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Micah Wilder Passport to Heaven Part 1

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
June 13, 2021 9:22 pm

Micah Wilder Passport to Heaven Part 1

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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June 13, 2021 9:22 pm

Micah Wilder was an LDS missionary for 2 years of his life, a time when he discovered the Jesus he never knew. This week Bill and Eric ask Micah about his new book, Passport to Heaven, and find out how God found a young man and brought him to Himself.

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Mormonism 101, a book by Mormonism Research Ministries, Bill McKeever and Eric Johnson, has helped many who want to understand what separates Mormonism from the Christian faith.

Mormonism 101 is available at your favorite Christian bookstore or online at Viewpoint on Mormonism, the program that examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from a Biblical perspective. Viewpoint on Mormonism is sponsored by Mormonism Research Ministry. Since 1979, Mormonism 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 edition of 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. Well, this week we plan to take a slight break from our review of the book, The Gospel Topics Series, as we have with us Micah Wilder. Michael Wilder is the head of Adams Road Ministries, and he has written a book titled Passport to Heaven, the True Story of a Zealous Mormon Missionary Who Discovers the Jesus He Never Knew.

Micah, welcome to Viewpoint on Mormonism. It's good to have you back. It's great to be back, Bill, and Eric. It's been a long time.

It has been. It's been too long, but every time you get a chance to come out to Utah, I try to make an effort to get out to see you guys, because we are all very blessed by what you guys are doing, all the lives that you have touched over the past many years. And as I was telling you off air, I really enjoyed your book.

Passport to Heaven is a great book. I am just praying, God, use this in a mighty way to open the eyes of many faithful Latter-day Saints. I really commend you for the job that you did on this, and that's what we want to talk about this week. We want to talk about not only your book in particular, but we want to talk about your story. Your story is quite amazing. I didn't even know all the details, naturally.

I knew a lot of the basics, but I'm going, oh wow, I didn't know that, especially when you talk about going through four hurricanes. And I hope we can bring that subject up again a little bit later on. Micah, let me ask you a question. Many stories are about how a boy meets a girl, and some of that's in your book, but it would probably be better to call your book God Meets Boy. If you would, give the listeners a cliff note summary of what a reader of your new book can expect. So this book is really the story of a Mormon missionary who comes to know the love of God revealed in Christ. And that was really my heart, was to kind of step away from my own story as this third-party objective viewer and just tell the story of who I was and how the gospel of Christ transformed me.

And so it's really not even about me, it's about God's love for me in Christ and that love that He has for all of us. And so I really wanted to make Jesus the center of the story, not myself. You said in the book that you've been writing this story for many years. Could you tell us a little bit more about how you wrote the story and how you were able to get the book ready for publishing with Harvest House?

Yeah, so this book has definitely been a labor of love. I actually embarked on this journey within days of completing my two-year mission trip in 2006. And so I sat down and I opened up my journals and I knew very clearly that God wanted me to tell this story in written form.

I just didn't know the details and I didn't know the time frame, but I tried to be faithful to that. And in fact, I started to write what God had done over the course of my two-year mission. To His glory, I was actually a very meticulous note-taker and journaler throughout the course of my mission. I had almost a thousand pages of journal entries by the time I got home because I was very meticulously detailing all of the experiences that I was undergoing as a Mormon missionary. And so that kind of became the foundation of this story, and for 15 years I formed that story and it became more clear and more clarified through the things that God was teaching me as I matured in my own relationship with Christ. And it ultimately led to God opening doors through Harvest House, and it was finally published.

And so it's kind of been the surreal dream that I've had for a long time that I never thought would finish, and finally it's here, and I just praise God because of it. Now in the book, you say that a lot of what is in the book comes from your memory, from your two-year mission, as well as from your journal. When I read that, I thought, you know, here's one time when it's really a good thing that Mormons are into journaling, because now you have all this detail and you can go back, and I notice on some of the things you just copied from your journal into the book what had actually happened and many of the things that were said. I think that's a great thing because if somebody reads this, they're going to wonder, hey, how could he remember all that? Well, if you're writing it down at the time it happens, that's how you do it.

So that's what I think also makes this book really exceptional. You get to know the people that you were serving with on your mission. Now a lot of those names you admit up front are not the actual names. You didn't really end as, I guess, the champion of the mission field in the eyes of some of your fellow missionaries and your mission president that you talk about either. Have you had any opportunity to talk to some of those young men and other adults that you had served with at that time? Unfortunately, most of the people that I knew and served with on my mission have kind of cut off communication with me.

There's been a very few number of them that I still have any semblance of relationship with. So I do hope that some of these missionaries that I served with, out of curiosity, pick up this book, even unbeknownst to me it's fine, and read it and see the things that I was undergoing while I was serving with them and while we were serving together. And I hope that some of them do and I hope that they're moved by that. I know for a fact that many of these missionaries, especially my companions, I know that they were impacted by the Gospel message. I know that they were impacted by the love of God that I was coming to learn through God's Word, and those seeds were planted in their hearts.

