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This last Saturday, I had the privileged of baptizing my 2nd son, Dylan. It was quite a different experience than the other baptisms that I have been to. This time, it seems like it was HIGHLY organized by our stake and there were so much people that it filled the entire chapel of the stake center.
This time around, each ward took turns at the font and split up into different areas of the stake center afterwards. Since Dylan was the only one being baptized for our ward, we ended up in the small family history / employment center room.
I also found myself referring back to my posts: My Son’s Baptism, A Convert’s Survival Guide: What to Expect BEFORE your Baptism and A Convert’s Survival Guide: What to Expect AFTER your Baptism to reference the prayers and procedures needing to be performed.
During the opening of the baptism service, I was impressed that my son was eager to answer all the questions by the speaker in the chapel for the service before the ordinance was performed. The baptism had to be done twice because his toe poked out of the water. The 2nd time I dunked him, I made sure to push him down to the very bottom of the font by his chest and knees.
Next during his confirmation, my heart was full of joy and I know my son felt the same way when telling him to “receive the holy ghost.”
I am thankful that my best friend Mike and his family could come and support Dylan in his decision. Also glad that Mike was on hand for being a witness in the baptism and part of the confirmation as well. I am glad to have the privilege to hold the priesthood and minister unto my family and those around me.
My son’s baptism has given me another person to look up to when living the gospel. Together I know we will help each other grow closer to Jesus Christ.
Soon after you are baptized, you will receive a calling in your Ward. A calling is an assignment, usually in a Ward where you help it run smoothly and serve each other.
Since I’ve been a member a little over a year, I’ve held a few callings: Assistant Cub Master, Cub Master, Webelos Leader and Ward Website Administrator.
I admit that I struggled with my first two callings two the point where I felt like I failed in the end. Shortly after, I realized why this was. Here are some things I’ve learned about callings:
Examples of Church Callings
- Bishopric (Bishop and his two Counselors)
- Elders Quorum Presidency
- Relief Society Presidency
- Ward Clerk (Finance and Membership)
- Ward Bulletin Editor
- Ward Librarian
- Sunday School Teacher
- Nursery Worker
- Piano / Organ Player
- Cub Scouts Leader
It Is What Heavenly Father Wants You To Do
In my calling, my young son asks me why I do what I do. My answer is simple:
It is what God wants me to do.
Before you are extended a calling, your Bishop and others will ponder prayerfully what you should do. I know how much your Bishop loves and cares for you and seeks nothing but good for you. Your Bishop is really in tune with the Spirit and only after spiritual confirmation does he extend the call to you.
It Is Voluntary
You have your free agency. Your calling can be accepted or denied. Your participation is voluntary. You can say yes or no. Just remember however, this is what God wants you to do. I haven’t yet declined a calling as I recognize its divine origins.
In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we do not seek, nor do we decline, callings that come from God through inspired priesthood channels. (President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, 178th Annual General Conference, April 2008, Sunday Morning Session)
No one in the Church is paid for their calling. The payment for performing your calling is blessings for you and your family.
A Way Has Been Prepared
When Nephi and his brothers were asked to bring back the brass plates from Laban, his brothers did not think it was possible. However, Nephi sagely replied:
I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them. (1 Nephi 3:7)
Heavenly Father knows you intimately and does not give you more than you can handle.
Magnify Your Calling
I remember when I first heard my Bishop use this phrase: “Magnify your calling.” What does Magnify mean? President Gordon B. Hinckley interpreted it as to enlarge, make clear, bring closer, to strengthen. (Ensign, May 1989) More simply said by President Thomas S. Monson:
How does one magnify a calling? Simply by performing the service that pertains to it.
Consecrate Thy Performance
When you receive a calling, pray over it. A brother in my ward has told me a few times to consecrate thy performance:
But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul. (2 Nephi 32:9)
Finally, in my Stake Conference Adult Session last night, I heard the following four truths about callings:
Callings Do Not Last Forever
There was a story that went with this, basically this brother was called to be a primary teacher for a class and every year he was called to teach the same group of children. He was blessed in that his callings only lasted a year, he got to watch these children grow up as he progressed through Primary, to the Bishopric and finally to Bishop. He got to see these children off to a mission and also have them return as a Bishop. You will no doubt have many callings over your lifetime.
