Monthly Archives: September 2008

The missing introduction to Mosiah

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Upon the loss of the 116 pages containing the Book of Lehi, Joseph Smith turned to the small plates of Nephi for this period of history. This translation concludes with the Book of Omni and his brief description of Mosiah’s move to the land of Zarahemla.

This is followed by the Words of Mormon. This section was apparently written in preparation for his transfer of the plates to Moroni.

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Massacre at Mountain Meadows pt. II

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for PART I

Brigham Young’s Indian Policy

The Massacre at Mountain Meadows very clearly portrays the massacre as a locally planned and executed affair. While Brigham Young was not responsible for providing a proximal cause, I think it is fair to analyze how some of his actions and policies may have had unintended and indirect consequences for setting the stage. Perhaps the most unfortunate thing Brigham did was to threaten to shirk in his role as a peacemaker between obnoxious wagon trains and the Native Americans who suffered from such contact.
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Temple Mariage and Civil Divorce

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Recently FAIR (via Ask the Apologist feature) was queried about whether the Church’s website was knowingly misusing the popular 6% divorce from temple marriage statistic. Its main promoter has been Daniel K. Judd. He gave a BYU devotional in 2006 and defended the 6% figure. A partial transcript of Judd’s comments about his prior (2000) LA Times newspaper interview can be found here. Judd explains that divorce statistics are very dependent on how one collects and calculates the data. My co-blogger, Steven Danderson, pointed out that the high divorce rates that people are most familiar with are calculated (for example by the government) on a yearly basis by dividing the number of recorded divorces by the number of recorded marriages. As will be shown, the research that Judd refers to uses a different counting scheme, which is nevertheless well within the norms of academic journals. I think Judd and the LDS Church can continue to use the figure in good faith.
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Book of Mormon geography

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In another thread, one poster wrote:

If you don’t agree with me on Cumorah being our best strating point, I would be very open to hearing what you consider to be the best piece of evidence or the best witness to call upon as the most solid to date.

To which I responded:

In my opinion, it is a huge problem to start with ANY physical location. You’re already making assumptions, no matter how hard we try. Continue reading

Article Review: Alexander on Buchanan’s Blunder

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Editor’s Note: Michael Keller is the brother of FAIR blog regular David Keller. Michael recently completed a Master’s degree in History at Memphis University. He wrote the following review of an article that helps document some of the tensions that contributed to the atmosphere for the Mountain Meadows Massacre.

Thomas G. Alexander. “Carpetbaggers, Reprobates, and Liars: Federal Judges and the Utah War (1857-58).” The Historian 70 (Summer 2008): 209-38.
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Once the Church Finds Out…

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I’ve been a volunteer member of FAIR for years. It has been interesting to watch the reaction of many people—especially the critics—to the work done by apologists in general and FAIR in particular. Some of the reaction is quite comical and, I believe, shows that some people “just don’t have a clue” (as one of my friends used to say).

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Helping Those Struggling with Anti-Mormonism

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When some members think of anti-Mormonism, immediately they have an image pop into their minds of the Evangelical preacher standing outside the convention center with the bullhorn screaming that Mormons are members of an evil cult. Typically the arguments that come to mind have to do with either the Bible (FAIR only had one question on it this year) or the tension-state between faith and works (also only one question this year). For most members, those issues have been discussed and debated over many generations of anti-Mormons, and members typically dismiss them with a wave of the hand. And if those were the only issues that people dealt with, we probably wouldn’t need an organization like FAIR.

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