1926 — 1985
Pastor Sheldon Emry Remembered
"And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. " Jeremiah 5:15
Sheldon Emry was truly a pastor who fit the prophet Jeremiah's description. Through his teaching many Christian Americans came to realize just how meaningful world history really was. Because of his ability they learned how to apply the Bible, God's Law, to their everyday lives and how it should be applied to American government. It was through this special God-given insight that Pastor Emry was able to show Americans the importance of being a Christian and a Patriot simultaneously. These Americans were able to understand all these things because God used Pastor Emry to open their blinded eyes to their true identity as God's chosen people.
"Pastor Emry changed my whole life!" was the positive sentiment that was echoed over and over by many grateful Americans who came in contact with Sheldon Emry’s ministry down through the years. Indeed, he possessed a special quality that deeply touched everyone he met.
During his remarkable ministry, which spanned 18 years. Pastor Emry spoke about God's Law to everyone from heads of state to small children. In fact his ministry was the inspiration for a whole new generation of Christian Patriotic pastors from all parts of the nation.
Sheldon LeRoy Emry was born July 4, 1926 on a farm in Taylor County near Jump River, Wisconsin. Looking back over his life and his accomplishments, it seems fitting that he was born on the fourth of July. His father, Ray Emry, was a carpenter by trade and in the early 1920's migrated to Wisconsin from Iowa, buying 40 acres of timberland. In 1924, Ray Emry married Martha Warner and they moved into their first house, which was a log cabin. It was here Sheldon was born. Sheldon's father cleared his timberland so that he could build a small dairy farm which consisted of a frame house and a barn.
Sheldon went to a country school for his first eight years of school and then rode a bus many miles to attend high school. It was there he met Elaine Groves, whom he would later marry.
Following high school, in 1945, he went to Teacher's College at Stevens Point, Wisconsin. After a year and a half, he was drafted into the army air force where he became a cryptographer, taking basic training at Scott Field, Illinois and Sheppard AFB in Wichita Falls, Texas. He was then stationed at Boca Raton, Florida.
In September, 1947 Sheldon and Elaine were married in Jump River, Wisconsin and returned to Florida. From there they were transferred to Biloxi, Mississippi and then overseas to the Philippine Islands where Sheldon served at Clark Field for one year. He was discharged in 1949, returning to Minneapolis, Minnesota to make his home and enter the real estate business. Four children were born to Sheldon and Elaine: Brian, Gregory, and twins, Mark and Martha.
In the early 1960's, Sheldon became aware of the Communist conspiracy and became active in many organizations, spending many hours of donated time showing anti-communist films such as "Communism on the Map" and "Operation Abolition" to church and civic groups. He became very discouraged with the lack of response from ministers, however, and this eventually led him to decide to leave the Presbyterian Church which he and his family had been attending.
An important turning point came when a friend invited Sheldon to hear a "patriotic" minister whose church was only a mile from the Emry's home in Minnetonka Mills, Minnesota. The minister's name was C.O. Stadsklev and he preached a message mostly unheard of in the popular religious circles of America. To the average Christian, that message had the audacity to proclaim that instead of the Jews, the Anglo-Saxon, Celtic, Germanic and kindred peoples were the descendants of the Israelites of the Bible, God's Chosen People.
Nevertheless, it turned out that Sheldon was in the right place at the right time. He did much study and research on this strange message Pastor Stadsklev taught and finally recognized it as the truth. The next six years became a training ground for Sheldon as he studied under Pastor Stadsklev, teaching the adult Bible class at Gospel Temple. Now he began to see that there were more than a few Americans around the country who believed the Identity message. Among them was a church in Baltimore, Maryland which had an association with Gospel Temple.
In 1967; Sheldon, Pastor Stadsklev, and Elder Gus DeVos of Baltimore drove to Phoenix, Arizona to hold some Identity meetings. Sheldon got an opportunity to speak at these meetings along with Pastor Stadsklev and Elder DeVos. God was bringing Sheldon ever closer to his real purpose and during a second trip to Phoenix for meetings another turning point was reached. Sheldon was approached about moving to Phoenix and going into the ministry full time. It was a momentous decision that would drastically change Sheldon's entire life but it did not take him long to choose his course.
Sheldon was ordained into the ministry at Gospel Temple in 1967, and moved with his family to Phoenix in July of that year. At the time the Emrys moved to Phoenix, Brian was 17, Gregory 15, and the twins were 9. Every little detail fell into place. Not only did Sheldon Emry come into the ministry from a patriotic, anti-Communist background but he had received his theological training apart from any established seminary which could have adversely affected his Christian education with doctrinal errors. His practical business experience from his time spent in real estate gave him a down-to-earth handle on managing all the details of a ministry successfully.
Initially, Pastor Emry took over the radio broadcast that Pastor Stadsklev had begun and made it into a daily, 15 minute radio program. He also spent many hours of intense Bible study preparing weekly sermons.
Attendance at the first Sunday services of Lord's Covenant Church was scanty. Sometimes the congregation consisted of just one family along with the Emry family, right there in the living room of the Emry’s home in West Phoenix. But soon a regular group of people began attending the services in their home and the ministry of Lord's Covenant Church and America's Promise Radio was on its way.
To help support the family during those early years of the ministry, Elaine went to work at Motorola. This enabled the Pastor to stay at home and devote more time to the study of God's Word and also to attend to church work such as the daily radio broadcasts and writing various pieces of literature.
In a very short period of time it became obvious to the people in the congregation that Pastor Emry had been blessed with a keen, analytical mind and the gift of teaching. He had the God-given insight to see through and behind any subject and to discover truths in the Bible that most people missed. When he then explained these truths in a radio broadcast or sermon in his unique style, people were able to realize how obvious a hitherto hidden truth was. In this way he made clear many misunderstandings and misinterpretations of the Bible. "I must have read that verse a hundred times but I never saw what Pastor Emry just explained," said many people. Others remarked: "When Pastor Emry explains it you just know he's got to be right!"
