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).
- UPGRADE OF OUR LIST SOFTWARE. We apologize (in the common sense of the word) to our readers for the missing FAIR Journal issues and for the FAIR web site problems.
- MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT. Scott Gordon comments on this year’s FAIR Conference and announces the German language debut of the FAIR Web Site, the FAIR Journal, and the FAIR Wiki.
- NEW ON THE WEBSITE. “Legal Trials of the Prophet: Joseph Smith’s Life in Court.” Joseph had many legal troubles in his lifetime, as documented by Joseph Bentley in this presentation from the 2006 FAIR Conference.
- NEW ON THE WEBSITE. “The Lives of Mormon Women.” Claudia Bushman, in this presentation from the 2006 FAIR Conference, discusses women, feminism, and the Church.
- NEW ON THE WEBSITE. “Adam in Ancient Texts and the Restoration.” In his 2006 FAIR Conference presentation, Matt Roper examines the ways in which Adam has been viewed in various ancient texts, as well as in the documents of the Restoration.
- NEW ON THE WEBSITE. “DNA and the Book of Mormon.” David Stewart, a medical doctor, examines the issues surrounding DNA studies used to condemn the Book of Mormon. Presented at the 2006 FAIR Conference.
- NEW ON THE WEBSITE. “Zina and Her Men: An Examination of the Changing Marital State of Zina Diantha Huntington Jacobs Smith Young.” In his 2006 FAIR Conference presentation, Allen Wyatt examined the changes in marital status for Joseph Smith’s first polyandrous wife.
- 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.
- FAIR LDS BOOKSTORE. Build your library by taking advantage of this month’s specials at the FAIR Bookstore.
- GERMAN FAIR JOURNAL. This month we have included a portion of the July 2006 edition of the GERMAN FAIR 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. All of the FAIR Journal issues since October 2001 are on the FAIR web site.
UPGRADE OF OUR LIST SOFTWARE
Some of you may have noticed that we didn’t send out a FAIR Journal the last two months. That’s because we have been busy upgrading our email list software. With growth comes change and sometimes that change is a bit painful. If you or your friends have tried to sign up for the FAIR Journal recently, the Web site sign-up form hasn’t been working properly. We hope to have that fixed soon.
MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
Our 2006 conference was a great success! The speakers were given high marks for the talks they gave and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. We heard great talks about the Book of Mormon witnesses, the first vision, DNA, the Book of Abraham, The Kirtland Egyptian Papers, the church in Finland, Joseph Smith, LDS women, and many more. We are working hard to get out DVDs, CDs and MP3s so those who weren’t able to make the conference can still enjoy it.
We appreciate those who made donations at the conference to help us cover our costs. The admission we charge does not quite cover the cost of the conference, so I am always a bit nervous around conference time. We hope to cover our costs through donations and book & audio purchases so feel free to donate or purchase from our Web site if you believe we provide a valuable service. We look forward to next year’s conference which is tentatively scheduled for the first Thursday and Friday in August, August 2 & 3.
We are excited to announce our German language web site at:
We also have a German language FAIR Journal which we have named the “FAIR Newsletter”. We hope soon to have the signup working on the German web site, but until then you can sign up for future issues of the FAIR Newsletter (in German) by sending me an email off our contact page:
We have a German language FAIR apologetics group as well. This is a mirror image of our English speaking volunteer group. This is the group that answers questions and provides support. If you would like to join that group, send me an email off our contact page:
If you speak German, we can certainly use your help translating articles into German. Feel free to translate the English-language article that interests you and send it to us in an e-mail.
We would like to do the same thing in other languages. So if you speak Spanish, Portuguese, or another language and would like to assist in this effort, please contact me. We move very slowly as we are in all volunteer organization. But we are always looking for more volunteers who can enthusiastically get the work done.
For those who are able to read German, this issue of the FAIR Journal includes a selection from the first German language FAIR Newsletter which we sent out in July.
–Scott Gordon President, FAIR
FAIR is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, so if you are in the United States, your donation is tax deductible. Without your donations, FAIR would cease to exist. Thank you for your support.