Great Associations Are Created In Callings That Strengthen One Another
His calling had him nourish an everlasting friendship to where his friend would call on him years later, from another state for help. This was a blessing to both himself and his friend. Callings are a good way to get to know your new Ward Family and visa-versa.
You Are Usually Helping Those Who Are Helping Others
Callings are all about service to others. You could be in Nursery watching the children of a Gospel Doctrine Teacher who is teaching your family. Once again, callings are all about service to others, period.
You Are Doing Something That Someone Else In The Ward Cannot Do (at that time, with those people)
You were called for a reason, whether it be a talent you know you have or didn’t know. A way has been prepared for you.
I’d like to give my testimony that accepting and taking your callings to heart and magnifying it does bring blessings, joy and immence pleasure as you are serving those around you. You are doing the your part in building up the Kingdom of Heaven.
Earlier this month, on a Saturday, my son was baptized.
It was great to help prepare him with FHE’s (family home evenings) by going through the “Preach My Gospel” manual and teaching him as my wife and I were taught not even a year ago by the missionaries. We started this process a few months before he was to turn eight and be baptized.
From going to Church and Primary (Sunday School) for the past year, he knew lots of concepts already concerning the Plan of Happiness/Salvation and the things we must do to return home again, like: being baptized, following the commandments, taking sacrament every week.
I took him to his baptismal interview the Tuesday before. (See: A Convert’s Survival Guide: What to Expect BEFORE your Baptism) I had learned that his Sunday dress shirt was missing so on the way home I ran into Wal-Mart and was in and out of the store in a record five minutes by sneaking in and out my secret location: The garden section!
When I got home, I got him dressed and we were out the door in less than three minutes. We arrived at the Church about fifteen minutes early and we waited patiently outside the Bishop’s office. The Bishop finally arrived 25 minutes later and into his office they went to talk.
I patiently waited outside for what seemed like ten to fifteen minutes until he called me in as well so he could fill out the records for his Baptism and Confirmation. I was impressed at the knowledge he divulged to the Bishop and his retention. He made me very proud.
We happily visted McDonalds’ drive thru to pick up an ice cream cone and then we drove home.
On Friday, we visited Deseret Book Store to get him his very own scriptures and carry tote. We ended up getting him a regular-sized quad which contained: The Old Testament, The New Testament, The Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants. Also, we got him a CTR ring he wanted and I got a cool deal on my painting of Jesus that I talked about earlier this month.
Saturday came up very quickly. Before we left the house, I felt my heart swell as I looked at him. He looked like “a mormonboy.” I never would have thought my children to be mormon, but now I can’t imagine raising my children without the gospel and principles we have.
I have to admit, I didn’t go obsessive about preparing since I’ve been involved in two baptisms already: my own and I performed my wife’s.
A few hours before hand I got our bag ready:
Extra change of underwear for my son, an extra pair of socks as well. For myself, I brought an extra undershirt, pair of underwear and socks.
I went over with my son how our hands were to be intertwined, what I would say and how I he would plug his nose and I would put my hand behind his back to dunk him.
I also studied again what was to be said when performing his baptism, which was:
[Calling him by his full name], having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
We arrived at the stake center a few minutes earlier than requested and we got changed into our jumpsuits. There was one more baptism taking place during the service, an eight year old girl from another ward. I was hoping I would go after they did so I could watch and be sure I was doing this correctly. This wasn’t the case, I was told that our family was going first.
We followed the usual program that I wrote about before hand in: A Convert’s Survival Guide: What to Expect at your Baptism.
I went first and took my son’s hand and led him into the font. The water was nice and warm and we set up as the little children ran to sit down on the floor in front of the font and watch. He wasn’t nervous at all, very happy. I wasn’t nervous at all either, I was guided by the Spirit and I baptized him. Immediately afterwards I could see a great, warm smile on his face. I was proud of him and gave him a little hug and led him out of the water.
Now getting changed afterwards was a different story. It was a bit could in the bathrooms and the poor boy was shivering. I worked quick to get him dried off and dressed and sent him out. I followed shortly after changing as well.
