In 1997 a small group of Internet message board warriors started an organization named the Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research, or FAIR. FAIR was staffed by young, strident defenders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
However, our really cool name soon created problems. People asked, “What does the word “Apologetic” mean?” “Why are you apologizing?” “What is it that you actually do?”
It was confusing. So that people weren’t always stumbling over our name, in 2013, we changed it to FairMormon. We thought of ourselves as Mormon, and we want the facts to be covered “FAIRly”. The name was perfect! As the then Vice President of FAIR, Steven Densley, exclaimed, “Hopefully this will be easier to remember and will allow us to spend more time doing apologetics rather than spending our time explaining what apologetics is.”
President Russell M. Nelson had other ideas. In October 2018 General Conference, President Nelson asked members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to not use the term Mormon as a self-identifier. Being faithful members, we wanted to comply, but we struggled to come up with another name that everyone liked. We really struggled. Remember, we are the same group that came up with the first name that nobody understood.
Finally, we are proud to announce our new name! (Drum roll please!) Our NEW name moving forward will be FAIR. Yes, that sounds a lot like our old name, which was FAIR, but this new name is COMPLETELY DIFFERENT! The old name was an acronym for the Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research. The new FAIR name stands for, “Faithful Answers, Informed Response.” The term “apologetics” does not appear in our new name FAIR. (Whew!) We want to provide faithful answers to people, and be able to give an informed response. The URL we will be using for our Website will be www.fairlatterdaysaints.org.
At this time of name changing, we have also done some reflection and subsequent course adjustment. We are fact checkers and clarifiers. We want to provide fact checking and clear explanations that all parties can trust. We fully understand that not everyone will like our conclusions as we are believing members of the Church. However, we want everyone to be able to trust our review of the facts. This means avoiding personal attacks or derogatory language. This does not mean we won’t point out faulty reasoning and misleading claims, or boldly defend our doctrine. Ultimately, we are here to promote the cause of Christ.
The message of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ proclaims Jesus lives, and we are all children of our Heavenly Father. As President Nelson said, “In the Garden of Gethsemane, our Savior took upon Himself every pain, every sin, and all of the anguish and suffering ever experienced by you and me and by everyone who has ever lived or will ever live”. The word “Everyone” indicates member, non-member, and former member. It includes people who are happy with the Church and people who are unhappy with the Church. Bickering over some point of doctrine will not bring us any closer to Him. We are not stepping away from fact checking, or defending The Church. Indeed, we embrace it fully. We just want to do it in the way that we believe the Savior would approve, where we visualize every participant as a child of God.
Especially at this time of year, as we celebrate the atonement and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we are reminded that we want to live our lives as His disciples. We will do our best to do this as we provide faithful answers, and give an informed response.
Scott Gordon, President
 While apologetic has the same root as apologizing, the word does not mean to apologize. The definition is, “Reasoned arguments or writings in justification of something, typically a theory or religious doctrine.” In Acts 26:2, the Apostle Paul used the term “apologia” when he says, “I make my defense”. (The Greek word apologia translates into the English word defense.)