Saturday, August 23, 2008


(Baptized in June 2008 in Utah, USA)

WSB II wanted to be baptized on his birthday. He also wanted to be baptized in Lake Mary, in Brighton, Utah, which was named by his namesake. It's an alpine lake, but with a birthday in June, we thought it should be doable.

So we gathered the family and made the hike.

Lake Mary 6/15/08.
The ice on the lake was two feet thick, and this little bit at the edge was the only unfrozen part

W contemplates

Opening remarks from dad

Dad and Uncle J make plans--Dad will climb in and J will lift W out to him to reduce W's time in the freezing water.

W is too cold

We remind him that Jesus was baptized outside in a river.
Alma and Joseph Smith were baptized outside.
We tell him this is the coolest baptism ever.
Mom points out that WSB I was baptized outside in Scotland in February, and that was surely colder than Utah in June!

Second (and third) tries: Dad freezes, W won't go in past his toes
So we go home

The not-freezing alternative: Aunt S's hot tub back home

Little brother looks on
(and tests out the water for himself...hmm, 99 vs 39 degrees)

A freshly baptized (and much happier) W

Baptism can happen anywhere, so long as the right authority is present.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Uncle RKP

(verbatim from uncle RKP, baptized in 1992 in Indiana, USA)

What I remember the best from my baptism is the talk that my Grandpa gave about the Holy Ghost. He held up a sign that said something like, "The gift of the Holy Ghost - $1,000", and he emphasized the fact that the Holy Ghost cannot be purchased and is priceless.

We have to be baptized and worthy and then we can have the priceless gift of the Holy Ghost.

Aunt KBP

(verbatim from Aunt KBP, baptized February 2, 1991, Sumner Washington, USA)

When we got to the church building someone had already filled the font. I snuck in and down the stairs and felt the water with my finger. I thought it felt freezing, but I thought “what do I know? I’m just a kid” so I didn’t say anything. There were three other kids getting baptized the same night as I—two girls and a boy. A few minutes after I had tested the water, the boy’s mom also went down and felt the water. “It’s freezing!” she exclaimed to the other moms in the bathroom. I guess I was right. But it was too late to drain it and start again!

Mommy made a beautiful baptism dress for me, but I didn’t wear it until after I got baptized. I chose to wear all of my own clothing to get baptized: my own white t-shirt, my own white pants, and, of course, white underwear. The other girls wore white dresses, and when they got in the water their dresses floated up and they had to be re-baptized to be fully immersed. When I got baptized I tucked my braid in my t-shirt and I only had to get dunked one time in the freezing water!

Felipe (in Brazil)

Felipe (baptized August 22, 2004, Sao Paulo, Brazil--from the journal of the sister missionary who taught him)

The baptism was scheduled for right after the church meetings, so we started the font before our meeting in the morning. We checked it before Relief Society (and it was filling fine) and then in the middle of Relief Society we went to turn it off. We arrived in the hallway to find a few people saying “oh my! Look! There’s water in the hall and filling the bathroom! Where are the Sisters?!” Whatever happened to trying to fix the problem, folks?!

We arrived on the scene and started action. Sister B turned off the font (nope, they hadn’t done that) and I got some buckets and squeegees and rags. I started emptying the font with buckets into the bathroom sinks, and Sister B started mopping the floor. Nobody helped us, they just watched and made comments like how dangerous it is to leave the door to the font open because a child could fall in and drown. [Omitted here are a few choice comments about Brazilian culture.] We got frustrated, but we cleaned the bathroom and everything, and the rest of the church meetings went well. Then Felipe was baptized, and that is what was most important.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

4th Great Grandfather WSB

(4th Great Grandfather William Stewart/Stuart Brighton--baptized at age 14, in 1844 in Scotland)

From his journal:

"It was at a place called Meadhead that I first heard the name Latter-day Saints, but I learned nothing of the doctrine of the Church until I moved from that place to Airdrie where I went to work in Gartlee.
"I had been in Airdrie some time when I heard a conversation between two men at my work concerning religion. One was a Latter-day Saint, and thus, I became acquainted with Peter Moffet. He invited me to come to a meeting, which I did, and I heard him preach on the first principles. I believed his testimony that angels had visited the earth again. When I returned home I told my father what Brother Moffet had said, referring him to some passages of scripture. A few days later my father was baptized. I was unwell that night, but it was only a short time later, in February 1844, that I was baptized by Brother Peter Moffet. [William was 14 years old at the time of his baptism. He was confirmed 20 February 1844.]
"I was rebaptized on the 16th of January 1849 in Holytown by my father (a common practice in the early Church) and confirmed on the 21st by William Livingston, President of the Branch of the Church there. I subscribed 5 shillings to help clear a sum of debt owed by the Branch at the time I joined the Church."

That is the end of William's baptism story, but because of his being baptized, the rest of his life took a different path than it otherwise would have, so I am including a few more entries from his journal over the next years...
He was married in December 1850 to Catherine Bow, and a year later their daughter Mary was born.
In late 1854 they set sail to emigrate to the United States. They sailed from Glasgow to Liverpool, where they had to wait around for over two weeks for the weather. Once they finally left Liverpool many of the passengers were sick. William was sick for 7 days, his wife was sick for longer.

"At 1 o'clock on the 31st [of December] my child Mary [age 2years and 2weeks] departed this life and Brother Gibson's child, Elizabeth, died at 11 o'clock on the 29th. Both of the children were sewed up in a bag and let into the sea at 2 o'clock--a very little time after they died. I may say that no one could know my feelings upon that occasion except a father. When I looked on the little ones laid side by side and then sewed up in a bag to be put into the heart was pained to see them thrown in the sea, though I look forward to the day when the sea will give up its dead.
"My wife was very bad at the time and continued very bad and weak for the want of food. I went to the Captain and asked if he would sell a little food for a sick person and he said, "Why the Devil sir, I have no food for any one." So I came away from him a little sorrowful on account of the weakness of my wife...but she has got over it and is not getting strong again and my daughter Jennet is now very well and I recognize in the goodness of the Lord to me and family while there has been a great deal of death on board the ship, and in my estimation a great deal of unbecoming conduct with a number of the people."

Once the arrived in New Orleans, William worked for a few years to earn money to take his family out to Salt Lake City.

"I started to go to Salt Lake on the 25th of May 1857. I and my family got on board a steamboat by the name of Edinburgh. We had a very unpleasant passage. We stuck several times on sand bars, and we had a bad set of deck hands.
"While we were stuck on a sand bar I was engaged to help unload the boat. The mate brought plenty of whiskey which the men partook of freely and which soon made them drunk. After we commenced to unload the boat, they began to impose on me by placing too much of a load on my shoulder, which I refused to take, but they still persisted. I then went to the mate and told him that I was going to stop for I would not kill myself for to please a set of drunk men, which some of the men heard, and as I went back one of them came at me with a club and struck me on the shoulders and then on the arm and lamed me right off. My arm was broken. During the night I thought if there was a devil that it was on board a steam boat with a drunk crew, for they were as mean a set of men as the Devil could let come from his domain.
"When I got to Florence I thought I was delivered from Hell and the Devil. I with my family did praise the Lord for our deliverance. I remained in Florence a few days waiting for the saints coming from Iowa. I started from Florence on the 27th June 1857 to pull a hand cart a thousand miles with my wife and two children. I got along pretty well on the plains though it was with hard pulling but thanks be to the Lord who gave me strength to overcome it all and with my family and my sister, Ann, landed safe in Great Salt Lake City on the 11 September 1857 after traveling 12 weeks."

Friday, March 14, 2008

4th Great Grandfather WMB "I found the gold I was looking for"

(4th great grandfather William Morley Black, baptized in 1849 in Salt Lake Utah USA)

William Morley Black, at age 22, caught gold fever to the degree that he resigned from being sheriff of Cuba, Illinois, and in the spring of 1849 and went west to get rich. He traveled with a joint stock company, meaning that each man signed over all his things to the company--if a man left the group, he would forfeit (lose) everything he had put in--money, animals, or goods.
William entered the Salt Lake Valley on 24 July, 1849, two years to the day after the first group of Saints had entered the Valley. There to his surprise he found a well organized city, and the people gathered for a Pioneer Day celebration.

From his journal:

"At first I thought we had lost our reckoning and that this was the Sabbath day, but this could not be as the Mormons were an unchristian lawless sect and doubtless paid no heed to the Sabbath."
He further notes that he ate dinner with a friendly Mormon family and was influenced by the blessing on the food.
"This was the first time in my life that I had heard a blessing asked on our daily food and this prayer fell from the lips of an uncultured Mormon.
"Toward evening I met another Mormon, a Mr. William Wordsworth . . . To my surprise Mr. Wordsworth invited us to attend their church services the next day. I accepted the invitation and he promised to call for me. Sunday, July 25, 1849 is the day ever to be remembered by me. Mr. Wordsworth called early and after chatting ten or fifteen minutes with members of our company and again extending an invitation to us all to attend their church, he and I walked to the bowery. We secured seats near the front of the congregation. On the west was a raised platform of lumber on which were seated some twenty of their leading Elders, including Brigham Young. Under the shade of the bowery seated on neatly made slab benches were the choir and congregation. Services opened with singing and prayer, and the sacrament (bread and water) of the Lord's supper was blessed and passed to all the people. Then a man of noble, princely bearing addressed the meeting. As he arose Mr. Wordsworth said, 'That is Apostle John Taylor, one of the two men who were with our Prophet and Patriarch when they were martyred in Carthage jail.' The word 'Apostle' thrilled me, and the sermon, powerful, and testimony that followed filled my soul with a joy and satisfaction that I never felt before, and I said to Mr. W., "'If that is Mormonism then I am a Mormon. How can I become a member of your church?'
"'By baptism,' he answered.
"'I am ready for the ordinance.'
"He replied 'Do not be in a hurry. Stay here and get acquainted with our people. Study more fully the principles of the gospel. Then if you wish to cast your lot with us it will be a pleasure to me to baptize you.' That night I slept but little, I was too happy to sleep. A revelation had come to me and its light filled my soul. My desire for gold was swept away. I had found the Pearl of Great Price, and I resolved to purchase it, let it cost what it would.
"After a few days rest the company pushed on for California, but another man drove my team. I gave them my all, and in exchange received Baptism at the hands of Levi Jackman. I had lost the world and become a Mormon. 'He that putteth his hand to the plow and turneth back, is not worthy of me.'"

William had a wife and two children back home in Illinois. Eventually they came out to Utah with him, but did not join the church. Over time, William was plurally married to a total of 5 wives, of which we are decended from the second. He moved a dozen times over the subsequent years, building gristmills in many developing towns and helping them get up and running before moving to the next place. He is buried in Blanding, Utah.

Years later, William would record in his journal
"I found the gold I was looking for"
That phrase is carved on his tombstone.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Grandma AJM

(verbatim from Grandma AJM--baptized in 1946 in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA)

When I was baptized, none of our church buildings had a baptismal font. On a Saturday morning a few months after my eighth birthday, we went to temple square. In the basement of the tabernacle there was a baptismal font and children came from all over the valley to be baptized there. The first time my father baptized me, my foot flew up and my toe came out of the water. I was afraid of going under the water but the second time everything went all right and I was totally immersed and became a member of the Church.

I hope your baptism day is special for you.