Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Review of HOTM Shawn McCraney Sept 29, 2009

I have put out a video review of Shawn McCraney's Heart of the Matter. Shawn is beating a deceptive dead horse. His points about polygamy in Mormonism become more and more strained each week. This week he through in for good measure his comments about people are not the children of God (ignoring Acts 17:28-29 and Hebrews 12:9). He concluded by telling the story of an LDS young man who committed suicide over guilt. Funny how Shawn said he wanted to commit suicide too, after he became a born again christian, and as he flushed his life down the drain with substance abuse. At least, that is what he notes in his book, page 68. Funny, but all of his arguments center around the idea that God reveals everything unchangeably, all at once, and not line upon line, or not that Mormons believe in continuing revelation. This is the 'stinkin thinkin' which the Jews lived with at the time of Christ.

One very insidious attach Shawn levels on all active Mormons is they will lie if it protects their faith. In debate, we call this poisoning the well. In life we call it compensating for weak arguments. Lastly, Shawn made the statement that we cannot feel the truth, facts are all that matters. Of course, this is in complete conflict with the Bible ("Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the scriptures to us?" Luke 24:29). No man can no Jesus is the Christ, expect by the Holy Spirit. That is not just a fact from scripture, it is received as a feeling. So denying feelings is to deny actually knowing Jesus Christ.

19 comments:

Chad said...

Hey Bob,

I think Shawn is funny to watch! I e-mail him and he never responds back. I have called into the show as well and have never been allowed on the air to talk with him. Shawn is losing the battle. I changed my blog from ldsandlovinit to mormonelder.blogspot.com

Take care Bob

Chad

Anonymous said...

Bob, Shawn is right on in his criticisms of Mormonism. What he is doing is truly the Lord's work - helping those who have seen the truth about the church and are searching for a relationship with the real Christ. If you want to know the truth yourself, all you have to do is research the church's history (you can start with the Journal of Discourses) and find the facts about it. If you do that and let the blinders of your feelings for the church come off and you will understand what Shawn is doing and be thankful for it, instead of attacking his person and demeaning him. My guess is that you are too afraid to know, or even admit, the truth about the LDS church.

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

First,
Thank you for the comment.

Second, you cannot possibly know anything about me to think I have not already done extensive research on all of these supposed "killer" issues. I have read much, though not all, of the JoD. I have read all of Vogel's "Early Mormon Documents", and I have corresponded with Dan Vogel specifically on the subject of the coming forth of the BoM. Since he starts with the position that if there is a god, he does not intervene in human matters, it is easy to understand why he will look at statements like Emma Smith's statement that Joseph Smith used no books or manuscripts in writing the BoM, and say without any source material, "she is wrong." Yes, she was there with a clear view of everything, and was too blind to see a Bible or Spaulding's Manuscript Found. Sure. Good explanation, especially in the absence of any support.

The problem is you have no idea what you are talking about. I am certain you have no clue about the history of the Bible, probably have never looked any any of the original manuscripts, or photos of course, or researched changes in the text of the Bible or the behavior of the Biblical leaders. You have a double standard, and you don't understand the Bible, NOT me, teaches that we have a part in "work[ing] out your own salvation with fear and trembling". Yes, your truncated readings of the Bible do lead you to your conclusions. But they are not informed opinions.

As I always say, pick a subject. Let's go through it. I will guarantee that the negative points around LDS history or doctrine are either based on half-truths told by folks like Shawn or the Tanners, or your ignorance of the Bible, such as man's role in his own salvation.

If you read my bio on this page, you will see that I actually did approach the LDS faith some 33 years ago with a completely open mind to the facts. I found then, as I do now, that most criticisms are leveled by people lying about the facts, or distorting the actual historical events. So I appreciate the thought that I should "do my research". The fact is I did. And I became a Mormon. And I did this reading folks like the Tanners and Mr. Walter Martin, and comparing their accusations to history. They always come up short.

Mormons are highly regarded in scholarly circles for their historical researching capabilities. That is natural considering our Latter-day scriptures emerged from recent history. If it was so cut and dry bad for the LDS view in history as you assert, the Church owned schools would be the the JW's or the Catholics or Calvinists, and avoid teaching on the subject. Instead, you have things like the Joseph Smith Papers Project, nationally recognized for its commitment to the highest scholarly standards for preserving documents and recovering history. Lots of Mormons are historians who know all about Church history. Your simplistic view is fostered precisely because you know almost nothing about real history.

Or Biblical doctrine.

Anonymous said...

A few points:
1) Emma also failed to notice the 33+ wives that Joseph Smith married and was having sexual relations with so obviously she wasn't aware of everything her husband was doing.
2) Mormons are not highly regarded in scholarly circles, at least not by any circles that contain scholars that have integrity. Not sure where you got that one. If you don't believe me, consult a few at the Smithsonian.
3) Furthermore, as a student of religious history and the Greek language, I have studied and seen biblical manuscripts which include the DSS, the Greek NT and even the Tanak. The translation of the Christian Bible can be verified. The different versions may have different words (or books) in some places but the meaning remains the same and the basic message remains the same. On the contrary there is no book of scripture in the quad, other than the Bible, that can be verified by ancient manuscripts. The only ancient writing that exists for these "scriptures" is the papyrus scrolls which have been translated by egyptologists and have nothing to do with what is in the POGP.

It is interesting that you make so many assertions about me based on the statement I made earlier. You are wrong my friend. I do have extensive knowledge of biblical doctrine, Jewish history, and about the REAL history of the Mormon church. I have even thoroughly studied work done by Elaine Pagels, Gabriel Barkay, and other noted scholars and scientists. I can say, in all honesty, that your statements and claims are completely unfounded according to mainstream scholars that have any integrity. YOU pick a topic and I guarantee YOU Mormon doctrine and the Mormon faith claims can be proven totally wrong. What the church teaches is scoffed at by the world because it is completely wrong. Joseph Smith was a fraud. If he were alive today and placed on trial, with all the evidence that exists, he would be convicted. His teachings were false. The NT clearly teaches that Christ did away with the law and prophets. Any statement to the contrary is wrong. The fact that you say you studied all the information out there before becoming LDS puzzles me. You either didn't look at the information and evidence honestly or you have some reason to lie to yourself and stay in the faith. In any case, I believe that Christ leads everyone to him eventually and even people like you will come to see the truth.

Anonymous said...

There is something I have noticed about your responses to those who oppose Mormonism. You make statements about the person delivering the argument/message/statement that are demeaning, insulting, or discrediting, pulling the person down to a lower level than where you claim to be (in typical LDS fashion). You did it in this comment window and to Shawn Mccraney and others. Your writing on this blog is littered with it. This is not a characteristic of a good debater. A good debater does not resort to the fallacy of attacking the opponent with insults. If you take any critical thinking or logic class you will learn that this approach to discourse is a fallacy.

Walker said...

"Emma also failed to notice"

Uh, no.

"having sexual relations with"

Not all.

"Mormons are not highly regarded in scholarly circles, at least not by any circles that contain scholars that have integrity."

Bwahaha. Translation: anyone who thinks a Mormon scholar is good has no integrity!

"Smithsonian"

I'll let you clarify, though I'm positive as to what you are alluding to.

"as a student of religious history and the Greek language, I have studied and seen biblical manuscripts which include the DSS, the Greek NT and even the Tanak."

As a student of these things, I would've expected better arguments. So sad.

"basic message remains the same"

Who said otherwise?

"egyptologists and have nothing to do with what is in the POGP."

Probably because they aren't the Book of Abraham...

"I do have extensive knowledge of biblical doctrine, Jewish history, and about the REAL history of the Mormon church."

REAL history. I see. I seriously hope your arguments improve because I will find your credentials hard to believe, especially posting under Anonymous.

"...mainstream scholars that have any integrity"

There it is again.

"YOU pick a topic and I guarantee YOU Mormon doctrine and the Mormon faith claims can be proven totally wrong."

Metal plates in the Middle East?

"The NT clearly teaches that Christ did away with the law and prophets."

With all your studying of the Tanakh, I would have thought you have known that the Tanakh is divided into the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings.

Luke 24:44: "...which were WRITTEN in the LAW of Moses, and in the PROPHETS, and in the PSALMS..."

Acts 13:15: "...READING of the law and the prophets..."

Acts 24:14: "...WRITTEN in the law and in the prophets."

Acts 28:23: "...persuading them concerning Jesus, both OUT OF the law of Moses, and OUT OF the prophets..."

These are obviously writings. It has nothing to do with the discontinuation of prophets. If that were the case, it would contradict the following:

Acts 13:1: "Now there were at the church that was at Antioch certain PROPHETS and teachers..."

