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 reflects on Easter and apologetics.
- 2007 FAIR CONFERENCE. The 2007 FAIR Conference has been announced and you can now get tickets.
- LAWSUIT UPDATE. A federal judge throws out the lawsuit against FAIR, but an anti-Mormon ministry presses on.
- ANTI-MORMON DVD. FAIR volunteers work hard to formulate a response to a new anti-Mormon video, and responds with some of their own video.
- ASK THE APOLOGIST. Got a question you are dying to ask? Here’s how.
- FAIR LDS BOOKSTORE. Due to a recent move, the LDS Bookstore will postpone its March specials until April.
- 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
During April we, along with all other Christians, celebrate Easter. It is at this time of the year we think about the Atonement and resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ. In October Conference, 2006, Elder Dallin Oaks spoke about this and reminded us of what it means to have a Savior. He said:
The Savior said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).
Many carry heavy burdens. Some have lost a loved one to death or care for one who is disabled. Some have been wounded by divorce. Others yearn for an eternal marriage. Some are caught in the grip of addictive substances or practices like alcohol, tobacco, drugs, or pornography. Others have crippling physical or mental impairments. Some are challenged by same-gender attraction. Some have terrible feelings of depression or inadequacy. In one way or another, many are heavy laden.
To each of us our Savior gives this loving invitation: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
“For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30).
You can read Elder Oaks’ entire talk here:
Dallin H. Oaks,“He Heals the Heavy Laden”, Ensign, Nov. 2006, 6
Sometimes those of us who participate in apologetics get caught up in the thrill of the argument. It sometimes becomes more important to us to make our point, or win the discussion, than it is sincerely discuss our differences and try to understand each other. This can happen to both LDS and non-LDS.
There is one particular type of anti-Mormon who is very caught up in the thrill of the fight. In their efforts to save us from the falsehoods of Mormonism, they insult and offend, then are surprised to find us not beating down their doors to leave Mormonism and join them. This type of anti-Mormonism ranges from making up and changing quotes in their material, to standing outside of temples and conference buildings and calling our wives, daughters and sisters “whores.” I have to ask myself if Jesus would ever do that. I don’t recall him ever belittling any common believers. I suppose I should be thankful for this type of anti-Mormon, as it gives an easy foil for apologetics. I can’t imagine this brand of anti-Mormonism ever being effective at converting or deconverting.
I hope we never fall into the same trap. I hope we always treat our differences with curiosity and not disdain. I hope we always welcome members who struggle with the commandments, and I hope we always remember the Savior in our conversations.
–Scott Gordon President
2007 FAIR CONFERENCE
On Thursday August 2 and Friday August 3 we will be holding our annual FAIR Conference at the South Towne Exposition Center in Sandy, Utah. Some of our excellent speakers this year include:
- Richard Turley. Richard has recently been involved with new studies and a book on the Mountain Meadows Massacre. He has discovered new information on this tragic event.
- Steven L. Olsen. Assistant managing director of the Family and Church History Department, Steven will be discussing “Are the Church Archives Closed?” Is there really a top-secret collection of Church historical documents that casts doubt on the beginnings of the Church? Can Church history really be studied or do we just get the whitewashed version?
- Larry Morris. Writer and editor with FARMS, Larry will be speaking on “The Cowdery Controversies.” This will include many of the questions related to Oliver Cowdery including issues of Book of Mormon production, his testimony and his witness.
- Brian Hauglid. Brian will be speaking on “Whence the Book of Abraham? A Case Study for Re-Thinking LDS Apologetics.” The Book of Abraham is often the subject of apologetic questions and Brian hopes to answer some of those questions for the believer.
- John L. Sorenson. Professor emeritus of anthropology at BYU, Dr. Sorenson will be talking about the Book of Mormon and “The Trajectory of Book of Mormon Studies.” John is well known for his trailblazing studies in the Book of Mormon, including the theoretical mapping of Book of Mormon locations.