Then after they were done singing their interlude hymn, it was time for me to confirm him a member of the Church. This part I studied in the past and then again a few hours before his baptism. When I was first baptized, the man who helped us to learn the gospel and baptize me handed me a blue card with the prayers for ordinances that the priesthood can perform.
I checked and double checked and studied this card up until right after my son’s baptism, right after getting changed.
Again, it was time to confirm him a member of the Church. I looked at the attending Stake official and my wonderful Bishop to motion them up to help me confirm him. This was my first time confirming and I was very nervous. There was a lot of my non-member family members attending, some friends and the people supporting the girl that was being baptized as well. I was nervous.
It all went away when I put my hands on my son’s head and closed my eyes. I was again guided by the Spirit in confirming him a member of the Church and giving him a blessing. The words coming out my mouth came out without any filter our any forethought. I even surprised myself by what had happened. After the confirmation, my son rubbed his eyes and got up with a smile and we all congratulated him before taking our seats again.
The prayer I said to confirm my son was:
[Calling him by his full name], in the name of Jesus Christ and by the Authority of theHoly Melchizedek Priesthood, I confirm you a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and say unto you, receive the Holy Ghost. [Then a blessing as the spirit dictates].
See: A Convert’s Survival Guide: What to Expect AFTER your Baptism, to learn more about confirmation.
I was glad to have my mother-in-law there and my brother. Baptisms can be a great missionary tool, as the Spirit is undeniably present during such. My friend, Mike, who I didn’t know made it until after the service showed up afterwards and surprised me. I looked at him with a smile and told him joyfully again: “It’s all your fault!”
Also in attendance was one of the missionaries that helped teach the us our original lessons a year ago and attended my wife’s and my own baptisms. The funny story about this was that we couldn’t get a hold of them to make it to the baptism and they were coming back from fetching lunch and decided to stop by the church since they saw some cars there and then upon closer inspection, our minivan!
I was glad he could make it, it made it much more special and his support for our family is much appreciated and needed. Through crowd and confusion, I did miss a few minutes of watching my son. My missionary told me that my son said:
I want to be baptized every day!
My heart swelled again and I was proud of him for the step forward he has taken. And I am also so happy for my wonderful wife and the support and growing she has been ongoingly giving to us all. I truly couldn’t do anything without her, she is my light in the gospel. She is my best friend and she knows me and what I need, as well as she knows all my sons and what they need as well.
I am happy our family can be together forever and I am happy my sons has taken his first steps to make it back to our Heavenly Father.
Shortly after being baptized, a brother in the bishopric told me to begin a journal and write down my feelings and events that happened so I can read and reflect what I felt at the time. Also, it would be useful for my children and future generations to see what I was feeling as a modern day pioneer.
I would soon find out where this sage advise originated from.
Spencer W. Kimball, the 12th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints stated:
Begin today and write in it your goings and your comings, your deeper thoughts, your achievements, and your failures, your associations and your triumphs, your impressions and your testimonies. We hope you will do this, our brothers and sisters, for this is what the Lord has commanded, and those who keep a personal journal are more likely to keep the Lord in remembrance in their daily lives.
Just as Nephi kept records for the people who would come in the latter days, we should so the same.
I’ve searched the internet for the perfect way to keep a journal electronically and recently came across a website whose purpose is for Latter Saints to Journal online – LDSJournal.com. This is convenient and keeps your entries safe. Entries can be made via a regular web browser on a computer or done mobile via text messaging. It also promotes consistent journaling through the reminder tools it provides. Best of all, it’s FREE!
I’ve been trying it for a few days and it seems to be the ultimate solution.
Usually the Sunday following your baptism, in which you were immersed in water, your confirmation follows. It is done during sacrament meeting, before the sacrament ordinance. Confirmation can also be done immediately following the baptism. The confirmation is sometimes called baptism by fire, or the gift of the Holy Ghost:
For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost (2 Nephi 31:17).
With the gift of the Holy Ghost, we receive the right to the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. It becomes our lifelong guide that will lead us back to Heavenly Father. It will help us stay on the straight and narrow path, know right from wrong, guide us through tough decisions and provide peace and comfort in all that we do. When Nephi realized that many did not know what to do after their conversion and baptism, he said the “words of Christ,” as communicated by the Holy Ghost, would guide them:
If ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do. (2 Nephi 32:5)
Confirmation is done by someone with the Melchizedek Priesthood Authority, under the direction of the bishopric or branch presidency.
