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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.
At times I questioned myself if I can answer those temple recommend interview questions with no issues. I remember the last time I went for a temporary temple recommend interview back in March for Baptisms for the Dead. I caught myself being harsh when asked questions. I attribute it to judging ourselves and we are our own worse judge. My Bishop agreed.
I often find myself self-interviewing on one particular question:
Are you kind to your family members?
Am I? What does that mean? It means, do I treat them as Christ would during the good times and the bad times? Do I display patience with my family at all times? Am I a good Father and Husband?
For a while, I was in a cycle of confusion and this is how it went:
I feel like I am in a deep hole, looking upwards at the sky and that I can’t make it out.I feel that my family deserves better than I have given in the past. I have only been at it for over 18 months and I thought I was changing. I’m not sure sometimes. At times I feel like I really have changed.I am not always patient or soft spoken in stressful situations. I seem to let the worst come out of me only in front of my spouse and children. In my early twenties, I picked up the bad habbit of swearing. My language has cleaned up over the past 18 months but I have those moments of relapse.
I expect so much from my family (from expecting the same strictness that I had to follow when I was younger) at times that it only leads me to anger and fits of yelling when things aren’t going well.
I’ve been taught that true conversion happens over time. Am I converted? Am I converted enough?
Could I stand tall with my fellow brethren who are temple recommend holders?
Every Sunday, I feel energized and I believe that I can climb my way out of this deep hole.I realize to myself that I cannot be perfect and Christ-like at all times. That is why we have the atonement.I am thankful for the atonement and the fact that Jesus Christ took upon himself my sins, my sadness and my pain. I am thankful for the ordinance of Sacrament where I can renew my baptismal covenants and be forgiven for my short comings. During Sacrament, I feel true sorrow and pain. I then feel forgiven and my burdens lifted away.
I love the feeling of being clean and renewed for another week.
I pray for long suffering, patience, being a good example for my children and to be a better Father and Husband.
I love feeling I can start over with myself and my family.
I feel like the moment that I slip, no matter how high I have made it I fall to the bottom of that deep hole and I have to start over. Maybe I’ve raised my voice to my kids or handle a stressful situation very poorly. When growing up, my parents were very strict and always yelled. I see myself doing that sometimes. I see my oldest son yelling at his brothers sometimes and I see myself in him and I become deeply saddened.With the atonement comes repentance. I truly feel sorry for the mistakes and actions that make me feel like I am not kind enough to my family. But true repentance means taking steps to not do it again and then, not do it!
But when I falter I feel like I have failed at repentance. I take my prior transgressions from the week before and add it on to this week as well. That deep hole is getting even deeper.
What if it has been months that I feel I’ve been doing a good job and then I mess up by losing my temper and swear up a storm and scream and yell?
When do I become better? How long do I go without slipping before I can answer “Yes” to the question “Are you kind to your family members?” It can’t be one week. A Month? Two Months?
How can I live higher laws if I cannot live these lower laws?
Am I ever going to make it to the Temple?
Go to back to Despair
I feel like I have finally broken out of this confusing cycle by realizing that during this journey of life every day we build ourselves up to be much more righteous and when we falter we have the atonement and repentance to lift ourselves up and try again. As long as we are on the upward climb we are doing well.
If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times that by doing in faith the following: Daily prayer, scripture reading, and keeping our minds constantly on the Savior Jesus Christ and the Savior make a very, very large difference.
Yesterday in Priesthood, we had our final lesson out of the Spencer W. Kimball book. Chapter 24 was about Sharing the Gospel. It was a very good lesson. I found myself participating more than usual as I am passionate on missionary work.
The Lord promises us great blessings as we share the gospel. It is likened unto a spiritual adventure. All work pays off when even one soul expresses repentance and faith and the desire to be baptized.
