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 year’s FAIR Conference was a great success, and the 2006 conference dates are set.
- NEW ON THE WEBSITE: “What I Learned about Life, the Church, and the Cosmos from Hugh Nibley.” Boyd Petersen shares life’s lessons learned through the life of Hugh Nibley.
- NEW ON THE WEBSITE: “Reflections on Secular Anti-Mormonism.” Daniel Peterson’s 2005 FAIR Conference presentation looks at the new wave of anti-Mormonism that is currently most popular with antagonist critics.
- NEW ON THE WEBSITE: “‘Believest thou…?’: Faith, Cognitive Dissonance, and the Psychology of Religious Experience.” Wendy Ulrich presents a profound look at how we use our emotional, intellectual, and spiritual experiences to build our faith in God.
- NEWS ON THE WEB: American Psychological Association Issues Apology.
- 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. The FAIR Bookstore is one of the best on-line resources for expanding your Gospel library, and this year’s FAIR Conference presentations will soon be available in audio format. Six items have been discounted for this month’s Journal.
- 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
We’re very pleased to say that we had another successful year at our FAIR conference in Sandy, Utah. The 300 people who attended were able to hear wonderful presentations on archaeology and the Book of Mormon, faith and doubt, DNA and the Book of Mormon, blacks in the LDS Church, Joseph Smith history, and many other topics. All of the presentations were faith affirming and uplifting. The speakers all did a wonderful job, and we appreciate their time and effort.
Hundreds of hours of volunteer time were donated to make this conference a successful one. Many people don’t realize that FAIR does not have a paid staff. Not only did our workers not get paid for their labor, but they even had to pay to get into the conference themselves. They do this so we can keep the cost of our conference at an affordable level.
The conference gives us an opportunity to discuss topics that have been raised by critics of the Church that sometimes concern members of the Church. As usual, our speakers showed that these issues are not only NOT a concern, but in many cases, looking at a full exploration of the topic instead of the limited view presented by our critics, they present a rich and faith-promoting experience.
For the third year in a row, the conference was also covered by many media outlets including the Church News (August 20 issue). For the first time, the conference was rebroadcast through www.ldsaudio.com, which allowed many of our friends overseas to listen in. Audio and video proceedings from the conference will be available shortly.
Thanks for everyone’s help.
Plan your calendar now. The 2006 conference will be on August 3 – 4.
–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.
What I Learned about Life, the Church, and the Cosmos from Hugh Nibley
by Boyd Petersen
At this year’s FAIR Conference, Boyd Petersen gave insights he had gained from being associated with Hugh Nibley for so many years. In this article, which formed much of his presentation at the conference, Petersen lays out the many lessons taught to him through the life a great father, scholar, and saint. Nibley became a legend in his own life, and through Petersen’s eyes we see into that life whose influence is certain to be felt for generations to come.
Read the article:
Reflections on Secular Anti-Mormonism
by Daniel C. Peterson
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been subjected to a steady stream of hostile criticism and attack since its organization. In recent years, however, a new form of anti-Mormonism has appeared, relying not on Biblical proof texting or dredging up quotes from the Journal of Discourses, but rather on more subtle and nonreligious arguments. In his 2005 FAIR Conference presentation, Peterson looks at this new wave of “secular anti-Mormonism” and how this approach and its adherents attempt to refute LDS claims. Secular anti-Mormonism appears to be the preferred approach for those who “leave the Church but can’t leave it alone.”
Peterson looks at the atheistic and secular basis for this newer brand of anti-Mormonism and finds it seriously flawed, both in terms of its assumptions and its ramifications. “Thus, truly consistent secularist critics of Mormonism may have sawed off the limb on which they were sitting.”
Read the article:
Reflections on Secular Anti-Mormonism by Daniel C. Peterson
“Believest thou…?”: Faith, Cognitive Dissonance, and the Psychology of Religious Experience
by Wendy Ulrich
Over the past several years there has been a flurry of anti-Mormon activity attempting to explain the reason so many Latter-day Saints maintain their faith in the face of “obvious, overwhelming evidence” that the Mormon church and faith is a fraud. One increasingly misused phrase is “cognitive dissonance,” which is pressed into service to explain the deep mental confusion and stress which, to anti-Mormon critics, is the only reasonable response to what they see as damning facts disproving Mormonism.
In her 2005 FAIR Conference presentation, Ulrich looks not only at “cognitive dissonance” but the whole idea of faith and spiritual experiences. She notes that “people from many religious traditions have ‘spiritual’ experiences–feelings, insights, premonitions, and encounters which they are left to their own conclusions to decipher.” Human beings must not only deal with these religious experiences, but they must incorporate them into a life filled with complex, painful, and often contradictory experiences.
