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
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MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
We are surrounded by people who do not believe in God. Additionally, there are those who don’t know if there is a God. In and of itself, that can’t be faulted; but often those that don’t know aren’t willing to do anything to try to find out. But, that is probably no worse than those who believe in God, and don’t follow through and live up to that belief. I’m grateful for the atonement of Jesus Christ to help us obtain forgiveness for all of our sins.
This is a time of year when we think more about Jesus. It is a time when we gather our families around, us as we are able, and we spend time with them.
This is a time of family traditions. We have traditions of trees and ornaments; of bows and packages; of presents; of late nights putting together bikes, or of delivering cookies to a neighbor. It is a time of giving.
For many, this is the one Sunday we might go to church, or read out of our bibles. For some this is a time of warmth, caring, and giving, while for others, it is a time of remembering loss and of loneliness–missing those we love and with whom we shared those traditions.
Some criticize the commercialization of Christmas, or the holiday traditions that may or may not have true Christian roots. Clearly there is commercialization that has gotten out of hand. I know I grumble as we put up house lights and wonder why I’m doing it. But, spending time with our loved ones, and building holiday traditions, whatever they may be, we are remembering and following our Savior. These traditions are important. We all know that the true gift of Christmas isn’t wrapped up with a bow. The gift of Christmas is Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten of the Father, the Son of God. As we follow him, we will put other people first. We will spend more time in serving others. We will spend more time with the people we love.
So going back to my thoughts about those that don’t believe. If one person tells us a fact, we may or may not believe it. But if several people say the same thing, we are more likely to at least investigate. I am grateful for the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. We not only have the testimony from the Bible, but we also have the testimony from the Book of Mormon and the testimony of modern prophets. I will always remember the words of Joseph Smith as he says:
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–
I wish you the best during this holiday season and hope you have a very Merry Christmas.
–Scott Gordon President of FAIR
DONATING TO FAIR
As you finish out your year, we hope you will remember FAIR in your donations. We are a group of volunteers who spend many hours trying to research and publish information to help members respond to critics. We try to price our conferences to be accessible to as many as possible. But, providing this information does cost money. In all of your charitable giving, please consider donating to FAIR. It is only through your donations that we are able to stay in operation.
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You won’t want to miss the FAIR Podcast with Blair Hodges interviewing communication theorist John Durham Peters. Part 2 is now posted:
You can also find this and other FAIR podcasts for free download on iTunes. Look for the FAIR-Blog in iTunes and be sure to leave a comment.
NEW ON THE WEBSITE
“Well Nigh as Dangerous”: Latter-day Prophecy and Revelation; Infallibility and Blind Obedience by McKay V. Jones
Some criticize the Church for claiming living prophets and point out potential problems with those we sustain as such. In this paper, McKay V. Jones examines explanations by latter-day Church leaders about how revelation works and explains how these explanations resolve difficulties of infallibility, absolute certainty, blind obedience, and the potential for prophets to lead the Church astray.
Because of recent claims made by some that Joseph Smith only taught a North American setting for The Book of Mormon, we produced a very quick video, showing quotes from Joseph Smith placing The Book of Mormon in Mesoamerica. This is not a comprehensive list and we realize that Joseph Smith placed The Book of Mormon all over North and South America, but feel it necessary to show that he didn’t feel the need to limit Book of Mormon geography to just North America.
In that same vein, we have also produced a video containing statements from Prophets giving inspired Temple dedicatory prayers. What is interesting is that these prayers were given in Mesoamerica and call the people in that area descendants of Lehi. Prophetic declarations that Amerindians all over North and South America are at least partly descended from Lehi match what population genetics tell us to expect. Those who try to restrict Lehi’s descendants to a small group of modern individuals contradict both genetic science and the words of the modern prophets.
Joseph Smith as a Martyr
Recently one online critic claimed that Joseph Smith “defied” a warning from the Lord to flee to the west when he turned around and went back to Nauvoo to face certain death. What are the circumstances of Joseph’s decision to change his mind and return to Nauvoo? Did he do so in accordance with the Lord’s wishes? Does Joseph qualify as a “martyr” for his beliefs if he disregarded the Lord’s warning? We examine these claims here:
Does Joseph Smith qualify as a “martyr?”
Did Joseph “defy” a warning from God to flee to the west?
Church doctrine One of the more popular critical claims is that it is impossible to pin down “Mormon doctrine.” Joseph Smith defined our fundamental core doctrine:
The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it. –Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 121.
What constitutes LDS doctrine? Does it constantly change? How do the words of the living prophets related to the standard works? We examine critical claims related to these questions in a set of articles here:
What constitutes official or “core” doctrine of the Church?
Official or “core” doctrine—What constitutes official or “core” doctrine of the Church? Joseph Smith defined our fundamental core doctrine: “The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 121.) (Link)
Is LDS doctrine constantly changing?
Changing doctrine—Is LDS doctrine constantly changing? Critics claim that Mormon doctrine is very elusive – very little is claimed to be official, which makes it easy to repudiate certain doctrines when they become unpleasant or unfashionable. (Link)
Are Church publications considered doctrine?
Church publications as doctrine—Are Church publications considered doctrine? Critics claim that anything that is, or ever was, officially published by the Church at any time ought to represent doctrine, thus define what Latter-day Saints really believe. However, just as Brigham Young taught principles that applied to the 19th-century saints, modern prophets teach us what we need for our particular time. (Link)
Are statements of past prophets considered doctrine?
