I was recently giving my children one of my standard lectures about how they live in the greatest time in the history of the world. They have easy access to more books, movies, music and “information” than any other people in the history of the world. They can know more about any subject they wish than anyone who has ever lived in a time before. Truly, it is a wonderful time to be alive for children who have an interest in such things.
As I thought more about it, I began to consider the Miracle of Apologetics.
In the Church, “revelation” gets a lot of lip service. We talk all about God giving knowledge, restoring this or that, and giving us scriptures so we can understand His plans and feelings on certain subjects. And I’m not arguing the importance (and necessity) of having a spiritual witness of the truthfulness of the gospel and the Church’s core claims.
But for those who have an interest in the Church, the scriptures, and the “details” behind the stories and doctrines, I think it is easy to overlook the miracle of Apologetics and scholars, and Apologetic theories, and their ability to grant us knowledge that eluded even previous prophets and apostles.
Because of apologetic writings, any Church member can do a reading and research and understand more about Book of Mormon geography and peoples than any past prophets had. Twenty minutes on the FARMS website and you could pass up Joseph Fielding Smith without breaking a sweat.
Thanks to apologists, future generations will understand the story of Noah’s flood (and the subsequent covenant) with far more accuracy than any LDS Prophet or Apostle of the last 180 years.
Apologists allow us to better understand the story of Adam and Eve, how they were born from mortal, non-human mortal parents who themselves were the result of evolutionary development. Such knowledge eludes even modern LDS church leaders and curriculum writers.
Modern scholars and apologists allow us to understand the true nature and provenance of the Joseph Smith papyri, Kinderhook plates, Zelph skeleton and other “artifacts” to a much greater degree than even Joseph Smith himself.
Modern apologists have made known to us the many cultures and peoples not specifically mentioned in the Book of Mormon, who subtley mixed with and effected the Jaredites and Lehites (people who are still unknown and unmentioned by modern and past LDS prophets and apostles).
And apologists help us to understand Mormon Polygamy and the priesthood ban far better than any statements from the Church leaders (ironically, apologists even help us to ignore statements from Church leaders if necessary, while apologists never encourage us to ignore other apologists and listen to Church leaders if there is a contradiction.)
Critics often complain that the heavens are “silent”, and that God has been negligent in His proclivity to reveal knew and interesting things. But if the apologists are correct in their theories and suggestions, then God hasn’t been silent, he has just shifted his conduit from the pulpit to the Fair Wiki.