It was spring, 1848, and the Mormon Pioneers were hungry. Starving, really. The Great Basin demands meticulous andtime-consuming cultivation to unlock its bounty. Winter had depleted whatever food reserves remained and harvestdangled hopelessly in the future.
Many desperate Latter-day Saints turned to the Ute people, Native Americans who thrived in the Rocky Mountains’ arid climate. The Utes were kind and taught these Pioneers how to harvest the bulbs of Sego Lilies, white-petaled ﬂowers that began to dapple the foothills. Those who ate the sego lilies were derisively called “bulb-eaters” by their LDS cohorts. But soon enough the Bulb-Eaters wore their nickname with pride for they had demonstrated a willingness to do whatever it takes to survive. The Sego Lily Foundation takes its name from this little snippet of Pioneer history.
Today, more and more children of these Pioneers are realizing that they’re still hungry. This time, however, they’re hungry for more. They’re hungry for God. And many, just like their forbears, are looking for help outside the faith. That’s where we come in. We teach born-again Christians how to feed Latter-day Saints the Bread of Life. Those who eat this Bread may have to wear an unﬂattering nickname, but they won’t be hungry anymore.
Our ﬁnal authority for faith and practice is the Bible. Within this divinely inspired book, certain passages are particularly relevant for ministry among Latter-day Saints. We highlight four as core ministry commitments.
1. Speak truth in love (Ephesians 4:15)
Many born-again Christians have told the truth, but with hateful insensitivity and uninformed arrogance. God’s good news is angrily shouted behind placards and disrespectful taunts. This behavior, no matter how well-intentioned, is sin (James 1:20). We are sorry and we apologize to Latter-day Saints for these actions. We also acknowledge that the truth can be a frightening thing. A simple statement of truth can have far-reaching consequences (John 8:31-59). By God’s grace, we promise to speak God’s liberating truth (John 8:32) in a spirit of grace (James 3:17).
2. Equip the Saints for the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12).
Jesus commands His followers to teach what they’ve learned (Matthew 28:19-20). Jesus also commands that some of those followers teach full-time (Acts 5:42) – born-again Christians often call these men pastors. The co-founders of the Sego Lily Foundation are pastors, a fact that should not alarm any Latter-Day Saint for The Articles of Faithsay, “We believe in same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelist, and so forth” (Article 6). We earnestly desire to fulﬁll our pastoral ministry (2 Timothy 4:5) by coming alongside born-again Christians “for building up the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12).
3. Strengthen Local Churches (Romans 1:11).
A healthy local church is one of God’s most potent tools for evangelism (1 Thessalonians 1:8). We endeavor, therefore, to excel in building up local churches (1 Corinthians 14:12) and to encourage their leaders (Hebrews 12:12-13) by providing sound words of instruction (2 Timothy 1:13) that can simultaneously destroy strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:4) and impartspiritual life (Philippians 2:16).
4. Direct people to God (Acts 26:15–20).
We often hear, “I’ve given up on the LDS Church, but I haven’t given up on God.” We want these people to know that Goddoesn’t come through an institution, but through a Person (John 14:6). What’s more, many former Latter-day Saints haverejected Mormonism’s Heavenly Father mistakenly believing that he and the LORD God are one-in-the-same. Our greatest passion is to direct hurting Latter-day Saints, both former and current, to the true and living God who is both Saviorand King (1 Timothy 1:1, 17).
In the summer of 2016, two separate events formed the seedbed for the Sego Lily Foundation. First, a tragic string of teenage suicides put one of our co-founders, Pastor Greg Baker, in touch with hurting LDS families. These heart-breaking interactions developed in him an even greater desire to see Latter-day Saints turn to the God of all compassion.
Second, one of God’s choice servants went home to be with Christ. Ira Ransom was a veteran missionary of ﬁve decades who not only gave his life to evangelizing Latter-day Saints but developed instructional methods that were used to great effect. Those who knew him wondered how to make the most of his substantial investment.
From there, a group of Utah-based pastors began to brainstorm of how best to take the word to hurting Latter-day Saints. After much prayer, deliberation, and trial-and-error, the Sego Lily Foundation took shape. Initially, we focused on Discovering God Together, an online resource that trains born-again Christians for an evangelistic Bible study with LDS friends. Now the SegoLily Foundation concentrates on seminars for local churches, Sunday School and/or small-group materials that equip born-again Christians for day-to-day interaction with Latter-day Saints, and a written archive of resources that tackle hard LDS issues. In the future, we foresee pastoral training and assistance for church-planting in Utah/Idaho.