Published by Harvest House Publishers on June 1, 2021
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“You have a call, Elder Wilder.”
When missionary Micah Wilder set his sights on bringing a Baptist congregation into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he had no idea that he was the one about to be changed. Yet when he finally came to know the God of the Bible, Micah had no choice but to surrender himself—no matter the consequences.
For a passionate young Mormon who had grown up in the Church, finding authentic faith meant giving up all he knew: his community, his ambitions, and his place in the world. Yet as Micah struggled to reconcile the teachings of his Church with the truths revealed in the Bible, he awakened to his need for God’s grace. This led him to be summoned to the door of the mission president, terrified but confident in the testimony he knew could cost him everything.
Passport to Heaven is a gripping account of Micah’s surprising journey from living as a devoted member of a religion based on human works to embracing the divine mercy and freedom that can only be found in Jesus Christ.
Evangelicalism has had a rather odd relationship with the Mormon church throughout its history, ranging from outright castigation as a cult to acceptance within the pantheon of Christian denominations. Despite its growth, and despite its increased acceptance, very few Christians seem to actually know anything about the church, its beliefs, or its people. If you know one thing about them, it might about be their bicycle-riding, door-to-door missionaries. Micah Wilder was one such missionary.
Passport to Heaven is a personal journey of faith from zealous Mormon missionary to follower of Jesus—a Jesus he never knew. Along the way, you’ll glean insights into the Mormon religion and its connections to Christianity, how it twists orthodox Christian teaching and reverts it back to a salvation from works model that relies on good deeds and good morals. You’ll also see how insular those within the church can become, particularly those closely associated with the church. And then, you’ll see Micah Wilder, whose experience on the mission field meant to convert others ultimately resulted in his own conversion.
Passport to Heaven is a bit wordy at times—I offer that not as a critique, but as an observation. Wilder offers fully-realized snapshots of various specific instances in his life, all of which contribute toward the place in life he’s at today. It’s very much like sitting down and having a conversation with Micah. A lot of memoirs have a clear thematic purpose and every part of the book seems to lean into that. Passport to Heaven is a little looser, letting the story rather than the message take control.
I appreciate that Micah never bashes the LDS church or demonizes them. He portrays the church as zealous but misguided, controlling but loving. Yet at the same time, he is clear that the Jesus preached by Mormonism is not the Jesus of the Scriptures. His story is simple, straightforward, and clear. While on his Mormon mission, he encounters Christians who make him question his understanding of God. This questioning leads to a whole new understanding of who Jesus is.
Micah’s story isn’t unique. I’ve known a number of people raised in the LDS church to grow up and question their beliefs. Unfortunately, most of them give up the faith altogether. Jesus is too tied with Mormonism and in rejecting Mormonism, they reject Jesus as well. Passport to Heaven is able to clearly show that distinction that show how you can reject Mormonism and in so doing come to an even better understanding of who Jesus is. Life is story and this life is worth reading.