I was baptized in a Lutheran church when I was younger, and my family went to church on special occasions, like Christmas and Easter. Later in my teen years, I attended youth group there. I was never a really bad kid growing up, but things were not always happy at home. When things were bad, I would have evil thoughts about my Dad who was a heavy drinker. During these times, I would question whether there was a God and wonder why He was letting these things happen to me.
I was born and raised in Allentown, one of seven children. My parents belonged to the Catholic church, and although we didn’t attend church regularly, I did occasionally receive the sacraments. My mom prayed with us nightly and tried to teach us right from wrong. She had many good values and always shared them with us.
When I was very young, until I was seven years old, my parents took me to church. After that, I would occasionally go with some neighbors. When I was about 18 or 19 years of age, I was starting to wonder what religion was all about. At the same time, my girlfriend was urging me to get to know God. This drove me back to the church that I had grown up in. I attended several Sundays to hear what the pastor had to say.
My name is Michael Brooks, and this is my story. I was baptized as an infant in the Episcopal Church. My mother and my aunt served on the Altar Guild. They were both key in the coffee hour following services each Sunday. My uncle Roy sang in the choir and was the church sextant. So, as a boy, I thought I was well connected, and due to my family’s contributions to the church, we were good people, and of course, heaven-bound due to our good works.
“Usually armed and dangerous” was the typical warning from the dispatcher to my arresting officer. It was probably true, too. I almost always carried loaded handguns on me, sometimes even toting a machine-gun under my coat. I needed the protection in the underworld as I was involved in transporting high volumes of drugs between suppliers and dealers.