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. The FAIR Conference is next week! Be sure to attend and to let others know about it.
- NEW ON THE WEBSITE: “A Slippery Slope that Limits the Atonement.” A. Dean Byrd, Shirley E. Cox, and Jeffrey W. Robinson review “In Quiet Desperation: Understanding The Challenge Of Same-gender Attraction,” a book that views homosexuality as innate and immutable.
- NEW ON THE WEBSITE: “Miraculous Events in Early Church History.” David Ferguson recounts a number of miracles, fulfilled prophecies, and “marvelous events” in LDS Church history.
- NEW ON THE WEBSITE: “Explaining Away the Book of Mormon Witnesses.” Richard Lloyd Anderson discusses the strength and consistency of the Book of Mormon witnesses and responds to common criticisms of their testimonies. (2004 FAIR Conference presentation)
- NEW ON THE WEBSITE: “The Apostasy.” Roger Keller explains the apostacy as the loss of authority in the Church and analyzes some misconceptions some Latter-day Saints hold about God’s work outside the Church. (2004 FAIR Conference presentation)
- NEW ON THE WEBSITE: “The God of Abraham, Isaac and Joseph Smith: Defending the Faith.” David L. Paulsen looks at the LDS view of diety relative to other Christian faiths and in light of some early Christian statements on the issue. (2004 FAIR Conference presentation)
- ASK THE APOLOGIST. Got a question you are dying to ask? Here’s how.
- FAIR TOPICAL GUIDE. The Topical Guide on the FAIR Web site is one of the most popular resources offered. Learn what is available and help us expand our references. Listed below are some new links in FAIR’s Topical Guide.
- FAIR LDS BOOKSTORE. This month’s specials include items discounted up to 60% off of 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
It is that time of year for the FAIR Conference. On Thursday August 4 and on Friday August 5 we will be at the South Towne Plaza in Sandy, Utah, feasting on the messages there. The conference is always exciting with great speakers, great books, and fun people. I look forward to meeting you there. Some of the fun is getting your books signed by the authors. If you can come but haven’t purchased your tickets yet, buy them now before we run out of space! Tell your friends as well. If you can’t come, don’t despair. We will try to quickly have the talks available on CD, MP3, and eventually DVD format.
Most importantly, schedule August 3 & 4 2006, the first Thursday and Friday of August 2006, for next year’s conference.
See ya soon!
–Scott Gordon President, FAIR
Streaming Audio & Video of the FAIR Conference.
We are excited to announce that LDSAudio.com will be offering streaming audio and video for the upcoming FAIR conference. If you have Internet access and are unable to attend in person, you can now enjoy the presentations no matter where you live. Connection fees are as follows:
- 2-day feed (full conference): $39.95
The broadcast will be made 24 hours after the actual conference recording, so those connected through the Internet will be able to “attend” the conference on August 5th and 6th, as opposed to the 4th and 5th for those physically attending.
Simply go to the following URL and follow the instructions to enjoy the conference presentations.
(This link–the one above–will not be active until the day before the conference at the earliest. If you try it today and you cannot display a page, don’t despair; just try back at conference time.)
With FAIR fans living in various parts of the world, we’re grateful to the folks at LDSAudio.com for offering this service.
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.
A Slippery Slope that Limits the Atonement
by A. Dean Byrd, Shirley E. Cox, and Jeffrey W. Robinson
There are probably few people whose circle of friends and relatives is unaffected by the issue of homosexuality or same-sex attraction. In recent decades, there has been a plethora of articles, books, studies, and websites dealing with SSA and related issues. Unfortunately, there are many false or distorted views about just what “science” has found out about SSA.
In their review of “In Quiet Desperation,” Byrd, Cox, and Robinson examine some of the misconceptions that many people have come to accept about SSA. The reviewers note that the “born that way” belief about SSA is not only unproven, but it can be damaging to many who could otherwise receive help and strength to change their lives.
“The book inadvertently limits the power of the Atonement in the lives of people who struggle with homosexual attraction. As professionals with many combined years of practice in treating those with unwanted homosexual attraction, we have witnessed changes in the lives of many of these individuals, and the epiphanies have been many.”
The reviewers point out that though the authors’ pain and suffering are real and tragic, “In Quiet Desparation” does not present a balanced, accurate, or complete picture of the complex issues associated with homosexuality.
