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 EDITOR
Since 27 December 1832 Latter-day Saints have been under a divine directive to “establish … a house of learning” and to “seek … out of the best books words of wisdom; [to] seek learning, even by study and also by faith” (D&C88:118-119).
This charge underlies the purpose of FAIR and guides what it does as a faith-based organization. The mission statement of FAIR maintains that it will utilize scholarship and sound logic to carry out its mission and twice refers to the importance of employing proper documentation. In this endeavor, the spiritual and the intellectual are not at odds but are combined.
With the desire to emphasize the compatibility of the mind and the spirit a website was created at the beginning of 2010 called Mormon Scholars Testify.
The aim of this ongoing and expanding project is to make available the testimonies of Latter-day Saints who work in the world of academia. Currently there are over 100 testimonies that have been posted and there are more than 60 institutions represented to which these individuals belong.
In order to begin understanding what this website has to offer I began by randomly clicking on five of the entries. Here are the educational credentials I was presented with, in the order selected:
Ph.D.-Brandeis; Ph.D.-BYU; Ph.D.-Harvard; Ph.D.-Innsbruck; Ph.D.-Yale.
I then randomly clicked on five additional entries and read them. Here are a few of the things these academics had to say that stood out to me:
“The simplest answer to why I believe is spiritual: when I live the Gospel, it feels more than right. … That spiritual side of my conviction is buttressed by what I feel is intellectual evidence about the Church’s beneficial social impact, which deserves more attention from Church members and others than it has received in the past.”
“as pursuits of the truth, both academic and gospel study impose on me the same requirements. These include (1) critical, sound reasoning, (2) painstaking effort, and (3) a fundamental attitude of humility.”
“I believe God could communicate much more clearly (in human terms) to everyone, but does not, in order to bring people to face their conflicting interpretations about the purpose of existence, the nature of God, and the way we should treat each other. I believe this unclear communication allows us to wrestle over truth as a test of our desire to love others in spite of our conviction that they are dangerously wrong about important truths.”
“Although my testimony is based on personal experience … my intellectual seeking has not contradicted my spiritual experiences. Actually, it has augmented and supplemented my spiritual experiences, though intellectually I admit that there are still many questions.”
“I wasn’t even sure that I believed in God, but then and there I knelt down and prayed to a being that I hoped existed and asked if this book was from him and if this man Joseph Smith were his prophet. No sooner had the words come out of my mouth than a feeling of calmness overcame me unlike any I had ever felt in my life.”
This website’s great value is not found just in its numerous, meaningful witnesses borne of the reality of the Restoration, but also in demonstrating the ultimate compatibility “of things both in heaven and in the earth” (D&C 88:79).
If you are an LDS academic and would like to have your story and views added to this important collection, or if you know someone who is in this category and whose words would benefit a worldwide audience, please consider making contact through the following e-mail address:
As an aside, it appears that the educational attainments of the speakers for the upcoming FAIR conference are an excellent reflection of the fact that religious and scholarly mindsets can be congruent. Among this year’s presenters there are:
- 8 Philosophical Doctorates
- 1 Juris Doctorate
- 1 Doctoral candidate
- 1 president of a strategic communications consulting firm
- 1 computer software engineer
- 1 law enforcement official
- 1 recent president of a medical society
- 2 Masters degrees
The FAIR conference is held annually on the first Thursday and Friday of August at the Sandy, Utah South Towne Convention Center. Tickets are selling at a brisk pace already this year so be sure to plan ahead and purchase yours soon. There are a variety of options for attendance, meals, and hotel accommodations. Rooms at the Best Western Cottontree in Sandy, Utah can be reserved at a rate of $84 plus tax per night up through 20 July 2010. This hotel offers free shuttle service to the conference center.
This year’s line-up of speakers is impressive. Come listen and learn from people such as Valerie Hudson, Gary Lawrence, Royal Skousen, Shirley Ricks, Brian Hales and many more.
Topics include the Kirtland Egyptian Papers, How Americans view Mormonism, Book of Mormon geography, the Legal Controversy over Marriage, the Apocalypse of Abraham connections with the Book of Moses, Polygamy and much more.
Join us for two great days of insightful education, a strengthening bond of unity in defending the restored gospel, and a really good bookstore.
FAIR has recently posted its first podcast. The inaugural interview is with Dr. Gregory L. Smith (M.D.) and covers topics such as apologetics in general, retaining faith regardless of being confronted with difficult issues, and polygamy.
