NOTE: Based on listener feedback, a version of the full interview (in a single audio file) can be found in the podcast feed, and with the audio links below.  Please let me know if you value this option.

John Edward “Ed” Decker (born 1935) is an American counterculture apologist and Evangelical Christian known for his controversial studies, books, and public presentations of the perceived negative aspects of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and the Masonic Lodge. He is a former member of the LDS Church and prominent early member of a Christian group for ex-Mormons called Saints Alive in Jesus. His most well-known book is The God Makers: A Shocking Expose of What the Mormon Church Really Believes, co-authored by Dave Hunt.  A very popular movie was also made, based on the book.

It is my personal opinion that few people alive today have influenced the Mormon church more directly than Ed Decker. If you went through the Mormon temple endowment ceremony prior to 1990, you will know precisely what I mean. Also, while “The God Makers” is highly sensationalized and sometimes inaccurate, if you actually watch the movie in total (included below), you will discover that Ed was way ahead of his time in discussing not only problematic Mormon truth claims, theology, and temple rituals, but also important Mormon social and bureaucratic issues such as racism, LDS church finances, LGBTQ suicides, the problematic nature of Mormon disciplinary councils, and the destruction of Mormon marriages and families over faith differences. In the interview we also discuss the absolute dismal disaster that was “The God Makers 2.”

Ed is 85, and so this will potentially be the last interview he gives. It also may be the longest interview he’s ever granted.

The interview focuses on four main areas:

Part 1: Ed’s conversion to Mormonism, his life as a Mormon, his loss of faith, and his excommunication.

Part 2: Ed’s “calling” to minister to Mormons, and the making of “The Godmakers.”

Part 3: A discussion about the impact of and controversies surrounding “The God Makers.”

Part 4: Ed’s unfortunate involvement in “The God Makers 2,” the negative fallout, and Ed’s life from then until now.

 

The Complete “The God Makers” Movie

“Plan of Salvation” Cartoon from “The God Makers”

 

FULL INTERVIEW: Full Ed Decker Interview in Audio Form

Download MP3

 

Part 1: Ed’s conversion to Mormonism, his life as a Mormon, his loss of faith, and his excommunication.

Download MP3

 

Part 2: Ed’s “calling” to minister to Mormons, and the making of “The Godmakers.”

Download MP3

 

Part 3: A discussion about the impact of and controversies surrounding “The God Makers.”

Download MP3

 

Part 4: Ed’s unfortunate involvement in “The God Makers 2,” the negative fallout, and Ed’s life from then until now.

Download MP3

23 Comments

  1. Hyrum Finch July 7, 2020 at 4:11 pm - Reply

    Great episode with mr decker! Thank you and Mormon stories hasn’t “jumped the shark”

  2. De Anna July 7, 2020 at 4:57 pm - Reply

    I feel this interview, along with others like Sandra Tanner, is so very important! Ed Decker is a real-live person, with feelings and convictions no different than any other. After hearing him speak, I feel he did everything “Anti-Mormon” out of love for humans. It was a bit difficult for me to listen to his current Christian perspective, but only because I threw away all religions when I left Mormonism, but I felt love, appreciation, and compassion for this person who I previously thought was evil. Thank you for this interview! There are real humans behind all causes. When I look closer at my enemy, I see myself.

  3. Shelama July 7, 2020 at 9:09 pm - Reply

    Decker is underwhelming. It’s as easy to dismiss and reject the Bible and Jesus and Christianity as it is to reject Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and Mormonism. And reject and leave Christianity as the reason for leaving Mormonism.

  4. Bill Jones July 8, 2020 at 7:47 am - Reply

    I like the single file option!

  5. Dave Mitchell July 8, 2020 at 11:36 am - Reply

    I’ve known Ed since 1983 when he asked me to help distribute “The Godmakers” film to quite a number of churches in the Dallas area. Ed became much criticized when his outreach to Mormons became overly protracted, and his ministry moved more toward discussion of Freemasonry. Regardless, I know the man and know his heart is in the right place, though his methods are not the ones I would have selected. May I say that I have no doubt he is a born-again Christian and I still love the man. I am always praying for him.

  6. Bill Jones July 8, 2020 at 1:57 pm - Reply

    Hard-core Mormon for 50 years, hard-core atheist the past 6 years.

    I just can’t get behind any god that would condemn anyone for practicing deeply help beliefs. The evangelical god is a monster if that is the case. Thus, my current belief system. Sh** happens is much easier to defend and offers me more peace in my life than any doctrine practiced by any organized religion.

