Category Archives: Early Christianity

Book Review: Approaching Antiquity: Joseph Smith and the Ancient World

Posted on by
Available from the FairMormon Bookstore at 15% off

Available from the FairMormon Bookstore at 15% off

This book is from the 2013 BYU Church History Symposium, held March 7–8, 2013. The Church History Symposium is a nearly annual (there apparently wasn’t one held in 2015) event that draws speakers from places such as Brigham Young University, other universities, the LDS Church History Department, and often LDS general authorities as well. The book contains many of the papers that were presented, but unfortunately there are a few missing, such as Steven C. Harper’s presentation on masonry. However, that and most of the other papers that were given (including all but one that is in the book) are available to view here, although the video presentations are generally abbreviated versions of what is in the book.

The conference spanned two days. The first day was held at BYU and the second was at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City. I was only able to attend the first day, which is one of the reasons I was interested in this book. The keynote address was given by Richard L. Bushman, and it was very crowded, which left many of us without seats until after he was done (apparently there were many students that had come just to hear Bushman).

The preface of the book states that the theme for the conference came out of a professional development training trip taken by new faculty from the BYU departments of Ancient Scripture and Church History and Doctrine to church history sites in Palmyra, Kirtland, and Nauvoo. As they visited these sites, they “were impressed as the extraordinary range of Joseph’s encounters with antiquity became increasingly apparent” (page xiii) and “deeper reflection upon these issues convinced us that there was an important, dynamic, and under-explored relationship between Joseph Smith’s personal interactions with ancient material and many of his unfolding revelations” (page xiv). Continue reading

“I Glory in my Jesus”: How Nephi Helps Us Grow Closer to the Savior

Posted on by

Christ's hands 

Today, Christians around the world celebrate the single greatest event in world history. The Son of God, the Great Creator of Heaven and Earth, condescended below all things, suffered for our sins, died on our behalf, and then three days later, He rose from the grave, giving life and hope to us all: He lives, and because of Him, we all shall live. Nothing can be said to inspire greater hope than those immortal words: “He is not here: for he is risen” (Matthew 28:6).

Like many others, I fear my own words are woefully inadequate to articulate my deepest feelings toward my Savior and Redeemer. Nephi, too, felt that his words were inadequate (2 Nephi 33:1), and yet few testimonies stir my soul greater than his powerful declaration toward the close of his record: “I glory in plainness; I glory in truth; I glory in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my soul from hell” (2 Nephi 33:6).

Book of Mormon Central recently highlighted Nephi’s farewell testimony of Christ.

“Nephi’s account is brimming with the significance of Jesus Christ and his mission, affirmed through prophetic testimony, parental teaching, scriptural witnesses, and profound spiritual experiences.” Accordingly, Nephi “gives sincere followers of Christ everywhere a model of spiritual behavior to follow in seeking to gain, build, or strengthen their own relationships with Jesus Christ.”

Nephi’s knowledge of the Savior came in at least four different ways:

(1) Prophetic testimony;

(2) Parental teaching;

(3) Scriptural witnesses; and

(4) Personal spiritual experiences.

Let’s explore each of these in Nephi’s record and consider what we learn about the Savior in each instance.

Prophetic Testimony

The life and mission of Christ was understood by many prophets, many hundreds of years before His coming. While some scholarship is just starting to recognize an awareness of a divine Son-Redeemer figure in ancient Israelite theology, the Book of Mormon has long affirmed that pre-Christian prophets bore witness of the Savior.

Nephi records both Lehi and Jacob bearing prophetic witness of the Messiah. To the people of Jerusalem, Lehi had prophesied “plainly of the coming of a Messiah, and also the redemption of the world” (1 Nephi 1:19). As a prophet, Lehi had witnessed in vivid detail several events in the Savior’s life (see 1 Nephi 10:4–12). To the people of Nephi, Jacob taught the plan of salvation and the central role of the Atonement in that plan. He revealed the name of Christ to the people, and taught by revelation about the Savior’s mission.

Just as God had prophets teaching of Christ in the ancient cities of Nephi and Jerusalem, so there are prophets today who bear witness of Jesus Christ. Next week, we will gather together as Latter-day Saints throughout the world to hear them bear their special witness. Let’s follow the example of Nephi and cherish and learn from their testimonies.

Parental Teaching

Lehi, of course, was not only the prophet at the time, but he was Nephi’s father. He was acting in his paternal role when he gather this family together and taught them about how, due to the effects of the Fall, all must come unto the Messiah with a broken heart and contrite spirit. In the wake of his father’s passing, Nephi lamented over his personal shortcomings, but also affirmed his dependence of the Savior: “O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever” (2 Nephi 4:34). Lehi and Sariah, faithfully taking their family in the wilderness upon the Lord’s command, are the ones who modeled that trust in the Lord for Nephi to learn.

Just like Lehi and Sariah, parents today have a personal responsibility to teach their children about Jesus Christ and his Gospel. Less often talked about, but equally important, children today have the responsibility to learn from their parents. May we all, in our roles either as parents or children (or, for many, both) teach and learn and better come to know the Savior within the family setting.

Scriptural Witnesses

There can be little question that Nephi was a diligent student of the scriptures. He risked life and limb to recover a copy of scriptural works from Laban in Jerusalem, and his entire record is laced with quotations of scripture. He draws on the writings of several prophets to describe Christ’s atoning death (1 Nephi 19:10–12). Nephi used Psalm 24 to teach about what must be done to come into the presence of Christ and to recognize Him as the Messiah.

Of course, everyone is familiar with Nephi’s extensive use of Isaiah. Nephi explicitly used Isaiah as a witness of Christ. In Isaiah’s writings, Nephi could discern prophetic descriptions of the Savior’s birth, divine titles, and ministry, and rejection by the people. A sweeping vision of the Redeemer’s mortal life and ultimate redeeming work guided Nephi’s selection and interpretation of Isaiah.

Just as Nephi and Isaiah’s words work together to bear witness of the redemptive mission of Jesus Christ, so do the entire Bible and Book of Mormon work together. Latter-day Saints are blessed today with the testimony of two nations that Jesus is the Christ, rather than just one. Like Nephi did with the brass plates, we can draw closer to the Lord and Savior as we read and ponder the teachings of Christ found in the scriptures we have.

Personal Spiritual Experiences

Nephi had his own sacred experiences that taught him about the importance of the Savior. While pondering on Lehi’s vision of a tree, Nephi received his own revelation wherein he learned the meaning of the tree and its connection to the birth of Jesus Christ. The vision also taught Nephi firsthand about the life, baptism, and death of the Son of God (see 1 Nephi 11). Later in life, as Nephi reflected on the Savior’s baptism, he came a greater understanding of why Jesus was baptized, and conversed with the Father and the Son about the doctrine of Christ.

Such personal spiritual experiences, which all of God’s children are entitled to, are more important than the witness of parents and prophets. But as Nephi’s experience teaches us, it is the teachings of prophets, parents, and scripture that serve as the springboard to personal testimony. Diligent study and application of the scriptures, teachings of modern prophets, and parental council often will generate spiritual experiences to cherish and use as building blocks to personal testimony.

The temple also plays an important role in providing a sacred space where these kinds of experiences can be had. The high mountain Nephi is carried to in 1 Nephi 11 is representative of the temple. After arriving in the New World, Nephi has his people build a temple shortly before he begins writing his account.

Coming into the Presence of the Lord

Although we are using Nephi as an example, we should keep in mind that ultimately, this is not about Nephi. It is about Jesus Christ and coming closer to Him. Nephi’s entire account is ultimately about guiding the reader into the presence of Christ. When Nephi talks about “speak[ing] with the tongue of angels,” Book of Mormon Central has proposed that, “Ultimately Nephi [is] invit[ing] all his readers to find the way to enter into the presence of the Lord and to participate in the divine council as one of the ‘angels.’”

Nephi drew on all the variety of sources—his father’s prophetic call, Isaiah’s scriptural writings, and his own personal revelation on a high mountain top—in order to ultimately drive this point home; and the way to get there is through the temple.

This Easter, as you reflect on what the Savior has done for you and consider how you can draw closer to Him, remember the example set by Nephi, and join with him. Just as he does, glory in Jesus Christ, the Redeemer, who has saved your soul from death and hell!

Neal Rappleye is a Research Project Manager for Book of Mormon Central. He blogs on Latter-day Saint topics at

The Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ

Posted on by

the-first-vision-82823-galleryThis post by FairMormon volunteer Jordan Latimer was originally delivered as a farewell address on May 24, 2015. Elder Latimer will begin his service as a missionary in the Oklahoma Tulsa Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in June 2015.

Early in the spring of 1820, a troubled young man named Joseph Smith retired to a grove near his home and prayed to God. He was unsure which of the churches of that day he should join. Kneeling down, he asked God to provide him with the answers he so earnestly desired. He desired his salvation and wanted to know which church would be able to grant it. His prayer was answered, and in quite an extraordinary manner. Two beings appeared to him, identifying themselves as Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Christ answered Joseph’s question, informing him that none of the churches of the day had the ability to provide him with what was necessary for salvation. He instructed him to join none of the churches, because the fullness of his gospel was to be restored in his lifetime. Little did Joseph know that it was through him that it would be restored.

This experience set in motion what we in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints call the Restoration.

After the death of the Christ’s apostles, the authority to perform priesthood ordinances was lost for centuries, and the world entered a state of apostasy. This apostasy had been prophesied by Paul in his 2nd epistle to the Thessalonians: “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day [meaning the day of Christ’s return] shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition” (2 Thess. 2:3) Many early Christians probably didn’t expect this “falling away” to come so soon. Not only did the death of the apostles cause a loss of authority, it also led to unauthorized changes in doctrine and ordinances.

But his epistle to the Thessalonians is not the only place where prophecies of the coming apostasy can be found. When speaking to the elders at Ephesus, Paul said that after his departing, “grievous wolves [shall] enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:29). He informed Timothy that “the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Tim. 4:3). Peter also prophesied of such corruption, saying that false teachers would “bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of” (2 Pet. 2:1).

The death of the apostles resulted in the loss of the priesthood keys needed to perform saving ordinances. Also, because there was no prophet on the earth, revelation could no longer be received for all of Christ’s church. The pure doctrines of Christ began to be corrupted by the philosophies of men. Without the gift of the Holy Ghost, people struggled to determine the difference between truth and falsehood. The church that Christ established was ultimately lost.

Fortunately, the Lord planned to restore the gospel in the latter-days, prior to his coming. This restoration would usher in the last days and would be the final time that Christ would restore his church upon the earth. We know that Joseph Smith was the vessel through which truths were restored. A list of things restored may be helpful.

The Restoration restored the true nature of the relationship between Heavenly Father, his son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. In the 4th century A.D. the doctrine of the Trinity was first articulated. This blend of Greek philosophy and Christianity introduced a concept of God people have been trying to comprehend ever since. Joseph Smith restored knowledge of the true nature of the Godhead: that they are three separate beings, who are united in purpose. Joseph restored the concept that we are children of both a Heavenly Father and a Heavenly Mother. Jesus Christ is our brother, the first spirit-born of the Father, and the savior of the world. Both Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have bodies of flesh and bone. The Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit, and its role is to comfort, testify of truth, and bestow gifts of the spirit. As Moroni said: “By the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things” (Moroni 10:5). The Restoration rejected the idea of Original Sin. Instead of the Fall being a grievous mistake by Adam and Eve, it was a necessary part of the plan of salvation for God’s children. Adam and Eve didn’t mess things up. They did what was necessary to move God’s plan forward. As the prophet Lehi said, “Adam fell that men might be. And men are, that they might have joy” (2 Nephi 2:25). And while most Christians believe that Eve, the mother of all living, failed, we know that she actually succeeded. Eve’s role in moving the plan forward is very significant. True to the title of “mother,” she made the choices necessary for mankind to exercise their powers of procreation and provide bodies for God’s spirit children. The role of righteous women cannot be dismissed when the true story of the Garden of Eden is realized.

The Restoration simplified and clarified the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel. These are listed in the 4th Article of Faith. “We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Article of Faith 4). While such concepts have always been a crucial part of Christianity, the LDS church provides this outline in its purest, simplest form. It also clarifies the manner in which baptism is to be performed. Immersion is required. This is symbolic of the death of the natural man, and the birth into sainthood.

The Restoration restored the power of the priesthood, and the authority to act in God’s name. All of the keys necessary for providing saving ordinances and of receiving revelation for God’s children now reside with our current prophet, President Thomas S. Monson. As the 5th Article of Faith says, “We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof” (Article of Faith 5). Through the priesthood power, we can be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost, be endowed, and be sealed to spouses and other family members in the House of the Lord.

Speaking of the House of the Lord, the Restoration restored the practice of building and worshiping in temples. In the temple, we can perform ordinances necessary for eternal life. The initiatory and the endowment ceremony are both ordinances that help qualify us for exaltation. They provide power from God, and help to protect us from the deception of the adversary. Such blessings are not only for the living, however. The temple allows and encourages work for the dead. How comforting this doctrine is, to know that the blessings of salvation can be provided to our ancestors who have passed on. It is a fulfillment of the words of Moroni, who said that the prophet Elijah “shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming” (Joseph Smith–History 1:39).

