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
- FAIR Blog
- FAIR YouTube
- FAIR Wiki
- FAIR Bookstore
- Looking Back
- Upcoming Events
- Apologetics on the Internet
- Research Notices
- FAIR’s ‘Front Page’
- Ask the Apologist
MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
The month of February is honored in the United States as Black History Month. Since the relationship of blacks and the LDS church is often held up to criticism, it is important to be familiar with some of the issues involved.
The first thing that should be recognized is that blacks, or African-Americans, have historically not been treated well in the United States. They were brought here as slaves in de-humanizing conditions. Even after they were given their freedom, they were mistreated and abused.
In 1957, the president had to call out the 101st Airborne Division to protect 9 children who were trying to attend school in Little Rock Arkansas. One of those children, Melba Patillo, reports that at that time she was beaten and stabbed and even had acid thrown in her eyes.
In 1962, military veteran James Meredith was accepted on paper as a student at the University of Mississippi. When it was discovered he was black, rioting broke out on September 30, 1962, which led to the deaths of two bystanders and the injury of 160 Federal Marshals.
In 1963 the black Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, was bombed while Sunday school is in session, and four young girls are killed. The suspects were identified but FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover blocked their prosecution.
In 1967, the Supreme Court struck down the ban on interracial marriage. The case involved Mildred Jeter, a black woman, and Richard Loving, a white man, who had been sentenced to serve either a year in jail or be banned from the State of Virginia for 25 years.
Even as late at 1998 prospective student James Landrith was denied admission to Bob Jones University because he was married to an African American Woman.
So why should we care about this now?
First of all, it helps us understand the background and history of our fellow Latter-day Saints. Secondly, it helps us to better respond to questions from our fellow Saints and our critics alike.
Even though it has been over 30 years since the lifting of the priesthood ban, we are still perceived in many circles to be racist or have a history of racism. We sometimes become our own worst enemy as we try to explain and rationalize the priesthood ban by using myth, folklore, and guesswork to try to justify the things that were said and done. It is best to remember what Bruce R. McConkie said about the priesthood ban when speaking to a CES Group on August 18, 1978. He said:
There are statements in our literature by the early brethren which we have interpreted to mean that the Negroes would not receive the priesthood in mortality. I have said the same things. All I can say to that is that it is time disbelieving people repented and got in line and believed in a living, modern prophet. Forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young or President George Q. Cannon or whomsoever has said in days past that is contrary to the present revelation. We spoke with a limited understanding and without the light and knowledge that now has come into the world. We get our truth and our light line upon line and precept upon precept.
We have now had added a new flood of intelligence and light on this particular subject, and it erases all the darkness, and all the views and all the thoughts of the past. They don’t matter any more. It doesn’t make a particle of difference what anybody ever said about the Negro matter before the first day of June of this year . It is a new day and a new arrangement, and the Lord has now given the revelation that sheds light out into the world on this subject. As to any slivers of light or any particles of darkness of the past, we forget about them. We now do what meridian Israel did when the Lord said the gospel should go to the gentiles. We forget all the statements that limited the gospel to the house of Israel, and we start going to the gentiles.
More recently in General Conference in April 2006, President Gordon B. Hinckley said:
Racial strife still lifts its ugly head. I am advised that even right here among us there is some of this. I cannot understand how it can be. It seemed to me that we all rejoiced in the 1978 revelation given President Kimball. I was there in the temple at the time that that happened. There was no doubt in my mind or in the minds of my associates that what was revealed was the mind and the will of the Lord.
Now I am told that racial slurs and denigrating remarks are sometimes heard among us. I remind you that no man who makes disparaging remarks concerning those of another race can consider himself a true disciple of Christ. Nor can he consider himself to be in harmony with the teachings of the Church of Christ. How can any man holding the Melchizedek Priesthood arrogantly assume that he is eligible for the priesthood whereas another who lives a righteous life but whose skin is of a different color is ineligible?
Throughout my service as a member of the First Presidency, I have recognized and spoken a number of times on the diversity we see in our society. It is all about us, and we must make an effort to accommodate that diversity.
Let us all recognize that each of us is a son or daughter of our Father in Heaven, who loves all of His children.
Brethren, there is no basis for racial hatred among the priesthood of this Church. If any within the sound of my voice is inclined to indulge in this, then let him go before the Lord and ask for forgiveness and be no more involved in such.
I strongly recommend that we all become familiar with issues surrounding the LDS church and black Americans. Here are some articles that may help. They come from several different points of view.
