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. Scott Gordon announces a few changes in this year’s FAIR Conference Speakers and discusses a disappointing event at a recent APA convention.
- NEW ON THE WEBSITE: “Ancient and Medieval Jewish and Christian Beliefs.” In this transcript of his 2004 FAIR Conference presentation, John Tvedtnes looks at the King Follett discourse in light of ancient Jewish and Christian texts.
- RESOURCES ON THE WEB: John Beck, former husband of Martha Beck, has posted a review on Amazon of her recent book “Leaving the Saints.”
- ASK THE APOLOGIST. Got a question you are dying to ask? Here’s how. This month features a response by Allen Wyatt to a problem frequently faced by someone attempting to respond to anti-Mormon material.
- FAIR TOPICAL GUIDE. The Topical Guide on the FAIR Web site is one of the most popular resouces offered. Learn what is available and help us expand our references.
- FAIR LDS BOOKSTORE. This month the Bookstore is looking forward to the FAIR conference by looking back at past ones, plus there are four great offers pertinent to the U.S. Memorial Day holiday.
- ARTICLE SUBMISSIONS. Interested in writing for FAIR? Learn how you can have your apologetics work published.
- PUBLISHING NOTES. Learn how you can become more involved in FAIR and how you can reuse the material we publish.
- FAIR JOURNAL ARCHIVES.
MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
We are very pleased to announce another important speaker for the FAIR Conference scheduled August 4th and 5th in Sandy, Utah. John E. Clark, professor of anthropology at Brigham Young University and the director and editor of the New World Archaeological Foundation based in Chiapas, Mexico, will be speaking to us on Thursday, August 5. Dr. Daniel Peterson of BYU (who will also speak at the conference) has described Dr. Clark as a premiere Mesoamerican archaeologist and has related conversations where Dr. Clark’s non-LDS peers have described Clark as a superb archaeologist. After just having spoken at the Library of Congress Joseph Smith event, Dr. Clark has teamed up with Matthew Roper and Wade Ardern to bring us a talk titled “Debating the Foundations of Mormonism: The Book of Mormon and Archaeology.”
How often do you get the chance to listen to a real archaeologist who is a noted expert in his field talk about archaeology and The Book of Mormon? I don’t think you will want to miss this.
On a disappointing note, Dr. Robert Millet and Greg Johnson have had a conflict come up so they won’t be able to present this year.
But, we have an all-star line up for our conference that you won’t want to miss. For more information about the conference or to sign up for the conference go to 2005 FAIR Conference. For specific information about the speakers go to 2005 FAIR Conference.
This is truly an outstanding list of speakers. I’m really excited to be there this year.
Recently I became acquainted with Drs. Gary Groom and Chauncey Adams, practicing clinical psychologists and long-term members of the American Psychological Association (http://www.apa.org/). They were disturbed at how Mormons were portrayed at the recent APA convention and complained to the APA about it. It seems that a film was shown at the conference about missionary life and church life. While the film was somewhat unflattering, the bigger problem came in the program introduction which used sweeping negative characterizations to describe our faith using terms such as “a corporation with no heart” bent on using “powerful psychological techniques,” “mind control,” and “brainwashing.”
Despite several attempts at discussion with the APA to point out how this language reflected bigotry and possible hate speech, Drs. Groom and Adams found a lack of cooperation and understanding. In light of this they started a Web site at http://www.biasfire.com to document the exchanges they were having.
It is my understanding that recently there has been some movement by the APA, which is good news. However, it is disturbing to have our faith portrayed in that manner in a professional forum without there being a retraction or apology. It is interesting to consider how this film may have been received had the word “Mormon” been replaced with “Catholic” or “Jewish.”
Here is the text from the program:
“This film presents a very rare look inside the Mormon Church and its missionary program. Each year 60,000 young men and women serve around the world seeking “converts” to the Mormon religion. This film is the story of the missionary’s life during this time. It is a fly-on-the-wall account of how the Mormon religion completely overtakes lives. Through flashbacks to their days as missionaries, current and former Mormons discuss the powerful psychological techniques used to draw and keep them in the Church of Latter-Day [sic] Saints. As one mans says, “a mission has a powerful and complex effect,” and another, that “the Church is corporation with no heart.” It also shows why some people opt out of the religion and the pressures they face in doing so. It is a must-see film for any psychologist interested in mind control, brainwashing, and self-esteem issues.”
