Micah Wilder set off on his missionary journey to convert everyone he spoke with to the Mormon faith. Instead, an encounter with a Baptist pastor opened his eyes to the Jesus he never knew—one quite different than what he’d been taught. Faced with following this Jesus or keeping life as he’d known it, Micah chose to lay down in his life and make a new one in Christ. Passport to Heaven is his memoir of coming to faith, revealing insights into the Latter-Day Saints and what moved him to an orthodox belief in Jesus.
The Interview | Micah Wilder
This transcript excerpt is lightly edited for clarity. Listen to the full episode in the player above or wherever you get your podcasts.
Josh Olds: We’ll draw out the specifics later on, but let’s begin an overview of your story.
Micah Wilder: I was born and raised in a devout Mormon home. I spent my high school years in the state of Utah. My mother was a professor at BYU and I was a very zealous Latter-Day Saint. I had kind of an unparalleled passion for this faith. I wanted to live it out. I was striving through my obedience to the laws and ordinances of Mormonism to establish right standing with God. And so I ended up serving a two year mission for the Mormon Church in Orlando, Florida.
That’s kind of the meat and potatoes of my book: The two years in which I was a Mormon missionary in Central Florida, and the events and scenarios and people that God placed in my life that ultimately led me to the true and saving gospel of Christ.
I think the Mormon Church has definitely made a very concerted effort over the last—I would say 10 to 15 years—to really immerse themselves into the body of Christ and to make themselves appear more orthodox in their faith. But traditionally, Mormonism is not Orthodox Christianity. – Micah Wilder
Josh Olds: What was it that first led you to consider Christianity?
Micah Wilder: Early on in my two year mission trip, I engaged a Baptist pastor with the intent of converting him to the Mormon Church. He responded to me with the gospel message encouraged me to read the Bible. And then I kind of set out on this quest for the remainder of my mission trip, to see what the Bible had to say and how that aligned with my own faith. I ended up reading the New Testament 12 times in a span of about 20 months and that was what God used—the power of His Word. And then he poured his love into my heart through the Holy Spirit and opened my eyes to the simple and beautiful gospel of Christ. I was born again while I was on my Mormon mission. Then I had to face the cultural and familial repercussions of that newfound faith.
Josh Olds: Mormonism is often seen as a denomination within Christianity. As someone who has been on both sides, as it were, what differences are there that make this more than a denominational change for you?
Micah Wilder: I think the Mormon Church has definitely made a very concerted effort over the last—I would say 10 to 15 years—to really immerse themselves into the body of Christ and to make themselves appear more orthodox in their faith. But traditionally, Mormonism is not Orthodox Christianity. Number one is their view of the nature of God. In Mormonism, the God that they know and avow—he was not always God, and has not always been God, but he actually progressed to become a god. They actually believe that God the Father was once a man, with flesh and bone living on a planet who, through obedience to the laws and ordinances of Mormonism, ultimately progressed to become God. Also, that we as mankind hold within ourselves that same potential to ourselves be god. The other big one is the nature of Jesus. So in Mormon theology, Jesus Himself is not God. Jesus was actually created by God the Father, he is a created being who established and earned his godhood through his obedience to God the Father in His earthly ministry. And so right from the onset, you have a different God and a different Jesus.
The Book | Passport to Heaven
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.
The Author | Micah Wilder
Micah Andrew Wilder was born in 1985 in Muncie, Indiana, into a devout Mormon family. He is the third of four children. Raised on the banks of the White River, Micah developed a desire for an intimate relationship with God as a child. At the age of 14, Micah’s mother, Lynn, was hired as a professor at the prominent LDS university, BYU, and in 1999 the Wilder family uprooted from the Midwest and replanted in the heart of Mormonism: Alpine, Utah. During his two year Mormon mission, Micah was confronted by the Gospel and became a believer in Jesus.
Micah is a founder of Adam’s Road, a music and testimony ministry which shares the Gospel of Jesus Christ across North America. He is also an owner/operator of the Historic Edgewater Hotel in Winter Garden, Florida, which he and Alicia have called home since 2006. The hotel operates as a “tent-making” ministry for Adam’s Road, providing the personal living expenses for the majority of the ministry members.