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Jason Olson, Deseret News archive
BYU professor Valerie Hudson coordinates with her students at the Women's Research Institute Friday, April 3, 2009. Hudson will be speaking Thursday about the reconciliation of polygamy at the 2011 Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research Conference, which was mentioned Wednesday by the Wall Street Journal.

SANDY — This year’s Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research Conference, a forum of presentations defending doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has been reported on in the Wall Street Journal.

The online story, “Mormons Duck Political Duel,” mentions the two presidential candidates who are members of the LDS Church. The FAIR Conference, at the South Towne Exposition Center Thursday and Friday, will include a presentation on Friday from Newell Bringhurst titled “W. Mitt Romney and Jon M. Huntsman Jr.’s 2012 Quest for the Presidency: A Mormon Moment or Mormon Question…Revisited."

“The Mormon church is preparing for the 2012 elections with a campaign message of its own: It has nothing to do with orchestrating or promoting the presidential candidacies of Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman Jr., both Mormons,” the Wall Street Journal's Jonathan Weisman wrote.

In the article, Michael Purdy, director of the church’s media relations office, reaffirmed that policy of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is strict that the line between religion and politics will not be crossed and no particular candidate will be endorsed by the church.

In a related story in New York Magazine, Noreen Malone wrote that LDS Church officials have been closely monitoring the Internet, television broadcasts and print publications more frequently than during Romney’s 2008 campaign.

According to the article, church spokesmen, including LDS Church managing director of public affairs Michael Otterson, have been more active in defending aspects of church doctrine. Malone wrote that that through such activity, Otterson and other spokesman are “campaigning on behalf of Romney and Huntsman” — although Otterson explained the increased activity has been necessary.

"We now have two Latter-day Saints running, and the potential for misunderstanding or missteps is therefore twice what it was before," Otterson was quoted as saying.

The Ogden Standard-Examiner also reported on the upcoming conference.

“The FAIR Conference is an annual event that brings together scholars, apologists and interested individuals from a variety of areas,” according to a FAIR news release. “Each comes with a unique perspective on history, science or theology, and all come with a desire to help defend the gospel and share evidences of its truth.

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“Each year we strive to present speakers that address wide-ranging topics."

With Bringhurst's presentation, the seminar will include discussions titled "A Reconciliation of Polygamy," from Valerie Hudson; "Accounts of the First Vision," from Stephen Harper; and "Mormonism, Islam and the Question of Other Religions," from Dan Peterson.

The FAIR website provides the conference's complete schedule of speakers along with presentations from previous years. Additional information can be found on FAIR's Wikipedia page.

Related links:

Mormon Defense League launched

Email: rwilkinson@desnews.com Twitter: wilklogan