FAIRMormon Conference, day 1

To M* readers: M* will provide occasional coverage of the FAIRMormon conference, which is being held Aug. 6 and 7.

The first talk is by Ed Pinegar and is entitled: “How to help young Latter-day Saints deal with criticisms against the Church and the doubts they cause while remaining faithful”

Brother Pinegar is married to the former Patricia Peterson who served as Counselor in the General Presidency of the Young Women and General Primary President of the Church. They are the parents of 8 children, 38 grandchildren and 19 great grandchildren.

He has served in many callings in the Church and has taught religion classes in the CES for 34 years. He has served in the LDS Church as a bishop, stake president, stake patriarch, on the general board of the church’s Young Men organization, as president of the England London South Mission, and as president of the Provo Missionary Training Center. He has also been director of the Orem Institute of Religion, a religion professor at BYU, and a seminary teacher. He served a mission with his sweetheart Patricia in the New York Rochester Mission at the Historical Sites around Palmyra July 2007 to January 2009. He served as President of the Manti Temple from 2009-2012. He presently serves as a Sealer in Mt. Timpanogos temple. Brother Pinegar is the author of over 60 books and talk CDs, most recently The Temple: Gaining Knowledge and Power in the House of the Lord, A Mighty Change, Preparing for the Melchizedek Priesthood and My Mission, and The Christmas Code.

He has taught in many Continuing Education programs and was a recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award from BYU, Division of Continuing Education, in 1979. He also received the Outstanding Young Man of the Year Award, the Service to Mankind Award from Provo City, the Sloan Community Speaker Award from BYU in 1999, UVU Distinguished Service Award 2001 and the UVU Excellence in Leadership Award in 2003.

Presentation: How to help young Latter-day Saints deal with criticisms against the Church and the doubts they cause while remaining faithful

Summary: We will discuss the following topics: 1) Understanding their situation. 2) Understanding the process of change. 3) Becoming an instrument in the hands of the Lord. 4) The role of the Holy Ghost in the conversion and change process. We will also answer the following questions: How can we help them replace doubt with faith? How can we help them deal with negativism and half-truths? How can we help them deal with criticisms of our prophets and leaders? How can we help them gain a testimony sufficient to deal with attacks against the Church? How can we help them be rooted to Christ and not yield to the sophistries of the devil? How do we help them when they justify their beliefs because of their sins? How can we help them when faced with new facts that they have never dealt with before?

Here is a summary of his live talk:

It is nice that FAIRMormon starts its conference with a prayer. I felt that brought the Spirit into the meeting.

Now, Ed Pinegar:

How to help people with their testimonies?

I come back to the same answer that Lehi and all the great prophets say: there is no other way to assist and help anyone save it be by the power of the Holy Ghost.

Three great keys:

–Faith in the Son of God. Feed and nourish our faith.
–When we have the love of Christ.
–Keep the commandments.

There are no great secrets. Keep the commandments and you will have the blessing of the Holy Ghost. Receiving the Holy Ghost does not give you the power of the Holy Ghost. You receive a fullness of the Holy Ghost through the temple.

The Nephites pled that they might have the Holy Ghost.

We must treasure up the word. If you treasure up the word, you will be given the things at the moment you need it.

FAIRMormon is a secret weapon of knowledge with answers. Shows the index page of the FAIRMormon site. Many topics. The speaker says he went through all of the topics. He had never seen so much knowledge.

He gave the examples of logical fallacies. He showed the analysis of books critical of Mormonism.

The speaker says he has written over 55 books. He loves research. We owe a debt of gratitude to FAIRMormon.

Speaker said he made a list of 161 evidences of the Book of Mormon.

How to help missionaries: there is not a pat answer in every case. The answer lies with the power of the Holy Ghost. Seek the spirit and the Lord will give you what you need in every case.

One person who joined the Church asked “why didn’t you tell me about the Mountain Meadow Massacre?” He responded: “I taught you the Gospel. I taught you to love the Lord.” Then he smiled, and then he had no doubts.

Sometimes with FAIRMormon, there might be contention. The Lord does not want contention: “He that has the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the Devil.”

