This year’s conference was well-attended with the venue full to capacity and many more participating via online streaming. Topics were wide-ranging, such as portrayals of the Church in the media, DNA and the Book of Mormon, abuse in the church, the Mountain Meadows Massacre, the accuracy of the Journal of Discourses, and the necessity of horror in the gospel. One reviewer on a recent Interpreter radio show said, “I’ve attended this for a number of years and this was probably one of the best conferences… [the talks] just got – if anything – better as the conference went on.”
The conference opened with a presentation by Dan Peterson, which was a break in tradition, since he has been the closing speaker for the entire 25 year history of the conference. But this was because there were surprises in store for him. After he concluded, he was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award from FAIR, and a book published in his honor by Interpreter. And then many of the presentations that followed are part of the book. More details about the book are in an earlier post on this blog.
Jennifer Roach was the recipient of this year’s John Taylor Defender of the Faith Award. She has been doing a weekly podcast to go along with this year’s Come, Follow Me readings, comparing Evangelical beliefs about the New Testament with those of Latter-day Saints. She has also done a lot of research on abuse in the church, which was instrumental in creating a page on the topic for the FAIR website. She also spoke about abuse in her conference presentation.
Our Instagram account has posts leading up to the conference, highlights, and looks behind the scenes.
Dan Peterson wrote summaries of each day of the conference on his blog:
There was some mention in the Deseret News, both before and after the conference:
And, as mentioned earlier, there was a nice review in the 3rd segment of the Interpreter radio show on August 20.
Cassandra Hedelius has started making videos summarizing some of the conference talks:
- Martin Harris, gold plates, ‘spiritual sight’: FAIR conference 2023 summary
- BYU Pathway building Zion, eradicating poverty: FAIR conference 2023 summary
We have also started releasing a full presentation every 2 weeks on our YouTube channel:
- Understanding History Backwards (Dan Peterson)
- Shedding Light on the Complexities: Understanding Abuse within the LDS Church (Jennifer Roach)
And you can watch the full conference (currently it’s still mostly in half-day video segments from the live streaming recording) after free registration in our bookstore.