Defending the Faith: FairMormon conference seeks to give reasons for the hope within us

Return To Article
Add a comment
  • iron&clay RIVERTON, UT
    July 15, 2014 9:06 p.m.

    The strong reasoning in the Book of Abraham lies in it's text.

    The God's formed and organized the earth out of matter that existed eternally.

    The text does not say that the earth was created out of nothing.

    Strong reasoning.

  • LiveNLetLive Bakersfield, CA
    July 15, 2014 8:35 a.m.

    The fundamental test for any idea is, "Does it work?"

    The gospel teaches honesty, responsibility, compassion, chastity and fidelity.

    What would the world be like if we all practiced those precepts?

    I believe that would work.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    July 14, 2014 12:29 p.m.

    FAIR does little more than offer a fig leaf to the dwindling number still clinging to hope that rational vindication of the irrational will come in time. LDS academics who keep that ill-fated vision on life support are unwittingly stunting the growth of those who have yet to learn that it’s time to move on.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    July 14, 2014 9:17 a.m.


    Yes, father is a great metaphor. Of course it would have been nice for Christ to tell us it was just a metaphor. He didn’t.

    I understand that Only Begotten also sets Christ off as unique. But again, he referred to himself as a son. In the OT, he is also referred to as a son.

    From this and your other posts I take it that you only believe the bible to be true so far as it is translated correctly. As you are always explaining why the common understanding of even the most modern translations is incorrect in your view.

    Do you believe what he said or not?

    Of course if we look to the primacy of Platonist doctrines, then we would have to include God as immaterial.

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    July 14, 2014 8:54 a.m.

    Just curious... what other institutions (other than Christian religions) have an equivalent to FAIR, what are those equivalent organizations, and how are they viewed by the world?

  • UT Brit London, England
    July 14, 2014 8:18 a.m.


    FAIR are pretty awful at defending the faith really. Nothing has driven me further from the church than some of the strange and often bizarre explanations they try to give.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    July 14, 2014 7:47 a.m.

    RE: “…Contend for the faith that was (hapax,@ G 530)=Once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.(Jude 1:3 NIV). Greek, "Once"one time. No heretical revelations to follow. i.e..,

    D&C 93:33.”The elements are eternal”. Platonists alsol believed in a pre-existent and (JS) Freemasons. Not Biblical though

    @ Twin Lights. The father Metaphor points to God as the Creator. Father captures in one word two contrasting characteristics: God's love for his creatures and his lordship over all creation.

    The "Right Hand" (Hebrew idiom)is only figurative/symbolic and not literal for power and authority.

    John 3:16, “only begotten (mongenes G),”misleading, in English it appears to express a metaphysical relationship, But it was also used of Jesus (only one of its kind, unique)

    “… true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is *one God, without end..”(2 Nephi 31:21)JS teaches the trinity.

    3Nephi 31:22, note b. (1John 5:6-9 KJV & JST) v.7 one= (*heis, the #1). But “… we are one(en).( John 17-22). One in unity (Preposition) different Greek words.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    July 13, 2014 6:47 p.m.

    and the rest of the 99% of the world that KNOWS it isn't true are all wrong correct?

  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    July 13, 2014 6:28 p.m.

    @Lets' roll: I never saw a pleading under a Skadden signature that resorted to snark. I can't say the same about some of the less effective defenders of our faith.

    One cannot have faith that the sky is orange. Faith is the evidence of things not seen -- the way we choose how to act, when our other means of knowledge are insufficient.

  • JM Lehi, UT
    July 12, 2014 11:38 p.m.

    FAIR is a great resource. When critics go out of their way to mock something it's usually because they have no other response. :)

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    July 12, 2014 9:02 p.m.

    I have heard the "whole of scripture" thing before. But I don't buy it. I look to Christ's words - over and over again. If it really was that way he would have explained it. He would not have referred to himself as a son and to his counterpart as a father. He would not have referred to him as abba. He would not have turned to him in his times of trial.

    We have already discussed Lewis. However and whatever is the composition of an infinitely powerful being - he (it) could be anywhere he (it) pleased. As to how a sexual being can be our father - how were you conceived? I assume by a father who is an inherently sexual being.

    Sex is not bad. Not evil. It is a gift from God. "Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge."

  • sharrona layton, UT
    July 12, 2014 3:16 p.m.

    RE: Twin Lights. The doctrine of the Trinity is arrived at by looking at the “whole of scripture”.
    One God exists in three persons. i.e…,3Nephi 11:27,36 reproduces 1John 5:7 KJV). See,"The Trinity in the O.T.,Jews for Jesus".

    God said unto Moses,” I am “(the BEING) )HE Who Is= (ho on): and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, He Who Is= (ho on) hath sent me unto you. (LXX Exodus 3:14).*Who Is=( Grk o wv ,The one Being) occurs in Rev 1:4, 8; 4:8, 11:17; and 16:5 .

    “In the beginning’ was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word(Jesus) was God.”(John 1:1)V 14, God becomes man not man become God.

    @The nature of God.. C.S. Lewis. “Our Father which art in Heaven with, The supreme being transcends space and time. The first goes to pieces if you begin to apply the literal meaning to it. How can a sexual animal really be our father? How can it be in the sky? The second falls into no such traps”. (John 4:24)

  • labman Pocatello, ID
    July 12, 2014 3:13 p.m.

    logic will never be the tool to conversion or conviction; however, doubt is the best way to lose faith. Faith will always require some belief without proof, unless you accept the spiritual proof God provides but most refuse or dismiss. the Holy Ghost. I feel my wife's love in ways I can't prove otherwise. I feel God's love and trust those feelings more than man's attempt to satirize or dispute. My belief has been a sweet fruit. If it is not sweet to you, that doesn't disprove the sweetness to me. Perhaps the bitterness lies not in the fruit, but in the mouth of the taster.

  • 1.96 Standard Deviations OREM, UT
    July 11, 2014 10:34 p.m.


    I have heard of a story where someone took Moroni's promise quite literally -- i.e. pray to know that the Book of Mormon was "not" true (review the wording in Moroni's promise to see what I am talking about).

    The person studied the Book of Mormon out in their mind and concluded the Book of Mormon was false. This person also had faith in Christ and a sincere desire to receive a spiritual answer, or confirmation, the Book of Mormon was not true. He presented his thinking to the Lord in prayer and received a surprising answer. To his shock, he received a witness that the Book of Mormon was actually true instead. Since he was convinced by the power of the Holy Ghost the Book of Mormon was true, he did a complete 180 and ended up getting baptized in the church.

    In short, the Lord answers the prayers of sincere in heart with sincere desires and leads them the right path after they have exercised sufficient faith.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    July 11, 2014 8:29 p.m.


    I was not talking about apologetics. Rather I was addressing your prior post on the nature of God.

    As to Lewis’ view of God. I know he was a Trinitarian. As to Tertullian, why not. The fight began shortly after the last of the Apostles.

    But my point is the simple word of the New Testament. The words of Christ himself - over and over again punch to the issue that they are Father and Son. He explained so many other things. But this KEY issue he left for a council to decide (back and forth) after the church was taken over by political forces, centuries later? No.

    I answered the Jude 1:6 thing on another comment blog (twice because I thought my comment did not go through). Let’s just stick to this one point here.

  • bj-hp Maryville, MO
    July 11, 2014 7:54 p.m.

    Dennis: Then I've looked at logic and there is nothing illogical about the Book of Abraham, The Book of Mormon or even the Doctrine in Covenants. All they do is prove over and over again that not only was Joseph Smith a Prophet of God, but also that he stands alone as one of the most important since Isaiah to come to mankind. You say facts but facts about much of Joseph Smith has been stated and restated by the Church of Jesus Christ over any of the critics. In fact most critics like yourself have become more deceived and pawns of the evil one than anyone who has established faith. I stand with what I say and my testimony stands as a witness against those who refuse to listen and understand it. That witness is greater than anything you are anyone can state. The spiritual things I have had in Bishopric Meetings, meetings with Stake Presidencies and the Lord's special witnesses leads me to conclude that Satan is at work at those that have experienced the truth and fallen because he knows those failures are his forever.

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    July 11, 2014 6:19 p.m.

    I've also held virtually every calling a man can have including 3 bishoprics and the High Council. I've yet to see or hear anything that would make me believe a thing that you seem to be so true. Truth belongs in religion, facts belong to reality.