Bible bashing does not work with a doubter or a person who is anti. What they need is an abundance of love and compassion. They need understanding where they are coming from. They need the word of God. They need the presence of the Holy Ghost. With meekness and mildness.

You must seek to understand. Try to find out their real concern. Try to find out their standing in the Church. Must appreciate their real concerns. Seek deep understanding, sincere questions. What is the issue: bad information, friends, people may be deceived.

Be careful with the anti-Mormon material. When you may with the Devil’s material you might be contaminated.

When people doubt they have separated from the power of the Holy Ghost. Mormon says the spirit of the Lord will not strive with people. Without the well of the spirit, their souls are empty. Paul saw the apostasy occurring because of doubters.

When was the last time you thanked Heavenly Father for the power of the Holy Ghost?

The joy of the spirit is indescribably delicious.

Many people who doubt have not been to church or temple for a time. My response: if you live the doctrine, you will know the doctrine is true.

Nephi, Mormon, Moroni and Alma — they are my friends. I don’t want to die yet, but I want to give Nephi a hug. Mormon sidles up to you and says, “how did you like my book?” They are real and they are prophets.

Joseph Smith: people who find fault with the Church are on the road to apostasy.

Feast upon the Word.

Son of Mosiah — waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth. They had given themselves to much prayer and fasting. When they taught they taught with the authority of God.

We need to be instruments in the hands of the Lord. THEN we have the power. As to myself I am nothing.

King Benjamin: six principles: 1) he was respected. 2)He helped them come to realize their need for help. 3)he helped them recognize their divine heritage. 4)help them realize they act and they are responsible for their actions. 5)their values need to be associated with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 6)Commitment. 7)Help people with the Holy Ghost — changes doubt to faith.

(He told a very touching story about talking to a struggling missionary at the MTC. What helped him was talking of Christ. He turned the missionary from somebody doubting his mission into somebody ready to go on a mission).

The lord said the worth of souls is great. He has great joy in a soul that repenteth. Listen and you will hear a supernal truth. “Remember, they are my children too.” Those are the words that are empowering. In the strength of the Lord I can do all things.

Next talk: The Mother in Heaven and Her Children

Margaret Barker studied theology at the University of Cambridge, after which she has devoted her life to research in ancient Christianity. She has developed an approach to biblical studies known as Temple Theology. She was elected President of the Society for Old Testament Study in 1998. She has written 16 books and in July, 2008, was awarded a Doctorate in Divinity by the Archbishop of Canterbury “in recognition of her work on the Jerusalem Temple and the origins of Christian Liturgy, which has made a significantly new contribution to our understanding of the New Testament and opened up important fields for research.”

Margaret Barker is a mother and grandmother, a Methodist Preacher, and was involved for over 30 years with the work of a Women’s Refuge.

Presentation: The Mother in Heaven and Her Children

Summary: There is clear evidence in the Bible for a heavenly Mother, and the first Christians saw themselves as her children. She had many names and titles. Much information about her has been overlooked due to inaccurate translations of the Bible.

Summary of live talk:

(Editor: As you may or may not know, Margaret Barker, who is not LDS, has done extensive work on the early Christian church, and many of her conclusions are similar to those of LDS scholars).

(There was a handout given to people at the conference, that I do not have. Sorry).

Vision of a woman in heaven.

A mother in heaven who had more than one child. Her first child was the king described in Psalm 2.

The woman clothed with the son was a queen. Her son was the king.

She had been threatened by the dragon and fled. She was in the temple and fled to the desert.

Her children were the Christians. Jesus was the oldest of the woman’s family.

Where did the visions originate? How old were they? St. John compiled into the book of Revelation, but Jesus knew these visions and spoke about them to the disciples. Luke chapter 10 is the same as Revelation 12: Satan fell. Jesus knew the whole vision of the woman and her children.

“A revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to him to show to his servants what soon will take place.”

The angel of the Lord inspired John. Jesus had seen Satan fall from heaven, he knew about His Heavenly Mother. The other children keep the commandments of God and had the testimony of Jesus. Used to describe a particular group of people in Israel who were guarded or preserved.

The servant of the Lord (Isaiah) was to restore the faithful, those who were the guarded or preserved ones. They were written in the late 8th century BC and reused in the 6th century. The servant would raise up the tribes of Jacob and restore the guardians or preserved of Israel.

