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The FAIR Journal -:- February 201

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February THE FAIR JOURNAL 2011

The Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research


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).


FAIR is a 501©3 non-profit organization and relies on donations to

accomplish its work. If you are in the United States, your donation

is tax deductible. All contributions are greatly appreciated. To

make a donation please click on the following link.


FAIR can be contacted through the internet or the U.S. Postal




PO Box 491677

Redding, CA 96049-1677


* Message from the President * Donating to FAIR

*FAIR Konferenz *FAIR Articles * FAIR Blog * FAIR YouTube

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* FAIR Bookstore * FAIR's 'Front Page'

* Ask the Apologist * Copyright Notice and Disclaimer



In last month's President's message I highlighted the fact that

many, if not most, of the things written on the Internet about

Mormonism may sound convincing, but often are simply not true.

I said, "The truth is that many of the allegations are taken out of

context, are presented with a negative spin, come from a less

reliable source, or are simply false. While some feel they 'should'

know about it, there really should be no expectation for the Church

to teach things about Joseph Smith that aren't true, simply so

people are familiar with those claims. False allegations remain

false, even if they are from a long time ago."

This month I want to bring up another aspect of anti-Mormonism that

we also read on the Internet: those things that sound bad to us

today, but are true.

These fall into three categories:

* New religious concepts the early saints were learning line

upon line.

* Beliefs and values culturally unfamiliar to us.

* Human weaknesses.

In 1830, there was no Church Handbook of Instructions. Neither was

there a Sunday School manual. New converts were coming into the

Church and bringing many of their existing beliefs and values from

their previous churches with them. Some of them didn't own a Bible,

nor did they have a Book of Mormon, and the Doctrine and Covenants

had not yet gone to press. At that time, they were trying to

understand the concepts of priesthood, of sealing power, and of

church hierarchy. In some early Church meetings, there are aspects

of Pentecostalism and other Protestant thought that sometimes seem

to be reflected. So speculation by members at that time might not

reflect a full understanding of the gospel. But, as the members

learned more, the Church matured and became more like the

organization you see today.

Category two, beliefs and values that are culturally unfamiliar to

us, is the area we seem to have the most problems with. We like to

engage in something called "presentism," which is to judge items

from history using modern values or values from another culture. To

illustrate this point, let me use some non-LDS examples.

We tend to be horrified when we discover that George Washington

owned slaves or we read the early writings of Abraham Lincoln where

he expresses his views on blacks. How do you feel about the

37-year-old William Clark (from the famed Lewis and Clark

expeditions) being interested in Julia Hancock since she was 12, but

waiting until her 15th birthday to finally marry her? Or how do you

feel when you learn that Gandhi was betrothed by his family to be

married at age 8, but waited until he was 13 to marry his then

14-year-old bride? He had his first child at age 15.

It is easy to see that there may cultural differences in looking at

these examples. Today, we wouldn't dream of supporting these

practices, but they were culturally acceptable at that time.

In our Church history there are things that are a product of

nineteenth-century American frontier culture and not a product of

our religion. They often make us uncomfortable, but it is unfair to

judge the people of that time by modern sensibilities.

The third area, human weakness, is often falsely blamed for areas of

cultural misunderstanding or presentism. But, it is still a reality.

The early members of the Church did have human weaknesses and made

mistakes, just as we do. President Gordon B. Hinckley wrote, "My

plea is that as we continue our search for truth, particularly we of

the Church, that we look for strength and goodness rather than

weakness and failings in those who did so great a work in their

time. We recognize that our forefathers were human. They doubtless

made mistakes. Some of them acknowledged making mistakes. But the

mistakes were minor when compared with the marvelous work which they


The question we must ask ourselves is if concerns in any of these

three areas justify us in turning away from the Church of Jesus

Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am reminded of the scripture in John

6:68; after the Lord preached some "hard things" the people turned

away from him. He then asked the twelve, "will ye also go away?"

Peter answered "to whom, Lord, shall we go? Thou hast the words of

eternal life."

That is the basis of my testimony. Jesus Christ has the words of

eternal life. And I find Him in the Church of Jesus Christ of

Latter-day Saints.