Ulrich looks at how people cope with these complexities and how they weigh the evidences using emotional, intellectual, and spiritual tools. “While cognitive dissonance theory says we behave primarily to justify our beliefs, faith teach us that both commitment and uncertainty are valuable tools that can be used to clarify our beliefs and increase our trust in God.”
Read the article:
News on the Web: American Psychological Association Issues Apology
FAIR Journal readers may recall reading about the APA statements about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This was first mentioned in the June 2005 FAIR Journal.
According to the BiasFire website, “The official APA publication disparaged a religious faith, employing sweeping negative characterizations including terms such as ‘a corporation with no heart’ bent on using ‘powerful psychological techniques,’ ‘mind control’ and ‘brainwashing.’ The APA ad hoc Committee on Films and Other Media sponsored a presentation on July 31, 2004 of a controversial anti-Mormon film.”
Since that time the APA has issued a long-awaited apology. You can read the history of the issue at the BiasFire website 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 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. Shown below are the authors and titles of new articles that have been linked into the Topical Guide, along with the link to the Topical Guide section where these have been added.
- “Out of the Dust: Finding Things Where Are “Not Supposed to Be”,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2000), 75-77
- Hugh W. Nibley, “Before Adam,” (Provo, UT: FARMS)
- Duane E. Jeffery, “Noah’s Flood: Modern Scholarship and Mormon Traditions,” Sunstone (City Unknown: Sunstone, October 2004), 27-45
- Jerry K. Loveland, “Hagoth and the Polynesian Tradition,” BYU Studies (Provo, UT: BYU)
- Noel B. Reynolds, “The Coming Forth of the Book of Mormon in the Twentieth Century,” BYU Studies (Provo, UT: BYU)
- Steven L. Olsen, “Cosmic Urban Symbolism in the Book of Mormon,” BYU Studies (Provo, UT: BYU)
- Stan Larson, “Conjectural Emendation and the Text of the Book of Mormon,” BYU Studies (Provo, UT: BYU)
- Robert J. Matthews, “The Doctrine of the Resurrection in the Book of Mormon,” BYU Studies (Provo, UT: BYU), 1990
- Russell R. Rich, The Dogberry Papers and the Book of Mormon (Provo, UT: BYU).
- Noel B. Reynolds, “The Gospel of Jesus Christ as Taught by the Nephite Prophets,” BYU Studies, Vol. 31:3 (Provo, UT: BYU, 1991)
- John A. Tvedtnes, “Hebrew Names in the Book of Mormon,” (Mesa, Arizona: FAIR, 14 January 2002)
- Bart J. Kowallis, “In the Thirty and Fourth Year: A GeologistÃs View of the Great Destruction in 3 Nephi,” BYU Studies (Provo, UT: BYU)
- David Clark, “Lehi and El Nino: A Method of Migration,” BYU Studies (Provo, UT: BYU)
- Brent Ashworth, “Martin Harris’s 1873 Letter to Walter Conrad,” BYU Studies (Provo, UT: BYU)
- John L. Sorenson, “The “Mulekites”,” BYU Studies (Provo, UT: BYU)
- Ray C. Hilam, “The Gadianton Robbers and Protracted War,” BYU Studies (Provo, UT: BYU)
FAIR LDS BOOKSTORE
This year’s FAIR Conference was a tremendous experience for those who were able to attend. We are working feverishly to make the 2005 presentations available in printed, audio, and video format for our FAIR members worldwide. Those who were unable to attend the conference will be able to connect with the speakers and attendees as many aspects of the Gospel and LDS apologetics are presented.
A few of the presentations have already been transcribed and are on the FAIR website as described elsewhere in this issue of the Journal. We expect the audio versions of the conference talks to be available during September, and we will be sending a notice to our FAIR Journal subscribers when they appear in the FAIR Bookstore.
The following items are this month’s special discounts.
Salvation in Christ: Comparative Christian Views (15% off)
Analysis of Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon: Part Two 2 Nephi 11 – Mosiah 16 (20% off)
Are We There Yet? (15% off)
Astronomy, Papyrus, and Covenant (20% off)
Brigham Young: Images of a Mormon Prophet (70% off)
Journey of Faith (DVD) (20% off)
We hope you keep increasing and expanding your Gospel knowledge through the many items available at the FAIR Bookstore.
– 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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