Wednesday morning, I told the sister missionaries that I needed to be baptized. The night before, I had a conversation with Natalie that answered and resolved most of my questions. I read the Book of Mormon and knew so hard that this is where I was supposed to be. I fought hard against this decision, but I just knew I needed to do this. I really did not want to do this.
I met with the sisters at the church and we sat in the Relief Society room. Sisters R1 and R2 (R2 had recently transferred in) just stared at me waiting for me to say something. I was rocking back and forth in my chair and dreading the conversation we were about to have. I’d like to think that a lot of people are happy about their decisions to be baptized, but I was just confused and not looking forward to explaining myself.
I broke the silence. “Stuff happened last night and I think I need to be baptized. But I don’t want to.”
Sister R1 (one of the greatest people to ever teach and live the gospel) asked me, “So, uh, do you want to tell us what happened?”
I told them about the conversation with Natalie, that I read the Book of Mormon and the way my mind, body, heart, and soul reacted made me realize that everything they taught me was true*. (You will likely never catch me saying, “I’d like to bear my testimony. I know this church is true.”)
Sister R1 pulled out a calendar and asked me to pick a day. I was freaking out. “Do I really have to do this? Can’t I just read the Book of Mormon and go to church and be happy and not get wet? And not tell anyone?”
So we talked about baptism by immersion. We talked about Jesus Christ’s own baptism and we read scriptures about baptism. I started to calm down a bit, but I was still freaking out. I have to do this, but I don’t know how to do this.
Sister R1 helped me understand that this is what faith is about. To be baptized was a huge test of my faith. I didn’t quite understand what faith meant for me in my life, and if I didn’t have the chance to study for it, I certainly did not want to be tested on it. Did I have enough faith in our Heavenly Father to go ahead and do this without fully understanding what would happen next?
“But do I have to get wet? Can’t it be a symbolic baptism?”
Sister R1 looked at me with eyes: you’re being silly. You already know the answer to that.
“I don’t know if I’m ready. I don’t have all the answers yet.”
Sister R1 said to me, “If you wait to be baptized until you had all the answers, you’d never be baptized. None of us have all the answers. That’s why it’s called faith.”
I sat there and pouted for a little bit. I didn’t know how to solve this in a way that worked out best in my favor. I think I was going for a “Mormon By Association” kind of baptism, but clearly, that was not going to fly. While I was sitting there, I was pushed. Not by the Sisters, but … eh, let’s go with the Spirit (you should also know that in my life, the Spirit doesn’t just testify to the truth, It smacks me upside the head with it).
“You know as well as I do that this is not about the actual baptism. I need you to show me that you are willing to do at least this much. I am ready to give you everything I have, but you need to show me that you can do this. I need you to trust me.”
FINE! (again, with the attitude)
I took the calendar from the Sister missionaries and picked a date to be baptized. I knew that if I committed to a date, I couldn’t back out. I had come too far to go back and I was desperate and terrified to know what was on the other side of baptism. I picked a date 2.5 weeks away in order to give myself time to figure out how to tell the Elders. Until I told them, none of this was real.
I called Natalie a few minutes later and, when I told her, she bust out laughing. She couldn’t believe that our conversation the night before had any substance worth conversion. She begged me to wait until the following week to tell the Elders. “I want to take a picture of their faces when you tell them.” I asked the sisters and Natalie if I could just tell the Elders a month or five after my baptism. I didn’t want to face them and say the worst words I could ever taste in my mouth: “You were right. I was wrong.”
I saw Elders C and P the next day at the DCC. I was so weird because I knew something they didn’t. I didn’t know how to behave around them and had to figure out a way to keep up the “I don’t believe anything you’re saying,” routine. I didn’t want them asking questions and I wasn’t ready to apologize. I still wasn’t excited about my decision to be baptized and I knew that if I told them, it would raise more questions than it would answer. My throat was closing up and I spent the whole time freaking out. BLAGH!
Elder P told me a while later that after we parted ways for the day, he told Elder C that if I were to be baptized, it would be the greatest way to end his mission. Elder C assured him it wouldn’t happen. I don’t blame him for thinking I wasn’t interested. The majority of his mission was spent with me telling him his church was lame.
The next day, I had plans with the Elders. Five of us, four Elders and a LadyMo, were supposed to go to a Deaf ice skating social, but it ended up being canceled. Instead, we met for dinner at Noodles and Company. On one hand, I had no idea how I was going to get through a dinner with them without telling them. On the other hand, I had no idea how to even begin explaining myself.
dun dun dun….
So much love,