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 comments on Califonia’s Proposition 8, which deals with the issue of same sex marriage.
- 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: FAIR has added responses to additional sections of the “DNA Evidence for Book of Mormon Geography” DVD.
- NEW ON THE WEBSITE: “Mormon’s Editorial Method and Meta-Message.” Brant Gardner’s 2008 FAIR Conference presentation is now available on the FAIR website.
- RESOURCES ON THE WEB: “A letter to a friend: Joseph Smith polygamy.” J. Stapley blogged on helping people understand difficult historical issues.
- 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. Check out the FAIR Bookstore’s monthly specials.
- 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
In a few days we will be having an election. California, Arizona, and Florida have initiatives on the ballot related to same sex marriage. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has taken a position related to the California initiative which says, “Do all you can to support the proposed constitutional amendment by donating of your means and time to assure that marriage in California is legally defined as being between a man and a woman. Our best efforts are required to preserve the sacred institution of marriage.”
With that in mind, I decided to focus my message to this topic. Instead of writing a long article on the subject, I decided to provide some references. The first is the Webpage from the Church which has a long list of links and video clips. This is really an excellent resource that everyone should take a look at.
This next link is to an article by an organization known as North Star. North Star is an organization which exists to help people affected by same-sex attraction deepen their personal relationship with their Savior, Jesus Christ, and to support them in their desires to live according to the teachings and covenants they have made in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This article links to many of the same resources as lds.org, but it also includes additional quotes on the issue.
There was an article being passed around the Internet which claimed the arguments used by the California Proposition 8 proponents were false. This Website provides a very strong rebuttal to those claims.
Finally, for those who wonder how things work in California and why some people are worried about this situation, there was a recent ruling against a physician for refusing to provide fertility services to a lesbian couple because he believed it was morally wrong. According to the newspaper article, the lawyer involved in the lawsuit said specialists who can’t live with those choices should probably reconsider their profession. If a person has religious views that some women should become pregnant and some shouldn’t then the duty is probably on the (doctors) to avoid the conflict by focusing on another area of medicine.
I would hate to see a religious test imposed on some professions.
There are many more blogs and articles that could be quoted and referenced on this topic. As one blog poster named Stephen remarked The way the Church was treated the last time we had a disagreement with the government regarding the definition of marriage informs our attitudes today. In case you dont remember your history, the corporation of the Church was dissolved, the U.S. government appropriated many of the assets of the Church, including the temples, and in some areas, believing members of the Church were disenfranchised, being unable to vote or hold office. I think we have come a long way since that time; and yet it does give one pause.
However things go in the election, we should remember the words of Gordon B. Hinckley when he said,
“I wish to say that our opposition to attempts to legalize same-sex marriage should never be interpreted as justification for hatred, intolerance, or abuse of those who profess homosexual tendencies, either individually or as a group. As I said from this pulpit one year ago, our hearts reach out to those who refer to themselves as gays and lesbians. We love and honor them as sons and daughters of God. They are welcome in the Church. It is expected, however, that they follow the same God-given rules of conduct that apply to everyone else, whether single or married.”
Gordon B. Hinckley, “Why We Do Some of the Things We Do,” Ensign, November 1999
In addition to commenting on the Proposition 8 issue, I would like to bring to our readers’ attention another development. We have received multiple emails about a talk given by Brother Packer at one ward. You can read what we have discovered about this talk here:
It seems we like receiving special knowledge from general authorities, but we do all we can to discourage the general authorities to ever speak off-the-cuff as we spread their off-the-cuff comments all over the Internet.
–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
Reviews of DNA Evidence for Book of Mormon Geography
FAIR has been reviewing the DVD called “DNA Evidence for Book of Mormon Geography.” FAIR itself has no position on where the Book of Mormon events took place, and members of FAIR hold a variety of views on the subject, ranging from hemispheric models to local models. FAIR’s review of this DVD was not in response to its proposed setting, which FAIR will readily support as a candidate for the Book of Mormon that needs to be evaluated on its merits in light of the known facts just as all other models should be. Rather the FAIR response stems from significant problems with the methodology, tone, and evidence associated with the claims of the DVD that will ultimately impede the progress of the Book of Mormon rather than further its claim of historicity.
