When I was 7 years old, I promised the Lord that if given the opportunity I would preach the gospel throughout the world. At that time, I regularly attended another faith with my family in Fairmount Heights, Md. My family and church helped me gain a love and appreciation for our Savior Jesus Christ and a love for the scriptures. Everyday I would watch my father study the scriptures intensely. I knew that he had read the Bible several times and was a master of the scriptures. But soon I began to pose questions like, "Dad, there has to be more than just the Bible. Isn't there another book?" He would always tell me to read the Bible and find out for myself.
Our family lived in the vicinity of the Washington Temple. As a young boy, I was fascinated by the beauty of this building and longed to go inside. However, my father assured me that this would never be a possibility.In 1994, I was serving as a U.S. Marine security guard at the American Embassy in the Republic of Djibouti. I decided to search for the truth, so I read the Bible from cover to cover. I came to realize that the Bible was the true word of God. But I still did not have the truth. I longed to know why I had been living my life a particular way - never drinking, never smoking, never swearing. After this 15-month period, I was reassigned to the American Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa.
It was there I met the Cleverleys, and they began to invite me to various LDS activities. Soon, I attended Church and met Elder Justin Glen Felt and Elder Michael Doc Howard. On Aug. 18, 1995, I began the discussions.
During the fourth discussion, while reading D&C 89:18-21, I felt the felt Spirit so strongly. I knew that my life had meaning, and this was a great feeling. I had mixed emotions about joining the Church. I was concerned about my father's opinion. But after the fifth discussion, I called the elders and told them I wanted to be baptized.
Then, on the night of the sixth discussion, I received a phone call from my dad. I told him of my decision, and he knew that there was nothing that he could do to reverse my decision. In October 1996, I entered the Washington Temple. On Jan. 2, 1997, I entered the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah.