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. What Mormons believe?
- NEWS FROM FAIR. What happened to the FAIR Journal? Why haven’t you
received your 2009 issues.
- NEWS FROM FAIR. A new donation method has been created, complete
with premiums and monthly auto options.
- NEWS FROM FAIR. Announcing the 2009 FAIR conference. Register now!
- NEWS FROM FAIR. FAIR makes an impact in Germany and France.
- RESOURCES ON THE WEB. A new Website is created to track all of
the LDS conferences. Notes from the UVU Mormon Studies conference
are on the Internet.
- RESOURCES ON THE WEB. An article from Kevin Christensen on
Biblical Keys for Discerning True and False Prophets.
- FAIR WIKI. The FAIR Wiki has had a front page complete makeover,
making it easier to find the latest and the most popular articles.
You will also find lots of new and interesting articles listed
- RESOURCES ON THE WEB: FAIR YOUTUBE VIDEOS
The FAIR YouTube channel has been expanded with lots of new
videos. In addition, we are announcing FAIR videos on an online
- ASK THE APOLOGIST. Got a question you are dying to ask? Here’s
- 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 has some great
books and DVDs on sale. Some of these should not be missed.
- 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
One of the great difficulties we have as Latter-days Saints is explaining to others what we believe. As others try to pin us down in our beliefs, they frequently run into comments such as, “that’s not what I believe,” or “I wouldn’t put it that way.” Some of our critics shake their heads in exasperation. What do Mormons really believe? Some say that pinning down LDS beliefs is as difficult as nailing Jell-O to the wall. That’s because many critics are looking for a list of our beliefs. They are familiar with the idea of a systematic theology, which is common in their own faith tradition, and when they don’t find it, they search books looking for the truth of what Mormons believe.
As they search those books, they come up with comments that they piece together to define what they think must be LDS beliefs. But they are typically spectacularly wrong and often focus on the unimportant things.
There is a diversity of thought within the LDS community on many issues. But there is a set of core LDS beliefs. Some of those core beliefs are as follows: We believe that God lives and that Jesus is the Christ. We believe that the Bible and the Book of Mormon contain the Word of God. We believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet today. We believe we should do our best to follow what God wants us to do.
Outside of these core beliefs, there are many other issues that we talk about which we may or may not know. These are things we are studying and learning. We may differ from one another in many of these areas. The important thing is that one can remain a good and faithful member of the Church so long as we hold to those aforementioned core beliefs.
Perhaps at this particular time of year we are reminded of the one phrase that best encapsulates much of LDS belief, which is: “He is not here, for He is risen.”
The Church has just released a short video on this based on Elder Holland’s conference talk.
You might want to share it with your friends who wonder what we believe.
–Scott Gordon President
THE FAIR JOURNAL
We have received many emails recently asking what happened to the FAIR Journal. To be completely honest, we haven’t sent one out. As you well know, FAIR is a volunteer non-profit group. That means we are affected by the issues surrounding work and personal lives of our volunteers. We do appreciate the fact that you have missed the Journal and will work hard to get it out regular issues in the future.
We hope you enjoy this resource-filled issue of the journal.
NEW DONATION METHOD
FAIR is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. We rely on your donations to stay in business and to do the things that we do. So, we are experimenting with some new fundraising techniques to allow us to take the FAIR message out to more people. We borrowed from the PBS playbook, and are now offering premiums for your donations. Premiums include such things as books, conference tickets, audio MP3s, and more.
We are offering an optional monthly auto-pay option. For as little as $5 per month, you can make a difference. For less than the cost of one trip to your favorite fast-food restaurant, you can do something that may favorably impact the life of someone who is otherwise struggling. And if you are able, you should consider $10, $25 or more.
For more information on this, Click here:
You can also donate to FAIR via the U.S. Postal Service using the following address.
FAIR P.O. Box 491677 Redding, CA 96049-1677
We are excited to invite you to our upcoming FAIR conference. It will take place on August 6 and 7 in Sandy Utah. These are always exciting events and lead to great learning and discussions.
We have restructured the costs and registration options for this year’s conference, so please pay careful attention.
Each year our conference has grown. Last year, the conference was essentially sold out, so reserve your tickets early.