The Hebrew word for Christians is “the preservers.” Jesus the preserver was the title of the Cross (Nazorene, not Nazareen).

Dead Sea Scrolls described a group that returned to the older ways. The Lord revealed to these people the ways in which the others had gone astray. This was one group in the time of Jesus who withdrew from Jerusalem to live the old ways. They may have been the people mentioned in Revelation. “The people of the new covenant.”

The people began to stray long before Jerusalem was destroyed in 6th century BC. Isaiah says it was at least by the 8th century BC.

How and why did they go astray? Isaiah: “Unclean lips” meant wrong teaching. Micah said a woman would give birth to the great people. Micah chapter 5. The woman was dragged violently from the city, this woman was “daughter zion,” but she would return.

In Revelation, she was crowned with stars. The royal seal was a sun with wings in the time of Isaiah. This is a symbol of the winged woman who was driven out.

Malachi knew the mother would return. Not accurate translation. “The son of righteousness will rise with healing in her wings.”

Does the vision of the dragon depict the persecution only during 1st century AD, or does it apply to many centuries earlier.

A virgin will bear a son also refers to the Heavenly Mother. “THE virgin, not a virgin.” Isaiah was referring to a known figure. The virgin was the mother in heaven. Mother and son were believed to be both divine and human.

Origen who died in AD 253 said John the Baptist was an angel and a man at the same time. Christians recognized that John the Baptist was more than just a man. He was an angel who would return before the Son is born.

John saw the hidden woman giving birth to her son. A vision that includes the ark. The woman bore her son in the Holy of Holies of the first temple.

“Unto us a child is born, etc” (Isaiah chapter 9). This ritual birth may have been in the Holy of Holies. “Thy people will be willing.” (not a good translation).

The old Greek is not much better.

(Very complicated discussion on translation — very difficult to follow and provide a live update).

During the later years of the late temple, there was strong pressure to remove the Mother of Heaven from the temple. King Josiah purged the temple in the 7th century BC. People took with them memories of the Mother of Heaven. King Josiah removed the mother from the city (“unclean lips.”)

Proverbs: she calls out to her foolish children. The mother, wisdom, who poured out her spirit on her children.

The mother in heaven was purged from many parts of the Old Testament.

So many texts deal with the mother and her son are damaged. Isaiah and Ezekiel, for example. Ezekiel chapter 8.

Proverbs: wisdom refers to the Heavenly Mother: she was beside the Father during the Creation. The mother of heaven who was weaving.

Early Christian evidence. Book by Sylvanus (sp?). Early Christians knew all about the Heavenly Mother making a garment for her children.

Origen: Jesus called the Holy Spirit his Mother.

St Jerome: said Jesus during baptism. 400 AD. Knew that Jesus had a Heavenly Mother, sometimes called Wisdom and sometimes called Holy Spirit.

In Greek, “Spirit” is neutral, often translated as “He.” In Hebrew, it is feminine.

Jesus did not teach in Greek, and many translations in Greek have problems. “Wisdom” may refer to “Heavenly Mother.” Wisdom and her children.

Luke. Mother of Heaven and her son. During the Nativity story, he was recalling the temple tradition of the Heavenly birth. Mary was a virgin, wrapped him, laid him in a manger. This is a clear reference to the temple tradition of the birth of the king by the Heavenly Mother. “Manger” in Hebrew is similar to “Jerusalem.” Psalm 2. Reference. Stay in the city until you are clothed with power on high. This is a reference to the Heavenly Mother will clothe the people with wisdom.

Isaiah knew that removing Heavenly Mother was false teaching. Scribes tried to remove all memory of the Heavenly Mother. Modern translators do the same thing.

(Very interesting talk. I recommend people get a copy of the talk and read carefully).


“We are all children of the Heavenly Mother.”

“The Holy Ghost is our Mother in Heaven.”

All of the titles of Mary comes from the ancient temple ceremony regarding the mother in heaven. She believes that Mary is the manifestation of the Heavenly Mother (she admits it is a radical thought). Mary was a weaver, she wove the veil of the temple, the veil signified matter, the Glory of God, the high priest’s robe made of the same fabric represented the same material. The early Christians knew this about Mary.