“Thus, In Quiet Desperation moves us further down the slippery slope expressed by Alexander Pope: ‘We first endure, then pity, then embrace.'”
Read the review:
A Slippery Slope that Limits the Atonement by A. Dean Byrd, Ph.D., MBA, MPH; Shirley E. Cox, DSW, LCSW; and Jeffrey W. Robinson, Ph.D
Miraculous Events in Early Church History
by David Ferguson
Mormon history is full of many stories of miraculous events and divine intervention in the affairs of Latter-day Saints. Ferguson presents a number of these amazing miracles, prophecies, and marvelous events that provide a witness to the divinity, sacredness, and truthfulness of the restoration of the Gospel through the Prophet Joseph.
Ferguson gives examples of healings, angelic visitations, and prophecies that demonstrate the hand of God in the latter-day work. He is also careful to point out that “miracles cannot provide a solid foundation on which to base a testimony of the Kingdom of God. However, they do serve the purpose of helping us understand God’s love for us.”
Though miracles seldom are sufficient to instill belief, they are affirming and strengthening for those who already have a testimony. As Ferguson says, “As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I consider myself truly blessed to have such an amazing history to reflect upon. It makes me smile sometimes when an occasional anti-Mormon says, ‘How could you possibly believe that?’ And silently, to myself, I always respond, ‘How could you not?'”
Read the article:
Miraculous Events in Early Church History by David Ferguson
Explaining Away the Book of Mormon Witnesses
by Richard Lloyd Anderson
This article is the transcription of Anderson’s 2004 FAIR Conference presentation. In that presentation Anderson remarks that he has in his files hundreds of instances where witnesses to the Book of Mormon reaffirmed their initial testimonies. Anti-Mormons and skeptics have been singularly incapable of providing a consistent explanation for this powerful witness to Joseph Smith’s claims. The witnesses continued to restate their experiences in consistent, concrete, and emphatic terms over many decades and in the presence of strong motivations to deny or water-down their original statements.
Anderson looks at a few of the common responses to the witnesses’ testimonies, such as Harris’s “eye of faith” statement, the idea of the experience being “visionary” rather than “real”, and notions of conscious fraud on the part of the witnesses. Each of these attacks on the witnesses is weak and strained, and each fails to account for the mass of reinforcing, solid testimony by men who were considered highly reliable by their non-LDS associates.
“Not only did Joseph have visions, [the witnesses] had similar verification physically and spiritually and there is nothing that I have found that would make me feel a bit to the contrary intellectually or spiritually… I have looked for whatever contradictions–I made up my mind early if they were there I’d find them–I haven’t found them.”
Read the article:
Explaining Away the Book of Mormon Witnesses by Richard Lloyd Anderson
by Roger Keller
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints claims to be a restoration of the ancient church established by the Savior. Implicit in this claim is the belief in the apostacy of the early Christian church. This early apostacy has been the subject of studies and speculation since the founding of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Unfortunately, many Church members have beliefs about the Great Apostacy that are at best folklore, and often are demonstrably false.
In his presentation at the 2004 FAIR Conference, Keller discussed a number of erroneous beliefs about the early apostacy and how those beliefs can cause problems for Latter-day Saints who are learning to position the restored Gospel into a Christian history filled with men and women of faith and courage who have clearly been led and inspired by God. As Keller said, “There are some Latter-day Saints who see The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the only vehicle through which God works, but maybe their worldview needs to be slightly broadened.”
Keller discusses just what was lost during the first centuries and just what was restored through the Prophet Joseph. The restored Church is able to fully carry out God’s plan but is not the only place where God is working “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”
“It would be my testimony that the ‘more’ of Mormonism, the more that builds on and adds to these other traditions is the authority of the priesthood of God that can be found only here.”
Read the article:
The Apostasy by Roger Keller
The God of Abraham, Isaac and Joseph Smith: Defending the Faith
by David L. Paulsen
One of the major anti-Mormon attacks involves the LDS concept of God and the Godhead. In his presentation at the 2004 FAIR Conference, Paulsen looks at the LDS beliefs involving the corporeality of God and the nature of the Godhead and how similar beliefs were held by saints of the early Christian church.