--Scott Gordon

President of FAIR



FAIR is labor of love. We are a group of volunteers who spend many

hours trying to research and publish information to help members

respond to critics. We try to price our conferences to be accessible

to as many as possible. But, providing this information does cost

money. In all of your charitable giving, please consider donating to

FAIR. It is only through your donations that we are able to stay in


If you can donate $10, or $10,000, every dollar helps us.


You can also mail a check to our address:


PO Box 491677

Redding, CA 96049-1677



No, we didn't spell "conference" wrong. We are having a FAIR

Konferenz in Frankfurt Germany on March 26 in the Offenbach

building. So, if you are in the area, you are welcome to come. But

we would appreciate it if you register first so we know you are


If you have friends or relatives in Germany, Switzerland, or

Austria, please forward the information on to them. We are late in

getting this information out, and could use your help in passing the

word. You can find out more about the conference:


Or you can register directly for the conference:


We will have information on the August Conference in Sandy Utah in

the next FAIR Journal.



We often have one or two talks that we highlight each month in our

FAIR Journal. But, this month we have made 33 additions to our FAIR

Website. The best way to access this would probably go to

www.fairlds.org and scroll down to check out the "What's New"

section. But, here is a complete list. I'm sure this will give you

lots to talk about on message boards, blogs, and on Facebook. For

those who use book readers, you will be pleased that all but one of

these articles is in PDF format.

-:- Joseph Smith and the Question of Book of Mormon Geography.

Matthew Roper.


-:- The Christian Doctrine of Deification. Edward T. Jones.


-:- "Dead Men Tell No Tales!": The Blood Atonement Balance Sheet.

McKay V. Jones demonstrates how much critics who seek to use "blood

atonement" to undermine confidence in Church leaders have ignorantly

or knowingly failed to address or account for. Compared to the

limited and long-known standard anti-Mormon "blood atonement"

proof-texts, this mountain of material, often contemporaneous with

the standard proof-texts, shows that "blood atonement" statements

and conditions are not as critics have advertised over the years.

"Blood atonement" is a blatant case of the bearing of false witness.


** Thirty talks from past FAIR conferences (2001-2010)


-:- Egyptian Influence in Ancient Israel by John Gee



-:- Christ, The Firstfruits of Theosis by Roger Cook



-:- Defending Zion by Roger Ekins


-:- The Book of Abraham: Dealing with the Critics by Michael Rhodes



-:- The ABCs of the Book of Abraham by Michael Ash & Kevin Barney



-:- How to Reach African-Americans by Marvin Perkins


-:- Authentic Ancient Names and Words in the Book of Abraham and

Related Kirtland Egyptian Papers by John Tvedtnes



-:- Defenders of the Book: Surveying the New World Evidence for Book

of Mormon Historicity by Brant Gardner


-:- Investigating the Kirtland Egyptian Papers by Brian Hauglid


-:- Salamander Letters by Steve Mayfield and George Throckmorton


-:- Tangible Restoration: The Witnesses and What They Experienced by

Daniel Peterson


-:- A Few Hundred Hints of Egyptian and Northwest Semitic in

Uto-Aztecan by Brian Stubbs



-:- Some Puzzles from the Joseph Smith Papyri by John Gee


-:- Solomon's Temple: Myth and History by William Hamblin and David



-:- The Cowdery Controversies by Larry Morris


-:- God and Mr. Hitchens by Daniel Peterson


-:- The Trajectory of Book of Mormon Studies by John Sorenson


-:- Reflections on Mountain Meadows by Richard Turley


-:- Seeing our Blindness: The Impact of Personal History on our

Understanding of God by Wendy Ulrich


-:- A Change of Venue: Joseph Smith's Escape from Liberty Jail by

Jeff Walker



-:- Shaken Faith Syndrome by Michael Ash


-:- The Joseph Smith Papers by Ronald Esplin


-:- Book of Mormon Geography by Lawrence Poulsen


-:- Deification: Divine Inheritance and the Glorious Afterlife in

the Book of Mormon and Ancient Mesoamerica by Mark Wright



-:- On Being An Apologist: Imperatives, Predicaments, Perils, and

Blessings by Robert White



-:- The Vision of Moses as a Heavenly Assent by Jeffrey Bradshaw


-:- Like Two Crazy Aunts in the Attic: Latter-day Saints and Popular

Polygamy Stereotypes by Craig Foster


-:- Marginal Characters in the Book of Abraham Manuscripts by John



-:- Origin of Book of Mormon Names by Stephen Ricks


-:- A Mormon in the White House by Peter Watkins


More conference talks are available here:




