First of all, FAIR does not engage in or sponsor public debates. Scott Gordon does appear regularly on radio programs and the occasional TV spot to explain an LDS view over some issue. Rarely will he appear with someone who is outright antagonistic towards the Church because it is the view of FAIR that such engagements do not help resolve problems.
Last year, FAIR moved to create the Mormon Defense League, which it later redesignated Mormon Voices. Its purpose is to respond to errors in the media. They have excellent explanations of many of the controversial accusations which Shawn loves to throw down about the LDS faith. Shawn, notably, never interacts with LDS points of view. In fact, in one published interaction, he encouraged a caller to send him information on the archaeological evidence of the plurality of gods and the Divine Council, saying:
SHAWN: Email me and give me the proof texts and I will come back on the air and you can call again and I'll say, "This is what Walker said: 'it seems like the preponderance of scholarship supports what Joseph Smith knew before they came in.'" Give me the evidence. And we'll look at it, then we'll report again.Shawn privately wrote to Walker, the man who sent him the material that he would never even entertain discussing the material. He concluded the email (which you can read in its entirety here) by writing:
I am not an apologist, Walk. I am a guy who was LDS, is now Christian,and who shoots straight. You are not. Even worse, you are unfair. Andeven worse, you are insecure. Why on earth would I ever want to talkwith you about ANYTHING?Oh I don't know, maybe because you publicly said you would, Shawn?
This outcome is identical to the public professings by Shawn to be willing to interact with me on his program about LDS worship, or his public invitation to have me or other apologists on his show.
I have gotten to know Scott Gordon fairly well over the course of more than a decade. He is a good guy, polite, and understands that fighting rarely advances any position. Mostly creates a spectacle. He and the other FAIR founders did so to provide rational, reproducible answers to those who are interested. If Shawn wanted to interact with FAIR or Mormon Voices, he could start by responding to the thousands of pages they have put out on the Internet, complete with references to authors expert in their fields, rather than just support from UTLM he constantly cites. Until he treats serious defenders of the Church seriously, then he cannot expect them to lower themselves to his level. It is not about class, which I feel Shawn lacks anyway. But it is about equality of position.
Shawn does not represent Christianity. In fact, numerous Christian pastors or defenders have denounced Shawn's orthodoxy as not representative of the "true" faith.
Shawn does not represent any institution which produces anything which could even remotely be called scholarly material. FAIR at least has guys and women with initials like M.A., PhD and Professor after their name present and write seriously researched material.
Shawn claims he is not a scholar, yet he demands specific LDS scholars or leaders to appear on his show.
Lastly, Shawn has had standing offers from me (who is a member of FAIR but would appear on my own behalf) and other LDS apologists to come on the show to explain or defend LDS positions.
Shawn refuses. Shawn will NOT interact with me, by phone, email or in person. You saw how he responded to Walker.
So please, Shawn, if you actually read this far into this post, stop being a hypocrite. I represent my website (Answeringantimormons.com) which is at least as valid as the VAST sea of Christian doctrine you represent. If you are unwilling to be made uncomfortable by someone who doesn't really care about your position in the stack of life, maybe you can understand why Scott doesn't feel much compulsion to validate your mostly uninformed views by coming on the show.
And please, stop saying you were a Mormon for 40 years. While that may be chronologically true, your own book makes it clear that you only believed it for about 3 years, from 19-22 or so. As you state repeatedly in your book, you started searching for "the truth" as you were walking off the flight upon returning from your mission. You were doing drugs, womanizing and/or searching for alternative faiths (or no faith), according to my reading of your book, the rest of the time. It sounds impressive, but you know you didn't pay attention for most of the first 20 years, and you were looking to leave the last 17. Not exactly the scholars path through the faith.