Legal Trials of the Prophet: Joseph Smith’s Life in Court
by Joseph I. Bentley
Critics of the Joseph Smith assert that he could not have been a prophet of God because of some perceived personal weakness or character flaw. One oft-used argument relates to the many lawsuits filed against Joseph from the time he was a young man until his death in Carthage, Illinois.
In his 2006 FAIR Conference presentation, Bentle surveys the approximately “175 total suits involving Joseph Smith–whether as a defendant, plaintiff, witness or judge,” 48 of which, according to Brigham Young, involved Joseph as a criminal defendant. While the details of these cases are fascinating and help us understand the constant stress in Joseph’s life, they serve to illuminate his strength of character rather than any weakness.
Bentley declares, “Joseph was persecuted in courts of law as much as anyone I know, but he was never found guilty of any crime, and his name cannot be tarnished in that way.”
Read the article:
Legal Trials of the Prophet: Joseph Smith’s Life in Court by Joseph Bentley
The Lives of Mormon Women
by Claudia Bushman
Bushman is known for her studies of Mormonism and its relationship to other religions and movements in society. At the 2006 FAIR Conference, Bushman spoke not as an apologist but rather as a keen observer of the LDS women and of their roles and standing, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
As she presents her insights into the subject of LDS women, Bushman asks, “Just where do the women of the Church stand, those self-sacrificing purveyors of service, that silent majority, that crowd that can never be considered a quorum. Is there a female LDS world?” Her answer is yes, and in this talk she identifies what she feels are the principal issues that need to be addressed today.
Read the article:
The Lives of Mormon Women by Claudia Bushman
Adam in Ancient Texts and the Restoration
by Matthew Roper
The LDS view of Adam is often at odds with the views of other Christians. Adam plays a prominent role in uniquely LDS scripture, such as the Book of Moses, and Latter-day Saint beliefs about Adam are shaped by extrascriptural sources, such as the temple endowment and statements by latter-day prophets.
In his 2006 FAIR Conference presentation, Roper looks at extrabiblical writings that provide a wealth of information and stories about the life of Adam and his role in God’s eternal plan. Although these sources are not authoritative, Roper points out the “often striking convergences between the Latter-day Saint scripture and the ancient world.” This is an area where critics of the Church fail to recognize how LDS beliefs fit remarkably well into the larger body of ancient Christian and Jewish literature pertaining to Adam.
Read the article:
Adam in Ancient Texts and the Restoration by Matthew Roper
DNA and the Book of Mormon
by David G. Stewart, Jr.
In recent years anti-Mormon have created a new argument against the Book of Mormon which they insist refutes the LDS belief in the historicity of the Book of Mormon. This new attack, supposedly based on DNA evidence, asserts that recent DNA studies of Native Americans preclude any notion that the Lehites migrated to the western hemisphere in 600 B.C. and thus the very premise of the Book of Mormon is false. Stewart disputes these claims by critics as arising from “simplistic ignorance, erroneous assumptions, and non sequitur logic.”
In this 2006 FAIR Conference paper, Stewart explains how the DNA “evidence” simply cannot be used to draw the conclusions the critics so desparately want. Stewart argues that the DNA “evidence” available today can not only accommodate the Book of Mormon claims, but can do so without the need to appeal to a limited geography theory that assumes Lehite DNA is insignificant or nonexistent in today’s genetic pool.
Read the article:
DNA and the Book of Mormon by David Stewart
Zina and Her Men: An Examination of the Changing Marital State of Zina Diantha Huntington Jacobs Smith Young
by Allen L. Wyatt
Anti-Mormons seeking to convince others that Joseph Smith was not a prophet typically follow a standard, 3-step argument. Step one is to attribute some statement or action to Joseph Smith. Step two is to assert that the statement or action was morally indefensible. Step three is to declare that a person guilty of such as statement or action could not qualify as a prophet of God.
LDS defenders respond by arguing against one or more of the claims. For example, the critic’s “historical fact” may be unsubstantiated, distorted, or demonstrably false. The immorality claim may turn out to be an issue of differing society values, incomplete understanding of the circumstances, or merely the couching of the event in the most unfavorable and highly emotional terms. And finally, the critic often imposes a set of prophetic requirements which God has never stipulated and employs a double standard, overlooking similar flaws and seemingly indefensible acts by the critic’s own accepted prophets. The LDS defender usually finds that the critic’s argument is flawed in several areas.
