convincing may seem less impressive when shown that similar reasoning and assumptions can be used to disprove his own beliefs.
ASK THE APOLOGIST
A recent question sent to FAIR involved the wording used in the Book of Mormon and the Joseph Smith Translation (JST). The specific question was why the words of Christ recorded in the Book of Mormon weren’t exactly restored by Joseph Smith when he was preparing the JST. Kevin Barney responded by looking at the underlying assumptions of the question and by looking at how Joseph’s changes to Matthew compare with others who have considered this particular scripture.
Read the article:
For those interested in studying the available JST manuscripts, the complete collection is now available from the FAIR Bookstore in the recently published “Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible: Original Manuscripts.”
Also available through the FAIR Bookstore is a reprint of the 1972 BYU Studies article “The ‘New Translation’ of the Bible, 1830.1833: Doctrinal Development during the Kirtland Era.”
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
With Christmas less than a month away, many people are still looking for the perfect gift for a friend or relative. Skip the frustration of holiday crowds by shopping with the FAIR Bookstore while also saving time and money. Our shipping rates are extremely low and purchases are not subject to sales tax.
While browsing through the store, be sure and check out our Christmas specials. We are heavily discounting many items that we have in stock. We have over 35 items that have been discounted by as much as 60%.
You can go directly to our Christmas specials at
A word of warning, though–to ensure Christmas delivery you need to order by December 9th unless you don’t mind paying higher shipping rates. Christmas specials are limited to items in stock to avoid any possible delay and disappointment Christmas morning, so order early to get the best deal on the widest selection.
– 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.
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