THE FAIR JOURNAL
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).
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INSIDE THE JOURNAL
- MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT. Mike Ash expresses his gratitude for the service offered by those at FAIR.
- 2005 ANNUAL FAIR CONFERENCE ANNOUNCED. FAIR has announced its 7th annual apologetics conference. Register in April and get a $15 “early-bird discount” off the regular registration fee.
- NEW ON THE WEBSITE: “Response to ‘Leaving the Saints.’” Boyd Jay Peterson, brother-in-law to Martha Nibley Beck, reviews her controversial new book from the perspective of a member of the Nibley family.
- NEW ON THE WEBSITE: “The Place of Mormon Women: Perceptions, Prozac, Polygamy, Priesthood, Patriarchy, and Peace.” In her 2004 FAIR Conference presentation, Andrea G. Radke discusses common stereotypes of LDS women and how these misconceptions are not supported in actual studies.
- NEW ON THE WEBSITE: “Jesus: Lord of the Old Testament.” David Ferguson shows the extensive scriptural support for the LDS belief that Jesus Christ is the God of the Old Testament.
- NEW ON THE WEBSITE: “The Case for Historicity: Discerning the Book of Mormon’s Production Culture.” Brant A. Gardner looks into the historicity of the Book of Mormon by separating the production culture into its original and translation layers.
- RESOURCES ON THE WEB: KUER’s Doug Fabrizio interviews Alex Nibley and Christina Nibley Mincek, siblings of Martha Nibley Beck, about Beck’s book “Leaving the Saints.”
- RESOURCES ON THE WEB: “Review of ‘Leaving the Saints.’” Jeff Needle offers a non-LDS view of Martha Beck’s “Leaving the Saints.”
- ASK THE APOLOGIST. Got a question you are dying to ask? Here’s how.
- FAIR LDS BOOKSTORE. Several brand new or popular items have been especially discounted for this month’s Journal. Check out what the FAIR Bookstore has to help improve your life and build your library.
- 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.
MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
With FAIR President Scott Gordon temporarily away, I have been given the opportunity to write this month’s “Message from the President.”
As I reflect on the many years of my association with FAIR I am reminded of a conference talk Elder Oaks gave in 1984 entitled, “Why Do We Serve?” Of his many memorable talks, this particular one has stuck with me through the years. Elder Oaks points out that “service is an imperative for those who worship Jesus Christ,” and that the Lord has commanded that we “succor the weak, lift the hands that hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees” (D&C 81:5).
There is more, however, than serving with our hands, notes Oaks. The Lord knows our thoughts and our hearts. “In order to purify our service with the Church and to our fellowmen, it is necessary to consider not only HOW we serve, by WHY we serve.”
Elder Oaks explains that since we are imperfect beings, we all serve for various reasons — reasons that vary from type of service to the time of service. In ascending order (from the worst reasons to the best reasons), Elder Oaks lists six common reasons why people serve.
- Some serve for earthly reward, be it riches, honor, or power.
- Some serve for good companionship — they enjoy the company of those with whom they serve. Elder Oaks says that these first two reasons earn no gospel reward, are selfish and self-centered, and are unworthy of true Saints.
- Some serve out of fear of punishment or out of guilt. Such service, notes Oaks, is a “lesser motive at best.”
- Some serve out of a sense of duty or loyalty to friends, family, or Church. These are the “good soldiers, who instinctively do what they are asked.” Such service, when done joyously, is praiseworthy and fitting for blessings. There are better reasons, however, to serve.
- Some serve for hope of an eternal reward. This powerful motivator involves “faith in God and the fulfillment of his prophecies.”
- The best reason to serve, however, is out of charity, or a “pure love of Christ” (Moro. 7:47). “If our service is to be most efficacious,” notes Elder Oaks, “it must be accomplished for the love of God and the love of his children.”
While those of us involved with FAIR and LDS apologetics are far from perfect, and while instances of lesser motives can be found among all individuals during weak moments, it has been my privilege to witness that many of those associated with FAIR, either as members or contributors, are frequently motivated by the pure love of Christ in their quest to help our brothers and sisters whose testimonies have stumbled due to challenging questions or accusations.
There are numerous people behind the scenes of the FAIR organization who contribute countless hours, talents, and financial resources to helping our gospel family members. These volunteers answer emailed queries, donate of their financial resources, operate the bookstore and website, write or review the Journal and FAIR articles, schedule conferences, and much, much more. I’ve witnessed such volunteers, who remain virtually invisible to most of those who visit the FAIR web site, give of the things they have in the service of those whose testimony is wavering. There are others, not directly associated with FAIR, who provide this same service in their wards, stakes, missions, or neighborhoods.
