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."


Charles said...

Shawn is a lightweight and a coward.

Anonymous said...

I think Shawn is pant-sing you guys.

Dave said...

Hey, I love your blog. You are not alone in your experience with Shawn. I also tried for over a year to get on his program and debate him. I have several emails back and forth trying to get on the show and to no avail.

He is a bully who prey's upon the uninformed with cookie cutter arguments that are decades old and easily defended against. like charles said above "Shawn is a lightweight and a coward" not to mention a blowhard!

Anonymous said...

It's too bad that Shawn has landed alongside the "Angry Christians". Insecurity in one's own faith somehow justifies the need to vilify others.

D to the J said...

I tried to call Shawn as well, and the screener wouldn't let me on the show.

Casey said...

You are perhaps the least humble Mormon I've met, and you aren't afraid to make it evident just how great you are. The arrogance that comes from your post is quite distasteful if you ask me.

If you are unaware, the point of Shawn's TV show isn't to debate and argue with ignorant people like you who just want to argue for argument's sake. Shawn's TV show is for those who are seeking to know the truth, and for those who have come to realize the lies the LDS church is spewing out.

I pray you would come to know the truth. One day you'll bow to the true Christ either willingly or he'll force you to.

Bob said...

If I know you, I don't recall. Have we met? Did you actually read my post and analysis?

Frankly, I am a sinful dog, so I don't really mind the name calling on your part. But please get your facts straight about Shawn. He routinely challenges LDS leaders to come on his show. He repeatedly stated he would bring LDS scholars and defenders on the program to refute the "falsehood" that he is ducking engaging real Mormon answers. Your answer condemns Shawn as 'guilty' in that regard.

Lastly, I did not extend the invitation from Heart of the Matter to have me on the show. Shawn did. And you can go on youtube and see where an non-LDS person is the one who told me that Shawn would have me on the show, after he asked Shawn about why he does not engage knowledgable LDS. I have the emails from Shawn and HOTM inviting me, which I have published.

So it is not like I am walking around with a swagger. I just predict that he will NEVER have a challenging guest on his show. And if you had read my post, you would see I specifically say it is not because he is afraid of me.

By the way, in the way of hypocrisy, you do realize I am giving you MORE time and space to express your attack on me personally than Shawn will allow? Hmmm. I wonder why that is? Shawn is literally doing the same material for the fourth and fifth time now, yet he refuses to engage the criticisms of the flawed material which constitutes his content. He is allowed to do whatever he wants. But please try to be a little more even handed in assigning who beats their chest with pride and denies keeping people off of their program, and who actually does take on all comers. It is not about my pride. It is about the truth. And that should be the heart of the matter.


Anonymous said...

Bob, i have to say that i am really surprised that there is a pro-mormon blog that excepts any anti -mormon remarks. a couple doesnt matter what Shawn does, but he seems to have really got under your skin. what i seen on the video is that you showed Shawn that you just want to prove him wrong in front of all loyal mormons but he is educating the people that are in need and he wont waste his time with you anymore. I think you should debate me on this blog.

Bob said...

Shawn is (or was) a regular target because he is on TV weekly (or rather weakly). He spews new spin week after week. I have better things to do than to keep track of him, but he is a ready made target. It helps that he is a very poor student of theology and history. Which is why he comes off looking so bad when speaking with actual LDS scholars.

What bothers me is that he feigns even-handedness. He says one thing about Mormons, then challenges people to show him up, but doesn't confess that he won't actually let such a demonstration take place.

Shawn could write this blog any time he wants, and I would publish whatever he wrote. You don't understand or know his history. He had a blog for publishing and interacting. He shut it down because me and a few other LDS defenders continually showed their "facts" were wrong. So he shut down the board because, I think he said, "It was not furthering the mission of the ministry." That will happen when you get your facts wrong or you simply forget what you previously wrote or said, then contradict yourself.

If everyone had Shawn's education about Mormonism, you would find people who never read anything deeper than "see spot run", in my opinion. It is easy to be an expert when you prevent conflicting views and contradicting facts from confronting you.

I appreciate your comment. Unlike Shawn's show, I welcome informed and uninformed but thoughtful comments.


Chris. said...