Dr. Smith is a regular contributor to FAIR’s ‘Ask the Apologist’ service and also the FAIR wiki.
The interview has been divided into two audio files and it lasts for approximately 39 minutes.
If you have ideas that you would like to be considered for future FAIR podcasts please email them to [email protected]
Dr. William J. Hamblin continues his commentary on Genesis, picking up in Genesis 1:6 discussing the “firmament.”
Hebrew scholar David Bokovoy investigates holiness in the Book of Mormon and the Bible in a four part series:
- Holiness in the Bible and the Book of Mormon – Part 1
- Holiness in the Bible and the Book of Mormon – Part 2
- Holiness in the Bible and the Book of Mormon – Part 3
- Holiness in the Bible and the Book of Mormon – Part 4
We’d also like to point out that although scholars of the Church make some very important discoveries in behalf of the authenticity of The Book of Mormon they rely on the whisperings of the Spirit as a source for truth. We have a video in which some of these great minds share their feelings about the Gospel.
The FAIR wiki project began in 2006 as a way to provide more flexible and searchable resources on LDS apologetic issues. FAIR wiki articles are created, expanded and edited on a continual basis by various FAIR volunteers. The FAIR wiki’s main page can be accessed at:
The articles from the wiki this month focus on Mormon cultural issues and some of the myths that have been perpetuated about them.
- Attitude toward non-members—Critics charge that LDS members are taught to look down upon or reject those who are not of their faith. This not not what is taught however. President Hinckley denounced bad feelings and behavior toward non-Mormons: “Why do any of us have to be so mean and unkind to others? Why can’t all of us reach out in friendship to everyone about us? Why is there so much bitterness and animosity? It is not a part of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We all stumble occasionally. We all make mistakes. I paraphrase the words of Jesus in the Lord’s Prayer: “And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” (Link)
- Praising God in prayer and song—Do the Latter-day Saints use praise of God as part of their prayers and songs in worship? (Link)
- Use of antidepressants in Utah—Critics charge that the rate of antidepressant use is much higher among Mormons than the general population. They claim this is evidence that participation in the LDS Church is inordinately stressful due to pressure for Mormons to appear “perfect.” (Link)
- Censorship and revision—Critics claim that the church has “whitewashed” some of the information about its origins to appear more palatable to members and investigators. Some feel that this is done intentionally to hide negative aspects of church history. Others feel that it is done to focus on the good, but that it causes problems for believing members when they encounter these issues outside of church curriculum. (Link)
- “The thinking has been done”—Critics charge that the Church teaches that we should not exercise independent thought. “When our leaders speak, the thinking has been done.” (Link)
- Internet Mormons vs. Chapel Mormons—A friend tells me that no one can ascertain what Mormons really believe because “Internet Mormons” and “Chapel Mormons” often disagree on fundamental issues. What is this “divided Church” he’s talking about? (Link)
- Church over family—Critics charge that the Church teaches them to put service in the Church (e.g. in Church callings) over the needs of their families. However, Church doctrine places the family at the center of one’s life. In cases of conflict, family needs take precedence over Church responsibilities. (Link)
- Education and belief (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.
Why I Believe [Limited to stock on hand]
Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, 2002. Hardcover, 6.25 x 9.25″, 359 pages.
In an age of skepticism and unbelief, expressions of faith and certainty awaken the hope of a better tomorrow and the courage to move forward in life. Why I Believe offers such expressions from many including Stephen R. Covey, Steve Young, Gladys Knight, Danny Ainge, Thurl Bailey, Michael Ballam, Larry EchoHawk, LaVell Edwards, Sharlene Hawkes – in a way that illuminates the beliefs and lifestyles of Church members from all walks of life.
Retail Price: $21.95 Special FAIR Price: $10.97 (50% discount) June Specials:
One Eternal Round: The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, Vol. 19
Hugh Nibley and Michael D. Rhodes. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Company, 2010. Hardcover, 6×9″, 640 pages.
One Eternal Round is the culmination of Hugh Nibley’s thought on the Book of Abraham and represents over fifteen years of research and writing. The volume includes penetrating insights into Egyptian pharaohs and medieval Jewish and Islamic traditions about Abraham; Greek, Egyptian, and Mesopotamian myths; the Aztec calendar stone; Hopi Indian ceremonies; and early Jewish and Christian apocrypha, as well as the relationship of myth, ritual, and history. The final groundbreaking chapter delves into geometry and mathematical relationships depicted on Facsimile 2. All these are woven together into a magnificent tapestry of evidence demonstrating that the Book of Abraham and its facsimiles represent actual ancient materials and traditions. This book would not have come to fruition without the efforts of co-author Michael D. Rhodes. Includes illustrations by Michael P. Lyon.
