It’s not just televangelists that are scamming old ladies with faith seed promises. Now churches that don’t exist are getting in on the fun.
Today I received a strangely decorated letter, covered in text and underlined words. It was made to look like a personal friend wrote on the envelope but it just looks someone puked random Bible verses and slogans on the envelope.
So what’s the scam?
According to the letter the recipient is supposed to kneel on the prayer “rug” and then fill out the prayer needs list. After that, the prayer rug printout needs to be returned to Saint Matthew Churches. They also urge you to follow further steps after you mail in the rug. According to the letter, the rug has been blessed for two people and it must be used and returned within 24 hours. Apparently, God’s blessings only work on bankers hours and they expire quickly. Strangely, they inform the reader that they must return the prayer rug poster as soon as possible so that it can be sent to another person who is “in need” of the poster, as if they couldn’t just print another one.
If this was the only instruction in the mailer then it could be passed off as harmless. However, that is not all that came in the mailer package.
Throughout the rest of the package there are faith seed testimonials, repeated instructions, and misused Bible verses to convince the recipient to follow more instructions. When the recipient fills out the “prayer request” letter there is a small section to fill in a faith seed amount. The entirety of the package is a large gimmick to get people to follow these instructions, in hopes that the recipient will send in a donation.
The gimmick is so crudely constructed that even a new believer could tell that the scriptures were being used out of context. The back side of the prayer rug has three verses listed to steer the reader into obedience.
…I will make all my goodness pass before thee… (Exodus 33:19 [KJV])
If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. (John 13:17 [NRSVA])
Those who listen to instructions will prosper (Proverbs 16:20 [NLT])
The most peculiar thing about the 3 verses is that the scripture verse and translation are listed below each passage and they are all from different bible translations and they each use a different font….. strange. Why is St. John 13:17 in italics but not the others? Why is the first verse in Gothic font but the others in serif? It just looks unplanned.
Who’s Behind the Faith Seed Scam?
This scam might look familiar to some as there is a real church named Cathedral of Saint Matthew which participates in some mailers and faith seed scams. This church is the mother church of the big scam which is housed in a fake church named Saint Matthews Churches who’ve sent out unsolicited mailers for decades, referred to as Prayer Rug Mailers. They’ve been assessed by the CBBB and charity watchdogs in the past and claim that they are not running a scam because they are not “fund raising”, rather, they are allowing people to “worship” with their money. Seems like a convenient description. It should come as no surprise that they also collect “faith seed” offerings.
If you want to know if a religious organization is a scam or a hoax, the best method is looking at it’s founder(s). In this case, the founder is a man that goes by the name Rev. James Eugene Ewing. There appears to be multiple locations where mail is collected. The first is a PO box in Tulsa (PO Box 21210 Tulsa, OK 74121). Another seems to be (PO Box 3036 Tulsa, OK 74101-3036). The mother church is actually in Texas and has a real address which is 9101 Airline Dr. Houston, Texas 77037. When checked on google maps, the church is definitely real and looks very expensive.
So, just to summarize, there is a real church in Texas which operates a fake church in Oklahoma and they send out millions of mailers hoping to receive donations. They have a fake church send out the mailers because they don’t want the real church to be affiliated with the scam and end up losing membership.
Who is Rev. James Eugene Ewing?
Rev. James Eugene Ewing lives in Beverly Hills California, where he lives a life of luxury off the back of some of the world’s poorest believers. His actual business is listed as “Church by Mail Inc.”. Before starting his long journey scamming people through the mail, he had a career writing fundraising letters for Oral Roberts. You heard that right folks. All of these scam artists and TV preachers run around in the same tight circles together. They have fake degrees, luxurious mansions, and fake ministries. Despite the size of Oral Roberts University, it was still founded and run by scam artists and crooks. Luckily, today new faces have tried to turn ORU into a reputable school, with at least minor success.
Ewing’s business, Church by Mail Inc. struggled initially to get legal status, but eventually got it in 1992. Some of the court documents and legal proceedings can be found on the following website –> law.justia.com. The court’s initial complaints with the organization can be summed up in the following sentence from the documents.
