For those of you who support this ministry, those we refer to as "Team Nauvoo", the success of our outreach efforts here in Nauvoo for the Nauvoo Pageant are something you directly contributed to, and have a shared reward in. Thank you! We won't know until "Resurrection Morning" the whole story, and on that day "Team Nauvoo" you will be able to share the crowns that will be laid at Jesus feet! Thanks again!!
The Nauvoo Pageant began on July 7th and ran till August 4th, Tuesday through Saturday nights. We were there every night passing out informational handouts and witnessing to Mormons and Christians alike. Helen and I celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary, July 8th, not out at dinner or spending a nice night in a fancy hotel, but down on the flats witnessing for Jesus to an unreached people group known as Mormons.
We didn't conduct this "Outreach" alone; we had some wonderful Christian volunteers (over 30 folks from 7 different states) that worked right along side of us on some blistering hot days and evenings reaching out to these lost folks. We provided just under 5,000 handouts during the 19 performances of the pageant, and had many wonderful witnessing opportunities to discuss with Mormons the errors and contradictions between the doctrines of Mormonism and God's inerrant word, the Bible.
As usual Helen's friendly personality gave her an opportunity to show the lead actors that we were not the "evil anti's", but rather, we were the concerned Christians from the Nauvoo Christian Visitors Center. In the above photo Helen is with Rachael and Dallyn Bayles who play Joseph and Emma Smith. Below, Helen is with Ken Eklof who played Brigham Young.
STORIES FROM THE PAGEANT
ANDY - Andy was part of a Mormon bus touring group that came into Nauvoo to see the Mormon history sites and to attend the pageant. The front door to the Center was open and Andy was walking by, looking in with some hesitancy. I called to him from behind the counter where I was working on some paperwork: "If the Mormon Church is the only true church on the face of the earth, what do you have to be afraid of?" He hesitated just a second and then opened the door and came in.
What a story he had to tell. He was born in Russia and was abandoned by his mother at the age of four, along with his two year old sister, to fend for himself and care for her as a little child on the streets. He was taken into an orphanage at six and then adopted by a Mormon family at age ten. Andy is now 18. He said he was really struggling before coming on this trip as to whether or not he was "worthy" enough to serve as a Mormon Missionary. He said he couldn't forgive his birth mother for abandoning him and his sister on the streets of Russia and therefore he was unworthy to go on his 'mission'. He said that he had spent some time in the garden area by the Mormon Visitors Center, called a "Monument to Women," and had finally forgiven his birth mother, so now he was 'worthy' for his Mormon Mission. He was more than happy to bear his testimony on why he "knew" the Mormon Church was true. Helen and I talked with him for more than an hour before he had to meet his tour group for dinner at the Hotel Nauvoo. He left claiming he would bring back one of the leaders of the group that would call down angels from heaven to show us our errors.
Andy did return with several other Mormon companions; however, their ignorant zeal for their religion was no match for the truth that Mormonism has no basis for its claims. Andy, like most Mormons, was sure Mormonism was true, not based on facts or evidence, but merely on a subjective "feeling," and nothing else. He asked Helen if she would open a Book of Mormon and read Moroni 10:4, which is the Mormon way of finding out if Mormonism is true (Moroni 10:4 - "And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.") Mormonism's test of truth, in spite of all evidence that it is in fact false, is simply to pray. If you feel it's true, then it must be so. His hope was that we would accept Mormonism as being true by receiving a "feeling" that it was true; ignoring all the evidence which clearly proves it to be a false teaching.
Andy wanted to kneel down and pray - folding his arms in the traditional Mormon prayer position. We let Andy pray first to his false god. He stuttered and fumbled and could hardly get any words out - he finished abruptly. I then prayed that God would open Andy and his friends' eyes to the real Jesus of the Bible and that they would come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. After Andy and his friends had left, Helen and I found out that we had each been praying for the same thing as Andy had prayed: that he would experience a spirit of confusion and wouldn't be able to pray; that his mouth would be stopped and he wouldn't be able to pray to the false god of Mormonism. Our prayers were answered.
Please pray for Andy. He is a handsome, articulate young man that, through adoption, has been led into a false religion. Pray that the seeds we planted will grow and someday be harvested.