Retail Price: $48.99 Special FAIR Price: $39.19 (20% Discount)
Jerusalem: The Eternal City
David B. Galbriath, D. Kelly Ogden, Andrew C. Skinner. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Company, 1996. Softbound, 6×9″, 592 pages.
Latter-day Saints are well aware of the significance of the great city of Jerusalem in our theology and in the history of God’s dealings with His people. Here is a unique contribution to the literature of the Church prepared by three professors who have a combined total of thirty-five years residence and experience in Jerusalem. Jerusalem, the Eternal City studies the Holy City from 2000 B.C. to A.D. 2000, from Melchizedek to the Millennium. It is the first treatment of the significance of Jerusalem from an LDS point of view. Through the disciplines of theology, history, geography, anthropology, archeology, linguistics, and political science, the book is a comprehensive analysis of Jerusalem’s multifaceted influence on world history through forty centuries.
Retail Price: $24:95 Special FAIR Price: $18.71 (25% Discount)
Father’s Day Special: Magnifying Priesthood Power
Robert L. Millet. Springville, Utah: Horizon Publisher, 2008. Softbound, 6×9″, 174 pages.
Inspirational and motivational, this is a book about the priesthood that is penetrating in its depth and research, with tremendous potential to shape lives for good. Magnifying Priesthood Power explains the many aspects of priesthood power and authority, then examines the ways in which Latter-day Saints can utilize the full potential of the priesthood in their lives. Carefully researched, this book brings together a wealth of information from the scriptures and from LDS Church history. This ‘must have’ guide considers the nature of earthly and heavenly powers, many aspects of the oath and covenant of the priesthood, the relationship of foreordination to mortal priesthood callings, and the ways to magnify priesthood callings. It also discusses how to receive the Lord’s servants and how to grow in the principle of revelation. Magnifying Priesthood Power is an essential resource for all who hold the priesthood.
Retail Price: $13.99 Special FAIR Price: $10.49 (25% Discount)
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 presentations, which began to be given in 1999. Here are some talks that are well worth remembering.
- Richard L. Anderson, “Explaining Away the Book of Mormon Witnesses”
- Mike Ash, “Book of Abraham 201: Papyri, Revelation, and Modern Egyptology”
- Allen Wyatt, “Zina and Her Men: An Examination of the Changing Marital State of Zina Diantha Huntington Jacobs Smith Young”
Book of Mormon Lands Conference 23 October 2010 Salt Lake City, Utah
Keynote Speaker: Richard L. Bushman
Featured Speaker: Ugo Perego
APOLOGETICS ON THE INTERNET
- Michael R. Ash, “The Double Meaning of the Word ‘Lamanite'”
- Michael R. Ash, “DNA Doesn’t Prove Book of Mormon Historicity, Either”
- Michael R. Ash, “Book of Mormon Gets Old World Details Right”
Occasionally there are publications and presentations that may be of interest or use to those who are involved in LDS apologetics. Here are a few examples:
- Jeffrey M. Bradshaw, “The Ezekiel Mural at Dura Europos,” Brigham Young University Studies, vol. 49, no. 1, 2010, 4-49.
- Richard S. Van Wagoner, ed., The Complete Discourses of Brigham Young, 5 volumes (Salt Lake City: Smith-Petit Foundation, 2009).
- Mark L. Staker, Hearken, O Ye People: The Historical Setting for Joseph Smith’s Ohio Revelations (Salt Lake City: Kofford Books, 2009).
- Stephen D. Ricks, ed., Hagion Temenos II: Essays on Temples and the Sacred in the Ancient Mediterranean (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University, 2006).
FAIR’S ‘FRONT PAGE’
FAIR’s ‘Front Page’ is a free newsclipping service and the recipient can unsubscribe at any time. It is not sent in any official Church or other capacity. It is for those who are interested in keeping abreast with what is being said around the world about the LDS Church and its members. Sometimes media portrayal of the LDS Church, its members and of other religions is not positive or accurate. The responsibility for the interpretation and use of this information lies with the reader. As all information comes from other news sources and has not been independently verified, FAIR cannot guarantee or be responsible for the security of links in the clipping service. FAIR will attempt to exclude news articles containing strongly offensive language but cannot guarantee that some will not slip through. Some links may also lead to offensive images. To receive this service 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. All 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.