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 focus on the good in the Church and in the lives of people rather than on the flaws that inevitably exist in an imperfect world.
- CHANGES COMING TO THE FAIR MESSAGE BOARD. As part of the growth of FAIR, the organization has decided to divest itself of the FAIR Message Board. Never fear; they will continue on under a new name and a new management team.
- NEW ON THE WEBSITE. “O that my voice could reach the ears of those uninformed and misinformed.” Suzanne Armitage provides an introduction for the proceedings of an 1886 women’s conference on polygamy.
- 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. This month the FAIR Bookstore is offering three books at special low prices.
- 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.
MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
I had the opportunity of taking a very close look at a mosaic last week. It was in a floor that dated back to Roman times. The picture in the floor was put together using various pieces of colored stones. As I was looking at the many imperfect small stones up close, I was able to see all of their odd shapes and flaws. But when I stepped back, the entire beautiful picture came into focus.
Sometimes I think that happens when looking at the church. We can spend a lot of time focusing on the imperfections in the people, past or present, instead of stepping back and looking at the miracle that was achieved.
Gordon B. Hinckley once said:
“Those who criticize us have lost sight of the glory and wonder of this work. They are so busy finding fault with us that they do not see the greatness of the Lord’s work.From a vast amount of information our critics appear to select and write about those items which demean and belittle some men and women of the past who worked so hard in laying the foundation of this great cause.
“My plea is that as we continue our search for truth, that we look for strength and goodness rather than weakness and failings in those who did so great a work in their time.
“We recognize that our forefathers were human. They doubtless made mistakes. Most of them acknowledged making mistakes. But their mistakes were minor when compared with the marvelous work that they accomplished.
“There was only one perfect man who ever walked the earth. The Lord has used imperfect people in the process of building his perfect society. If some of them occasionally stumbled, or if their characters may have been slightly flawed in one way or another, the wonder is the greater that they accomplished so much.”
I continue to be amazed by the scholarship that supports what Joseph Smith taught. How did a farm boy from upstate New York get anything right? Yet there are scholars today–even non LDS scholars–who talk about and debate those principles that were revealed through Joseph Smith.
I’m sure that all of the church leaders had flaws and even may have held beliefs that were not accurate. Looking at our current wards, we all know there are members who have flaws, and I count as one of those with flaws.
Those of us who are married know that our spouses may have flaws. The question becomes what we focus on. If we focus on the good things, we will see them, and it will lead to a long lasting marriage and happiness. If we focus on the flaws, we will see those, and it will lead to bitterness and divorce.
While looking at that Roman mosaic, I could choose to focus on those broken imperfect stones, or I could step back and see the beautiful picture. It really was my choice. Did I want to look for the beauty or for the flaws.
–Scott Gordon President
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.
You can also contact FAIR via the U.S. Postal Service using the following address. (NOTE: This is a new mailing address for FAIR.)
FAIR P.O. Box 491677 Redding, CA 96049-1677
CHANGES COMING TO THE FAIR MESSAGE BOARD
As FAIR continues to grow and evolve, we make changes to better meet our goals. A major change we will be making within the next week is to divest ourselves of the FAIR Message Board, turning their operation over to one of the current moderators. The Message Board will continue with a new name of Mormon Apologetic & Discussion Board, or MA&D. The URL will be http://www.MormonApologetics.org.
FAIR was born from LDS individuals posting on Internet message boards, so this is a big step for us. But we believe this change will remove the confusion from people’s minds about whether or not FAIR endorses the posts on the message boards, allow more freedom for the posters, and allow FAIR to focus our resources. Message boards are a valuable discussion medium, but the format does not universally appeal to people who come to FAIR looking for answers. FAIR will, in turn, devote our scarce resources to enhancing the FAIR wiki (http://www.fairwiki.org) and providing more international articles.
At this point all decisions and management have been given over to the new MAAD management team. In the very near future the old URL for the message boards (http://www.fairboards.org) will be retired, and the message boards will have a new look and feel. FAIR will maintain a hands-off policy and does not endorse the actions nor the posts on this new message board. Those who currently post on the FAIR message boards won’t need to do anything differently, other than create a bookmark on their computer to the new URL. For a short time we will continue to have a pointer from the FAIR Web site, but after a reasonable amount of time has passed, we will be removing the link.
Given that I am one of those message board junkies, I’m sure that you will still see me occasionally at the new message board. See ya there!
–Scott Gordon President
NEW ON THE WEBSITE
“O that my voice could reach the ears of those uninformed and misinformed”
by Suzanne Armitage
The 19th century practice of polygamy has been one of the most frequently attacked principles of the Restored Gospel. The nature and extent of the practice has often been misunderstood and misrepresented both Latter-day Saints and those outside the Church. Early writings about polygamy tended to be either wildly sensational and highly polemic or else superficial and defensive.
The late 20th century, however, saw LDS polygamy being examined with an attempt at understanding polygamy and polygamous relationships from the point of view of those who participated in it, with particular consideration of the complex and differing experiences of the LDS participants.
Armitage has written an introduction for an important historical document that looks at polygamy from the viewpoint of the Mormon women who practiced it. The proceedings of an 1886 meeting of LDS women is available on the FAIR web site, and it is this document that Armitage summarizes and highlights in her article. Those interested in 19th century polygamy will find Armitage’s article and the proceedings she references to be enlightening and interesting.
Read the article:
“O that my voice could reach the ears of those uninformed and misinformed” by Suzanne Armitage
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.
