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2019 FairMormon Conference this week——not too late, walk ins welcome or stream

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Posted (edited)

I am focusing on other things right now, still can’t believe I spaced on this....

https://www.fairmormon.org/conference/august-2019

It is three days again this year, August 7-9 (Wednesday to Friday)

Speakers and presentations:

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MATTHEW BOWEN

Matthew L. Bowen is an assistant professor of Religious Education at Brigham Young University–Hawaii where he has taught since 2012. He holds a Ph.D. in Biblical Studies from the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, where he also earned an M.A (Biblical Studies). He previously earned a B.A. in English with a minor in Classical Studies (Greek emphasis) from Brigham Young University (Provo) and subsequently pursued post-Baccalaureate studies in Semitic languages, Egyptian, and Latin there. In addition to having taught at Brigham Young University–Hawaii, he has previously taught at the Catholic University of America and at Brigham Young University. Bowen is the author of numerous peer-reviewed articles on scripture- and temple-related topics as well as the recent book Name as Key-Word: Collected Essays on Onomastic Wordplay and the Temple in Mormon Scripture. Bowen grew up in Orem, Utah, and served a two-year mission in the California Roseville Mission. He and his wife, the former Suzanne Blattberg, are the parents of three children, Zachariah, Nathan, and Adele.

Presentation: Laman and Nephi as Key-Words: An Etymological, Narratological, and Rhetorical Approach to Understanding Lamanites and Nephites as Religious, Political, and Cultural Descriptors

DON BRADLEY

Don Bradley is a writer, editor, and researcher specializing in early Mormon history. Don recently performed an internship with the Joseph Smith Papers Project and is completing his thesis, on the earliest Mormon conceptions of the New Jerusalem, toward an M.A. in History at Utah State University. He has published on the translation of the Book of Mormon, plural marriage before Nauvoo, and Joseph Smith’s “grand fundamental principles of Mormonism” and plans to publish an extensive analysis, co-authored with Mark Ashurst-McGee, on the Kinderhook plates. Don’s first book was The Lost 116 Pages: Reconstructing the Missing Contents of the Book of Mormon.

Presentation: Joseph Smith’s First Vision as Endowment and Epitome of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (or Why I Came Back to the Church)

TAD R. CALLISTER

Tad R. Callister was serving in the Presidency of the Seventy and as a member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy when he was called as Sunday School general president. He has served in a number of Church callings including full-time missionary in the Eastern Atlantic States Mission, bishop, stake president, regional representative, mission president, and Area Seventy.

Brother Callister received a bachelor of science degree in accounting from Brigham Young University, a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of California–Los Angeles, and a master’s degree in tax law from New York University Law School. He spent most of his professional career practicing tax law. He and his wife Kathryn Louise Saporiti are the parents of six children.

Presentation: Pending

ELDER CRAIG C. CHRISTENSEN

Elder Craig C. Christensen was sustained as a General Authority Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on October 5, 2002. At the time of his call he was serving as a member of the Fifth Quorum of the Seventy in the Utah South Area.

As a General Authority, Elder Christensen served as President of the Mexico South Area from 2003 to 2007 while living in Mexico City. He has also served in various departments and assignments at Church headquarters, such as Executive Director of the Priesthood and Family Department. He is currently serving in the Missionary Department.

Elder Christensen graduated from Brigham Young University with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. He went on to earn a master of business administration from the University of Washington. Over the years, he has been a visiting instructor of business and religion courses at several universities, including Brigham Young University.

At the time of his call as a General Authority, Elder Christensen was a self-employed businessman in the retail automotive, insurance, and real estate development industries. He previously worked as an executive with several privately owned companies and with an international accounting and consulting firm based in San Francisco, California.

Elder Craig C. Christensen was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on March 18, 1956. He married Debbie Jones in March 1978. They are the parents of four children.