Finally, the potential for abuse created by the ministers’ control of the Church requires open and candid disclosure of facts bearing upon the exemption application. (Source)
The organization also had a few other scoundrels in the mix, who are listed in the court documents.
Church By Mail, Inc. was incorporated under the laws of Oklahoma on November 28, 1978. The Church’s primary activity has been the preparation, printing and mailing of various religious messages, most of which include a request for money. The Church is run by Reverend Ewing and Reverend McElrath. The Church also employs Reverend O.D. Snyder, Reverend D.R. Luce and Brenda Ewing. (Source)
For more on the background of Ewing the his various organizations I highly recommend reading this report from tulsaworld.com. Alternatively, you can peruse Ewing’s own website http://www.jameseugeneewing.com. You will find that before he was a scam by mail artist, he was a scam by revival artist.
Like the goofy people in Kenya trying to convince you that you have a wealthy relative that just bequeathed you a million dollars, these scams only continue because whoever is scamming people is actually making money. This organization makes roughly 6 million dollars in a single month. (Source) Clearly, they have every incentive to continue with evil behavior.
The only way to make these crooks go away is to stop giving them money. Spread the news about these guys.
Document collection from mailer
For more information on this group, read what other’s have already posted.
BBB – http://kcbbb.blogspot.com/2010/01/st-matthews-churches-church-or-scam.html
iamforsure – http://www.iamforsure.com/False%20Teachers/EwingJames/EwingMain.html
James Eugene Ewing – Official Web Site – Biography of James Eugene Ewing
St. Matthew’s Churches – Old Official Web Site
St. Matthew’s Churches – New Official Web Site
St. Matthew’s Cathedral – Official Church Web Site
51 thoughts on “Saint Matthew’s “Churches” Faith Seed Scam”
I have read many of the comments on this page. Nevertheless, I am not sure if St. Matthews is a scam or not. I don’t think that God calls on me to decide if these people are real or not. I feel I am to trust and have faith in God and he can work through anyone whether they mean for good or bad. In addition, if you give you give from the heart. If God knows you, you will be blessed. If this church is such a scam, how come it has been around for so long. They would have been shut down a long time ago or be on American Greed by now. If so, send me the info so I can research. Nevertheless, everyone story is different but when I was in college in the early 2000’s I sent seeds and prayed with the letters received. Every time, I sent them monies. I would received monies out of nowhere from places I never expected. I would get refunds from my care insurance, refund from school, refunds from electric company. gifts of monies etc… I was going through one of the hardest time my life. You see, I put my faith in God not a building. Moreover, my biggest testimony for this church is I was trying to buy my ex husband out of the house we owned so I could have peace. He said buy me out over and over again. I got financed and went to do just that. So when he said it again. I said I have the approval to buy you out and the bank location. He called the bank loan officer and proceed to use foul language and said he was not going to sign. I cried. The same day, I received a prayer letter from St Matthews with a prayer rug. I got on my knees as instructed on the paper rug and I prayed. I called the bank the next day to tell them to cancel my loan because he was not going to sign. She said hold on, what do you mean. He came in this morning and already signed off. The reason I share this story is because God said have faith as small as a mustard seed. Sometime you have to take a chance and believe God will show you the right direction. Moreover, many times they will say if you don’t have monies send the letter and at other times I have seen send what you can. Everyone has to decide for themselves and follow your heart. Be Blessed
https://www.illdeclareministry.com/mainpage This guy he was pulling a scam on me he was asking me to sign up on his page and then order a prayer cloth but I was not going to order it off his page because I don’t believe this whole prayer cloth does anything.
You don’t need to pay anyone money or buy any meterial thing for God to hear your prayers! So glad you did not fall for it!
I received a request with a prayer rug a few months ago. Today I received a different one with a purple envelope saying to sleep on it. I tore all of the papers up and put them in the prepaid envelope. Maybe more people should do this and put the cost back on the scammer. Its very sad how many elderly are falling for this because the scammer uses the name of Jesus so freely. The Bible says that even Satan knows the scriptures.
