Saturday, June 5, 2010

Baptism

In Mormon culture, turning 8 is a really big deal. This is the age when children can get baptized and become a member of the Church. Mormons believe that children under the age of 8 are innocent, and free from sin. Eight is the age when children understand right and wrong and can be held accountable for their choices. A person can get baptized any time after age 8 -- if you are worthy, but not before.

When I was 8, I wanted to be baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (aka Mormon Church). My parents were not members of the Church, or any church for that matter, but they allowed me to attend with neighbors and friends. From the age of 4 up through my elementary school years, my Mormon neighbors would come and pick me up for weekly meetings at the church building about a mile away from my house. I also had relatives that were Mormon and they took me as well.

Although I didn't understand much of the Mormon doctrine at that age, I knew how I felt when I attended Church. I felt loved by the people who served me, and I felt peace as I listened to the Sunday school lessons. I felt happy when I made good choices. I believed that Jesus Christ was God's son.

I will never forget the day I was baptized -- April 18th, 1967. One of my best friends was baptized the same day along with a few other 8 year olds who had just celebrated their birthdays. We got to use the baptismal font on Temple Square in Salt Lake City. My whole family came, and when it was over, we paid a visit to Snelgrove's Ice Cream Parlor where I had a Sunday with a plastic monkey hanging from the side. Who could forget that!

Mormons believe in baptism by immersion, which means that you are dunked completely under water. It symbolizes rebirth as your sins are washed away and you become new. A worthy male member of the Church who holds the priesthood performs this ordinance -- usually the father of the person being baptized. My father could not do this for me, so my Aunt's boyfriend had the honor, which was just fine because I loved him like a brother. Calvin and I dressed in white jump suits and took our place in the baptismal font. The only thing I remember about that moment was that I had to be baptized twice, because the first time, my foot popped up out of the water. I think Calvin was a little rattled that he had to repeat the process a second time. So was I -- I was worried water would go up my nose. (It didn't.)

Right after baptism, there is another ordinance that takes place -- confirmation. This is when you are confirmed a member of the Church and you receive the gift of Holy Ghost as a constant companion. Priesthood holders confer this ordinance as well -- my neighbor did this for me. I didn't feel any different after I had been confirmed a member of the Church. But, as I grew I learned what it meant to have the companionship of the Holy Ghost in my life. It is a feeling that comes to comfort, to warn, to teach, inspire, and testify of things that are true. But in order to feel and hear it, I had to listen. I know it is real.

I'm so grateful that my parents allowed me to make such a big choice when I was 8. I have never regretted that decision. Having the gospel of Christ has blessed me throughout my life. It has given me purpose and hope, especially through trials.

Today, my little friend Chloe was baptized. I made her this for her special day.

I attended her baptism along with her family and a few of her friends. It was a simple, but beautiful experience. As I watched her standing with her father, both dressed in white, it reminded me of my own special day. It touched my heart, and I just had to write about it.

Post Script: I have many friends and family members who are not Mormon. Sometimes I like to share my thoughts on the subject of religion because many of the people in my life don't know what Mormons believe and they are afraid to ask. I hope that this will not offend any of you, dear readers. But, I would prefer that my friends learn about Mormonism from one of its members, as opposed to someone who is not.

3 comments:

Bethany @ Organic Enchilada said...

Very nicely put. :)

tomiannie said...

That is lovely! Thank you for sharing!

kiddle97 said...

I just wanted to thank you for your comment on my food blog, it was encouraging! (Especially as our Sunday dinner two nights ago was cold cereal. Ha ha!)

Also, thank you for the link to your food blog -- the recipes look delicious and I can't wait to try them. I have started following it, so I hope you don't mind.

ALSO, this was a beautiful post. You said everything so very well, and I appreciated your post script about going to the source for information instead of people who really don't have a clue. Well done.