This month the FAIR blog contains thoughts on the Hopewell culture.





The YouTube site now can have full-length videos and no longer is

limited to 10 minute clips. We have since uploaded several videos to

the site, some of which include the following:

The full-length rebuttal to Living Hope Ministries anti-Mormon video

"Bible vs The Book of Mormon". This is a FAIR production that

discusses some of the flaws found in this flawed video.

The Bible vs. The Book of Mormon: A Closer Examination:

We have also posted Mesoamerican scholar Mark A. Wrights 2008 FAIR

conference lecture on The Book of Mormon and Mesoamerica, which he

discusses several of evidences of The Book of Mormon and parallels

between Mesoamerica and The Book of Mormon.

Deification: Divine Inheritance and the Glorious Afterlife in The

Book of Mormon and Ancient Mesoamerica:

Jeffrey Bradshaw discusses the Joseph Smith translation of the Bible

in detail in his 2008 FAIR conference address.

The Message of the Joseph Smith Translation: A Walk in the Garden:

Visit the Youtube site with over 600 videos on topics ranging from

polygamy, early Christian prayer circles at




The FAIR Wiki addresses a number of criticisms that deal with the

subject of Mormonism and its relationship with history.


FAIR and Wikipedia

A recent article published in the Deseret News (January 30, 2011)

and the Mormon Times (January 31, 2011) highlights FAIR's efforts to

respond negative bias in LDS-themed Wikipedia articles:

"Wiki Wars: In battle to define beliefs, Mormons and foes wage

battle on Wikipedia", Michael De Groote, Deseret News, January 30,



"Wiki Wars: In battle to define beliefs, Mormons and foes wage

battle on Wikipedia", Michael De Groote, Mormon Times, January 31,



Mormonism and Wikipedia - FAIR's detailed responses to LDS-themed

Wikipedia articles.


Common questions FAIR is asked about LDS Wikipedia articles


Editors who frequent LDS-themed Wikipedia articles--A brief overview

of editors who work on LDS-related Wikipedia articles.


A FAIR Analysis of Wikipedia article "Martin Harris"


A FAIR Analysis of Wikipedia article "Oliver Cowdery"


A FAIR Analysis of Wikipedia article "First Vision"


A FAIR Analysis of Wikipedia article "Joseph Smith, Jr."


A FAIR Analysis of Wikipedia article "Golden plates"


A FAIR Analysis of Wikipedia article "Three Witnesses"




We hope you will check out the FAIR Facebook page and click "Like."

The more that click "Like" the better we do.




There are several new interesting testimonies that have been

recently posted.

Here is John Welch:


Here is Brant Gardner:




Come to the FAIR Bookstore to find the Internet's best selection of

materials for LDS apologetics. Whether you are looking for books,

study aids, DVDs, or audio products, the FAIR Bookstore has what you

need. You can begin your browsing by going to our main site.


Be sure to check out the Clearance Section. We have many older books

and some new books with slightly damaged covers that offer great

deals to buyers.


Clearance Special:

>> Saints on the Seas

(Limited to stock on hand)

Conway B. Sonne. Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah Press,

1983. Softbound, 6x9", 212 pages.

The maritime tradition is particularly important to the history of

the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Although fewer than

700 Mormon missionaries traveled to foreign lands to proselytize

during the nineteenth century, their energetic activities garnered

some 85,000 converts, most of whom emigrated to America. In this

fascinating narrative Sonne details the long and often dangerous

voyages required of the migrants to reach American soil, where they

began their overland trek to help build the "Kingdom of Zion" in the


Retail Price: $24.95

Special FAIR Price: $12.47 (50% Discount)

>> Presidents of the Church, Biographical Essays

(Limited to stock on hand)

Leonard J. Arrington (editor), Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company,

1986, 6x9" softbound, 478 pages.