The Restoration produced the largest women’s organization in the world. The Relief Society is an essential element of the organization of the church. It has provided and will continue to provide countless hours of selfless service for the Lord’s church. The organization of the Church was not complete until the Relief Society was organized.

The Restoration presented additional scripture to support and clarify the word of God contained in the Bible. The Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price provide inspiration and direction in a day full of deception. In particular, the translation of the Book of Mormon was essential to the establishment of truth, and it provides strong evidence for Joseph Smith’s prophetic authority, for only a man of God could bring forth such a text.

The Restoration provided a church that is self-reliant. The Church provides a powerful welfare system. This system includes ranches, orchards, vineyards, canneries, bakeries, meat and milk processing facilities, storehouses, and its own transportation and funding. The church also provides education, counseling, and addiction recovery for individuals inside and outside the church. There’s also Deseret Industries, which provides jobs for thousands of individuals. And, to top it all off, the Church has done extensive humanitarian work in over 178 countries and territories. This work includes clean water, vision care, food production, wheelchair projects, neonatal resuscitation training, emergency response, and a measles campaign. Such service is done to fulfill the promises of baptism “to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light; to mourn with those that mourn; and [to] comfort those that stand in need of comfort” (Mosiah 18:9).

The Restoration added knowledge concerning the Atonement of Christ, the most significant event in the history of the world. Our teachings on the Atonement are reflected in the words of Alma: “And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities. Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance” (Alma 7:12–13). The Lord descended below all things that we may ascend above all things. The power of Christ’s Atonement can change our minds, hearts, and desires, if we only turn to him and rely upon his grace. We know that works are required for salvation, and that we will be judged by them; but we also know that we are ultimately saved by the grace of God. As King Benjamin said, “If ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants” (Mosiah 2:21). We are completely dependent upon Christ’s Atonement for our salvation.

The Restoration provided knowledge of our pre-mortal life. We learn of the council of the gods, where Heavenly Father introduced a plan for us to become like him. Jehovah volunteered to fulfill the plan, and the glory would be to the father. He said, “Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever” (Moses 4:2). Such humility and selflessness was not to be found in Lucifer, who wanted it done a different way. He said, “I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor” (Moses 4:1). Jehovah was chosen, and Lucifer was cast out for seeking to destroy the agency of man and attempting to elevate himself above the Father. We are here on this earth because we chose the father and his plan. This life tests us on how we will use our agency. Will we use our agency to further the work of the Father, or will we use it to further the work of the Adversary? The choice is ours. Because we will slip up at times, the Lord has provided a Savior, Jesus Christ, to satisfy the demands of justice and forge the way back into his presence.

The Restoration explained elements of the post-mortal life as well. We know that when we die, our spirits enter the spirit world, which is divided into spirit prison and spirit paradise. In the words of Alma, “Then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow. And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of the wicked, yea, who are evil [shall be] in darkness, and a state of awful, fearful looking for the fiery indignation of the wrath of God upon them; thus they remain in this state, as well as the righteous in paradise, until the time of their resurrection” (Alma 40:12–13). Further light and knowledge was given to Joseph F. Smith in a vision. He saw that those in spirit prison would actually have a chance to accept Christ’s Atonement and begin living the gospel. Messengers from spirit paradise teach them. He said, “But behold, from among the righteous, he [meaning Jesus Christ] organized his forces and appointed messengers, clothed with power and authority, and commissioned them to go forth and carry the light of the gospel to them that were in darkness, even to all the spirits of men; and thus was the gospel preached to the dead” (Doctrine and Covenants 138:30).

The Restoration restored knowledge of the three kingdoms of glory. In 1832, Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon had a vision wherein they saw the three kingdoms of glory, with their respective inhabitants. The Celestial Kingdom will contain “they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name” (D&C 76:51). The Terrestrial Kingdom will contain those “who received not the testimony of Jesus in the flesh, but afterwards received it. These are they who are honorable men of the earth, who were blinded by the craftiness of men” (D&C 76:74–75). The Telestial Kingdom will contain those that “received not the gospel of Christ, neither the testimony of Jesus” (D&C 76:82).

