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Then a voice came, speaking to the men, who nodded and began descending the ladder. Our relationship took a beating.” But Smith’s conviction to the gospel was enough to confirm this was the right choice. I said to the lady that answered, ‘If nobody cares that I’m a missionary, I may as well go back home. So I am listening and my parents are saying, ‘Well it’s a great day today, son. ‘Son, we’re getting divorced.” Smith made it through his mission despite these challenges, however, and things started looking up for him when he got home.
“I never understood that dream until I read about the Melchizedek priesthood and how Peter, James, and John came down and [restored it on earth],” Smith says. Already in his mid-20s, Smith had no plans to serve a mission, no funds, a fiancé, and ambitions to become an attorney. Nobody cares I’m here.’ She said, ‘Could you hold please? He dated and married a woman he met on his mission, began attending Western Michigan University Cooley Law School fulltime, and started a fulltime job to pay his way through school—a feat unheard of for those in rigorous law programs.
“And I debated with them—that was my third year of law school.
I came back from that wanting to be the smartest Mormon ever so I could debate with these folks and show them the error of their ways.
Suddenly, the nature of God, the plan of salvation, Smith’s purpose on earth, all of it made sense. But one day while sitting in sacrament meeting in 1984, Smith says, “I just felt this presence, this feeling come over me, and it said, ‘You need to go on a mission.’ So I quit my job, left my fiancé, and served a mission.”But Smith almost returned from his mission before it even began. I went to a payphone and I called the Church headquarters. It was during this time Smith attended the Hill Cumorah Pageant in Palmyra, New York.
In April 1983, the missionaries baptized Smith as a member of the Church, but the new chapter in his life didn’t come without sacrifice. I had been dating a girl for two years and she left me,” Smith says. “When I was in the MTC, my family was against me being there. “There were a lot of anti-Mormon protestors around,” Smith recalls.
“Mike kept saying, ‘You’ll be LDS someday,’” Smith remembers.
Mike’s insistence seemed not only impossible, but insane. “Every week, every week since 1999, he put my name in the temple,” Smith recalls.
Despite debating viciously against one another, the two became friends.But once the distinct, accented voice came through the other line, Smith knew it wasn’t a prank.He was speaking to an apostle, and President Uchtdorf had just one question for Smith: would he share his story.But he still could not shake the Church from his life.In 2009, while dreadfully ill with the swine flu, Smith’s son brought two visitors into his room—LDS missionaries who just happened to knock on the door.