An Evangelical Goes to Provo

LDS scholar Brant Gardner speaks at FairMormon 2017

Every year FairMormon, the most popular pro-LDS apologetics organization, holds a conference at which Mormons, including some scholars from Brigham Young University, defend their beliefs. I attended it in 2012 and this year attended its 2017 conference on August 2nd and 3rd, held at the Utah Valley Convention Center in Provo, Utah. I would guess that roughly three hundred people attended each day.

A great deal of attention was given at the conference to defending the Book of Mormon. Four issues stood out from these defenses. First, Mormons don’t know where the Book of Mormon civilization was located. Second, Mormons admit there is no direct evidence for the existence of that civilization. Third, there is evidence against many of the things the Book of Mormon says, which forces Mormons to argue that many statements in the Book of Mormon don’t mean what they seem to mean, even though it was supposedly inspired and translated by divine inspiration. For example, one speaker suggested that references in the Book of Mormon to horses and chariots, which are problems because people in ancient North and Central America did not use wheeled or horse-drawn vehicles, might refer to dogs walking alongside litters carrying royal figures. Fourth, Mormon apologists recognize that it is rather embarrassing that Joseph Smith dictated the Book of Mormon with his face buried in his hat in which he put his treasure-hunting “seer stone,” but claim it doesn’t matter how he did it as long as it was a miracle. I discuss each of these issues and explain briefly why the Mormon arguments don’t work in a new article on IRR’s website, “FairMormon 2017: Recent Book of Mormon Defense Strategies.”

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2 Responses to An Evangelical Goes to Provo

  1. Did they really try to say “horses and chariots” are “dogs and litters?” That would be problematic for NUMEROUS reasons, one of which is that dogs are already mentioned in the Book of Mormon. If horse are really dogs, then what are the dogs?

    • robbowman says:

      Good question! Someone in the audience at the convention asked the corresponding question why, if the animals were dogs, the Book of Mormon didn’t simply call them “dogs.” The speaker admitted he didn’t know. And by the way, I thought the speaker’s presentation was generally very thoughtful and well done; this issue happened to expose a very weak chink in the armor. I discussed the matter a bit further in the article mentioned at the end of my post above.

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