Since The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized

on April 6, 1830, thirteen men have been sustained by the Saints as

the prophet, seer, and revelator, and president of the Church. From

the Prophet Joseph Smith to Ezra Taft Benson, each man has been

uniquely qualified for his particular period of service, and each

has made unique contributions to the kingdom of God on earth.

The Presidents of the Church is a collection of biographical essays

on these spiritual leaders, written by eleven authors who have

studied the presidents' lives and writings and who themselves have

deep commitment to and testimonies of the Church and its mission.

Leonard J. Arrington, a former director of the Joseph Fielding Smith

Institute for Church History at Brigham Young University and the

former Church Historian, served as general editor and also authored

three of the chapters.

In his preface, Dr. Arrington explains the intent of the book: "This

book is intended for general Latter-day Saint readers, young and

old, who wish an introduction to each of the presidents of their

church. . . . The writers have enormous respect and admiration for

the men they have written about, and we have not attempted to

submerge that feeling. I am sure that the reading of these lives

will be as faith-promoting for those who read it as it has been for

those of us who have written it."

The Presidents of the Church presents a panorama of over 160 years

of Church history, told through the lives and experiences of the men

who have had such direct and lasting influence on it. From the

glorious visions of the young Joseph Smith to the building of a new

civilization in the Rocky Mountains, the explosive growth in

membership and activity is chronicled as the Church becomes a widely

respected international force. Each chapter tells a story of

devotion to duty, of testimony, of courage, of conviction, of love

and honor, of faith in pursuit of righteousness and truth.

Retail Price: $11.95

Special FAIR Price: $5.97 (50% Discount)

>> Who Shall Lead Them? The Future of Ministry in America

(Limited to stock on hand)

Larry A. Witham. New York, New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.

Hardcover, 6-1/2 x 9 1/2", 256 pages.

The clergy today faces mounting challenges in an increasingly

secular world, where declining prestige makes it more difficult to

attract the best and the brightest young Americans to the ministry.

As Christian churches dramatically adapt to modern changes, some are

asking whether there is a clergy crisis as well. Whatever the future

of the clergy, the fate of millions of churchgoers also will be at


In "Who Shall Lead Them?", prizewinning journalist Larry Witham

takes the pulse of both the Protestant and Catholic ministry in

America and provides a mixed diagnosis of the calling's health.

Drawing on dozens of interviews with clergy, seminarians and laity,

and using newly available survey data including the 2000 Census,

Witham reveals the trends in a variety of traditions. While

evangelicals are finding innovative paths to ministry, the Catholic

priesthood faces a severe shortage. In mainline Protestantism,

ministry as a second career has become a prominent feature.

Ordination ages in the Episcopal and United Methodist churches

average in the 40s today. The quest by female clergy to lead from

the pulpit, meanwhile, has hit a "stained glass ceiling" as churches

still prefer a man as the principal minister. While deeply motivated

by the mystery of their "call" to ministry, America's priests,

pastors, and ministers are reassessing their roles in a world of new

debates on leadership, morality, and the powers of the mass media.

"Who Shall Lead Them?" offers a valuable snapshot of this

contemporary clergy drama. It will be required reading for everyone

concerned about the rapidly shifting ground of our churches and the

health of religion in America.

Retail Price: $26.00

Special FAIR Price: $13.00 (50% Discount)

February Specials:


>>Faith, Philosophy, Scripture

James E. Faulconer. Provo, Utah: Neal A. Maxwell Institute for

Religious Scholarship, Brigham Young University, 2010. Softbound,

6x9", 263 pages.

Faith, Philosophy, Scripture is a collection of ten essays that

result from James E. Faulconer's work as a philosopher and his faith

as a Latter-day Saint.

