Sunday, February 13, 2011

Final Shawn McCraney Post (for a while)

My last post about Shawn McCraney illustrated my view that Shawn never really intended to have me or other knowledgeable defenders of the LDS faith on his program, Heart of the Matter.

So yesterday I got a phone call from a friend who, with another friend, spoke with Shawn about his fear of dealing with Mormon scholars, and me in particular.

My friend said that when my name was brought up, his perception was Shawn became visibly angry, responded with a short curt remark about how dumb bringing me up was to do, and then said he chose to not have me on because I am not a "real" Mormon, I just have my own philosophy which I disguise as Mormonism.

"Wow", was all I could say. The absurdity of such a view about me, if the report is accurate (and I believe my friend to be care about details, so I think it is) is almost beyond words. My credentials as a believing Mormon far exceed anything Shawn can throw around about his supposed "40 years as a Mormon". Granted, I have only been a Mormon for 35 years, but those don't include any infancy/pre-teen years. And they include 33 years of very active belief, study and attendance.

Let me elaborate a bit more. I served a two year mission without being homesick a single day. I loved the work. I have been an elder's quorum president 4 times. I served over 5 years in a bishopric as an executive secretary. I served as a counselor in a stake mission presidency for two years. I have repeatedly served as a stake missionary. I am currently in a stake presidency as an assistant clerk. I am also a member of FAIR, an organization which specifically defends the LDS Church from critics by promoting research, which is easily viewed on the FAIR WIKI. In my opinion, the FAIR Wiki is simply the most outstanding religious apologetic database on the Internet, because it fearlessly addresses EVERY criticism of the LDS Church, cites the sources making the claims, and then provides research and links responding to the criticism, acknowledging when a conclusion is one of several theories (such as the location of Cumorah, for example) or a settled fact, as in the case of historical events. It is an amazing resource. And it is definitely "peer reviewed" for facts.

To think that I have taken a chameleon's skin to create my own religious view, outside mainstream LDS belief, is laughable. I am a conservative LDS defender, a believing Mormon who affirms the LDS Church as the only true Church on the face of the Earth in terms of authority and prophetic leadership.

It is my belief that Shawn is not afraid of me from an intellectual or debating standpoint. I believe he is afraid of what he becomes when he is out of control of a situation. People see that on his show constantly when someone calls in and stumps him, or makes a valid point. He gets loud, sarcastic, caustic. He tries to bully his way through the conversation. Listen to his chat with Van Hale. Set aside who was being rude to whom. Doesn't matter. Listen to the tone, responses, sarcasm.

Look back over the years to my specific interaction on air with Shawn. He consistently makes statements and promises to respond. Or like last time, he just re-affirms that he has banned me from calling in. Then he puts forward his crafted position, like this past June, where he wants to present himself to the world as the unafraid, unintimidated crusader against the false doctrines of Mormonism. He will let anyone on his show, not to debate, but to present their views and then review them with pinpoint insight and clarity. He specifically denied his own documented words by saying it is false that he would not allow people such as me to call into his program.

Well, those are my views. Shawn is a complicated person. But he is pretty easy to read, I think, as well. I believe he is a bully, and the last thing a bully wants is someone to step forward who is not able to be bullied or frightened by emotional manipulation.

So don't expect Shawn to have Dan Peterson, Michael Ash, Kerry Shirts, Van Hale or folks like me on the program. Ever. As my friend said, "Shawn hates you. You can see it in how he discusses you." For him to control his anger and sarcasm, I believe, would be impossible for him to manage. The funny thing is just about nobody watches his program. Seriously, nearly no one, relative to the potential audience, is watching. So even if he had a horrible showing, pretty much no one would know. Of course, it would be on disk forever, which may be his fear. Everyone could watch, and certainly it would make his claim of an "encyclopedic knowledge" of Mormonism would be shown for what it really is.

Anyway, I am done talking about Shawn. I never thought he would have me on his program, and it turns out I was right. Call it what you want, at least we Mormons do go talk with the folks who want to engage us about doctrine, history or whatever.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Shawn McCraney and the Challenge of Truth

I have previously written about a call I made to Shawn McCraney's television show, Heart of the Matter, on December 1, 2009, wherein Shawn accused me of lying to get on the air, yelled over the top of me, asked questions he refused to let me answer, and then hung up on me while remarking "this is why we don't allow you on the show, Bob." (55 minutes into the show.)

Apparently he received enough feedback from people about his chicken approach to dealing with LDS evidence, that June 15,2010 he announced (@ 5:10 into the show) that 2011 would be "the year of the guest", he would allow anyone on his show, including apologists "defenders of the faith", the LDS president, whomever, and that he would not debate the guest, but they would be allowed to present their view, and the entire hour would be devoted to reviewing the guest's views.

He then also stated that "I [Shawn] am forever being accused on the Internet about, uh, refusing to allow informed Latter-day Saints to call in, they're always welcome, so here's their chance. They can be a guest for the full hour, and they can sit and talk. We invite any and all. And Again, this means atheists, polygamists, people who receive revelations, defenders of the faith, Book of Mormon supporters, testimony sharers, ..." "Write Shawn at..."

So I wrote Shawn on July 17, 2010 after a person on YouTube suggested I contact him. I told him I was available, and I offered a long list of potential topics. He responded:
Thank you for your willingness to appear on Heart of the Matter.

We will contact you in the coming months with a date for your consideration and topic. We will try and provide you with at least four months of preparation time, in case you need it. Speak with you soon. And thank you for your willingness to participate.

Heart of the Matter

And so, according to Shawn's word, I waited for contact about a specific date. And waited. And waited.


So I sent him a note last week, 6-months after he said he would contact me.
Have not heard from anyone in the 6 months since your original note. Just curious if this is still something you are considering, or if the program has opted to go a different direction. Either way, drop me a note.

Best Regards,


He promptly responded:
We've headed a new direction. Only had seven or eight really reputable
guests willing to come on the program - not enough to build a year on.
Thanks for being willing. God bless.

Notice the change. No longer "anyone", but "reputable guests".

I think this is because he was afraid of what would happen. If you don't have too many guests, and instead get 8 scholars on the program who run circles around you, this does not show well. His experience with Van Hale shows what happens when serious logic thwarts his uninformed emotionalism. He gets mad, sarcastic and becomes aggressively offensive, in my opinion.

So I wrote back and said I could possibly help locate additional guests by speaking with my LDS defender friends, and if nothing else, I would be happy to go to dinner with Shawn. Shawn had no interest unless I was willing to convert to his satisfaction to a belief in his Jesus. I told him I already believed Jesus was the only way to salvation, so we could go eat. He replied he had no interest.

So just to be clear, Shawn's call screener had told me I couldn't get on the air. When I slipped through an apparently uninitiated call screener, I was accused of lying, and Shawn affirmed what the previous call screen had said, namely I was banned from being on the show.

Then he said on air everyone is allowed to call in. Really? He must have forgotten his own words.

Then he said he would have me on the show. Then he said he wouldn't.

My goodness. He changes positions faster than a president after a political shellacking.

Or is there more here? Sadly, no. I had told several people Shawn would never have people like me on his program, as the risk was too great for him to come off badly. He would rather have a few people find out he won't have Mormons on his show, than have everyone see "the fruits of a born again Mormon."