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).
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MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
Conference Tickets Now Available!
Early Bird tickets are now available for the 2010 FAIR Conference. The conference will be held in Sandy, Utah, at the South Towne Exposition Center on August 5 & 6.
Some of our speakers include Royal Skousen speaking on restoring the original text in the Book of Mormon, Brian Hales speaking on controversies in Joseph Smith’s polygamy, Shirley Ricks speaking on editing Hugh Nibley, Stephen Ricks talking on names in the Book of Mormon, David Bokovoy speaking on Joseph Smith and the biblical council of God, Craig Foster speaking on confronting Mormon polygamy stereotypes, William Duncan from the Marriage Law Foundation, former White House press advisor Peter Watkins, political pollster and author of “How Americans View Mormonism” Gary Lawrence, author of “In God’s Image and Likeness: Ancient and Modern Perspectives on the Book of Moses” Jeff Bradshaw, FARMS Review editor Dan Peterson, and more.
The early bird pricing is $69.95 for both days of the conference including lunch. Single day pricing is also available. If you purchase more than one ticket, please type the names of those attending in the comments area. To learn more about the upcoming conference and to purchase tickets, go here:
–Scott Gordon President of FAIR
FAIR’s YouTube channel is located at
We would like to draw attention to several new LDS videos. Ancient Near East scholar David Bokovoy is now on YouTube, and is producing some videos. His most recent videos provide an illustration of ways in which the Book of Mormon relies upon ancient temple worship and imagery through an exploration of Jacob’s literary sermon in Jacob 1-2.
- Ancient Temple Worship in the Book of Mormon part 1
- Ancient Temple Worship in the Book of Mormon part 2
He continues with several insights on language, history, and commentary on Nephi as an editor:
Dr. William J. Hamblin continues his commentary on the first few verses of Genesis using Hebrew, Greek, and Latin texts.
- Genesis 1:3, Glory of the Lord as Light of Creation
- Genesis 1:3a, Let There be Light
- Genesis 1:4, Dividing Light from Darkness
- Genesis 1:5, Evening and Morning
As always, please do not forget to leave a comment and rate these videos.
Where do Native Americans come from? When did they arrive in the Western Hemisphere? Which route(s) did they follow? How many colonization events were there? These and other fascinating questions have been at the center of debates among scholars from different disciplines since the rediscovery of the New World by Europeans more than 500 years ago.
Geneticist Ugo Perego examines the state of mitochondrial DNA studies relative to the Book of Mormon in this article titled: The Book of Mormon and the Origin of Native Americans from a Maternally Inherited DNA Standpoint.
FAIR RISING GENERATION
There seems to be an eternal conflict between youth and parents.
Youth want freedom. They want to be able to make their own decisions, pursue their own interests, be their own person! They want to break away from the limiting constraints of parental rules and be seen as equals, with full rights of self determination. They may not know it, but they want to join the ranks of adults without being tagged by the negative connotations this has for their peer group.
Parents are protective. They love their children and feel responsible and under fire. They see their children in a dangerous world, and witness difficulties some face with a determination that “this will not happen on my watch.” Consequently they often grudgingly give freedom to their children.
The result is that youth feel they need to take that freedom. Frustrated by their own confidence and abilities being constrained by their parents’ worries, they begin to make their own decisions without permission. Many parents see this and cry “rebellion” seeing this behavior as an act of defiance and not a cry for acceptance. Their own fears of something bad happening “on their watch” increases, and they clamp down even more. This heightens the frustration of our youth, and the cycle deepens and the divide grows wider. Unfortunately, it often ends in a “not in my home” discussion where the youth leaves as the parent kicks them out.
How does this happen? How do we bridge the divide and accomplish what we all want–young adults with the ability to make good choices on their own, and freedom to make those good choices! Do youth really want to be left in the cold and dreary world without supportive help? Do parents want to push their children into the world without the ability to navigate its hazards?
FOR PARENTS–Youth take note!
