Month: February 2011

The Baptism and Confirmation

Well folks, I was baptized around 11:30 am on 2/19/11!  This really was a memorable day for so many reasons.

Being the procrastinator that I am, I was about 10 minutes late to the service.  Traffic was somewhat bad getting into NYC, which was a little weird for early Saturday morning.  Elder Hermosa called me around 10:50am to see where I was, and I told him that I just wanted to scare them into thinking I wasn’t coming.

When I finally got there, I was pretty surprised at the number of people from the ward that were there.  I expected maybe 10 people or so, but perhaps around 35 people showed up.  I changed into the dreaded jumpsuit, and the service began with a prayer, hymn, and a talk by the Elder’s Quorum President.  The bishop conducted the service.  After the EQ President spoke, I went into the baptismal font with Elder Hermosa.  I then heard the words that I’ve been waiting to hear for some time-“Jason Johnson, having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.  Amen”.  After I was immersed, I felt SO happy and peaceful.  But then I had a dilemma…

The jumpsuit was of course soaked, and so were my underclothes.  I didn’t bring any extra, nor was there a towel to dry off.  I did what I could, but unfortunately, when I put my regular clothes back on, my pants became visibly wet.  I could hear the pianist playing music, perhaps waiting for me to come back out, but I didn’t know what to do.  Finally, I just thought “whatever”, and walked out from the changing room laughing.  Everyone was pretty good about it.

The service concluded with another talk by a ward missionary, the bishop speaking, and the EQ President welcoming me to the ward and the EQ (since this is a YSA ward, there aren’t any other priesthood quorums, so I will be a member of the EQ).  I then gave my testimony, and said the closing prayer.

Although I had to work for the rest of the day, I felt completely different after the baptism.  I kept smiling at random moments, picturing the baptism, thinking about it, etc.  I know that I made a special covenant with God today, and took the name of Jesus Christ upon myself, covenanting to follow Him and His example.  I know that this is the Lord’s Church, with Jesus Christ at its head, and that I made this decision only after receiving a confirming witness from the Holy Ghost.  Although I was pretty knowledgeable of the restored Gospel before meeting with Elders Hermosa and Lima, I thank them for helping me along the way, encouraging me to read scripture and pray to God to know whether the things we discussed and I read are true.

The next day, Sunday 2/20/11, I received the Holy Ghost and was confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I was originally supposed to be confirmed on 2/27/11, since the YSA ward I attend was not meeting on the 20th because there was a YSA conference that weekend and there would be a combined Sacrament Meeting at another ward, however the missionaries let me know that it was actually decided that I would be confirmed at the family ward on the 20th.

The bishop announced that I was baptized the day before and called me forward to receive the ordinance.  The missionaries, my bishop, his second counselor, and the family ward bishop surrounded me and laid hands on me.  Elder Lima then said the words of the ordinance.  It was so simple and beautiful, just like how the Biblical ordinance of receiving the Holy Ghost was (by the laying on of hands).  I almost felt like crying because I have waited so long to hear the words that I am confirmed a member of the Lord’s Church.

Being an LDS critic in the past, I know I am prepared for the various “issues” that LDS critics may bring up, since I used to do the same.  I know that throughout all of my criticisms, God was guiding me towards His Church.  As I mentioned in my testimony after my baptism, this was not an easy decision for me to make, coming from a very active Catholic background.  However it is because of that confirming witness of the Holy Ghost that I made that decision, in addition to all of the research and Biblical study that I did, much of it coming from a critic perspective.  I know that there are apostles and prophets on this earth today, just like there were in the ancient Church (Ephesians 2:20, Ephesians 4:11-12).  I know that Jesus Christ is at the head of this Church.  I know that the gospel has indeed been restored, as predicted in the Bible (Revelation 14:6).  The Book of Mormon is scripture, and there are multiple evidences for its authenticity, despite what critics may claim.   The priesthood of God has indeed been restored on the earth, and truly has the power, through Jesus Christ, to bless, heal, comfort, provide saving ordinances, and bring together people in Christ.

I know that this is only the beginning of my eternal journey to live with God and become like Him, through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

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Baptism Tomorrow

Well it has been awhile since I’ve posted.  I’ve been meeting with the missionaries from the LDS Church for the past two weeks, and I will be baptized tomorrow morning at 11am.  I must say that it has been a very long journey towards this point, beginning with receiving my first Book of Mormon in 2002, being an LDS critics for a number of years, and after much research (both pro and critical sources) and prayer, I have received a witness of the Holy Ghost that this is the path to take.

The missionaries that I met with, Elder Hermosa and Elder Lima, have been great.  They were pretty surprised when we first met at how much I knew, and asked me if I would like to be baptized during our first meeting.  I knew that I was ready since I only decided to contact the missionaries when I felt that it was really time to move forward.  Elder Lima if from Brazil, and although he has only been in this country for almost two months, his grasp of English is very good.  Elder Hermosa is from Canada, and he’s been awesome.  He will be the one to baptize me.

Although there is much that I love about Catholicism and much that I will miss (though nothing necessarily doctrine-related), I know that this is where God is leading me.  This of course is even more difficult coming from a very active Catholic background (something that Catholic apologists many times look into.  They frequently say that those that leave the faith must have been poorly catechized, didn’t understand, etc.  I know this because I used to say the same thing!  However it is not specific to Catholicism.  I’d venture to say that most members of a faith say the same thing about those that leave that faith).

One thing I do know is that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints really is the Lord’s church.  I have a very strong testimony of this, that Jesus Christ is at the head of this Church, based not only on a confirming witness of the Holy Ghost, but through extensive scriptural and historical study.  I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored, and that the gates of hades have not prevailed (just like how they did not prevail when Jesus died).  I know that there are apostles and prophets on the earth today, just like there were anciently.  I know that by accepting the restored Gospel through faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end, we can receive eternal life, through the atonement of Jesus Christ. I thank God for meeting with the Lord’s ministers, Elders Hermosa and Lima.  I know that tomorrow, I will receive baptism of repentance from those that hold authority from God, and will begin my eternal journey towards living with the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost for eternity, and becoming like God, as He promises in the Bible.