Daniel C. Peterson, “Nephi and His Asherah,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2000)
Among the ancient Canaanites and Israelites, some believed that Asherah was the heaveny consort of the God “El.” Peterson shows that Nephi’s dream of the tree of life convincingly demonstrates a knowledge of this Asherah and her association with the tree of life, just as the ancients associated Asherah with the sacred tree. All of these things, of course, would not have been known to Americans in the early nineteenth century.
Wm. Revell Phillips, “Metals in the Book of Mormon,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2000)
Wm. Revell Phillips notes some of the highlights of research done in those areas believed to associated with the Lehites’ journey in Arabia. Phillips notes that, as described in the Book of Mormon, ore–for shipbuilding–was avaible in those very locations.
Camille Fronk, “Desert Epiphany: Sariah and the Women in 1 Nephi,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2000)
While there is not a lot of text dedicated to the women of the Lehite party, Camille Fronk examines what we do know of the women, what they might have endured, how they might have reacted to circumstances, and what we know of women’s lives in ancient Arabia.
Noel B. Reynolds, “Lehi as Moses,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2000)
Our understanding of Lehi’s leadership comes through the writings of his son Nephi. While it has been previously noted that Nephi chose to tell the story of his “reign and ministry” (1 Nephi 10:1) in such a way that his readers would see Nephi himself as a second Moses, it has not been much observed that it may have been his father, Lehi, who first employed this device to persuade his descendants of his own divine calling. In this paper Noel Reynolds shows that Lehi had used this device in an attempt to persuade his descendants to accept his difficult instructions and that in portraying himself as a second Moses, Nephi was following a model established at least two decades earlier by his own father Nephi’s small plates were probably written 20 to 30 years after Lehi’s final teachings were given to his family.
John L. Sorenson, “The Problematic Role of DNA Testing in Unraveling Human History,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2000)
What can and can’t DNA studies tell us about the ancestry of human? And how does this relate to what we find in the Book of Mormon?
John L. Sorenson and Brian D. Stubbs, “Was There Hebrew Language in Ancient America?,” JBMS (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2000), 54-63
Dr. Sorenson interviews linguist Brian Stubbs (who specializes in Near Eastern and Native American languages) who has found some interesting paralles between the Hebrew and Uto-Aztecan languges.
Paul Y. Hoskisson, “What’s in a Name?,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2000)
Paul Hoskisson explores the possible Hebrew roots for the name “Nephi.”
FAIR LDS BOOKSTORE
The FAIR LDS Bookstore always tries hard to find the best deals. This month we have three great books on sale.
“Journey of Faith: From Jerusalem to the Promised Land,” edited by S. Kent Brown and Peter Johnson, FARMS, 2006, hardbound, ISBN 0-84252-644-7.
Stark in its appearance grand in its sweep, the Arabian desert rolls out a carpet of contrasts as far as the eye can see–mountains of sand, valleys scooped out by the wind, seasonal pools of water brought to life by brief rains, dark igneous mountains muscling above the parched soil, spindly plants extending their roots for dozens of meters in search of moisture, rocks blackened by millennia of blazing sun.
All of these were the changeless, sleepless companions of Lehi, Sariah, and their little party of travelers for eight years in the wilderness. Their passing, it seems, drew only occasional attention– and the constant eye of God.
The images of Lehi’s desert journey, so hauntingly portrayed in the documentary film “Journey of Faith,” are now in print in this beautiful full-color volume, together with insightful commentary from the scholars whose years of research culminated in this groundbreaking documentary. The book includes a free bonus DVD entitled “A Filmmaking Odyssey: The Making of Journey of Faith.”
Now on sale for $20.96. This is 30% off the retail price of $29.95.
“Joseph Smith: The Man, The Mission, The Message,” by Matthew B. Brown and Val W. Brinkerhoff (photograper), Covenant Communications, 2004, hardbound, 106 pages, ISBN 1-59156-578-2.
Get to know Brother Joseph in this stunning photo-biography that portrays a multidimensional man: his upbringing, his charismatic personality, his devotion to family, his humor, his leadership, and his dedication to his mission and to GodÆs message–even unto martyrdom.
Using text, photographs, and artwork, Brown and Brinkerhoff glean the lesser-known details of Joseph’s life and place them into the context of the time to tell of this American Prophet’s successes, failures, tragedies, and triumphs.
Now on sale for $20.96. This is 30% of the retail price of $29.95.
“Reformed Christians and Mormon Christians: Let’s Talk!,” by Roger R. Keller, Pryor Pettengill, 1986, hardbound, 155 pages, ISBN 0-93346-206-9.
More than a study in comparative religion, this volume is a scholar’s research of the commitments shared by two Christian traditions: Reformed and Mormon. It is the author’s intention to make known the aspects of faith shared by all wings of Christendom, in order that Christen Reformers and Mormons will mutually discover the overlapping precepts of their convictions. The original roots of these faiths are juxtaposed to present kinships, with the resultant outflow of a conciliatory spirit. This study sets forth the view that Christian Reformers and Mormons cannot disparage one another without self-contradiction on the basis that each is committed to prayer, good will, and living love. It is a foundation for unity amidst diversity.
This is not a new book; it was written in 1986 as Dr. Keller was converting from Protestantism to the LDS Church. It is not dated, however, and is a classic in building bridges between faiths.
This is now on sale for $5.90, 80% off the original retail price of $29.50. At this price you can get a new book for a lower price than a used copy at most bookstores.
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
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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To return to the index of past FAIR Journal issues, click here.