It is scary that so many people are falling for this. It’s heart breaking to think of the many people who’ve lost hundreds or even thousands to these scammer. They will get what they deserve eventually.
Omg I want one of these paper prayer rugs
I prefer the plush model but I am sure the paper version is easy on the knees still…..
I almost fell for it, but realized something wasn’t quite right. So I’m mailing back the prayer rug, the sign from the Lord about your future unopened & the page with the testimonies along with copies of this article (pages 3-5) in my own envelope with my own stamp & no return address on it.
So happy you did not fall for this!!! Make sure to tell your friends and always trust your gut!
I sent this beautiful organization $500 dollars and I was blessed in received a golden bar, a diamond ring, 71 virgins, a 1992 Lamborghini diablo roadster, one bitcoin and two extra prayer rugs. I LOVE THIS CHURCH
These types of church usually also like to give out fake degrees to anyone that gives them money. You should have asked for an honorary doctorate. Get the most out of your seed investment.
I think i will send some fake money or a fake check to respond to this scam lol.
That is a great idea!! I am doing the same.
there ought to be some kind of law in America not to allow these scam artists take what little money poor people have so they can live high on the hog,yet i know in my heart God knows what they are doing and they should be in JAIL so god will most likely send them all to HELL!!! then they will be torchered forever all because the LOVE of MONEY is the root of all EVIL!!! Maria F. Hope you have a blessed day
Can’t agree more.
First off,.many of you are adults and of many years I suspect. How is it that I keep reading that so many of you said you where about to send money. One look at the outside envelope would ring bells.
Next, yes it is a scam and a brilliant one. Fools are easily parted with their money and so many broke fools only ruins a society. The Raft of Medusa it seems we are sailing on.
Finally, revel in the absurd joy of them. The mailings are worth receiving just for the hearty laughter you will get.
I will tell you a grand secrete. I howl with insane laughter as I take the prepaid envelope they include and stuff it to bursting with all sorts of other mail. Junk mail. Strips of newspapers. Other looney religious stuff. It looks like a football when I am done. I have to tape it closed.
Then I mail it mack. The post office charges them all the extra it takes to handle and deliver the monstrosity.
They have since stopped sending me mail. So
You make some valid points.
Thanks for that idea, and also stuff it with fake money.
I was cleaning up my God mother’s draw and found one of the St Matthews booklets and said yes I remember this and was getting ready to send them my gift and they something says see if they still exist .when I look it up find out it all was a SCAM, I’m so hurt
Sorry to hear that Gwendolyn. I am glad you found out before you sent anything to them!
I live in Tacoma, WA, I keep getting mail from them for the previous resident of my home. I decided to look it up one day to inform the “church” that she no longer lives here, only to find that there was no church. I CANNOT stand it that people get taken advantage of in the name of “GOD”, and it infuriates me each time I receive a piece of mail addressed to the form resident of my home.
I just received this yesterday March 23rd 2021, and sadly I almost believed it, I filled out paper work and even was about to donate money and prayed on the rug and something just didn’t feel right , before I sent it back this morning something urged me to look into it more and I googled the church and found all these scam warnings… I am so glad I didn’t fall for this completely and I hope that God will forgive me for even almost believeing in this nonsense. It’s sad people prey on individuals this way , because I am trying to strengthen my faith and walk more with Jesus this almost persuaded me because I am desperate for the love and acceptance of God and would do anything for him and this almost tricked me . Luckily I was able to come to my sense and the veil over my eyes was uncovered. Thank you Jesus !
So glad you held off! Warn your friends
I was about send money BUT I feel that idolatry images
Don’t go Whit bible so who ever is behind this got to repent jesus christ is not a purpose to make money.
God bless those who use the word of God … jesus is coming very soon……?
