Being raised with specific beliefs and continuing to live in a society that primarily adheres to those beliefs can often numb the meaning. So it is with baptism. Growing up I remember attending each of my cousins baptisms. I remember kneeling near the font with the other children and keeping my eyes open throughout the prayer for fear I would miss it. I don’t know why I never realized that the “fun part” was after the prayer. Following the confirmation all of the cousins would run to each others cars to catch a ride with anyone but their family. Once everyone had arrived at the home of the cousin who was baptized everyone would race to the bathroom or a bedroom and immediately change into something more comfortable.
I don’t remember my baptismal day as well as I had hoped. I remember the church, it was our stake center, and I remember it because I visited the stake center for dances, stake conference, and it was where meetings were held for a stake calling I held my senior year of high school.
I remember my dress because my mother, grandmother and I had spent a whole day shopping for it. I remember thinking it was very expensive and much more pretty than all of the other white dresses I had seen other’s wear over the years. My dress was shaped like a ball gown. The sleeves were a little puffy and like the bodice it was covered in beading. The skirt length was about mid calf and had a bunch of itchy tulle to give it that ball gown shape.
I remember having a celebration at our house after the baptism. I remember as a present my neighbor gave me my first pet. It was a gold fish. I think it lasted a week.
The most important thing I remember about my baptism was the weight of the hands on my head during the confirmation. I remember my dad, uncles, and a close family friend named Jared being in the circle. I remember shaking each of their hands following the blessing.
What lead me to reminiscing was the baptism of a dear friends newborn. This particular friend is Catholic. Several weeks following the baptism she opened up to me about the ordinance. She said that her son had slept through all of the talk prior. When she and her husband had awoken him for the ordinance he was not pleased. He wailed and cried through the whole ordeal. We laughed a little joking about how James was probably wondering why he had to be woken up in the middle of his regularly scheduled nap. After all, he had been a sleeping when he was supposed to when his mean parents had splashed him with water. This is what lead to the strengthening of my testimony of baptism at the age of eight.
Here is my testimony for you, my dear readers:
I am so grateful for the knowledge that sin is a decision that can only be made when there is an understanding of right and wrong. I am so grateful that I know that baptism is appropriate after the age of eight when this understanding has developed. I am grateful for the opportunity I had to make the decision to get baptized, even if it was most likely because I was just following the examples of my older cousins. At least I had a basic knowledge of what was happening. I am grateful for this personal experience that helped me realize that this is what I believe and strengthened the foundation of why I believe it. I am grateful for the example of my loving and redeeming Savior, Jesus Christ, who was baptized in the River Jordan. I hope that you relate to my testimony. I hope that this has been a conformation and a reminder for you. Don’t let the meaning behind your testimony grow numb as mine often does. Ponder your beliefs and consciously decide to have faith.