You may find you wish to express your displeasure to the APA after you read the BiasFire Web site. The APA has contact information on their Web site at http://www.apa.org/about/contact.html or you can send the APA an email at [email protected].
You can contact Drs. Gary Groom and Chauncey Adams at [email protected].
– Scott Gordon President, FAIR
FAIR relies on your kind donations to remain in business. Now is the time to make a donation. FAIR is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, so if you are in the United States, your donation is tax deductible.
The King Follett Discourse in the Light of Ancient and Medieval Jewish and Christian Beliefs
by John A. Tvedtnes
In April 1844 Joseph Smith delivered a sermon at the funeral of Elder King Follett. This sermon, heard by up to 20,000 people, has been one of the most controversial discourses given by the Prophet and is one that is frequently cited by critics of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. During his lengthy discourse, Joseph Smith discussed the nature of God the Father as an Exalted Man, the heavenly council who participated with God in the creation, the premortal existence of man, and the creation by “organization” rather than “ex nihilo” as was the accepted interpretation of Genesis 1 by Christians of his day.
Joseph Smith’s revelations of God, man, and creation are often greeted by detractors with scorn, indignation, and charges of blasphemy. Most anti-Mormon writers insist that the Prophet Joseph grossly misinterpreted and mistranslated the biblical text, and that his teachings are completely out of harmony with both Christian and Jewish theology, both modern and ancient.
In his presentation, Tvedtnes looks at ancient Christian and Jewish writings pertaining to a heavenly council and creation by ordering chaotic matter. It is clear that though the Prophet Joseph was at odds with the theology of nineteenth century Christendom, he was teaching concepts remarkably close to beliefs held by some early Christians and ancient Hebrews. Joseph’s interpretation and translation of Genesis chapter 1 is surprisingly consistent with traditions to be found in both extrabiblical Jewish writings and within the Bible itself, and his teachings can clearly be seen as part of the “restoration of all things.”
Read the article:
Response to Martha Beck’s “Leaving the Saints”
by John Beck
Martha Beck’s “tell-all” book has been on the market for many weeks. Although the initial flurry of interest has died down, many people are still troubled by the accusations Beck levies against her father, Hugh Nibley, and her characterization of LDS beliefs and culture. Martha’s former husband, John Beck, posted some comments about Martha’s book and recollections on amazon.com on May 8, 2005.
ASK THE APOLOGIST
FAIR invites the public to submit questions relating to LDS beliefs, practices, and history. Some questions are asked sincerely by members and investigators, others are clearly hostile questions challenging the veracity of the Church and its teachings. Many of these responses may end up on the Web site as a FAIR paper or brochure. If you have a question, simply mail it to our Questions address. Email sent to this address will be shared with members of FAIR, so it is not uncommon to receive several responses that approach the issue from different angles.
Recently a person wrote to FAIR asking for help in dealing with some anti-Mormon handouts being distributed by a local church. The person wasn’t sure even where to start in order to respond. One of the respondents from FAIR was Allen Wyatt, who laid out a methodology for dealing with this common form of anti-Mormon writing that consists of vast amounts of negative material on a wide range of topics.
Wyatt suggests that rather than attempt to respond in toto to the “shotgun tactics” of this type of literature, the person should identify specific topics that are of greatest interest to the inquirer and then to deal with each individually and thoroughly. Wyatt points out some general principles to follow when attempting to discuss anti-Mormon issues, and he points to some specific resources available to answer the challenges frequently raised.
Read the article:
FAIR TOPICAL GUIDE
The Topical Guide is one of the most important LDS apologetic resources available. If you aren’t familiar with this part of FAIR’s Web site, check it out at
In future issues of the Journal, we will keep you informed of new additions in the Topical Guide. If you are aware of anything that can be added, please contact our Topical Guide Coordinator, Mike Ash, at
FAIR Contact Page
FAIR LDS BOOKSTORE
Can’t wait until this year’s FAIR Conference? Revisit past conferences with CD, DVD, or Windows Media Video presentations for the apologetic novice, the religious scholar, and everyone in between. Each presentation is now 1/3rd less than their original price! In addition, our volume discounts and MP3s are also lower than ever. Please note that the Windows Media Video disks contain *twopresentations per disc!