Presentation: Foundations of Our Faith

MATTHEW C. GODFREY

Matthew C. Godfrey is a general editor and the managing historian of the Joseph Smith Papers. He holds a PhD in American and public history from Washington State University. He has contributed to several Joseph Smith Papers volumes, including Documents, Volume 2; Documents, Volume 4; Documents, Volume 7, and the forthcoming Documents, Volume 10, and Documents, Volume 12. He is the author of Religion, Politics, and Sugar: The Mormon Church, the Federal Government, and the Utah-Idaho Sugar Company, 1907–1921 (2007), which was a co-winner of the Mormon History Association’s Smith-Petit Award for Best First Book. He is also the co-editor of The Earth Shall Appear as the Garden of Eden: Essays in Mormon Environmental History (2019). Matthew has published articles in Agricultural History, The Public Historian, Pacific Northwest Quarterly, Journal of Mormon History, BYU Studies Quarterly, Mormon Historical Studies, and various collections of essays. His research interests and expertise include environmental history, business and financial history, and the history of Zion’s Camp.

Presentation: Insights from the Joseph Smith Papers into John C. Bennett’s Dismissal from the Church

SCOTT GORDON

Scott Gordon serves as President of FairMormon, a non-profit corporation staffed by volunteers dedicated to helping members deal with issues raised by critics of the LDS faith. He has an MBA from Brigham Young University, and a BA in Organizational Communications from Brigham Young University. He is currently an instructor of business and technology at Shasta College in Redding, California. Scott has held many positions in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints including serving as a bishop for six years. He is married and has five children.

Presentation: The CES Letter: Proof or Propaganda

BRUCE C. HAFEN AND MARIE K. HAFEN

Bruce Hafen grew up in St. George, Utah. After serving a mission to Germany, he met Marie Kartchner from Bountiful, Utah at BYU. They were married in 1964. 

Elder Hafen received a bachelor’s degree from BYU and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Utah. After practicing law in Salt Lake City, he went to BYU as a member of the original faculty of BYU’s Law School. He taught family law and constitutional law. 

He served as the President of BYU-Idaho from 1978 to 1985. Then he was Dean of the BYU Law School and later served as the Provost—the second in command—at BYU. He was called as a full-time General Authority in 1996, serving in area presidencies in Australia, North America, and Europe. He also served at Church headquarters as an adviser to the Priesthood Department, the general auxiliary presidencies, Church History, and the Temple Department. He became an Emeritus General Authority in 2010 then served as president of the St. George Temple. More recently he served as Chairman of the Utah LDS Corrections Committee, overseeing the Church branches in Utah’s state prisons and county jails. He is the author of several books on gospel topics, including the biography of Elder Neal A. Maxwell, and books on marriage, the temple, and the Atonement—including The Broken Heart and Covenant Hearts.

Marie K. Hafen is a homemaker and teacher. She has a Master’s Degree in English from BYU and has taught Shakespeare, freshman writing, and Book of Mormon at BYU-Idaho, the University of Utah, and BYU. She was also on the Young Women General Board, the Board of Directors of the Deseret News, and was matron of the St. George Temple. She has edited and co-authored books with her husband, including The Contrite Spirit and, most recently, Faith Is Not Blind. 

The Hafens have seven children and 46 grandchildren.

Presentation: Faith is Not Blind

BRIAN C. HALES

BBrian C. Hales is the author or co-author of seven books dealing with plural marriage—most notably the three-volume, Joseph Smith’s Polygamy: History and Theology (Greg Kofford Books, 2013) He and his wife Laura are the current webmasters of JosephSmithsPolygamy.org. Presently, Brian is working on two book-length manuscripts dealing with Joseph Smith’s treasure seeking and the authorship of the Book of Mormon. He served a mission to Venezuela for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and sang with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for fourteen years. Brian is also past president of the Utah Medical Association (2013) and the John Whitmer Historical Association (2015).

Presentation: Supernatural or Supernormal? Scrutinizing Secular Sources for the Book of Mormon

SCOTT HALES

Scott A. Hales has been a historian/writer for the Church History Department since 2015. He currently works as a writer and story editor for Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days, the new four-volume narrative history of the Church. He has a BA in English from Brigham Young University and an MA and PhD in American Literature from the University of Cincinnati. He has published scholarly articles on Mormon and American literature in several academic journals, including Religion and the Arts and The Journal of Transnational American Studies. He currently lives in Eagle Mountain, UT with his wife and five children.