Acts 15:32: "And Judas and Silas, being PROPHETS also themselves..."

Gal. 3:3,5: "How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery...which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is NOW revealed unto his holy apostles and PROPHETS by the Spirit."

These are all post-ascension.

"Any statement to the contrary is wrong."

True. Unfortunately, your understanding of it is wrong also.

"The fact that you say you studied all the information out there...puzzles me."

I was actually thinking the same thing about you.

Walker said...

"demeaning, insulting, or discrediting, pulling the person down to a lower level than where you claim to be"

Does it sound anything like this?

"You either didn't look at the information and evidence honestly or you have some reason to lie to yourself and stay in the faith."

"Mormons are not highly regarded in scholarly circles, at least not by any circles that contain scholars that have integrity."

"What the church teaches is scoffed at by the world because it is completely wrong. Joseph Smith was a fraud."

"in typical LDS fashion"

Is the above typical Anonymous, anti-Mormon fashion?

"This is not a characteristic of a good debater."

Are you offering yourself as an example of this coveted "good debater?"

"A good debater does not resort to the fallacy of attacking the opponent with insults."

Excellent. Then we will no longer see ad hominem attacks, poisoning the well, begging the question, and other fallacious assertions from you.

Anonymous said...

"Emma also failed to notice"

“Uh, no.”

Uh, yeah.

"having sexual relations with"

“Not all.”

Boy, that’s a good answer!


“Bwahaha. Translation: anyone who thinks a Mormon scholar is good has no integrity!”

Pretty much.


“As a student of these things, I would've expected better arguments. So sad.”

Unfortunately, you are the sad one if you think that the Book of Mormon is believable. I mean, it’s a nice story and good piece of religious fiction but it is really not believable.


“Probably because they aren't the Book of Abraham...”

Uh, nice try. The Book of Abraham is in the POGP and it has been proven that those (the scrolls in the church’s possession that were analyzed) are the scrolls he “translated” into the BOA. That was a pretty weak argument, Walker. I thought you could come up with better …


“REAL history. I see. I seriously hope your arguments improve because I will find your credentials hard to believe, especially posting under Anonymous.”

I could tell you my name but how could you know if that was really my name? Being anonymous or giving a name doesn’t really mean anything. Bad argument. Furthermore, I find your belief in Mormonism hard to fathom given how intelligent and educated you seem to think you are but then again, intelligence doesn’t really have anything to do with faith, I think. Even the most intelligent people can be deceived.


“Metal plates in the Middle East?”

Yeah? Metal plates in the Middle East and? Is this proving anything?


“Unfortunately, your understanding of it is wrong also.”

I don’t think so. Nice cherry picking, Walker. You need read things in context and understand the message of the NT as a whole.

Walker said...

"Uh, yeah."

The historical documentation says otherwise.

"Boy, that’s a good answer!"

I thought so.

"Pretty much"

This is the most bigoted and illogical approach I have ever heard.

"you are the sad one if you think that the Book of Mormon is believable"

Well, I'm rubber and you're glue, whatever you say bounces off a me and sticks to you. I love your "nu uh, YOU ARE!" comebacks.

"The Book of Abraham is in the POGP and it has been proven that those (the scrolls in the church’s possession that were analyzed) are the scrolls he “translated” into the BOA"

Hugh Nibley determined long ago that the scrolls found were the Book of Breathings, not the Book of Abraham. John Gee has presented evidence and concluded that about 87% of the original scroll collection is missing.

"Being anonymous or giving a name doesn’t really mean anything"

That is why it was a secondary aspect. The real point was your arguments don't match your supposed credentials. The Anonymous name just makes it all the more unbelievable.

"Metal plates in the Middle East and?"

A 19th century, poorly-educated farm boy claims that he has translated gold plates that originated in the Middle East, written in "reformed Egyptian," witnessed by 11 others. He is ridiculed for making such a claim, gold plates being seen as preposterous. A century later, metal plates and the knowledge that they were written on is uncovered in the Middle East. Absolute proof? No. Staggering coincidence? Yes.

"Nice cherry picking, Walker. You need read things in context and understand the message of the NT as a whole."

Choosing the verses that mention "law and prophets," which you originally mentioned, is cherry-picking? Interesting definition...

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

Even if I granted that Emma seems to have "missed" polygamy, which she does not, she rejects it having been practiced based on her observations,which is quite a different matter, Anonymous still fails to deal with the corroborated statements made by her, Martin Harris, Lucy Smith, Oliver Cowdery, etc.

