Sunday, July 16, 2017

My Favorite Anti-Mormon

Unexpected circumstances recently took me from our home in Sandpoint, Idaho all the way back to Utah, and while I was in Salt Lake City I was the guest on Shawn McCraney's live-streaming telecast, "Heart of the Matter."

Shawn McCraney and I had never met in person prior to the night of the telecast, but we have communicated with each other by phone and email a few times over the past decade. What struck me as I watched the telecast later was the realization that here I was having a perfectly enjoyable conversation with a man that only a dozen years ago I would have shunned as my enemy.

Shawn and I have a few differences that in the past I would have felt divided us irrevocably. For instance, I embrace the Book of Mormon. Shawn does not. I believe Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God. Shawn does not.

Shawn has, in fact, devoted a good portion of his life attempting to rescue believing Mormons from what he feels is their delusions. As a formerly devout latter-day Saint himself, Shawn is intimately familiar with the history and doctrines of the church, and he not only rejects them, he vociferously denounces the entire religion as fraudulent. So you can understand why, when I first came across Shawn McCraney on the internet, I considered him a traitor to the faith -as indeed many active latter-day saints still do today. Yet when Shawn and I finally met in person we embraced each other as brothers.

Why is that?

Because the thing that unites Shawn and I is more powerful than that which divides us. We share an abiding love for one another because we both embrace Jesus Christ as our Savior and Redeemer. And that, I can tell you, easily overcomes any religious differences or dogmas. For those who share a unity in Christ, Denominational differences can easily be set aside. They are simply not that relevant.

I happen to believe that the core fundamentals of what we call "Mormonism" are true and valid, but that many of those truths revealed through Joseph Smith have since been warped, corrupted, or outright ignored by those who assumed authority over the church after Joseph's death. The real traitors to the faith were Joseph Smith's purported friends who considered "authority" the ultimate determinant of what is important to the religion, rather than focusing on the pure word of God. After Joseph's death they lied about Joseph Smith when it served their own purposes. They lied about the things Joseph adamantly opposed, and they lied when they claimed Joseph passed his authority on to them.

Today the LDS Church is led by descendants of those original usurpers, men every bit as convinced of their divine right to ownership of the religion as were Caiaphas and Annas in their day.

So Shawn McCraney and I have something in common after all. We are both convinced that religious dogma will not save; only Jesus saves. And any church that requires its members to profess fealty to the leaders of that church is leading those members astray.

In my interview, I tell how the LDS Church today is actively disciplining faithful members who refuse to bow the knee to Church leadership. Members who testify of a desire to "become closer to Christ" are, in the eyes of Church leadership, using "code words" that mark them as being on the road to apostasy. Anyone who admits to following the teachings of the Book of Mormon too closely is at risk of being disfellowshiped or excommunicated.

These days it is not people like Shawn McCraney who are driving Mormons out of the church. The ones responsible for the exodus today are the leaders of LDS Inc themselves. Like the high priests in Jesus' day, they falsely teach the people that they are the ultimate authority and that safety is only assured if you "keep your eyes riveted on the leadership of the Church."

This is something Jesus never taught. It is false doctrine. Our eyes should be riveted on Jesus Christ and Him only. Anyone who teaches contrary to that is on the high road to apostasy, and will lead you astray.

I very much enjoyed the time I spent in the cheery company of Shawn McCraney. There is something very uplifting about being in fellowship someone with whom we share the unity of Christ.  The person I was a dozen years ago would have thought Shawn McCraney was my enemy. Now I know he is my brother. I really love this guy.

You can watch the one hour interview by going to the Heart of the Matter website, or right here:




Update:
Here is a link to a blog post relevant to the conversation Shawn and I had together:
The Refiner's Fire

And here is where you can find evidence that the Book of Mormon took place in North America, including the latest archaeology, DNA research, etc:
http://bookofmormonevidence.org/

By way of correction, at about the 12:10 mark in the interview, I incorrectly stated that the Documentary History of the Church had been doctored by Joseph Smith. What I meant to say was that it had been doctored by Brigham Young in order to put words in Joseph Smith's mouth that Joseph never said.  You can read more about that here.  

By the way, I am well aware that I talked and talked and talked too much in that interview, so you don't have to point that out to me. My wife already has.

