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. This month Scott Gordon shares a few of the many messages that FAIR receives.
- NEW ON THE WEBSITE: “Nephi’s Neighbors: Book of Mormon Peoples and Pre-Columbian Populations.” Matthew Roper evaluates the evidence and arguments critics use to reject the presence of non-Lehites in the New World.
- RESOURCES ON THE WEB: “Hey, Who Are You Calling a Cult?” Orson Scott Card examines the use of name-calling by critics of the LDS Church.
- RESOURCES ON THE WEB: “News from Antiquity.” Daniel C. Peterson’s 1994 Ensign article on the Book of Abraham points out additional evidences of its ties to antiquity.
- ASK THE APOLOGIST. Got a question you are dying to ask? Here’s how. This month we highlight a question about Joseph Smith’s prophecies and resources that are available on the web.
- FAIR LDS BOOKSTORE. The FAIR Bookstore has discounted a number of items that you will want to have in your personal libraries.
- 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
From time to time, I get e-mails of praise and thanks. I thought that many of you might enjoy some of the comments we receive. I have removed all of the identifying information from the e-mails to protect those who send us e-mails.
To: FAIR President Thank you for providing excellent learning tools and wonderful solace in difficult times of faith and learning.The information and perspectives that your writers and supporters have provided have greatly increased my faith.
To: FAIR President I love your website. The information has helped me defend our faith.
To: FAIR President Subject: Fair/Keep up the good work I have browsed your web site and find it very well written and the links are great! I am an active LDS sister in the church. I have had some friends who believe in the anti-Mormon arguments. It is great that people in the church stand up for our beliefs and show the world, we are not a ‘devil worshipping cult’. I can refer this site to some people I meet who may be misled by the darkness of the adversary. Have a great day. keep up the good work
But not everyone is so enthusiastic. Here is an email I received from “Mike.” I give it to you in its unedited format other than one insertion that I put in brackets [ ].
To: FAIR President Subject: morons… i mean mormons i have mormon neighbors and they are the most annoying inconsiderate know-it-alls. and i especially cant stand the fact that you send young boys out to do the dirty work on missions for your dam colt [I think he means cult]……………….. just my 2 cents. and i am sick of being herrassed by your little brainwashed servants!
My response to Mike’s e-mail was as follows:
From: FAIR President Well, it’s nice to know that we have fans. Thanks for your e-mail.
About 10 days ago I received this e-mail from a brother named Pete.
To: FAIR President Thank you for FAIRLDS! I just had a phone conversation with a lady and I asked her if she was LDS and she said she used to be. To make a long story short, we talked about how she questioned things in her 20’s and finally left the church. You know, the internet thing. I told her about FAIRLDS and that if she spent the time she would find the truth. While she was on the phone she went to your website and just got sucked in and was already reading by the time we hung up. I know it is up to the spirit to bring her back but together we all might get the job done.
Then one of my favorites came after a few e-mail exchanges with one sister.
To: FAIR President I am happy to tell you that I have met with my Bishop. The meeting went better than I expected. I was able to pray about the church for the first time, kneeling on his floor. I asked him to postpone me having my name removed for know because I realize something is wrong with my thinking. I am scared of something that I use to Love very much. Something is VERY wrong here. All of this has come about because of your web site. It might not be a miracle to YOU but, it is to me. My Bishop said that he was thankful for all the support through your organization. I have been in contact with several other people through your organization and they have helped a lot. More than you know.You ARE making a difference in this world. At least you are making one here, in my life. Thanks
If you find FAIR to be a help to you, feel free to send me an e-mail at the FAIR Contact Page. Your thank-you e-mails are the pay we receive for the work that we do. We would love to hear from you.
– Scott Gordon President, FAIR
FAIR relies on your kind donations to remain in business. Now is the time to make a donation. FAIR is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, so if you are in the United States, your donation is tax deductible.
Nephi’s Neighbors: Book of Mormon Peoples and Pre-Columbian Populations
by Matthew Roper
Critics of Book of Mormon historicity frequently rely on a particular premise to argue their case: Native Americans are all descended from Lehi and that non-Lehite ancestry is minor if not altogether non-existent. To prove this point, these critics turn to statements made by early LDS leaders as well as to specific verses in the Book of Mormon itself. These same critics also argue that the idea that the Lehites may have integrated into a pre-existing culture and that Lehite genetic material may form a minuscule part of modern day Amerindian genes is a recent invention by LDS apologists.
