THE FAIR JOURNAL January 2006

Posted by permission from the editors of http://www.fairlds.org/ . Its appearance is independent of this blog, and should not be construed to either agree or disagree with the opinions expressed on this blog, or on any other website.


Discuss at FAIR Message Board:
http://www.fairboards.org/

FAIR Topical Guide:
http://www.fairlds.org/apol/

Or discuss at LDS Patriot Forum: Message Board:
http://www.ldspatriot.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=86#86


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THE FAIR JOURNAL                                          January 2006
———————————————————————-
        The Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research
———————————————————————-

       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, Fourth
       Edition, 2000.)

INSIDE THE JOURNAL
———————————————————————-

    * MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT. Scott Gordon looks at the recent
      flurry of anti-Mormon works and discusses their scholarly
      shortcomings.

    * FAIR CONFERENCE NEWS. The FAIR Conference is scheduled for
      August 3 and 4.

    * NEW ON THE WEBSITE. “The Book of Mormon vs. the Critics:
      Nit-Picking for Fun and Profit.” Don Neighbors looks at attacks
      against the Book of Mormon based on language, grammar, and
      corrections to the translated text.

    * ASK THE APOLOGIST. Got a question you are dying to ask?
      Here’s how.

    * FAIR TOPICAL GUIDE. The Topical Guide on the FAIR Web site is
      one of the most popular resources offered. Learn what is
      available and help us expand our references. This month’s
      additions are audio presentations relating to LDS apologetics.

    * FAIR LDS BOOKSTORE. With the changes in the on-line bookstore,
      browsing and ordering is faster and easier than ever. Check
      out the new format and this month’s special offerings.

    * 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. All of the FAIR Journal issues since
      October 2001 are on the FAIR web site.

——————————
MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT

A number of new books and videos about Mormonism have recently been
released. With Harry Reid as minority leader in the Senate and Mitt
Romney contemplating a run for the presidency, we are likely to see
even more. Many of these books and videos have a slightly different
tone than traditional evangelical anti-Mormonm because they are often
coming from, or are influenced by, disaffected Mormons. In addition,
many of these books and videos make an effort to appear scholarly.
While some people take the position that if it is written in a book or
if it is in a video documentary then it must be true, this is not a
safe position to take.

Whether it be history, archeology, or DNA evidence, these books and
films paint the picture that Mormonism is a lie. From there they
either take the path that it is either a well-meaning lie or a
deceitful lie, but it is a lie nonetheless.

Most people love a good story, but few like to do research in history
or science. Fewer still have the knowledge or training to evaluate the
quality of various sources. In history, one should ask questions such
as “Is this first hand?” “Was this written at the time it happened or
was it written many years later?” “Who wrote it?” “What was his or her
relationship to the event or events?”

These were thoughts I had as I recently read the book “An Insider’s
View of Mormon Origins” by Grant H. Palmer. He claims in his book that
the history we have learned is a lie.

To support his thesis, Mr. Palmer quotes the RLDS church (Community of
Christ) president-emeritus saying: “One thing is clear. The genie is
out of the bottle and it cannot be put back. Facts uncovered and the
questions raised by the new Mormon historians will not go away. They
will have to be dealt with if we are to maintain a position of honesty
and integrity in our dealings with our own members as well as our
friends in the larger religious community.” (page xi)

LDS Historian Davis Bitton responds to Palmer’s book in The FARMS
Review by saying:

   “Grant H. Palmer thinks the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
   Saints has been dishonest by holding back information that
   controverts the traditional account of its origins. But he doesn’t
   mind holding back quite a bit himself.” [The FARMS Review 15/2
   (2003) page 257.]

Palmer questions whether there was a Palmyra revival in 1820 while
ignoring the June 1820, Palmyra Register newspaper report of James
Couser who dies of intoxication at one of these “non-existent”
meetings. He chooses non-primary quotes to show the witnesses only
thought they saw the plates while ignoring the first-hand statements
of Martin Harris, where he states he held them on his lap for an hour
and a half, and firsthand statements of Katherine Smith where she
describes how she hid the plates in bed with her while people searched
the house for them.

Anyone who has questions about the Witnesses should read Richard
Anderson’s book “Investigating the Book of Mormon Witnesses.” Anderson
earned a law degree at Harvard Law School and a Ph.D. in ancient
history at the University of California, Berkeley. He has probably
done more research on the topic than anyone else.

     http://store.fairlds.org/prod/p0875792421.html

But Palmer isn’t the only new author. Dan Vogel has put together an
impressive book on Joseph Smith. In FARMS Review 17/1 (2005), Andrew
H. Hedges, who has a Ph.D. in American history from the University of
Illinois, and Dawson W. Hedges, MD, observe that Vogel doesn’t follow
the traditional lines of scholarship:

   “Frankly admitting his ‘inclination…to interpret any claim of the
   paranormal…as delusion or fraud’ (p. xii), Vogel refuses to
   accept Joseph’s and his supporters’ autobiographical statements–
   most of which grant, either explicitly or implicitly, such
   ‘paranormal’ phenomena as angels, revelation, visions, and
   prophecy–at face value.”

