Apologetics conference set for UVSC
August 2, 2003
by JaNAE FRACIS (Standard-Examiner staff)
OREM — The Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research will hold its fifth annual Mormon Apologetics Conference Thursday and Friday at Utah Valley State College.
The Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research is a grassroots, international, non-profit organization comprised of people involved in defending The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints against anti-Mormon attacks.
Members and past conference speakers include experts in Hebrew, Egyptology, history, Mesoamerican studies and even DNA genetics.
“This is, by far, the most prestigious lineup of speakers we”ve had in our five years,” Michael Ash, foundation volunteer, said of this year”s conference. “The (university) setting is fantastic and our conference tends to be a lot of fun anyway, simply because the format allows for a greater degree of interaction between the participants and the scholars.”
This year”s conference will explore scientific issues that have recently been in the press.
“This past year was very interesting in terms of Mormon studies and controversies,” Scott Gordon, president of the Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research, said. “We had some new issues arise and some interesting twists on old issues that won”t seem to die. This year”s conference is dedicated to addressing some of these issues, old and new.”
The agenda includes a presentation by Jeff Meldrum from Idaho State University, who will discuss DNA studies.
Meldrum will offer an opposing view to that of University of Washington scholar Thomas W. Murphy, whose research is being used by anti-Mormons to attack the Book of Mormon, considered the cornerstone of the church.
Murphy has claimed there is no DNA evidence to link American Indians to the Middle East and Abraham as claimed in the Book of Mormon.
Also addressing a scientific topic will be Trent Stephens, also from ISU. He will talk about evolution and LDS theology. The title of his speech is “The Tree of Life and DNA.”
Weber State University professor Gene Sessions will discuss issues raised in the recently released book, “Brigham Young, Blood of the Prophets and the Mountain Meadows Massacre,” by Will Bagley.
A Book of Abraham video, produced by Luke Wilson and the Institute for Religious Research, also will be a topic for discussion. John Gee, a doctorate professor from Yale University, and Michael Rhodes will head up dialogue on this subject.
Other things planned include a presentation by George Potter and Richard Wellington regarding Book of Mormon geography and archeology on the Arabian Peninsula.
For a complete list of speakers and topics, go to fairlds.org/conf03b.html.
Cost for participation is $59.95 for both days and lunch or $39.95 without lunch. A single day is $34.95 with lunch or $24.95 without.
Student discounts also are available.
For complete conference information or to register, go to fairlds.org. Registration is open to the public and also may be done by telephone at (801) 479-3705.