A Muslim co-worker shared with me a perspective he learned from his faith tradition that seems to have merit to this discussion. He said his tradition teaches that for the first 7 years of a child’s life, the parents are servants. For the next 7 years, they are a mentor. After that, they must be a friend. It reflects a deliberate transition from one who serves, teaches, then supports the child. It nowhere makes the parent a “guardian” in the sense of one who sits on the wall and guards the prisoners inside. Rather, it makes the parent one whose entire aim is to invite the child into the community of adults, and to do so at an early age (about age 14). Most societies have what is known as the “right of passage.” It is an event or accomplishment that can be identified by the community at large as a sign that the boy has passed on to become a man, or the girl has become a woman. It is the event that universally symbolizes the adoption of responsibility and accountability. It is usually celebrated in someway by the community, and marks the point in which the adults welcome the individual into their community. For example, Jews have the Bar Mitzvah for boys and the Bat Mitzvah for girls and these celebrations Mark the transition to adulthood. In Panama, the Kuna Indian girls get a tattoo down their nose when they first menstruate, and are no longer considered a girl. Each society generally has such events, and they serve to let parents shift from being a guardian above to being someone with an arm around the shoulder, helping the youth succeed.
These types of events are absent from much of our culture. There is no “single” event that we point to early in the life of a teenager to indicate it is time for the behavior and attitude of adults to change and for youth to step up responsibly and join the community of adults. Youth can drive at 16, vote at 18, drink legally at 21. They are held in a lesser psychological position for a long time. In the LDS Church, young men get the priesthood at 12, but it is graduated by degrees until at 19 they serve a mission. This is often a large turning point for the community perception of the returning missionary, but they are often still seen as “young adults”. This can be perceived by some as a type of purgatory, where they are neither youth nor full adults. It is sometimes not until they are married that this stigma goes away. For our young women, there is nothing substantive to indicate they are “adults” until they are married.
Because our community does not provide a more definitive symbolic turning point except marriage or missions for when we change our perception and treatment of our youth, parents need to be more deliberate in their efforts to help them transition into adult peers by changing how they react to their children at an earlier age. Terms that worked when the children were younger like “because I said so” need to go by the wayside. It is a term used to shorten a discussion not deepen understanding. It is a “might makes right” position and reinforces a division. Rather, we need to sit beside them, not in front of them, and begin by listening. We need to talk through options, decisions, and consequences. We need to remove the air of compulsion, and leave the youth feeling that they will be supported in all their right decisions, and accountable for their wrong ones. We need to start letting the natural consequences be the sting, not our reactions.
This is an important but often difficult transition for parents. As you will discover, youth will start making their own decisions, if only to prove that they can! You will not stop it. You cannot control it. You can fight it and end up like I describe above, or you can recognize it and preserve your influence. You can make symbolic but real gestures to your children that indicate your trust in them. For me, I let my boys drive my new truck WITHOUT ME IN IT around a duck club I owned when they were 9 and 12 respectively. They bragged about it for weeks, and I am sure had them think of me a bit differently. As teenagers, we let our children go places with cousins or friends without us, often as overnight or week long excursions. Obviously adults were around, but they flew on their own, had their own pocket money, and a sense of freedom.
We involve our children in financial decisions, such as buying a car, or deciding on a vacation. We inform them of our financial situations, and even have them help us sort and pay the bills! We have them join us when doing adult things, like helping someone who is sick, or going to fix a friend’s car. We involve them in significant events, and use these to help us transition in our relationships. When tragedy strikes or someone we know struggles, we involve them in the conversation. When I am frustrated at work, I share my situation with my children, asking them for advice. The result is that our children do not see us as guardians on the wall, but people they want to become. We are not the enemy, we are the goal! They come to us when something happens that demands a moral decision. For example my 13 year old son found beer at an activity with non-members, and he came to me asking what he should have done. Could I ask for a better opportunity to keep him on the right path? My first words were “I don’t know. What do you think?” I listened. This let me know where he was, and as a mentor, I could give him advice on how to adjust his thinking.