Presentation: The Exodus and Beyond: A Preview of Saints, Volume 2: No Unhallowed Hand

ANGELA HALLSTROM

Angela Hallstrom lives in Woodbury, Minnesota, with her husband and four children. Her fiction has received awards from the Utah Arts Council and has appeared or is forthcoming in Dialogue, the New Era, Irreantum, and Salt Flats Annual. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Hamline University and has served on the editorial boards of Water-Stone Review and Segullah. She is the author of the novel Bound on Earth and editor of the anthology Dispensation: Latter-Day Fiction. Angela is currently working on the official history of the church, “Saints.”

Presentation: Women’s Voices in Saints

RENÉ A. KRYWULT

René Alexander Krywult, a native of Vienna, Austria, Europe, has been a member of FairMormon for over eighteen years and has been instrumental in founding the German-speaking FairMormon group. He is a software developer and project manager for a European financial institution. He is married to Gabriele Krywult, and they have four children and three grandchildren. His first publication was “Mormon Deification Compared to Orthodox Christian Theosis” in the magazine Spirituality in East and West of Dialog Center International, a Protestant network of organizations engaged in researching new religious movements. More articles on the FairMormon website followed. He organized four FairMormon conferences in Germany from 2009 to 2015 and spoke at all of them.

Rene’s particular focus is on comparing the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with those of both traditional Christians and the early Christian centuries. He had his first contact with anti-Mormonism at age 14, and from that time on one of his major interests has been to understand how anti-Mormon literature works, how to discern the reliability of information provided, and how to grow in faith while studying arguments made by the opposition.

Brother Krywult served, among other callings, as ward Sunday school president, ward mission leader, elders quorum president, Seminary and Institute teacher and counsellor in a bishopric: Currently he serves as a High Councilor in the Vienna-Austria Stake. His native language is German.

Presentation: Fear Leads to the Dark Side: How to Navigate the Shallows of Internet (Mis)Information

ELIZABETH A. KUEHN

Elizabeth A. Kuehn is a historian with the Joseph Smith Papers at the Church History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She is a co-editor on two volumes of the Joseph Smith Papers to be published in 2017: Documents, Volume 5: October 1835–January 1838 and Documents, Volume 6: February 1838–August 1839. She is a PhD. Candidate at the University of California, Irvine. She earned her MA in History from Purdue University and her BA in History from Arizona State University. She specializes in nineteenth-century financial records and women’s and gender history.

Presentation: Apostles and Their Wives 1839–41

MATTHEW MCBRIDE

Matthew McBride is the Director of Publications for the Church History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is the author of A House for the Most High: The Story of the Original Nauvoo Temple, co-editor of Revelations in Context: The Stories behind the Sections of the Doctrine and Covenants, and a contributor to Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days. He and his wife Mary and their four children live in American Fork, Utah.

Presentation: Answering Historical Questions with Church History Topics

LARRY E. MORRIS

Larry E. Morris, an independent writer and historian, is the author of A Documentary History of the Book of Mormon (Oxford University Press, 2019). He was previously an editor with both the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship and the Joseph Smith Papers. He is the co-editor, with John W. Welch, of Oliver Cowdery: Scribe, Elder, Witness (Maxwell Institute, 2006) and has published articles on Mormon history in BYU Studies, the FARMS Review, the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, the Journal of Mormon History, the Ensign, and the New Era. He is also quite interested in early Western history and is the author of In the Wake of Lewis and Clark: The Expedition and the Making of Antebellum America (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019); The Perilous West: Seven Amazing Explorers and the Founding of the Oregon Trail (Rowman & Littlefield, 2012); and The Fate of the Corps: What Became of the Lewis and Clark Explorers After the Expedition (Yale University Press, 2004). Larry and his wife, Deborah, live in Salt Lake City and have four children and eight grandchildren.