An interesting point that was brought up was that the Lord has told us that our sins will be more readily forgiven as we bring souls unto Christ. The following is said in Doctrine and Covenants Chapter four:
Now behold, a marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men. Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day. Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work; For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul; And faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work. Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence. Ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Amen. (D&C 4)
There are many people waiting for us to teach them about the plan of happiness, the plan of salvation.
Also in this final lesson we talked about how the Lord has entrusted all members of the Church with a responsibility to serve as His messengers.
It becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor. (D&C 88:81)
I think of the feelings I had when I first came to know the truths that I know now. I hope to help someone feel the way that I did.
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.
More of what she has to say has been posted up on YouTube a few hours ago, here they are:
Jennifer: Return to be with God
Jennifer: Marriage is Eternal
The next video is about Oscar, a Mormon who talks about his mother passing away when he was five years old. Even though it was not enough time for them to be together, he knows that families can be eternal and that he will see her again.
Oscar: Families Should Be Eternal
The final video is Issiah speaking about his observations of life. The monotonousness of life, the tragedies on this world and seeing the misery around him makes him realize that there has to be more to life. And I believe he is right, there is!
More to Life Than This
These are very good videos about the questions that everyone has in life. I am glad to see the Church putting these up on YouTube to share with everyone.
What is Testimony? You could say a testimony is one’s personal knowledge to the truth that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ lives and that Jesus is our Savior and Son of God.
I believe a testimony is a wonderful gift from Heavenly Father. It is my spiritual witness that was given to my by the Holy Ghost. Because of my testimony, I feel immensely loved by a perfect being, by our God.
Testimony is the foundation of our faith. It is like a muscle which we can use to grow spiritually. The more you use it and fall back on it, the stronger it will get. If you do nothing, it will atrophy.
We can also help others gain our strengthen their own testimonies as well by bearing our testimony just as Don and Betty do.
It appears that Elvis Presley was thinking about becoming one! According to this new story, “Movie Shows Spiritual Side of Elvis,” there is a new movie being made called “Tears of a King” which explores the spiritual part of Elvis’ life. Elvis was seeking the truth and receiving missionaries. He had a Book of Mormon with notes written in it.
On various pages throughout the book, are handwritten notes, believed to be written by Presley. He underlined the word “KING” throughout the book. Also on one page there is a note that reads: “My daughter Lisa needs this church. She’s nine. Please help her…”
While reading the comments of the news article, someone named “Candace S.” states:
My stepfather was one of the missionaries that went to visit Elvis on several occasions. The missionairies were always welcomed to visit anytime he was there.
…he said in the past, that Elvis enjoyed and agreed with the discussions, but was unable to give up his (forgive the saying) his wine, women, and song (although I’m sure he wouldn’t have to give up too much of the song part). I think sometimes even when someone knows that the church is true some habits are hard to give up, especially being who he was.
The King of Rock and Roll was on to something with this Church.
I was browsing the web tonight and came across a post at the blog “Our Thoughts.” It was a wonderful entry that truly shows the test of faith of Kim Siever.
What really strikes me the most are the similar experiences between the writer, Joseph Smith, and Jesus Christ! In his experience, Kim writes:
…I had an unusual and foreign experience. Several years ago, I found myself in a difficult situation. As a result, I was praying frequently and frequently for the Lord’s intervention. I prayed several times every day and was fasting every Sunday. Some weeks I fasted Sunday and Monday…
..After several weeks of not seeing any change in the situation, I began questioning why I was not receiving an answer to my prayer…
…I started to wonder if perhaps the reason I wasn’t receiving an answer from God was because God did not exist…
…My entire life was filled with teachings that told me if I ever needed anything from God, I simply had to ask. Here I was, having asked every day for several weeks, even unusually fasting frequently, and those promised answers had not come…
I find it hard to imagine being brought up in the Church and then to begin questioning the very things that you were taught by your parents and thought you believed in. I often feel like the Converts and Pioneers in the Church have it easier than people who were born or brought up into the Church.
