So many of you have contacted us with regard to getting involved with this ministry. While we have to apologize for this sort of formal response, we consider the subject of such great importance that we have tried to formulate a detailed, specialized response. First, we need to note that we are no longer setting up chapters of Saints Alive. The reasons are mentioned in the next section. Please read this as a primer for getting involed in your own ministry or joining one that is actively seeking fellow workers.
Many of you who have requested this information are former Mormons or Masons. With others, it's an ex-Mormon/or Mason and a spouse. Still others are Christians who feel the call of God to minister in this particular area. You all have one thing in common - you know the Mormons and the Masons are lost to Christ, without the knowledge of truth and you are burdened to bring that truth to them. That's why I am here. We share that same burden.
FIRST, A BIT OF HISTORY
Let me give you some background. Saints Alive was incorporated in 1979 under the name, Ex-Mormons For Jesus Evangelistic Association, Inc. and our legal name remains that to this day. It is incorporated as a non-profit corporation under the laws of the State of Washington, and is legally registered as such under the Federal rulings of the IRS.
However, Saints Alive in Jesus became our "public" or dba name a few short years after incorporation. While the EMFJ name certainly did identify our position to the Christian community, we felt it created still another negative stumbling block to the Mormons. Since we felt our special calling was to bring the gospel to them in such a way that they may hear, we changed to Saints Alive (Latter-day Saints [now alive] in Jesus).
Of course, in time, the SAIJ name became every bit as infamous as EMFJ, but the tone of our outreach is still to present the reasons why we are alive rather than why we are ex-Mormons. It is a thin line of difference, but here we are fifteen years or more down the road and we still feel that decision was best for us. A number of our groups still maintain the name EMFJ and in places like Southern California, that identification has kept them very visible and effective within the Christian community.
In the early years, before incorporation, there was a very loose knit structure within the many groups calling themselves EMFJ. There was no legal accountability and while no one was out there spray painting our logo on the walls of Mormon Ward buildings, the fact remained that there needed to be both structure and accountability. Once we incorporated, each Chapter was required to establish its own Board and commit to certain legal and financial structuring for fiscal/ IRS accountability and control.
At that time, we had three levels of involvement. First, was the "General Member", usually one or two people in a geographic area who wanted to be involved only as individuals. Second, we had "Fellowship Chapters" where the structure was more formal, usually with a PO box number and a phone. They usually had that information printed on the material they distributed , but did not have the authority to open bank accounts and issue donation receipts. This was done through the headquarters office.
The third level of involvement was through the "Corporate Chapters". Here, the individuals operated with full local authority and operated as self managed divisions of the corporate system.
However, it soon became apparent that the several hundred such units we had created all required an immense amount of time, effort and expense (which were not always covered by the people or groups involved). We soon learned that ex-cultists were probably the most difficult people in the world to line up together under any kind of authority. Management by persuasion didn't seem too practical a solution either.
If there were 5 directors in a meeting, usually that meant we were going in 7 different directions. It became apparent that while no control was frightening, too much control was stifling the energies of those in the ministry.
We asked all Corporate and Fellowship Chapters to incorporate on their own and to file for tax-exemption locally or to become General Members. Many incorporated under the Saints Alive or EMFJ names or chose names they felt more suitable to their own ministry direction. Others dropped away.
Over the years, many of those who were involved have moved on in their own lives and ministries and no longer function as they did in this ministry. Others, however, are as active or more so than in the "old days". Today, there are numerous other ministries doing a very effective job in the "Mormon" ministry and several others are now in the area of Freemasonry. We praise God for these fellow workers!
We began to concentrate on the development of tools and resources and we maintain much of that activity to this day. Films, books, videos, DVDs, tracts, mailers, Newsletters, Journals, audio tape teachings, exit counseling, letters, seminars, missionary trips, conferences have all been part of our daily life.
Now we see a trend developing where many more Mormons and Masons than ever before are corresponding and becoming far more open to dialogue. The Web has exploded the outreach and dialogue across the globe.
Through the web, many are more willing to discuss their doubts and frustrations and we are spending a substantial portion of our ministry time working in that area. Our weekly radio program The Decker Report, has expanded it immensely.
This, of course means that one-on-one dialogue is a critical need in the ministry. This is where we welcome your involvement. Our purpose is to develop a network of ministry people throughout the country who will be able to visit with local Mormons in need of a trained listening ear and understanding counselor. Someone who can help the Mormon or Mason with spiritual things, be a friend and help bring that person into full Christian fellowship.