Not only do most of these volunteers serve without compensation and without earthly reward, but they generally go un-thanked, and even un-noticed. Since I currently have the “mic,” so to speak, I’d like to thank all the self-sacrificing volunteers who make this work go forward. I’ve seen great strides and accomplishments with this volunteer organization, and I believe it is the pure love of Christ — the concern for the welfare of faltering souls — that has been the driving force in this endeavor. I am grateful for the efforts of our FAIR President, Scott Gordon, whom I have personally witnessed devoting his time and energy to the love of his fellow Saints and rarely receiving the deserved earthly thanks for his efforts.
Those who oppose the Church, while often not united on theological or other issues, are often united in their desire to see the demise of the Church, the apostasy of individual Saints, or at the very least, a reduction in Church growth. With the San Antonio Temple scheduled to open soon, one counter-cult organization is already organizing, with plans to distribute over 130,000 papers, cards, door-hangers, and newspaper inserts (at a cost of over $10,000), denouncing the LDS Church as a non-Christian cult. Undoubtedly there will be a few investigators or members that will separate themselves from the Gospel over the claims of this counter-cult ministry. Sadly, many of those who leave over challenging issues are often unaware of FAIR or the apologetic responses to anti-LDS accusations.
As we ponder the recently celebrated Resurrection of the Lord, and as we anticipate another General Conference and the opportunity to hear the words of the Lord’s anointed, we are reminded of the invitation to “come unto Christ.” As we reflect on this call, we should incorporate, in part, our service to others by assisting them to “come unto Christ.” Among those we must assist are they who have “feeble knees,” perhaps weakened by answerable accusations. In doing so, our endeavors should always be focused on our love for the Savior and His love for us.
“And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!” (D&C 18:15)
- Michael R. Ash Acting President, FAIR
2005 Annual FAIR Conference Announced
FAIR will be hosting its 7th annual FAIR Conference on August 4th and 5th at the South Town Exposition Center in Sandy, Utah. This year’s apologetics conference will again bring together some of the best authors, scholars, and speakers to address issues on LDS apologetics.
This year we are repeating our “early-bird discount” for those who are already planning to attend. The two-day registration fee, which includes lunch on both days, will be $59.95. For those registering before May 1, however, the cost will be only $44.95, a $15 savings!
In addition, if you register for more than one person from your family, you will receive a $10 gift certificate which can be used at the conference bookstore!
You can register now by going to
As we finalize our speaker lineup, we will be updating the website with the presentation topics and speaker bios.
Don’t put off registering for the conference and miss out on the special discount.
FAIR relies on your kind donations to remain in business. Now is the time to make a donation. FAIR is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, so if you are in the United States, your donation is tax deductible.
Response to “Leaving the Saints”
by Boyd Jay Peterson
Peterson, Hugh Nibley’s son-in-law and biographer, has written a response to Martha Nibley Becks’s “Leaving the Saints.” Peterson points out many of the inconsistencies in Beck’s story as well as factual errors in her narration.
Peterson notes that despite Beck’s claim to “being committed to solid scholarship and persuaded only by evidence” she repeatedly jumps to conclusions and “blurs fact and fantasy.” “To retell her past in such a distorted way may be nothing more than a heart-breaking attempt to justify [Beck's] leaving the Saints.”
Read the article:
Response to Leaving the Saints by Boyd J. Petersen
Other reviews of “Leaving the Saints” appeared in last month’s FAIR Journal.
Tom Kimball’s review can be read at:
Allen Wyatt’s review can be read at:
Scott Gordon’s review can be read at:
Leaving the Saints or Leaving Reality? by Scott Gordon
The Place of Mormon Women: Perceptions, Prozac, Polygamy, Priesthood, Patriarchy, and Peace
by Andrea G. Radke
In her 2004 FAIR Conference talk, Radke considered a number of issues that affect how LDS women have been perceived by non-LDS critics. In her look at “the pervasive misconceptions and misunderstandings leveled at Mormon women throughout the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” Radke discusses such diverse topics as polygamy, mental health and drug usage, women’s role in a priesthood-focused culture, and other issues.
Radke shows that these misconceptions are not supported by actual studies done on LDS women, that the stereotypes of LDS women are inaccurate, and that “the gospel of Jesus Christ can be the most liberating tool for gender inclusion.”
Read the article:
Jesus: Lord of the Old Testament
by David Ferguson
Latter-day Saints believe that Jesus Christ was a divine personage and member of the Godhead prior to His incarnation 2000 years ago. Ferguson looks at scriptures that support the LDS notion that Jesus Christ is the God of the Old Testament.
Ferguson looks at titles common to both Jesus and the God of the Old Testament. He also considers roles, allusions, and prophecies that would indicate that the LDS doctrine is the most straightforward interpretation of the Bible. Additionally, Ferguson considers scriptural passages that some might use to argue against the LDS notion and shows how those can be interpreted consistently with the belief that “when one examines verses of the King James Bible, one can certainly understand that there is valid, sufficient scriptural support for the interpretation that Jesus Christ is Jehovah of the Old Testament.”
