FARMS vs Signature Books in the News

A news story in the Miami Herald reports the new mission call of Noel B. Reynolds in south Florida. According to the story,

Before coming to South Florida, Reynolds also headed a more controversial group within the church, the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS). The Foundation studies Mormon scripture and publishes the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies.Although Reynolds is considered a moderate, other Mormon scripture scholars associated with FARMS have gone ”to extremes to defend the church,” says Ron Priddis, managing director of the Utah-based Signature Press, which publishes books on Mormonism.

In harsh articles, they have attacked some of his writers, he says. Seven authors published by Signature have been ex-communicated. But Reynolds says Signature focuses on publishing books that dispute LDS core beliefs. Within the church, he adds, there is a ”tiny minority on a mission” to persuade other Mormons not to literally believe The Book of Mormon.

Personally, I am glad there is a “tiny minority on a mission” at FARMS who are going “to extremes to defend the church.” When wolves wearing sheep’s clothing enter the flock, someone has to sound the alarm. Signature Books and the Utah Lighthouse Ministry of Jerald and Sandra Tanner have the same mission: To destroy the Savior’s church by tearing down the testimonies of the saints, and undermining their confidence in the Savior’s chosen prophets. And of the two, the Signaturi are more effective in this evil work because they use a facade of intellectualism and false objectivity. They are subtle and crafty.

Fortunately, the excellent scholars and intellectuals at FARMS have a big advantage over the Signaturi. Because they are true and faithful to the Lord and his prophets, they have the discernment that comes only with the companionship of the Holy Ghost. As a result, they are able to wage ideological war with the enemies of Christ using not only their intellects, but also their good hearts and the understanding of evil that comes only to those who know and believe the Book of Mormon. All true Christians admire and love these valiant men and women as they carry out their sacred work in defending the Kingdom of God on earth. We are grateful for what they do.


10 Responses to FARMS vs Signature Books in the News

  1. By the way, John, you should feel free to declare me “suspect” for disagreeing with your assessment of some Signature Books authors, but please let me be clear that I’m absolutely the enemy of any faith-destroying agenda.

  2. Actually, Southerton’s book is much more interesting and multi-dimensional than much of the debate about it would suggest. Aside from questions of historicity, which have been legitimately argued from both perspectives, the book raises valuable issues about whether LDS conceptions of Lamanites have sometimes encouraged racist pronouncements and beliefs. Southerton presents compelling documentary evidence that this is, in fact, the case. I think that’s a real contribution, and it’s something that Latter-day Saints should take seriously, regardless of our perspective on Book of Mormon historicity. In other words, even the Southerton book has something meaningful to offer even to those who are committed to historicity.

    On the question of Quinn’s writings, I’ve found a lot of spiritual value in many of them. But I know others have experienced them in different ways. Well, that’s why there isn’t only one historian in the world…

  3. will says:

    John said: If he publishes “faithful” works, it is only to anesthetize the victims so that he can more easily slip it to them, his anti-Mormon agenda, that is.

    2 points from me:

    – I’m impressed with your mind-reading skills, John.

    – Those who have published more conservative works through Signature, one of whom I know, would be surprised to learn that they’re just pawns in Smith’s evil plan.

  4. Publishing Brent Metcalf’s book debunking the Book of Mormon, and Southerton’s book by themselves would prove an anti-Mormon agenda for Signature Books even if they had never published anything else that seeks to undermine the faith of believing Latter-day Saints. Besides, if FARMS can be believed, and they can, then George D. Smith of Signature Books has a proven anti-Mormon, anti-religion agenda.

    If he publishes “faithful” works, it is only to anesthetize the victims so that he can more easily slip it to them, his anti-Mormon agenda, that is.

    Prove the Book of Mormon false, ie. nonhistorical, and you prove the whole Mormon religion false. The devil knows this, and so do the brains behind Signature Books. They are evil. And anyone who defends them is suspect.

    Oh, and yes, I have read Signature Books titles and D. Michael Quinn too. They are both clearly working for the Other Side.

  5. Clark Goble says:

    I think the publisher has a bit of a motive. However clearly not everything Signature publishes is oriented towards a naturalistic point of view. But I think it safe to say that there is a bias towards that point of view.

  6. I don’t know about this John. While Lighthouse is clearly aimed at refuting the BoM, Signature’s goal isn’t the same at all. Signature instead tries to approach the BoM from different perspectives with the intent of better understanding the book and its contents. Lighthouse thinks that they already understand it, while Signature is trying to facilitate understanding.

    Have you even read signature books or only reviews of them? Their books “Word of God” and “American Apocrypha” are actually quite good.

  7. There is no link between Lighthouse and Signature that I am aware of. But it is obvious that they are both on a mission to destroy the testimonies of faithful Latter-day Saints. Why else would both organizations publish materials refuting the historicity of the Book of Mormon?

  8. John C. says:

    I’m curious about the link between Lighthouse Ministries and Signature. Have you documentation?

  9. J. Stapley says:

    I’ll agree with Will here. Signature ahs published some very excellent and faith promoting works.

  10. will says:

    Reynolds is the only FARMS member that I have known personally, and I can vouch that he is as nice in private as he is in public. Other contributors, though, seem willing to occasionally stoop to snarkiness, ad homenim attacks, disingenuity, etc. In fact, I don’t know that an unbiased 3rd party would necessarily consider FARMS more “Christian” than Signature.

    You paint Signature with a rather broad brush. They certainly don’t filter out non-faith-promoting works, but they also publish works written by very faithful church members.

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