Shawn McCraney is the founder of cult.
A southern California native, he was raised a member of the LDS church, served a full-time mission for that institution honorably, married in the Los Angeles LDS temple (Mary Marguerite DuBose) and worked as a securities broker from 1988 – 2001 while he and Mary brought three daughters into the world. In 1997, after years of searching for unassailable truth while stumbling through life, he had a roadside experience with the living God which changed him forevermore. He remained active in the LDS church until his request for excommunication was granted in 2001. In that year he abandoned selling securities and embarked on writing a book (I Was a Born-Again Mormon) while working in a kiosk overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Southern California. Shawn also enrolled in the Calvary Chapel School of Ministry during this time and learned the Bible from the mind of Chuck Smith, founder. Once self-published, his book was read by a Salt Lake City woman whose husband managed a full-power Christian television station and Shawn was invited to be a guest on a program to talk about his views. The response to this show caused the manager to offer Shawn his own hour-long live show called, Heart of the Matter, which aired in March of 2006 and remained on the air until January of 2013. HOTM was an overnight sensation in the State of Utah and was based on Shawn comparing and contrasting Mormonism with biblical Christianity – in addition to taking live calls and constantly changing his appearance (which he did to directly confront the appearance-focused culture of the LDS community around him). After seven years of weekly entertainment, recording over 380 programs, Shawn realized that the Evangelical brick and mortar churches in the state were failing in their obligations to rightly fortify the believers who entered their congregations – with some of those believers coming to them from directly from Mormonism due to the influence of the show. On January 1st 2013, Shawn announced on his program that he was going to focus his attention that year on the failures of Evangelicalism and was summarily dismissed by the television station due to pressure of the local Christian leaders. While difficult at the time, this dismissal was a huge blessing in disguise.
In the face of being without a public outlet, Shawn and his wife, using the proceeds from a small inheritance Mary received from the passing of her parents, created their own studio and began streaming Heart of the Matter from another Salt Lake City location in the first quarter of 2013. They also launched C.A.M.P.U.S., an acronym derived from the title, Christian Anarchists Meeting to Prayerfully Understand Scripture and began teaching the Bible verse-by-verse every week from 2013 to 2022. During these years, Shawn was afforded the time to fully investigate the teachings and practices of Christian Evangelicalism from a dedicated, contextual and linguistically focused biblical perspective. No subject was too sacred that it was ignored; everything was subject to intense biblical scrutiny. His findings – especially related to the myth of eternal afterlife punishment, the ontology of God (the Trinity), soteriological positions and the second coming were renounced by the Evangelical community and Shawn was publicly castigated as “a heretic,” “fallen,” an “enemy of the cross,” “unsaved” and “not Christian.” During those years, Shawn penned several books that detailed his discoveries.
In early 2020, Shawn, along with Kathy Maggie, Michael Anderson, and a handful of souls devoted to the central message of God having had the ultimate victory over Satan, sin, death, hell through the victorious life, death, resurrection and return of His Son, Jesus Christ for His bride in that day, teamed up with his youngest daughter Delaney, who had graduated from Michigan University with a masters in Architecture, and formed cult, an online educational platform aimed at questioning all things relative to the faith, contributing to the scriptural knowledge of all interested parties, encouraging love to all people everywhere, and promoting unity in the world of all people irrespective of their religious affinities and affiliations.
Shawn is convinced, by and through the scriptural narrative called the Bible, that the victory over all things has been had by God through His Son, that all human beings are standing, as it were, in the Garden of Eden, and choosing, like Adam and Eve, on how to live. He believes and promotes the choice of faith and unconditional love for all who care to know and pursue God, and that maturing as a believer in spiritual truths is vital to afterlife joy. This maturation comes by and through people humbly submitting to the will and ways of the Spirit of Christ, embracing selfless, insufferable and sacrificial love, and trusting in the living God. He, along with his closest colleagues have created cult as a means to perpetuate these things. Shawn does not consider himself a prophet nor does he claim any authority to act or speak in the name of God. He is simply a teacher and seeks, albeit errantly, to teach in spirit and truth.