THE PAGEANT DOCTOR - One night an elderly man came charging up to me from the pageant seating area and blurted out an agitated question: "Have you ever been a member of "The Church?" "Yes - six generations on my dad's side and four on my mom's," I said. He then asked, "Why would you do this?" His question was in reference to our passing out the information handouts about some of the errors of Mormonism. My reply was simple: "I care about your eternity, that's why I'm here."
The man's badge identified him as the Pageant Doctor, and he and I began about a 45 minute discussion of various Mormon doctrines as I explained to him why I left Mormonism. He would try to counter, but he wasn't that well schooled in Mormonism and each time I'd take away his arguments with facts he couldn't refute, the sweat on his balding head and face would increase; he was sweating profusely by the end of our conversation.
I challenged his faith in Joseph Smith, claiming that he didn't know the man he was placing his faith in. To prove my point, I asked him what was found in Joseph Smith's pocket the day he was killed in the Carthage Jail. He didn't know. I explained to him that Joseph Smith had a "Jupiter Talisman" in his pocket. He didn't know what that was. I explained that it was an occult medallion which the possessor believes has mystical, magical powers. I asked him, "Why would a 'Prophet' of God carry an occult medallion in his pocket? Why would a 'Prophet' of God be dabbling in the underworld?" The doctor then countered with, "How do you know the prophets of old didn't use occult medallions when they performed their miracles. When Elijah raised his son from the dead, how do you know he didn't use occult powers?"
I couldn't believe my ears when this Mormon doctor, standing there in his temple garments, which means he has gone through the advanced Mormon Temple Ceremonies and is supposed to have a higher knowledge of the things of God, made such an outlandish statement. In the first place, Elijah didn't raise his son, he raised the widow's son from the dead - and I Kings 17 tells us clearly Elijah cried out to the Lord and the Lord heard him and answered his prayer; he didn't use the powers of the occult!!
It is amazing that this Mormon doctor, when given information about his prophet that clearly shows he was dabbling in the occult, had to try and justify this information by trying to infer the prophets of the Old Testament did the same; and he didn't even know his Bible stories well enough to know that Elijah raised the widow's son, not his own.
Pray for this doctor that the seeds of doubt about the object of his trust, Joseph Smith, will take hold and he'll look into the foundations of his religious belief. Pray he'll put his trust in the only person worthy of it: Jesus Christ.
SCOTT THE SECURITY GUARD - (Not his real name). Scott was filling a security role one night and was standing on the other side of the road from where we were handing out our outreach materials. I walked over and struck up a conversation with him. We started discussing Mormon doctrine, and were having a very good exchange, when the head of Mormon Security came racing up in his golf cart saying "Is there a problem here?" I said "No. We're just talking." The head of security replied "I was told there was something going on between the two of you."
Someone had seen us talking and reported it. The Mormon hierarchy figured they'd better get down there and rescue Scott from the clutches of the "Anti's." Pray that Scott will run over and over again in his mind the things we discussed and that he'll begin to question Mormonism and seek answers leading him to the real Jesus Christ; the Jesus of the Bible.
NANCY THE CROSSING GUARD - (Not her real name) Nancy was assigned as a crossing guard at the crosswalk where we handed out material each night. When we had been there for an hour or so, she approached one of our volunteers and struck up a conversation. He was doing really well talking with her, so I just let him witness. There came a point where I was invited into the conversation which lasted until after the pageant was completely over. At one point, Nancy was taken aside by the Mormon security assistant and told she was getting too loud. When she came back she apologized if she had offended us. We told her she had not and continued talking to her.
A couple of times in our conversation I pinned her down on specific points of Mormon doctrine and gave her information that she didn't know (such as the fact that Mormon doctrine denies the Virgin Birth). These points which she had never heard made her cry. You may say "How could you be so cruel as to make this woman cry?" The false teachings of Mormonism are what is so cruel, not those of us who are willing to show Mormons what their religion really teaches. It would be far crueler to remain silent and let this woman hear the saddest words in all the Bible on resurrection morning, "Depart from me, I never knew you."
Pray that Nancy will look into the many points of Mormon doctrine that were discussed and that she will begin the process of coming out of the cult of Mormonism.
JOHN FROM LAS VEGAS - John came charging up to us after having taken the material and having begun to read it. He was questioning our motives for passing the material out. I said "I'm concerned about you as a person and where you will spend eternity." That seemed to disarm him and we were able to talk. I made the following statement to him which he said he could agree with: "If Mormonism is true, I need to know. If Mormonism is not true, you need to know."
