ST. PETERSBURG—On Sundays after church, Tom and Libit Jones head to the beach. Together, they scout for seashell treasures: cat’s paws and worms.
Hand in hand, visors slung low, arms wrapped around each other, they stop to smooch as the sun starts its slow slip down.
Their public affection camouflages a deep divide.
Tom, 63, is an evangelical Christian, raised in a Kentucky Southern Baptist church. Libit, 52, is Mormon, raised in a Texas congregation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Both consider themselves faithful Christians who believe in Jesus Christ and the promise of eternal life. Both want the other to convert. But Tom runs Christian Research & Counsel, a ministry designed to educate the public about what he calls “counterfeits of Christianity.”
His work focuses on Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses.