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FARMS stands for the "Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies". Established in 1979 as a private organization, FARMS is a group of Mormon scholars dedicated to studying and defending the Mormon faith. In some circles they are known as "professional" branch of Mormon apologetics. In 1997 they becamse a part of Brigham Young University but do not claim to directly represent the school through their publications.

FARMS website states that,

"FARMS views the Bible and the Book of Mormon, as well as other scripture such as the Book of Abraham and the Book of Moses, as authentic, historical texts. Scholars whose work on these ancient writings and related subjects is supported by FARMS approach their topics using a number of disciplines ranging from history, linguistics, and literary and cultural studies, to geography, anthropology, archaeology, and legal studies. Such work that is done from a faithful perspective and that is grounded in solid research and is well thought-out and written, can shed light on the various ancient contexts from which these sacred writings emerged, can further scholarship in several related areas of study, and can significantly contribute to a better understanding of and appreciation for our LDS scriptural heritage" [1]

However, with great regularity, FARMS publications will state that although their work deals with Mormon theology, their research and findings do not represent the actual teachings of the Mormon church. This can be seen in their statement that,

"The quality work supported by FARMS that is subsequently published either by FARMS or by other academic publishers, conforms to established canons of scholarship, is peer reviewed, and reflects solely the views of individual authors and editors. It represents an important contribution to the broad field of Mormon studies." [2] (emphasis not in original)


[edit] Controversy

Due to its commitment to "faithful scholarship," FARMS has been a focus of some controversy within the Mormon community. Work produced under FARMS's auspices has been critiqued on at least three fronts: (1) by "revisionists"--liberal Mormons, secular scholars, or former Mormon writers--who favor naturalistic accounts of Mormon scriptures (e.g., who believe the Book of Mormon is a creation of Joseph Smith, not a translation of an ancient document), (2) by evangelical or fundamentalist Christians who see FARMS as creating apologetic scholarship in support of cultish claims, and (3) by orthodox Latter-day Saints who fear that FARMS scholarship is contentious and therefore un-Christian or that it tends to privilege intellectual evidence over faith.

While scholars associated with FARMS often resist being characterized as apologists because of that term's pejorative connotations, FARMS has been an important center for producing work that critiques claims by revisionists, countercultists, and amateur Mormon enthusiasts, especially through the organization's longest-running journal, the FARMS Review. FARMS has been cited as representative of a new trend within Mormonism: the emergence of progressive forms of Mormon orthodoxy, committed to the literal reality of Mormon faith claims but willing to rethink traditional understandings of those claims. A prominent example of this trend is the work FARMS has produced supporting a limited geography model for the Book of Mormon. Supporters, including high-ranking church leaders, see this model as consistent with archaeological and genetic findings about ancient American peoples, as well as with the Book of Mormon text; yet the model has met resistance from Mormons who prefer a more traditional understanding of their scripture as narrating events that occurred across the entire Western hemisphere. This is to say that FARMS plays a contested but influential role in shaping how Mormons understand their faith.

[edit] Publications

A number of periodicals and books have been published under the FARMS imprint, including:

FARMS has also republished many of the writings of LDS scholar Hugh Nibley in the 14-volume Collected Works of Hugh Nibley.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

[edit] Critical

[edit] Favorable

[edit] Informational

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