Pastor Emry also had other remarkable talents which he skillfully applied to his ministry. He was a speed reader and his power of recall dazzled everyone. At any time he could remember something he had read in a book or an article pertinent to a subject under discussion and relate it as evidence to back up his argument. He would spend long hours each day reading, researching and writing books. And since he was constantly digging for more knowledge, he made new discoveries as God gave him insight. He was not afraid to change his doctrinal views and admit he had been wrong, such as when he discovered the anti-Christian source behind the Christmas and Supernatural Satan doctrines.
In 1970 Pastor Emry made the decision to go on radio stations in other states around the country. His intention was to reach out to the nation with the Identity message rather than keep his light "hid under a bushel" in Phoenix. At the time, more nationwide Identity ministries were desperately needed.
Elaine had worked to help support the ministry for four years and by now the ministry had grown sufficiently to support itself. Elaine was now needed to help make tapes, fill orders, etc. Through the generosity of Dr. Norman Walker, a dietician, this transition was made possible.
Due to continued growth. Pastor Emry realized that in order to operate efficiently the ministry would need a new home, adequately designed to accommodate the many demands of a church and a nationwide radio ministry. With his customary decisiveness, he formulated a plan of action and carried it out. In 1972, he purchased five acres of land as the future site of Lord's Covenant Church.
In the midst of these optimistic plans and with God opening doors for the ministry, Emry's son, Gregory, was killed in a traffic accident in October, 1975. He was almost 21 years old, and left a wife and a small son. The tragedy stunned everyone but they knew God's work must go forward. Although it was difficult, the Emry family continued with the ministry. In 1975, after much prayer, the building program was implemented on the land purchased earlier. Despite the emotional drain of losing their son, the Emry family drew strength from the Lord and came back stronger.
The demands of the ministry were multiplying to such an extent that it became necessary to hire an assistant pastor, and after the new church was finished in July of 1975, the number of employees eventually grew to nine, besides Pastor and Elaine.
During the next few years, Pastor Emry accomplished many things. He authored many books and other pieces of literature. His bestseller, "Billions for the Bankers, Debts for the People," started out as a small pamphlet back in the early 60's during his anti-Communist work. Now, with more experience and a Biblical viewpoint, Pastor Emry was able to improve and expand it into book form complete with illustrations.
Pastor Emry was also the editor of a monthly newsletter which discussed current events as related to the Bible. People from around the country looked forward to receiving this publication because it was a "newscenter" for information which was mostly suppressed in the national media. Pastor backed up this information with a Biblical perspective.
Enlightening and educational sermons and radio broadcasts by Pastor Emry were put on cassette tapes and mailed to his tape ministry which grew to 1,600 families nationwide. America's Promise radio broadcasts were carried by 40 radio stations (the most Pastor Emry had ever been on).
From the beginning of the ministry, Pastor Emry had attended many national Identity conferences around the country as well as sponsored his own in Arizona. In 1977, he initiated the first America's Promise Bible Camp which soon became a welcome annual tradition. These camps did much to bring isolated Christian Identity believers together and some even married after meeting at camp.
Other educational tools that Pastor Emry recognized the important value of for spreading the truth were the political cartoon and movies. He always had a couple of cartoon ideas going around in his mind and sent many political cartoons out in his mailings. He took advantage of movies by producing "Heirs of the Promise" which became an excellent device for introducing patriotic Americans to their true identity.
Pastor Emry also continued the tradition Pastor Stadsklev had started of traveling to Washington, D.C. once a year to witness from the Bible to Congressmen about God's Law. He was able to team up with other Identity ministers and together, year after year, they provided practical, useable information from the Bible to the Congressmen that no other Christian ministers in the nation were providing.
The Pastor’s love of history and desire to learn more of the truth led him to encourage his fellow Christians to travel with him to England and Europe to learn more about their ancestral roots. These trips turned out to be just one more research source that Pastor Emry utilized like a book to teach his congregation about the Kingdom of God. In fact, his extensive travels enabled him to obtain a clearer perspective of current events that he could not have gotten had he depended solely on the news media.
In the course of his life, Pastor Emry suffered four heart attacks. The first attack came in 1964, the next in 1979, the third in January of 1984. In February of 1984, he underwent triple bypass surgery. One year later, in February of 1985, many Christians across the country were saddened by the news that Pastor Emry was suffering from cancer which forced him to discontinue his church work.
In his usual manner, Pastor Emry threw himself into seeking the answers to the cancer problem and shared his discoveries with his national congregation. In Mexico, he discovered many of the nutritional and spiritual answers he had been searching for. This was evidenced by the way the cancer began leaving his body. He was well on his way to conquering the cancer that had invaded his body when, because of his weakened condition from the previous heart attacks and the bypass surgery, he succumbed to his fourth and final heart attack on June 6, 1985. According to God's plan, it was time for Sheldon Emry to pass the torch on to the next generation.
Pastor Sheldon Emry will always be remembered as a great leader and patriot, but also as a loving father, grandfather, and dear friend. He was generous to all and went the extra mile to help and pray for the sick and needy. The measure of his friendship could be seen in the lengths he would go to help his friends. And even though he had an excellent grasp of how the debt money system operated in the world today, he was not interested in seeking wealth as a personal goal. Instead, he sought first the Kingdom of God.
As one man said, "The one thing that impresses me about Sheldon Emry even more than his ability to teach the truth is the fact that he's had the courage to do so. I had begun to think such men were extinct."