The actual ordinance goes as follows:
- One or more Melchizedek Priesthood holders participate in this ordinance.
- The Priesthood holders encircle you while you sit down in a chair facing the congregation.
- They place their hands lightly on the person’s head.
- Then the person who performs the ordinance:
- Calls you by your full name.
- States that the ordinance is performed by the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood.
- Confirms you a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
- Bestows the gift of the Holy Ghost by saying, “Receive the Holy Ghost.”
- Gives a priesthood blessing as the Spirit directs. (one to two minutes)
- Closes in the name of Jesus Christ.
After the ordinance is completed, you stand up and begin shaking hands with everyone in the circle. Don’t forget to take a look at the congregation. They are the people who will be there for you and help you through everything. They sincerely care for you and your family and…
…are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light; Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort” (Mosiah 18:8-9)
Congratulations, you are now a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I came across an amazing video on YouTube tonight and thought I’d share it with everyone. The video depicts the growth of the Church as measured by Stakes. Stakes are made up of five to twelve congregations in a geographic area.
There are over 27,000 congregations consisting of almost 13,000,000 (million!) members. Every day at least one convert baptism takes place thanks to the help of over 53,000 missionaries.
As you watch this video, think of how fast the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is growing and what qualities and attributes a Church would have to have in order to be accepted by so many people in less than 180 years on this Earth.
…the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth… (D&C 1:30)
LDS Stake Growth 1830-2004
If you are taking lessons from a missionary and decide to get baptized, there are certain things they want done before the actual baptism.
Today, there are four lessons before your baptism. Missionaries want to sure you understand what you are taking on by being baptized.
The four lessons are broken up by topic:
- The Restoration
- The Plan of Salvation
- The Gospel of Jesus Christ
- The Commandments
I will write about these four lessons at a future date.
You can decide to be baptized at any time during the four lessons. After committing to be baptized, the rest of the lessons (if any) will be taught before it is done. There is also a baptismal interview that is done before hand. This is done by a missionary district leader.
The following questions asked are:
- Do you believe that God is our Eternal Father?
- Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Savior and Redeemer of the world?
- Do you believe that the Church and the gospel of Jesus Christ have been restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith?
- Do you believe that [the current Church President - which is Gordon B. Hinkley at this time)] is a prophet of God? What does this mean to you?
- What does it mean to you to repent? Do you feel that you have repented of your past transgressions?
- Have you ever participated in an abortion? A homosexual relationship? Have you ever committed a serious crime? If so, are you now on probation or parole? *
- You have been taught that membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints includes living gospel standards. What do you understand of the following standard. What do you understand of the following standards? Are you willing to obey them?
- Are you willing to keep the Sabbath day holy, including partaking of the sacrament weekly and rendering service to fellow members?
- What do you understand of the law of chastity, which prohibits any sexual relationship outside the bonds of a legal marriage between a man and a woman? Are you willing to obey this law?
- What do you understand of the Word of Wisdom? Are you willing to obey this law?
- What do you understand of the law of tithing? Are you willing to obey this law?
- When you are baptized, you covenant with God that you are willing to take upon yourself the name of Christ and keep His commandments throughout your life. Are you ready to make this covenant and strive to be faithful to it?
* – If you have answered yes to any of these questions, you will be sent to the mission president for a follow up interview.
These questions were taken from my own experiences and cross-referenced with Preach My Gospel Chapters 3 and 12. (Thanks Joey)
The Word of Wisdom was revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith. It is a law of health that teaches us what foods we should and should not use to keep our bodies healthy. We know that it was blessing to receive a phsyical body when we came to earth.
The reason why it is a blessing is because we need a physical body to become like our Heavenly Father. Our bodies are so important that the Lord calls them temples of God (Corinthians 3:16-17). Like my friend Mike has always told me, part of our reason for being on earth was to learn to control our bodies as well. I believe this means controlling your appetite as well as other physical wants and pleasures.