In his paper, Roper looks at the evidence and arguments used by advocates of the Lehi-only ancestry theory. He points out that statements by early leaders do not exclude the possibility of significant non-Lehite cultures before, during, and after the Book of Mormon period. Roper also shows how the idea of a limited geography Book of Mormon and an extra-Lehite cultural environment is not new at all, but has been suggested from the earliest days of the Church by a number of LDS individuals and publications.
Roper concludes that although “the assumption that Native Americans are of exclusively Israelite heritage” such an assumption is neither canonical nor revelatory, that many Latter-day Saints have held the belief in extra-Lehite cultures, and that neither the Book of Mormon nor scriptural revelations prohibit other nations and cultures from existing in the New World. Instead “they insist upon a place for Israel in the ancestral heritage of Native Americans, but they do not insist upon an exclusive one.
Read the article:
Hey, Who Are You Calling a Cult?
by Orson Scott Card
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is often referred to as a cult by anti-Mormon authors and speakers. Card looks at how this “ad hominem epithet” is used to attack and belittle The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Card points out that all small, new religions show similar characteristics of charismatic leadership and individual devotion to its cause, and both the New Testament church and the early Latter-day church display many characteristics that critics use to define a cult.
But Card also points out that The Church of Jesus Christ fails many of the tests that are often used to define a cult: exploitation, automaton behavior, and isolation. As he says, “On all these points, I daresay that the Mormon church is less cult-like than many of the religions that delight in calling us one.”
Read the article:
Hey, Who Are You Calling a Cult? by Orson Scott Card, Beliefnet
News from Antiquity by Daniel C. Peterson
The Book of Abraham is a favorite target for anti-Mormon critics. Although there is still much to be learned about its origins and its ties to other Abrahamic literature, much has been and is being discovered. In this 1994 Ensign article, Peterson looks at some of the similarities in the Book of Abraham story and extra-Biblical information about Abraham’s life and environment.
Read the article:
News from Antiquity by Daniel C. Peterson, Ensign, January 1994
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.
Most questions sent in to FAIR already have answers posted on the FAIR website or other LDS sites. Many times the response can be to point the questioner to these resources. For example, the following question was recently submitted.
Some say Joseph Smith is a false Prophet because many of his prophecies did not come to pass. How would you respond to this. I am a member of the LDS Church.
Although FAIR members sent other responses, the simplest is generally a pointer to articles already available on the FAIR web site or other LDS apologetic sites. In this case, a number of references were sent to the inquirer.
If you have a question you may find that there is already a great deal written about the topic. If you can’t find it in the FAIR Topical Guide
send us a note and FAIR will be glad to help you.
FAIR LDS BOOKSTORE
This is your last chance to purchase the hardbound edition of “The People and Power of Nauvoo: Themes from the Nauvoo Experience” by Milton V. Backman–a must buy for church history aficionados. Professor Backman discusses the full range of the Nauvoo experience, including the construction of the Nauvoo Temple. Originally at $34.95, now only $19.20 (a 45% discount!), this special is a first-come, first-served offering.
Well-known counselor Dr. John L. Lund uses his unique blend of training, experience, and humor in the lecture set called, “How to Hug a Teenage Porcupine” (4 CDs). Although the CDs will help you raise all manner of critters, it will give you extra guidance on successfully parenting teens that may poke and pinch a bit. Available for 20% off, at $15.95, it is a good investment if only to help you not take your kids as seriously as they are trying to force you to.
“Strengthening Our Families: An In-Depth Look at the Proclamation on the Family” contains a collection of essays from over 80 theologians, sociologists, and scholars examining a variety of topics centered around the 1995 “The Family: A Proclamation to the World”, a document that declares the LDS doctrines on marriage, family and gender. Not only does this handsome volume offer extensive doctrinal commentary, but it also provides information of a practical nature on improving our families. The FAIR Bookstore price this month is $31.95, a 20% saving.
“Apostles and Bishops in Early Christianity” is the 15th volume in the highly recommended series, “The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley”. Early Christianity enthusiasts and Nibley fans will find this 254 page, edited (with language sources provided) transcript of Brother Nibley’s 1954 BYU class on the office of bishop an interesting look into the development of LDS intellectual thought. Our discount of 15% gives you this book at the appealing price of $21.20.
– 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.
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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