You can reserve your spot and register for the conference here:
FAIR IN GERMANY AND FRANCE
The first major FAIR conference in Germany took place on Saturday, March 28, at the Saalbau Gallus in Frankfurt, Germany. With a strong number of pre-registrations and a large number of walk-ins, attendance exceeded seating capacity. At least one non-Mormon minister and a government official were in attendance (the latter from the office of “new religious movements and organizations,” formerly known as “cults and sects”). The conference was a tremendous success and offered good momentum for future conferences from FAIR. A noticeable surge in new members to the German FAIR List was a direct result of the conference, and several offered to join in assisting with translating articles for the website.
Presenters and their presentations were as follows:
- FAIR President Scott Gordon: “FAIR and Mormon Apologetics”
- Axel Leimer (Frankfurt Stake President and biochemist): “DNA and the Book of Mormon”
- Ron Barney (Church Archives): “Good History, Bad History, and Mormon History: Why It’s Important not to Take Everything on the Internet at Face Value.”
- McKay V. Jones: “Insights and Discoveries from the Original and Printer’s Manuscripts, Editions, and Text of the Book of Mormon”
- Rene Krywult: “Restorationism: A Paradigm for Christianity?”
- Peter Wöllauer: “Science and Religion: An Irreconcilable Tension?”
- Jeffrey Bradshaw: “Ancient Witnesses for the Book of Moses”
Information about the conference, in German, can be found here:
The following evening, Sunday, March 29, the four American presenters at the German conference presented shortened versions of their presentations to a fireside in the StrasbourgWard (France). Members from nearby wards and branches (Nancy France Stake) attended, filling the chapel to capacity. Following a meet-and-mingle afterwards, the ward provided a traditional Alsatian meal to the presenters and families. Many people expressed a high level of interest in the work of FAIR, and this fireside appeared to provide momentum for expanding FAIR’s work into French.
There has been an explosion of LDS related conferences. Sometimes it is difficult to keep track of them all. A new Website has gone up which tracks the various Mormon conferences:
Utah Valley University just sponsored its first Mormon Studies on Mormonism in the Public Mind. Blogger Jared Tamez posted his notes from the conference.
RESOURCES ON THE WEB: Biblical Keys for Discerning True and False Prophets.
Kevin Christensen makes an in-depth examination of the various tests the Bible proscribes to evaluating prophets.
The FAIR Wiki has had a front page makeover, making it easier to find the latest and the most popular articles.
Check out our new main page at FAIR Wiki Main Page
Over the last few months there have been some news stories about a new book called “Nauvoo Polygamy,” by George D. Smith, published by Signature Books. Unfortunately, the book is very problematic, and a critical analysis has been written.
An older book by Richard Abanes, “One Nation Under Gods,” was analyzed by FAIR a few years ago. The author responded by saying that the hardcover edition that had been reviewed was incomplete, and many of the problems had been corrected in the paperback edition put out a year later. An updated analysis that covers the paperback edition is now available. (The review also deals with many standard anti-Mormon arguments that people run into.)
One Nation Under Gods by Richard Abanes—In early 2002 a new book entitled One Nation under Gods (ONUG) appeared on bookshelves, promising to tell the “real” history of the Mormon Church. The author attempts to pull disparate sources together to paint a picture that, when compared to objective reality, more closely resembles a Picasso than a Rembrandt—skewed and distorted—obscuring and maligning the actual doctrines and beliefs as understood and practiced by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for more than 150 years. (Link)
Kevin Christensen has written a study entitled “Biblical Keys for Discerning True and False Prophets.” It includes Bible tests for true and false prophets, Bible passages that describe what should be done in order to see the truth, Bible arguments made to justify the rejection of true prophets, and finally a consideration of Joseph Smith in light of these tests.
One favorite anti-Mormon criticism is that Latter-day Saints believe in a practice called “Celestial Sex” from which spirit children are formed. This is a typical example of sensational claims that are made based on speculative statements of church leaders.
Why did church leaders oppose the Equal Rights Amendment? Is the church oppressive to women?