The FARMS reviewers describe the method of how to support these
positions saying, “Easy–scour the records for any sources whose
authors know, like Vogel, that Joseph was a liar from birth and see
what they have to say about his life.”

They go on to describe Vogel’s historical conjecturing by saying,

   “In the eight pages from 131 to 138, for example, the words
   ‘might,’ ‘probably,’ ‘may,’ ‘perhaps,’ and ‘seems’ occur a total of
   17 times–better than two per page, on average. Rarely does one
   find a run of more than two pages where such words aren’t employed,
   and not infrequently one sees them in even greater abundance–pages
   178 and 447, for example, contain nine such qualifiers apiece. They
   are central to every point and argument Vogel makes, whatever their
   overall rate of use may be, and one finds oneself involuntarily
   muttering under one’s breath ‘yes, and maybe, probably not’ at the
   end of most of them.”

There are two books out on the Mountain Meadows massacre written by
Will Bagley and Sally Denton, and there are films being produced that
use those books as sources. Robert Crockett reviews these books in The
FARMS Review 15/2 (2003) and in The FARMS Review 16/1 (2004). Of
Bagley’s book, Crockett writes:

   “Specifically, regarding Blood of the Prophets, it is my view that
   Bagley’s analysis of the evidence is uncritical and unbalanced,
   usually favoring explanations that would condemn authorities of the
   Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Bagley often ignores
   exculpatory evidence of a much higher quality than the evidence
   upon which he relies to inculpate Brigham Young. Bagley often
   favors rumor and speculation over hard evidence, or he relies
   solely upon rumor and speculation when there is no evidence.”

Of Denton Crockett writes: “She makes mistakes that careful historians
of Mormon Americana do not,” and “To say it more succinctly, Denton
discusses the massacre out of context.”

Geneticist Dr. Ryan Parr writes in The FARMS Review 17/1 (2005) about
a new book on DNA, “Losing a Lost Tribe: Native Americans, DNA, and
the Mormon Church,” by Dr. Simon Southerton. He states:

   “Southerton has done a reasonable job of summarizing the current
   data set describing Native American haplotype/haplogroup
   frequencies of mtDNA and Y chromosomes; however, the obvious
   difficulty is the clear and persistent insistence that these data
   are an accurate archive of all past population histories in the
   Americas. This is an unrealistic and vast simplification of
   population dynamics.”

In the same volume of The FARMS Review, Dr. Kent Jackson writes about
Martha Beck’s book “Leaving the Saints”:

   “In her book Martha calls for the highest standards of scholarship
   and social science professionalism, yet sadly her own writing is
   closer to tabloid journalism, failing to come anywhere close to
   the standards she claims to espouse.” (Page 110)

There are critics of The FARMS Review who claim it is “mean spirited”
and “critical.” But book reviews in scholarly journals traditionally
have little tolerance for what they believe to be sloppy research.

While not everyone has to agree that Joseph Smith was a prophet or
that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the restored
Church of Jesus Christ, if you write about it, it is important to
follow the traditions of scholarship and research. These new books
and videos suffer from oversimplification, misrepresentation, and
ignoring scholarly research that has been done on the topic.

–Scott Gordon
  President, FAIR

——————————

Editors Note: The FARMS review is a good source of scholarly discourse
on the various books that are written about Mormonism. You can read
the FARMS review at

      http://farms.byu.edu

Copies can be purchased at the FAIR bookstore at

      http://store.fairlds.org/bi066.html

——————————

FAIR is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, so if you are in the United
States, your donation is tax deductible. Without your donations, FAIR
would cease to exist. Thank you for your support.

       http://store.fairlds.org/bi071.html

——————————
FAIR Conference News

The 8th annual FAIR Conference will be held in Sandy, Utah, on August
3-4. Mark your calendars and be ready to take advantage of the early
bird discount on conference tickets! Details on the speakers and
ticket prices will be announced in an upcoming FAIR Journal.

——————————
The Book of Mormon vs. the Critics: Nit-Picking for Fun and Profit
by D.E. Neighbors

Nearly every anti-Mormon work that has attacked the Book of Mormon has
used the argument that since the Book of Mormon contains errors and
has been corrected and modified over the years, Joseph Smith’s
statement that the Book of Mormon was “the most correct book” was
false and the Book of Mormon itself cannot be considered scripture and
is nothing more than a fabrication of Joseph Smith.