The issue of Joseph Smith and polygamy is the most often cited by anti-Mormons seeking to discredit Joseph Smith, and the particular instance of Zina Huntington is a favorite of critics.
In his 2006 FAIR Conference talk, Wyatt looks at the complex life of Zina Huntington. He notes that critics often focus on only a few facts, and draw unwarranted conclusions about her situation. Wyatt states, “It should also be clear that many of the commonly accepted so-called facts concerning Zina and her men are nothing more than myth or canonized polemic.” Wyatt discusses Zina’s relationships over the course of her life and shows that the anti-Mormon’s use of Zina to attack the character of Joseph Smith is oversimplified and unjustified.
Wyatt concludes, “Critics have, and certainly will, cherry-pick items to defame Zina, her men, and the Church that they helped to build, but the full record of their lives tells a series of stories that have left an indelible and incredibly faithful mark on history.”
Read the article:
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, you may submit it through the FAIR web site.
Questions sent to FAIR 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
The following are the Topical Guide updates for the month.
Seth R. Payne, “The Latter-day Saint Struggle with Blacks and the Priesthood,” (PDF) (05 May 2006)
Seth Payne, at Yale Divinity School, examines the priesthood ban, the removal of the ban, its implications, and New Testament parallels to the ban.
Daniel K. Judd, “Religion, Mental Health, and the Latter-day Saints,” BYU Speeches
MP3 audio recording. Judd talks about several Utah and LDS statistics, including suicide and divorce rates as well as Prozac use.
John E. Clark, “Archaeology, Relics, and Book of Mormon Belief,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2005), 38-49
Professional archaeologist, John Clark, looks at the state of New World archaeology and how it relates, and supports, the ancient Nephite scripture.
Gordon C. Thomasson, “Out of the Dust: Ancient Steel Sword Unearthed,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2005), 64
Dr. Thomasson reports the recent discovery of an ancient “steel” sword near Jerusalem (and dating to about the time of Lehi).
FARMS, “Out of the Dust: Another Gold Book Found,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2005), 65
A report of the discovery of a gold book from Lehi’s mileiu.
John L. Sorenson, “Ancient Voyages Across the Ocean to America: From “Impossible” to “Certain”,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies(Provo, UT: FARMS, 2005), 5-14
Dr. Sorenson examines the many evidences for ancient transoceanic voyages from the Old World to the New World.
Richard Lloyd Anderson, “Attempts to Redefine the Experience of the Eight Witnesses,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2005), 18-31
LDS historian, Richard Anderson, explorers the currently popular critical argument that the eleven Book of Mormon witnesses did not actually see real plates but that, instead, they simply saw imaginary plates while in a visionary state.
RoseAnn Benson and Stephen D. Ricks, “Treaties and Covenants: Ancient Near Eastern Legal Terminology in the Book of Mormon,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2005), 48-61
Benson and Ricks demonstrate that the Book of Mormon follows authenticly ancient Old World customs regarding treaties and covenants as well as what these covenants mean to the people of God.
Thomas A. Wayment, “The Hebrew Text of Alma 7:11,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2005), 98-103
Wayment examines how Alma 7:11 may be a key in understanding the original language of the Brass Plates which Lehi brought from Jerusalem.
FAIR LDS BOOKSTORE
Now that the bookstore is all settled in after the FAIR Conference and the annual inventory has been taken, we are celebrating by giving some really good deals on three of our items.
You can find these great buys this month when you click “specials” in the FAIR Bookstore.
“Different Jesus?: The Christ of the Latter-day Saints,” by Robert L. Millett, with a foreword and afterword by Richard J. Mouw, Eerdmans Publishing, 2005, 244 pages, ISBN 0-80282-876-0.
Are Latter-day Saints Christian, or do they worship a different Jesus? In this engaging book, Robert Millet clearly explains why Latter-day Saints claim to be Christians and compares their understanding of Jesus with the views of traditional Christian believers.
