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
Recently, we received the following email:
I have just finished reading the book The Changing World of Mormonism online. It has impeccable sources and documentation. It was written by Jerald and Sandra Tanner and at first I did not want to read it having heard disparaging remarks about the authors. But this book is so accurate borne not of whims but of journals and LDS church history. Hope you can find it and read it.
The FAIR volunteers were already very familiar with the book and exchanged emails with this sister. The book is biased and inaccurate in its portrayal of LDS belief and history. We have created a FAIR Wiki page that responds to many of the issues of the book by providing links to articles which discuss the claims in detail.
A FAIR Analysis of The Changing World of Mormonism by Jerald and Sandra Tanner (Link)
To many of the claims in this book, the Wiki response starts with the words, “This claim is false.” In one example, the Tanners claim, “Mormon apologists are beginning to retreat from the idea that God the Father appeared to Joseph Smith.” In this case, our response starts with the words “Absurd claim” because that is what it is. If the authors were on such solid ground in disproving Mormonism, I have to wonder why they rely on absurd claims. Why do they have to rely on making stuff up?
In 2000, Danel Bachman wrote a paper on the writings of the Tanners.
In it we read, “Mormons of one variety or another are frequently described as “claiming,” “admitting,” “confessing,” or “alleging” something. Other people, however, “affirm,” “acknowledge,” “say,” and “testify.” Again, I have to ask myself why there is the need to introduce prejudicial language if the underlying argument is allegedly so strong.
FAIR provides resources to help evaluate books, articles, and arguments that have been brought to our attention. In looking at these many books and articles, we find that sensationalism is usually more common than accuracy.
Our message to the world is that God lives, and that Jesus is the Christ. Joseph Smith wrote:
And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives! For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father–That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God. (D&C 76: 22-24)
As for dealing with the critics, another scripture comes to mind:
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8: 32)
I pray that we might all find freedom in the truth of the Gospel and not be weighed down by the inaccurate and absurd claims made by our critics. If you have questions, look for answers. But, in looking for those answers, don’t forget the resources provided by FAIR and by other LDS scholars such as those at the Maxwell Institute. The truth shall make you free.
–Scott Gordon President of FAIR
Be sure to sign up soon for the annual FAIR conference. 5th and 6th of August 2010 South Towne Exposition Center Sandy, Utah
Topics to be covered this year include:
- The Book of Abraham
- The Council of the Gods
- Hugh W. Nibley
- Big Love (TV Show)
- The Book of Mormon
- The White House
- The Controversy over Marriage
- How Americans View Mormonism
There is still time to register for different pricing options for the two days of conference activity, hotel accommodations, and food.
IMPORTANT NOTE: ONLINE TICKET SALES FOR CONFERENCE WILL END ON WEDNESDAY, JULY 28, AT 11:59 PM. Get your tickets now, before the deadline:
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:
Every description published during Joseph Smith’s lifetime (friendly and otherwise) on the translation method of the Book of Mormon.
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)
Descriptions of the golden plates
“Gold” plates?—Critics claim that Joseph Smith, Jr. manufactured some metal plates out of tin, copper, or some other metal in order to trick witnesses into thinking he had gold plates. Gold plates of the dimensions described by the witnesses would be too heavy (on the order of 200 lbs) to be realistically lifted and carried as Joseph and others described. This assumption, however, assumes a solid block of gold in the dimensions described, and does not account for the fact that pure gold would have been too fragile to form the thin leaves necessary for engraving. (Link)
Book of Mormon geography statements from the Kirkham Project
- Nineteenth century (Link)
Messenger and Advocate periodical (entire volumes):
Thoughts and commentary from the apologetic frontlines (articles are open to public comment):
FAIR volunteer Trevor Holyoak has been creating blog articles by taking some chapters of the new Gospel Principles manual and linking their themes to various FAIR resources.
- Gospel Principles Chapter 11: The Life of Christ
- Gospel Principles Chapter 10: Scriptures
- Gospel Principles Chapter 9: Prophets of God
- Gospel Principles Chapter 8: Praying to Our Heavenly Father
- Gospel Principles Chapter 7: The Holy Ghost
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.
Leadership for Saints – Limited to stock on hand.
Rodger Dean Duncan and Ed J. Pinegar, American Fork, Utah: Covenant Communications, 2002, 6.5×9.5″ hardbound, 384 pages.
Rodger Dean Duncan, award-winning journalist and leading business consultant, and Ed J. Pinegar, former MTC Mission President and former President of the London, England Mission, have combined their spiritual and executive knowledge and experiences in a book or CD designed to help members become the leaders the Church desperately needs today.