- David Bokovoy. With degrees in near-eastern and Judaic studies, David will be speaking on that great Book of Mormon mystery: understanding Isaiah. His presentation is titled “Isaiah in the Book of Mormon: The Things of Joseph and the Things of the Jews.”
- Craig Foster and Steven Mayfield will be speaking on the history of anti-Mormon protestors.
- Terryl Givens. Terryl is the acclaimed author of two classic apologetic books that every LDS household should own: “By the Hand of Mormon” and “The Viper on the Hearth: Mormons, Myths, and the Construction of Heresy.” He will be speaking on understanding outside traditions on the pre-existence.
- Blake Ostler. A returning presenter for FAIR, Blake will be speaking on spiritual experiences as the basis for belief and commitment.
This is just a small sampling. There will be others speaking, as well. (We wouldn’t dream of leaving out Dan Peterson.) We are also planning a panel discussion on the future of anti-Mormonism. Of course, at this early date we must include the disclaimer that speakers and talk titles are not guaranteed and are subject to change.
This year’s conference is not one to be missed. The regular price to attend this two-day conference is $59.95, but to encourage people to sign up early (and to keep our volunteers from having a heart attack trying to handle last minute sign-ups), you can register for only $49.95 between now and the end of May. This earlybird registration fee is a non-refundable donation, allowing you to attend all sessions on both days for a discounted price. You can find out more information about signing up here:
Mark your calendars now! We look forward to seeing you at the conference!
We were very happy to learn within the past month that the lawsuit filed against FAIR by Utah Lighthouse Ministries was dismissed, with prejudice, by a federal district judge. A very simplified explanation of the lawsuit is as follows. (Those who are following this case, please don’t write in and criticize this explanation. It is difficult to summarize many pages of legal text into a paragraph or two.)
The suit was based on one of our FAIR volunteers creating a Website that was a parody of the Utah Lighthouse Ministries Website, poking fun at the efforts of the Tanners and providing links to information critical of their work. Only 25% of the links on the site pointed to articles at FAIR, with the majority pointing to articles at FARMS. The Website was the work of a FAIR volunteer and not part of the efforts of FAIR. Utah Lighthouse Ministries made the claim that because the Website’s author was a volunteer with FAIR and because FAIR had an online bookstore, the volunteer’s Website didn’t fall under protected speech, but rather under commercial speech. This, according to the ministry, resulted in trademark infringement.
The issues raised in this case were new territory for the Tenth Circuit federal court. After examining all the evidence and hearing all the arguments, the court ruled that there was no commercial use for the volunteer’s Website, that links to FAIR didn’t make it commercial, and that there was no infringement. Consistent with rulings elsewhere in the country, the judge threw out the lawsuit and ruled on all points in favor of the defendants, including FAIR. You can read the court’s full decision in the PDF file at this address:
Being involved in such a lawsuit for the last two years has not been fun. It is tiring and grating to be the brunt of such malicious actions. And when all is said and done, this lawsuit appeared to be nothing but a way to silence critics of Utah Lighthouse Ministries and to shut down FAIR. While admitting all along that they suffered negligible or no monetary damages, the Tanners said early in the lawsuit that they would settle if FAIR paid them over $60,000 and admitted guilt. For an all-volunteer organization like FAIR, such a settlement would be tantamount to dissolving the organization, a fact that the Tanners’ attorney stated he had no problem with.
Even though the judge ruled in favor of the defendants and against Utah Lighthouse Ministries, it doesn’t look like Sandra Tanner is finished. Rather than practice the Christian creed that they preach, last week Utah Lighthouse Ministries formally filed a notice of intent to appeal to the full Tenth Circuit court in Denver.
What is almost surreal in this case is that Utah Lighthouse Ministry is suing FAIR for trademark infringement, a practice they seem to have no problem with doing themselves. The LDS Church owns the trademark to “Book of Mormon,” but http://www.bookofmormon.com is owned by Utah Lighthouse Ministries and redirects to their Website. It is not a parody or a critique; it is a direct and permanent redirect of a trademarked term to their own site, which they readily admit is commercial site.