  • let's roll LEHI, UT
    July 11, 2014 5:57 p.m.


    Your experience with California jurists has apparently left you with a higher regard for them than did mine as a litigator with Skadden, Arps years ago. Or perhaps you're just a superior advocate.

    I found your question re Alma 32 interesting. My personal discipleship has led me to conclude that I find the most joy and peace in exercising faith in the Christ with an understanding that His promise is that "life eternal" is to come to know the Father and His Son.

    Having lived only a few year in Utah, I'm no expert on how the culture impacts views on the Church. I've always seen the Church as a means to an end--to know the Father and the Son--after all my understanding is that the family and not the Church is the eternal vehicle used to organize God's children and that there will be no Church in the eternities.

    There may well be folks whose focus on investigating the Church--with good or bad intentions--supplants any determined focus on coming to know God.

  • Mighty Mouse Salt Lake City, Utah
    July 11, 2014 5:55 p.m.

    There is no better example for the value of FAIR than the posts to this article. While many like to feign erudition on topics of LDS history and doctrine, when examined closely their arguments inevitably are the same tired misrepresentations and distortions that seem to gain some semblance of respectability simply because they have been repeated by so many for so long. FAIR relies on true scholars and solid, honest scholarship to unveil the fallacies in the theories of the critics of the Lord's true church.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    July 11, 2014 1:30 p.m.

    RE: Twin Lights. Fair Mormon, What is "apologetics"? They quote, C.S. Lewis To be ignorant and simple now—not to be able to meet the enemies on their own ground—would be to throw down our weapons, and to betray our uneducated brethren who have, under God, no defense but us against the intellectual attacks of the heathen. Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason, because bad philosophy needs to be answered.

    C.S Lewis,” If Christianity was something we were making up, of course we would make it easier. But it is not. We cannot compete, in simplicity, with people(JS) who are inventing religions. How could we? We are dealing with fact. Of course anyone can be simple if he has no facts to bother about." The three personal God.“ Mere Christianity. On the Tri(3) Unity.

    Tertullian (c. 160 – 225 AD),used the term Trinity. Trinitarian theology, "three Persons, one Substance=(G.5287,hypostasis).

    @(Jude 1:6) “positions of authority.” Fallen angels. ”.. God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them in chains of darkness to be held for judgment”(2Peter 2:4 NIV)

  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    July 11, 2014 12:47 p.m.

    @Verdad 1:37 July 10:

    I have in mind my own one and only exchange with one particular apologist (a former BYU professor) on the old FAIR blog. I posted a short question: According to Alma 32, faith starts with a desire to believe. What is it about the LDS Church that a person would or should desire to believe it is the one true Church? Why is that a virtuous desire, as opposed to a desire to believe that, say, the Catholic Church is the one true Church?

    In short order I was declared guilty of "infidelity to Jesus Christ," of "putting God on trial," being a functional atheist, an agnostic, and more. The tone throughout was the kind of sneer that, when I used to read it from left-wing columnists at the LA Times, made me a conservative.

    If the man had tried that style of argument -- sneering and changing the argument I made to one easier to argue against -- before some of the judges in Orange County, he would have gotten his ears chewed off. That style doesn't work before serious people. Not all apologists are like that, but those that are, do harm.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    July 11, 2014 11:25 a.m.

    The only thing that will make me leave the LDS Church is it's close-minded, intolerant, stiff-necked, MEMBERS.

    The Doctrine remains true.

    Maybe I'll attend the FAIR conference this year....

  • bj-hp Maryville, MO
    July 11, 2014 10:20 a.m.

    Dennis: I am sixth generation plus of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I have served in almost every capacity of a Ward or Branch that I could serve in. I have seen the work of the Lord in all that he has revealed, what will be revealed and what today is being revealed. I'm seeing today prophesies of old fully and completely being fulfilled in all the ways that they were said to be revealed. Yes, I have researched much of the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and have full faith and testimony of its truths and the power that stands with it. It is the ONLY true and LIVING Church of Jesus Christ upon the Earth today bar none other. No one else has the truth or the priesthood authority to do what it says it does. There are 15 men upon the earth today who are living prophets of the Lord Jesus Christ and are HIS APOSTLES. Nothing you or anyone on the Board can or will be able to change that. I KNOW IT IS TRUE. Nothing else matters.

  • ExTBird Springville, US-UT
    July 11, 2014 8:47 a.m.


    What gives me hope for the future is that the young are listening to the rest of the world. What you call "sniping" I call hard truths. It is tragic watching people right here on DN go on one of their anti-gay rants, but try to end it with a quick "I'm not a bigot!". Yes they are.

    Children are not born to hate. They are taught to. Children don't see color, gender, sexual orientation, political parties etc. They don't care. People are people. This is how it should ALWAYS be, but unfortunately so many groups out there preach intolerance of anything that doesn't fit their very narrow world view. It begins to chip away at that innocence and they do start to care.

    If the media is getting them to look at the people around them and go "Wait... this isn't right" then I'd call that a wonderful victory. Children should question what they are told they have to believe. If they don't want to discriminate against people then they should follow their hearts, and not intolerant doctrine.

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    July 11, 2014 5:19 a.m.

    @ Dan Maloy....."Ranch, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints truly is God's restored church, and the only church that has His authority, correct doctrine and organization."

    Throughout the eons of time mankind has learned a lot of things such as the world WAS FLAT. I think we can now view that differently.

    Along with the myriad of facts that have been show to be true, your above statement is pretty bold. I'm a 5th generation Mormon and don't believe a single word of what you just wrote. Do you know this because you're studied what the Church told you to study or have you investigated the history of the Church as it really happened and willing to take a stance on the things that do not make sense.

    Just wondering.

  • Brightenpath Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 11, 2014 3:19 a.m.

    This bears repeating:

    Austin Farrer warned, "Though argument does not create conviction, the lack of destroys belief. What seems to be proved may not be embraced; but what no one shows the ability to defend is quickly abandoned." (Light on C. S. Lewis, Harcourt and Brace: New York, 1965, p. 26.) Cited in Neal A. Maxwell, "The Stern but Sweet Seventh Commandment," New Era, June 1979, 36

  • grannie Santa Clara, UT
    July 11, 2014 2:21 a.m.

    I wonder about anyone whose raison d'être seems to be tearing down , criticizing, condemning, and denouncing because my question would be " what are you offering instead?" What do these crabby commenters do with the rest of their time ? I imagine all of us who read comments---which I keep saying I will never do again --- applaud the keenness of those who agree with us, and are never persuaded by those who don't. I appreciate those who defend the faith and have long since embraced the notion that the things I can't understand for now I just simply trust. I admire men like President Eyring's father-- a brilliant man-- who was humble enough to not concern himself about the faults of church leaders because it gave him hope for himself, realizing that no matter how learned or wise we might think we are, we are still "driving wretched machines". ( C.S. Lewis )

  • The Caravan Moves On Enid, OK
    July 10, 2014 11:05 p.m.

    @ sharrona - layton, UT - "@The Caravan Moves On, Keep up the good work, Fair Mormon?" (and then you quote a lot of scriptures which are too long for me to quote here)

    So.....what's your point? I mean, you quote a lot of scriptures (scriptures I cannot include in my reply back to you because I don't have enough room/words) but what is it exactly you are trying to say?

    (If that's not civil I don't know what is.)

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    July 10, 2014 9:10 p.m.


    John 16:3 "They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me."

    If there was anyone who could have explained the nature of God in a simple way that would be hard to misinterpret (and easy to understand) it would have been Christ. But, though there are a few scriptures that work with a Trinitarian view, there are literally hundreds of citations in which Christ refers to the Father as separate from himself.

    Why? Why be so confusing if they are not separate? Unless of course, they are fully separate beings. A Father and a Son (as Christ constantly refers to). Please, just read through the New Testament and especially Christ's own words on this. He constantly distinguishes himself from the Father. If Trinitarianism is true, then either Christ was a poor teacher or a liar. I don't believe he was either of those things.

  • AerilusMaximus Berryville, VA
    July 10, 2014 9:01 p.m.

    @ Sharrona

    "We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God."

    As far as I know the LDS church doesn't use the NIV of the Bible.

    I am not sure what you are trying to accomplish by making arguments with a book that isn't accepted as scripture?

  • AerilusMaximus Berryville, VA
    July 10, 2014 8:34 p.m.

    I have never been to a FAIR conference but from the article it seems that Fair Mormon could be a good place to go and understand some of the range of issues that are going on and how to address such issues in a kind and nice manner.

    The world / media is sniping at religious persons continually often calling us intolerant, bigoted, mean, etc.

    Young persons are being effected by this media highly. I think conferences like this are a good place to discuss these issues and to help increase your understanding and in turn the understanding of your children as well.

    It isn't always easy to come up with your own arguments to counter the arguments being tossed often in a highly aggressive manner.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    July 10, 2014 8:30 p.m.

    @The Caravan Moves On, Keep up the good work, Fair Mormon?

    RE: Dr. Peterson quotes (1Peter 3:15,NIV)“ But in your hearts revere ‘Christ as Lord…”

    But,the JST agrees with (1 Peter3:15 KJV)“ But sanctify the ‘Lord God’ in your hearts..”

    Verse 15 the best and oldest manuscripts have "Sanctify the Lord Christ",or "Sanctify the Christ as Lord."

    But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, from Isaiah 8:13. The first seems more in accordance with the original passage in Isaiah, and the common expression, Lord ὁ God.

    Whichever translation is adopted,Peter substitutes the Savior's Name where the prophet wrote, "the Lord of hosts,Yehovah Sabaoth" - a change which would be nothing less than impious if the Lord Jesus Christ were not truly God.

    "Sanctify him as the Lord(not JS) himself who teaches in the first words of the Lord's Prayers, regard him as most holy, awful in sanctity; serve him with reverence and godly fear. i.e..,

    The LORD(YHWH)is our God(Elohim),the LORD(YHWH)is One”!(Deut 6:4).Yeshua is Elohim

  • The Caravan Moves On Enid, OK
    July 10, 2014 7:27 p.m.

    Have you ever noticed that the majority of anti-LDS posters on various sites primarily use some form of the argument of "If I do not know something is true then others "can't" know it's true"?

    I'm so glad I have been given sufficient wisdom to see through that false argument. Salt, my friends. It's like salt.

    (Go read Boyd K. Packer's sermon called "The Candle of the Lord". Awesome!)

    Keep up the good work, FairMormon!

  • Dan Maloy Enid, OK
    July 10, 2014 7:17 p.m.

    @ RanchHand - Huntsville, UT - "It must be really hard "defending the faith" when the church you're trying to defend keeps publishing essays that contradict everything that they've taught for previous generations."

    Ranch, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints truly is God's restored church, and the only church that has His authority, correct doctrine and organization.

    See?, that wasn't hard at all.

    When you know, you know.


  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    July 10, 2014 2:16 p.m.

    Most LDS apologists declare up front that in the end, evidence is not what makes people believe. That is correct. They are not so much out to prove the things of the Gospel, as to clear away some of the potentially contrary evidence, so people are not put in the position of having to choose between reason and faith.

    The idea is that if the evidence is in "equipoise" (I think that's Terryl Givens' word) a person can simply choose to believe, or not.

    I'm not sure it quite gets you to "equipoise," though, to show that a thing has neither been conclusively proven nor disproven. That can be true even if the evidence is 90% for and 10% against, or vice versa. "Evidence in equipoise" means that the evidence is 50-50, neither case being stronger than the other.

    And as ingenious as some of the apologists' arguments are, I don't find they get over that 50% threshold in many cases. They were in fact one of the main reasons I might be fairly called, as one FAIR gentleman once called me, a "cultural Mormon stinking up the place." If theirs was the best case that could be made....

  • Ellen F Arnold, MO
    July 10, 2014 2:14 p.m.

    I have benefited so much from the previous Fair conference talks, learning more about the wonderful gospel of Jesus Christ. Last year I was able to access the streaming, and. I will again this year. My hope is that next year I will get to intend in person. I highly recommend the conference--even long-distance it is great!q

  • 1.96 Standard Deviations OREM, UT
    July 10, 2014 2:14 p.m.

    The Wraith:

    In the case of the Book of Abraham, what supposed contradictions do you think RanchHand was referring to? Can you or RanchHand clarify?

    There is still no contradiction with the current essay and what Joseph Smith and others said pre 1960's. The church still believes and teaches the book came just like Joseph Smith indicated -- a translation achieved through revelation from (a) document(s) whose author was Abraham ("by his own hand").

    Here are some references:

    1) The essay itself - "The book originated with Egyptian papyri that Joseph Smith translated beginning in 1835."

    2) 2013 Edition of Scriptures - Intro to Book of Abraham - "A Translation of some ancient Records that have fallen into our hands from the catacombs of Egypt. The writings of Abraham while he was in Egypt, called the Book of Abraham, written by his own hand, upon papyrus."

    FAIR also has a lot of good commentary on the subject of the Book of Abraham. Have you ever checked it out? Apparently, it will also be part of the upcoming conference. Very nice.

    P.S. - Read the section heading for D&C 7. Translation of a parchment by John. Very interesting concept.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    July 10, 2014 1:25 p.m.

    As scholarship, apologists are the flip side of debunkers who are out to disprove. To do a scholarly study honestly, you can't attempt to predetermine the outcome.

  • Shelama SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    July 10, 2014 1:13 p.m.

    @Craig Clark, Boulder CO -- "What’s unique about the LDS obsession with “defending the faith” is that it’s less about vindicating basic Christian precepts than Joseph Smith."

    You're right -- Mormons pretty much silently and uncritically default to basic Christian precepts: "We believe the Bible is the word of God..."

    "Higher Criticism" is discouraged in Mormonism while the church and Mormon intellectuals pretty much leave basic Christian apologetics up to the Evangelicals. "The Bible is the word of God" (whether or not translated correctly) is simply an un-examined belief.

    The more I read and studied the Bible -- both OT and NT but mostly the NT -- the more it became clear to me the whole thing was a purely human invention. But, if a person could come to believe the OT, they could safely reject the NT, and Jesus as messiah and savior, and all of Christianity.

    In the end, it's the reason I left Mormonism and all of Christianity at the same time.

    Exploring historical-critical Bible studies it became more clear to me what I had intuitively sensed then and why. It was and is liberating.

  • Verdad Orem, UT
    July 10, 2014 12:53 p.m.


    Actual data as to how many are convinced by Mormon apologetics and how many aren't, and for what reasons, would be helpful. So would solid evidence that Mormon apologists intend their work only for those who already believe.

    Do you have access to such data, or are you merely sharing your personal feelings?

  • The Wraith Kaysville, UT
    July 10, 2014 12:47 p.m.

    @1.96 Standard Deviations

    I believe RanchHand is referring to what the church taught about the Book of Abraham from the time Joseph Smith bought the papyri to the mid 1960's. There is no doubt when reading Smith's own words about what he was translating that he believed it was performing a literal translation of papyri written by Abraham himself. That was the church's position until the 60's when some of the papyri (although yes not all of it) turned up. So of course your articles from 1976 onward won't be contradicted by the current essay. However, anyone who can't see that the essay contradicts Joseph Smiths own words is fooling themselves.

  • Shelama SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    July 10, 2014 12:38 p.m.

    Of course, "apologetics" are pretty much meant only for the faithful anyway but it's interesting that virtually the ONLY people who find Mormon apologetics persuasive are Mormons who already belief and have pyscho-emotional investment and commitment.

    Everybody has the exact same body of evidence.

    Yet it is only believers who interpret that evidence in the affirmative. And not even all of them -- certainly the majority of Mormons who are inactive (70& church-wide according to Martinich & Stewart) and those who have left altogether in an apostasy not seen since Kirtland (publicly acknowledged by Marlin K. Jensen) include intelligent, honest people who left precisely because of that evidence.

    The common evidence DOES drive de-conversion -- from Belief to Unbelief.

    On the other hand, virtually nobody converts from Unbelief to Belief based on that evidence.

    If prior belief is REQUIRED before concluding in the affirmative can it really be argued that there is honest intellectual and critical equivalence in evaluating the evidence?

    In the end it seems not the evidence at all but the commitment to the cultural belief that common varieties of religious experience are a divine testament of truth.

  • Verdad Orem, UT
    July 10, 2014 12:37 p.m.