For a good exposure to some of the methodology of the critics use in discussing this issue, read this book review by Juliann Reynolds:
LAMANITES, THE SEED OF CAIN, AND POLYGAMY by Juliann Reynolds
For a good explanation of blacks and the priesthood issue, read this article by Armand Mauss and this article from the FAIR wiki
- The LDS Church and the Race Issue: A Study in Misplaced Apologetics by Armand Mauss
- Blacks and the priesthood—Members of African descent were restricted from holding the LDS Church’s lay priesthood until 1978. Understanding the priesthood ban is difficult, because the historical record is not entirely clear about the ban’s institution. There is no contemporary, first-person account of the ban’s implementation. Critics with an agenda, as well as sincere seekers with a laudable abhorrence of racism have used this fact to portray the former (or present) Church and its members as racist. Critics argue that God would not allow His church to ever deny blessings or privileges based on race. (Link)
For a good perspective from two current black members of the Church, read these articles:
For a history timeline, see the following:
There are also a number of resources in our bookstore here:
I hope we all go out of our way to welcome in all of our brothers and sisters in Christ and reach out to them. I also hope that we familiarize ourselves with the facts and don’t simply perpetuate myths. We should always remember the admonition in the Book of Mormon: “and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile” (2 Nephi 26:33).
–Scott Gordon President of FAIR
The FAIR Blog provides the opportunity for FAIR volunteers to have conversations with the public about a variety of apologetic issues but also acts as a venue for making some research projects available and receiving feedback.
FAIR volunteer David Keller has posted a two-part research article entitled “19th Century Nuptuality and Anti-Mormon Propaganda.” Click on the links below and be sure to offer your opinions and perspectives on these interesting and educational papers.
- David Keller, “19th Century Nuptiality and Anti-Mormon Propaganda, PART I”
- David Keller, “19th Century Nuptiality and Anti-Mormon Propaganda, PART II”
FAIR YouTube would like to draw attention to a few videos created by Dr. William J. Hamblin of Brigham Young University, and his commentary on the first few verses in Genesis, using Hebrew, Greek, and Latin texts, while pointing out LDS principles found in these ancient languages, as well as insights into these scriptures.
- Genesis 1:1a, “create”
- Genesis 1:1b, “God/Gods”
- Genesis 1:1c, “heavens”
- Genesis 1:2a, “chaotic wasteland”
- Genesis 1:2b, “the deep”
- Genesis 1:2b, “the abyss”(2)
- Genesis 1:2c, “the Spirit”
We would also like to highlight Daniel Becerras’ BYU SANE Symposium lecture which discusses anointings in early Christianity.
Continuing with the theme of temples, Aaron Snyder reviews the concept of early Christian prayer circles
- Early Christian Prayer Circles – Part 1
- Early Christian Prayer Circles – Part 2
- Early Christian Prayer Circles – Part 3
As always, please do not forget to leave a comment and rate these videos.
Critics come up with a variety of criticisms regarding Joseph Smith’s martyrdom, specifically relating to his use of a gun to defend himself and the removal of garments prior to going to Carthage. We examine these issues in the following group of wiki articles:
Joseph fired a gun – Was Joseph Smith actually not a martyr because, while in jail, he had a gun and he had the temerity to defend himself? Did Joseph kill two men by firing at the mob?
Hiding Joseph’s gun – Critics claim that the Church has tried to hide the fact that Joseph fired a pepperbox pistol at the mob which murdered Hyrum and was soon to kill him, despite the fact that the gun is on display at the Church History museum.
Nauvoo Legion to rescue Joseph – Did Joseph panic at Carthage Jail and write an order to Jonathan Dunham (head of the Nauvoo legion), telling him to have the Legion attack the jail and “save him at all costs?”
Masonic distress cry – Just before he died, did Joseph Smith begin to give the Masonic cry of distress?
Removed garments prior to leaving for Carthage – Critics have claimed that Joseph and others with him removed their garments prior to leaving for Carthage in order to avoid identification as polygamists. What was the real reason for this?
Removal of temple garments before leaving for Carthage—Joseph and others with him removed their garments before traveling to Carthage Jail. Why did they do this? (Link)
One of the charges that critics raise against the Prophet’s First Vision story is that the LDS Church has somehow “hidden” the non-canonical accounts of it from Latter-day Saints and investigators alike. FAIR volunteer Edward Jones has created an amazingly detailed and thorough chronology–covering the twentieth and twenty-first centuries–that conclusively dispels this erroneous myth. Thanks are due to Brother Jones for allowing FAIR to make this valuable apologetic research available to the public.