Faith is the starting point, and philosophy its supplement, rather

than a competitor. Faulconer says, "The confidence of my faith, a

confidence that came by revelation, has allowed me to hear the

questions of philosophy without fear, and philosophy has never asked

me to give up my faith, though it has asked questions about it."

These essays ask what it means to remember (as our faith often calls

us to do), how faith and reason are related to one another, what the

place of theology is in revealed religion, and how we should think

about scripture.

Retail Price: $19.95

Special FAIR Price: $16.36 (18% Discount)

Studies in the Book of Abraham:

>> Traditions About the Early Life of Abraham

John A. Tvedtnes, Brian M. Hauglid, and John Gee, Provo, Utah:

Foundation for Ancient Research & Mormon Studies (FARMS), 2001,

Volume 1, Abraham Series, 8.5x11.25" hardbound, 608 pages.

The first book in the FARMS Studies in the book of Abraham series,

"Traditions about the Early Life of Abraham" brings together a wide

array of ancient accounts touching on the early life of the great

patriarch Abraham.

The Book of Abraham, like the book of Mormon, has often come under

fire by skeptics and critics who discount its claims to be an

ancient text. Traditions assembles under one cover for the first

time more than 100 ancient and medieval Abraham stories that are

translated into English from Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Persian, Coptic,

and Egyptian texts.

Although the number of accounts in Traditions is impressive, the

compilers chose to include only those portions of stories that

relate to the early life of Abraham up through events covered by the

book of Abraham but not found in the Bible.

"This project has been five or six years in the making, and as far

as I know, no one, including FARMS, has published anything quite

like it before," says Brian Hauglid.

Retail Price: $49.95

Special FAIR Price: $39.96 (20% Discount)

>> Hor Book of Breathings, A Translation and Commentary

Michael D. Rhodes, Provo, Utah: Foundation for Ancient Research &

Mormon Studies (FARMS), 2002, 8.5 x 11.25", hardbound, 112 pages.

This second volume in the Studies in the Book of Abraham series

provides a transcription, translation, and commentary on one of the

remaining fragments of the Joseph Smith Papyri. The book also

contains hieroglyphs that were custom-designed for this publication

by FARMS designers.

Retail Price: $39.95

Special FAIR Price: $31.96 (20% Discount)

>> Astronomy, Papyrus, and Covenant

John Gee and Brian M. Hauglid (Editors), Provo, Utah: Brigham Young

University, The Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies

(FARMS), 2005. Hardbound, 8.5 x 11.25", 186 pages.

Astronomy, Papyrus, and Covenant covers several fascinating topics

related to the biblical patriarch Abraham, a key figure in the

Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions. The third title in the

series Studies in the Book of Abraham, this volume concentrates on

Abraham as an astronomer, the background of the Joseph Smith Papyri,

and the nature of the Abrahamic covenant.

In the course of treating these subjects, various papers discuss

such topics as recent research on the facsimiles, the role of women

in the Abrahamic covenant, views of Abraham in Joseph Smith's day,

and a number of other interesting issues.

Fifteen different scholars, including astronomers, Egyptologists,

and historians, have contributed to this volume.

Previous titles in this series were Traditions about the Early Life

of Abraham, 2001, edited by John A. Tvedtnes, Brian M. Hauglid, and

John Gee, and The Hor Book of Breathings: A Translation and

Commentary, 2002, by Michael D. Rhodes.

Retail Price: $49.95

Special FAIR Price: $39.96 (20% Discount)

>> Books of the Dead Belonging to Tshemmin and Neferirnub: A

Translation and Commentary

Michael D. Rhodes. Studies in the Book of Abraham, Book 4: John Gee

and Brian M. Hauglid, Series Editors. Provo, Utah: Neal A Maxwell

Institute of Religious Scholarship, Brigham Young University, 2010.

Hardbound, 8.5 x 11.25", 155 pages.

This book is the second of two volumes that deal with the surviving

Joseph Smith papyri fragments.

The subject of the first volume was The Hor Book of Breathings. This

second volume deals with the remaining fragments that consist of

Books of the Dead belonging to two women-Tshemmin and Neferirnub.

