My Conversion Story
My name is Michael Anthony Malone. I was born in the small town of Avon Park, Florida in the year of 1985, to Joseph Christopher Malone and Diane Lynn Spohn. I was raised as a Protestant Christian. Growing up,I found myself asking many questions concerning that of God, Jesus Christ, and the churches I have attended. I was never given answers. When I would ask questions, I would either receive an I don't know, or a we will find out when we die response. Deep in the back of my mind, I always knew that something was missing.<p> <p>In the summer of 2003, I was working at a car wash, when I was introduced to an new employee. Her name was Leslie Parker. We soon started dating. It only took her a couple of days of knowing me to invite me to her church. I asked what church she attended. She replied, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints." I was confused, but responded with a nervous yes. She said, "Great, meet me there at 9am." At this time, she did not warn me that I would have to be there for 3 hours. When I attended my first sacrament meeting, I was pleasantly surprised. I felt a sweet spirit that I had never felt before. I was also very impressed with the members of the Ward. They were all so friendly, it was like a big family.
With a new sense of excitement, I quickly returned home to tell my parents about the church. As I told them about the church, they replied, "Isn't that the Mormon Church?" With a confused look on my face I replied, "I don't know." My mother quickly called the expert on these things, my Grandma. My Grandmother quickly informed me that I had just attended a cult gathering, and that I should never return to that church. It didn't feel like a cult gathering to me, but I just agreed. Determined to never return to that church, I quickly learned something else that was new to me, I could not tell Leslie no. I tried, but those big blue eyes looked right through me and I could not deny her request.
As I continued to attend church, I started to learn things I had never know before. With in a year, Leslie and I decided to get married. We were married by Bishop Barger. He informed us that he would prefer to see me become a member, and watch us get married in the temple. I didn't even know what a temple was, and we just could not wait. So we got married as quickly at possible. Soon we were married, and had a home of our own. It wasn't much, but we were together. Then Leslie looks at me and asks, "Can we have the Elders over for dinner?" I didn't even know what an Elder was. I replied,"When do you want to have some old people over for dinner?" She laughed and explained that just because they are called Elder, they are not elderly. She told me that they were missionaries. I still could not tell her no. When I first meet the Elders, I could not believe that they were my age. I will never forget Elder Goats, and Elder Carpenter. They soon become good friends of mine. I was amazed at the knowledge that they had. Every question that I ever had, they were able to answer.
I loved the missionaries dearly, but I was still stubborn. In the back of my mind, I was still listening to my parents. Then God sent me a Home Teacher, Brother Jim Leicht. I will forever be grateful for the love and compassion that Jim and his family showed to my wife and I. He had already walked in my footsteps and know what I was going through. His family disapproved of him joining the church as well, and he told me how he handled all of these problems. The biggest impact on me was Jim's knowledge of the Bible. He was able to show me scriptures in the Bible that showed the coming forth of Joseph Smith and the restored church.
TO BE CONTENUED