Presentation: Pending

DANIEL PETERSON

A native of southern California, Daniel C. Peterson received a bachelor’s degree in Greek and philosophy from Brigham Young University (BYU) and, after several years of study in Jerusalem and Cairo, earned his Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). Dr. Peterson is a professor of Islamic Studies and Arabic at BYU, where he has taught Arabic language and literature at all levels, Islamic philosophy, Islamic culture and civilization, Islamic religion, the Qur’an, the introductory and senior “capstone” courses for Middle Eastern Studies majors, and various other occasional specialized classes. He is the author of several books and numerous articles on Islamic and Latter-day Saint topics–including a biography entitled Muhammad: Prophet of God (Eerdmans, 2007)—and has lectured across the United States, in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, and at various Islamic universities in the Near East and Asia. He served in the Switzerland Zürich Mission (1972-1974), and, for approximately eight years, on the Gospel Doctrine writing committee for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He also presided for a time as the bishop of a singles ward adjacent to Utah Valley University. Dr. Peterson is married to the former Deborah Stephens, of Lakewood, Colorado, and they are the parents of three sons.

Presentation: “Idle Tales”? The Witness of Women

JASMIN RAPPLEYE

Pending

Presentation: ScripturePlus: The Future of Scripture Study

MATTHEW ROPER

Matthew Roper (MS from Brigham Young University), is a resident scholar at the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship at Brigham Young University.

Presentation: “Time Vindicates the Prophet” – An analysis of criticisms raised against the Book of Mormon during Joseph Smith’s lifetime and the status of those allegations in 1844, 1930, and 2019.

BEN SPACKMAN

Ben Spackman did ten years of undergraduate (BYU) and graduate work in ancient Near Eastern studies and Semitics (University of Chicago) before moving on to general science (City College of New York). Currently a PhD student in History of Christianity at Claremont Graduate University, Ben’s focus is the intertwined history of religion, science, and scriptural interpretation; most specifically, he studies the intellectual history of fundamentalism, creationism, and religious opposition to evolution in connection with interpretations of Genesis.

Ben taught volunteer Institute and Seminary for a dozen years in the Midwest, New York, and California, taught Biblical Hebrew, Book of Mormon, and New Testament at BYU, and TA’d a course on God, Darwin, and Design at Claremont. He has contributed to BYU Studies, Religious Educator, the Maxwell Institute, Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, Religion&Politics, the Salt Lake Tribune, and blogs occasionally at Timesandseasons and Benjamin the Scribe, where he writes extensively about Gospel Doctrine, scripture, evolution, and Genesis. He has presented lectures, firesides, and papers at various conferences, including the Joseph Smith Papers, the Mormon History Association, the Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology, the Maxwell Institute Seminar on Mormon Culture, the Mormon Theology Seminar, Mormon Scholars in the Humanities, BYU’s Sperry Symposium, BYU Late Summer Honors (lecture on Genesis and evolution), and this year, Education Week (Aug 21-24), on Reading the Bible in Context. He is a contributor to BYU’s ecumenical Reconciling Evolution project.

Ben has appeared on various podcasts: LDS Perspectives (on genre in the Bible, and Genesis 1), LDS MissionCast (on missionaries, prooftexting, and the Bible), and GospelTangents (on evolution, scripture, and religious history).

He typically juggles half a dozen writing projects at once, currently including a book on Genesis 1 for an LDS audience, a dissertation on post-1970 creationism/evolution conflict in the LDS Church and its early 20th century roots, a chapter on the Cain/Abel story in Genesis, a chapter on LDS approaches to scripture, and a paper on the intellectual background of early 20th-century LDS attempts to reconcile science with scripture (fossils, dinosaurs, pre-adamites, evolution, age of the earth, etc.). He recently received a grant from the Redd Center for research on LDS understandings of dinosaurs and the establishment of BYU’s two museums.

Presentation: A Paradoxical Preservation of Faith: How LDS Creation Accounts Compel Us to Recognize the Nature of Revelation

RICHARD E. TERRY 

Richard E. Terry is Professor Emeritus of Soil Science at Brigham Young University. He received his B.S. degree from Brigham Young University in Agronomy and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Purdue University in Soil Microbiology and Biochemistry. He was Assistant Professor of Soil Science at the University of Florida, Everglades Experiment Station, from 1977 through 1980. While in Florida he conducted research in the microbial decomposition and subsidence of the organic soils of the Everglades. 

