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FAIRMormon drops ‘Mormon’ from name and bickering from posts

FAIR acronym also gets new meaning

SHARE FAIRMormon drops ‘Mormon’ from name and bickering from posts

Royal Skousen, left, and research colleague Stanford Carmack discuss the latest findings in the Book of Mormon Critical Text Project during a presentation at the FairMormon Conference on Aug. 4, 2016. FAIRMormon announced Saturday it had changed its name back to FAIR.

R. Scott Lloyd

A group that defends the beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from critical attacks on the internet has changed its name and altered its direction.

FAIRMormon is dropping the “Mormon” from its name and changing its URL to www.fairlatterdaysaints.org.

That’s not all. The group also gave its acronym a new meaning. FAIR now stands for “Faithful Answers, Informed Response.”

FAIR President Scott Gordon said the group struggled to determine what to do with its FAIRMormon name after President Russell M. Nelson requested that people stop using the nickname “Mormon” when referring to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“Being faithful members, we wanted to comply, but we struggled to come up with another name that everyone liked,” Gordon wrote in an explanation that included some self-effacing humor. “We really struggled. Remember, we are the same group that came up with the first name that nobody understood.”

He also said FAIR will be kinder and gentler because “bickering over some point of doctrine” doesn’t bring people closer to Jesus Christ.

“We are fact checkers and clarifiers,” Gordon wrote. “We want to provide fact checking and clear explanations that all parties can trust. We fully understand that not everyone will like our conclusions as we are believing members of the church. However, we want everyone to be able to trust our review of the facts. This means avoiding personal attacks or derogatory language. This does not mean we won’t point out faulty reasoning and misleading claims, or boldly defend our doctrine. Ultimately, we are here to promote the cause of Christ.”

FAIR launched in 1997 when a group of young Latter-day Saints answering questions about the church and defending it against critics on AOL realized they were responding to the same questions repeatedly. So they launched FAIR, which initially stood for the Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research.

Apologetics are reasoned arguments that justify a religious doctrine, but the term proved too confusing and FAIR dropped it in 2013, when it adopted the name FAIRMormon.