Shawn McCraney and The Church of Anti-Mormonism

Posted: December 10, 2017 in Born Again Mormon Movement, Jason Wallace, McCraneyism, Mormon Studies, Shawn McCraney

by Jason Wallace
I’ve been asked why I bother to respond to Shawn McCraney. In Shawn’s mind, I’m attacking him from jealousy, since he describes me as a “Salieri” to his “Mozart.” Despite Shawn’s high opinion of himself, I don’t see him as a genius, but a boastful, ignorant man who calls the God of the Bible a “monster.” I feel compelled to defend the God I love. I have also been encouraged to see people credit my witness in helping them abandon Shawn’s cult for Biblical churches. But there is another reason that I believe it’s important to respond to Shawn – he is the poster boy for the “Church of Anti-Mormonism.”

Because Mormonism is the majority faith in Utah, it shapes how even non-Mormons think about religion. Mormons have church membership, leadership, calls to holiness, Sabbaths, tithing, and a traditional form of worship. Non-Mormons often reject all of these. Many embrace a “personal relationship with Jesus,” divorced from a visible church. Since Mormons have authoritarian leadership, non-Mormons often stress a radical individualism without personal accountability. Since LDS equate holiness with avoiding coffee and alcohol, non-Mormons tend to downplay any holiness in favor of “freedom in Christ.” Since the Mormons have a Sabbath, any Sabbath must be legalism. Since Mormons use tithes to control access to the temple, all tithing must be rejected. Since Mormons sing traditional hymns, worship must be a rock concert with laser lights and smoke machines for it to be “real.”

Mormons worship another god and follow another gospel, but this does not mean everything they do must be wrong. They are a counterfeit church that bears at least some resemblance to Christ’s true Church. People in the New Testament were baptized not just into Christ, but into a visible church, which Jesus commanded them to hear (Matthew 18:17). Just because Mormon leaders lord themselves over their people, that doesn’t mean there is no leadership in the church. Jesus had his apostles ordain elders in every city (Titus 1:5). The elders were not to lord themselves over the people (1 Peter 5:3), but the people were to submit to them (Hebrews 13:17). Holiness is not found in “touch not, taste not (Colossians 2:21),” but it does involve keeping ourselves from sexual immorality (Acts 15:20) and keeping ourselves unspotted by the world (James 1:27). Freedom in Christ involves not only justification (freedom from the guilt of sin), but sanctification (freedom from the power of sin). Just because the Pharisees and Mormons abused the Sabbath and tithing doesn’t invalidate them. The Sabbath was supposed to be a delight (Isaiah 58:13). Jesus condemned the Pharisees for tithing of the smallest spices and neglecting the weightier matters of the law, but he said, “these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone (Matthew 23:23).” Worship is not only in spirit and truth (John 4:24) but with reverence and awe (Hebrews 12:28).

Shawn is simply an extreme, “grunge” version of what defines a lot of non-Mormon religion in Utah. He seems to recognize that his Christianity isn’t really Biblical. I think that helps explain his full preterism. By claiming that the Second Coming was in 70 A.D., he can ignore anything that conflicts with his totally “spiritual” religion. All these things passed away with the Second Coming. By attacking “Sola Scriptura,” he can also add new revelations that allow him to redefine things according to his desires. The irony is that in the end, McCraney’s “Church of Anti-Mormonism” ends up looking a lot like Mormonism.

Not all of the “Church of Anti-Mormonism” is as radical as Shawn, but it is so clearly unbiblical that it helps Mormons justify staying in Mormonism. Instead of overreacting against Mormonism, we need to proclaim the whole counsel of God – a Jesus who saves us in our sins, but also from them – the faith once for all delivered to the saints.

Please click on the above image to watch the HOTM 2.0 broadcast that this article was written in response to. 

Comments
  1. Jason, I am an ex-Mormon of 46+ years lead out mainly by UTLM and Shawn. It has been especially tough as I have family, friends and a long-term bonding with the LDS church?

    Last Sunday I was at our local LDS carol service singing, praising God; ex-changing Christmas Cards; catching up with friends despite our different religious beliefs. This emotional diatribe of yours against Shawn does not convey brotherly love, nor even one that can possibly be classed with the harmony and teachings of Jesus or either the body of Christ. Three years on I am still looking for a good church, but many Christians like you do not seem to practice what you preach? God does not need you? God can deal with Shawn if he wishes? We are nothing before Him! So, Brother where is the example of trusting in the Lord, loving your enemies, and YES if needs be even having the humility to work with people like Shawn: who have blessed and helped many lives?

