Thursday, May 31, 2012

My name is J.R. and I was NEVER Mormon

Ministries to religious groups such as the LDS or JW's isn't something that someone just gets involved with unless it somehow becomes a passion of theirs. Unlike ministries out to feed the homeless we are going out to a group that doesn't care to see or hear us. So in order to help you understand my heart I am more than willing to share my life's journey.

I was born in the great city of Kansas City Missouri but moved to a suburb of Sacramento prior to 1980.  For those who know me they will often know that I often say that I'm such a Chiefs fan I bleed red and a Royals fan I bruise blue.  It even goes as far for those who know their sports history that I'm such a Kings fan they followed me to Sacramento.... ha ha.

I came to know Christ at the age of 11.  I had a feeling that Jesus was preparing me for something but didn't know what for.  Apologetics wasn't even in the back of my mind.  Very early on music was my passion.  I grew up in a Southern Baptist Church where the music selection wasn't exactly all that great and found that God had blessed me with a singing voice where the church choir allowed me to use it.  It became such a passion I was a part of the CMEA (California music education association) honor choir for both my sophomore and  junior year of high school. During that time I went from singing soprano all the way to bass.

After my parents decided to move up to Oregon for my senior year of high school music started taking a back seat.  Even though I grew up Southern Baptist I wanted to take a look at what others believe. Maybe it was just my teenage rebellion coming out but I decided to take a hard look at what the church I attended said and how it lined up with the Word of God.  I also looked at what every other faiths believed.  Very early on I knew through research that the Bible was without question the Word of God.  At that point it became a matter of who interpreted it correctly. Just by studying the Word I could clearly see that Mormonism and the Jehovah's Witnesses were way off track.  Yet apologetics still didn't seem like the direction God was sending me.  It would be years before I would look at these again.

After college I got married and it was during this time that apologetics started to interest me.  I had a few encounters with LDS missionaries but not knowing what they believed having been a few years since I looked at it I didn't get into deep discussions. The Lord moved me into a position where I found a great church home for where I still attend today. He put me in touch with a lot of close friends that he knew I was going to need very shortly.

After serving some time in the Air Force Reserves I realized that my wife wasn't taking the vows we made to heart.  After a time of council and prayer it was clear that her decisions weren't going to change and I had to protect both myself and my daughter.  It was during this time that his Word had the greatest impact on my life.  Yet I still had no clue what he was preparing me for.

After a while of trying to rebuild my life I met a wonderful woman whom was going through struggles of her own (click here to read her story). She was coming out of Mormonism and that re-stirred the desire for apologetics that had began a few years back. It was during her research and mine that the passion for apologetics took hold and he began the journey for which I am on today.  We weren't looking to start a ministry by any stretch of the means.  We were wanted to join one here in the northwest.  With no options available we took what I call the Moses mentality (if no one else I'll do it but I by no means am the best person for the job).  The Lord took this little ministry we started here in Vancouver Washington and has spread it global.

With what little interaction I've had with LDS apologist I've quickly learned that they have no desire for truth.  In fact they will spend more time dancing around an issue than they do addressing it. Which has changed the main focus of my time to educating other Christians on how to talk with those LDS or JW friends, family, and neighbors they are so eager to talk to but don't know how.  We have now become a part of the Vancouver Bible Institute which is a part of Truth in Love Fellowship and therefor gives us a 508 tax exempt status.  All of which has taken place in less than 3 years.

I praise God for allowing me the opportunity to serve both him and you.  It is because of him that I continue on.  For I know that there is no way I or our team members will be able to reach all those willing to hear the Gospel.  We encourage you to study and research so that you will be prepared when they knock on your door.

May God bless you and keep you safe.  Thank you for all your support.