The main page for the responses to the DVD can be found at:
- Misguided Zeal and Defense of the Church (Executive Summary) (HTML) (PDF)
- Misguided Zeal and Defense of the Church (HTML) (PDF)
The five new sections are as follows.
- DVD Section 4: Promised Land
- DVD Section 5: Prophecies and Promises
- DVD Section 7: Weather and Climate
- DVD Section 9: Chronological Evidences
- DVD Section 11: Nephite Structures
All reviews can be viewed in either HTML or PDF formats. In addition to the full response, sections 4, 5, and 7 also have executive summaries that give a shorter, high-level view of the full analysis.
Mormon’s Editorial Method and Meta-Message by Brant A. Gardner
In his presentation at the 2008 FAIR Conference, Brandt Gardner examined the structural and textual evidences in the Book of Mormon that indicate what book Mormon intended to write for his future readers. Gardner looks at book and chapter divisions and points out previously overlooked complexity and consistency in the Book of Mormon that show Mormon’s outline for his book. In addition to shedding light on Mormon’s structure, Gardner uses the structural and textual clues to show how Mormon created a text intended to deliver a specific message to his readers.
Read the article:
Mormon’s Editorial Method and Meta-Message by Brant Gardner
RESOURCES ON THE WEB: JOSEPH SMITH POLYGAMY
J. Stapley recently blogged on By Common Consent (BCC) about helping a friend who was learning about polygamy in the life of Joseph Smith. Some members of the Church have created an image of certain historical people or events based on limited knowledge and within a certain view of how events or people “should have been.”
A letter to a friend: Joseph Smith polygamy by J. Stapley, September 8, 2008
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
Here are some recent additions to the Topical Guide.
September Dawn (movie), by Christopher Cain (Black Diamond Pictures, 2007) based on book by Carole Whang Schutter (Author-House, 2007) Reviewed by Craig L. Foster.
The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins. Reviewed by David Grandy
John A. Tvedtnes, DNA and the Book of Mormon.
John Tvedtnes examines the claim made by critics that DNA science desmonstrates the fraudulence of the Book of Mormon.
John A. Tvedtnes, Black Mormons.
John Tvedtnes responds to the claim that the Church has a racist past.
John A. Tvedtnes, Mountain Meadows Massacre
John Tvedtnes offers a succinct examinations of the tragic event.
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.
1835 Doctrine and Covenants denies polygamy
In 1835, a section on marriage that denies that polygamy is being practiced in the Church was added to the Doctrine and Covenants. This section, written by Oliver Cowdery and added in a priesthood conference while Joseph Smith was in Michigan, was not presented as a revelation but simply as a statement of belief. This new wiki article discusses this section and the events surrounding its introduction into the Doctrine and Covenants.
1835 Doctrine and Covenants denies polygamy—The 1835 edition of the D&C contained a statement of marriage which denied the practice of polygamy. Since this was published during Joseph Smith’s lifetime, why might the prophet have allowed it to be published if he was actually practicing polygamy at that time? (Link)
“Losing a Lost Tribe: Native Americans, DNA, and the Mormon Church” http://www.fairlds.org/cgi-bin/site.pl?s373
This FAIR wiki article documents a few of the arguments made in the book “Losing a Lost Tribe” and shows how the author misread or misrepresented the Book of Mormon text and the development of LDS thought on Book of Mormon geography.
This wiki article has a more complete list of issues and responses to the book “Losing a Lost Tribe.”
“19th century crimes alleged to be ‘worthy of death'”
Critics often go to great lengths to present Brigham Young and other 19th century Church leaders as violent, cruel, unforgiving, and arbitrary. This wiki article looks at how critics have misused sources to present a false picture of LDS leaders and LDS belief and practice.
