[Jim Bennett is the author of “A Faithful Reply to the CES Letter from a Former CES Employee“]
So it’s been a few days since Bill Reel published our twelve hours of recorded conversations we had for his Mormon Discussions podcast. And since then, I’ve been wading through the comments and finding that the consensus seems to be that in our Historic Podcast Battle for Church Trueness, Bill won handily, and I, and the Church, lost.
That assessment comes from the regular audience for Bill Reel’s podcast, which I’d be willing to bet includes far more disaffected or former church members than it does active Latter-day Saints. I expected their reaction to what I said to be interpreted through a far more skeptical lens than my own, and it doesn’t surprise me to see them giving the victory to “their guy” instead of me. Even so, I don’t think their interpretation is a fair or objective assessment of the discussion that took place.
I did not know Bill Reel prior to these podcasts, but a mutual friend thought it would be fun to see the two of us go “toe to toe” about the response I’d written to the CES Letter. My reply, perhaps naively, was that I was happy to speak to anyone about it, but I wasn’t interested in a debate so much as a discussion. Bill agreed to that, and we had the first of six early-morning recording sessions a few weeks ago. I thought the exchanges were respectful; I thought Bill gave me ample opportunity to represent my position, and I was overall pleased with the conversation as a whole.
Then they were published, and comments like the following started rolling in: