Thursday, January 28, 2010
Baptism Preview Fireside Part 2
I thought I would give you an idea of what we talk about during the Baptism Preview. The first talk is on the Faith in God program. When I prepare for this talk I usually review the Ensign article introducing the program by the Primary General Board. Here is a link to the article called: “Fostering Faith in God,” Ensign, Jul 2003.
We also read the first 2 pages of the book. The first page says:
I AM A CHILD OF GOD
I know Heavenly Father loves me, and I love Him.
I can pray to Heavenly Father anytime, anywhere
I am trying to remember and follow Jesus Christ.
We have the children memorize this and during each Activity Day or Cub Scout meeting the children say this together (like the Y/W theme). It's just a way that our ward keeps the Faith in God program the front and center theme/thought of the meeting.
I always like to read the letter from The First Presidency and inserting each child's name "Dear ------". I feel it is a great way to let them know how much Heavenly knows and loves them. I also hope it encourages them to do the best they can to develop their "Faith in God".
Next..... on to the talk on Baptism/Holy Ghost. As I've said before we start out the year with the 2 lessons from the book on Baptism and receiving the Holy Ghost. I really don't want to have these lessons all over again, so my main focus is on the baptism day and the sacred covenant that they make.
This is my guideline for the talk. I don't read it - I just talk about these points. When I was Primary President, I also used this format to do the Baptism interview in their home prior to their own baptism.
I tell the children that they are now old enough to know right from wrong. Heavenly Father has told us that at age 8 you can now become a member of the church. I also had a copy of our Primary class binder and told the parents about how we teach the class. And how important it is that they come with their binders and scriptures to the class each week. I wanted to give a sense that things are changing, that they are no longer little children - that they are here to learn more about the gospel and become member of the church. I want them to feel like they are grown up now.
I have them say the 4th Article of Faith with me:
We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, second, Repentance. (these are the first principles)
third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. (first ordinances)
I explain that these are the first 2 ordinances for our pathway back to live with Heavenly Father. I emphasize that there are TWO ordinances. Sometimes I think they only focus on the ordinance of baptism. But the laying on of hands is very important too and a separate ordinance.
Then I go over these questions with them.
What do I wear to the baptism service? Sunday clothes and then they will give you your white jumpsuit.
What do I need to have with me? A towel, a comb, dry underwear ( I also remind them that they need white underwear to wear during the baptism), white baptism clothes (sometimes they have a white dress the girls use for the 3 white dresses), your recommend/certificate from the Bishop (Our bishopric member brings this with them)
Who may come to see me be baptized? Mom and Dad, Brothers and Sisters, Grandmas and Grandpas, Aunts, Uncles, Friends, Teachers, Anyone!
Can I hold my nose when I go under the Water? Yes. The person baptizing you will show you how. Then I ask a father and child to come up and show by example how you hold your hands etc. (I ask before the meeting if they will show the example).
What happens if some of my hair or one of my toes doesn't go all the way under the water? You will be immersed (put under the water) a second time. I explain that they need two Priesthood holders to act as witnesses to make sure you are completely under the water.
What promise or covenant do I make with Heavenly Father when I am baptized? I show them this page out of the memory book. I ask them if they know what a covenant is. It is a two way promise that you make with Heavenly Father. You promise something and Heavenly Father promises something.
You promise that from now on you will choose the right and obey all of his commandments. You will take upon yourself the name of Christ (that is, to become one of his followers), and always remember to do what he has taught us to do.
Heavenly Father Promises me that He will forgive my sins if I repent. His spirit, the Holy Ghost will always be with you. This will help you do what is right so that you can always be happy. If you do this, you can return and live with him again.
I go over some commandments we promise to keep. I find pictures from the gospel art kit and lesson kits to find visual aids (I am a very visual person and like to use pictures). The commandments I tell them are:
Study the Scriptures
Follow the teaching of the living Prophet
Remember the Savior
Teat Others Kindly
Then I talk about What does it mean to be baptized by "immersion"? This means that your whole body is put completely under the water and then brought back up out of the water. Being under the water is a likeness of Jesus' death and burial. Being brought up out of the water is a likeness of Jesus' resurrection and to a new life, and a likeness of your being born to a new, clean life of righteousness.
Why must I be baptized and confirmed only by a man who holds the priesthood? A man who holds the priesthood has some of the same powers on earth that Heavenly Father and his son Jesus have. Jesus says that if a man is a Priest in the Aaronic Priesthood, or holds the Melchizedek Priesthood, he has the right or authority to baptize people in Jesus' name. A man who holds the Melchizedek Priesthood has the right to confirm people members of the Church of Jesus Christ. If a man doesn't hold the priesthood, he doesn't have the right to do these special things for Heavenly Father and Jesus.
How shall I remember the promises I make at baptism? By reverently partaking of the sacrament each Sunday, and by listening to the prayers offered over the bread and water. If you listen to the prayers our baptismal covenant is in the prayers. This helps you remember and renew your baptismal covenant each time you take the sacrament - so you will never forget - even when you are as old as Sister Murray.
Then I ask if they have any questions about being baptized. I also challenge them to pray to Heavenly Father before they are baptized and ask if this is the right thing to do and if the church is true. Then I bear my testimony.
Then the Bishopric member (usually the counselor over Primary) goes over their interview with the bishop to get their recommend to be baptized. He goes over the questions. Then we open the baptismal font, show them where they get their jumpsuit. Then we let the children walk down into the font and back out the other side. Our building has a font in it (it's not our stake center but built as a new stake center). If we didn't have the font in our building I would have held the preview at the stake center. I think it's important to show them the font. This is their favorite part.
I hope this gives you a little bit more of what we do during our Baptism Preview Fireside. If you have any questions please let me know.