A leading Mormon scholar who has spent much of his career in conversation with traditional Christians and their writings, Millet discusses what constitutes Christianity and examines how the Latter-day Saints fit or do not fit within that rubric.
“A Different Jesus?” initiates and will foster a significant dialogue between Latter-day Saints and traditional Christians. Of special value are a lengthy chapter that answers some of the most frequently asked questions about Mormonism, a glossary showing how key theological terms are defined by Latter-day Saints, and evangelical scholar Richard Mouw’s foreword and afterword, which help set an agenda for future discussions between these religious traditions.
This book is on sale now for $8.36. This price is 30% off the normal retail price of $11.95.
“Guess Who Wants To Have You For Lunch?: A Missionary Guide to Anti-Mormon Tactics & Strategies,” by Alan Denison and Darryl L. Barksdale, FAIR, 2002, 165 pages, ISBN 1-89303-605-7.
If you have attended a General Conference, you’ve probably seen them. If you have ever attended a temple dedication or open house, you’ve probably seen them. If you’ve ever served a full-time mission, you’ve probably run into them. Some think they’re the Boogeyman incarnate. What do we do with them? How do we handle our investigators or loved ones when they come into contact with anti-Mormon materials? What do we do? What do we say? How do we find answers to the myriad of accusations leveled against the Church? If you have ever asked any of these questions, then this book was written just for you. In it, we will show you the five main reasons why anti-Mormons do what they do, and how they go about doing it. We will explain some of the logical fallacies used to deceive Latter-day Saints, and why their writings are not even accepted by their own scholars. We will teach you how to defend the faith with love to those who are in danger of losing theirs.
This book is on sale now for $8.36. This price is 30% off the normal retail price of $11.95.
“Journey of Faith,” by Peter Johnson (Director), Brigham Young University and Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 2005, DVD video, approx. 90 minutes.
Retrace the steps of Lehi and his family in the groundbreaking documentary. Filmed on location in the Middle East, Journey of Faith chronicles the courage and faith of Lehi’s family with the eye of the camera and the insights of scholars from a broad range of expertise. The film shows the land of Nahom, where Ishmael was buried, and the most likely location for Bountiful, where Nephi built his ship. Insightful and inspiring, Journey of Faith shows how God molded Lehi’s family in the wilderness to become a new people of God.
This DVD video is on sale now for $17.46. This price is 30% of the normal retail price of $24.95.
To see all of our specials in one place, visit this special page:
Thanks for your continued support of the FAIR Bookstore.
– The FAIR Bookstore Staff
GERMAN FAIR JOURNAL
Here is a portion of the German language FAIR Journal for July 2006.
FAIR NEWSLETTER Juli 2006
The Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research
Unter Apologetik [..] versteht man die Verteidigung einer (Welt-) Anschauung, insbesondere die wissenschaftliche Rechtfertigung von Glaubens-Lehrsätzen, und den Teilbereich der Theologie, in dem man sich mit der wissenschaftlich-rationalen Absicherung des Glaubens befasst. [..]
Während es die Funktionen der Apologetik als vernunftgemäße Verteidigung des eigenen Glaubens und der eigenen Weltanschauung auch in vielen anderen Religionen und Weltanschauungen gibt, wird die Bezeichnung Apologetik gewöhnlich nur für die Verteidigung des christlichen Glaubens verwendet.
http://www.wikipedia.de, Stand 10.07.2006
IN DIESER AUSGABE
BOTSCHAFT DES PRÄSIDENTEN. FAIR für Deutschland, Österreich und die Schweiz geht online
FAIR KONFERENZ. Die 8. FAIR Konferenz findet dieses Jahr in Sandy, Utah statt.
NEU AUF DER WEBSITE: Gott hat einen Körper (von Barry Bickmore)
NEU AUF DER WEBSITE: Beweise für das Buch Mormon (von Dr. Daniel C. Peterson)
NEU AUF DER WEBSITE: Ewiger Fortschritt (von Stephen E. Robinson)
NEU AUF DER WEBSITE: Behauptet die Bibel, unfehlbar zu sein? (von Barry Bickmore).
