About SHAWN MCCRANEY
Born in Los Angeles, California in 1961 to parents who were also native Los Angelinos, Shawn possessed an artist’s temperament which he probably inherited from his father. His parents were young when they married (mom 13, dad 17) and in the face of having come from families riddled with alcoholism, suicidal tendencies, and mental illness they thought joining the clean-cut, semi-militaristic, truly-American-born religion (known as Mormonism) before Shawn was born would help them raise their growing tribe. Within the confines of that somewhat consuming church, Shawn was taught doctrines, practices, and attitudes as if they were certain and for many years he accepted all that he was told as truth with a capital T.
He served a full-time mission for this church (Harrisburg Pennsylvania) and was married in the Los Angeles LDS temple to Mary Marguerite Dubose shortly after his return. Prior to the mission and marriage, Shawn was involved in swimming, water polo, ocean lifeguarding, and the burgeoning punk music scene seeping forward in Los Angeles and Orange County.
Looking back, Shawn found a home in the nascent punk movement in these areas that he could not find in Mormonism or the family or community around him. And while he loved and loves the sea, and waves and water, he resonated in his heart of heart to what can only be considered the early punk ethic which in summary might be seen as
Extremely subjective and independent.
Possessing a super strong allegiance for doing things oneself.
Anti-authority or at least questioning all authority.
And an unrefined, non-commercial approach to life.
In punk (again, the earliest expressions of it) Shawn found a source for something he had long cherished and sought – authenticity, honesty, decommercialization and self-expression. These tenets found their way into his mind and heart over time as he discovered them more substantive, true, and authentic when compared to other expressions that claimed to represent good or God around him (including scouts, corporate pull, and especially religion).
After being married and while helping Mary raise three original, unique, complex, and individually-minded daughters, Shawn became increasingly dissatisfied with Mormonism and its truth claims and entered into seventeen long years of searching for truth with a capital T. He defines this Truth as unassailable, as Truth that exists with and/or comes from God (if there was such a thing) and Truth that could prove itself at every turn worthy of his allegiance, time and devotions. Along the way, he repeatedly discovered fatal flaws in everything that claimed to possess such Truth, including most forms of philosophy, Eastern Metaphysics, Islam, hedonism, Marxism, capitalism, and nihilism.
By the end of these seventeen years, Shawn was hollowed out and void of any will to live. He had become a man without faith, hope or love. This was in August 1997. His devoted wife took the brunt of his ways to heart and made the repeated choice to stay with him because of her love for their daughters and for him, as tortured as he was. She could not understand his torture but believed that something in him was somehow redeemable, which appears to have revealed itself through his being a dad more than anything else. So one late afternoon in August of 1997, his wife asked him if he would drive to the neighboring city of Costa Mesa, California, to pick up their daughters from gymnastics practice. This is what he relates from that drive that day:
I got in the car and as I drove up Adams Ave toward the destination, I somehow landed on a Christian radio station where an unidentified preacher was speaking. I do not recall seeking such programming out nor wanting to hear something religious but for some reason I listened to this man (who I later learned was named Dr. Charles Stanley). He must have been in the midst of teaching something that caught my attention and so as I drove, I absently listened in. Suddenly I focused on a question he posited to his listening audience. He asked:
“If you can get yourself right with God, why haven’t you done it?”
It was a fantastic question for me to hear at that time because I had tried, amidst my numerous and sordid failures, to get myself right in life which what I saw as synonymous with, “right before God.” See, I was always interested in God (probably due to my religious upbringing and my mother’s leanings toward spiritual matters) but I never thought I was ever in good standing with Him, Her or It. I had always felt like I was in trouble with the Being, or belonged to some sort of demonic consortium or that God could never love the likes of someone like me. I had tried religion (for the first four decades of my life), sports, crime, sex in almost every expression possible, cheating on everything and everyone, education, philosophy, communism, but nothing ever worked in the long term of “getting me right.” Nothing. By the time I heard this message I was a hollowed out, self-centered, wasteland with nowhere to go but out of this world by my own hand (but I was too selfish to ever do it). When I heard Dr. Stanley pose this question I listened – intently. And after asking it he the answered himself, saying,
“The reason you haven’t gotten yourself right with God is because you can’t.”
Now, I don’t remember how much time it took for him to continue talking or even what He said specifically thereafter, but that declaration rang a bell in my head and heart unlike any message I had ever heard! Immediately, I made the mental connection:
“I could not fix myself and therefore I could not get myself right before God. I pulled over to the side of the road and reflected on my life up to that point. I remember thinking that I really had tried, albeit horribly, to get myself right in life. I had obeyed (on the mission at least), I had disobeyed, I had been arrested, I had resorted to might makes right and punched strangers straight in the face, and I had slept with women both beautiful and unappealing; finally but in acts of despair and seeking relief I had cut and burned my flesh to smoldering ribbons but nothing . . . ever . . . worked. Nothing brought me peace. Nothing put me in my right mind. Nothing gave me clarity or hope. Nothing caused a real change.
I remember consciously tuning back in to the broadcast as the cars whizzed past and recalled him explaining that this was the reason that why God sent His Son to the world; to do what we humans cannot do to themselves, to live like we could not live, and to be whom we could not be all as a means to offer Himself up on our behalf as a perfect sacrifice for sin. Our sin. My sin.”
He concludes, “Looking back over my life I could see that I was born a very defective individual in October of 1961. By the end of that particular August day in 1997, I was reborn and given a new life through Him. A new identity, one that is still with me this very day, one that I knew I could trust, hang my hat on and that it was from a God I had not ever known.”
It is now 2023 and twenty-six years have passed since his roadside experience. He has pastored a few churches, presented over 2000 hours of online and television presentations on the biblical faith, written thirty-eight books (with more than a dozen in the que) and have taught through every word and passage of the Apostolic Record (New Testament).
With his new-found faith as a basis he, beginning around 2002, began to write his first book, Born-Again Mormon. In 2006 he was invited to host a television program on a full power station in Salt Lake City, Utah and wrote, produced and presented over 400 hour long programs comparing Mormonism with biblical Christianity between then and the end of 2012. In 2013, after creating their own studio, Shawn continued to stream content our over the internet with thousands of productions that are listed herein. His art also took form during this time, as it shifted from being dark and oriented to pain to biblically themed representations.