The Restoration provides more information on our potential exaltation and eternal life. Our inheritance isn’t merely a small cloud and a golden harp, to sing praises to God for all eternity. Christ revealed to Joseph a more profound reward for righteousness when he said, “He that receiveth me receiveth my Father; And he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father’s kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him” (D&C 84:37–38). How much does Heavenly Father, the creator of the universe and everything contained therein, have? A lot, to put it mildly. And all that he has is promised to us. We cannot fathom the blessings that the Father has prepared for us. As Paul said, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). We do know one thing: that we shall receive the status of godhood. In the Doctrine and Covenants, Christ said, “And then shall the angels be crowned with the glory of his might, and the saints shall be filled with his glory, and receive their inheritance and be made equal with him” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:107). Christ also said, “Wherefore, as it is written, they [meaning the saints] are gods, even the sons of God. Wherefore, all things are theirs, whether life or death, or things present, or things to come, all are theirs and they are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s. And they shall overcome all things” (Doctrine and Covenants 76:58–60). As the primary song says, we truly are children of God.

There are many more teachings that the Restoration brought forth. Such truths can be found in Church publications and the scriptures. I encourage Church members of all ages to study the Restoration and feast upon the doctrine and principles that have been restored by the Lord. Follow the Lord’s counsel to “seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom, seek learning even by study and also by faith” (D&C 109:7). I promise that if you do, the Lord will testify of truth by the power of Holy Ghost.

Mormon Fair-cast 330: #9 Is the Bible an authentic source of truth?

Posted on by

i-believe-podcast-karen-239x300In the concluding podcast of this series Karen talks about the prophecies of Jesus. The scriptures consist of 66 books, with over 40 authors, [and] were recorded over a span of 1500 years; they contain heavy prophetic threads. If we just think about a few books—take Daniel, written 500 years before Christ, and the meticulous descriptions of the rise and fall of the empire of Alexander the Great. This just makes us marvel at the consistencies of those prophecies. How about Zachariah, who in advance truly describes the crucifixion of Christ; and Isaiah, of course, writes of how Christ would suffer. Through these miraculous and historical writings, we really come to see the perfect person of Jesus Christ. Dave, welcome. Let’s set the stage for reviewing and sorting through some of these prophecies.

You can find the complete transcript at

This series of podcasts were produced by the “I Believe” podcast group. They are used by permission of Karen Trifiletti the author of this work.

As always the view and opinions expressed in this podcast may not represent those of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint or that of FairMormon


Mormon Fair-cast 319: #8, Is the Bible an authentic source of truth?

Posted on by

i-believe-podcast-karen-239x300D.M. Johnson and I are back in this second-to-last podcast on the authenticity of the Bible. Today, we discuss undersigned coincidences. Undersigned coincidences are events or things in the Bible that could be coincidental, but there are just so many that they add up to real, compelling evidence.

As D.M. explains, “It becomes a little bit ridiculous to insist that all of these things are just purely happening by luck or some kind of random circumstance.”

We’ve got plenty of examples of such undersigned coincidences, from both inside and outside the Bible, including:

  • Jesus healing the sick;

  • The apostles keeping silent after the events on the Mount of Transfiguration;

  • And Jesus feeding the 500.

Jesus heals a woman.

We invite you to join us on this podcast, and again, to read and study the Bible for yourself. It truly is God’s word.

You can find the complete transcript at

Read more:

This series of podcasts were produced by the “I Believe” podcast group. They are used by permission of Karen Trifiletti the author of this work.

As always the view and opinions expressed in this podcast may not represent those of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint or that of FairMormon

Mormon Fair-cast 314: #7, Is the Bible an authentic source of truth?

Posted on by

i-believe-podcast-karen-239x300Critics and skeptics have long attacked Jesus’ Resurrection. Why so?? Well, in short, if the Resurrection can be disproved, all the other claims about Jesus Christ can also be dismissed. Christianity would crumble.

In this cast in the I Believe Podcast series on the Authenticity of the Bible (its reliability, not its perfection), guest D.M. Johnson and I will review much of the evidence which shows that the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is a validated, critical, wonderful historical event.

We’ll use the minimal facts approach, which means we’ll be looking at five key facts from the New Testament which can only be explained by the Resurrection.

Please join D.M. Johnson and I as we discuss this crucial area of Christianity. As always, we invite you to turn to the Bible yourself; it’s easy for some to hide behind the veneer of study and intellectual pursuit, to the exclusion of never coming to know whether or not something is true which comes by reading, study and sincere prayer which God alone can answer personally. This doesn’t exclude due diligence in any way, shape, or form, but means that once we have done that, we must come to a point of appealing to God for our ultimate witness and knowledge of truth. We are equipped to know it.  I witness that you can receive a witness that Jesus was indeed and is indeed Resurrected, if you will honestly ask from a desire to know. I assure you that God will speak to you in a language and way that you will understand.