You are one funny Mormon. I'm not a follower of the Shawn McCraney, but I was raised mormon, and I have some questions for you now that I have seen the truth, which is not being LDS. First, with the bible there is many many many many artifacts and cities/towns from the bible that are in place today. Now in the Book of Mormon, it speaks of many cities and many wars that were fought. I question, where are these cities today? where are these artifacts today that would show some sort of proof that the stories are true? Secondly, why is it that the church leaders oppose to researching mormonism other than through "church doctrine"? Is it because it shows some horrible things such as Joseph Smith having 31 wives before it was a "revelation" that was given to the prophet? I don't understand how in the world God would tell a prophet to preach to the men in the church to have many wives? How could that ever be a god given law? Also while researching it may be due to the fact of finding some disturbing information, such as documented story I read where a bishop tried sending a young man to a mission far away when he was soon to marry his girlfriend. when he refused multiple times he was CASTRATED!!! and soon after the bishop took this mans fiance as another wife. I know you will deny all of this and say it isn't true, but research in places OTHER than what the church has published will give records and facts.
Bottom line here, I'm not saying that the mormons are bad people. But i certainly believe being brainwashed is a very appropriate term. You cannot believe something is true without questioning and researching it first. Plain and simple.

Bob said...

You raise some good questions. Let's see if we can go through them systematically. For the sake of brevity, I will restate your question I am attempting to respond to.

1. The Bible has way more proof than the Book of Mormon.
True, sort of. It also has much more evidence against it. For example, out of the 5-600 place names in the Bible, only about 35 are known for sure, and another 40 or so are inferred because of those. The rest are pure hypotheses. For example, where was Mt Horeb? The absolute holiest place in Hebrew history. Lost. Where is the city of Ai? Jericho was continuously occupied for 5,000 years, and we don't know where its next door neighbor was? Where is the tomb of Jesus? Where was Calvary? Those are important because people always say things like "where was Zarahemla", not realizing we actually don't know the location of many Biblical places even though the Biblical lands have been continuously occupied. Does that cause you to lose your faith? It shouldn't. Neither does not knowing where Zarahemla is.

Next, your view of proof is not balanced. For example, even though the Bible says there were lions in the Biblical times, no lion skeletons were found until the 1970's. The Bible specifically states that Jericho was destroyed while heavily fortified and with a large population, yet the vast majority of Biblical archaeologists, believing and critical, cite Carbon 14 evidence, pottery scraps and other evidence to show that Jericho's walls were already down and practically no one lived there when Joshua entered the promised land.

Bob said...

(Response to Chris continued)
We have found excellent support for the Book of Mormon in many ways in the details around the route of the Lehi group, Nehom (3 altars with the name have been found so far, something unknowable for Joseph Smith), cement has been found in the Americas, barley, literal dozens of "artifacts" which Joseph Smith could not have known. See Matt Roper's article at for a long list.
Ghangis Khan had an army reportedly of over 200,000 horses, yet not a single skeleton of his horses and time period has been found. In a moist central American climate, if that is where the BoM took place, which I do think it did, then complete decay and loss of historical evidence is gone. In the Alps they found the body of a 5,000 year old man who had a copper axe-head for an ax. This was 1,000 years earlier than scientists had previously believed this was possible, yet it is perfectly preserved. We only have it because a single body from that period by sheer chance was frozen and preserved and DISCOVERED before it all decayed. A single incident has re-written all previously "known" history. We routinely mix assumption with facts.

Bob said...

(Response to Chris continued)
Because everyone makes assumptions based on sources they think they can trust, it is often a shock to turn your world upside down. For example, you assert, in your second point, that LDS authorities are somehow anti-intellectual in researching LDS history. That is patently false at every level. The Church has sponsored and cooperated with the Joseph Smith Papers Project, which when its 30-odd volumes are completed being published will include EVERY known historical document pertaining to Joseph Smith and the early LDS history. Hardly the stuff of a shaking hierarchy.
Where is the best single source of Mormon documents? LDS Church history archives I would guess, or BYU special collections. Oh yeah, both are open to the public. From those documents, we learn that Joseph was informed before D&C 132 was formally given (though the exact date of it is not known)that Joseph knew by about 1831 that a restoration of polygamy was possible. Your statement also assumes that it must be a published revelation to be considered guidance to the Church, yet that is an absurd standard. Look at the Bible. Look at early LDS history. Very, very consistent.

Read my personal history here. While I have a spiritual testimony of the Church, your assertions are issues which have been addressed and resolved many, many years ago. Which, yes, I did personally research.
Thanks for writing,

Anonymous said...

Hi Bob.
I have had numerous negative experiences with McCraney via email which prove his lack of love fot LDS. Do you have email?

Paul said...

Hey Bob,

In reading this blog it seems that numerous commenters frequently morph from acrimonious and bigoted so-called "Christians" to experienced members or authoritative pundits of every religious body wherever there is a need justify their baseless "evidences".
Do you ever tire of the often fallacious and transparent declarations posited by those claiming to be observant or former Latter-Day-Saints?

Anonymous said...

Good Job.