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 encourages us to use our gifts to strengthen those who are struggling in their faith.
- EVENT ANNOUNCEMENT: The Claremont Graduate University School of Religion is sponsoring a conference on Joseph Smith.
- NEW ON THE WEBSITE: “Do We Have the Potential to become Like God?” Michael Fordham identifies Biblical evidence that supports the LDS view of deification.
- NEW ON THE WEBSITE: “Historic Archaeology and the Geographic Imperative.” John Tvedtnes examines the role of geography in Biblical archaeology and discusses its importance for Book of Mormon archaeology.
- NEW ON THE WEBSITE: “As Things Stand at the Moment: Responding to Martha Beck’s Leaving the Saints.” Boyd Petersen gave the 2005 FAIR Conference attendees an update on some issues surrounding Beck’s book.
- RESOURCES ON THE WEB: Kevin Christensen discusses Margaret Barker’s presentation at the recent Joseph Smith Conference in Washington D.C.
- 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.
- 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
The Gospel teaches us that each of us is blessed with different gifts. This is pointed out clearly in the scriptures. The Lord has said,
“For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God. To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby. To some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world. To others it is given to believe on their words, that they also might have eternal life if they continue faithful.” (Doctrine and Covenants 46:11-14)
This point was clearly taught to me this week as I talked with one man who obviously had great faith in Jesus Christ and in the truthfulness of the gospel, but who has a spouse who is struggling. The man was clearly in pain. He couldn’t understand why his wife struggled with her faith but wanted what was best for her.
I have spoken with many people who have had their faith shaken, but who want to believe. Many are intelligent, articulate, well-read, and faithful, but something has happened in their lives. Often they have been confronted with an issue that has forced them to give up some long cherished belief. This sometimes puts their entire faith into question. At other times they just need reassurance.
Some people have no difficulty believing. They seem to accept all and can’t understand why others have doubts. They look at organizations such as FAIR and FARMS and consider them a waste of time. For them, anti-Mormon themes have never been an issue, and they scratch their heads in puzzlement that people would ever want to talk about them.
But we need to remember that people do have different gifts. I wish that everyone had the gift to know without a doubt that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true, but they don’t. We need to be patient with those whose faith is still weak, who have difficulty believing, or whose faith simply needs additional support. They sometimes need to hear the testimony of others, as well as reasoned arguments and evidences to support their testimonies.
I am continually reminded of the father who brought his ill son to Jesus to be healed. In Mark 9:23-24 we read:
“Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”
I hope that all of us will develop and use our gifts to strengthen the faith of our brothers and sisters in the Gospel.
–Scott Gordon President, FAIR
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Claremont Graduate University Positioning Mormonism Conference
The Claremont Graduate University School of Religion is sponsoring a conference on “Joseph Smith and the Prophetic Tradition: A Comparative Inquiry.” The conference will be held on October 24-26. Speakers include Kathleen Flake, Terry Givens, Peter Blodgett, H. Russell Smith, Philip Barlow, and Kathryn Daynes, among others.
For more information:
Do We Have the Potential to become Like God?
by Michael W. Fordham
A common attack by anti-Mormons is the LDS belief in deification and the doctrine of exaltation to godhood. Often the critics will misrepresent LDS doctrine and talk about man becoming independent of God or taking the place of God the Father. Since deification is a doctrine foreign to most Protestants and to many other Christians despite its ancient roots and Biblical underpinnings, critics are able to depict the Church and its doctrines in the most unfavorable light. Fordham’s brief paper deals with the Bible passages that support the LDS notion of exaltation and becoming “like God.”
Read the article:
Do We Have the Potential to become Like God? by Michael W. Fordham
Historic Archaeology and the Geographic Imperative
by John A. Tvedtnes
One of the most frequent attacks on the Book of Mormon is the archaeology attack. That is, the anti-Mormon claims that since, unlike the Bible, there is no archaeological evidence for the Book of Mormon, the Book of Mormon is not historical. In the process of setting up such an argument, the detractor typically begins by point out how much of the Bible is “verified” by archaeological evidence. The implication, if not actual assertion, is that all books claiming to be historical should be archaeologically verifiable. With the Book of Mormon believers unable to point to the city of Zarahemla or Bountiful, the anti-Mormon declares victory leaves the field of battle.
In his paper, Tvedtnes examines the claims and underlying assumptions being made about Biblical and New World archaeology. By looking at just how difficult Biblical archaeology can be and how archaeologists rely on geographic and linguistic evidences to painstakingly identify Biblical sites and artifacts, Tvedtnes shows that the current lack of archaeological identification of specific Book of Mormon sites in the New World is exactly what one would expect. Until the geography of the Book of Mormon can be determined, it is unlikely that specific New World Book of Mormon sites will be confirmed.
Read the article:
Historic Archaeology and the Geographic Imperative by John Tvedtnes
As Things Stand at the Moment: Responding to Martha Beck’s Leaving the Saints
by Boyd Petersen
Although most of the furor over Martha Beck’s book has died down, the initial splash produced ongoing ripples that still are impacting the lives of those associated with Martha and her family. At the 2005 FAIR Conference, Petersen spoke briefly about the status of the book and gave further insights into the foundational claims and details of Beck’s publication. This part of Petersen’s presentation has been transcribed as a separate document from his main conference talk.
Read the article:
Response to Leaving the Saints by Boyd Petersen
Plain and Precious Things Restored: Why Margaret Barker Matters By Kevin Christensen
Margaret Barker, English Old Testament Scholar and Methodist Preacher, presented her views on the religious and cultural environment of Judaism in 600 B.C. Christensen discusses how her insights help understand that the Book of Mormon appears to have its origins in the time and place it claims for itself.
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. For each item, the Topical Guide menu selections are shown, along with the link to the Topical Guide section where these have been added. The link will show you the new addition in the context of other resources on the same topic.
Here are the Topical Guide updates for this month.
- John A. Tvedtnes, Historic Archaeology and the Geographic Imperative
- Michael W. Fordham, Do We Have the Potential to become Like God?
- David L. Paulsen, “The Doctrine of Divine Embodiment: Restoration, Judeo-Christian, and Philosophical Perspectives,” BYU Studies (1995-96)
- Ronald K. Esplin, “Joseph, Brigham and the Twelve: A Succession of Continuity,” BYU Studies (1981)
- William G. Hartley, “The Priesthood Reform Movement, 1908–1922,” BYU Studies (1973)
- D. Michael Quinn, “The Council of Fifty and Its Members, 1844 to 1945,” BYU Studies, Vol. 20:2 (1980)
If you manage your own e-mail list, and wish to include some of these thoughts or articles on your list, contact us at webmaster. We have a fairly liberal policy of using our material as 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 website (www.fairlds.org).
FAIR LDS BOOKSTORE
Our FAIR LDS Bookstore contains many great deals for those interested in apologetic topics, such as LDS history, doctrinal reference, and religious scholarship. Be sure to visit the FAIR LDS Bookstore to see what is available now:
– 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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