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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.
There is a woman in our ward whose husband died a few months ago, leaving behind his wife and two young daughters. The family had additional changes in circumstances after the death of the father that necessitated a move to another state. Unfortunately, the only day on which they could move was a Sunday and not just any Sunday, but Father’s Day.
I will always remember the first counselor in our bishopric standing up in priesthood meeting and saying that there was nothing better we could be doing on Father’s Day than helping a family who has just lost their father. These inspired words touched the hearts of the men in our ward. The evening of Father’s Day found 21 of us at the home of this dear family who were still grieving for their father. There were so many of us that we formed an assembly line and routed boxes and furniture out of the house and into the truck, filling the moving truck in less than a half hour.
Isaiah 1:17 -> “Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.”
I pray that the Lord will bless and comfort this family.
This weekend, our ward had a Father and Son’s Camp out. I drove myself and my three sons over 90 miles to our destination on a Friday afternoon. I had tried to get out of work early, but it didn’t work out that way and by the time we left my house it was already 6pm.
I was worried that there wouldn’t be any light left to set my tent up but didn’t worry too much, having faith that things would work out. It was dark and overcast at my house when we left and by the time we reach our destination, there was literally a column of sunlight gleaming down from between the clouds. Just as I had trusted would happen. It had shed enough light to set up the tent without difficulty.
There was already a group playing kickball, but I decided to just sit by my tent and relax while my three sons would squeal and cry over the red kick ball that I had brought. Besides, if I had played kickball it would have been completely unfair to the opposite team!
The fireside seemed to be exactly what I needed. It was, of course, about the Priesthood and service. There was a great lesson presented. In a nutshell, those successful people around us that were known to give generously had done so before the fact that there were successful.
They were also great leaders, but not for the reasons why you would think. They were kind and generous, which in turn had people gravitate towards them. Their genuine willingness to help and give their time, money and talents had brought them blessings of true happiness. True happiness is being in the service of your fellow men. The Priesthood brings happiness by its sole purpose of serving others.
This has had me pondering the whole weekend about the things I can do to help those around me.
I can be a more loving husband and patient father.
I can be more bold in bringing up the gospel in day to day situations.
My Ward Family
I can get over my habit to float to the side and stay unnoticed and make a better effort. I can find ways to serve them. I can try to take my callings to the next level.
The Blessings from service are evident as I had arranged to go visit a family today with my home teaching companion. I had received good news upon my visit that the father had received a great job offer, ending a period of worry. I was uplifted to hear about the blessings they had received through prayer, obedience and faith in Heavenly Fathers.
I am excited and filled with enthusiasm as this month, I am going to concentrate on service to my fellow men.
At the end of the Summer I read a talk from the 173rd Semiannual General Conference, October 2003 in the November 2003 Ensign by Elder Merrill J. Bateman, Of the Presidency of the Seventy.
Elder Bateman says:
It is expected that worthy holders of the Melchizedek Priesthood will use the power delegated to them to bless others, starting with their own families.
I remember over a year ago when my Bishop urged fathers to give back to school blessings to their children before the beginning of school. My heart filled with joy concerning the blessings that were available to my family. I shortly learned afterwards that it was something a Melchezidek Priestholder would have to do.
That Sunday, my home teacher was coming over to visit our family. As he gave his lesson, it came to me that he could bless my children. He agreed to and then each of my sons at school age were blessed. The blessings he gave were exactly what my children needed and I was grateful for his willingness to serve.
I am also grateful that he was able to give a blessing, as he was a worthy priesthood holder. Even though he has moved to another state, I still think of him as an example of who to be – A Worthy Priesthood holder. You never know when you will have to exercise your priesthood and this gives a great incentive to stay pure, clean and worthy.
How do you give a Blessing? What do you say?
As a worthy holder of the Melchizedek Priesthood, you lightly place your hands on the person receiving the blessing and do the following:
- Calls the person by his or her full name.
- States that he is giving the blessing by the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood.
- Gives a blessing as the Spirit directs.
- Closes in the name of Jesus Christ.
During our last Summer FHE (Family Home Evenings) I gave my children blessings. I had read an article on lds.org titled “Me? Give a Blessing?” by Brad Larsen in the January 2005 New Era issue and received from good advice from it. Brad Larsen says:
I remembered my dad. Whenever he had to give a blessing, he went quietly into another room and prayed first.
Before I gave the blessings, I went into another room and prayed to our Heavenly Father. It really did help.
We pulled a dining room chair into the living room and one by one I placed my hands on their head and gave them a blessing as the Spirit had directed me to. After I did my two oldest school-aged boys, the youngest happily hopped into the chair for a blessing as well. We all smiled at his eagerness and I gave him one as well.
After looking back at that night, I now feel stronger about utilizing the Priesthood often and making it a regular occurrence and readily available to my family. I am grateful for the priesthood which I hold and the blessings it can bring to peoples lives.
To read Elder Merrill J. Bateman’s talk, click here.
To read “Me? Give a Blessing?” by Brad Larsen, click here.
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.
Sunday was Stake Conference. We got to sleep in an extra hour because it started at noon. The entire building was full and we ending up sitting in the back. Shortly after the first hymn and the invocation they began to read the names of members who were to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood. My name was read from the short list and I felt exceedingly great joy as I stood there and was sustained by the entire Stake.
It has been a whirlwind: receiving the Aaronic Priesthood and learning, serving and growing in that capacity and now being able to be a Melchizedek Priesthood holder. And now more than ever, I will strive to be humble and obedient. As a husband and father, I understand the many responsibilities and blessings that come with the Melchizedek Priesthood: the ability to greater serve my family and others with blessings for direction, healing and comfort.
That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness. (D&C 121:36)
Though he may not know it, a home teacher of mine set a great example in my early membership as I asked him on the spot to offer a blessing for my children. I watched him bless my children for the coming school year. I am glad to be able to be able to do as he once did.
And once again I have put my friends on the spot in asking them to confer the Melchizedek Priesthood by the laying on of hands. I also see the importance of remaining worthy-as my home teacher was able to exercise his priesthood at a moments notice and as my friends are able to confer the Melchizedek Priesthood in such short notice as well.
This weekend was an amazingly spiritual one. Having the Aaronic Priesthood, I was blessed to participate in the sacrament ordinance and perform the blessing of the bread.
What is said during baptism, blessing of bread, blessing of water are the only three ordinances that must be said word for word in the church. Anticipating this day, I have been studying the sacrament bread blessing prayer and sacrament water blessing prayer for over two months and had it down to a science.
Of course when I was driving to church and walking down the hall to the Bishop’s office for a quick meeting, I ACTUALLY FORGOT THE WORDS! “It figures” I thought. However, having faith that I would be able to perform this ordinance by the grace of Heavenly Father, I did not fear.
Before discussing what is done for the blessing of the bread with the Bishop, we knelt down and he said a wonderful prayer: That I may be able to officiate successfully, have clear thought and speak clearly and precisely. This eased my tensions further.
After the meeting, I must’ve drank from the water fountain at least ten times, trying to thwart off a dry mouth. When my mouth is dry, my speech suffers. It didn’t work. I had a card that the ward mission leader gave me when I was conferred to the Aaronic Priesthood. It was titled “Suggestions for ordinance work” and it had the list of blessings and prayers in it. I read off the bread prayer over and over. It made me feel a little bit better.
Sitting up in the stand during sacrament meeting was going fine. The church was unusually crowded that day. The entire church was filled. So much that I could not see my family anywhere; they were in the lobby. “More people to witness me messing up and saying the prayer twice” I thought.
And then I found out why it was so crowded-there was a baby being blessed and there were a lot of people in town visiting. When the Bishop asked that the people participating in the blessing to come forward, two full middle rows stood up! It was revealed to me later that day that 320 people attended sacrament meeting.
The second hymn started and my heart started to beat faster. Nervousness set in. We all stood up in unison. We approached the table and uncovered the bread. I began breaking the bread…I got the end piece again! Those things are harder to break apart. While breaking the bread, I had the epiphany to make it the pieces slightly smaller so we could have enough for the entire congregation and so I would not have to prepare and bless the bread TWICE. I successfully got two trays done, the other three priest handled the rest.
I finished first and stood there reverently. The other priest continued breaking the bread until they were done. The hymn was finished and the sister playing the organ concluded the song. Panic set in!
Having been on the end of the line and wanting to avoid running into the priest next to me, I carefully moved back until I was clear and then proceeded forward and to the middle of the line. They raised the cloth up and held it for me. I proceeded to kneel down on my left knee and slide out the microphone tray.
The little light turned red-the mic was hot! “Here we go, you’ll do fine.” I said to myself. Now the microphone tray has a tiny microphone in it and has the bread prayer and water prayer so you can read it while speaking. In my opinion, it wasn’t designed very well. Having to put your mouth right at the microphone, you cannot really read the prayer very well. The words are too close.
All of the sudden, peace and calm came over me. I began to speak:
O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it, that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him and keep his commandments which he has given them; that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen. (D&C 20:77)
It was a miracle! I made it through and I think I didn’t mess up. I looked to my right at the Bishop for approval that I said it correctly.
He nodded his head “yes.” I had made it. I was even more relieved when I found out there was enough bread and the Teachers and Deacons began their way back to the sacrament table.
Later that afternoon, I was interviewed by my Bishop for receiving the Melchizedek Priesthood. It was an amazing Sabbath Day.