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 looks at recent attacks on the LDS faith by anti-Mormon Bill Keller and looks to their source.
- 2007 FAIR CONFERENCE. The 2007 Annual FAIR Conference is only days away. Demand for conference seating is high, so sign up today to attend!
- NEW ON THE WEBSITE. Dr. Dean Byrd reviews “No More Goodbyes” by Carol Lynn Pearson and examines its views on homosexuality from his professional vantage point.
- RESOURCES ON THE WEB. In recent weeks there has been an ongoing debate between Orson Scott Card and Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
- RESOURCES ON THE WEB. Historian Richard Turley has written an article on the Church’s website about the Mountain Meadows Massacre. 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 WIKI. The FAIR Wiki is an excellent resource for someone looking for a summary of an issue and for pointers to more detailed information.
- FAIR LDS BOOKSTORE. Coming to the FAIR Conference? You’ll want to pay heed to this month’s bookstore special.
- 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
Anti Mormon bigotry is alive and well.
First, let me say that there are wonderful Christian and non-Christian people who work hard to improve their lives, be good examples, and follow God. But there is a small group of theological extremists who do their best to spread their bigotry to others. They build Websites, send out newsletters, are quoted in press articles, and appear on national radio and television. As much as I dislike giving them any credit, this small group of people seem to have an impact in shaping the beliefs of those around us, or at least in shaping the dialogue related to Mormonism.
Recently I had the privilege of being a guest on the Alan Colmes radio show along with the Reverend Bill Keller. Mr. Keller made a number of statements about my beliefs that were wrong as well as statements that portrayed members in a negative light. Normally I would simply write Reverend Keller off as an irrelevant figure. But he claims to operate the largest interactive Christian Website, to send his e-mails to 2.4 million people, to receive 40,000 emails per day, and to receive over $2 million last year in donations. So he seems to have reach and impact.
Here are a few of the comments he made on that show and on his subsequent television show broadcast on Thursday, June 21. (These are actual quotes, transcribed as best I could.) He did his television show while wearing temple garments on the outside of his clothing.
- “LDS is a satanic cult.”
- “There are no black bishops in the Mormon cult.”
- “Mormons believe that non-Mormons are abominations.”
- “One of the problems with the Mormon cult is that they are liars.”
- “Like the inspiration of this satanic cult, Satan himself, they’re liars.”
- “Mormons are people who have been inspired by Satan–literally.”
- “They’re just unconscionable liars.”
- “When you challenge a Mormon on their beliefs, they will flat out lie to you.”
- “Mr. Romney, like all members of his satanic cult, is a liar. A liar!”
One might get the idea that Mr. Keller doesn’t trust Mormons and doesn’t want other people to trust them either. Mr. Keller also had some things to say about the garments he was wearing on the outside of his clothes.
- “If you talk to a Mormon about their temple garments, their magical underwear, they will tell you they don’t exist. Well guess what people, they do exist. I’ve got ’em on.”
- “Where I got this set–I wouldn’t tell you because the person who they would be traced back to would be literally, literally his life would be in danger.”
- “They have this fantasy that when they wear this satanic underwear that they are invincible.”
- “For the temple Mormon who may be watching tonight, I don’t think I could do anything as egregious in his eyes, including slitting the throat of his child in front of his eyes, than to do what I am doing tonight and exposing the satanic temple garments of the Mormon cult to the world.”
The Reverend Keller isn’t the only one with negative and inaccurate views about Mormons and Mormonism. The so-called Street Preachers who carry signs and shout outside of the conference center every six months during General Conference, as well as during the various LDS pageants, make similar claims. There are reports of some of them calling brides “Mormon whores” as they have exited the temple on their wedding day. The validity of those reports was brought home to me when a woman I know was called a “Mormon whore” by one of those good Christian Street Preachers as she exited a particularly uplifting conference session. One sign they have carried claims “Mormonism is worse than child molesting homosexuals.” You can see a photo of this sign at
But, where do people get their false ideas about Mormonism? When asked this question Bill Keller stated, “I’ve got a theological education from Liberty University. We studied the cults of the world.”
A survey done by FAIR seven years ago showed that 65% of clergy surveyed sponsored classes or firesides that discussed Mormonism, but that less than 4% of those actually invited a Mormon in to discuss their beliefs. You can see a summary of the survey results at
When I visit our local Christian bookstore, shelves are filled with books and videos on Mormonism. Usually filed under the category of “cults” or “comparative religions,” these products are filled with mischaracterizations of what Mormons believe. Most of these books and videos are done by professional anti-Mormons.
The irony of the situation is that some of the Christian denominations that seem to support this campaign of misinformation suffered from persecution, discrimination, or racism in their own past. For instance, it wasn’t long ago that break-away Protestant religions were vilified, discriminated against, and persecuted by those religions from which they were breaking away. Yet now those previously persecuted religions seem to be practicing what they once suffered at the hands of others.
Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, is currently engaged in an online debate with Orson Scott Card as to whether or not Mormons are Christian. I would suspect that at least part of his preparation came from reading books filled with inaccuracies written by people like the Reverend Bill Keller. (Or, at the least, Reverend Keller and Dr. Mohler were “informed” about Mormonism by reading the same books–after all, both individuals were theologically trained in seminaries that provide classes on various cults.) Indeed, in the survey of Christian clergy conducted by FAIR, it was the anti-Mormon books that were suggested as the best place to learn about Mormonism. How can one even engage in a conversation about Mormonism when the source information is mostly an inaccurate representation of our beliefs and a disdain for our members?
