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Ed Decker - The Godmakers
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Keyed grey because this organization is somewhat notorious for its unbalanced and often inaccurate representation of the Mormon faith. For example, the book and movie "The Godmakers" - produced together with Dave Hunt - are not recommended since they contain many inaccuracies and misrepresentations. A number of well-known apologists and counter-cult professionals consider Mr. Decker's material to be seriously flawed. When someone on the AR-talk mailing list asked for opinions regarding ''Mormonism: What You Need To Know: A Quick Reference Guide" by Ed Decker (Harvest House, 1997),'' Carl Mosser - an expert on Mormonism - replied as follows:
I have to agree with Frank Beckwith and Paul Carden that Decker's name alone is enough to discredit a book. Decker is infamous for the mistakes he makes describing Mormon doctrine, the sensationalist claims he has made about Mormon rituals and leaders, and the generally uncharitable attitude with which he conducts his ministry. Most Mormons are inoculated against anything with Decker's name on it. I think it is foolish to give Decker's materials to Mormons and unwise to give them to Christians to read. The Mormon will be repulsed and hardened, the Christian misinformed. I have seen the booklet in question. It is too small to cover much more than the basics (which is good). Its major weakness is the same as that of most Evangelical books on Mormonism: it does not describe contemporary Mormonism. Because of this the title is a misnomer--there is much more people need to know if they want to understand Mormonism.
Carl Mosser, AR-talk, Feb. 28, 1998
Robert Bowman posted this follow-up:
In brief, Decker's approach has been to portray Mormonism in the worst possible light, rather than in the most accurate light. That is, any accusation or criticism of Mormonism that appears to be useful to pull people out of the LDS church is seized upon by Decker (and not just by him, please note, but by *many* in the evangelical counter-LDS community) and used regardless of the accuracy of the charge. This is not merely my own subjective assessment of Decker's approach. In a meeting with the research staff of the Christian Research Institute in 1991, Decker actually defended his approach using an end-justifies-the-means argument: People are leaving the LDS church because of these arguments, so we will continue to use them. Decker dismissed our concerns about his handling of controversial aspects of Mormonism as the obsession of scholars busy dotting ''i's'' and crossing ''t's'' while he and other Christians were busy doing the real work of evangelizing Mormons. The ''Godmakers'' video is a classic example of what is wrong with Decker's handling of Mormonism. The video is edited in such a way that Mormon authorities are cut off in mid-sentence, in some cases thereby made to appear to be saying something very different from what they meant. The cartoon presents a caricature of Mormon beliefs so distorted that hardly any Mormon will recognize their own beliefs in it. I recognized these deficiencies the first time I saw the video, long before I went to work for CRI. When I read the book in 1984, I was even more disappointed. Decker and Hunt simply did not present an accurate description of what Mormons have ever believed. If you are interested in some specifics, check out the four-part series on LDS apologetics I wrote for the Christian Research Journal back in 1987-88. By no means am I denying that the Lord has used Ed Decker and like-minded Christians to win Mormons to the Lord. But to the extent that this has happened, it has been in spite of, not because of, the weaknesses in Decker's description and analysis of Mormonism. Who knows how many Mormons have been poisoned against the gospel by the uncharitable and inaccurate portrayals of their religion disseminated in evangelical countercult films and books? What I and others are saying is that we must be willing to work harder at being more accurate, more fair, and more charitable in our descriptions of what Mormons believe. 20 and 30 years ago the Mormons were largely unprepared for evangelical countercult criticisms. Now they are producing scholars with Ph.D.s in every relevant field working full-time to write articles and books refuting those criticisms, and their work is trickling down to the LDS masses. The old hit-and-run, keep-it-simple-stupid approach will no longer work (and was never God's best). The bombastic and sensational criticisms of our more charismatic and pioneering predecessors (not just Decker, but also even so revered a man as Walter Martin) must give way to more reasoned and balanced criticisms of the cults. We must *grow* as apologists, as evangelists, and as scholars if we are to continue contending earnestly, and effectively, for the faith once for all delivered to the saints.
Robert Bowman, AR-vent, Mar. 1, 1998
A better source of information on Mormonism is the Mormonism Research Ministry
- Articles -
The Godmakers 1 and 2 Various issues of the Utah Lighthouse Ministry newsletter address disputes between Utah Lighthouse Ministry and Saints Alive.
In the Salt Lake City Messenger for September 1988, we noted that a statement by Walter Martin of Christian Research Institute had finally ended a controversy between our ministry and Ed Decker. At the heart of the disagreement was a question regarding the influence of witchcraft and Satanism on the Mormon temple ceremony. We felt that although there were occultic influences in the endowment ritual, Mr. Decker had made some very exaggerated claims in his newsletter. Furthermore, we maintained that a member of his staff, William Schnoebelen, also misrepresented the facts in a booklet he coauthored with James Spencer. This pamphlet is entitled, Mormonism's Temple of Doom.
Salt Lake City Messenger #75, July 1990
Keep in mind that these are dated issues. That said, they nevertheless give an impression of the type of problems surrounding this ministry.
Problems in Godmakers II by Jerald and Sandra Tanner. ''Critical assessment of the movie "Godmakers II." Details various errors and problems in the video and book.''
Serious Charges Against the Tanners Booklet by Jerald and Sandra Tanner
Documents how after the Tanners criticized exaggerated charges of Mormon/Demonic associations made by a few Christians in counter-cult ministry, certain people charged the Tanners with being in league with the LDS Church and in "demonic" bondage to Mormonism.
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