You can read the complete transcript of this podcast here.

Read more:

This series of podcasts were produced by the “I Believe” podcast group. They are used by permission of Karen Trifiletti the author of this work.

As always the view and opinions expressed in this podcast may not represent those of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint or that of FairMormon


Mormon fair-cast 307: #6, Is the Bible an authentic source of truth?

Posted on by

i-believe-podcast-karen-239x300This is the sixth installment on the authenticity of the Bible series of podcasts.

Many scholars, skeptics, and Bible students alike may wonder about the authorship of the four Gospels: were they really written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John? How old are they really? How accurate are the versions we have today–after 2000 years? D.M. Johnson and I are back discussing these very issues relating to the eyewitness testimony in the Gospels. They talk about the following points: ◾How ancient writers recorded biographies; ◾Why it’s important to be intellectually consistent; ◾Differences between the Gnostic and Canonical Gospels; ◾Why legendary development didn’t happen in the four Gospels; ◾Why the “telephone myth” of how we got the New Testament isn’t accurate; ◾Evidence that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are the actual authors of their gospels. Please join us for this sixth installment on the authenticity of the Bible!

The full transcript of this podcast can be found here.

This series of podcasts were produced by the “I Believe” podcast group. They are used by permission of Karen Trifiletti the author of this work.

As always the view and opinions expressed in this podcast may not represent those of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint or that of FairMormon


Mormon Fair-cast 297: #5, Is the Bible an authentic source of truth?

Posted on by

i-believe-podcast-karen-239x300In this fifth of nine podcasts with D.M Johnson, we’ll examine the various methods historians use when studying ancient texts. D.M. and I address the following methods:

  • Multiple attestation: having multiple ancient sources talking about the same event

  • Early attestation: having an ancient source or sources that date close to the time an event is thought to have happened

  • Disinterested testimony: having a source from a writer who was completely detached and unbiased

  • The criterion of dissimilarity: when a historical figure does something against the social norms of his/her time period

  • The principle of embarrassment: when something embarrassing or incriminating is recorded about a historical person

  • Enemy attestation: when an enemy of a cause or group writes something about that cause or group

We’ll talk about each of these methods and how using them with the Bible can help give us confidence that it is true.

Click here to view the complete transcript.

This series of podcasts were produced by the “I Believe” podcast group. They are used by permission of Karen Trifiletti the author of this work.

As always the view and opinions expressed in this podcast may not represent those of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint or that of FairMormon

Mormon Fair-cast 294: #4, Is the Bible an authentic source of truth?

Posted on by

i-believe-podcast-karen-239x300This is the 4th in a series of 9 interviews, D.M. Johnson, author and Bible scholar, and I discuss the archaeological evidence for the Bible. We’ll discuss the following archaeological evidence:

  • The Dead Sea Scrolls

  • Ossuaries and inscriptions which corroborate Biblical figures

  • Archaeological sites, including the Western Wailing Wall, the Parthenon, and Mars Hill

  • The Cyrus Cylinder

  • Clay cuneiform tablets from ancient Mesopotamia

Once again, our discussion invites you to consider the evidences supporting the Bible.

We also invite you to read the Bible for yourself, because in addition to these physical evidences of its historicity, you can also obtain a spiritual witness from God concerning its truthfulness.

Click here to view the complete transcript.

This series of podcasts were produced by the “I Believe” podcast group. They are used by permission of Karen Trifiletti the author of this work.

As always the view and opinions expressed in this podcast may not represent those of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint or that of FairMormon


Mormon Fair-cast 289: #3, Is the Bible an authentic source of truth?

Posted on by

i-believe-podcast-karen-239x300This third interview in a series of nine with guest D.M. Johnson discusses the manuscript evidence for the Bible. Karen and Dave go more in-depth on the wealth of manuscript evidence that exists for the Bible, particularly the New Testament.

They discuss the following topics:

  • Criteria the ancients used for placing a book or epistle in the Bible

  • Number and origin of ancient manuscripts

  • Variants between the manuscripts and how these affect our understanding of the Bible

Most importantly, they witness that the Bible is indeed God’s word, and invite all listeners to read and pray about its truthfulness.

You can find the complete transcript here

This series of podcasts were produced by the “I Believe” podcast group. They are used by permission of Karen Trifiletti the author of this work.

As always the view and opinions expressed in this podcast may not represent those of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint or that of FairMormon