    If I can find solace and love in Christ with non-denominational friendships, and even with those who seriously physically injured us as a family years’ ago, how is it you cannot even love your Brother? I watched you several times on HOTM and hoped you could be a beacon of light unto us ex-Mormons. Instead my heart and spirit bleeds over the type of God and church represented here in this article! Please let God lead and not the wisdom of men and their institutions with self-appointed agendas? Be the light of love and forbearing, reminiscent of Christ and the example we need?

    I pray that one day you may become wise enough to understand the deeper workings of God, and will help facilitate bring people like me to God – and closing the divisions across Christian denominations which make Christianity almost a global joke and embarrassment unto God. The world is full of examples that divide the body of Christ and demonstrate the false self-righteousness and intolerance of religion unto their fellow man. Please unite rather than divide, inspire rather than dispirit, and be humble instead of proud. As you love scripture here is one I like to remember as a new Christian ‘If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.’ (1 John 4:20-21, NKJV)

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    • Michael Lake (aka “LDS Phoenix”), also posted the above response to this article on the Beggar’s Bread Facebook page (see https://www.facebook.com/BeggarsBreadBlog/posts/1574553362626971?comment_id=1583652371717070&comment_tracking=%7B%22tn%22%3A%22R0%22%7D)

      The author, Jason Wallace, responded there as follows:

      Michael, was the Apostle Paul being un-Christlike when he said the Judaizers were preaching another gospel that was no gospel? Was the Apostle John hating his brothers when he called professing Christians antichrists (1 John 2:18)? Better yet, was Jesus being un-Christlike when he called the Pharisees hypocrites and blind leaders of the blind? They claimed God as their father, but Jesus said they were of their father the devil. Rather than accusing me of hypocrisy, you need to make sure that you are using biblical standards for making your judgments. As to your accusations of self-righteousness, I have none. I am a sinner saved by God’s grace alone.

      You assume that Shawn is a brother in Christ. Would you care to make the biblical case for that in the face of what Jesus says in Matthew 18:17? On what basis do you accept Shawn as a brother in Christ, but not Thomas Monson?

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      • In response to Mr. Wallace, Mr. Lake responded as follows (see https://www.facebook.com/BeggarsBreadBlog/posts/1574553362626971?comment_id=1583652371717070&reply_comment_id=1583844125031228&comment_tracking=%7B%22tn%22%3A%22R%22%7D)

        Great to hear from you Jason, thanks for taking the time to respond.

        Going backwards, I do not presume to know God’s full relationship with Shawn: for no man knows the mind of God and His ways are above our understanding. Nor do I fully understand or know Monson’s real heart. But over the years I have learnt there are many devout followers of Christ even within the Mormon church, working to the best of their knowledge – with a heart and mind for the Lord.

        I notice you quote Matthew 18:17, but neglected the following verses about the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant. Brother, we both know scripture can be quoted, twisted and used in oh so many ways; heck I am ex-LDS I have seen it…and even at Bible College often full clarity is obscure at times. We both know the limitations! What’s being discussed here is more than that.

        When you engaged with Shawn on HOTM.TV people found your teaching. I listened – I might not fully agree with you on everything, but equally at times I would not fully agree with Shawn and some others on the show. But it added too choice, understanding and the ability to think about God in higher ways. In Shawn’s defence, he like many burnt is seeking the truth! He is a good man a sincere heart: I have seen his work in my life, the hours and care he has given in helping myself and others has been incredible. But let’s cut to the chase. Something more needs to be done to help ex-LDS, and frankly the current collective support is diabolical – and Christians bickering does more to dismay people from reengaging with God than bringing them into his fold. Role models and infrastructure are needed!

