The Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, or FARMS, was organized by John W. Welch in California in 1979 and then moved to Provo when Professor Welch joined the law faculty at BYU the following year. In 1997, while I was serving as chairman of the FARMS Board of Directors, Gordon B. Hinckley, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and chairman of the Board of Trustees of Brigham Young University (BYU), invited the Foundation to become a part of the University. “FARMS,” President Hinckley said at the time, “represents the efforts of sincere and dedicated scholars. It has grown to provide strong support and defense of the Church on a professional basis. I wish to express my strong congratulations and appreciation for those who started this effort and who have shepherded it to this point.” Continue reading
I first became involved in apologetics because I wanted to defend the truth of beliefs that are important to me and to defend the character of leaders for whom I have great respect, even veneration, against attack. I’m offended by falsehoods, prejudice, and injustice. I wanted to help faltering members who were sometimes besieged by intellectual challenges for which they had no adequate response. I also desired to assist interested observers to see sufficient plausibility in the Gospel’s claims that they would be able to make its truth a matter of sincere and receptive prayer. My hope was to clear away obstacles that might obscure their recognition of truth. These continue to be my motivations, and I expect that others who are engaged in apologetics feel much the same way. Continue reading
A new two-volume Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics has just appeared from the venerable European publishing house E. J. Brill. It includes two articles requested by the editors from John A. Tvedtnes:
“Hebraisms in the Book of Mormon”
“Hebrew Names in the Book of Mormon”
The articles include a reading list, which depends mostly upon publications from the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, though there were also some materials from other LDS sources.
Abstract: This introduction to Volume 5 considers the modern notion of a cessation of Bible-like divine manifestations and revelations, a belief which Joseph Smith encountered when he told others of the First Vision. This perception of an end to miracles and visions had become common by Joseph’s time, as evidenced by various writers, and continues to the present day. The Latter-day Saints, however, continue to believe in modern-day revelation, which we believe gives us a unique vantage point for the study of the Bible and other scripture, as illustrated in Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture. Continue reading
Early in the 1980s, my father suffered a serious heart attack. My wife and I were living in Egypt then, and we learned the news via a telegram from my brother.
Egyptian phone service was so inadequate in those days that many companies employed messengers to crisscross the city of Cairo rather than depending upon unreliable telephone connections. It took me more than twenty-four hours to get a telephone call through to California. In the meantime, I didn’t know whether my father was alive or dead. My anxiety was intense, but there was little alternative. (As it happened, he recovered fully and lived on for more than two additional decades.)
We take modern means of communication for granted. But we shouldn’t. I’m convinced, for example, that the church founded anciently by Christ not only didn’t survive intact but couldn’t have, largely because the contemporary means of communication weren’t up to the task. Continue reading