I started reading a very interesting and in depth investigation on 9/11 conspiracies. Keep in mind that I am not a conspiracy theorist, and I actually believe that a lot (if not, all) of these arguments are bogus. In my readings, I decided to pick up Debunking 9/11 Myths: Why Conspiracy Theories Can’t Stand up to the Facts edited by David Dunbar and Brad Reagan. This book was quite interesting, as it sought to answer many of the criticisms conspiracy theorist might bring up regarding the 9/11 attacks. I couldn’t help but notice, however, the striking resemblance such a work had with Mormon apologetics. If one has read Daniel Peterson and Stephen Robinson’s Offenders for a Word she would notice that it was written up in much of the same style. Debunking 9/11 Myths, for example, has a CLAIM and FACT style response and Offenders for a Word has a Claim and Response styled response system. Both of these books address various criticisms regarding their topic, and both do it citing a great deal of scholarship and history, pointing out mistakes in their opponents reasoning and meticulously arguing for why their position in correct (in Debunking their position is that Al Qaeda did it and in Offenders that Mormonism is Christian).
So why am I comparing these things? And what does it have to do with Mormon apologetics? Well, as many people may be aware, one of the biggest talking points for some is that since Mormonism has many criticisms, and organizations such as FAIR take it upon themselves to gather these questions/criticisms together in an effort to answer them, there must therefore be at least some truth and validity to the criticisms at hand. If Mormonism is so true, some have argued, then why do we need to spend so much time answering criticisms and questions regarding the church? Does truth really need to be defended? Shouldn’t the truth simply manifest itself in obvious light? Indeed, when I first got into reading Mormon apologetics, I often asked myself similar questions.
This, of course, is fallacious reasoning. Simply because someone or a group of people have many criticisms of an organization or an idea does not mean that those criticisms are valid. Valid arguments are made or answered with solid reasoning and evidence. 9/11 conspiracy theorist may have a lot of theories as to why the United States let Al Qaeda perform their horrible acts of terrorism or let President Bush perform this atrocity. But simply because they have ideas, theories, or a large internet presence does not mean that their ideas are correct. The whole, “There are so many arguments raised, so it must be false,” idea is totally bogus, and could be used for 9/11, anti-Mormon arguments, and everything else in between. What we need to focus on is the strength of the arguments, not the number.
So to those who may be new to Mormon apologetics or have begun to question your faith, don’t be discouraged or intimidated by a large amount of questions or arguments that you might not have answers to. I have had my fair share of questions too (and to this day, I still have many). And I have found that there is reasonable grounds to believe in the Church. Be patient and study with an eye for truth.
Further recommended readings:
Boylan, Robert. “Some Tips on Becoming an Effective Apologist.” Scriptural Mormonism. Link: http://scripturalmormonism.blogspot.com/2017/10/some-tips-on-becoming-effective.html
Book of Mormon Central. Link: https://bookofmormoncentral.org/
Gospel Topics Essays. Link: https://www.lds.org/topics/essays?lang=eng
FAIR Mormon. Link: https://www.fairmormon.org/
Interpreter Foundation. Link: http://www.mormoninterpreter.com/
A related article written by the luminous Micheal R Ash is linked here: https://mormonhub.com/blog/faith/big-list-anti-mormon-literature/