However, you can grow old waiting for that flood of phone calls generated through us for your specific geographic area. We may not get a call for help from your specific area in the next entire year. If you are going to be truly involved, it must be primarily through the ministry you generate there where you live.
There also exists the need to continually train up the body of the Church and that's pretty hard to do from Issaquah on a regular basis. If we have people who are willing and able, mature Christians who we can honestly recommend, or vouch for, they should be regularly busy with the work of educating the local churches in Mormonism and associated heretical groups.
One final note in this section is to let you know that my own personal days of doing ten things at once and traveling across time zones at the speed of light are over. Two coronaries in the late 1980's and a stroke in the early 1990's have slowed me down to a walk. In the last few years, 2008-2011, I was confined a great deal of the time to a wheelchair and now, in 2012, I am up and walking again.
I still put in that 40 hours or more each week, but it has been interrupted now and hen with trips to the hospital because I let my old self take charge of the Ed Decker of today, the one with the bad heart and all the medication and Doctors' orders and a little bit of growing old.
Because of this problem, I rarely travel and I rarely do a public ministry and I have reduced such things as counseling to a minimum. I do write more than ever and I have concluded that if I can't do the front line things I love to do, than I can create material that people like you can use to work on the front lines. I can also pray for your work and the fruit of your ministry. So......What I am saying is that while we can't work with you in a hands on relationship, we will try give you the help you need to do the work you feel God has given you to do.
STARTING IN MINISTRY
If you are not a mature Christian, well trained up in the Word and if you are not a prayer warrior, you are going to get injured in this battle for lost souls. We are speaking from personal knowledge and experience. If your own home is not in spiritual order, your family is in spiritual danger as you wrestle against the "principalities , against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places" (Eph 6:12).
If your husband or wife is not in full understanding and agreement with your "call to minister", that relationship will be in danger. If you are not submitted within a local Church body, and if your pastor is not in full agreement with this ministry, you are in trouble again. In fact, if your spouse is not in full agreement or you are not submitted within a local Church body, you should not be in the ministry.
Your doctrinal position must be clearly orthodox. We are sharply Trinitarian in our position and cannot accept any of the hazy variations of this position such as "Oneness" or "Dynamic Modalism". Our belief is that within the nature of the One Eternal God are three Divine Persons, The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit. We believe the Bible is the Inerrant Word of God.
We are often guests at many different Church Fellowships and we personally may not always agree in peripheral areas such as modes of baptism or "gifts of the Spirit". However, if we determine that the Bible is taught and The Cross is preached as man's only gateway to salvation, we consider ourselves among brethren. To argue peripheral doctrine is NOT our calling, and will hinder some ministry opportunities.
Having Said That
However, if your spiritual, family and church life are in scriptural balance, and you have a spiritual covering from your church and pastor, and the burden to work in this area of ministry is real, then we rejoice in your ministry.
Your contacts with Saints Alive will be through the Issaquah office and you will be able to acquire material at Book Store/ Ministry rates, which is usually a 25% discount. However, if you have a special event or want to do a special area wide mailing, etc., we are equipped to help you work up a special item and print it here with your local address and/or phone number. We can also do that with stock items, given enough lead time. Actually, you will soon see that we can crank out material to meet just about any need. Usually, if you have one of those "must have an answer' moments, a quick call to the office will get you the answer or at least the place to get your answer.
SOME GENERAL RECOMMENDATIONS
Personal Appearance and Habits
This is a ministry of Communications. We must allow nothing that we can control to interfere with that communication. Our personal appearance can be an obstacle to those who relate neatness to godliness and righteousness. Such things as poor hygiene, bad breath, body odor, or the odor from smoking or drinking will kill a ministry opportunity quicker than anything else you can do. They are also evidences of poor self discipline.
Smoking, while it will not send anyone to hell in all likelihood, remains an offensive habit to many Christians and surely offends any Mormon to whom you speak. Even if you leave the cigarettes home, the odor still clinging to yuor clothes will shut down your witness before you open your mouth.
Bad language or an argumentative spirit is the evidence of an unbridled tongue and any tendency of this sort should be prayerfully submitted to the Holy Spirit for cleansing.