Crimes critics allege to have been “worthy of death” in the 1800’s—Critics expand to idea of blood atonement to include a long list of crimes that were alleged to be “worthy of death.” (Link)
“An Examination of ‘Do Christians Believe in Three Gods'”
This article is in response to a pamphlet that attempts to explain LDS beliefs to non-LDS readers. Unfortunately, the pamphlet sometimes misrepresents LDS beliefs and uses standard anti-Mormon arguments to make its point.
FAIR YOUTUBE VIDEOS
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.
New videos on FAIRs Youtube site:
In this 6-part series, Scholar Joseph Bentley discusses the many legal trials that Joseph Smith faced in his lifetime, including the controversial 1826 trials.
The Book of Mormon and New World DNA
Clips from FAIRs video “The Book of Mormon and New World DNA”, these clips contain Population Geneticists, Linguists, Anthropologists, and Book of Mormon scholars who defuse the accusation made by critics that DNA proves The Book of Mormon false. This video can be found in FAIRs Bookstore.
In this video, Mike Ash goes deeper into the particulars and controversies surrounding the Book of Abraham. This is a continuation of Mike Ash and Kevin Barney’s “The Book of Abraham 101” given at the FAIR conference and which can be seen here:
FAIR LDS BOOKSTORE
Come to the FAIR Bookstore to find the Internet’s best selection of materials for LDS apologetics. Whether you are looking for books, study aids, videos, or audio products, the FAIR Bookstore has what you need. You can begin your browsing by going to our main site.
We have some great new additions to the FAIR bookstore!
New to the FAIR Bookstore!
“A Different God? Mitt Romney, the Religious Right, and the Mormon Question” Craig L. Foster. (Draper, Utah: Greg Kofford Books, 2008. Softbound, 5×8, 280 pgs. ISBN: 1589581173)
In the contested terrain of American politics, nowhere is the conflict more intense, even brutal, than in the territory of public life also claimed by religion. Mitt Romney’s 2007-2008 presidential campaign is a textbook example.
Religious historian Craig L. Foster revisits that campaign with an astute focus on the never-quite-contained hostility that Romney triggered among Americas religious right. Although no political campaign is known for its sweetness and light, the back-stabbing, mean-spirited attacks, eruptions of irrationalism, and downright lies exploded into one the chapters of recent American political history. What does Romney’s campaign and the resistance of the religious right mean for America in the twenty-first century?
Available for only $19.95 (retail is $24.95).
“The Mormon Quest for the Presidency” Newell G. Bringhurst and Craig L. Foster. (“Independence, Missouri: Whitmer publishing, 2008. Softbound, 6×9, 314 pgs. ISBN: 9781934901106)
The Mormon Quest for the Presidency tells for the first time the fascinating histories of 10 Mormons who have run for president, beginning with the movements founder, Joseph Smith. Taken together, these ten individuals-whose political beliefs span the ideological spectrum from ultraconservative to ultra-liberal underscore the complex, multi-faceted nature of Mormonism itself, as it has evolved from a small American church into a world religion. This book will explore the campaigns of these ten candidates, with an eye to how Mormonism informed and affected their unsuccessful presidential bids: Why did they run? Why did they lose? Was America ready for a Mormon President in the past? Is it ready now? And will Americans in the future be willing to elect a Mormon to the nations highest political office?
Available for only $ 19.95 (retail is $24.95).
Setting the Record Straight Series
A series of books designed to give clear, easy to understand answers to controversial subjects. The following sub-titles are available:
Joseph Smith: Presidential Candidate Mormon Fundamentalism Mormons and Masons Emma Smith: an Elect Lady Mormons and Polygamy Blacks and the Priesthood Mormons and Homosexuality
Each book is available for only $7.95! Retail is $9.95.
Thank you for using the FAIR bookstore!
–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.