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Sunday, July 26, 2009

FAIR Conference 2009!!

It is that special time of year again when pseudo-scholarly apologist hacks gather together in Sandy, Utah to participate in the Mormon Apologetics Conference sponsored by the Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research. This year there is a killer line up of scholars and LDS apologists who will be speaking on subjects ranging from the translation of the Book of Mormon, plural marriage, the Book of Abraham, the Kirtland Safety Society and the Temple. Speakers include Dr. Daniel C. Peterson, Dr. John Gee, Matthew B. Brown, Greg Smith and Brant Gardner.

This year there are several presentations on the Book of Mormon, including:

1. Brant Gardner speaking on the translation method of the Book of Mormon.
2. Wade Miller discussing what current science says about the Book of Mormon.
3. Ugo Perego on DNA and the Book of Mormon.

This conference is a wonderful opportunity for those who have questions, are struggling with dealing with anti-Mormon accusations, want to learn more about LDS apologetics or just want to have fun and hang out with a bunch of nerds. Come and meet some swell folks, including yours truly who will be taking notes and posting them here, and browse the gargantuan FAIR bookstore.

It is not too late to register for the Conference and buy your tickets. For all the information you need, see the following link:

http://www.fairlds.org/conf09a.html

Note also for those who cannot attend that the conference is being live streamed from the internet. For more information, see the link posted above.

We hope to see you there!

Everything you thought you knew about Mormons is wrong...

In 2007, the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life conducted the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey. The study revealed some surprising results...at least they might be considered surprising to those who have operated under popular assumptions regarding the LDS Church. Here are some of note in particular that seem to fly in the face of what is generally reported in the media or via rumor-mill about "The Mormons" *cue irrelevantly scary music*.

  • 100% of Mormons say they believe in God, which is higher than among any other group.
  • Mormons are significantly more likely than the population overall to have some college education. A majority of Mormons are women.
  • Nearly three-quarters of Mormons are married, compared with just more than half among the general population.
  • Converts are more likely than lifelong members to come from minority racial and ethnic groups.
  • More than nine-in-ten Mormons say the Bible is the word of God.
  • Fully 76% say they attend church at least once a week.
  • Three-quarters of Mormons (76%) say they read Scripture outside of religious services at least once a week, more than double the figure among the general population.
  • Like all other religious traditions, Mormonism is simultaneously losing and gaining adherents due to religious change, but the net effect of these changes is small: Whereas 1.8% of the U.S. population says they were raised Mormon, 1.7% of the population says they are currently Mormon.
  • Mormons have a relatively high retention rate of childhood members compared with other major religious traditions. Seven-in-ten of those raised Mormon (70%) still identify as Mormon, a figure roughly comparable to that seen among those raised Catholic (68% are still Catholic) but somewhat lower than among those raised Protestant (80% are still Protestant and 52% are still in the same Protestant family). Jehovah's Witnesses, by contrast, have a relatively low retention rate (only 37% are still Jehovah's Witnesses).
  • Mormons with more formal education are more religiously committed, whereas in the general population the opposite is true.
  • Utah Mormons are much less likely than Mormons from other states to share their faith with others at least once a week.