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. The 2008 FAIR Annual Conference is only a week away, and this year FAIR plans to offer streaming audio access for most of the Conference.
- FAIR FUNDRAISING. If you would like to help FAIR in its work to provide “well-documented answers to criticisms of LDS (Mormon) doctrine, belief and practice,” we encourage you to contribute through the FAIR web site.
- NEW ON THE WEBSITE: Michael Ash has written a new article dealing with anti-Mormon argument pertaining to horses being mentioned in the Book of Mormon.
- RESOURCES ON THE WEB: Meridian Magazine published an article by John Tvedtnes that discusses non-LDS scholars’ use of the Book of Mormon.
- RESOURCES ON THE WEB: Meridian Magazine published a summary of the FAIR resources relating to suicide rates in Utah and the critics’ use of in attacking The Church of Jesus Christ.
- RESOURCES ON THE WEB: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has created a new web site to respond to questions about polygamy.
- RESOURCES ON THE WEB: Biology professor Steven Peck blogs on why the Lamanite DNA issue is irrelevant to the Book of Mormon claims.
- 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. Links to many new and changed articles are included in this issue.
- FAIR YOUTUBE VIDEOS. FAIR has had a presence on youtube.com for several months and new video clips are added frequently.
- FAIR LDS BOOKSTORE. Visit the FAIR Bookstore at the FAIR Conference to build your apologetic library.
- 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
Our 2008 FAIR Conference will be held on August 7 & 8 at the Southtowne Exposition Center in Sandy, Utah. We only have a few seats still available, so sign up now at
If you know you won’t be able to attend, you may still have access to the live conference sessions! We are going to set up audio streaming (and possibly some video streaming) over the Internet. The system is a closed system, so it will require you to sign up for the feed. Sign up by sending an email to
If the streaming works to your satisfaction, we would hope that you will make an after-the-fact $25 donation to FAIR to help cover our costs. We aren’t going to charge up-front for this as the streaming this year will be a test and we may run into bugs. Subscribers may not receive all sessions of the conference, however. A few presenters may have copyrighted or restricted materials that cannot be broadcast.
The FAIR Conference has been announced in a number of media, including the Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News:
FAIR gathering to put positive light on LDS, Deseret News, July 26, 2008
An important development for Mormon Studies has been the creation of The Joseph Smith Papers Project. Dr. Ronald Esplin, head of The Joseph Smith Papers Project, will be speaking at this year’s conference and he will be discussing the Project. You can read more about this exciting development at:
This year’s FAIR Conference features a great lineup of speakers who will be addressing a wide range of topics: the Book of Mormon, temples, black Mormons, the Joseph Smith Translation, philosophy and Mormonism, and many more.
We are looking forward to seeing you next week!
–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.
FAIR P.O. Box 491677 Redding, CA 96049-1677
NEW ON THE WEBSITE: Horses in the Book of Mormon
by Michael R. Ash
One of the most common arguments made by critics against the Book of Mormon is that it contains anachronisms that argue against its ancient and Western Hemispheric claims. Of the various anachronisms claimed by the critics, probably the most common is the reference to horses in the Book of Mormon. Latter-day Saints have responded to this many times, and the FAIR Topical Guide has a number of articles that address this specific criticism. In his recent paper, Ash lays out the two primary responses to this attack and gives some impressive supporting evidence.
The first response is that the word “horse” in the English Book of Mormon may not refer to the animal, Equus Caballus. A universal practice of explorers and settlers has been to give familiar names to unfamiliar animals and plants. This was likely to have been done by the Nephites and could explain how the word made its way into our modern Book of Mormon. Similarly, Joseph Smith could have translated a Nephite word as “horse” when he encountered in the text an animal having a similar form or function to the horse.
A second response is that there may indeed have been horses in the Western Hemisphere during the Book of Mormon time frame. We know from excavations that horses existed in the Americas long before the arrival of the Nephites, and it could very well be that some survived among the pre-Columbian civilizations. Some evidence exists that supports this contention.
Read the article:
Horses in the Book of Mormon by Michael Ash
RESOURCES ON THE WEB: NON-LDS SCHOLARS AND THE BOOK OF MORMON
John A. Tvedtnes is an internationally recognized LDS scholar with many decades of experience in the fields of Near East studies, Book of Mormon, anthropology, and other related disciplines. During approximately four decades of working with both LDS and non-LDS scholars in areas related to the Book of Mormon, Tvedtnes has seen how some non-LDS scholars have used and referenced the Book of Mormon in their classes and papers.
Tvedtnes notes that within the text of the Book of Mormon there are compelling evidences of ancient Semitic influence. Such evidences include grammatical structures, word usage, and proper nouns. The non-LDS use of the Book of Mormon, however, does not mean that the scholars accept, or even have seriously considered, the LDS claims for the transmission and translation of the Book of Mormon. But Tvedtnes observes that the range of views expressed by non-LDS scholars “ranges from those who reject the book as scripture yet find it a worthwhile topic of scholarly discussion to those who acknowledge the Nephite record as an authentic ancient text.”
Read the article:
John Tvedtnes, “Non-LDS Scholars and the Book of Mormon”, Meridian Magazine
RESOURCES ON THE WEB: SUICIDE RATE AMONG MORMONS
The Church of Jesus Christ has a strong reputation for blessing the lives of its members, not only spiritually but also temporally. Latter-day Saints are frequently reported to be healthier, to live longer, to have stronger families, and to be happier than the population as a whole. Latter-day Saints attribute these blessings to the restored Gospel and the principles taught by living prophets and apostles. To respond to this, anti-Mormons look for statistics that they feel show that the Church of Jesus Christ has a negative effect on its members. Once such statistic that is often reported is that the suicide rate in Utah is significantly higher than the national average and that this is best explained by the pressures exerted by the Church on its members.