Poulsen discussed his experience publishing several articles refuting the idea that it is philosophically impossible for God to be corporeal. Poulsen also had been interviewd by “Modern Reformation” on the topic of the LDS understanding of God. In his presentation, Poulsen shows the strength of the LDS position and its support from ancient sources.
Read the article:
The God of Abraham, Isaac and Joseph Smith: Defending the Faith by David L. Paulsen
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 Web site as a FAIR paper or brochure. If you have a question, simply mail it to our Questions address. Email sent to this address will be shared with members of FAIR, so it is not uncommon to receive several responses that approach the issue from different angles.
FAIR TOPICAL GUIDE
The Topical Guide is one of the most important LDS apologetic resources available. If you aren’t familiar with this part of FAIR’s Web site, check it out at
A number of new links have been added to the Topical Guide this month.
The following Church Educational System’s institute of religion course manuals have been added:
- Book of Mormon
- New Testament (The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles)
- Old Testament (Genesis — 2 Samuel)
- Old Testament (1 Kings — Malachi)
- Doctrine and Covenants
- Pearl of Great Price
- Church History in the Fullness of Times
- Presidents of the Church
The following Church Educational System’s seminary course manuals have been added:
Also new this month:
- A three-part Meridian Magazine article on DNA by John Tvedtnes
- John A, Tvedtnes, “Interpreting the DNA Data and the Book of Mormon Part I,” MeridianMagazine.com (17 July 2005)
- John A. Tvedtnes, “Interpreting the DNA Data and the Book of Mormon Part II,” MeridianMagazine.com (17 July 2005)
- John A. Tvedtnes, “Interpreting the DNA Data and the Book of Mormon Part III,” MeridianMagazine.com (17 July 2005)
- Robert J. Woodford, “The Story of the Doctrine and Covenants,” Ensign, December 1984 (an Ensign article that deals with changes in the D&C)
- Paul H. Peterson, “An Historical Analysis of the Word of Wisdom,” (August 1972) (BYU master’s thesis exploring the environment from which the Word of Wisdom arose and how the Word of Wisdom developed into a distinguishing characteristic of Mormon society) http://www.fairlds.org/apol/ai139.html
FAIR LDS BOOKSTORE
With the FAIR Conference just a few days away, we are all excited about the lineup of great speakers. As we consider what we can look forward to, we all wish we could expand our personal libraries with the latest in research and analysis. This month the FAIR bookstore has discounted a number of books that you will want to put into your personal collections.
Critiquing the Critics of Joseph Smith
Award-winning author Hartt Wixom doesn’t answer the critics through the normal route taken by Latter-day Saints by suggesting faith, prayer, and confirmation of truth through the Holy Spirit. Rather, he appeals to empiricism by closely examining the claims of anti-Mormon writers. He also scrutinizes the historical validity of their arguments by measuring their assertions against internal and external cohesiveness, common sense, and intellectual inquiry.
This book is available for $13.55, a 15% discount.
Early Christians in Disarray: Contemporary LDS Perspectives on the Christian Apostasy
“Early Christians in Disarray,” edited by Noel B. Reynolds, takes a fresh look at the apostasy of the early Christian church. The strength of the book lies in its use of recent research on manuscripts written during the first few centuries of Christianity. “Early Christians in Disarray” enables readers to better understand when and why the apostasy actually took place.
This book is available for $23.95, a 20% discount.
More Holiness Give Me
In his insightful and persuasive way, Robert L. Millet draws upon his experiences as a husband, father, gospel scholar, teacher, and Church leader to describe the fruits of truly successful living, focusing our hearts on the ways we draw close to the Lord, strengthen our relationship with the Holy Ghost, and lay claim to the joy and blessings that the Lord delights to bestow on his faithful people.
This book is available for $7.20, a 60% discount!
Lost and Found: Reflections on the Prodigal Son
In “Lost and Found,” Robert L. Millet provides a fascinating and thorough look at the powerful parable of the prodigal son. The book includes rich historical detail and invaluable cultural background, as well as a verse-by-verse (sometimes phrase-by-phrase) commentary that enables the reader to fully understand the parable. It outlines in memorable fashion how this New Testament story helps us better understand the plan of salvation and identifies ten vital life lessons that can be gleaned from the parable.
This book is available for $5.95, a 60% discount.
– 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).
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.