- LDS-Authored Publications (1910-1968)—Mentions of the various accounts of the First Vision in LDS publications (1910-1968) (Link)
- LDS-Authored Publications (1969-1978)—Mentions of the various accounts of the First Vision in LDS publications (1969-1978) (Link)
- LDS-Authored Publications (1979-1983)—Mentions of the various accounts of the First Vision in LDS publications (1979-1983) (Link)
- LDS-Authored Publications (1984-1989)—Mentions of the various accounts of the First Vision in LDS publications (1984-1989) (Link)
- LDS-Authored Publications (1990-1997)—Mentions of the various accounts of the First Vision in LDS publications (1990-1997) (Link)
- LDS-Authored Publications (1998-2003)—Mentions of the various accounts of the First Vision in LDS publications (1998-2003) (Link)
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, DVDs, or audio products, the FAIR Bookstore has what you need. You can begin your browsing by going to our main site.
Be sure to check out the Clearance Section. We have many older books and some new books with slightly damaged covers that offer great deals to buyers.
We are running the following Specials for February:
How Americans View Mormonism: Seven Steps to Improve Our Image
Gary C. Lawrence. Orange, CA: The Parameter Foundation, 2008. Hardbound, 11 x 9.5″, 159 pages. Foreword by Senator Robert F. Bennett
Special Price of $25.07 (15% off Retail Price of $29.95)
From the results of an extensive national survey about Mormonism, pollster Gary Lawrence maintains that the misconceptions, distortions, and untruths being told about Mormons have slowed the growth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and that the average member is best positioned to turn things around.
Simple ignorance is often blamed for Mormonism’s negative image, but Lawrence concludes it is also driven by fear–fear of a supposed political agenda, wealth, organizational ability, unwavering doctrine, and a unique vocabulary that is often misunderstood. He explains that individual members in their daily interactions with others are the key, and that…
- Friendly and natural conversations
- the facts * simple claims
- individual latitude
- non-threatening invitations, and
- gentle mentoring
…are the ways Mormons can combat distortions, improve their image, and spread the gospel.
Mormon Beliefs and Doctrines Made Easier
David J. Ridges, Springville, Utah: Cedar Fort, 2007, 6.25×9.25″ hardbound, 356 pages.
Special Price of $22.39 (20% off Retail Price of $27.99)
In this quick reference volume, noted teacher and gospel scholar David J. Ridges uses years of research to provide concise information on hundreds of beliefs and doctrines taught by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Members of the Church of Jesus Christ will find this work to be an invaluable resource for checking both basic information and specific details of the beliefs and doctrines of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. In addition, members will find references provided in each section for more in-depth study.
Written by a practicing member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this quick-reference book provides brief, easy-to-understand information on hundreds of topics of interest to those who have wondered what the Mormons truly believe. Topics cover subjects such as:
- the family
- the Holy Trinity
- faith and works
- the Second Coming
- baptism for the dead
- eternal marriage
- same gender attraction
As local and national media continues to spotlight the Mormons, people everywhere will find this volume to be the ultimate guide to understanding The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Joseph Smith Jr.: A Prophet’s Journal in His Own Words
Lee Nelson. Springville, Utah: Council Press, an imprint of Cedar Fort, 1979. Softbound, 9×6″, 255 pages.
Special Price of $13.59 (20% off the Retail Price of $16.99)
This book is exactly what it says it is–the personal journal or history of Joseph Smith Jr. It does not contain the usual interpretations and opinions of scholars, theologians, and historians, but Joseph’s own account of his revelations, persecutions, disappointments, accomplishments, and day-to-day happenings.
Thank you for using the FAIR bookstore!
This section of the FAIR Journal is designed to focus attention on the wealth of information available in past FAIR Conference addresses, which began to be given in 1999. Here are some talks that are well worth remembering.