In his article, Neighbors looks at some of the attacks on the Book of
Mormon relating to the language and grammar that the Prophet Joseph
used when he translated the ancient text, as well as some of the
attacks based on changes to the Book of Mormon text after its initial
publication. The Book of Mormon is easily defended against these
nit-picking complaints, which are basically founded on an extreme
textual inerrantist viewpoint. With his long experience in the
publishing field, Neighbors notes that he is “singularly unimpressed
by the claims made against the Book of Mormon on typographical and
grammatical grounds.”

Read the article: http://www.fairlds.org/apol/bom/bom21.html

——————————
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 questions@fairlds.org. 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.

——————————
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

       http://www.fairlds.org/apol

The following are the Topical Guide updates for the month. Each of
these is an audio presentation and can be found in the multimedia
section of the Topical Guide in addition to the appropriate topic
index. To see all audio entries in the Topical Guide, go to

      http://www.fairlds.org/apol/ai197.html

Richard L. Anderson
      “Testimonies of the Book of Mormon Witnesses”
           Book of Mormon > Witnesses
           http://www.fairlds.org/apol/ai109.html

FARMS
      “LDS Perspectives of the Dead Sea Scrolls”
           Scripture and Influential Writings > Non-LDS Text > Dead
           Sea Scrolls
           http://www.fairlds.org/apol/ai175.html

John Gee
      FARMS Presentation regarding Facsimile 3 in the Book of Abraham
           Scripture and Influential Writings > Pearl of Great Price >
           Book of Abraham
           http://www.fairlds.org/apol/ai125.html

Hugh Nibley
      “Faith of an Observer”
           Apologetics and Scholarship
           http://www.fairlds.org/apol/ai003.html

Hugh Nibley
      “Abraham’s Creation Drama”
           Scripture and Influential Writings > Pearl of Great Price >
           Book of Abraham
           http://www.fairlds.org/apol/ai125.html

Hugh Nibley
      “Pearl of Great Price Lecture Series – 1. Restoring What Was
      Lost”
           Scripture and Influential Writings > Pearl of Great Price >
           Book of Abraham
           http://www.fairlds.org/apol/ai125.html

Hugh Nibley
      “Pearl of Great Price Lecture Series – 2. Allegory and Rhetoric”
           Scripture and Influential Writings > Pearl of Great Price >
           Book of Abraham
           http://www.fairlds.org/apol/ai125.html

Hugh Nibley
      “Pearl of Great Price Lecture Series – 3. Literalism”
           Scripture and Influential Writings > Pearl of Great Price >
           Book of Abraham
           http://www.fairlds.org/apol/ai125.html

Hugh Nibley
      “Pearl of Great Price Lecture Series – 4. Preexistence”
           Scripture and Influential Writings > Pearl of Great Price >
           Book of Abraham
           http://www.fairlds.org/apol/ai125.html

Hugh Nibley
      “Pearl of Great Price Lecture Series – 5. Cosmology”
           Scripture and Influential Writings > Pearl of Great Price >
           Book of Abraham
           http://www.fairlds.org/apol/ai125.html

Hugh Nibley
      “Pearl of Great Price Lecture Series – 6. The Creation”
           Scripture and Influential Writings > Pearl of Great Price >
           Book of Abraham
           http://www.fairlds.org/apol/ai125.html

Hugh Nibley
      “Pearl of Great Price Lecture Series – 7. The Council”
           Scripture and Influential Writings > Pearl of Great Price >
           Book of Abraham
           http://www.fairlds.org/apol/ai125.html

Hugh Nibley
      “Pearl of Great Price Lecture Series – 8. The Council According
      to the Shabako Stone”
           Scripture and Influential Writings > Pearl of Great Price >
           Book of Abraham
           http://www.fairlds.org/apol/ai125.html

Hugh Nibley
      “Pearl of Great Price Lecture Series – 9. The Shabako Stone
      Continued”
           Scripture and Influential Writings > Pearl of Great Price >
           Book of Abraham
           http://www.fairlds.org/apol/ai125.html

Hugh Nibley
      “Pearl of Great Price Lecture Series – 10. The Babylon Creation
      Myth”
           Scripture and Influential Writings > Pearl of Great Price >
           Book of Abraham
           http://www.fairlds.org/apol/ai125.html

Hugh Nibley
      “Pearl of Great Price Lecture Series – 11. The Human Condition”
           Scripture and Influential Writings > Pearl of Great Price >
           Book of Abraham
           http://www.fairlds.org/apol/ai125.html

Hugh Nibley
      “Pearl of Great Price Lecture Series – 12. The Plurality of
      Worlds”
           Scripture and Influential Writings > Pearl of Great Price >
           Book of Abraham
           http://www.fairlds.org/apol/ai125.html

