What is FAIR?
FAIR is a non-profit corporation that is dedicated to helping people deal with issues related to anti-Mormonism.
What does the word “apologetic” mean?
The word “apologetic” is not commonly used in the LDS community and may be unfamiliar to you. The word literally means “in defense of the faith.” It is not talking about apologizing to anyone or being sorry for something.
Who are you?
We are collection of mostly LDS people from all over the world. We have members located all over the United States, and in many other countries such as Canada, Finland, Denmark, Austria, Australia, England, and even in the foreign and exotic lands of California and Texas.
We generally could be typified as conservative LDS who like to read a lot and like to surf the Internet. Some of us are scholars, while others are simply hobbyists. We have some members who read Greek and Hebrew; others are familiar with early Christian history and early LDS history. Still others are just familiar with anti-Mormonism in general.
Most people would classify us as “devout” members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We are the ones who love the Church and who love supporting the Church. Our membership includes bishops, members of stake presidencies, ward mission leaders, Sunday school teachers, Relief Society teachers, and nursery leaders. Many of the members were personally impacted by anti-Mormonism, and in a few cases were once themselves anti-Mormons.
Many of the Web masters of the Internet sites that deal with criticisms of Mormonism belong to FAIR.
We gladly welcome new members if they are willing to help however they can. Not all of our members are apologists.
What do you do?
We respond to questions and issues related to anti-Mormonism that have been brought to our attention. We write articles, we do book reviews, we have a conference once a year, we print books, and we have a lot of fun.
Here is the partial list of what we do:
- FAIR maintains this Web site that responds to criticisms of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Web site includes articles written by members of FairMormon and by others who have contributed material. It has the electronic text from several books (posted with permission), and maintains an index that links to articles on many other Web sites.
- FAIR maintains a wiki that includes the largest repository of LDS apologetic information that we know of.
- FAIR also maintains an online bookstore.
- FAIR maintains an e-mail list of “members” that currently stands at well over 100. This list is to discuss apologetics, for peer review of articles and for answering criticisms that people send in off the Web site. We have people from all over the world on the list.
- FAIR has a monthly electronic newsletter called the FAIR Journal that has over 10,000 subscribers and is growing by about 10 subscribers a day.
- FAIR sponsors an annual conference each August. (Information is available by clicking the Conferences link at the left of any page on this site.) At these conferences we invite various speakers to address topics that relate to apologetics and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
- FAIR publishes several books, Restoring the Ancient Church (out of print), Guess Who Wants to Have You for Lunch, Defending The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Shaken Faith Syndrome. We also publish the conference proceedings and provide audio and video from the conferences.
- FAIR also maintains a blog, an award-winning podcast, called the FAIR-Cast, a YouTube Channel and a number of other websites.
Tell me about your conference.
FAIR has sponsored an annual conference each year since 1998. Thousands of people have come to our conference to listen to scholars and professionals discuss matters of interest related to the defense of the faith. Each participant comes with a unique perspective on history, science, archaeology, philosophy, or theology, and all come with a desire to help defend the gospel and share evidences of its truth. People who go to our conferences say they have a great time. Many plan their vacations around the conferences and travel across the country, and sometimes across the world, to attend them. A conference guest wrote, “it looks like these guys really like each other and have a lot of fun.” Many conference attendees talk about how they like eating lunch with the speakers and meeting with them during the breaks. You can also buy books at the conference and have the authors sign the books while you are there. You can find out more and register for the next conference (when available) here.
Are you paid to do this?
No. FAIR is a volunteer organization. Not only do we not get paid for working for FAIR, but also many of us have had to contribute significant amounts of money.
How do you stay in business?
We rely totally on donations and book sales to stay in business. Most of our income comes from donations.
What do you spend your money on?
Most of our money goes for normal operational expenses, such as maintaining the Web site, maintaining our mailing lists, advertising, and putting on our conferences. No money goes to salary.
Are you affiliated with the LDS Church?
We’re not affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. However, the members of FAIR are all committed to defending the Church and helping people to maintain their testimonies. While FAIR is not officially endorsed by the Church, the Church has, at times, referred people to our resources, such as in this interview with Church spokesman Michael Otterson.
Are you affiliated with BYU?
No. You might be thinking of the Maxwell Institute, formerly known as “FARMS.”
I thought we were not supposed to read any anti-Mormon literature?
We do not post anti-Mormon literature on any of our sites. Unfortunately, many members of the Church today unwittingly encounter anti-Mormon literature. When they do, they may experience anxiety over what they find because of the way in which most anti-Mormon material distorts sources, takes things out of context, and argues against beliefs that LDS members don’t really have. FAIR exists in order to respond to these attacks against the Church and to help restore the faith that is sometimes lost after an encounter with anti-Mormons.
Isn’t it wrong to bash with anti-Mormons?
FAIR doesn’t bash with anyone. We don’t engage in debate. We just research anti-Mormon literature and respond to it. Our audience is members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and people who are interested in its teachings.
If the Church doesn’t respond to the anti-Mormons, then why do you?
The mission of the Church is to lead people to Jesus Christ. It therefore doesn’t use its time and resources responding to every anti-Mormon argument. We, on the other hand, are volunteers that like doing this stuff. We hope it is helpful to you.
Aren’t you discussing doctrinal issues without priesthood authority?
As members of the Church, we have all been told to preach the gospel throughout the world (Mark 16:15), and that we should not wait to be commanded in all things, but should be anxiously engaged in good causes (D&C 58:26-29). The work we do is much like that of book publishers. Just as the books you purchase in the bookstore are not published under priesthood direction, so the things we write are not under priesthood direction.
How authoritative are the things that you write?
We try very hard to not give the impression that we are speaking for the Church in any way, and try to avoid things that sound like doctrinal declarations. Most of the time it isn’t an issue as we are discussing things from a historical or scholarly point of view. Occasionally we get into discussions of doctrine when we feel our beliefs as Latter-day Saints have been misrepresented. At those times we try to make it clear that the writers are speaking from their own experience and beliefs.
How are you organized?
Like any non-profit corporation we have a Board of Directors. They appoint some officers, such as a president. The officers direct the work done through committees. Everyone contributes what he or she can.
Where is FAIR located?
FAIR is located on the Internet. The Board of Directors is spread out all over the country and the membership is all over the world. Currently we have mail going to the president, Scott Gordon, in California.