Founded on scripture and reinforced by quotes from modern prophets and apostles, this remarkable book discusses the many leadership opportunities available, and the dramatic impact a Christ-like leader has on those he or she is responsible for.
This book encourages youth leaders to teach, guide, and serve as examples for our precious young people. It teaches quorum leaders to consistently pray for their brethren, to interview them, and understand them. It counsels fathers who wish to preside with righteousness in their homes. It encourages and offers strength to parents who are working with stubborn teenagers, and much more.
President or Bishop, Leadership for Saints offers gentle support, practical advice, and sensitive counsel for all who wish to become a little more like the Master Teacher.
Retail Price: $19.95 Special FAIR Price: $10.97 (45% Discount)
Revelation, Reason and Faith
Donald W. Parry, Daniel C. Peterson, and Stephen D. Ricks (Editors), Provo, Utah: Foundation for Ancient Research & Mormon Studies (FARMS), 2002, 6.5×9″ hardbound, 800+ pages.
The distinguished career of Truman G. Madsen has earned him wide respect in and outside of LDS circles as an outstanding teacher, scholar, researcher, speaker, university administrator, church leader, and religious ambassador. With the publication of Revelation, Reason, and Faith: Essays in Honor of Truman G. Madsen, the Institute pays tribute to this remarkable man whose many accomplishments include helping to advance Book of Mormon scholarship and related interests of the Institute.
Edited by Donald W. Parry, Daniel C. Peterson, and Stephen D. Ricks (each of whom also author a chapter), the 800 + page volume contains contributions by 31 scholars, 10 of whom are not Latter-day Saints, reflecting the wide appeal of Madsen’s academic work and influence. The non-LDS contributors include the noted biblical scholars David Noel Freedman, James H. Charlesworth, and Jacob Milgrom. The book is organized into five sections: “Philosophy and Theology,” “LDS Scripture and Theology,” “Joseph Smith and LDS Church History,” “Judaism,” and “The Temple.”
- PHILOSOPHY AND THEOLOGY:
- 1. William James on Religion and God: An Introduction to the Varieties of Religious Experience, Gerald Bradford
- 2. Jesus Research and the Appearance of Psychobiography, James Charlesworth
- 3. Room to Talk: Reason’s Need for Faith, James Faulconer
- 4. The Mind’s Road to Fulfillment, Self-Realization, and Experiential Knowledge: Some Tagorean Views, Guttorm Floistad
- 5. The Utility of Faith Reconsidered, Louis Midgley 6. The Spirituality of Love: Kierkegaard on Faith’s Transforming Power, Terry Warner
- LDS SCRIPTURE AND THEOLOGY:
- 7. “Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee”: Understanding the Christ of the Restoration and the Reformation, Gary Gillum
- 8. Sin, Suffering, and Soul-Making: Joseph Smith on the Problem of Evil, David L. Paulsen and Blake Ostler
- 9. On the Motif of the Weeping God in Moses 7, Daniel Peterson
- 10. Ancient Views of Creation and the Doctrine of Creation ex Nihilo, Stephen Ricks
- 11. Genesis 15 in Light of the Restoration, David Seely
- 12. Joseph Smith Vindicated Again: Enoch, Moses 7:48, and Apocryphal Sources, Andrew Skinner
- 13. The Higher and Lesser Laws, John Tvedtnes
- JOSEPH SMITH AND LDS CHURCH HISTORY:
- 14. Mormon Catechisms, Davis Bitton
- 15. The Theology of Councils, Richard Bushman
- 16. The Refractory Abner Cole, Andrew Hedges
- 17. The Martyrdom: Joseph and Hyrum Smith as Testators, Daniel McKinlay
- 18. Placing the Keystone: George Q. Cannon’s Mission of Translating and Printing the Book of Mormon in the Hawaiian Language, David Whittaker
- 19. The Mystical Denial of Language, Joseph Dan
- 20. The Book of Job as a Biblical “Guide of the Perplexed,” Raphael Jospe
- 21. Salvation and Redemption in the Judaic Tradition, David Rosen
- 22. A Simhat Torah Practice and the Ephraimite Tradition, Seth Ward
- THE TEMPLE
- 23. The Temple in Luke and Acts, S. Kent Brown
- 24. The Dome of the Rock, David Freedman and Rebecca Frey
- 25. Fundamentals of Temple Ideology from Eastern Traditions, John Lundquist
- 26. “His Hand Is Stretched Out Still”: The Lord’s Eternal Covenant of Mercy, Ann Madsen
- 27. Rationales are Theology in the Holiness Code, Jacob Milgrom
- 28. Who Shall Ascend into the Mountain of the Lord?: Three Biblical Temple Entrance Hymns, Donald W. Parry
- 29. Temple and Temples: Some Linguistic Reflections, R.J. Werblowsky
Retail Price: $39.95 Special FAIR Price: $31.96 (20% Discount)
Answering Challenging Mormon Questions
Michael W. Hickenbotham. Springville, Utah: Cedar Fort Inc., 2004. Softbound, 6×9″, 268 pages.