The risk parents take during this trans-formative period is that they either push their children away to the point they have no influence, or they let their children fall on their own faces. The fact is, either way they will eventually fall, as that is how they gain experience which leads to wisdom. The difference is that in one circumstance there will be a relationship of trust that will let the youth turn to parents for help. In the other, they will hide their mistakes and persist in their independence if only to make a point. As my father once advised me, “The hardest thing you will ever do as a parent is watch your children fall down, knowing it is going to happen”. It isn’t easy, but it is necessary.
So parents, listen, advise, support, and warn. But please, don’t be the wedge between you and a child that wants your acceptance. Maintain your influence by decidedly letting go of your control. It may feel unnatural, but it is necessary!
–by John Lynch
Certain organizations claim to expose the “truth” about Mormonism. These counter-cult ministries, as they are sometimes called, focus on “educating” people about religions which they consider non-Christian. One such organization is the Watchman Fellowship, which claims to be a “Christian Research and Apologetics Ministry.” One of the inquiries recently made to FAIR asked if we had responses to the claims made on the Watchman Fellowship website. The claims made are nothing new, so FAIR created a response to all of the claims about the Church made by this specific ministry.
Watchman Fellowship—According to their website, “Watchman Fellowship is an independent, nondenominational Christian research and apologetics ministry focusing on new religious movements, cults, the occult and the New Age.” (Link)
Joseph Smith’s use of the Nephite interpreters, and later his seer stone placed in his hat, to translate the Book of Mormon is well documented in historical sources. The Maxwell Institute recently posted a very comprehensive database of 19th century references in newspapers and other publications to the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. A number of very interesting early references have been found which indicate that Joseph may have used the hat as part of the translation process even from the very beginning in conjunction with the Nephite interpreters. These new references have been added to our comprehensive list of translation method quotes.
Chronology of translation methods—We have a number of accounts of the translation process from the perspective of various contemporary second-hand witnesses who viewed the Prophet as he dictated to his scribes. The only person other than Joseph who attempted to directly translate was Oliver Cowdery. Oliver, however, did not record any details regarding the exact physical process that he employed during his attempt—we only have the spiritual aspect of the process. (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.
Oliver Cowdrey: Scribe, Elder, Witness
[Covers are slightly damaged from packing. Limited to stock on hand]
Provo, Utah: Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, 2006, softbound, 436 pages
Special Price of $12.97 (35% off Retail Price of $19.95)
Oliver Cowdery’s life itself stands as a testimony of the restored gospel of Christ. This volume, which includes an award-winning article on the return of the Second Elder, helps readers understand and appreciate the remarkable Oliver Cowdery, renowned as Book of Mormon scribe, recipient with Joseph of restored priesthood power, witness with David Whitmer and Martin Harris of the visit of Moroni, and cofounder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
April Specials: http://bookstore.fairlds.org/category.php?id_category=50
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith
Joseph Smith; Joseph Fielding Smith (Compiler), American Fork, Utah: Covenant Communications, 6×9″ softbound, 447 pages. Special Price of $11.96 (20% off Retail Price of $14.95)
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, the seminal work compiled by Joseph Fielding Smith, is one of the most cited and highly acclaimed books in LDS literature.
This landmark volume includes the well-known King Follett discourse and other beloved writings and sermons, along with comprehensive accounts of Joseph’s teachings from his early days in Kirtland to his final days at Nauvoo, in a convenient chronological arrangement.
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith makes an ideal gift for missionaries, recent converts, and for anyone who wants to know more about this incredible prophet, the Church, and principles of the gospel. This valuable reference tool is a must-have for members of the Church and should have a place in every home library.
Plates of Gold: The Book of Mormon Comes Forth
Matthew B. Brown, American Fork, Utah: Covenant Communications, 2003, 6×9″ Softbound, 217 pages.