  7. John July 8, 2020 at 6:49 pm - Reply

    Silly! What’s silly? There is no God. Thus all faiths are no more wrong or right than Mormonism. Wish Dr. John had asked Decker if he, John, was going to hell or heaven. Silly at its best

    • Nathan July 10, 2020 at 9:22 pm - Reply

      The question would have been silly also, you believed in Mormonism I assume. Ed believes in christianity now the same as that so ya john me and you are going to hell.

  8. Janet Baker July 8, 2020 at 7:00 pm - Reply

    Ed, you are awesome! Kudos to you and all you have done to spread the truth of Mormonism.

  9. Paul July 9, 2020 at 11:05 am - Reply

    For who wanted to read his thoughts on the Temple ceremony being satanic: https://saintsalive.com/the-sure-sign-of-the-nail-the-luciferian-mormon-temple-ritual/

    Interesting! I don’t believe in satan, but I can see how somebody who is making it up as they go accidentally includes symbolism that exposes the fraud.

    Thanks John – Thank you Ed.

  10. Martine July 9, 2020 at 11:10 am - Reply

    The quote by John Taylor, which Ed mentioned he has gotten push back on, is that JS has done more for the salvation of mankind than any man save Jesus Christ, not, as stated in the Goodmakers that he has done more than even JC. I’m not aware that JS ever said such about himself. Did he?

    It was an interesting conversation although he’s hard to follow at times. John, I appreciated that you were firm in redirecting the conversation and skeptical in places where I felt the same way. I remember visiting Temple Square in the early 80’s while we were living out of Utah and being handed a flyer with Donny and Marie in their temple garb. I was horrified!

    And amen to the pre-1990 endowment and initiatories. Yep. I was endowed in ‘74.

    • Dave Mitchell July 9, 2020 at 12:28 pm - Reply

      >>I’m not aware that JS ever said such about himself. Did he?

      Yes he did:

      “I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, NOR JESUS ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him, but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet.” (Proclaimed by Joseph Smith, Jr. as recorded in Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, pp. 408-9, EMPHASIS ADDED)

      Now, Martine, you are aware that JS made such a statement about himself.

  11. Scotty July 9, 2020 at 2:11 pm - Reply

    I can verify Ed Decker’s statement about Dick Bear. Dick’s son was my mission companion and he spoke very frequently about his Father. He was estranged from his Father and explained to me about his Father having a Anti-Mormon ministry. He told me about confronting his Father at one of his “Anti-Mormon” meetings and accusing him of adultery and abandoning his family. He spoke about his father’s relationship with Ed Decker and about how he was in the movie The God Makers.

  12. Rex Shupe July 9, 2020 at 3:32 pm - Reply

    Half way through. Got to admit, I’m non-plussed with Ed Decker. Seems a little slippery to me. Granted I’ll listen to the rest, but so far underwhelmed. Truth is I’m out of Mormonism, solid atheist, and not defending the church at all, but so far, he comes off as borderline narcissistic and I’m not believing much of what Decker has to say.

  13. John July 9, 2020 at 6:53 pm - Reply

    Just viewed “The God Makers II”. First, Wikipedia says Decker produced the film. So much for Decker’s non-involvement. Second and with all due respect to the witnesses, does anyone actually think Hinckley had the time even desire at his age to participate in these alleged acts. I’d rather see Oaks accused!

  14. Garth July 10, 2020 at 8:28 am - Reply

    I served in the field from 89-91 in Kentucky. I was once in a county in Western Kentucky (Muhlenberg), where every Sunday there was at least 1 church showing the Godmakers movie. It really thwarted our efforts. I was in this area for about 8 months and literally had 1 convert baptism and she wasn’t even a solid convert at the time. While I appreciate this episode I too was turned off by Ed’s “Born Again” B.S. The whole story is a tall tale from the creation to Jesus to the restoration. Ed left one cult and joined another in my opinion.

  15. EDiL13 July 10, 2020 at 11:00 am - Reply

    I was still a member when the “Godmakers” movie came out and many of my Mormon (for want of a better word) friends told me, more or less, that it was evil and don’t go see it, so I didn’t. Watched it on YouTube years later after I’d left the church (out of morbid curiosity), and it turned out to be more or less anticlimactic — I was surprised that it wasn’t really so horrifyingly “evil” after all. I have no reason not to believe that it was Ed Decker’s own honest opinion and interpretation.