John said he would correspond with us via email and would show me that Mormonism was true. Pray that John follows through and does contact us so that we can begin to show him the false teachings of Mormonism and the real Jesus of the Bible.
THE POMPOUS DOCTOR - One night a man stopped and began talking with me and challenging me on my motives for passing out material at the pageant. He informed me that he was a doctor (all told he did that about five times during the course of our discussion) and had seen "Anti-Mormon" material before and found no substance to it. I rebutted his statement that what we were passing out was "Anti-Mormon" material. I told him I considered it "Pro-Mormon" material because we were there because we love the Mormon people and are genuinely concerned about their eternity and where they will spend it.
He attempted to address some of our information; however, his arguments were pure Mormon programmed answers that are easily taken apart with facts from history and God's word, the Bible. Each point he brought forward I disassembled with facts. He became frustrated and began an argumentum ad hominem ("an argument against the person" and not against the ideas he is presenting). This is common in Mormonism. Mormons have it drummed into them over and over again that the Mormon Church is the only true church on the face of the earth. So, when you start dismantling that, their defense mechanism is to attack you the person instead of engaging in the discussion of ideas.
Well, mister doctor, when pinned against the wall, says "What kind of education do you have anyway? I'm a doctor." I replied "Well, I at least got past the 5th grade, but what does that have to do with the things we are discussing?" The doctor who stopped to put us down was losing the debate so he had to put me down by pointing out that he was a doctor and so much more educated than I.
Folks, pray for this man that the scales of blindness may be lifted from his eyes, that he may find the real Jesus and get himself and his family out of this awful deception.
GEORGE FROM THE CAST - (Not his real name) George took the handout from me down at the crosswalk and then whispered to me "I know the Church is false, but I need the sense of belonging." We talked for a few minutes about Mormonism and then he went in to perform in the pageant.
One of the Interns, serving as a tour guide at the Community of Christ (RLDS) Visitors Center, invited Helen and I to come and hear him speak at Sunday Service at the Community of Christ Church there in Nauvoo. We accepted his invitation. When the service was over and we were just milling around talking to some of the folks, in through the door comes George. We instantly recognized each other, and we both exchanged statements of: "What are you doing here?" We told George we had been invited to hear the Community of Christ Intern speak. George said he was just curious; he had never been inside a Community of Christ Church and he just wanted to see inside.
We began to talk and George poured out his heart to me. He confessed that he was severely depressed because he said the cast had kind of adopted him as a grandfather type and they were coming to him with all of their family problems. Their problems were weighing him down. He thought that as a single elderly man they must have felt that he was a safe confidant. He said, "Let me tell you, this whole Mormon image that families are forever and that Mormons have great families is a pure facade. The families of the cast are a mess. They are telling about their out-of-wedlock pregnant daughters; their kids and other family members' divorces; the infidelity of spouses and family members; husbands hooked on pornography; kids on drugs; child molestation. I tell you Mormons are a mess - they just won't tell anyone about it, and all of this stuff being dumped on me is making me very depressed."
I talked with George in the sanctuary of the Community of Christ Church there in Nauvoo for over an hour. I told him that the reason that Mormons and the rest of the world are so messed up is because they don't have Jesus Christ - He alone is the answer.
George confided that a few months ago, he was driving down the road near his home in a convertible with the top down and heard singing as he drove past a country church. He turned around and went in. It was a black church, and said he, "They were just praising the Lord in music. I've been going there ever since that day because I love to see and hear people who are unabashedly praising the Lord. I go there first. Then I go to my Mormon meetings, and it depresses me.
Pray for George. He knows the Mormon Church isn't true, but the bondage is so hard to break. Pray that he'll keep going to that little country church and the Holy Spirit will lead him to Jesus.
JANE DOE - (Obviously not her name and you'll soon see why we're protecting her identity) Jane came up to Helen down at the pageant crosswalk as we were passing out material. She said, "I just want to apologize to you for all the bad things that are being said about you in the seating area. The people there are condemning you for being here and passing out materials at 'our' pageant; and are saying all of you out here are evil people. I told them they were wrong that you were here because you believed that Mormonism was wrong and you were just doing what our own missionaries do."
Helen and Jane talked for over an hour and Jane began to pour her heart out to Helen. Jane told her that she had been molested from age
The next night, Jane brought her father over to meet Helen and me. Helen and Jane again talked for 30-45 minutes and I talked with her dad. He agreed to completely read our handout. I encouraged him to correspond with me and promised him that I would answer all of his questions. Pray that the seeds that were planted in Jane and her dad will germinate into questions that will result in their getting back in touch with us. Only the Jesus Christ of the Bible can heal the wounds of Jane's youth and set her, her father and her family free.
THE GIRLS FROM HAWAII - Two girls, sisters, from Hawaii, now living in Utah came into the Visitors Center after reading the handout they received from us the night before at the pageant. They told us that the previous night the Mormon Missionaries and cast members in 1840's period dress were going through the seating area looking for people reading our material. They would approach people with our material and tell them that it was "Anti-Mormon" material and that they should not be reading it and were to throw it away. They would hold their hands out and most Mormons would dutifully give them the material and the Missionaries or cast members would then take it and throw it away.
These sisters refused to let them take it, instead putting it in their purse and then reading it when they got back to their room. They got our address off of the back of the handout and that is why they came into the Visitors Center to see us. They came in about
I took the volunteers and went down to tract the pageant and Helen and a member of our Board of Directors, Sharon, stayed and ministered to these two girls. The older sister had been dating a non-Mormon boy. She thought she would convert him to Mormonism (just as I thought I would do with Helen when I married her). This non-Mormon boy had went and purchased a book about Mormonism and confronted this girl with the false teachings of Mormonism (just like Helen had done with me). This girl, true to form, was going to prove that the information in that book was nothing but a pack of lies (Wow - I said the same thing). Her studies led her to see that the information contained in the book was correct and that Mormonism was a false religion.
Helen shared her testimony with the girls and shared that where they were right now, she had already been and walked that path. These girls knew the Mormon Church wasn't true. The problem that plagues Mormons in this state is that once you've had your faith shattered, it's hard to trust again. They were floundering in a sea that was devoid of Jesus. Helen and Sharon shared Jesus with these two girls. Pray that the seeds planted will grow and that these girls will feel confident that they can contact us and allow us to be the tools the Lord will use to draw these two young ladies unto Himself.
THIS ONE WILL RIP YOUR HEART OUT!!
BOB FROM CHICAGO - (Not his name and not the town he is from) Bob stopped one night after the
pageant was over in the golf cart he was driving and offered to give us a lift
from the pageant site up to the top of the hill by the Mormon Temple. We said sure as we were by ourselves that
night. We got to the top of the hill and
he whipped out his flashlight and using it as a headlight he just kept on going
till we got to the corner of Bluff and
We had talked with Bob up the hill and as we got out and got our things, Bob began to pour out his aching heart to us. As he looked over at the Mormon Temple he told us that he had come to Nauvoo not to just help out at the pageant, but to give his blessing to his ex-wife marrying another Mormon man in the temple and having his (Bob's) kids sealed for time and all eternity to this other man. He began to cry about the fact that he wasn't "worthy" enough to take his ex-wife to the temple to be 'sealed.' So, he gave his blessing to have her sealed to this other man and have his children sealed to this other man as well. Our hearts were breaking as this man wept about his "unworthiness" and the fact that he just couldn't get himself "worthy" enough to go to the Mormon Temple.
We witnessed to Bob that sinful man will never be "worthy" enough; that it is only the righteousness of Jesus Christ that saves us from our sin. Only Jesus was ever "worthy" enough - that is why He came to earth.
Bob said he would stop in and see us before he left town - he never did. Pray that Bob will contact us or another Christian ministry/church and begin the path out of Mormonism and unto a loving and saving Lord that is worthy for all.
WHY DID ALL THESE PEOPLE POUR THEIR HEARTS OUT TO US? You see, Mormonism is a facade. The facade is that everything is perfect; if your little world isn't perfect, than something must be wrong with you. So, Mormons just bury it and tell no one. Per-capita, Utah uses more anti-depressant drugs than any other state in the union. It's not a fluke that these Mormons poured their hearts out to us - they didn't have anyone else to talk to.
IF YOU ARE A SUPPORTER OF THIS MINISTRY, THESE STORIES ARE YOUR STORIES. YOU ALLOWED US TO BE HERE TO MAKE THESE STORIES HAPPEN. IF YOU'RE NOT A SUPPORTER, PLEASE JOIN THIS IMPORTANT MINISTRY OUTREACH!!