Richard joined the faculty of the Agronomy and Horticulture Department at Brigham Young University in 1980. He taught soil science and environmental remediation courses for 36 years. In 1997 he was invited to the archaeological site of Piedras Negras, Guatemala, to assist in the development of a field laboratory and protocols for field measurement of phosphorus in soils and floors that resulted from many years of food processing, consumption, and food waste disposal activities by the ancient Maya. The follow year he collaborated with Dr. Takeshi Inomata and Daniela Triadan on the chemical analysis of palace floors at the rapidly abandoned site of Aguateca. For the past 22 years, Dr. Terry and his students have collected soil and floor samples for chemical analysis and data interpretation. During that time, they have collaborated with more than 44 archaeologists at 26 ancient Mesoamerican sites. The ancient sites have extended from Northern Yucatan, Mexico, to Southern El Salvador. The period of occupation of those cities and villages ranged from the Middle Preclassic (1000 to 600 B.C.) to the Postclassic (1000 to 1400 A.D.). Over the years, his geochemical analyses of Mesoamerican soils have expanded to the stable carbon isotope signatures of ancient corn crops that remain within the soil humus and to the biochemical markers of modern and ancient cacao orchards. Dr. Terry has gained insights to the lives of ancient Mesoamericans by collaborating with many of the professional Mayanists, who study a variety of archaeological sites that extend across the Maya region and include the full time-line of ancient occupation. The range of inorganic chemical, stable isotope, and biomarker data he has obtained from ancient floors, fields, and orchards allow him, his students and collaborators to interpret many aspects of ancient lives and activities.

Dr. Terry and his wife Vicki live in Orem, Utah. They are the parents of four children and the grandparents of ten grandchildren. Both have been active in various volunteer callings in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

Presentation: The Dirt on the Ancient Inhabitants of Mesoamerica

WENDY ULRICH

Wendy Ulrich, Ph.D., M.B.A., has been a psychologist in private practice, president of the Association of Mormon Counselors and Psychotherapists, and a visiting professor at Brigham Young University-Provo. She founded Sixteen Stones Center for Growth, which offers seminar-retreats for Latter-day Saint women and their loved ones (see sixteenstones.net). Her books include Let God Love You; Weakness Is Not Sin; Habits of Happiness; The Temple Experience; Forgiving Ourselves; and national best-seller The Why of Work,coauthored with her husband, Dave Ulrich.

Presentation: Women, Men, and Priesthood Power

JOHN W. WELCH

John W. Welch is the Robert K. Thomas Professor of Law at the J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University, where he teaches various courses, including Perspectives on Jewish, Greek, and Roman Law in the New Testament. Since 1991 he has also served as the editor in chief of BYU Studies. He studied history and classical languages at Brigham Young University, Greek philosophy at Oxford, and law at Duke University. As a founder of the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, one of the editors for Macmillan’s Encyclopedia of Mormonism, and co-director of the Masada and Dead Sea Scrolls exhibition at BYU, he has published widely on biblical, early Christian, and Latter-day Saint topics.

Presentation: Parables of Jesus Revealing the Plan of Salvation

 

Edited by Calm
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MATTHEW ROPER

Matthew Roper (MS from Brigham Young University), is a resident scholar at the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship at Brigham Young University.

Matt has not been with the Maxwell Institute for quite some time now.  He is currently with Book of Mormon Central.

Edited by Robert F. Smith
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That probably got put up earlier. Thanks. 

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Presentation: Fear Leads to the Dark Side: How to Navigate the Shallows of Internet (Mis)Information

 

I may actually pay to read/hear this one.

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Interesting to see the General Authorities and General Authorities emeritus who have been featured at the FairMormon Conferences of late. Kind of puts the lie to past allegations and rumors from critics that FM is out of favor with the Brethren. At a recent conference, one affirmed, as I recall, that he was there by assignment from them. 

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I signed up for a day of women's topics on Wed. When did that change? Are they doing the sit down lunch on Wed still?

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Posted (edited)
23 hours ago, Calm said:

I am focusing on other things right now, still can’t believe I spaced on this....

https://www.fairmormon.org/conference/august-2019

It is three days again this year, August 7-9 (Wednesday to Friday)

Speakers and presentations:

 

Wow Calm!  Thanks for posting this.  What an awesome conference this will be!  I wish I could attend.  Oh, how I’d LOVE that.

