What if I told you history which consisted of a couple of facts and tons of conjecture? What if I ignored the best non-Christian and Christian historians and simply pushed the discredited history of ex-Christian cranks. To opponents of Christianity, no big deal, any message is better than none. To Christians, it is to be expected, but would still be saddening and frustrating.
So goes this years series by Shawn McCraney on LDS history. I have watched portions of several of his shows. As usual, his ultimate source of LDS historical reality is the discredited postulations of critics and the outright hostile to LDS history.
Last week he picked an obscure dude's explanation of how mass movements are created and sustained, Eric Hoffer. McCraney failed to note that Hoffer is never to have known to have commented on Mormonism. Instead, he targeted the mindset of Nazi Germany and Stalin. And, oh yes, Paul of Tarsus, who persecuted Christians then became an ardent evangelist thereof. McCraney noted the three types of leaders of new movements posited by Hoffer, were "The Men of Words", "Fanatics", and "Men of Action".
Shawn McCraney now calls Brigham Young a "Fanatic" under terms of this definition. This is because he sees Joseph Smith as the "Man of Words", and current leaders as the "Men of Action". This assumes Joseph Smith made up the things he ascribed to revelation. It would also assume Joseph Smith did not lead people.
Worse, Joseph Smith taught that people needed to become their own leaders, using their own agency, and Brigham Young reinforced this. The LDS Church from its beginning has argued that it is essential that each person obtain their own witness, and not blindly follow.
McCraney says that all mass movements have fanatics which takes up growth. Once a sustainable size is acheived, then the "Men of Action" establish non-radical channels.
McCraney says Fanatics took over the LDS Church after Carthage. The fanatic mentality took over. The problem is that Brigham Young, prior to Mormonism, shows now tendancy to fanaticism.
He asserted that with the death of David O. McCay, the leadership of Fanaticism changed. He simply conveniently ignores the actions of LDS leaders. President Kimball would not have done anything radical, under this theory. So changing rules about blacks holding the priesthood would never happen. But it did. McCraney says this is typical of Men of Action. Huh? Changing 130+ years of doctrine fits this pattern? Only if you ignore history.
Building over 100+ temples fits this pattern? No.
Men of Action, according to McCraney, are simply managers. Wow.
Simply speaking, McCraney is simply trying to put a crackpot view of LDS progression using a theory which is more indicative of "another shiny object". LDS history, let alone its leaders, do not fit this theory. The LDS leaders do not choose leadership as a career. They choose their faith, and at times are called to lead. McCraney cannot see that the LDS Church teaches individuality and structure exactly as Christ taught. Jesus taught there is a Church (Matt 16:18). Paul and Peter and John taught there was a structured organization called the Church. Yet McCraney, like most evangelicals, ignore the clear teaching of scripture to follow their hobbies. Which is why Paul and Jesus both made it clear that the choice to preach is not by those who want to make a career out of it, but by those called upon to teach:
Rom 10:15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent?
Luke 8:38 Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying,
39 Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him.
Once again we see Shawn McCraney trying to stuff the well rounded LDS Church into the Triangle he has come up with to justify an intellectual approach.
I will discuss his response to Bob (Not Me) on the call where he mocked the fact Bob was led, according to the Biblical model, by following the Spirit preaching to him. His assertions of the LDS Church teaching the exact opposite of the Bible will also be addressed. He just doesn't know what he is talking about, but, as noted before, he is afraid to have Mormons on the show to demonstrate from the Bible why they are in fact Biblical.