                                                                    *****

Announcements:
I mentioned above that I was unexpectedly called to Utah. Connie's aunt had died a few months ago, and someone needed to go down there and retrieve the possessions in the name of the family. Aunt Mary Lou had taken out a reverse mortgage on the house she lived it, so the property was being reposessed by the bank. But the contents of the house belong to Connie and her siblings, and though there wasn't much of value, we brought back what shoes, clothing, and blankets we could here to Northern Idaho. Our fellowship is preparing a sort of "Bishop's Storehouse" of goods we hope to make available to those in need during the coming days, so we had permission from Connie's siblings to donate anything we could find of value for that purpose.

I'm mentioning this only because I owe a great debt of gratitude for all those who showed up to assist me in sorting through the stuff and helping to rescue it. Without your assistance everything would have wound up in a landfill once the house was foreclosed upon. These were all the worldly goods and family mementos of Connie's deceased grandparents as well as her uncle and aunt, all now passed. She was heartbroken at the prospect that everything that ever meant anything to her family would soon be junked.

So to those kind people who showed up to assist me, a very gracious "thank you." Your help meant a lot to me, and the fact that I had never met any of you in person (aside from the three friends who came down from Sandpoint) just seems miraculous. It's hard to fathom that so many who have never met me would be so ready to give of their time. So again I thank you, Connie thanks you, and Connie's sister and two brothers also thank you for saving their family's meager possessions from ending up in the trash for all time.

And best of all, some good people who are in need of something to wear and keep them warm will one day have what they need because of your kind deeds. So I also thank you in advance on their behalf.

22 comments:

Tom Bartlett said...

Rock, you are just another of the many breakouts of the Mormon church. BOM is a fake pure and simple.

Anthony J Davis said...

The BofM as counterfeit is just unacceptable Tom have you read from 1 Nephi to Moroni? Or perhaps did your church tell you that Joseph was a character of bad rapport? My testimony is that the Brighamites.Did destroy pure Mormonism...To the degree that we are starting to rebuild with the help of the Lord and his humble servants of which Rock and Denver SnufferJr.are just 2!Even though you don't have to believe anything I hope that even if you think Joseph was clever enough with the various people who were his scribes and associates to make up the Nephite civilization to maybe give the BofM 1 more shot❣

Daniel Lima said...

I admire Rock's sincerity and love for Mormonism. But the Book of Mormon is just not what the Church or even Joseph preached it is. It is not a historical record. Scripture yes, because people believe in it, but a record of God's dealings with an ancient civilization it is not.

Brian W said...

Rock,

I wanted to mention an inspired version scripture reference that clarifies the "no man hath seen God at any time" reference posed by a questioner in your video.

JST, 1 John 4:12

12 No man hath seen God at any time, except them who believe. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

I love your perspective and the respect you show even to those who have different opinions than yourself. I count you as a brother and friend regardless of which denominations we do/don't choose to affiliate with.

Keep up the fight against ignorance and apathy!

John Scott Peterson said...

Rock,

Excellent job as usual. I share your belief that someone believing in Jesus trumps any religion. I also believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet sent by God to demonstrate that anyone can speak with Jesus and get their truth directly from Him.

One thing I would ask anyone who wants to proclaim the untruthfulness of the Book of Mormon, why disparage a book that states on its title page that "Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting Himself to all nations."
An attack on the Book of Mormon to me is not about the truthfulness of a church. Criticism of the Book of Mormon is at some level anti-Christ.

I would not want to find myself on the wrong side of an issue that created doubt about the divinity of Christ, but that's just me.

Keep up your service Rock, I look forward to all your posts, and thank you for all your prior words.

John Scott Peterson

DeeLyn said...

The BoM is a wonderful and even an amazing book, filled with inspiring stories, ideas and many truths, like many books written by religious men and women in the past. But it's the falsehoods in the BoM that are the problem for they lead people away from Christ and stories that couldn't be true and not written by true prophets.

For Christ was very clear that we could discern true revelation and true prophets by the fact that they only teach his commandments and not things that persuade people to do opposite Christ's commandments.

False scripture and false prophets usually teach mostly truth to get people to believe in them, but then mix in falsehoods that overall lead people astray. Joseph and the BoM do and did teach many great truths, but it's the false things they teach or do that determine if they are from God or not.

If people just viewed & used the BoM for the good it teaches and acknowledged the falsehoods that teach contrary to Christ in it like all other books out there, and realized it was not from true prophets or God, then it would be great, but because people take it to be all or mostly true and from God, people tend to accept the falsehoods in it too and thus it turns people away from Christ more than brings people to him.

If people would just stick to the 4 Gospels in the New Testament instead of anything else coming from so called prophets, including the Old Testament, or the rest of the NT, or books like the BOM, D&C, etc. then people would be far better off for they would only focus on the supposed words of Christ and try to understand them and what is true or false in the Gospels, they would not get so off track, as they do reading or believing the writings, ancient or modern, of false prophets who mingled alot more error with the truth.