Hugh Nibley
      “Pearl of Great Price Lecture Series – 13. The Pearl of Great
      Price on the Plurality of Worlds”
           Scripture and Influential Writings > Pearl of Great Price >
           Book of Abraham
           http://www.fairlds.org/apol/ai125.html

Hugh Nibley
      “Pearl of Great Price Lecture Series – 14. Treasures in Heaven”
           Scripture and Influential Writings > Pearl of Great Price >
           Book of Abraham
           http://www.fairlds.org/apol/ai125.html

Hugh Nibley
      “Pearl of Great Price Lecture Series – 15. The Geological
           Problem”
           Scripture and Influential Writings > Pearl of Great Price >
           Book of Abraham
           http://www.fairlds.org/apol/ai125.html

Daniel Peterson
      “A Scholar Looks at Evidences for the Book of Mormon”
           Book of Mormon
           http://www.fairlds.org/apol/ai105.html

Royal Skousen
      “Critical Text of the Book of Mormon”
           Book of Mormon > Textual Issues > Changes in the Book of
           Mormon
           http://www.fairlds.org/apol/ai282.html

John Welch
      “Chiasmus in the Book of Mormon”
           Book of Mormon > Textual Issues > Chaismus
           http://www.fairlds.org/apol/ai119.html

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FAIR LDS BOOKSTORE

The Fair LDS Bookstore has some great values. By supporting the FAIR
Bookstore you are also supporting FAIR. Come and see what great books
are here for you. This month we are featuring three marvelous books at
a wonderful price.

–> “Defining the Word – Understanding the History and Language of the
     Bible” John A. Tvedtnes, Covenant Communications, 2006
     (Softbound) ISBN 1-59811078-0

This book will help you to understand and discover what the Bible
*really* means. John Tvedtnes does a wonderful job of writing so that
one can understand and love the words of the Bible, which will help
with understanding of the language that is used in all the standard
works. You’ll find that this book is well researched and easy to
understand. Those who love history, language and those who love the
word of God will find this book totally insightful and inspiring.

You can purchase this book for $10.46, 25% off its retail price. (It
is regularly $13.95.)

      http://store.fairlds.org/prod/p1598110780.html

–> “United by Faith” edited by Kyle R. Walker, BYU Studies, 2006
     (Hardbound) ISBN 1-59156-998-2

This book introduces you to the Joseph Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith family,
their troubles, and how they united their family. This intimate story
blends together both research and a tender story of Mormonism’s first
family. The work of nine historians brings about new insights on each
family member.

You can purchase this book for $19.95, 20% of its retail price. (It is
regularly $24.95)

      http://store.fairlds.org/prod/p1591569982.html

–> “The Book of Mormon: A Reader’s Edition” edited by Grant Hardy,
     University of Illinois Press, 2005 (Softbound) ISBN 0-252-07341-X

This great reader-friendly version of our familiar scripture reformats
the complete, unchanged 1920 text in the manner of modern translations
of the Bible, with paragraphs, quotations marks, poetic forms, topical
headings, multichapter headings, indention of quoted documents,
italicized reworkings of biblical prophecies, and minimized verse
numbers. The book has charts, maps, and a glossary of names. If you’ve
never seen this book before, it will provide you with new insights
into the Book of Mormon.

You can purchase this book for $17.47, 30% off its retail price. (It
is regularly $24.95.)

      http://store.fairlds.org/prod/p025207341X.html

To see all of our specials for this month in one place, visit this
special page:

      http://store.fairlds.org/specials.html

Thanks for your continued support of the FAIR Bookstore. We hope you
have a great new year!

– The FAIR Bookstore Staff

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ARTICLE SUBMISSIONS

We welcome article submissions for the FAIR Journal and Web site. If
you would like to submit an article, please review the editing
guidelines at:

      http://www.fairlds.org/EdStyle.pdf

Submit your article to the FAIR Journal Editor, Paul McNabb
(journal@fairlds.org). 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 figures, 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.

——————————
PUBLISHING NOTES

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 “Join &
Support FAIR” link.

If you are interested in apologetics and would like to participate
actively in FAIR you should consider joining our apologetics e-mail
list. Visit www.fairlds.org and click on the “Join & Support FAIR”
link to join this list as well.

If you manage your own e-mail list, and wish to include some of these
thoughts or articles on your list, contact us at
webmaster@fairlds.org. We have a fairly liberal policy of using our
material as long as you contact us first to gain permission, clearly
identify that your source was FAIR, and add a link to the FAIR Web
site (www.fairlds.org).

——————————–
FAIR JOURNAL ARCHIVES

For past issues of the FAIR Journal, go to

       http://www.fairlds.org/pubs/journal

——————————–
Copyright (c) 2006 by The Foundation for Apologetic Information and
Research (FAIR). All rights reserved.

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Posted on February 1, 2006, in Mormonism/LDS Church. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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