Mormons can smell an insincere, bitter or critical spirit a mile away through concrete walls. Unless you have a truly broken heart for the Mormon people, don't even try to be a witness of Christ's love and grace. It wonít work.
We do agree, however, that there are times when someone with that LDS "Melchizedek priesthood spirit" shows up and begins to disrupt and destroy a ministry opportunity. All the love in the world isn't going to stop that destructive element from doing its work. If you understand your spiritual authority, firmly take it over this intruder and get back to your ministry. If you don't have it to exercise, close down the ministry at that moment.
WORKING WITH CHURCHES
This requires the skill of a marketing expert to contact your area Churches and book your meetings, the skill of a Paul or Timothy to deliver that which you had first received, and that gentleness of a diplomat to deal with pastors and their staffs.
The key is to remember that you are the guest of the pastor and must never do anything to embarrass or infringe on his authority. You should go over your ministry data with him or his representative prior to the meeting. This includes the actual schedule at the Church during your presentation (Usually there will be other things happening concurrently) and never take license to add a half hour or so because the people seemed interested.
Always contact a church a few days before your ministry to be sure that:
1) you are expected at the time you think you are. We have unfortunately arrived at a 7PM meeting only to find out that Church started at 6:30.
2) you know the way to the church. We have shown up at the wrong church at the right time and have also gotten hopelessly lost on the way to a large ministry. Panic sets in and even if you find the place, you are a walking disaster. If you aren't confident about the location, ask specific directions and check them out on a map.
3) they have any equipment you need such as video player, TV, Overhead, etc. We often find that they were expecting us to bring something we thought they already had.
4) arrangements are made for a book or ministry table and always have someone there to help you. While you may be up front of a meeting with the crowd, often the real ministry is taking place around the book table where that one in need will be at the edge of the crowd listening. We always put our best people there. Book and tract tables are always a good idea. They generate interest, get out free literature and often bring in more income to your ministry than the actual gift from the church. They also can generate other bookings from people visiting the church.
5) you and the pastor have agreed in advance at how the church is going to "bless" your ministry. We always request our traveling expenses there and home, and a real live sit down and pass the plate offering for any general meeting. We still maintain that approach even after years of trying every other method.
Sometimes, however, this isn't always appropriate in a youth or Sunday School environment, so settle in advance on either a nonspecific "love offering" of their choice or agree to a flat figure, or do it as your own gift to that fellowship. But let them know what to expect from you. The church pastor or staff will not be offended if you discuss this. They will probably be grateful that they don't have to second guess you.
Another bit of Advice about Churches
Remember that any good guest follows up with a note or call of thanks. Be sure to do that the next few days after any Church ministry. If some one person there was the key contact, thank them personally and let them know how the ministry went. Follow up on any material or follow up you promised. People remember and you want them to remember your ministry as a positive contribution.
MINISTERING TO MORMONS and MASONS
We have tons of material on our website. Avail yourself of them.
Just remember the very basics.
1) Never Never Never Never go and minister to any Mormon(s) or Mason(s) alone! You are walking into spiritual danger of the strongest kind and I would never never never do it alone, without a strong, spiritually aware and awake partner ...or two. Sometimes you may have to go it alone, but work to delay the heavy stuff to a later time when you can pair up.
They never do it alone....ever and they understand how to team up on an innocent. If they have three, you try to have three. It's like trying to play a spiritual football game without an even number of players. I know that "Greater is He who is in us, etc....", but you are playing in the spiritual big leagues with the principalities and powers over spiritual darkness and the whole job is just infinitely easier if you live by this rule!
2) Always be covered in prayer, lots of prayer, tons of prayer. Pray going out on any witness or ministry situation and pray in the car before going in to the specific ministry. Again, we have material on this vital subject to help you pray with knowledge in the situations you will encounter.
3) You must have the Word of God indwelled in you. You are working without the perfect tools if you don't. I donít mean that before you minister, you have to memorize the whole Bible, but you do have to be regularly studying the Word. I suggest a minimum of 30 minutes every day. Read a "story section" in the Old Testament, a Chapter or two of the New Testament and a Psalm/Proverb every day. It will stay with you and come bubbling up as you need it!
