- Exercise faith in Jesus Christ, have a broken heart, repent and be: cleansed, changed and strengthened through the Lord’s atonement.
- Harder to do so, than to exercise faith early in your life.
- Assigned to help and rescue, strengthen and lead those who have been lead away, back to safety.
- Family has an opportunity at the start of a child’s life to lead and guide them.
- Primary workers help strengthen the children.
- Aaronic Priesthood, during sacrament prayer hears the promise of the holy ghost they will receive one day.
- We can all help, formal callings are not necessary.
Oh Bishop, My Bishop!
I admit, when I first started going to Church I wanted to call the Bishop the Warden instead. I wanted to do so only because the Church was called a Ward. It seemed fit that the Warden would be in charge of the Ward. It took me two months to get that out of my system and I’m happy to report that I never once slipped up…at least I don’t think I did.
I don’t know if my Bishop will ever know how much I admire and appreciate him. Not because he holds a prestigious title, that he presides over Sacrament or is in the highest office of the Aaronic priesthood. The reason why I appreciate him is because he is just a man. He is a man who is kind, caring, humble, sincere and the first one to admit his faults.
If I did not know him and saw him walking down the street, I would know he was a righteous man, obedient to the Lord. He is a man that has the Spirit with him, always.
I know how hard his calling can be and he does it with a smile and with all his heart. He is one of the many men in my ward that I look up to as an example of what I want to become. He is a man that has his spiritual affairs in order.
Last Sunday for Church, I caught him in his office and met with him briefly about arranging to be ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood since I was Sustained in the last Stake conference. When he saw me, he smiled. He shook my hand and was genuinely happy to see me. We sat in his office for a second and I told him of my plans and how I wanted my best friend to ordain me.
Afterwards, he told me how he was proud of me and put his arm around my shoulder. “How are you doing?” he asked me. “I’m trying as best as I can.” I replied. “The best you can is good enough and that is between you and the Lord.” Like many times before, he spoke about how he is not perfect, has his faults and he tries his best as well. He also spoke of the wonderful gift of the atonement and how he relies on it in his life. At that moment I felt the Spirit bring me Peace and Comfort. It washed away my feelings of inadequacies.
His kindness and humble attitude strengthened my testimony. He made my day. He made my week. Even though I thought something horrible happend less than three hours ago when a Deacon forgot to pass us the bread for Sacrament, I felt safe and set for another week.
He is just a man, but he is my Bishop. And I wish I could find a way to thank him for that.
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.
An Amazing Sabbath Day
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.
A Convert’s Survival Guide: What to Expect at your Baptism
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. 🙂
Our duties to the Church: Home Teaching
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.