My hope is that my Christian brothers and sisters in other denominations will stop supporting bigotry and become more discerning about the company they keep and the books that they read. I also hope that the journalists who write about Mormonism will begin to recognize bigotry for what it is and expose it as such in the national conversation about Mormonism.
–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
2007 FAIR Conference
You won’t want to miss this FAIR conference. We will be discussing Solomon’s temple, Mountain Meadows, The Book of Abraham, Oliver Cowdery, Book of Mormon research, receiving a spiritual witness and much more. The speakers are all topnotch. Many of them are the authors of the books and articles that interest you.
Come to the conference to meet and talk with the speakers and maybe even pick up a signed copy of their books. If you haven’t signed up yet, hurry and do it now while there are still available seats.
This year during the Thursday session of the conference we will also be showing a special video “Nobody Knows: The Untold Story of Black Mormons.” Also being shown at the conference will be a video on DNA in the New World and a video response to “The Bible vs the Book of Mormon” video from Living Hope Ministries.
Read more about the conference and register to attend at
Review of “No More Goodbyes”
by A. Dean Byrd
The issue of homosexuality is a sensitive and nearly always devisive topic. Frequently people on both sides of the debate have strong feelings about whether homosexuality is morally wrong, whether sexual orientation is an individual choice, whether people can or should be “cured” from homosexuality, how homosexual relationships should be explained to children and youth, and whether society should be accepting of homosexual relationships as a valid and protected lifestyle.
In his reveiew of Carol Lynn Pearson’s “No More Goodbyes: Circling the Wagons Around Our Gay Loved Ones,” Dr. Dean Byrd looks at its approach to this important issue. Byrd points out that in both approach and content, the book suffers from some significant problems.
Relating to his first reading of the book, Byrd states, “Well written, a plea for compassion for those who suffer, but woefully biased against those who have successfully made their way out of homosexuality.” His second reading of the book, however, left a different impression. He says, “A second reading of Pearson’s book was like reading an entirely different manuscript and was quite disturbing.” Byrd goes on to note, “Sadness themes were overpowered by frustration and anger themes. Scientific findings were misinterpreted time and time again. The dissension from Church doctrine and the attacks on Church leaders were not few.”
For those for planning to read Pearson’s book, this review will provides an interesting and important backdrop for the work, regardless of one’s personal opinions about homosexuality.
Read the article:
Review of “No More Goodbyes” by A. Dean Byrd
RESOURCES ON THE WEB: CARD/MOHLER DEBATE
Debates between Latter-day Saints and their critics is nothing new. Such confrontations began in the very earliest days of the Restoration and have continued for nearly two centuries. Some debates have been civil and respectful, others have been less so, and some have been little more than verbal brawls. In recent years a new venue has appeared in which these debates can appear: the Internet blog.
Orson Scott Card has been having an ongoing exchange and debate with Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. This is taking place on the beliefnet “blogalogue” site. The postings of Card and Mohler are on separate pages, but you can move through the chain of postings beginning at any point.
Read the debate from the beginning:
RESOURCES ON THE WEB: TURLEY WRITES ON THE MOUNTAIN MEADOWS MASSACRE
The Mountain Meadows Massacre was a tragic event in LDS history. Critics have long used Mountain Meadows as a argument against the truth claims of the Church and as evidence that Brigham Young was neither a prophet nor a godly man.
Richard Turley, a respected historian and Managing Director of the Family and Church History Department, has written a brief summary of the massacre. The Church has added this new article by Turley to its Web site. It gives a clear explanation of the Mountain Meadows Massacre and the events leading up to it.
Read the article.
The Mountain Meadows Massacre by Richard Turley, Ensign, September 2007.
You should note that Brother Turley will be a speaker at this year’s FAIR Conference and will be speaking on the Mountain Meadows Massacre. This is another excellent reason to be sure to register to reserve a place at the conference!
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 FAIR Wiki project was started in 2006 to provide a more flexible and searchable resource for Latter-day Saints and others to get answers to Gospel questions. The Wiki is by design always a “work in progress,” with many editors at FAIR contributing to articles on a daily basis. You can access the FAIR Wiki at:
FAIR LDS BOOKSTORE
The FAIR LDS Bookstore staff is preparing for annual book sale associated with the FAIR Conference. The massive inventory of high quality LDS books that are available (and discounted!) at the Conference is something that you won’t want to miss. Be sure to register for the FAIR Conference and come prepared to meet the speakers and authors and to take home a copy of their books. Don’t forget to have the authors sign their books for you!
If you want to browse online, you can use the following link to jump directly to our Bookstore index.
If you are coming to the FAIR Conference, we hope you’ll make time to stop by the bookstore. If you print out this issue of the FAIR Journal and bring this particular page with you, you can get an additional 10% off of any single bookstore item. (This offer is good for in-store purchases at the FAIR Conference only. It is not good for online purchases.)
We look forward to seeing you at the FAIR Conference!
–FAIR Bookstore Volunteers
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.