The Infancy Gospel of James discusses this. Google “Gospel of James.”

The Holy Spirit is feminine.

The pre-Christian translations all say “virgin.” The post-Christian translation say “young woman.” It’s modern political correctness that accepts this change. It is not “A virgin.” It is “The virgin.”

Josiah removed everything to do with women from the temple, including the young women who were the temple weavers. The Mother in Heaven weaves the fabric of creation. The high priest wears a garment that represents the golden light of heaven.

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B graduated from Stanford University (class of 1985) and worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. He has held many callings in the Church, but his favorite calling is father and husband. Geoff is active in martial arts and loves hiking and skiing. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

14 thoughts on “FAIRMormon Conference, day 1

  1. I’m sad to see that Ed did not add much of value. “Just believe” does little for youth who are having to decide.

    I would say that parents need to teach their children correct doctrine, and not myths that have grown up around the Church (evolution is false, curse on blacks, prophets are infallible, etc). Too many fall away because we give them the wrong expectations of what the Church really is.

    We need to teach them that because of the weakness of man, God gives us continuing revelation. He does not dump 100 percent truth on us all at once, but gives us “line upon line”, as we are ready for it. He is not focused on what the media will say about things in the past, but is focused on the NOW, helping each individual grow through the trials and struggles in his/her life. This means change sometimes comes slowly, but it works well, because God can then reach out to each individual gently, without making us feel we are being run over by a freight train.

  2. I thought Ed’s talk was very, very good. I think it was a classic, “show, don’t tell” type of talk. He showed that through love and charity we can bring the Holy Ghost, and it is the Holy Ghost that can reach peoples’ hearts. We need to bring the Spirit, not think that we can have some brilliant insight that will magically change doubters into believers.

  3. I look forward to seeing these talks when they are available after the conference.

    Ed’s talk seems great, from the standpoint that it really does come down to the spirit. As Kimberly Jo Smith was taught, the Holy Spirit trumps everything else.

    But I have to agree with Rame that when the Holy Spirit is working with knowable facts instead of flying in the seeming face of everything known by the seeker, it can be helpful. God doesn’t ask us to turn off our brains. But He will often tell us that we need to have faith for a period of time if what He tells us doesn’t jibe with out mortal understanding of an issue. In my experience, I’ve eventually learned enough of the full picture to realize God was right (surprise).

  4. Good to hear that speculation of Heavenly Mother as the Holy Ghost is fair game at FAIR. Very interesting ideas.

  5. Fair stiffed me. They limited downloads of the PDF instructions for streaming and the downloads I attempted failed. I would have attended in person because I live in Provo, but an art exhibit opening on Friday evening, the funeral of a friend on Friday morning and an appointment to attend the temple with a daughter this morning all combined to interfere. I hope they give me access to my purchase in due time.
    What Margaret Barker says is always interesting but there is no requirement to take it whole.

  6. Curtis, I am sorry to report that real life got in the way of my hobbies so I could not watch all of the FAIR talks, including Brant’s talk. Sorry to you and Brant.

  7. Pat- it will be available after the conference as well. I forwarded your issue to those over the streaming and hopefully they will contact you soon. Sorry you had problems with it.

  8. Heavenly Mother couldn’t be the Holy Ghost. I expect her to have a celestial body which the HG doesn’t according to D&C 130:22. This is just speculation, but then again she’s not a member and possibly doesn’t know certain doctrine.

  9. Fair responded with courtesy but I missed out on the live streaming for today. I reacted to the failure to gain access rather strongly, but I had rushed home from the temple and reserved the day for viewing.
    I have heard others speculate about the Holy Ghost but I feel it would be folly to believe that member of the Godhood is a woman. On the other hand I am certain He is much beloved by those who recognize his sacrifice for the sake of fulfilling his office. In due time He will doubtless have the privelege of becoming embodied.
    While I normally avoid speculation about Mother in Heaven, I think she must be a celestial being, bestowed with all that befits her station as the helpmate of our Father.

  10. I’ve often wondered if the office of Holly Ghost is rotating office filled by different persons over the millennia.

  11. Joseph,

    I’ve wondered the same thing. I see some hints in that direction in certain places.

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