The Story of Anton

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Ritch talks to a young Mormon couple.

A young Russian man named Anton watched Randy tonight talking to someone else. Randy was holding a stack of tracts in his hands. Anton came up to Randy and slapped the stack down to the ground. Randy was shocked, but he said this worked in his favor, as those surrounding had compassion on him.

We had no idea until later that this happened. Anton made his way to the North Gate where the rest of us were. I offered him a tract and he complained that we were “against the Mormons.” He gladly explained that in his country preaching was illegal as of a few months ago.

I said: We live in a country with free speech, and that it was unethical for Russia to deny basic human rights. He said he loved “Mother Russia”, and that America was pathetic because of its problem of homosexuality. He smirked and chirped, “We [Russians] beat the !@#$ out of gays.”

I asked him where he thought the universe came from, whether there was a God, where good and evil came from. He said, “Who cares? You live. You drink. You f@$%. You die and go into the ground.”

At this point I started rebuking him for being immature and wicked. That he was created with a mind more capable than the world’s smartest super computer. He was created for more than this. That he was meant to ask the big questions and be more than an animal. That he was meant to know his Creator. That Jesus would call him to account for all his sins at final judgment. That there was a heaven and a hell. He laughed.

My brother Anthony J. Rubi started taking over more of the conversation at this point. I am so glad he did. I did not feel much compassion or affection for Anton (regrettably). But Anthony then went on to supernaturally pour love on Anton. He told Anton that God knew him and loved him. That God cared about him and wanted the best for him. Anthony kept pulling up Bible verses to share with him. And for some reason Anton kept listening.

I exited and conversed elsewhere, but Anthony continued to love on Anton for at least another 30 minutes. He said Anton ended up showing a more humble side. He listened and he opened up.

I believe we spoke to Anton years earlier. On March 15, 2013, I wrote:

A nice Russian guy named Antone (sp?) was trying politely explain to me that it is rude to try to convert people from one religion to another. He said this seriously, with a straight, matter-of-fact face (and a Russian accent), “I don’t mean to be rude, but in Russia we beat people like you.” … [He is an] Eastern Orthodox Russian who is flirting with Mormonism. A friend (Matt) showed him Joseph Smith’s boasting quote and it had an immediate impact on him.