Monthly Archives: October 2011

FAIR Issues 27: Mormons not Christian? That’s a fallacy of equivocation

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The claim that Mormons are not Christian often rests upon the classic logical fallacy known as “equivocation.” Dr. Daniel C. Peterson explains this fallacy and further explains how, while Mormons do not claim to be traditional Christians, it would be quite misleading to claim that they are not Christians at all.

The full text of this article can be found at Deseret News online.

Daniel C. Peterson is a professor of Islamic studies and Arabic at BYU, where he also serves as editor in chief of the Middle Eastern Texts Initiative and as director of advancement for the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship. He is the founder of MormonScholarsTestify.org. Daniel Peterson is the author of many books and articles, including Offenders for a Word, which is available, along with other talks by Brother Peterson, at the FAIR Bookstore.

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Best of FAIR 12: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Plural Marriage* (*but were afraid to ask)

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Greg Smith examines the anti-Mormon charge raised against Joseph Smith that he was lecherous from an early age and that this is somehow the psychological or psychiatric or pathological background to plural marriage.

The text of Dr. Smith’s address can be found at Fairlds.org. The listener should be aware that there are helpful notes in the written version that help provide clarifications and corrections to some comments that appear in the oral presentation. For example, a question from the audience stated that Richard Bushman believes polygamy was a faulty revelation. However, FAIR contacted Dr. Bushman and he clarified that, while he believes that section 132 is complex and difficult to interpret in our time, he has never said that it was a faulty revelation. Similarly, Todd Compton denied that he would have used the word “mistake” to describe the practice of polygamy.

Greg Smith studied physiology and English at the University of Alberta, but escaped into medical school before earning his degree. He then did his medical residency in Montréal, Québec, learning all the medical vocabulary and all the French Canadian slang that he didn’t learn during his LDS mission to Paris, France. He is now an old-style country doctor in rural Alberta with interests in internal medicine and psychiatry. A clinical preceptor for residents and medical students, he has been repeatedly honored for excellence in clinical teaching.

A member of FAIR since 2005, Greg helps manage the FAIR wiki. Due to his research interest in plural marriage, he has spoken to the Miller-Eccles study group and been published in the FARMS Review on this and other topics. With twelve years of classical piano training, he is a life-long audiophile and owns far too many MP3 files. He lives happily with his one indulgent wife, three children, and four cats.

The Weird and Sinister Beliefs of Mormonism

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Christopher Hitchens, the belligerent and loquacious atheist author and social commentator, doesn’t like Mormonism very much. Granted, he doesn’t care much for religion at all, as is evidenced by his exceptionally distasteful book god is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. But Mr. Hitchens seems to have a special place in his heart for disliking Mormonism. In his aforementioned 2007 screed, Hitchens devoted several error-riddled pages towards exposing Joseph Smith as a con man and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a racist, sexist, anti-intellectualist Orwellian hell of a cult. Shortly thereafter, Hitchens turned his aim towards Mitt Romney, the Mormon presidential candidate who has faced considerable opposition on account of his faith. Unsurprisingly, Hitchens had next to nothing complimentary to say about Mormonism. And most recently in his 2011 anthology of essays, Hitchens further makes several gratuitous cheap-shots at Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.[1] It seems as though it is impossible for Mr. Hitchens to say or write the words “Mormon” or “Joseph Smith” without adding a plethora of pithy insults and disdainful remarks. His efforts are entertaining to observe, as Hitchens presses on in his anti-religious crusade and rails against the poor, benighted Mormons with a Quixotic gusto and indomitable zeal.
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FAIR Issues 26: Seer stone, Nephite interpreters are religion, not magic

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In Joseph Smith’s day, the term Urim and Thummim applied to two different translating tools: the Nephite interpreters, as well as what is called a “seer stone.” In order to understand what a seer stone is and why Joseph Smith would use it to translate the Book of Mormon, it is important first to understand the cultural context of Joseph Smith’s time, and practices in which people were engaged that today we may refer to as “magic.”

The full text of this article can be found at Deseret News online.

Brother Ash is author of the book Shaken Faith Syndrome: Strengthening One’s Testimony in the Face of Criticism and Doubt, as well as the book, of Faith and Reason: 80 Evidences Supporting the Prophet Joseph Smith. Both books are available for purchase online through the FAIR Bookstore.

Tell your friends about the Mormon FAIR-Cast. Share a link on your Facebook page and help increase the popularity of the Mormon FAIR-Cast by subscribing to this podcast in iTunes, and by rating it and writing a review.

Mormon FAIR-Cast Nominated for a People’s Choice Podcast Award!

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The Mormon-FAIR-Cast has been nominated to receive a Podcast Award in the “Religion Inspiration” category. The People’s Choice Podcast Awards, better known as the Podcast Awards, are an annual set of awards given to the best podcasts as voted on by listeners. This year, 1,441,712 listeners nominated 2,698 shows. Ten shows were chosen as nominees in each of 22 different categories.

Nominations were open for 15 days in September. Podcasts that received votes were reviewed by a 22 member committee that took a variety of factors into account. The total number of votes a podcast received accounted for only 40% of the grading, with the quality of the website’s design (15%), quality of sound (15%), quality of deliverance and show format (10%), and relevance of content (20%) also being considered.

Voting for the awards will begin on October 12th and will end on October 27th at 11:59pm HST. While a single person could only cast one nominating vote, during final voting, each person (verified by IP address) may vote once each day during the 15 days that voting is open. In other words, a single person can cast 15 votes.

Please support the Mormon FAIR-Cast by casting your vote at podcastawards.com each day that voting is open. Spread the word by telling your friends. Post a link with instructions on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. Remind your friends to vote each day. And thank you for your continued support of the Mormon FAIR-Cast!

“A Most Remarkable Book”: Supplementary Reading

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A Most Remarkable Book – Trailer

This week FAIR has released a new DVD exploring the issues surrounding the Book of Abraham. “A Most Remarkable Book: Evidence for the Divine Authenticity of the Book of Abraham” puts forth answers to various criticisms directed against the Book of Abraham, as well as provides evidence favorable to the Book of Abraham’s ancient authenticity.
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FAIR Issues 25: What exactly were the Nephite interpreters?

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When Joseph Smith received the golden plates, he also received interpreters that are sometimes referred to as “the Urim and Thummim.” Where did the interpreters come from? Is this the only Urim and Thummim, or are there others? And what about that curtain we hear about? Was there actually a curtain between Joseph Smith and Martin Harris as the translation took place? In this episode, Michael Ash begins a discussion of the way in which the Book of Mormon translation occurred and the role played by the Urim and Thummim.

The full text of this article can be found at Deseret News online.

Brother Ash is author of the book Shaken Faith Syndrome: Strengthening One’s Testimony in the Face of Criticism and Doubt, as well as the book, of Faith and Reason: 80 Evidences Supporting the Prophet Joseph Smith. Both books are available for purchase online through the FAIR Bookstore

Tell your friends about the Mormon FAIR-Cast. Share a link on your Facebook page and help increase the popularity of the Mormon FAIR-Cast by subscribing to this podcast in iTunes, and by rating it and writing a review.