Read the article:
Jesus: Lord of the Old Testament by David Ferguson
The Case for Historicity: Discerning the Book of Mormon’s Production Culture
by Brant A. Gardner
In his 2004 FAIR Conference presentation, Gardner looked into the Book of Mormon for evidence of the “production culture,” that is, the culture in which it was produced. The Book of Mormon, however, claims two such sources: an ancient American text and a 19th century American translation. Without the original text available for analysis, it can be difficult to determine which aspects of the current text derive from the ancient Lehite culture and which from Joseph Smith’s.
Gardner shows how the events described in the Book of Mormon can be considered apart from the actual text found in the translated English version. When studied in the way, the Book of Mormon can be seen to reflect not just the translation environment of Joseph Smith’s New England, but also an entirely different political and cultural environment that is better explained by and is indicative of an ancient setting.
Gardner concludes that “the Book of Mormon makes complete sense as a historical document, but does so only when we place it in the correct historical context” and “placed in the correct production culture… the text authentically describes human motivations appropriate to that historical time and place.”
Read the article:
Response to Martha Beck
by Alex Nibley and Christina Nibley Mincek
On March 30, 2005, KUER radio host Doug Fabrizio interviewed Alex Nibley and Christina Nibley Mincek, siblings of Martha Nibley Beck. Nibley and Mincek dispute the story that Beck presents in her book “Leaving the Saints.” This 60 minute interview is available on-line.
Review of “Leaving the Saints”
by Jeffrey Needle
Needle, who is not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints, reviews Martha Nibley Beck’s “Leaving the Saints.” Needle is convinced that Beck really believes that the events she describes really happened but he “wasn’t convinced by her presentation that the events actually happened.”
Needle closes by noting, “I cannot either recommend, or not recommend, this book. I can only say that the reader will see in the book what he or she chooses to see.”
Read the article:
Review of Leaving the Saints by Jeffrey Needle
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 website as a FAIR paper or brochure. If you have a question, simply mail it to our Contact address.
FAIR LDS BOOKSTORE
The FARMS Review, Volume 16 Issue 2
Keep up on the latest in LDS apologetic controversies and academic explorations with the most recent edition of “The FARMS Review, Volume 16 Issue 2.” A favorite among FAIR denizens, this issue contains article topics on the Book of Mormon, the Book of Abraham, LDS theology and even the counter-cult–something for everyone. Offered at bookstores for the retail price of $10.95, our price this month is only $8.75, a savings of 20%.
In Flight with Broken Wings: A Practical Guide to Being LDS and Divorced
Best buy for this month, “In Flight with Broken Wings: A Practical Guide to Being LDS and Divorced” author Jennifer James offers both spiritual and detailed practical suggestions for redefining one’s life in a positive manner for all those who are or have experienced the difficult transition from married back to single life. Normally $18.95, at a 40% discount this month, get it at FAIR for $11.35.
Opening the Heavens: Accounts of Divine Manifestations, 1820-1844
Just Released! “Opening the Heavens: Accounts of Divine Manifestations, 1820-1844,” edited by John W. Welch. A single book finally contains all known firsthand accounts of Latter-day Saint foundational Restoration events, including events such as the First Vision, the translation of the Book of Mormon, the restoration of the priesthood, the opening of the heavens, the outpouring of keys at the Kirtland Temple, and the mantle of Joseph Smith passing to Brigham Young. For those interested in examining early Church history for themselves, this book is now available at $26.35, a 20% savings off the retail price of $32. For details on articles and authors see
Time Vindicates the Prophets: An Extraordinary Thirty-Part Lecture Series
First heard in 1954 as part of a Sunday evening radio lecture series broadcast from Temple Square, “Time Vindicates the Prophets: An Extraordinary Thirty-Part Lecture Series” (8 CDs) by Hugh W. Nibley is now digitally mastered and available in a single set for $23.95 (retail $29.95). This recording is a must for Nibley fans.
Latter-day Commentary on the New Testament: The Four Gospels
Part of a continuing commentary series designed specifically for the LDS family, “Latter-day Commentary on the New Testament: The Four Gospels” with authors Ed J. Pinegar, K. Douglas Bassett, and Ted L. Earl can be purchased at our bookstore this month for just $29.95, compared to the retail price of $39.95, a welcome 25% savings. See our offer at
- The FAIR Bookstore Staff
We welcome article submissions for the FAIR Web site. If you would like to submit an article, please review the editing guidelines at:
Submit your article to the FAIR Journal Editor. 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 figure, 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.
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 FAIR Publications link.
If you are very interested in apologetics and would like to actively participate in FAIR you should consider joining our apologetics e-mail list. Visit www.fairlds.org and click on the Join FAIR link to join this list.
If you manage your own e-mail list, and wish to include some of these thoughts or articles on your list, contact us through our Web site, at this page: www.fairlds.org/contact.psp. We have a fairly liberal policy of using our material so long as you contact us first to gain permission and clearly identify that your source was FAIR and by adding a link to the FAIR Web site (www.fairlds.org).
If you would like to sign up to receive the FAIR Journal automatically, click here.
To return to the index of past FAIR Journal issues, click here.