This lawsuit by Utah Lighthouse ministries follows in the wake of earlier suits filed by Walter Martin against the LDS Church and Kurt Van Gordon against FARMS and SHIELDS. The Tanners seem to be following what is becoming a regular pattern among some anti-Mormons: When you can’t win in the court of public opinion, try to silence your critics in a court of law.
Evidence discovered during the course of the lawsuit indicates that the Tanners received over $30,000 in donations within a few months of filing their lawsuit. We haven’t asked for any donations, but if anyone would like to support FAIR as we move through the upcoming appeals process, we certainly wouldn’t turn away such tax-deductible generosity.
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
We are very happy with the response our volunteers put together on the new anti-Mormon Joseph Smith video that is being distributed around the country. It was amazing to watch the selfless work done by people at
Jesus Christ/Joseph Smith. Replies and resources addressing the Search for the Truth DVD . A collaborative effort of FAIR.
Volunteers spent time going through the DVD point by point and writing responses. Then others looked at their answers and spent time editing and making improvements. Many, many hours were put in by our volunteer team. All of this was done in a very short time period. This was quite a selfless effort.
Additionally, many more questions came into the FAIR Website because of this DVD. Again, our volunteers spent time writing answers to the questions. We are very grateful for the efforts of the FAIR members.
Our response was included in several news reports and is even referenced on the LDS church Website as an outside source.
You can also find a video response to some of the issues raised in the anti-Mormon video at this URL:
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 LDS BOOKSTORE
The FAIR LDS Bookstore is now relocated and all in one place. With this change we now will be able to offer you better service. The bookstore has chosen three great books for this month special. Remember that when you support the FAIR LDS Bookstore you are also supporting FAIR.
You can find these great buys this month when you click “specials” in the FAIR Bookstore.
“Shared Beliefs, Honest Differences,” by Dwight E. Monson (Horizon 1998, hardbound, 240 pages, ISBN 0-882-90633-X)
“Shared Beliefs, Honest Differences” covers a broad spectrum of religious doctrines. It deals with both contrasts and similarities between Mormon and Evangelical beliefs providing a viable basis for communication between those of differing faiths.
Important biblical teachings dealing with “saving grace” and “good works” are thoroughly covered. The author presents the requirements for salvation, pointing out the areas of agreement among all Christians and the core differences in doctrine between LDS teachings and those of other denominations.
The final chapter presents the importance of revelation through prophets, both in the Bible and other writings. The stature of the Bible relative to other scriptures is discussed, and the author shows that living prophets and ongoing revelation indeed exist.
You can purchase this book for $13.99, 30% off its retail price. It is regularly $19.98.
“Oliver Cowdery Scribe, Elder, Witness,” edited by John W. Welch and Larry E. Morris (Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, 2006, paperbook, 436 pages, ISBN: 978-0-8425-2661-6)
Oliver Cowdery’s life stands as a testimony of the restored gospel of Christ. This volume, which includes an award-winning article on the return of the Second Elder, helps readers understand and appreciate the remarkable Oliver Cowdery, renowned as Book of Mormon scribe, recipient with Joseph of restored priesthood power, witness with David Whitmer and Martin Harris of the visit of Moroni, and cofounder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
You can purchase this book for $13.99, 30% off its retail price. It is regularly $19.95.
“I Have an Answer,” by Dr. David Pressley Bowman (Cedar Fort, 2003, paperbook, 308 pages, ISBN 1-55517-708-5)
There are times when well-meaning non-LDS neighbors and friends ask questions about the Church. “I Have an Answer” is the perfect resource to provide the answers they are seeking on dozens of subjects. The book is also a valuable aid for members and missionaries to strengthen their testimonies of the restored gospel.
Written in a smooth, easy-to-read style and organized alphabetically, this book is a must for every LDS family seeking greater understanding of Christ’s gospel.
You can purchase this book for $13.99, 30% off its retail price. It is regularly priced at $19.95.
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
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.