BOTSCHAFT DES PRÄSIDENTEN
Vielleicht haben Sie es schon selbst erlebt: Ein Zeitungsartikel oder eine Fernsehsendung bringt “Informationen” über die Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der Letzten Tage in ein unvorteilhaftes Licht setzen. In so einem Fall warten wir oft darauf, daß die PR/PA-Beauftragten der Kirche den Fehler korrigieren. Aber was tut man, wenn man auf ein Buch stößt, oder ein eMail zugesendet bekommt, das “Enthüllungen” über den Mormonismus verheißt? Was, wenn man selbst Fragen hat, die man nicht beantworten kann, weil einem die Fakten fehlen?
So ging es dieser Tage einigen JAEs, die von einem gewissen Manfred Trzoska angeschrieben wurden, der sie als “Freunde der Wahrheit” bezeichnete, nur um dann zu behaupten, die Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der Letzten Tage informiere nicht aufrichtig, sondern gebe nur gefilterte, zensierte und gefälschte Informationen weiter. Er macht Werbung für die älteste antimormonische Website im Deutschsprachigen Raum und für seine Übersetzungen von antimormonischen Schriften, Großteils aus dem ersten Viertel des 20. Jahrhunderts.
Ist da was Wahres dran? Fälscht die Kirche Informationen? Betreibt sie Zensur? Was ist die Wahrheit?
Hier kommt FAIR ins Spiel: Es ist unser Auftrag, die Angriffe, die gegen die Lehren, die Glaubenspraxis und die Führer der Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der Letzten Tage gerichtet sind, mit gut dokumentierten, leicht lesbaren Texten zu widerlegen.
FAIR verwendet dazu aktuelle Wissenschaft, Kirchenlehren, historische Literatur und gesunde Logik, um solide Antworten zu geben.
Wir sehen unsere Aufgabe nicht darin, andere Gemeinschaften oder Personen anzugreifen, sondern wir bieten verläßliche Informationen an.
FAIR wurde 1997 in den USA gegründet, heute hat unsere Organisation über 300 aktive Mitglieder. Mit dem 10. Juli 2006 ist auch unsere Deutsche Website verfügbar, die von treuen Kirchenmitgliedern aus Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz geführt wird. Das FAIR Journal, die englischsprachige Ausgabe des FAIR Newsletters, hat derzeit über 7000 Abonnenten.
Das Deutschsprachige Projekt fängt klein an: Mit vier eigenen Artikeln und einigen von FARMS, BYU. Natürlich wächst unsere Artikeldatenbank (der Themenführer) mit der Zeit. Manche Artikel werden aus dem Englischen übersetzt (sie stammen von http://www.fairlds.org, unserer englischsprachigen Site), andere werden von unseren Mitgliedern geschrieben.
Sollten Sie auf unserer Site die gewünschte Antwort nicht finden, schreiben Sie uns doch ihre Frage: [email protected] Die Mitglieder unserer Apologetenliste werden sich um eine Antwort für Sie bemühen.
Selbstverständlich wird Ihre eMail vertraulich behandelt.
Hinweisen möchte ich noch auf unsere jährliche FAIR Konferenz. Sie findet nun schon das achte Mal statt, und ich bin mir sicher, dass sie auch dieses Jahr ein Erlebnis wird.
Dieses Jahr sprechen Wayne Arnett, Mike Ash, Joseph Bentley, Matthew Brown, Claudia Bushman, Brant Gardner, Brian Hauglid, Marcus Martins, Steve Mayfield, Kim Östman, Dan Peterson, Matt Roper, David Stewart, Brian Stubbs, George Throckmorton, und Allen Wyatt zu uns (Eine Beschreibung der Sprecher und ihrer Themen finden Sie hier: http://www.fairlds.org/conf06b.html).
Allgemeine Informationen über die Konferenz erhalten Sie hier:
Wir wünschen Ihnen viel Vergnügen und Erbauung beim Besuch unserer Site und hoffen, Sie bei unserer Konferenz willkommen zu heißen.
–Scott Gordon Präsident, FAIR
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.