Sunday morning dawned and we prepared to go to church. Before we left Mom and Daddy told me how glad they were to be celebrating this great occasion in my life when I would start becoming part of the family of God. And how fresh, clean, and forgiven I would feel right after being baptized. I would not be considered a full part of the church family until I partook of communion several weeks later.
I really looked forward to experience that, not that I considered myself to be a sinner. I knew I wasn't perfect, but considered myself to be a good person.
After everyone was seated in the church house and the singing started we joined the ministers in their little conference room for the last time where they talked to us about the sacred importance of the vows we would be making later that day.
When we were dismissed we went back into the church house but this time instead of sitting at our usual places we sat on the front bench that had been reserved for us. Church continued much the same as any other service and then it was time to be baptized. The bishop addressed us and once said if we were still willing to forsake all the world has to offer and our own desires and come to God and the church we can kneel down.
As we knelt he asked if we believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God. We took turns answering "Yes, I believe Jesus Christ is the son of God. He then asked if we can promise to stay with the church until we die. Again we answered "yes." The next question was if we promised to help keep the church the way it is supposed to be by helping vote, work, and discipline. Again we each answered with a yes.
He then asked the rest of the church to stand while he read a long prayer from the little black prayer book. My legs were beginning to fall asleep from kneeling so long and my knees were creaking. Finally he got to the end of his prayer and everyone sat down. The bishop's wife came and removed my covering while the bishop cupped his hands above my head and one of the ministers brought a cup of water and poured three small trickles of water into his hand as the bishop said I now baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and smoothed his hands over my head. I waited expectantly for this great feeling of cleansing that Mom and Daddy and the preachers had talked about but other than my slightly damp hair I felt exactly as I had before.
I felt disappointed and wondered what was wrong with me that I didn't feel anything different as the bishops wife replaced my covering, gave me a holy kiss and presented me to the rest of the church as a new member. As I sat down the bishop said that he always has to think. What nicer time to die than right now when all your sins are forgiven." I squirmed uncomfortably in my seat knowing that I didn't feel a bit more ready to die than I ever had.
After church was over all my uncles and aunts gathered for dinner in honor of the important milestone in my life. Most of them gave words of encouragement about the important journey I embarked on as a child of God. A few added that it was very comforting to know that even if I happen to do something I shouldn't after I'm baptized that communion is a sort of renewing. I was so relieved to hear that and hoped that sometime I would start feeling as if I truly was a child of God because though I knew I was considered to be one now I still didn't feel different.