Were you involved in the planning?  Will you be there?

Edited by JulieM

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4 hours ago, The Mean Farmer said:

Presentation: Fear Leads to the Dark Side: How to Navigate the Shallows of Internet (Mis)Information..................

Yoda: "Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering."

 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, JulieM said:

Were you involved in the planning?  Will you be there?

Not this year with the planning and usually that is limited to voting yea or nay as I tend to stick to helping with questions since I started caring for my mom (plus I hate planning anything bigger than 4 people).  I don’t know about being there.  Got some health stuff going on and pretty limited in ability right now. 

Edited by Calm

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Fair Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is just too many letters for those T-shirt’s.  Some things just don’t need changed ;)

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, MustardSeed said:

Fair Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is just too many letters for those T-shirt’s.  Some things just don’t need changed ;)

And thankfully Church leadership told us not to...

Edited by Calm

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2 hours ago, Calm said:

And thankfully Church leadership told us not to...

nice

 

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Online tickets no longer available, but streaming and walkins will be open throughout the conference.

While it looks like we may have our biggest turnout yet, still plenty of room.

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You can continue to register for streaming now, through the conference, and after the conference.

Conference Streaming

Conference streaming is available for your Windows, Android, Apple, and Roku devices. This is a way for you to have your own FairMormon Conference in your home or office. The price for streaming the conference into your home or to your phones, computers, or tablets is $29.95 for all three days. The streaming will be available live and then archived content will be available for a limited time beginning a few days after the conference. Thus those who are in different time zones can take advantage of this opportunity.

CLICK TO REGISTER FOR STREAMING

NOTE: Streaming will continue to be available for purchase through the conference and will remain available for purchase for several months after the conference.

Streaming includes both audio and video. Due to the nature of streaming, some presentation content may be illegible. When you sign up, in the notes section, please mention which device or devices you are planning on using (Roku, iPhone, iPad, Android tablet, etc.).

Had to keep formatting to paste, sorry if annoying. 

Link for streaming:

https://www.fairmormon.org/store/product/streaming-2019

Edited by Calm
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If you are attending and wouldn’t mind providing highlights of presentations, it would be appreciated by many...well, at least by me. Will be doing streaming myself, but likely not till September when I am hoping a new med will help me stay focused. 

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Sorry as I may have missed this for today (can't watch videos on this tech), free live streaming of one talk each day of conference.  Please check our Facebook page for info.

https://m.facebook.com/fairmormon/

Wait, it worked...so looks like Jasmin Rappleby until next one is ready.

She is speaking about ScripturePlus App.

Edited by Calm

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Matthew McBride is today's free presentation.  I will get a possible direct link later, but the one above gets you almost there.

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I believe the freebie is Elder Christiansen today.

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I haven't heard any feedback from the FairMormon insiders on this. Do you think I'm unfair or is this OK?

https://www.churchistrue.com/blog/fairmormon-conference-report-2019/

Rene Krywult — Fear Leads to the Dark Side: How to Navigate the Shallows of (Mis)Information

This presentation accused Mormon critics of lying, using big lists to overwhelm, emotionally manipulating, etc. I don’t think this approach is very helpful. He’s not wrong. Some critics do that. But that’s not the main problem or why we have a faith crisis problem in the church today. I feel like by focusing on that, we’re missing the opportunity of helping people in faith crisis make sense of the difficult information. The information is difficult. Period. If we spend our time bashing the critics for their methods, I think we just end up looking like we’re scared to take the actual information head on and don’t have the tools to help people process new information that challenges their simplistic assumptions of church history and scripture. Scott Gordon also did this in his presentation. It’s a common theme.

He also spends time creating mistrust in the internet. The Hafens, in the weakest part of their presentation, also did that. Again, I think it’s a bad tactic. Warning millennials to not trust the internet just is not going to work in today’s world. They know how the internet works. They know there are good sources, bad sources, biased sources, sources that attempt to be more neutral, and how to figure that all out.

