With the upcoming year of Book of Mormon study in Gospel Doctrine classes, FAIR has decided to put together a new study resource. We are calling it “FAIR Study Aids,” and it can be accessed on our wiki at http://en.fairmormon.org/FAIR_Study_Aids.
Similar efforts have been made in the past, and the fruits of those labors have also been collected on that page for easy access. This information is a resource for class members and also a preparatory resource for gospel doctrine teachers to help them formulate answers to questions that might arise during their class. It is, of course, not in any way a substitute for the Gospel Doctrine manual, nor should instructors make these topics the focus of class instruction. This information is provided with the understanding that it is an additional resource only.
Each week, FAIR volunteers will look at the Sunday School lesson and identify relevant apologetic issues and other related insights, and then compile them into a single, easy to use quick-reference guide with links to additional information. Organization will follow the same structure found in Gospel Doctrine manual, with main headings that correspond with the main sections on the lesson. This should make it easy to identify how any particular item relates to the lesson material. Additional information related to the chapters in the Book of Mormon being covered by the lesson, but which do not fit neatly into the lesson’s structure, will be placed at the bottom of the page. Main sections will be broken down into three sub-sections:
- Helpful Insights: These include various tidbits of information that might be helpful or interesting to discuss as a part of your lesson. They will come from scholarly studies and other sources.
- Potential Criticisms and Faithful Information: These include potential criticisms that may arise during the lesson, or that are relevant to the topics and themes being discussed, along with information on how to respond with faith supporting information. These are made available so that teachers and students can gain some familiarity with these issues and be prepared should these or similar concerns arise in class.
- Faith Affirmations: Here we will make note of various items of evidence for the Book of Mormon along with other information that supports the authenticity of the Book of Mormon and promotes faith in its teachings.
The first lesson is already available, and serves as an example. It can be found here: http://en.fairmormon.org/FAIR_study_aids/Book_of_Mormon/lesson_one
Dan Peterson has, in the past, discussed the need for both positive and negative apologetics, and we hope that by providing information in each of these categories we will successfully balance between the necessary task of responding to criticism (“negative apologetics”) with the more enjoyable and uplifting endeavor of building faith (“positive apologetics”).