In other words, bringing up the polygamy issue is an intentional distraction born out of the necessity to avoid direct interaction with impeccable historical accounts by eyewitnesses on the subject. In the end, Anonymous' response is no different than Vogel's: Try to make your a priori assumptions carry the weight of evidence in order to refute real evidence.

It is simple desperation from an argumentation standpoint. I refuse to take the bait. There is no other viable explanation based on the evidence, not just opinions, but the evidence, than what JS described and to which many witnesses attested. The evidence for the BoM is in fact many multiples more concrete and compelling than any Biblical manuscript evidence in terms of its provenance and corroborative nature.

Anonymous said...

"Metal plates in the Middle East and?"

"A 19th century, poorly-educated farm boy claims that he has translated gold plates that originated in the Middle East, written in "reformed Egyptian," witnessed by 11 others. He is ridiculed for making such a claim, gold plates being seen as preposterous. A century later, metal plates and the knowledge that they were written on is uncovered in the Middle East. Absolute proof? No. Staggering coincidence? Yes."

You are right that this isn't absolute proof but then again nothing that the Mormons claim to support their beliefs is. You have nothing definite, just some coincidences, which makes the defense of your beliefs difficult.


Another thing about the supposed golden plates is that if you read about the dimensions of the plates and calculate the weight of gold, they would weigh around 500 pounds. Seems a little strange then, the story told about Joseph Smith running away from antagonists with the plates under his arms and jumping over fences, unless he was really really strong. I don't think so. More likely, the story of the gold plates is just like the story told in the BOM - fiction.

Walker said...

"nothing that the Mormons claim to support their beliefs is"

Nothing that any theist claims is absolute proof.

"just some coincidences"

I'd say 11 official witnesses to the plates (12 if you count Joseph Smith) and a 19th century description of Middle Eastern metal plates that show up a century later is a little more than "just some coincidence."

"would weigh around 500 pounds"

So says MRM and those like them. Too bad all the witnesses who handled it said it weighed around 60 Ibs.

So, you believe MRM's "calculations" and I'll take the first-hand accounts and stunning bull-eyes insight into Middle East culture.

Walker said...

"calculate the weight of gold"

Try reading Bob's post "The Believable Book of Mormon." He answers this quite nicely.

Anonymous said...

"Try reading Bob's post "The Believable Book of Mormon." He answers this quite nicely."

I did. All I read was just more spin.

Walker said...

"All I read was just more spin."

AKA I don't have a response.

You declaring it spin certainly makes it that...

Walker said...

Bob,

I called Heart of the Matter last tonight. Check it out. I'll write about it on my blog as soon as the video is available.

Wes Kirkham said...

Anonymous,
Why do you care what this guys believes. If he wants to discount what Christ did on the Cross let him. He has obviously read the Bible and doesn't believe it. He would rather put his faith and trust into a man instead of God. He will have to answer for himself in the end when he faces Christ, and Christ says to him " Turn from me you doers of inequities, for I never knew you. Walker I feel sorry for you brother. There's still time for you to accept the real God and not some God from another planet who used to be a man like you and was able to do his works on that planet and get this planet. Wake up. You aren't ever going to be a God. Get over it. Don't you think if God used to be a man on another planet that he would have at least given some acknowlegment to his God? Why does he say instead " There were no Gods before me or after me? Brother you really need to wake up before it's too late. There's so much to say here but I just don't think you care.
Wes Kirham
Salt Lake City, Utah

Zakuska said...

Anonymous said...

2) Mormons are not highly regarded in scholarly circles, at least not by any circles that contain scholars that have integrity. Not sure where you got that one. If you don't believe me, consult a few at the Smithsonian.

:facepalm:

Its nice to know that all those Scholars at Oxford have no integrity.

By the Hand of Mormon
Givens, Terryl L.

Oxford Press 2002

http://oxfordscholarship.com/oso/public/content/religion/9780195138184/toc.html

The Book of Mormon
Givens, Terryl L.
Oxford Press, Aug 2009

Understanding the Book of Mormon
Grant Hardy
Oxford Press, Mar 2010

There are more.

Anonymous said...

Maybe shawn should spend time strengthening his own faith. There is going to come a time when he'll recognize that he spent his whole life trying to correct others while letting his own life slip by.