For someone to want to be baptized would mean that they have received a personal testimony about truthfulness of things. For someone to grow up in the Church, you could be baptized, but not really have a testimony or be truly ‘converted.’ I believe that a person born into the Church must have a stronger spirit and drive to be ‘converted’ in the gospel.
Kim, the writer further writes:
At the time, we were attending an Institute class. We had a good instructor, and we were discussing church history. Actually, we were specifically studying Liberty Jail. In the course of the class, we discussed D&C 121:1-2.
O God, where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place? How long shall thy hand be stayed, and thine eye, yea thy pure eye, behold from the eternal heavens the wrongs of thy people and of thy servants, and thine ear be penetrated with their cries?
My ears perked up. Joseph Smith — the first prophet of the restoration, one who had seen God, one who had been ministered by angels — was asking the same question I had: where was God.
Immediately to my mind came Matt 27:46:
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
And now even Jesus, the savior of the world, was asking the same question that had entered my mind several times. The progenitor of our faith and the source of our faith both put forth the same question to God. Both felt alone. And both came through triumphant.
At that point, the Spirit entered into me with such a force that I knew I had never felt such a thing in my entire life…
Kim Siever, Joseph Smith and Jesus Christ were asking where God was and feeling abandoned. The saying “It is always darkest before dawn” applies here.
What a wonderful story and trail of faith. I have learned a lot from this and now I cannot wait to see what Kim Siever will write next. This has definitely left an impression on me, to where I feel re-energized and gung-ho to learn more about the gospel.
You can view the complete post here: http://www.ourthoughts.ca/2007/10/21/my-faith-crisis-story/
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.
As an investigator attending Elder’s Quorum. I often heard about assignments called “Home Teaching.” It seemed a bit different and I did not quite understand what it was about. I began looking into what is entailed in home teaching and I came across an article: Confessions of a Halfhearted Home Teacher
As a new member and Aaronic Priesthood holder in the Church, I have found Doctrine and Covenants, Chapter 20 (D&C:20) to be very useful in instilling an enthusiastic urge in performing the duties that I have. Two verses that really stick out me are:
The priests duty is to preach, teach, expound, exhort, and baptize, and administer the sacrament, And visit the house of each member, and exhort them to pray vocally and in secret and attend to all family duties. (D&C 20:46-47)
Another two verses that jump out at me are:
And see that there is no iniquity in the church, neither hardness with each other, neither lying, backbiting, nor evil speaking; And see that the church meet together often, and also see that all the members do their duty. (D&C 20:54-55)
I have been blessed with being able to perform most of my duties in my short time that I’ve been a member. Specifically: baptize, administer the sacrament (passing and preparing – I am privileged to bless sacrament in two weeks!), and home teaching. Taking part in these ordinances gives me a tremendous feeling of joy!
This evening, I had the opportunity to meet with the family I was assigned to “home teach” with my new companion. It was a wonderful experience. I was a bit anxious to go to my first home teaching but it went great. I got to meet and learn about a new family that just moved in to my ward and more about my home teaching companion. I had the chance to teach a gospel principal and hopefully leave an impression on the family for the month.
As we were walking to the house of the family we were to home teach, I let my companion know that I have never done it before. He explained to me how the purpose of home teaching is to get to know the family, letting the family get to know you and get them comfortable for asking for any type of help when needed. This reminded me of the scripture in the Book of Mormon that greatly impressed me when I was investigating the church. This verse is about Alma preaching to people in the wilderness:
And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light (Mosiah 18:8)
“…willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light.” What a powerful concept that I observe in this church every day.
As I saw for myself, home teaching is an important component to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It teaches something to the families and also teaches the teacher. It lets us get to know each other, it allows us strengthen each other and it allows us to “watch over the church” just as this verse in Doctrine and Covenants says:
The teacher’s duty is to watch over the church always, and be with and strengthen them. (D&C 20:53)
I cannot wait to do it again.