Nauvoo Mission 2005
This had to be one of the most successful mission trips that we have had to date! While we spent many hours passing out tracts to the Mormon people we were also blessed by being able to spend time with the young Mormon missionaries and having the opportunity to witness to others as we took tours at the various ‘tourist sites’. The thing that touched me personally was the number of non-white Mormons that attended this year’s celebration of Joseph. As I handed out hundreds of tracts I couldn’t get Moses 7:22; Abraham 1:27; and the other references to the curse of Cain out of my head. I can only imagine that they are feeling the shame that I once did as a Mormon of not being white and delightsome.
The Mormons would park their cars across the street from the field where the pageant was held and walk across a little dirt road. It is at the entrance to the play where we would stand to hand out tracts and witness. The first night we were there I was able to share the real gospel with two young Mormon missionaries. I saw myself 20 years ago in their tone of voice, and their demeanor towards me as a non-Mormon; especially now that I’m considered an apostate. The anger was hard to ignore as the older missionary was trying to understand how Adam and Eve could procreate without sinning. His biggest hang up was trying to fathom that our God is big enough to handle the subject of those who don’t know about Jesus. He kept trying to use a no-named young girl from Romania in 400 AD who had never heard the gospel to justify the reason why they had baptisms for the dead. He asked me several times if she’d go to hell as he thought she would if he didn’t get baptized for her. He said that no one would have been around to tell her. While I reminded him of the passages in Matthew 16:18 and Romans 1:16-25, he truly didn’t believe in his heart that his god was that big.
On Friday afternoon the Church entertained the visiting Mormons by re-enacting the telling of the King Follet Discourse. For those of you who have never read it, you can find the whole speech recorded in The Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, beginning on pg. 342, or you can read it in its entirety at www.lds.org. I have classified it in the top ten most heretical speeches given by Joseph Smith, giving it a rating of number one. As the audience sat to listen to a young man dressed as Joseph I was reminded of the layers of clothing I used to wear. The temperature outside was about 90 degrees with the humidity hovering around 90%. It was rather warm for those in attendance and my heart broke for the women with the multiple layers of what they deem ‘righteousness’ which hung on them as they sat sweating in the hot sun. The majority of the discourse had been edited but the integral aspects of its content were there. Man becoming gods, God was once a man, the meaning of creation and my ‘favorite’ that man’s soul is eternal but Jesus is created.
Once again we took the tour of the Carthage jail where an older gentleman gave us the typical lies that he had memorized from a script. Kirk kept asking him where Joseph got his gun and then pointed out that Joseph was disqualified from martyrdom status by killing two people before he died himself. They denied that Joseph actually shot anyone so we pointed out to the crowd the account of it from History of the Church, vol. 6:617. The tour guide and a couple of the visitors said they “didn’t recall that part of the story” so Kirk assured them it was true. After the tour Kirk was able to take the tour guide aside and speak to him about Jesus being the only holder of the eternal Melchezidek priesthood. He also shared with him that priesthoods weren’t passed from one person to the next by heavenly visitations but were passed on through the lineage of the Levitical line in the Old Testament. He told Kirk that he didn’t know about the logistics of that particular subject. Kirk assured him that John the Baptist didn’t have authority to pass on the Aaronic Priesthood in the way the Church teaches and explained to him what part John the Baptist had to do in history.
As we visited the Joseph Smith Historic Site we noticed a young woman serving her mission by providing tours of the facility. The significance of this young girl was that she is from somewhere in Africa. We stood outside the building at the front entrance and prayed for her to see truth from the Holy God who created her that way on purpose. Because we had to leave we didn’t have time to take her tour. Pray with us for this beautiful young woman that she will find the true God of the Heavens and creation.
The last night of the festivities we attended the musical they put together on the life of Joseph Smith. I can assure everyone the Church is indeed worshipping Joseph Smith! They lauded his accomplishments in life, the so-called “martyrdom”; and praised him for his knowledge without having an education. We took note that during the play they portrayed Joseph playing with the children and told them to run to the right, the children all stood up and ran to the left. The parallels were numerous throughout the entire musical and filled our hearts with a heaviness that only God Himself can repair. There were fewer than normal references to the ‘other churches’ this year which makes us think that they are continuing their program of trying to meld their way into mainstream Christianity. The main theme throughout the play was to remind people to praise Joseph Smith. I kept thinking that if they spent half the time studying the Bible that they spent re-enacting Joseph’s life then they just might find the truth about Jesus and Joseph!
Many Mormons stopped by the Nauvoo Christian Visitors Center and we were able to witness to many of those that are trapped in the web of lies that Mormonism continues to spin around its members. Most just came in to receive a free copy of the Nauvoo Expositor which was a photocopy of the newspaper that Joseph Smith had burned down, resulting in his final arrest. During the times that we were able to hand out tracts we were yelled at; told we were doing the devil’s work with the devil’s tools and condemned for being apostates. We were filled with insurmountable joy as we stood on the ‘other side’ of that proverbial fence! One of the biggest impressions that we were all touched by were the countless women who looked dog-tired with their six children in tow while expecting yet another one. One woman actually came back to me and threw a booklet back in my face while yelling at me that I was a traitor. They had also set up a garbage can about 10 yards inside the gates to see the play. The overseer of the garbage can tried to make everyone toss the literature but more than half kept it hidden from her prying eyes. There are countless stories of these kinds of experiences while we were there, and we were blessed beyond description for all of it!
When the Church gets their film developed we will be posting a link to the website where they will have pictures of us posted. They will use these pictures of us to ‘prove’ to their members that they are being persecuted. The last two nights of the play there were 13 of us posted at strategic corners around the field where they held the play at night. Two of these people were teenagers who said nothing while holding up large signs with the scripture of Isaiah 43:10-11 printed out. On the last night we estimated there were about 1,500 Mormons in attendance.
We were continually threatened with arrests if we continued but nothing came of their threats. We were reminded by the Lord that Satan cannot stand to be in the presence of the name of Jesus! We praise Him for the blessings and we’re already looking forward to being back there next year!
Kirk and I thought we were finished with our mission when we got on our flights to head home but we were wrong! At the end of our second flight the young man sitting across the isle from us announced to the surrounding passengers that he had just spent two years of his life testifying to the truth of the Book of Mormon. As we were disembarking from our flight Kirk loudly warned everyone that what the Mormon missionary had just told them was a lie. The missionary was obviously angry but we had the passengers asking me while getting off the plane to give them more information! Our next flight took four hours and as I sat down to sleep a young vibrant woman plopped down next to me and introduced herself as Laura. She began to tell me about her life but mentioned nothing of the Lord so as I kept asking her questions she suddenly asked me if I knew anything about Mormonism…needless to say I slept when I got home!
We want to thank everyone for your faithful prayers and donations to make this trip possible! We know that people tend to get discouraged if they don’t see that people accept the Lord on the spot but we don’t go there expecting that. We do know that the majority of those people will take those tracts and stuff them in a safe hiding place where they will read them when they’re alone. The Lord will work through them to bring them to Himself so we are praying for those that have been called and will hear His voice! Your prayers are precious to us and your desire to see the Mormon people saved is sweet to our ears. Thank you so much and God bless you. We will be giving any and all updates when we begin to receive word!