Friends and critics occasionally misunderstand or misrepresent the doctrines and the practices of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This book offers clean, detailed and documented responses to 130 questions which others have asked including:
- Why do we claim to have special authority?
- What is the nature of heaven and hell?
- Are we Christians?
More than just a quick answer book, Answering Challenging Mormon Questions provides thousands of scripture references that lead the reader to a much deeper understanding than can be achieved through reasoning alone. It is a major work that will rapidly become an extremely important missionary tool and reference.
Retail Price of $16.98 Special FAIR Price: $13.58 (20% Discount)
The Elders of Israel and the Constitution
Jerome Horowitz, Ogden, Utah: Jerome Horowitz, 1991 second edition, 6×9″ softbound, 210 pages.
This book fills an important need . . . that of helping Latter-day Saints understand the Constitution as written by the Framers, whom the Lord described as “wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose.” It shows that instead of being outmoded the Constitution is the basis of America’s freedom and prosperity.
For many years Latter-day Saints have been aware of a prophecy of Joseph Smith that the Constitution would be damaged to the point of near destruction, and that if it is saved, they would play a vital role in saving it.
The first part of that prophecy is being fulfilled. The Constitution has been greatly distorted to accommodate beliefs incompatible with those of the inspired Framers.
In recent years some Church members have felt that Joseph Smith’s prophecy no longer applies. Because of widespread erroneous teachings, they have been led to believe that the battered Constitution is the way it should be.
This book explains those erroneous teachings and gives its readers a sound understanding of government in general and the American constitutional system in particular. It is written interestingly and clearly so that it can be read and understood by the lay person. While oriented to members of The Church of Jesus Christ to help them fulfill the second part of Joseph Smith’s prophecy, it should be of value to all who sincerely desire freedom and prosperity.
Retail Price: $13.95 Special FAIR Price: $11.16 (20% Discount)
Thank you for using the FAIR bookstore!
Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting 20-23 November 2010 Atlanta, Georgia Items from the Program Book that might be of apologetic interest include the following:
- Stephen D. Ricks, Brigham Young University and John W. Welch, Brigham Young University Hugh Nibley and the Continuing Pursuit of the Forty-day Literature
- Nili S. Fox, Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion Biblical Sanctification of Dress: Why Wear Tassels on Garments?
- Margaret Barker, Independent Scholar “The Christian Envy of the Temple”: Revisiting Hugh Nibley’s Landmark Paper after 50 Years
- Laurence Hemming, Lancaster University Hugh Nibley and Attestations of Missing Traditions: The Lost 40 Days
- Ben C. Blackwell, Durham University Deification and Colossians 2.10
- Jeffrey Siker, Loyola Marymount University Shifting Sands and Paradigms: Early Jewish/Christian Relations and Mormons?
- Michael Chan, Emory University Symbols of Strength, Masculinity, and Apotropaism: An Examination of Wing-Like Fringes Worn by Human and Divine Characters on Neo-Assyrian Monumental Art
APOLOGETICS ON THE INTERNET
- Joel Campbell, “FAIR Looks to Broaden its Mission”
- Michael De Groote, “The Fight over Book of Mormon Geography”
- Michael De Groote, “Pros, Cons of Book of Mormon Geography Theories”
- Daniel C. Peterson, “‘Earliest Text’ a Boon to Readers”
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:
- Kerry Muhlestein, “Egyptian Papyri and the Book of Abraham: Some Questions and Answers,” The Religious Educator, vol. 11, no. 1, 2010, 91-106.
- Robert L. Millet, “A Latter-day Saint Perspective on Biblical Inerrancy,” The Religious Educator, vol. 11, no. 1, 2010, 77-89.
FAIR’S ‘FRONT PAGE’
FAIR’s ‘Front Page’ is a free news clipping 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.