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October 17, 2021 9:46 pm
I know McKeever here, your host on the daily radio show viewpoint on Mormonism because many of us in Utah have been blessed by the programs aired on AMA 20 and 95.3 FM. I hope you will join me on Friday, October 22 at 6:30 PM for a dessert get together to benefit Utah partnerships for Christ. For information regarding tickets or sponsoring the table go to you Pfc.org that's you Pfc.org viewpoint program that examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from a biblical perspective viewpoint.
Mormonism is sponsored by Mormonism research ministry since 1979 is a research ministry has been dedicated to equipping the body of Christ with answers regarding the Christian faith in a manner that expresses gentleness and respect.
And now, your host for today's viewpoint on Mormonism welcome to this additional viewpoint on Mormonism. I'm your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director of Mormonism research ministry and with me today is Eric Johnson. My colleague at MRM but were also very pleased to have with us Pastor Scott McKinney Scott McKinney is from Centerpoint church in Orem and if you're not familiar with the demographics and the geography of the state of Utah or is in Utah County, Utah County has a very high LDS population.
Scott, I want to welcome you to the show because I think you have a story that a lot of people should hear, and so we want to talk about your coming to Utah with some of the struggles were in pastoring in Utah may be some tips that you can give to people who were thinking of coming to Utah not perhaps as a pastor or anything like that but there are certain things that people should know when they come to live and even minister in this state. So Scott, welcome to the show. Glad to have you. While I'm glad to be here and thank you for thank you for the indication to be on your show. Let's talk about your background.
First of all I want I want to have our listeners be familiar with who you are, not only as a pastor but as an individual and you've written a book called keep showing up Utah pastor's journey and I might mention the introduction to your book is on Amazon and if someone may not be inclined to read the whole book. I would encourage them at least to go online and find the book keep showing up at Utah pastor's journey because the introduction and the afterword are posted online and I think the introduction, in and of itself.
Hopefully will encourage people to read the rest of your story because I've been fascinated by what I've read in here and blessed as well by some of the things that you went through and just making the decision to come here so let's talk a little bit about your background. Talk about your family well.
My family of origin.
My dad was officer in the Air Force and we moved around when I was younger, but ended up settling in Southern California and Rialto, California. I'm the youngest of four boys. My mom and dad were just great, great people. They loved us. My family went through sort of conversion. All of us, probably a banana, probably for five year. From the late 60s to the early 70s. My dad would've said before this conversion that you know what his goal for us was that we would be good citizens you want about one of the things that he wanted for all of us wanted to solve it, go to a military Academy and my brother Bob Bell.
Bob graduated from Air Force Bill graduate maybe my brother Keith went to the Naval Academy and I went to the Naval Academy had an opportunity to play football.
There you know it was really at the Naval Academy that I gave my life to Christ. I had grown up in sort of a Presbyterian church that was heavy on sort of social action sort of light on the gospel and we started as a family experience Jesus through really a pretty time you really call the Jesus movement and I was big in Southern California where there is a revival I believe that time and my family came to Christ through that and I was the last one I was pleased that the Naval Academy and I really kinda came to the end of myself. I just was doing poorly.
Academically, militarily, athletically, I came to the end of myself and just became aware of my own sand and fallen less than one night in a classroom with the Naval Academy reached out to Jesus and said I hate my life. I don't want any more of a failure center give me whatever you got in. I was born again and changed everything in my life so from that point on, I began to develop a sense of purpose in my life and I realize I did want to be a Canadian I ended up leaving and I wanted to serve the Lord in some way.
After leaving the Naval Academy.
I was open to God and I said whatever you want me to do and I also was dating a girl that was LDS that was really my conversion that commitment to Christ was something that we had to reckon with. We decided to go our separate ways, but I realized in dealing with her and the Mormon friends that I had in high school and everything that really were dealing with a culture where guilt dealing with a way of life were dealing with. When people began to talk about their own Mormon faith. It's family and II think what we as evangelicals tend to think of is it's a theology it's a belief system and it is that but but even more fundamentally, for people and their experiences. Latter Day Saints insert. It's a culture it's a way of life and it's family and always interested me, and I I would do a lot of reading on the LDS church in LDS culture and I just this kind of fascinated me, but I will graduated from Cal State San Bernardino went to Talbot seminary related to Viola the whole idea. There's I wanted to be prepared and equipped to do whatever God would call me to do and the one thing I didn't want to do is ever be a pastor.
But I remember being asked by a guy named Wally Darling who was the Southwest District Superintendent for the Evangelical Free Church. You know what I wanted to be when I grew up that I sent you the check pastor a church in Utah and I've never even been to but I just cannot.
One of those things, it came out, he cannot fit well that's insane because church is not growing Utah you don't know how hard it is. But what I didn't do as I became a football coach and a school administrator in a Christian school down in San Juan Capistrano and after seven years of that.
I realize that indeed I look at myself in the gifts and the passion that I had. I was a pastor. That's what got in a minute. So I for three years became an associate pastor and in the church about Cyprus Evangelical free and Cyprus, California. Those are three very important years of my life.
I learned a lot and before I go too much further. I need to jump back and just at the very end. The seminary best decision I ever made a my wife and I Sarah. Sarah was a missionary kid from Japan, and that we fell in love and got married immediately began to have children. By the time we landed in Cyprus we have four kids my oldest is Jenny and then Annie and then that Rob and then Christie saw three girls and one boy. It was while I was pastor and Cyprus that I found out about the opportunity to come and pastor of this church in Orem, Utah, and the way that it happened was the church was dying found out from a friend of mine.
This is interesting. I had a friend in the church that we were in and Cyprus. His sisters lived up here and they were both married to the same guy they were part of a polygamist group. My friend Steve's name Steve Amy led one of his sisters to Christ after she got cancer. She ended up leaving the group the polygamist group and my friend Steve started bringing her to this church in Orem one Sunday when he was up here visiting his sister the pastor the church resign and there was talk of closing down the church was down about 25 people leave my friends that you don't need to close down the church. I know your next pastor and he called me up and said it's all settled here to be the pastor of this church and he was really excited them. We had been talking a lot about you talk talking about his sister, just the opportunities of ministry in Utah. What being a pastor of the church could be like. I really not talk to my wife about much about this at all and my wife was there when I got his phone call from Steve about this church in Utah that needed a pastor and she said what was that I said well there's this church up in Utah that needs pastor Steve thinks it would be a great thing for us to look at just about tell me about it and I said well they got about 25 people. They don't have enough money to pay a pastor and she said your your insane unit we got four kids, what you doing you gotta be kidding me. You know, look, look around you, you know, for children you're talking about going up to Utah where we don't know so and and you're talking about a church here that that cannot even come close to paying a pastor's salary. That's what previous pastor left and so yeah, that didn't go well the way from the start, but you know I went out I decided to go up and speak at the church. This was the end of September in 1988 and I met with the group of people that were sort of the board of the church was just about felt like the whole church. You know that they were met in the living room and I just asked him tell me about your experience raising kids here tell me about what it's like to pastor a church here, the negativity that kind of came out of that group was just it was like these people don't like Utah.
They don't like living here. They don't like the people that are living around this might be the most negative situation that I have ever encountered. And you know it's it's little easier to say that the day because most of those people are gone and all but it was it was just the way it was. I remember calling my wife that morning, Sunday morning right before I go preach. She said well do you think there's any potential there and I said absolutely not. Absolutely not. I fear this most negative situation I've ever seen and I I ended up we have cell phones.
I set out will talk when I get home on the preach will drive home and will talk when I get there, but I as I got up and I I preached in this church in Orem. I had this pain come over me. I have a what I would call a they are like sheep without a shepherd moment God gave me a passion to come and be the pastor this church and it was not so much about what I needed. Tell this LDS culture. We that's clear and preach the gospel.
What the church with the Christians needed to hear is that you know we have to love the people that we live around. Nobody's going to want to be a part of the church where the people there hate living there and they hate the people they look around and so what I tried to do over the last 32 years is people permission and beyond permission. Let them know that we are commanded to love the people that we live around you know as I drove around this area and I was awestruck at the end of September by the colors on the mountains and whatever. And I know what is not to love about this place and that the people are kind and there are in the streets are safe. That is all sorts of things that we could look at that were positives and so by the time I got home on that Sunday night after driving from Utah to California.
I just sits there. I think the Lord might be my hardest totally change.
I think the Lord might be sentenced to Utah and she wasn't so sure and I decided to listen. I'm not going to go without my wife and so if this is a no I want her to be passionate about this, but it's a know it's out. We've been talking with pastor Scott McKinney. Scott has written a book titled keep showing up Utah pastors journey. Scott is the pastor of Centerpoint church in Orem, Utah, and we want to continue this conversation tomorrow show and we hope that you'll join us for that.
Thank you for listening.
If you would like more information regarding his research ministry. We encourage you to visit our website at www.mrm.org you can request your free newsletter is a research we hope you will join us again as we look at another viewpoint on Mormonism answering Mormons questions by Bill McKeever and Eric Johnson deals with 36 commonly asked questions by your LDS friends and neighbors. It's a great resource for Christians want to share their faith with friends and loved ones. Be sure to pick up your copy today at your favorite Christian bookstore