Statements by past prophets—Are statements of past prophets considered doctrine? Critics claim that anything that is, or ever was, officially published by the Church ought to represent doctrine. (Link)
Are prophets considered infallible?
Prophets are not infallible—Are prophets considered infallible? Critics sometimes impose absolutist assumptions on the Church and hold inerrantist beliefs about scriptures or prophets. Critics therefore insist that any statement by any LDS Church leader represents LDS doctrine and is thus something that is secretly believed, or that should be believed, by Latter-day Saints. (Link)
How is new doctrine established in the Church?
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.
Romans 1: Notes and Reflections (Limited to stock on hand)
James E. Faulconer, Provo, Utah: Foundation for Ancient Research & Mormon Studies, 1999, 8.5×11″ softbound, 118 pages.
The book of Romans can be difficult to understand, and it is used more than any other biblical book to challenge LDS doctrine. “When we understand Romans, it is obvious that not only need we not fear having others discuss Paul’s teachings, but we can use those very teachings to teach the truthfulness of the gospel understood through latter-day revelation” In commenting on Romans 1 verse by verse, Faulconer touches on such topics as faith, holiness, obedience, service to Christ, personal conversion and repentance, and becoming true saints. Romans 1: Notes and Reflections can be a valuable tool for those who are studying the book of Romans or looking for new ways to study other scripture.
Retail Price: $14.95 Special FAIR Price: $8.97 (40% Discount)
The Covenant Concept (Limited to stock on hand)
Martin J. Palmer. Salt Lake City, Utah: Ben Shemen Publications, 1998. Hardbound, 6.25×9.25″, 384 pgs.
What is a covenant? Ask anyone and the answer is sure to come quickly, almost automatically,” A covenant is a two-way promise.” Such an answer is certainly true as far as it goes, but does not go very far. What is the nature of a covenant? Are there different types of covenants? Who makes covenants, and under what terms and conditions? What happens if it is broken? Can a broken covenant be renewed and if so, under what conditions? Above all are covenants relevant to us today, and in what way? These and similar questions are considered in this volume.
Retail Price: $14.95 Special FAIR Price: $7.47 (50% Discount)
Jesus the Christ
James E. Talmage, American Fork, Utah: Covenant Communications, 2006, 6×9″ softbound, 768 pages.
Considered one of the all-time great classics of LDS literature, Jesus the Christ is a comprehensive look into the life and ministry of the Savior. Written at the request of the First Presidency by the Apostle James E. Talmage, and penned from an office inside the Salt Lake Temple, this volume is more than a simple outline of the Savior’s life. It presents a far-reaching view of the Savior– including His life in the flesh, His antemortal existence, and His activities across time as the world’s Redeemer. Allow this unparalleled work to enhance your knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ as it magnifies your understanding of the scriptures.
Retail Price: $14.95 Special FAIR Price: $11.96 (20% Discount)
Making Sense of the New Testament
Richard Neitzel Holzapfel and Thomas A. Wayment. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Company, 2010. Hardbound, 6×9″, 544 pages.
In this landmark new volume, the authors help readers understand the New Testament in context, as the writers originally intended. The book sheds additional light on this witness of Jesus Christ, offering further evidence that, although it is an ancient book, the New Testament has a modern message for everyone. If you want the authoritative single-volume work on the New Testament, this is it!
- Offers the best and most current scholarship in an accessible way
- Includes invaluable historical, cultural, and linguistic background
- Reviews the New Testament text carefully to help provide the most accurate interpretation
- Looks at the New Testament through the lens of the Restoration,including material from the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible
- Anticipates questions readers and teachers may have about the New Testament
Retail Price: $34.99 Special FAIR Price: $27.99 (20% Discount)
400 Questions & Answers about the Life and Times of Jesus Christ
Susan Easton Black. American Fork, Utah: Covenant Communications, 2010. Softbound, 6″x9″, 264 pages.
In this engaging volume, renowned gospel scholar and teacher Susan Easton Black explores more than 400 questions– many inspired by her own students–about the life and times of the Savior. Organized chronologically from the Nativity to the Resurrection, the author’s skillful responses lend valuable insight into the childhood and adolescence of Jesus as well as His mortal ministry and atoning sacrifice. Many of these descriptive passages provide key details regarding New Testament geography, politics, and culture that illuminate and enhance the scriptural text, while others address more complex doctrinal topics in a succinct and sensitive manner.
Colorfully illustrated with more than 80 images, this book is an ideal companion for students and teachers in a variety of settings, from Seminary to Gospel Doctrine class to personal and family scripture study. The research in this book is backed by extensive documentation, as well as deep and evident love for the subject matter. Dr. Black provides a fascinating view of the historical and religious identity of Jesus Christ through the lens of the restored gospel.
Retail: $17.99 Special FAIR Price: $14.39 (20% Discount)
Lessons on the Atonement (CD)
Hugh W. Nibley, American Fork, Utah: Covenant Communications, 2004, CD, 80 minutes.
Hugh Nibley, scholar, educator, and lecturer, has been delighting and motivating Latter-day Saints for decades. A prolific writer, a keen and witty observer, and a relentless critic of the worldly, he has led Church members of all ages to deeper understanding and commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Widely recognized as one of the foremost scholars in the LDS Church, Nibley combines a powerful intellect with humility and spiritual greatness. He has encountered both students and colleagues, to continue to “seek learning, even by study and also by faith” (D&C 88:118).
Lessons on the Atonement will increase your understanding of this all-important subject.
Retail: $11.95 Special FAIR Price: $9.56 (20% Discount)
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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.
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