        I am a sinner, you’re a sinner – and Shawn’s a self-proclaimed sinner. How can we ask for and expect grace when denying it unto a Brother who tries to do so much to help people? Answering your first questions: I judge by the fruits, and the fruits are of Christ still in Shawn. There is clearly God’s light within him, and a sincere desire to follow and serve God. As such I happily call him Brother! However, even if you cannot see Shawn as your Brother (I think your mistaken – judge not less ye be judged and all that). You as a Christian are only doing the Devils work for him, by hiding your light under the bushel and not being prepared to reach out to build something better. What I am hoping for Jason, is for you to help facilitate the harvest bringing fruit unto the Lord. Hermeneutics, while fascinating and instructional is nothing without the Spirt of God and the fruit thereof. Too many quote, few live – and at this time it is the examples of Christ not the theologians the world requires: especially when talking to burnt ex-Mormons.

        As for the church, we both know it is the body of believers. God did not brand mark/trademark his church via earthly institutions. The question is can the church ever be one as it was meant to be, and who helps to build that vision and who inhibits it? No man controls God, and no man fully knows the heart of another – only God. So please if you can, find an olive branch to the sheep you are not feeding?

        Many thanks, Mike

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  2. In response to Mr. Lake’s rejoinder, Jason Wallace replied (see https://www.facebook.com/BeggarsBreadBlog/posts/1574553362626971?comment_id=1583652371717070&reply_comment_id=1583963301685977&comment_tracking=%7B%22tn%22%3A%22R%22%7D)

    You ignored every question I asked. You imply that I am twisting Scripture, but you never show how other than to decry division and imply that I’m unloving for any criticism of Shawn.

    Jesus called for division between professing Christians in Matthew 18:17. As a consequence of Shawn rejecting all churches everywhere, I cannot treat him as a brother. You offer no biblical reason I should, other than implying Jesus’ command is somehow trumped elsewhere.

    I pray for Shawn and call him to repentance. I do that in love by keeping the issues to what he is teaching. I do the same for Monson. They are both heretics according to God’s Word.

    So I am confronted by two pictures of speaking the truth in love: yours and Jesus’. I will stick with His.

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  3. Why is it when the great reformers and beacons arrive the scribes and Pharisees (theologians) always cry heresy and manipulate their words and sayings? They did it to Jesus, His disciples, Luther, Tyndale with an ongoing history of millions killed and murdered in the name of law – and what’s thought right at the time throughout the ages? Why is it the so called devout are often so spiritually dead as to not often comprehending God’s vision as to his works afoot?

    Out of interest Jason, are you ex-Mormon? Did you ever need to re-question and explore everything to heal the extensive trauma? Does God not allow grace for people going through such a transformation and metamorphosis? Perhaps even unto the pastors and ministers helping them to question everything in their search for truth? Who provide the shelter and minister to the flock?

    Today I received some Christmas cards and some small presents from our local LDS Bishop, some members both locally and nationally also sent their blessings, cards and presents separately. This despite my heresies and being severely apostate by Mormon standards! In many ways president Monson does a far greater job in training Christians than many Christian theologians and so-called ministers do.

    God did not call me out of Mormonism to answer to men and be under yet another manmade institution! Yes, I have pastors and people I consort with, take counsel from, and if serving for them then I come under their direction and ministry and am accountable unto them. But I belong to God first and only, HIS for HIS works and the glory of HIM alone! One day as traumatised millions leave religions around the world, a rebuilding of their spiritual peace will be needed…and one day there may just be others God has trained and nurtured to help within this cause, so they are not just kicked to the kerb (called a heretic) and kicked out of the local churches the moment they suddenly question say the Trinity. A longer love and patience maybe needed. Luckily God always has others to cover the failings of some, many are called but few are chosen.

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    • Mr. Lake, I’m curious. Are you telling us that the Professors of Victory Bible College where you attended (or perhaps are currently attending) would concur with your aggressive defense of someone who claims to be teaching the Bible yet teaches that the Holy Spirit isn’t a person, calls the Doctrine of the Trinity “garbage”, and describes himself as a “committed modalist”?

      Would they concur with and endorse one of their students acting as an apologist for a person who not only teaches that but also teaches the false teaching of Universalism? Someone who rejects Sola Scriptura? Someone who not refuses any and all forms of accountability within the Body of Christ but attacks it weekly on his worldwide YouTube channel?

      I’m curious because when I look at their Doctrinal Statement this is what I find:

      DOCTRINAL STATEMENT
      – That God exists in three persons, but as one God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit (the Trinity)…
      – In a literal Heaven and Hell.
      (see http://www.vbcr.net/doctrinal-statement/)

      In addition, you opened with this statement: “Why is it when the great reformers and beacons arrive the scribes and Pharisees (theologians) always cry heresy and manipulate their words and sayings? They did it to Jesus, His disciples, Luther, Tyndale with an ongoing history of millions killed and murdered in the name of law – and what’s thought right at the time throughout the ages?”

