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 points out the need for Latter-day Saints to continue to explain their beliefs to many who have distorted views of LDS beliefs and practices.
- NEW ON THE WEBSITE. “Revised or Unaltered? Joseph Smith’s Foundational Stories.” Matthew Brown responds to criticism of Joseph Smith’s First Vision and Book of Mormon accounts.
- 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 to get your 2007 study plan off to a great start.
- 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 sat next to a fellow on an airplane ride to Germany and had a nice conversation with him. He asked why I was going to Germany, and I told him that I was doing some presentations on criticisms of Mormonism and Mormon history. He paused for a long time, then asked, “Aren’t Mormons the ones who still use horse and buggies?” “No, that would be the Amish,” I answered. “Oh, that’s right,” he responded. “Mormons are the ones with all of the wives.”
I had a coworker and friend wish me a merry Christmas and then become embarrassed, saying, “I’m sorry, I forgot you guys don’t celebrate that.”
I was reading a blog on the Internet which included a comment complaining about the Mormons coming around every Saturday morning with the women and children knocking on doors.
I have had numerous people ask if I believe in Christ or if I am Christian, I have been incorrectly told what the Word of Wisdom should and should not include, and I have been asked about which day I go to church, as well as what I am allowed to do on Sunday.
Given the general lack of understanding about the LDS church, it is no wonder that there is confusion about our beliefs and doctrines. We have to remember that many people don’t even know the beliefs of their own church, so they can’t be expected to keep up with our beliefs as well.
This lack of knowledge and understanding of the LDS beliefs creates fertile soil for the spreading of misinformation and anti Mormon propaganda. When I look at the success of the book “Divinci Code,” a story which I also enjoyed, I can’t help but reflect on the fact that much of its appeal is based on ignorance. People seem to love mystery and conspiracy and will often choose to believe the unbelievable because it sounds more interesting than that truth.
The Church is appearing in the media more and more. With Mitt Romney and Harry Reid in high-profile political positions, and with more and more LDS business leaders being highlighted in books and in the press, we can probably anticipate more books, TV characters, and articles which discuss LDS beliefs. We can also expect more misinformation, misquotes, conspiracy theories, and outright falsehoods being put forward as the truth. With this in mind, we must always remember that much of this misinformation is based on ignorance and not malice. We have to be thick skinned and respond with kindness if we respond at all. We also need to work at getting our own message out. If we don’t let our friends know what we believe, they will rely on the media, which may portray our beliefs inaccurately.
In Mosiah 15:28 it says, “the time shall come that the salvation of the Lord shall be declared to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.” I know I get excited as the Church missionary program moves into new lands. But, while the church continues to grow, there are many who haven’t heard the gospel message in our own lands. Many don’t even have a rudimentary understanding of our faith. Based on my experience on the plane ride and with my own friends, we have a long way to go.
–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
NEW ON THE WEBSITE
“Revised or Unaltered? Joseph Smith’s Foundational Stories”
by Matthew B. Brown
It is well known that Joseph Smith wrote and spoke about his early spiritual experiences many times. These writings and recitations were given to various audiences and focused on differing aspects of those experiences. Over the years, many critics of the Church have tried to use these various stories whose details differ to prove that the events never occurred at all and that Joseph Smith was merely inventing stories to bolster his claims of divine guidance and a divine mission.
In this transcription of his presentation at the 2006 FAIR Conference, Matthew Brown looks at some of these stories and shows how they are consistent and that the Prophet was not not altering his storyline over time. Brown reviews common attacks by critics against the Book of Mormon and First Vision accounts and defends these foundational stories.
Read the article:
Revised or Unaltered? Joseph Smith’s Foundational Stories by Matthew Brown
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.
Cameron J. Packer, “Cumora’s Cave,” JBMS (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2004), 50-57
Cameron Packer examines the various early LDS accounts that relating the experience of those who claimed to have entered a cave in the NY Hill Cumorah wherein numerous plates where hidden.
Michael J. Dorais, “The Geological History of the Hill Cumorah,” JBMS (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2004), 136-43
How old is the Hill Cumorah? Of what is it constructed? Michael Dorais examines these and other geological questions regarding the NY Hill Cumorah.
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.
John E. Clark, “Archaeology and Cumorah Questions,” JBMS (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2004), 144-51
Is the Hill Cumorah near Palmyra, New York, the same as the one mentioned in the Book of Mormon? If not, then why do LDS refer to it as the “Hill Cumorah.” Is there any evidence that suggests that upstate New York is not the land of the Nephites and Lamanites? John Clark answers these and other questions.
Robert A. Rees, “Irony in the Book of Mormon,” JBMS (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2003), 20-31
Robert Rees demonstrates that the Book of Mormon contains examples sophisticated irony. It seems unlikely that some of Joseph’s meager education would have included such examples in the Book of Mormon.
James T. Duke, “Word Pairs in the Book of Mormon,” JBMS (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2003), 32-41
James Duke makes it apparent that the Book of Mormon contains distinctive word-pair combinations in true ancient Semitic fashion.
FAIR LDS BOOKSTORE
The bookstore wants to thank you all for the support that has been given to the FAIR. Your support for the Bookstore really does help FAIR. This month’s specials are:
“Different Jesus?: The Christ of the Latter-day Saints,” by Robert L. Millett, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans Publishing, 2005, softbound, 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.
Intended to inform rather than to convince or persuade, “A Different Jesus?” clears away misconceptions and doctrinal distortions that characterize more polemical works about Mormonism. Millet points out the many beliefs that Latter-day Saints hold in common with traditional Christians, yet he also emphasizes differences where they exist.
“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 normally retails for $11.95, but is now on sale at $8.36, 30% off for the regular price.
“Receiving Gifts of the Spirit,” by Matthew B. Brown, American Fork, Utah: Covenant Communications, 2005, hardbound, ISBN 1-59811-028-4.
From respected gospel scholar and best-selling author Matthew B. Brown, comes an enlightening and thought-provoking book on the amazing gifts of the Spirit that all members of the Church are entitled to enjoy, but often do not.
Interesting and illuminating, this book offers historical and scriptural information on spiritual gifts, identifies and explains the different gifts available to us, provides inspiring, real-life examples, and encourages readers to begin claiming their own divinely appointed gifts that our Heavenly Father has lovingly provided to make our earthly and spiritual lives more complete.
This book normally retails for $19.95, but is now on sale for $13.96, 30% off the regular price.
“Teachings and Commentaries on the New Testament,” by Ed J. Pinegar and Richard J. Allen, American Fork, Utah: Covenant Communications, 2005, hardbound, ISBN 1-59811-014-4.
The Old Testament is the foundation of the Holy Scriptures. Though our personal scriptural study is incomplete without the knowledge provided by this canonized book, studying and understanding the Old Testament can often be difficult. Now with the help of Ed J. Pinegar and Richard J. Allen, you’ll look forward to Old Testament study as you gain a deeper understanding of the earliest of our standard works.
This book normally retails for $39.95, but is now on sale for $27.95, 30% off the regular price.
To see all of our specials in one place, visit this special page:
Happy Holidays, and 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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