Sacrament Meeting Today

A lot goes on in a sacrament meeting in my ward. Babies cry and parents take them out of the room to calm them down. Toddlers toddle in the aisles or between pews. People play games with their smart phone. There are always a lot of announcements and someone is always in the hospital or had a baby or received a mission call. We sustain and release people to and from callings. With everything that happens, we can certainly appreciate the quiet moments during the meeting.

Today, people used the 70-minute block to bear their testimonies of the gospel. We do this every first Sunday of each month. The same things that happen every week in the congregation also happened today. Two rows in front of us, a dad took his fussy son out. I exchanged smiles with a flirty baby while watching a little boy waddle up to the podium to join his father. I caught glimpses of few people sending texts or playing games on phones and tablets.

Everything amused me and at the same time edified me. But in a distracted way. However, I also tried to focus on the meeting. I brought my French hymnbook to church and compared French hymns to their English counterparts. In an effort to learn the names of people in the ward, I wrote down the names of people who bore their testimony. The only people whose names I didn’t know were visitors. I was grateful to be making some progress.

The testimonies themselves were quite impressive. They were heartfelt and inspired. One in particular struck me in a way the others didn’t. The bishopric reminds the congregation that you can come up and bear your testimony as long as you can do it by yourself. Because of this, not many children have born their testimony, at least as long as Reilly and I have been in the ward.

A little girl and her visiting cousin came up to the stand. The cousin bore her testimony first, then the little girl. The little girl had just gotten baptized yesterday, and she expressed her feelings with such confidence and calmness. It occurred to me how virtually sinless she was, and her simple and powerful testimony heightened the spirit in the room. A palpable sweetness swelled and touched my distracted little heart, and tears flowed instantly from my eyes.

Even though this girl wasn’t the first to bear her testimony today, I’m grateful that she set the tone for my Sunday experience. I’m grateful for her example and especially her parents who strive constantly to give happiness to their family.

I hope to have this kind of influence someday.

Hi(gh)

I’m kind of tired, people. The concert last night was amazing, and I saw some other bands that I really liked. I’ll have to explore them more extensively.

I just got back from a baptism. I woke up later than I wanted, so I didn’t have time to shower. I went to this special event a little bit self-conscious that I smelled … herbier than what is appropriate. No one seemed to notice, and I’m glad, because the guy who got baptized deserved every bit of attention he received.

I have a headache, too. I promise to write more later.

Power

Primary is the Sunday school program for children in the LDS church structure. Today, during sharing time, we learned about baptism. The eight- to 11-year-olds had left for their age-respective classes (similar to grade school). The leader was in the front of the younger children (3- to 8-year-olds) asking basic questions to see how much the children already knew.

How old do you have to be for baptism?
Why aren’t we baptized when we’re babies?
Where are we baptized?
Are we sprinkled with water? How are we baptized, then?
Who baptizes us?

The children yelled out their answers for these questions, which, for the most part, were just as basic. We’re at least 8 years old when we’re baptized. We believe babies are innocent and have no need for baptism. We’re baptized usually in a font filled with water, where a man who holds the proper priesthood authority immerses us in the water. When it’s not a font, then sometimes it’s a pool, or the river or a lake or pond. That would be more after the manner Christ was baptized. The children really did know their stuff, and I was quite impressed.

One of the questions, however, seemed a little vague, though the leader was looking for a specific answer. She asked, “What do you need to be baptized?” Everyone who desires to be baptized and has reached the age of accountability (being able to tell and choose between right and wrong) has an interview with the bishop to confirm the person really does want to be baptized and become a member of the Church and live the best life he can and obey the commandments.

“What do you need to be baptized?” She asked again. The slightest of pauses lingered before a little boy in the back of the room yelled out, “Strength! Ability! Courage!” I bit my lip to keep from laughing out loud and caught the amused smiles in the other teachers’ eyes. One of my students looked at my face and could tell I was laughing silently, and he asked what was so funny, as if strength, ability and courage were exactly what you need to get baptized. Which, if you ponder for just a few seconds, isn’t entirely untrue. I mean, this guy is getting baptized this coming Saturday; he would know.

As members of the church, we’re kind of superheroes. I like that.