Things not to put into our bodies
Before baptism, we are told to abstain from: tobacco, alcohol, tea, and coffee. During our investigation of the church, our missionaries often told us that these things would keep us from being receptive to the spirit and I believe this makes sense.
This that are good for our bodies
Grain, wheat, fruits, vegetables, and wholesome herbs are good for us. We should use them with wisdom and thanksgiving.
Fish is good for us. The flesh of birds and animals (chicken, pork, beef) is also provided for our food. However, we should eat meat sparingly.
Blessings from Obedience
Doctrine and Covenants chapter 89 also states:
And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones;And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures; And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint. (D&C 89:18-20)
I have personally seen the blessings of being obedient to the word of wisdom and in an odd way, I am glad that it is a law of health commanded by Heavenly Father. This definitely makes weight loss a no-brainer. Why would we not want to obey and please our Father in Heaven?
You can read the short chapter of Doctrine and Covenants Section 89 by following this link:
A little over two months ago, I was Baptized. While I knew I was making the right decision, I really didn’t know what to expect. If you are getting baptized, here are things you can expect and some tips that might help you.
In total, I have been to three baptisms: One that I watched, One where I was baptized, and One where I was baptizing (my wife).
If I am incorrect about anything, please let me know.
I was baptized in what they call a baptismal font. Basically a large bath tub that is deep enough to “dunk” you. You can request the temperature of the water.
Usually they will have a lot of white jumpsuits you can choose from, or you can wear your own white clothes.
No pictures during the baptismal ordinance.
The ward mission leader, other members and the missionaries will assist in organizing everything. They will ask you who you want to do what.
Things to decide on:
- Who I wanted to baptize me.
- Who I wanted to speak on baptism.
- Who I wanted to speak on the Holy Ghost.
- Who I wanted to do the opening prayer.
- Who I wanted to do the closing prayer.
- What three hymns I wanted to be sung.
Everything else was handled by others.
Things to bring:
- A broken heart and contrite spirit. (D&C 20:37)
- Arrive in Sunday dress.
- Wear white under clothing.
- A change of white under clothing.
- A trash bag to put your wet under clothing in.
- A towel.
- An extra pair of socks (just in case you get them wet while changing).
People to bring:
- A Priest with the Aaronic Priesthood to baptize you. (D&C 20:46)
- Two Elders as witnesses to make sure you are completely submerged.
- Someone to conduct (emcee) the Baptism.
- A member of the Bishopric to preside over the baptism.
- A Chorister to direct and someone to play the accompaniment for the hymns.
- Friends and Family.
- Your new friends from your ward.
My baptismal program was as follows in this order:
- An Opening Song.
- An Opening Prayer.
- A Talk on Baptism (Someone you usually ask to speak before hand).
- Baptism performed by the priesthood holder of your choice.
- A brief interlude (it could be people sharing their testimony, singing or watching a short video while you are changing clothes).
- Another Song.
- A Talk on the Holy Ghost.
- The member of the Bishopric welcoming you to the ward.
- A Closing Song.
- Closing Prayer.
- Refreshments After.
The Actual Baptism Ordinance:
You and the person doing the baptism enter the font. You stand in the center of the font and face the side wall. The priest doing the baptism will face the audience. Your right hand with your palm facing upwards will be ready to plug your nose when you are submerged. With his left hand he will grab your right wrist. With your left hand (palm down) you hold on to the priest’s left forearm. With his right hand he will hold it up square at the elbow.
Next, the priest calls you by your full name and says:
Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. (D&C 20:73-74)
After that is said, plug your nose with your right hand and he will lower you backwards into the water. His right hand will go behind your back to help ease you in. Bend your knees at first and then lift your feet off the floor and straighten out your legs so you laying flat in the water.
The priest may push you to the floor to make sure you are fully submerged. If you are not fully submerged (if your big toe is sticking out of the water), the ordinance will have to be done again. There should be two Elders that are on either side of the font to make sure you are fully submerged.
That is basically it. The entire experience is very spiritual and just felt right for me when I was the one being baptized and when I was the one doing the baptism.
The second part of your baptism will be your confirmation. That can be done right after your baptism or it is usually done during the Sacrament meeting the following Sunday.
I hope this helps someone wondering what to expect at their baptism.