After my first discussion with the LDS missionaries I got a true introduction to anti-Mormon literature. But I didn’t get it from Anti-Mormons. In a quest to find better answers to my questions I started doing Internet searches. That’s how I came across FAIR, The Foundation for Apologetics Information and Research. FAIR is a Mormon apologetics organization that runs a website with answers to tough questions and used to run an internet message board (which is now independently run by the same people).
It was through FAIR that I found much more sophisticated and accurate arguments against the historicity of the Book of Mormon and the prophetic status of Joseph Smith. To be fair to FAIR (no pun intended) there are plenty of bad anti-Mormon arguments and some of the more popular ones are the bad ones. So I give them props for effectively dismissing the bad arguments. But the good arguments were only strengthened in my mind by the mediocre responses to them. It seemed the best FAIR could offer were arguments for people who already believed in Mormonism that either were distractions from the main point or appeals to why it didn’t matter. The other technique they employed quite a bit was to deny what Mormons have traditionally believe and claim that a new position is what the church/Book of Mormon/Joseph Smith had always taught.
The missionaries didn’t come around for a couple of weeks. I think they were discouraged and wrote me off of their prospect list.
They did tell me that one of the reasons no one seemed all that interested in President Hinckley’s talk at the temple dedication was that they hear him twice a year during General Conference. So it wasn’t all that novel to the average Mormon. General Conference happened to roll around in this time, so I decided to tune in for a little bit. I think I caught the tail end of the first day. President Hinckley implored the listening audience to encourage their friends and neighbors to tune in for the next day’s session. Within 30 minutes of hearing those words I got a call from one of the missionaries.
In our conversation I asked if I could visit a Sunday service with them. I also asked if they would be interested in visiting my church in return. (we have a Saturday night service so I knew that they wouldn’t have to miss their own service to attend mine). The missionaries agreed and we began to make plans. . .