This volume contains a detailed description of the papyri as well as

a transcription, translation, and commentary of all the surviving

text. The appendices include color plates with hieroglyphic

transcriptions of the hieratic text, a glossary of gods, place

names, etc., and a complete glossary of all Egyptian words found in

the surviving text.

The editor of this volume, Michael D. Rhodes, is an associate

research professor in the Department of Ancient Scripture at Brigham

Young University. He is a coauthor of One Eternal Round, the last

volume in the Collected Works of Hugh Nibley series.

Retail: $89.95

Special FAIR Price: $71.96 (20% Discount)

>> Textual History of the Book of Abraham: Manuscripts and Editions

Brian M. Hauglid. Studies in the Book of Abraham, Book 5: John Gee

and Brian M. Hauglid, Series Editors. Provo, Utah: Neal A. Maxwell

Institute of Religious Scholarship, Brigham Young University, 2010.

Hardbound, 8.5 x 11.25", 306 pages.

In July 1835 at Kirtland Ohio, a traveling antiquities dealer

brought to Joseph Smith, the Mormon Prophet, four Egyptian mummies

and several rolls of papyri. Upon inspection Smith determined that

one of the rolls contained a lost record of the patriarch Abraham.

After purchasing these artifacts for $2400 Smith generated through

translation five chapters that appeared during March 1842 in Nauvoo,

Illinois in the Times and Seasons, a Mormon periodical, under the

title "The Book of Abraham". This book has since become a canonized

text of scripture for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of

Latter-day Saints.

"Textual History of the Book of Abraham: Manuscripts and Editions"

serves as a source book for interested researchers and scholars. It

includes a brief introduction to the Book of Abraham and a detailed

record of textual variants from the time it first appeared in the

Times and Seasons until its latest edition (1981).

This volume also produces for the first time typographic

transcriptions with facing grayscale images of the surviving

handwritten manuscripts of the Book of Abraham. Several appendices

offer additional helpful resources such as contemporary accounts

related to the translation of the Book of Abraham and a full set of

color high-res images of the surviving Abraham manuscripts.

This book will be a valuable reference tool for scholars interested

in researching the textual history of the Book of Abraham.

Retail: $79.95

Special FAIR Price: $63.96 per volume (20% Discount)

Thank you for shopping in our FAIR bookstore!



FAIR's 'Front Page' is a free news clipping service and the

recipient can unsubscribe at any time. It is not sent in any

official Church or other capacity. It is for those who are

interested in keeping abreast with what is being said around the

world about the LDS Church and its members. Sometimes media

portrayal of the LDS Church, its members and of other religions is

not positive or accurate. The responsibility for the interpretation

and use of this information lies with the reader. As all information

comes from other news sources and has not been independently

verified, FAIR cannot guarantee or be responsible for the security

of links in the clipping service. FAIR will attempt to exclude news

articles containing strongly offensive language but cannot guarantee

that some will not slip through. Some links may also lead to

offensive images. To receive this service click on the link below,

enter your email address in the white box, and push the "Sign-Up"





The public is invited to submit questions related to LDS

*apologetic* issues to "Ask the Apologist." This feature can be

accessed by clicking on the following link:


Mark the box labeled "Questions (for the FAIR apologists)." Then

fill in accurate information in the five white boxes and push the

"Send Comments" button. All inquiries will be shared with members of

the FAIR List and the questioner may receive multiple responses from

FAIR volunteers. All responses reflect the opinions of the

respondents only and not the official position of FAIR or The Church

of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.



Copyright © 2011 by The Foundation for Apologetic Information and

Research (FAIR). All rights are reserved. FAIR is not owned by,

controlled by, nor affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of

Latter Day Saints. All research and opinions provided in FAIR

publications are the sole responsibility of FAIR and the individual

authors who provide the information, and should not be interpreted

as official statements of Latter Day Saint history, doctrine,

practice or belief.

Foundation for Apologetic

Information and Research

PO Box 491677

Redding, CA 96049

Foundation for Apologetic

Information and Research

PO Box 491677

Redding, CA 96049

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