And I still believe, you know, even after 15 years, that those seeds can eventually come to fruition by the grace of God. One of the things that stood out for me as I'm reading the book, and also knowing you personally, is you left, I guess you could say, the proverbial paper trail of your service while you were a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And the reason I say this for our listeners is because it's not uncommon when an individual writes their testimony of how they left the LDS Church for a Latter-day Saint to, I guess you could say, stereotype them as probably someone who was not all that active, was not that zealous in their Mormon faith, and that's why they fell away.

You certainly don't come to the table with those kind of credentials. I mean, you leave a paper trail that can easily be followed showing, boy, I'll tell you, Micah, if there was ever the zealous of the zealous, I would say you probably fit into that category. You took your religion very seriously, and I don't think any Latter-day Saint reading your book can come to any other conclusion. They might try, but you give enough evidence to show you meant business when you were on your mission.

You weren't just filling a two-year tour of duty. It was not only that, but you were taking your faith seriously. So one of the things I wanted to do in the book was to really establish honestly and with integrity my credentials in Mormonism and to show the zeal that I had for God and the dedication that I had to God through the church. And one of the things that I dealt with a lot over the last 15 years is people trying to discredit me by saying that I either never believed the doctrine or I never fully lived it or I didn't understand it. Those are generally the three things that people really try to accuse me of in order to discredit my testimony rather than acknowledging that I really did understand Mormon doctrine. I believed that I lived it, but I came through the Word of God to understand that there was something greater than that which was revealed to me in Mormonism, and of course that was the revelation of Christ through His Word. And so I really wanted to show people, like, I was a real Mormon, and I was a devout Mormon, and I was a dedicated Mormon, and I had put my life into, you know, serving God through the church. I don't think anybody's going to doubt your zealousness, especially when you went on your mission, as Bill just mentioned.

I'm looking at your book, page 130, and I just want to read a short section of it so that our listeners can understand how zealous you were. You went to BYU in the fall semester after you graduated from high school, and then you stopped going to school, and this is what you write. After school concluded in December, I returned to the temple, and you're talking about the Mount Tippinogos temple where you, near where you lived, but this time to submit a most unusual proposal. I wanted to work full time in the sacred building, immersing myself in God's presence every possible moment I could. My religious leaders were shocked and even confused.

Never had someone my age made such a demand. Generally, temple workers were older retired men and women. It was simply unheard of for a young person, prior to their mission, no less, to serve in such a capacity. I was told I had become the youngest full-time temple worker in the modern church. And then you write, the passion to discover what God had in store for me became an obsession, and I was determined to make every effort to solidify my standing with him as I prepared for my two-year journey. I strictly observed all the church's commandments, obeying them as if my life, my future, and my love for Elisha, who was your girlfriend at that time, later your wife, depended on it.

Micah, I'm just going to ask you this question. Why were you so passionate about temple service? Well, you have to understand how I view God through the lens of Mormonism, and so my desire to have a relationship with God was implanted in me as a young man, even as a child. And as I grew older, I believe that the way to have a relationship with God and to be in right standing with God was through the laws and the ordinances and the tenets of Mormonism. And so as I grew older and as I got to the point of preparing myself to go on a mission, I saw the temple as the ultimate standard of my righteousness and the way for me to be in the presence of God, and that's what I desired more than anything else in the world. And so I really put all my heart and effort into the temple, into going there, performing the ordinances, and seeking desperately to be in God's presence and to feel his love, to feel his favor, and really to try to show him, to demonstrate to him that I was good enough to receive the best that he could offer me.

But yet you were the youngest to ever do something like this. Why do you think others at that age don't have a desire if that's really the ultimate in the Mormon faith? Any thoughts on that?

I don't know. I think it varies from person to person, and I think that people, even within Mormonism, they find different ways to serve God, and for me it became the temple, and that was just my way of connecting with God and trying to be close to God. I guess the reason I'm asking that is because I have talked to many missionaries for the LDS Church, and in many cases I was surprised to find that for a lot of the missionaries that I encountered, they never really got serious about their faith until they were called on a mission. I've even talked to missionaries who never even read the Book of Mormon until just before they went on their missions. I would say that the zeal that you had as a young man and desiring to work in the temple would certainly surpass quite a few at least of the young men that I have talked to that are on their missions.

Yeah, I would agree with that. I think that my experience as a missionary was that there were not all, but many of the missionaries were just beginning to truly develop their own personal testimony of the LDS Church. They were just beginning to really grasp Mormon doctrine and theology and kind of build through that own faith for themselves. I had spent years previous to my mission already formulating my testimony, already developing that testimony, and even, you know, sharing that testimony constantly to my leaders, my family, my peers, and just, you know, trying to live out my faith as best as I could. We're talking to Michael Wilder. He is the author of a book, Passport to Heaven, the true story of a zealous Mormon missionary who discovers the Jesus he never knew. And we're going to continue this conversation in tomorrow's show. Thank you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-04 23:04:03 / 2023-11-04 23:09:48 / 6

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