Mormon apologists gather, but not to apologize

Published: Thursday, Aug. 2 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

That's why he feels things like the FAIRWiki associated with the FAIR website (www.fairlds.org), which he calls "a repository of responses to any anti-Mormon thing you can think of," and the website's "Ask an apologist" feature are important.

And so does Gordon.

"As we defend the church we may find things in our history that may not be flattering," he said. "In my mind, that's reassuring. It means God can work with imperfect people to get his work done. He doesn't have to wait for perfect people to come along. But it also means that imperfect people occasionally do imperfect things, and so we have to be able to explain them and give people good, rational reasons, perspectives and contexts for those mistakes and errors."

But while apologetic research and study can fortify faith and strengthen belief, it shouldn't be considered a replacement for spiritual testimony and witness. John-Charles Duffy teaches American religious history and has studied and written about the practice of apologetics. He says that "people who are looking to apologetics for answers to their doubts are not shouldering the responsibility for going to God for their own answers."

"The ideal solution is for people to just be so strong in their belief that they don't even worry about what others think or say," he said during the recent Sunstone Symposium. "We need to have the strength of testimony that allows us to just blow off what others say."

Added Peterson: "If you want the spiritual certainty required to motivate you to go on a mission, to donate 10 percent of your income to tithing, to give precious hours of time to a church calling, you better have a spiritual witness.

"You can't wake up every day wondering, 'Oh, man, I wonder what the state of the evidence is today,'" Peterson continued. "You can't go from seminar to seminar hearing scholars examine the church from one perspective or another, all the while wondering if you're going to stay true to this or not. That isn't enough. You need to have a testimony that stands on its own, regardless of what anyone else says."

Mormon Apologetics Conference facts

When: Thursday, Aug. 2, and Friday, Aug. 3

Where: South Towne Exposition Center (9575 S. State, Sandy)

Times: Sessions begin at 9 a.m. each day and end at 5:45 p.m. Registration is available before the first session each day.

Topics: Topics on the agenda include:

"No Johnny-Come-Lately: The 182-Year-Long BLACK Mormon Moment"

"Book of Mormon Genetics: A Reappraisal"

"Forty-Five Years of Chiasmus Conversations, Criteria and Creativity: What Chiasmus Proves and Does Not Prove"

"From the East to the West: The Problem of Directions in the Book of Mormon"

"Piercing the Veil: Temple Worship in the Lost 116 Pages"

"Perception and Reality: Then and Now"

For more information on the conference, visit www.fairlds.org.

Mormon Apologetics Conference facts

When: Thursday, Aug. 2, and Friday, Aug. 3

Where: South Towne Exposition Center (9575 S. State, Sandy)

Times: Sessions begin at 9 a.m. each day and end at 5:45 p.m. Registration is available before the first session each day.

Topics: Topics on the agenda include:

"No Johnny-Come-Lately: The 182-Year-Long BLACK Mormon Moment"

"Book of Mormon Genetics: A Reappraisal"

"Forty-Five Years of Chiasmus Conversations, Criteria and Creativity: What Chiasmus Proves and Does Not Prove"

"From the East to the West: The Problem of Directions in the Book of Mormon"

"Piercing the Veil: Temple Worship in the Lost 116 Pages"

"Perception and Reality: Then and Now"

For more information on the conference, visit www.fairlds.org.

email: jwalker@desnews.com

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