Equal Rights Amendment—Critics assume that because the Church opposed the proposed “Equal Rights” Amendment, that the Church opposed equal rights for women. In fact, the Church did not oppose equal rights for women, but rather was opposed to other potential consequences of the ERA. Church leaders felt that the ERA would have a negative impact on women’s rights and families. Furthermore, the Church felt that the Constitution already prohibited sex discrimination and that an amendment was unnecessary. (Link)
Another example of a typical anti-Mormon attack is the claim that we are not Christian and we really worship Satan, based on the inverted stars on the outside of LDS temples. What they fail to take into account is the historical background of the emblem.
Inverted Stars on LDS Temples—Some critics of the LDS Church claim that the inverted five-pointed star on some of its temples are a symbol of evil and thereby demonstrate that Mormonism is not really a Christian religion. (Link)
In March, HBO aired an episode of “Big Love” featuring the temple and a disciplinary council. The episode was full of inaccuracies, and the ones that don’t involve temple ordinances are discussed.
“Big Love” and the temple—In March 2009 HBO aired an episode of the series “Big Love” which dramatized a portion of a Latter-day Saint temple ceremony. The producers of the series insisted that the inclusion of the sequence was an integral part of the plot and that they had used an ex-Mormon advisor who was “familiar with temple practices and rituals,” and “was actually on the set throughout the filming of the scenes to make sure every detail was correct.” (Link)
Occasionally, “faith promoting” works attempt to defend the faith on the basis of faulty arguments. One such case is the “DNA Evidence for Book of Mormon Geography” DVD and seminar series by the FIRM Foundation.
Let us know if there are other topics we should be covering.
RESOURCES ON THE WEB: FAIR YOUTUBE VIDEOS
FAIR multimedia has expanded and is now on demand at the online television website www.ldsstandardstv.com, a website dedicated to showing positive movies, videos, and television in a world where morally clean entertainment is rare.
FAIR’s Youtube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/fairldsorg has added many videos recently. Of note, we have an excellent fireside given by Mesoamerican/Book of Mormon scholar Brant Gardner, called “Mesoamerica in The Book of Mormon: Deepening our Understanding Through Cultural Context”. In this series, Brant Gardner draws several pronounced, and little known parallels between Mesoamerica culture, geography, and beliefs and The Book of Mormon. Brant Gardner also explains several stories in The Book of Mormon that don’t make much sense in our modernized world, but in a Mesoamerican setting, would make perfect sense. There are few places where so many similarities can be found.
This series is in audio form only.
In a BYU Devotional, given on May 14 1996, Elder F. Enzio Busche of the Quorum of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gave some very powerful advice to those listening on how to become a disciple of Christ. The speech was entitled “Unleashing the Dormant Spirit” and can be found at http://speeches.byu.edu.
LDS scholar and semiticist, David Bokovoy, discusses the similarities between Lehi’s vision in The Book of Mormon, to ancient Semitic documents in his lecture “Lehi and the Heavenly Council: Hebraisms in The Book of Mormon” from his website at www.davidbokovoy.com
On December 4, 2008, Daniel C. Peterson, professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at Brigham Young University, presented a lecture at Olivewood Bookstore on the subject of DNA studies and the Book of Mormon. He responded to some of the recent criticism directed against the Book of Mormon based on DNA evidence and spoke about a book that was recently released by the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Research entitled The Book of Mormon and DNA Research.
You can find all of these and more at:
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
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.
On Sale this Month:
The Joseph Smith Papers, Volume 1
General Editors: Dean C. Jessee, Ronald K. Esplin, Richard Lyman Bushman. Volume Editors: Dean C. Jessee, Mark Ashhurst-McGee, Richard L. Jensen. Salt Lake City, Utah: The Church Historian’s Press, 2008. Hardbound, 7-1/4 x 10-1/4″, 568 pgs. ISBN: 9781570088490
The Joseph Smith Papers, comprising dozens of volumes when complete, will be the largest, most authoritative published collection of Joseph smith documents anywhere. Although broad in scope, the Papers project has a relatively simple aim: to make available essential sources for the study of early Mormon history and of Joseph Smith.
