May 8, 2017
You might be wondering why I picked this title–it is really simple; we had a baptism this week and I’ve been thinking a lot about the sacrament. So, I’m going to talk a bit about both.
First off the most important thing. Somebody was baptized! Her name is Hadley (Hadlee?) Christensen and she is awesome. She is 9 years old and couldn’t be baptized at 8, so we got to teach her. After the baptism, the bishop got up and announced that they were going to confirm her (which means she’ll be made a member of her church and receive the Holy Ghost) right then and there. Which out of the norm.Â Normally, converts to the church are confirmed during Sacrament Meeting. For it to happen right afterwards requires permission from a general authority of our church. The bishop asked for permission and got it. (He did not tell us, so we were a bit freaked out for a while.) It all turned out for the best. The next day was our monthly Fast and Testimony Sacrament meeting (Members fast for twenty-four hours and donate the money they would have spent on food to help the hungry and needy. And instead of speakers, members who feel moved by the Spirit bear extemporaneous testimonies. Hadley bore her testimony.
As missionaries (and to an extent members of the church), we always get excited for baptisms. It’s more than just a social event (as it is sometimes seen as here in Utah). I is a covenant. And more importantly it is the covenant that makes salvation possible and just as importantly, gives us access to the pure joy of Christ.
Jesus said in 3 Nephi 27: 15-16:
And for this cause have I been lifted up; therefore, according to the power of the Father I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their works. And it shall come to pass, that whoso repenteth and is baptized in my name shall be filled; and if he endureth to the end, behold, him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world.
This is Jesus saying that those who repent and are baptized are promised the gift of the Holy Ghost, and if they endure to the end they will live with Heavenly Father again, and be free of sin.
No other covenant, no commandment, no other way is prepared for salvation. The Only by the way of repentance unto baptism, and baptism unto the Holy Ghost, then endure with the Holy Ghost unto the end.
There are many people who understand this–we need to be baptized to be “saved.” But many forget that once baptized we now have access to the greatest joy, which I don’t even know how to express in words. That joy comes from the Holy Ghost, and has honestly it is the reason I wanted to write this. It is a feeling of being clean, and a feeling of limitless potential. It has made new members of the church weep with joy, and men stand upon their feet and prophesy (JSH 1:73). It has made those who have traveled across deserts be calm in affliction (Oct 2015 General Conference, Joy and Spiritual Survival), and those who are lost feel found (Luke 15). It has filled a soul so much that there is no more room for hatred (Oct 2013 General Conference, Wilt Thou Be Made Whole), and has lifted those depressed from the depths of sadness to the heights of joy. It is the joy of Christ.
When we take the sacrament we make the same covenant we made at baptism. And we can experience that same joy if we are prepared for sacrament. It is not just simply eating and drinking the sacrament; it is being willing (and perhaps even already making steps) to forsake our sins and to repent. We often just take the sacrament ; but do we actually partake the sacrament. Do we let Jesus wash away our sins? Do we let the Holy Ghost fill us with the joy of Christ? Or do we rush by it all, and forget our Savior?
I have a challenge this week: do whatever is necessary to be prepared for the sacrament, and meet the requirements Jesus Christ has set to be forgiven and receive the Holy Ghost. If you follow this course then you will come to be filled by the Joy of Christ.
I leave is with you in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Regards from Elder Brown.