    I watched the cartoon again this time and I wonder how it would have come across to a true believing “Mormon” if the music were different, perhaps more like the music that accompanies the film shown in the temple. Some of the “revelations” may still have been shocking. For example, I never, until the movie, heard the one about Jesus having 3 wives, but that doesn’t mean that such a doctrine was never taught in the religion formerly known as Mormonism. As they say, “absence of proof is not proof of absence.”

    Another fascinating interview as usual, and I also like the option of one big file instead of a bunch of “little” ones.

    EDiL13 (Elohim’s Daughter in Law)

  16. Michael Gluth July 11, 2020 at 3:29 pm - Reply

    Thanks for doing this podcast. Decker is definitely a noteworthy character in the story of Mormonism and he should be heard. Humans are complex and so is his legacy. As always, interpretation of this narrative should be made with understanding that truth is often found somewhere in the middle of opposing and possibly extreme viewpoints. I do not favor silencing him or other controversial voices, even if I consider some of his tactics to be overbearing and some of his messaging to be slanted. He is certainly passionate and it was fascinating to hear his unapologetic side of this remarkable story. It is hard to deny that he made an impact.

  17. cl_rand July 14, 2020 at 10:26 am - Reply

    I never had any real opinion about Ed Decker, good or bad, because by the time The God Makers was released I had already determined the church was a fraud and moved on with my life. Almost everything the church has done since then has only bolstered that determination and nothing that its’ detractors have exposed surprises me anymore. Ed is probably 100% correct about Mormonism and the church in general. He is also probably 100% correct about claims made in the Bible according to evangelics. However, I’m not sure how trading in one manmade contraption for another manmade contraption counts as anything other than a lateral move.

    Everything that has ever been said or written about experience beyond the grave falls into the category of “wild speculation”. I now think of Ed as a perfectly decent human being with good intentions toward his fellow humans who deeply believes his wild specualations are superior to all other wild speculations. Deeply felt human emotions and the gods tend to play tricks on all of us this way.

  18. Glenn July 15, 2020 at 6:30 pm - Reply

    Ed thank you for sharing I have always had suspensions about satanic/occult unpinnings of mormonism. The occult symbols on the early temples, the dishonesty, greed . the top leadership being held only by those related to core mormon families. not to mention the occult practices of the Smith family. I can’t prove it but is sure quacks like a duck.

  19. Philip McLemore July 28, 2020 at 12:59 pm - Reply

    Thank you for this super interesting and valuable interview. Only a few know this but from 1982-84 I was the anti-mormon expert in the church while serving as the Institute of Religion director at the University of Georgia. I had read, watched, analyzed, and prepared responses to virtually all “anti-mormon” materials. Of course one of the sources I studied and rebutted was Ed Decker and the Saints Alive. For a short while I was in demand as a speaker on this topic and did presentations at ward, stake, and mission levels. Also a number of wealthy Mormons would schedule appointments with me and fly from across the country to discuss these issues in private. In response to thousands of members leaving the church over the new wave of “anti-mormonism”, the Director of the CES at that time, who later became of member of the Presidency of the Seventy, asked me and a colleague to review again all of the “anti-mormon” materials and prepare item by item responses for all of the issues raised. This was a 6 month project that resulted in the identification of 200 issues for which we prepared responses. At the time we felt only 3 of the issues had no adequate response. The package was then sent in to Church HQ. I (we) continued the firesides and seminars until I received a phone call from the Director a few months later to discuss the project. After praising the work we did, he then asked us to lock everything in a file cabinet and to agree to making no more public presentations on the topic. At that point, we had helped thousands of concerned members remain in the church. I guessed that someone at Church HQ did the math and concluded that more members “might” leave by us raising the issues to respond to them than the number of those that might be helped by our responses. The Director confirmed my suspicion. When I hung up the phone, I said to my colleague, “They have decided to go after the 99 and leave the one”.
    Even though I am on the other side of the fence now, I decided initially to not listen to the Decker interview, since in my mind I had already discredited him. I changed my mind and am so glad John had the instinct to do this interview. I was completely unfair to Ed as a result of my apologetic mind games and now credit him as one of the major influences in the redefining of Mormonism. Thanks Ed.

  20. Joe September 17, 2020 at 8:36 pm - Reply

    Ed Decker is no better than the Mormons, completely closed minded. Every other religion or interpretation of the Bible which doesn’t align to mine is wrong. His theory on Lucifer being the god of the temple ceremony is ridiculous.

Leave A Comment