|Happy 8th birthday to my beloved granddaughter Emma.|
I’m so excited that you are turning eight years old this year because that means that you are old enough to choose to be baptized. I’m so happy you have made that choice.
I remember when I was baptized. I was baptized on my eight-year-old birthday on a Saturday night in a little white church across the street from my house in Union, Utah. My congregation had all the children being baptized sit on small wooden chairs and talked to us for a while. I don’t remember what they said, but I do remember what I felt.
I felt excited and a little scared before I was baptized. When I was baptized, the water was warm and I felt clean. After I was baptized and put my dry clothes back on, I walked out of the church into the cold January winter air. I remember looking up and seeing lacy white flakes of snow falling all around me. Even though it was cold outside, I felt warm inside. I knew God loved me and was pleased I wanted to come home to heaven someday.
I also knew that Jesus was my best friend and that if I tried to live like Him that I would be happy. When I was your age, they waited until Sunday to confirm me at church and give me the gift of the Holy Ghost. I felt protected when the men with the priesthood made a circle around me and put their hands on my head as my father confirmed me.
What I didn't know was that the man I was going to marry someday was being baptized on the very same day, January 6th (my birthday) in a little town called Spanish Fork, Utah. He was a little scared and excited too. Because we both wanted to be like Jesus, we found each other many years later. We recognized that we had the same dreams and plans for life.
When he returned from him mission to Samoa, we were married in the SLC temple. We made special promises to God. We were sealed for eternity. Pretty soon your dad was born. Then he grew up and married your mommy in the temple and then pretty soon, you were born.
Being baptized was the beginning of everything wonderful in my life. Being baptized is such a special time because we are able to participate in our first saving ordinance and make our Heavenly Father our first official promise. You are a daughter of God, Emma, and your Heavenly parents love you very much. They want you to be happy so they have made a plan of happiness for you to follow so you can return to them someday.
Up until now, you have been a child who is learning, growing and maturing. You have made some mistakes; everybody makes mistakes. That is how we learn and grow. Now that you are eight, God thinks you are wise enough to know the difference between right and wrong choices. Heavenly Father knows that some of the choices we make will not be wise. Because He loves us, He wants us to know how to change so we will not be trapped by our mistakes and bad choices. So He invites us to make a promise to Him and then He makes a promise right back to us. When we make a special promise to God and He makes one right back to us, it is called a covenant. Heavenly Father never breaks a promise.
The promise you make to God is that you will remember Jesus, follow Him and keep His commandments. Heavenly Father promises you that He will forgive you if you make a mistake or do something that you know is wrong if you feel sorry and repent. He also promises you eternal life. He also gives you the gift of the Holy Ghost to help, guide, protect, warn and comfort you.
When you choose to be baptized you tell Heavenly Father that:
*You want to be a follower of Jesus Christ
*You will serve your fellowmen
*You will stand as a witness of God all the time
*You will obey the commandments of God
God promises you that:
*You are accepted as a member of Christ’s church
*You can be forgiven of your sin if you repent
*You can have the gift of the Holy Ghost
*You can live in the kingdom of God
Everybody makes mistakes after they are baptized so Heavenly Father gave us the sacrament every week on Sunday. That is when we remember the covenant we made when we were baptized. We think about our week and decide how to be better during the coming week. We think about our Savior Jesus Christ and how He atoned for all our sins, pains, disappointment and grief. We also think about Christ’s resurrection and that we can be resurrected too someday.
I hope you will write about how you feel in your journal when you are baptized. Never forget that you are a child of God and that you can inherit the eternal life God has planned for you. And never forget that your grandma loves you with all her heart.