Special Price of $11.96 (20% off Retail Price of $14.95) Also available on CD Special Price of $13.24 (17% off Retail Price of $15.95)
Most Latter-day Saints know the essential story of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, but there are scores of fascinating details of the saga that are seldom told. Now, author Matthew B. Brown connects many little-known historical fragments with more familiar accounts to present the most complete narrative to date on the restoration and translation of this most important scripture. As the engaging story unfolds, you’ll step into scenes suffused with a range of human experience-from awe-inspiring meetings with heavenly beings to very earthly altercations between men. You’ll examine, in detail, the objects that Joseph Smith found in the stone box, and come to know those who were allowed to handle the sacred engravings. Intriguing and insightful, Plates of Gold: The Book of Mormon Comes Forth presents a sharpened picture of an important segment of LDS history.
Organize my Kingdom: A History of the Restored Priesthood
John A. Tvedtnes, Bountiful, Utah: Cornerstone Publishing, 2000, 6×9″ softbound, 258 pages.
Special Price of $13.56 (20% off the Retail Price of $16.95)
The introduction of each office of the priesthood is discussed here along with the developmental of that office into its present-day position in the Church. Every period of Church history is covered, Joseph Smith’s first vision, the restoration and organization of the Church, the Kirtland period, Missouri, the Nauvoo era, early growth in Utah and the present worldwide expansion.
The author illustrates how the Lord has modified and added to the organization and government of the Church as it grew from six members to a worldwide body with widely diversified membership. The questions of critics are answered with a clear testimony that God truly has and will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the kingdom of God.
Extensively documented from numerous sources, including the original source material for the Doctrine & Covenants, and many previously unpublished manuscripts available only through the Church Historian’s office. This is the definitive answer to “Mormons, Inc.” and other similar works. (Note: “Mormons, Inc.” was a 1997 cover story for Time magazine written by Richard Ostling who also coauthored Mormon America.)
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.
- S. Kent Brown, “Arabia and the Book of Mormon”
- Matt Roper, “Right on Target: Boomerang Hits and the Book of Mormon”
- Royal Skousen, “Changes in the Book of Mormon”
LECTURE 8 April 2010, 7PM Michael Rhodes, “Hugh Nibley and the Book of Abraham” Harold B. Lee Library Auditorium Brigham Young University
FAIR CONFERENCE 5-6 August 2010 South Towne Exposition Center Sandy, Utah
APOLOGETICS ON THE INTERNET
- Michael De Groote, “Opposition to Mormonism Started Early”
- Daniel C. Peterson, “The Three Witnesses and the Reality of the Book of Mormon”
- Kristen Moulton, “Book of Mormon Geography Stirring Controversy”
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:
- Hugh W. Nibley, One Eternal Round (Salt Lake City and Provo: Deseret Book and FARMS, 2010), 698 pp.
- This is the final book in the “Collected Works of Hugh Nibley” series.
- Matthew P. Roper, compiler (others were also involved in bringing this project about), Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, publisher
- “19th Century Publications about the Book of Mormon (1829-1844)” This is an important collection of documents related to early LDS Church history and a valuable research tool for apologists. Its content has already paid dividends in providing a clearer understanding of the past.
- LeGrand L. Baker and Stephen D. Ricks, Who Shall Ascend into the Hill of the Lord? The Psalms in Israel’s Temple Worship in the Old Testament and in the Book of Mormon (Eborn Books, 2010), 1149 pp.
- Michael Biggestaff, “The Anointing of Aaron: The Process by Which He Became Holier than His Sons,” Studia Antiqua, vol. 7, no. 2, Fall 2009, 33-47.
- Erik Yingling, “‘Ye are Gods’: Clement of Alexandria’s Doctrine of Deification,” Studia Antiqua, vol. 7, no. 2, Fall 2009, 93-99.
- Brian C. Hales, ‘Emma Smith, Eliza R. Snow and the Reported Incident on the Stairs,’ Mormon Historical Studies, vol. 10, no. 2, Fall 2009, 63-75.
FAIR’S ‘FRONT PAGE’
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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.