    Specific examples of "the FAIR boys'" "mocking style" would probably be useful to the leadership of FairMormon -- the actual name of the organization, as Professor Peterson points out in the article -- which includes "girls" as well as "boys."

  • Mo-Pa OGDEN, UT
    July 10, 2014 11:56 a.m.

    I'm very excited for this upcoming conference. I've attended every one except for the first conference and it's one of the highlights of my summer. You won't be disappointed; the line of speakers this year is awesome!

  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    July 10, 2014 11:55 a.m.

    My experience with the FAIR boys is that they have very sharp elbows indeed, and a mocking style that would not go over well with the judges I deal with in litigation.

    The latter tend to think if you have to play the man, it's because you can't play the ball.

  • Rockyrd Gilbert, AZ
    July 10, 2014 11:53 a.m.

    Those who comment negatively here ought to attend the FairMormon Conference. Instead of prejudices and misinformation they would be surprised at what they hear. Thanks for the great article Dan.

  • 1.96 Standard Deviations OREM, UT
    July 10, 2014 11:27 a.m.


    We must be reading different essays, or you are seeing things as pessimistically as possible. For example, the recent essay on the Book of Abraham in the Gospel Topics section on the church's website is no contradiction what has been taught in the church in the past.

    To confirm, you can read a small sample of Ensign magazine articles regarding the Book of Abraham the church as published over nearly the last 40 years:

    1) June 1985 - BYU Professor Tracing Path of Book of Abraham Papyri (News of the Church section)

    2) July 1992 - Research and Perspectives: Abraham in Ancient Egyptian Texts

    3) March 1976 - I Have a Question

    In sum, the church's essay on the Book of Abraham in the Gospel Topics section just happens is bit more visible and accessible. However, the church's position on how the Book of Abraham came to us hasn't moved a bit over time. No contradictions.

  • bolojse Buffalo, WY
    July 10, 2014 11:27 a.m.

    I grew up in an Evangelical and Catholic background. I am now a convert to the LDS faith for 20 years. In a time when many young members are leaving my root institutions, I find great relief in the beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. FAIRMormon is an excellent resource to find both sides of issues explored intelligently.

    Whether a believer or nonbeliever in the LDS faith, knowing for sure what the tendencies are from more than one perspective will give a person the ability to make an informed choice, and have credibility when discussing topics of concern.

    Thanks, FairMormon! And all involved!

  • Michigander Westland, MI
    July 10, 2014 11:21 a.m.

    "A revelation given to Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon on Dec. 1, 1831, at Hiram, Ohio, commands the two men to respond both publicly and privately to critics and enemies of the still-young Church ..."

    “Let them bring forth their strong reasons against the Lord,” counseled the divine voice. “Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you — there is no weapon that is formed against you shall prosper; and if any man lift his voice against you he shall be confounded in mine own due time” (see Doctrine and Covenants 71:7-10)."

    This is a true and correct inspired statement of both JS and SR - who became JS's 1st counselor in the church presidency on March 8, 1833 and his rightful successor after June 27, 1844 (see D&C 90:6). Both men were speaking prophetically of The Church of Jesus Christ (WHQ: Monongahela, Pennsylvania), the only true succession of the restored gospel on the face of the earth today.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    July 10, 2014 9:58 a.m.

    What’s unique about the LDS obsession with “defending the faith” is that it’s less about vindicating basic Christian precepts than Joseph Smith. That’s a lot for Mormons to explain. Mormonism is becoming accepted as a valid belief system. But its claims to absolute primacy come at a time when Christian denominationalism is moving towards embracing diversity and an ecumenical spirit.

  • coltakashi Richland, WA
    July 10, 2014 9:47 a.m.

    Those of us who live too far from Utah to attend in person can get streaming internet video of the two days of presentations. I have attended or watched several years of the conferences, and it is a feast for both mind and spirit. It is also one of the best sources for really stimulating books on these topcs.

  • Utes Fan Salt Lake City, UT
    July 10, 2014 9:40 a.m.

    Wish I could attend the conference this year. It has been excellent in years past. Just wondering why the conference never includes a day on Saturday. I am sure there is a good reason, however.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    July 10, 2014 8:33 a.m.

    It must be really hard "defending the faith" when the church you're trying to defend keeps publishing essays that contradict everything that they've taught for previous generations.