Here’s a thought experiment I’d like to put back on Rene. If he was given a day to write up a five page paper on the main Apologetic arguments of Jehovah’s Witness and weigh in with his evaluation of their truth claims, what sources would he use? I imagine he would start with Google. He would look at what JW officially said, but that might have the least weight. He would look at what critics say. He would look at what apologists say. He would maybe see if there was anything produced by a scholar or in a journal or publication with any sort of reputation. He would evaluate each source to see how the larger community both for and against JW seemed to trust them. If any source was using particularly emotional or manipulative language, he would drop that and move to the next source and distrust people that backed it. Using this sort of methodology, he could triangulate into the best view.

Repeat this for Scientology, Flat Earth, Catholicism, Evangelicalism. Then LDS. Would the process be any different for LDS truth claims? Of course the Holy Ghost is required to help interpret the spiritual truth of religious claims. But to understand the factual historical details and which are correct and which are not? Research is the proper method. And it’s not impossible to sort through internet sources. Millennials know this. Don’t tell them to mistrust the internet. That’s just going to backfire. Help them process the information.

Also, another thought experiment. After doing the five page paper on LDS truth claims using this process, compare that to the experience most of us get growing up in the church and how we have been taught. Now you see why this is such a huge problem right now.

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On 8/14/2019 at 5:27 PM, churchistrue said:

I haven't heard any feedback from the FairMormon insiders on this. Do you think I'm unfair or is this OK?

https://www.churchistrue.com/blog/fairmormon-conference-report-2019/

Rene Krywult — Fear Leads to the Dark Side: How to Navigate the Shallows of (Mis)Information

This presentation accused Mormon critics of lying, using big lists to overwhelm, emotionally manipulating, etc. I don’t think this approach is very helpful. He’s not wrong. Some critics do that. But that’s not the main problem or why we have a faith crisis problem in the church today. I feel like by focusing on that, we’re missing the opportunity of helping people in faith crisis make sense of the difficult information. The information is difficult. Period. If we spend our time bashing the critics for their methods, I think we just end up looking like we’re scared to take the actual information head on and don’t have the tools to help people process new information that challenges their simplistic assumptions of church history and scripture. Scott Gordon also did this in his presentation. It’s a common theme.

He also spends time creating mistrust in the internet. The Hafens, in the weakest part of their presentation, also did that. Again, I think it’s a bad tactic. Warning millennials to not trust the internet just is not going to work in today’s world. They know how the internet works. They know there are good sources, bad sources, biased sources, sources that attempt to be more neutral, and how to figure that all out.

Here’s a thought experiment I’d like to put back on Rene. If he was given a day to write up a five page paper on the main Apologetic arguments of Jehovah’s Witness and weigh in with his evaluation of their truth claims, what sources would he use? I imagine he would start with Google. He would look at what JW officially said, but that might have the least weight. He would look at what critics say. He would look at what apologists say. He would maybe see if there was anything produced by a scholar or in a journal or publication with any sort of reputation. He would evaluate each source to see how the larger community both for and against JW seemed to trust them. If any source was using particularly emotional or manipulative language, he would drop that and move to the next source and distrust people that backed it. Using this sort of methodology, he could triangulate into the best view.

Repeat this for Scientology, Flat Earth, Catholicism, Evangelicalism. Then LDS. Would the process be any different for LDS truth claims? Of course the Holy Ghost is required to help interpret the spiritual truth of religious claims. But to understand the factual historical details and which are correct and which are not? Research is the proper method. And it’s not impossible to sort through internet sources. Millennials know this. Don’t tell them to mistrust the internet. That’s just going to backfire. Help them process the information.

Also, another thought experiment. After doing the five page paper on LDS truth claims using this process, compare that to the experience most of us get growing up in the church and how we have been taught. Now you see why this is such a huge problem right now.

The internet has actually grown into an enormously powerful research tool. Sure there is plenty of misinformation on the internet, but one also has the ability to access more information at one's fingertips than at any other time in history. No, we cannot afford to tell people to not trust the internet. The internet is not the problem. The problem is the Church has not really been too interested in helping people digest all the information out there. It has made a start with the new essays, but seems scared of anything that really challenges its history. Rather than assuming that anyone who challenges this history or scriptural interpretation is of the devil, the Church needs to be as open as it asks investigators to be. This does not mean to disregard the Spirit, but the Spirit cannot affirm what one does not ask. 

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