I already blogged about part 1 of the interview between two Christians and a Mormon on the Unbelievable radio program. I had some thoughts about the second half of the interview. In my view part 2 went downhill from part 1. They continued to treat each other with great respect but Dayton (the Mormon) started sidestepping major issues, avoiding giving straight answers and so on. Even though everybody was still cordial and respectful Dayton started sounding for all the world like a politician avoiding an issue instead of somebody defining and defending their views with clarity and confidence.
But first some general observations.
- Gilpin heaps praise on Mormons (your average street-level variety). He observes that they are knowledgable, not deceptive, etc. It is very encouraging to hear people openly praise those they disagree with.
- Dayton actually praises Gilpin’s approach to the conversation. They discuss the “aggressive” approach and both denounce it, rightly so. These interviews not only talk about the importance of respect in conversations, they exemplify it!
- Again, lots of references and data instead of speculation and opinions. Of course, I have to qualify that (more below) with respect to Dayton, but at least Gilpin kept his focus on the right target.
- Brierley kept coming back to Dayton to confirm that the Mormon views have been accurately represented and offers him sufficient chance to clarify any details. This is so very important and it is modeled well in this interview!
- In this interview Dayton seemed to focus more on opinions and speculation. He would be given specific challenges on specific issues (citing specific Bible passages) and his response would often be little more than, “well, we believe differently.” He would use a lot of words to say that, but there was little substance beyond it. As I mentioned in the first review, though, I would have liked to see somebody more qualified than Dayton represent the LDS Church. Perhaps they would have done a better job of defending their different view rather than merely pointing it out.
- Dayton is asked to respond to Gilpin’s claim that the Mormon church is backpedaling on key issues by being deliberately vague. For all the world it sounds as though Dayton backpedals by being deliberately vague; precisely what Gilpin describes. It’s not helping your cause when you sound, for all the world, like a politician who’s planning on enacting an unpopular policy so you just talk around it and speak in vague generalities.
It was still a good interview, overall, but not quite as instructive as the first.
As a quick aside, I started listening to the Unbelievable interview with a Jehovah’s Witness and I just had to stop it. The Jehovah’s Witness guest did such a lousy job right from the start that I didn’t want the interview to unnecessarily taint my view of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Christian was also a little more aggressive than I would have liked to see, though I would say he was still generally within the domain of respectful. The Mormonism interview was certainly superior in this regard.
If anybody else listened to the entire Jehovah’s Witness interview and thinks I should give it a second chance, please let me know why.
This article was originally posted at the Arguing with Friends blog.