- Joseph I. Bentley, “Legal Trials of the Prophet: Joseph Smith’s Life in Court”
- Blake Ostler, “Spiritual Experiences as the Basis for Belief and Commitment”
- Roger Keller, “The Apostasy”
SYMPOSIUM 12-13 March 2010 Brigham Young University Gordon B. Hinckley Alumni Building “Of Things both in Heaven and in the Earth” Full Schedule:
Here are a few of the presentations that may have relevance to LDS apologetics:
- 12 March 2010, Room 3, 9:05 AM David Stott, Legal Insights into the Organization of the Church
- 12 March 2010, Room 3, 9:30 AM Stephen Ehat, The Canadian Copyright Revelation
- 12 March 2010, Room 1, 2:05 PM Steven Harper, The First Vision and the Science of Memory
- 12 March 2010, Room 1, 2:30 PM Debra Marsh, The Mob at Carthage Jail
- 12 March 2010, Room 2, 2:45 PM Matthew Brown, Luke 13:23ñ30 and the Israelite Temple
- 12 March 2010, Room 2, 2:55 PM Larry Morris, Source Criticism and the Book of Mormon Plates
- 12 March 2010, Room 3, 2:55 PM David Paulsen, Heavenly Mother in Mormon Discourse
- 12 March 2010, Main Floor, Poster Session, 4:00 PM David Stott, Legal Insights into the Organization of the Church Stephen Ehat, The Canadian Copyright Revelation Matthew Brown, Luke 13:23ñ30 and the Israelite Temple Jeffrey Bradshaw, Priests, Kings, and Temples Larry Morris, Source Criticism and the Book of Mormon Plates
- 13 March 2010, Room 1, 9:05 AM Boyd and W. Farrell Edwards, Chiasmus and Book of Mormon Origins
- 13 March 2010, Room 2, 9:30 AM Jeffey Bradshaw, Ezekiel Mural at Dura Europos
- 13 March 2010, Room 2, 9:55 AM Paul Callister, Kingship and Seer Stones
- LECTURE 18 March 2010, 8PM Claremont Graduate University Mudd Auditorium Daniel C. Peterson, “The State of the Debate over the Book of Mormon” The Claremont Mormon Studies Student Association http://rsc.cgu.edu/cmssa/events/
- LECTURE 25 March 2010, 7PM Brigham Young University Harold B. Lee Library Auditorium The Work of Hugh W. Nibley Lecture Series Marilyn Arnold, “Nibley on the Book of Mormon” http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/news/Nibley_Lecture_Series.pdf
APOLOGETICS ON THE INTERNET
- Dallin H. Oaks “LDS Doctrine and Practice; Marginalizing Religion” (lecture at Harvard)
- Michael R. Ash “Countering Subversive Attacks on Mormon Scholarship”
- Michael R. Ash “Real Science, Truth Coincide with Real Mormon Scholarship”
- Michael R. Ash “Two Points about Book of Mormon Geography”
- Daniel C. Peterson [guest blog], “The Need for Apologetics; Hugh Nibley was Foremost”
- F. Richard Hauck, “An Archeologists Insights into Book of Mormon Geography”
Occasionally there are publications or presentations that may be of interest to those who are involved in LDS apologetics. Here are a few recent examples:
George M. Hinckle and the Documents
SYMPOSIUM 26 February 2010, 9AM-5:30PM BYU Conference Center Presentations of Apologetic Interest
- Ken Alford, “A History of Mormon Catechisms”
- Ronald Walker, “Brigham Young and the Succession Crisis of 1844”
- Mike Goodman, “The History of Correlation”
- Richard E. Bennett, “Restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood”
JOURNAL Studies in the Bible and Antiquity (new from the Maxwell Institute at BYU)
- Daniel Belnap, “A Comparison of the Communal Lament Psalms and the Treaty Covenant Formula”
- David E. Bokovoy, “From the Hand of Jacob: A Ritual Analysis of Genesis 27”
- Eric D. Huntsman, “‘And the Word Was Made Flesh’: A Latter-day Saint Exegesis of the Blood and Water Imagery in the Gospel of John”
- Julie M. Smith, “Point Our Souls to Christ: Lessons from Leviticus”
- Gaye Strathearn, “The Valentinian Bridal Chamber in the Gospel of Philip”
FAIR’S ‘FRONT PAGE’
Receive daily updates containing news clippings about how the LDS Church is represented in the media. FAIR’s Front Page (FFP) is a free service; you can un-subscribe at any time. To receive this service just click on the link below, enter your email address in the white box, and push the “Sign-Up” button.
ASK THE APOLOGIST
The public is invited to submit questions related to LDS apologetic issues to “Ask the Apologist.” This feature can be accessed by clicking on the following link:
Mark the box labeled “Questions (for the FAIR apologists).” Then fill in accurate information in the five white boxes and push the “Send Comments” button. All inquiries will be shared with members of the FAIR List and the questioner may receive multiple responses from FAIR volunteers. These responses reflect the opinions of the respondents only and not the official position of FAIR or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.