While the Masons are Biblically illiterate for the most part, the Mormons know the Bible with regard to the general story line and have good mastery of proof texts, but it isn't indwelled in them. I suggest that you pick up a copy of an LDS Bible/BOM combo with a study section called, "Topical Guide to the Scriptures" in it. When your Mormon friend begins to quote proof Scripture, you can usually depend on them getting it from this listing. It pays to study these texts as part of your ministry preparedness and to look over the list quickly before you visit with the Mormon to discuss any planned topic.
In several thousand conversations of this type, I have never had the Bible let me down. If the Mormon quotes some scripture that seems to zap my position, I can always trust the Bible to be true. Ask the Mormon to show you the Scripture in the Bible. Most often, when they find it, it will have been quoted incorrectly or out of context. Read it in context and I doubt if you have a problem any more.
3) If you are stumped, it isnët the end of the world. Get the question and any relevant Scriptures or other references down and tell them you will check it out and get back to them. Then, do it.
4) Pick up the basic tools needed to minister to the cults. The Mormon Standard works, A copy of the Morals and Dogma for the Masons. I subscribe to the monthly magazines of each group and I am able to stay contemporary with them. Most cities have a Mormon Bookstore where you can get their material and a good second hand bookstore will have a Morals and Dogma. If not, contact us and we will try to get one for you.
5) Develop a thick skin. When the Mormon or the Mason can't deal with your logic, they will always attack your character and your purpose. Also, don't expect the Christian church to fall all over you in the joy of having you visit them. It is our experience that most will not want to be what they consider confrontational or controversial and some will be critical of your purpose. Expect a few body shots from your brethren, as well.
6) Trust God. If He has called you and you are operating under His anointing, expect to see His hand on you and your ministry. He is a miracle creating God and the neatest part of operating a ministry in His might is to see Him use earthen vessels like us to do His will. Those people He puts in your path, those words and scriptures He recalls to your mind and those souls set free are the gifts He gives to you as you remain obedient to His call.
I am enclosing a very brief bibliography, listing books and videos we have produced or use regulary in the ministry. There are obviously many more than these, but they should well equip you in the beginnings of your ministry.
God Bless you. Your Brother in Christ,
A BRIEF BIBLIOGRAPHY
Ed Decker. TO MORONI WITH LOVE, Huntington House, 1992.
Ed Decker. MY KINGDOM COME, THE MORMON QUEST FOR GODHOOD, Xulon Press, 2009
Ed Decker, WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MORMONS, Harvest House, 1992.
Ed Decker & Dave Hunt, THE GOD MAKERS, Harvest House, 1984.
Ed Decker & Caryl Matrisciana, THE GOD MAKERS II, Harvest House, 1993.
Walter Martin, THE MAZE OF MORMONISM, Bethany House, 1978.
James R. Spencer, MORMONISM'S TEMPLE OF DOOM, Triple J Publications, 1987.
James R. Spencer, BEYOND MORMONISM, Chosen Books, 1986.
James R. Spencer, HAVE YOU WITNESSED TO A MORMON LATELY?, Chosen Books, 1987.
THE GOD MAKERS,THE GOD MAKERS II, THE MORMON DILEMMA, TEMPLE OF THE GOD MAKERS: Jeremiah Films, Hemet, CA
Ed Decker & Ron Carlson, FAST FACTS ON FALSE TEACHINGS, Harvest House, 1994
John Ankerberg & John Weldon, THE SECRET TEACHINGS OF THE MASONIC LODGE;A CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVE, Moody, 1990.
Ed Decker THE QUESTION OF FREEMASONRY, Huntington House, 1992.
Ed Decker, THE Q. OF FREEMASONRY COMPANION, Saints Alive , 1993.
Ed Decker, WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MASONS, Harvest House, 1992.
Ed Decker, Editor, THE DARK SIDE OF FREEMASONRY, Huntington House, 1994
Jack Harris, FREEMASONRY&OACUTE;THE INVISIBLE CULT IN OUR MIDST, Daniels Publishing, 1983.
James L. Holly, MD, THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION AND FREEMASONRY, Mission and Ministry to Men, Inc. 1992.
William J. Schnoebelen, MASONRY: BEYOND THE LIGHT, Chick Publications, 1991.
Jim Shaw & Tom McKenney, THE DEADLY DECEPTION, Huntington House, 1988.
FREEMASONRY: FROM DARKNESS TO LIGHT, Jeremiah Films, Hemet, CA and
BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, John Ankerberg
The Decker Report weekly www.deckerreport.com
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Saints Alive Ministries
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Issaquah, WA 98027