Sunday, March 22, 2015

Officially Official

They were desirous to be baptized as a witness and a testimony that they were willing to serve God with all their hearts; nevertheless, they did prolong the time."

The first time I ever attended a worship service at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was a stake conference in February 2014. I was with a friend of mine. Early on, she leaned over and whispered, "Write down your questions and we can answer them after church." We went back to her house for lunch after. When she asked if I had any questions, I pulled out my notebook and exploded in questions. They answered my questions and told me about the Plan of Salvation, also known as the Plan of Happiness. I fell in love. My soul was overwhelmed by this. I knew that this plan, this is what I had been searching for. This is what my soul longed for. This knowledge would bring me happiness. After hours of questions and answers, they asked if I was interested in learning more or reading the Book of Mormon. I said yes absolutely! She offered me a Book of Mormon, and I was on my way. I read it all the time over the next week, recording my questions in my little notebook. The next Sunday, I went to church again, this time a regular service, and wrote down more questions. After church, we went back so they could answer my questions. As we were talking, I felt increasing desire to commit. Finally, I mustered up the courage to ask, "So, how do I do this?" I was ready to join this Church and commit myself to living its principles, even though I didn't know everything. I knew what I needed to know.

I now realize that I was feeling the Holy Ghost so incredibly strong those two Sundays. Now, just thinking about that time again, my soul burns fervently with the knowledge that this Plan is real. That day, I decided to be baptized

Unfortunately, my family and other complications prevented me from being baptized immediately. I also wasn't allowed to attend church on Sundays anymore. Soon enough, the adversary pulled me away completely. I decided that God did not exist. And I was done. 

Sister O invited me to "come unto Christ" (Moroni 10:32) after I had denied religion for several months, and again, I decided to be baptized. Again I faced pushback from my family. I knew that Heavenly Father wanted me to be baptized, but I also knew that He did not want me to tear my family apart in doing so. It was very hard for many months, but I used my resources - missionaries, teachers, and fellow YSAs - and did my best to follow the advice of the Book of Mormon prophet Nephi: "Wherefore, ye must press forward with asteadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life" (2 Nephi 31:20).

I waited. I pressed forward. I prayed for patience. I "did prolong the time." I hoped and prayed for the day when I would become a member of Christ's Church. I waited, and waited, and waited.

And finally, I'm done waiting. I will be baptized next Saturday, on March 28. It's officially official. And I could not be more excited to take this vital step. 

"8 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;

9 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—

10 Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the nameof the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?

11 And now when the people had heard these words, they clapped their hands for joy, and exclaimed: This is the desire of our hearts.

12 And now it came to pass that Alma took Helam, he being one of the first, and went and stood forth in the water, and cried, saying: O Lord, pour out thy Spirit upon thy servant, that he may do this work with holiness of heart.

13 And when he had said these words, the Spirit of the Lord was upon him, and he said: Helam, I baptize thee, having authority from the Almighty God, as a testimony that ye have entered into a covenant to serve him until you are dead as to the mortal body; and may the Spirit of the Lord be poured out upon you; and may he grant unto you eternal life, through the redemption of Christ, whom he has prepared from the foundation of the world."

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