The words of Christ in the NT are the only true scripture we have, since it came from Christ himself and not from some guy who claimed it came from Christ. It's like believing Brigham when he quotes Joseph Smith rather than believing Joseph's own words. Joseph's own words are going to be alot more true than what Brigham said he said. Same with people quoting Christ or saying they speak for him, whether it was Joseph, Paul or Moses, etc.

MrHFMetz said...

Well Brother Rock, that was an interesting interview; thanks for it, also to Shawn McCraney for inviting you on his program.
The awakening among the Latter-day Saints that you talk about is now an ongoing proces that can not be stopped anymore. Just the other day I listened to an interview by John Dehlin (Mormon Stories podcast nr 705) on the contraction of the church in Europe and in particular the Netherlands (of which I am a personal witness). I advise people not to leave if they feel they have been misled, but to start their own investigation, because there is so much truth in Mormonism yet to be unveiled by personal research.
People who doubt the divine authority of the Book of Mormon for instance have not done their homework properly. I suggest they read https://www.lds.org/topics/book-of-mormon-translation?lang=eng That is a nice essay for the born-again Mormon to begin with; good luck.

The Doctor said...

Deelyn:

Please give me some examples of the falsehoods in the BoM you are referring to.

dx said...

Sorry, but Shawn McCraney is a nutjob. He buys into any anti-Mormon garbage that he can and he's often belligerent about it.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Well, I'm often called a nutjob myself, dx, so I know how it feels.

dx said...

I wouldn't call you a nutjob, Rock. However, I think McCraney used you to bolster his anti-Mormon thesis. They are excited by anything that undermines the LDS church and totally reject every part of it; whereas, you and I lament the problems and wish a return to the fundamentals it was built on.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Well, dx, I take a different view. I maintain that many of the good Christians who have rejected the Book of Mormon have done so because they have incomplete information, or the Church has fed them a warped view of the faith that caused them to accept falsehoods as essential to the faith.

A couple of areas we touched on briefly were the Church's official position that Joseph Smith initiated polygamy, or that the Book of Mormon took place in MesoAmerica.

Once one considers that the Book of Mormon people lived in North America as Joseph Smith always maintained, all kinds of problems such as horses and DNA simply go away. Not to mention the ridiculous assertion that there must have been two hill Cumorahs.

When people take the time to take another look at the theology introduced by Joseph before Brigham and his successors mucked it up, things are seen in a whole new light.

I think, then, that we have an obligation to disabuse our fellow Christians of those things that led them to abandon the core fundamentals of Mormonism in the first place, and reassess what they think they know. So I welcome any opportunity for discussion with those who have been hostile to the beliefs I embrace, because you never know who you may reach. A closer examination of one's fixed beliefs may result in a change of heart now and then.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Besides, dx, my Shawn was very respectful of my beliefs, even though I and everyone in the room fully understood he disagreed with a lot of them. It was a very fruitful dialogue as far as I was concerned. If Shawn McCraney is a nutjob, as you assert, he showed no signs of it that evening. He seemed sane enough to me.

Dave P. said...

Oh, but Rock, didn't you know that in the eyes of many people on either end of the spectrum, we're all nutjobs if we don't conform 100% to their views?

MC said...

Rock,

Nice to see two people with different view points come together in the spirit of Christian brotherhood. While I think that Shawn McCraney and those like him do far more harm than good, I can respect that they are at least coming from a position of trying to "rescue" Mormons from what they believe is a cult and bring them to what they believe is the true Christian religion. Yes they do way more harm than good, but at least they aren't as spiritually destructive as the Exmormon atheists on Reddit and elsewhere, that not only destroy people's faith in the Book of Mormon and the prophetic calling of Joseph Smith, but destroy people's faith in God and his son Jesus Christ altogether.

On a different note, have you ever looked at Andean Peru and Chile as the land of Nephites? From what I can tell that is the only location on Earth that fits all the criteria described in the pages of the Book of Mormon itself. The theories of Mesoamerica, Heartland, Great Lakes, etc all have to explain away or distort the scriptural record in order to make their predetermined models fit.

Joseph Smith may very well have originally believed that the Book of Mormon took place in North America, but he also made comments suggesting South or Central America as well.

dx said...

I guess many of you haven't seen McCraney's long hate-filled screaming rants. Just pick one at random on YouTube. Then tell me he's perfectly sane.

bom pogp said...