With unprecedented access to Joseph Smith texts, including many never before published, this landmark project provides new information and insights about Joseph Smith, early Mormonism, and nineteenth-century American religion. The documents, topically arranged into several series, include journals, correspondence, sermons, revelations, translations, histories, minutes, and legal and business records.
This inaugural volume features Joseph Smith’s first five journals and reflects the beginning of Mormon record keeping in the Church’s earliest years. Joseph smith began recording his first journal in 1832 in a small pocket-size book that he carried along with him during his missionary travels. Studying these personal entries gives the reader an appreciation for Smith’s character, including his private piety and love for family.
On Sale for $39.95! Retail is $49.95
“Defending the Faith: Dealing with Criticism of the Church” Daniel C. Peterson. American Fork, Utah: Covenant Communications, Inc., 2 CDs, 2 hours. ISBN: 1598116193
Hardly a week goes by without the Church being mentioned in the news. Along with this increased level of visibility comes an increase in the amount of criticism directed toward the Church. In this two CD set of engaging fireside talks, gospel scholar Daniel C. Peterson addresses some of the most common criticisms and helps members know best how to respond to each. Some of the issues he discusses include the DNA question, Book of Mormon geography, nature of the Godhead, the claim that Latter-day Saints aren’t Christians, Deification, works vs. grace, and so-called “errors” in the Book of Mormon.
On Sale for $12.95 Retail is $15.95
“Of Faith and Reason: 80 Evidences Supporting Joseph Smith” Michael Ash. Springville, Utah: Cedar Fort, 2008. Softbound, 208 pages, 6″ x 9″. ISBN: 9781599552316
In the early 1800s, many people criticized the Prophet Joseph Smith for his prophecies and revelations; today, several evidences prove that Joseph was right.
Michael Ash, a well-known LDS apologist, explains why it is useful, and perhaps even necessary, to combine reason with faith in our testimony of Joseph Smith. He reminds us that although secular evidences can’t replace a spiritual witness, they can support a testimony and provide an atmosphere where a spiritual witness can flourish.
Using scholarly journal articles and ancient Jewish and Christian writings, Ash provides evidences that show how the Book of Mormon is a true account of an ancient people, how LDS scriptures are consistent with the traditions and culture of ancient Israel, and how the doctrines of the Church accurately reflect the teachings of Christ. Ash writes clearly and simply, providing numerous resources to foster further study.
With over 80 evidences, this book is an excellent resource for those seeking more information about Joseph Smith and his works.
On Sale for $11.95 Retail is $14.99
“Mormon Scientist: The Life and Faith of Henry Eyring” Henry J. Eyring. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book, 2007. Hardbound, 6″ x 9″, 352 pgs., ISBN: 9781590388549
Henry Eyring was one of the preeminent scientists of his era–no mean feat when you consider that his era included the likes of Einstein and Heisenberg. He was also a believing and practicing Latter-day Saint, an apparent contradiction that Henry mastered with surprising ease. To Henry, science and religion were not opposites–they were part of one unified picture that God would ultimately reveal. As a scientist, and as a man of faith, he worked at discovering the missing puzzle pieces that would make the picture complete.
This engaging biography tells the story of a boy born on a ranch in the Mormon colonies of northern Mexico who attained the heights of scientific achievement, ultimately publishing more than 600 papers and leading the world’s largest scientific societies.
Above all, This is the story of a scientist whose religious faith helped him find simple truths in a complex world. It is a legacy we can share as we learn from his experiences and apply his insights.
On Sale for $19.95! Retail is $25.95
“Mormon Scientist: The Life and Faith of Henry Eyring” Henry J. Eyring. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book, 2007. DVD, 28 minutes. ISBN: 783027005196
In the era of great scientific minds like Einstein and Heisenberg, Dr. Eyring emerged as one of the preeminent scientists of his time. Believing that the seemingly contradictory worlds of science and faith were part of one unified picture that God would ultimately reveal, he worked at discovering the missing puzzle pieces that would make the picture complete. From his humble upbringing in the Mormon colonies of Northern Mexico to the distinguished halls of Princeton University, discover the remarkable story of a scientist whose faith lead him to incredible discoveries that have shaped our modern world. See the never-before-seen footage along with interviews with his children.
On Sale for $12.95! Retail is $16.99
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).
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