This Meridian article is a compilation and summary of some of the FAIR resources relating to this issue.
Read the article:
Suicide rate among Latter-day Saints in Utah—Critics charge that the suicide rate in Utah is higher than the national average, and that this demonstrates that being a Latter-day Saint is psychologically unhealthy. (Link)
RESOURCES ON THE WEB: CHURCH WEB SITE ON POLYGAMY
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has created a web site to respond to the issue of polygamy. The web site includes a series of bullet points that respond to common misconceptions and questions. It also has a video clip of President Hinckley speaking on the subject. Links are provided to other areas of the Church web site that deal with related issues.
Polygamy (Plural Marriage), lds.org
RESOURCES ON THE WEB: WHY THE LAMANITE-DNA QUESTION IS IRRELEVANT
Steven Peck, a biology professor at BYU, has a blog entry entitled “Why the Lamanite-DNA Question is Irrelevant (and why this means you should believe in evolution).” Peck discusses why “missing Lamanite DNA” is exactly what we would expect to find no matter how large the population sample. In response to Simon Southerton’s position, Peck says that “losing a lost tribe just isn’t that hard.”
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 allow 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:
This month the FAIR wiki focuses attention on wiki articles that have been updated. Each month hundreds of changes are made in the wiki as new information is incorporated, errors are found and corrected, and new topics are added. The following are only a few of the many wiki entries that have been modified this month.
“Mormonism and science.” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints seldom takes an official position on issues of science. Since the time of Joseph Smith, Latter-day Saints have believed that both religious and scientific truth should be sought and studied and that all true principles can ultimately be reconciled. There are times, however, when critics of the Church of Jesus Christ try to use scientific findings and theories to attack the Church, often by demanding that Latter-day Saints adopt a specific position that the critic feels confident in attacking. At other times Latter-day Saints may find that his or her personal beliefs relating to a peripheral Gospel issue seem to be in conflict with new scientific discoveries or theories. This wiki article addresses some of the basics related to religion and science and points to resources that deal with specific issues.
“Joseph Smith’s ‘treasure hunting’ trip to Salem.” Critics of Joseph Smith occasionally bring up Joseph Smith’s trip to Salem, Massachusetts, as an example of a failed prophecy. The evidence, however, shows that this was not a prophecy but simply an effort on the part of Joseph and other Church leaders to help alleviate some of the financial burdens on the Church.
“Will ‘endless punishment’ last forever?” Anti-Mormons have attacked the LDS interpretation of “endless punishment” as being in conflict with the teachings of the Bible. This wiki article has updated material responding to those charges.
“Blacks and the priesthood/Pre-existence.” This wiki article discusses various anti-Mormon claims about the LDS view of black members and the priesthood, specifically charges relating to the pre-existence.
FAIR YOUTUBE VIDEOS
Ever since “The God Makers” was published in the early 1980’s, critics of the Church have dominated the multimedia market. They have continuously produced and promoted anti-Mormon videos from that time until now. Because of this stronghold, a person looking for information about the Church of Jesus Christ would quickly come across well-presented criticisms that were professionally produced. To rebut these claims, Latter-day Saints have primarily used pen and paper to write reviews which were published in scholarly venues. This made it difficult to reach the same vast audience the critics were able to reach in a short period of time.
Because of this, FAIR saw the necessity of providing videos that state our position as well as rebut some of the critics’ claims. To level the playing field, FAIR has created a site on YouTube that will provide videos on scholarly material, rebuttals to criticisms, evidences of the Church, past FAIR conferences, and much more.
This months featured videos:
Nahom in The Book of Mormon
Nahom in The Book of Mormon (Youtube)
This is a clip from the video “Journey of Faith,” produced by the Neal A. Maxwell Institute. A documentary of insights and evidences of The Book of Mormon. 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. This clip shows the land of Nahom and where Ishmael was buried. Temples and The Book of Mormon http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hw4JqY1B4wo
This is a short clip from the soon-to-be-released video rebuttal to the critical video “Bible vs The Book of Mormon.” That anti-Mormon video claims that Israelites considered the Jerusalem temple the sole legitimate site of worship and so would not have reproduced it as the Nephites did in the New World. Scholars examine the claim and show it to be false.
Women in the Church
Women in the LDS Church (Youtube)
This is the 2004 FAIR Conference address by Professor Andrea Radke. She discusses women in the Church in relation to priesthood, polygamy, depression, and general perception. This is a six part series. To move onto part two, click on “This is a video response to…” directly underneath the video itself. This address can be read on the FAIR site here:
Continuing revelation from God
Mormon beliefs God speaks today (Youtube)
A touching and educational clip from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s April 2008 General Conference talk on continuing revelation in our day and the need for The Book of Mormon. “The Old Testament does not lose value in our eyes when we are introduced to the New Testament, and the New Testament is only enhanced when we read The Book of Mormon.”
FAIR LDS BOOKSTORE
The FAIR Bookstore volunteers are getting ready for our upcoming FAIR Conference, where we will be offering a full line of apologetic and scholarly books, tapes, and videos.
Thanks for your support of FAIR and the FAIR Bookstore. See you at 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).
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