While reading your post I was impressed by your comments on Shawn McCraney as being respectful? From WHAT I have seen of him on his youtube station, far from it.
I have noticed many coming out and stating the BoM is false from ex-members? Yet have they so soon forgotten of the witness of the Holy Spirit, or were THEY DECEIVED by the heart as so many "christians" including McCraney spouts?
Have so many forgotten the pearls contained in the BoM which state they if they "endured" till the end God will give them eternal life?
Here are some attributes of a latter day saint below.

Patient Long suffering Kind Loving Peaceful enduring till the end?

(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 121:7 - 8)
My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;
8 And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.

I can NOW comprehend the "WAR in HEAVEN" how it began and why it continues till the is day even among the em-bodied AND un-embodied. Division is caused by the small things not so much as the great things.

PEOPLE deny Joseph Smith as a Prophet. Then every thing he said or done is false to them ( McCraney spout ) Did not Jesus get denied after his resurrection?
I MARVEL at how soon people forget the witness of God to them from the beginning just marvel at them and see some prophecy being fulfilled.

To ENDURE is the hardest thing on earth as far as I am concerned because it requires, all. Yet we are promised more than we could, can, will imagine for our faithfulness in KEEPING our covenants to God and Christ.

bom pogp said...

ps As with you dialoging with McCraney , I am glad he was respectful to you and your views as you stated but yet the fundamental basis or foundation is HE is opposed to you and your views on the existence of the church of Jesus Christ...Korihor comes to mind?
But nevertheless YOU states you love him in Christ and consider him a brother, well good for you and I mean it but for me, he is a snake.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

MC, I'm pretty well convinced the Book of Mormon described people who lived on the North American continent. I'm not aware of any place where Joseph Smith suggested South America. A writer by the name of Benjamin Winchester wrote in the Times & Seasons giving South America as the land described in the Book of Mormon, and he did it over Joseph Smith's byline, so that may be what you're thinking of. Joseph himself was very unhappy with Winchester's piece and said Winchester had "a rotten heart" and that he would injure the church as much as he could.

Indeed he has, as today so many good members have left the faith because their shelf was broken by the weight of false information still taught among church apologists that Joseph must have been mistaken when HE said the events took place in North America, because they point to these fabrications of Winchesters written in Joseph's name as saying contrary.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Bom Pogp,
I only said Shawn was respectful to me. I am aware of his frustrations in seeing good latter-day Saints follow what he sees as a cult, and I am in agreement to a point. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as presently constituted IS a cult by every definition.

Unfortunately, Shawn himself and others have been betrayed by that very church that taught that Joseph Smith practiced polygamy, and that the Book of Mormon took place in South America. These assertions cannot hold up, and I am not surprised when it breaks the shelf of so many believers.

Had the Church after Joseph Smith taught ONLY those things revealed through Joseph Smith, and not speculated about so much dross such as polygamy, blood atonement, and the unsupportable beliefs of some that Joseph Smith taught a MesoAmerican geography of the book of Mormon -which he never did- I wonder how many faithful saints might have remained in the fold.

It's difficult to blame people for leaving a cult that promotes so much false doctrine that was never revealed by the Lord. We get to love these people and help them to see the common ground between us.

Recall that the Church today is on a mission to purge any and all whose loyalty to Christ is higher than their allegiance to leadership. It deserves to lose members. It makes no effort to bring Christians back into the fold, for it considers Christians to be apostates because they reject the arm of flesh and seek Christ instead.

matt lohrke said...

MC -

Something I find interesting when academics try to locate Book of Mormon geography is that they completely ignore the spiritual promises and references made in Nephi's vision in 1 Nephi 13-15:

-A land highly favored above all others
-Inhabited by multitudes of Gentiles (British)
-Gentiles would scatter the remnant of the Lamanities
-Gentiles would become a mighty, wealthy people
-References to Revolutionary War
-Christ during his visit to Bountiful said the Gentiles (British) must be set up as "a free people" in "this land" - hard to believe he's referencing an entire hemisphere.

(This, of course, negates the Christopher Columbus "man among the Gentiles" legend we've been told these many decades now--this man comes to a remnant of Lehi who are "in" the Promised Land. Columbus never set foot in North America according to his travel logs.)

These are just a few of the multitude of references that point to Colonial America--specifically New England. Unfortunately we got very carried away with this Manifest Destiny nonsense and overstepped our God-given inheritance.

America, specifically everything east of the Mississippi river, which made up 95% of America during Joseph's life, is the Promised Land in my estimation. I mean, shoot, has anyone else driven through Wyoming lately? It's a wasteland, not a land flowing with milk and honey.



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