      This raises a few questions as well:

      1) Could you please show us where Jesus, His disciples, Luther, and Tyndale taught the heresies that Shawn McCraney does?

      2) You telling us that Jesus, His disciples, Luther, and Tyndale would endorse the heresies that Shawn McCraney is teaching?

      3) Could you please explain to us exactly who these “millions killed and murdered in the name of law” are?

      4) Could you explain to us exactly what this “law” that they were murdered due to is?

      Thanks.

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  4. My journey out of Mormonism has been somewhat simply amazing. There is no doubt the Lord cleared the way from Shawn, to college, to ministry friends and pastors. He knew what was needed when, and was always one step ahead. The reason for my staunch defence, is I have been there, got the T-shirt and seen the harm extreme evangelism and religious bigotry does first hand – I have seen it cost lives!

    Many leave Mormonism and go in to atheism, spiritually destroyed cut-off from Christians who frequently do not wish to explain or have challenged their beliefs. The problem is like Sola Scriptura; many were once taught not to question the Book of Mormon only to find out it was unfounded as scripture. Coincidently one of the proofs are passages that are seemingly copied from the KJV Bible into Mormon scripture which contain errors discovered within the Bible text itself (the Bible errors were copied unknowingly). Add language translation errors, unknown authors like the book of Hebrews, unknown date writings, some key scripture policy changes like between Jeremiah 31:31-33 and Hebrews 8:7-13 and modern-day theologians and pastors questioning things like Adam & Eve, the flood. Is it any wonder ex-LDS truth seekers then wish to know for themselves!

    Shawn’s CAMPUS and HOTM do a great job at making that information available. Great harm is done by trying to create manmade names like McCraneyism, to try and discredit and manipulate opinion into thinking somehow Shawn’s operating a cult, and to rebrand God seeking followers likewise as cult members (you included me within that mix). I have listened to Shawn for years and seen him apologise when wrong, correct taught errors, and always ensuring people follow God not him…helping people to their own personal relationship with God! Now for some reason my college is seemingly also being mentioned to create further divisions and contentions from the previous postings. It is ironic that what’s often called a cult supplies religious freedom and that often those accusers seem to be the ones exerting the controlling, interfering, and denying of people to seek God freely – ready to knock down one and all including good bible collage reputations and churches who have done nothing unto them – to get their way!

    Frankly, this is not mine or my understanding of God’s workings. The original request while a gripe was a call for fellowship, harmony within the body, and a desire that maybe people could help in conjunction with Shawn to build something better to help us ex-Mormons and others. I personally believe lack of cooperation is a missed opportunity: one many someday will regret. Let’s not worry though, as God has in place shepherds who love his sheep, feed and sustain them, and will help them to grow into what He desires them to be. I have been so blessed by these good shepherds, I dread to think what could have happened without God’s guiding hand. Imagen the torment I could have been subjected too in trying to find Christ within Christianity without the very support mechanisms many are so intent to destroy rather than improve.

    Like

    • @LDSPhoenix (aka Michael Lake)
      Respectfully Mr. Lake, you have failed to answer my questions. So here they are again:

      1) Are you telling us that the Professors of Victory Bible College where you attended (or perhaps are currently attending) would concur with your aggressive defense of someone who claims to be teaching the Bible yet teaches that the Holy Spirit isn’t a person, calls the Doctrine of the Trinity “garbage”, and describes himself as a “committed modalist”?

      2) Would they concur with and endorse one of their students acting as an apologist for a person who not only teaches that but also teaches the false teaching of Universalism? Someone who rejects Sola Scriptura? Someone who not refuses any and all forms of accountability within the Body of Christ but attacks it weekly on his worldwide YouTube channel?

      3) Could you please show us where Jesus, His disciples, Luther, and Tyndale taught the heresies that Shawn McCraney does?

      4) You telling us that Jesus, His disciples, Luther, and Tyndale would endorse the heresies that Shawn McCraney is teaching?

      5) Could you please explain to us exactly who these “millions killed and murdered in the name of law” are?

      6) Could you explain to us exactly what this “law” that they were murdered due to is?

      Thank you.

      Like

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