It is March 12th, 2021 and I received a letter from St. Matthew’s Church. This is the first time I have ever received something like this. I was taken aback by the strangeness of the content, but knowing my scripture pretty well, I knew I did bot need some idolatrous image of Jesus to have my prayers answered. Anyhow, I appreciate this article, and I pray God’s blessing over you for shining the light on the darkness and exposing the wolves in sheep’s clothing brother.
Report scams to FTC.gov and USPIS.gov for suspicious mail.
This church is scamming my mother of 83 years of her money and has her confused of what is reality. Sad. I am hurt for her. Mt Gilead NC.
This is heartbreaking. It’s amazing to me how this is allowed to go on.
USPS delivers these letters from StMatthews DAILY. If there was anything illegal about this whole ordeal, this “church” would not be allowed to operate. So much for the gov’t caring about the people. It’s ALLLL about the money for them too lol
Unfortunately the these mailer scams are totally legal… under the guise of “religious freedom”
ITS A LONG RUNNING SCAM…JUST BARELY LEGAL…..
It needs to be outlawed but I know it never will. ?
I knew it lol it was a scam.
He’s still at it. Received letter March,9,2021 Knew it was a scam immediately. Filed it in the round file.
I’m really curious to know where he gets his names from….
By using census records to target their mailings. This is from a Wikipedia page. All kinds of articles about this man. IRS has been after him for years. He finally bought a physical church to get them off his back. It was just in 2017 that he achieved status for tax exemption. He has been the subject of numerous complaints to the Better Business Bureau, whose evaluation conclusion was that the organization did not meet two standards for Charity Accountability.
i once sent ST MATTHEWS CHURCH fifty cents in change because it was all I had the time, they sent the change back to me, what kind of church is that ??
I assume they thought it was an insult but either way it’s pretty messed up. Note, this is NOT a church!
My Name is Denise….Saint Matthew Church has been sending me words thru mail…and yes …i did forwarded them my seed…for bout 2 months…no MATTER what those bad people’s have done…God knows my heart and my husbands….their intentions were pure evil…God said in His word…He will turn evil into goodness for us…and He did exactly what He promised….we were blessed anyways…Amen
So God can’t punish this person for running scam for so many years? Yet we are talking about horrible gays transgender etc. It is almost as if god does not exists ? or may be god does not care?
Yea I’m with you. Either God doesn’t care or he’s not as actively involved as people make him out to be.
i don’t think either one of you know the heart of GOD. If you did, you would know what you are doing is wrong.
Vickie need Jesus now I am here for you praying ? forgiveness ? and healing my body and healing my mind and eyes ? and saved me Jesus Tuesday save forgiveness myself healing and praying forgiveness and saved me.
Vickie need Jesus now I am here for you praying ? forgiveness brings to Christ Jesus saves time you praying ? day you praying and healing my eyes ? and healing my mind body and praying ? good day on Tuesday at ? time for healing my heart ❤️ ears ? healings here now
What is interesting about this is, they turned around and sent me a book called The Seed Principle. This book is pretty accurate, except GOD DIRECTS where the Seed should be planted, NOT MEN! Thank you for the Truth.
I used to get these things about 10 or 12 years ago and didn’t respond so they just stopped. Now about a week ago another one showed up (I have moved twice since I received the initial letters). I have always wanted to try an old gag I heard about years ago with their postage paid envelopes…gather up a box of rocks and attach the envelope to the box. Not sure if it would work but it would sure be funny to take some wind out of “Genes” sails.
Vickie need Jesus now I am here for you praying ? healing my eye ? now and Richead need Jesus to come on his house ? today healing my body and healing my eyes ?
Vickie noel here I am I need Jesus now I am here for you praying ? for my eye ? is to bind you praying ? for my eye ? healing and Tuesday am ? on
Hospital ? day for healing
I’ve been asking the Lord if He would send me a letter from St. Matthews Churches, so I could send them my best “seed gift”…a packet of mustard seeds. Today, I got a letter in the mail from St. Matthews Churches after several years with no letters. Jesus is awesome!
LOL, If the envelope comes with free postage I would send a whole crate of seeds and make them pay for the shipping.