Plus, in honor of Memorial Day, we have 50% discounts on DVD documentaries about Latter-day Saint servicemen and the inspiring Helmuth Huebener story. You can also order the award winning feature film “Saints and Soldiers” in DVD for 25% off. Remember, if you’d like these items in time for Father’s Day on June 20th, be sure to order early!
Saints and Soldiers (DVD Video)
German soldiers fired upon a group of unarmed American prisoners on Dec. 17, 1944 near the Belgian town of Malmedy. In the event now known as the “Malmedy Massacre”, 86 of the soliders were killed. This is where Saints and Soldiers begins as it follows a few U.S. soldiers who escape into the woods.
Saints at War: Korea (DVD Video)
Nobody relates the story of war better than those who lived it firsthand. In this compelling compilation, the authors have gathered candid and sincere recollections from dozens of Latter-day Saint servicemen who served in Korea and Vietnam-including moving accounts from Russel M. Nelson, Hartman Rector Jr., and Joe J. Christensen. These histories vividly convey the hardships, friendships, fears, and inspirational experiences of veterans, whose memories linger to this day. With hundreds of captivating images, this book is a portrait of how faithful Latter-day Saint soldiers behaved and survived during one of the twentieth century’s most turbulent times.
Saints at War: World War II (DVD Video)
“Saints at War” documents the experiences of Latter-day Saints in World War II, combining over 200 remarkable stories-from Church leaders and veterans around the world-with hundreds of images that capture the essence of faith in the midst of war. It includes accounts from Thomas S. Monson, James E. Faust, Boyd K. Packer, David B. Haight, Neal A. Maxwell, and others.
Truth & Conviction: The Helmuth Huebener Story (DVD Video)
By 1941, Hitler’s Nazi regime had seized unbelievable control over the German people, dictating what they read, what they said-even what they believed. Helmuth Huebener led a resistance group composed of himself and two of his childhood friends from his LDS Church branch. The three of them carefully distributed flyers throughout Hamburg that denounced Hitler and his propaganda machine. This documentary chronicles what happened to these young men, and the ultimate price paid by those who dared to stand up for the truth.
– The FAIR Bookstore Staff
We welcome article submissions for the FAIR Web site. If you would like to submit an article, please review the editing guidelines at:
Submit your article to the FAIR Journal Editor. An appropriate article would be one that affirms the truthfulness of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
While LDS apologetics (in the broadest sense) deals with refuting critics of the Church, articles don’t necessarily have to deal with anti-Mormonism, but may deal with some new evidence of the Book of Mormon, some interesting scripture interpretation, a viewpoint or quote from the early Christian Fathers or other historical figure, an interesting lesson idea, an inspiring missionary story, Church history, or your view on a current event related to the Church or a piece from a historical journal.
We may also accept articles from people who are not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that may not necessarily meet the guidelines of supporting the church if it is a topic of general interest to people involved in apologetics.
A submission may range in length from several pages to a single paragraph.
FAIR is not owned, controlled by or affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. All research and opinions provided in the FAIR Journal and on the FAIR Web site (http://www.fairlds.org) are the sole responsibility of FAIR, and should not be interpreted as official statements of LDS doctrine, belief or practice.
If someone has forwarded this e-journal to you and you would like to join you should go to www.fairlds.org and click on the FAIR Publications link.
If you are very interested in apologetics and would like to actively participate in FAIR you should consider joining our apologetics e-mail list. Visit www.fairlds.org and click on the Join FAIR link to join this list.
If you manage your own e-mail list, and wish to include some of these thoughts or articles on your list, contact us through our Web site, at this page: www.fairlds.org/contact.psp. We have a fairly liberal policy of using our material so long as you contact us first to gain permission and clearly identify that your source was FAIR and by adding a link to the FAIR Web site (www.fairlds.org).
If you would like to sign up to receive the FAIR Journal automatically, click here.
To return to the index of past FAIR Journal issues, click here.