This article is one in a series of stories about Lauren’s conversion. To read the others, click here.
After the last testimony meeting, I realized I believed in the Church. I knew I wanted to become a member, but I was scared to commit myself to a baptism date because it made everything feel so final. It meant I would have to tell my family and friends, and to me, it meant I wouldn’t be able to change my mind.
What would getting baptized mean? How would it change the way others viewed me?
I remember opening up to my best friend about my fears during a road trip to Salt Lake City for the Fourth of July. She listened to me intently, nodding as cactuses and red canyons zoomed past our car windows. After I had finished dishing out my worries, my friend opened up The Book of Mormon and read out loud this passage from Mosiah:
“And now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens that they may be light;
Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—
Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?” (Mosiah 18:8-10)
Did I want to serve God and His kingdom? Absolutely. Did I want to bear the burdens of others and comfort those in need of comfort? Of course. Did I want to stand as a witness of the Lord in all things? Always. Did I want an increase of His Spirit? I don’t think I could say yes faster!
The answers to all of these questions were inherent: I knew Christ existed, I believed in the Lord’s kingdom, and I wanted to serve my Heavenly Father and His people. As I answered each of these questions I had to ask myself, What do I have against being baptized in the name of the Lord? I was making the answer to this question more complicated than it needed to be. I had a testimony in Christ, my Heavenly Father, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. All I needed were the pure intents of my heart, and everything else would fall into place. The answer to the question “Should I get baptized?” suddenly became simple after reading the beautiful scriptures found in Mosiah.
What are the intents of our hearts? Are they to serve Christ and His kingdom? If so, there should be nothing stopping us from committing to Him through baptism.
I encourage anyone who is wondering whether they should join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to read Mosiah 18. If you find yourself answering yes to the questions Mosiah asks, the path to becoming a member is clear. The scriptures found in that chapter outline the most basic, purest beliefs of this church. These beliefs pump into all the other facets of the Latter-day Saint Church that may seem complicated, difficult to understand, and/or different from other branches of Christianity. These beliefs are at the heart of the priesthood, Relief Society, and bishoprics. It’s beating in the wards, stakes, and the apostles and prophets. It’s interlaced with the activities our churches hold, in the conferences held, and the talks given during sacrament meetings.
At the end of the day, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints wants to serve Christ, Heavenly Father, and the people of this world. Having a testimony in these beliefs is enough to become a member of Christ’s church.
As we commit ourselves to Him, we gain an abundance of His Spirit poured through us. I can personally testify that through baptism, I have been able to receive an increase of the Spirit guiding me every day. This Spirit has blessed me by helping me make righteous decisions and in bearing the knowledge that I am never alone or unloved.
I remember sitting in that car listening to my best friend read Mosiah 18 and knowing with a sudden surety that baptism was the right decision. I looked over at her and smiled against the red canyon skyline flying past.
“Let’s set a date for August 5th.”
As a homegrown Portlandian feminist, Lauren Mckinnon sometimes wondered how she fit in as a new member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — but through her testimony and everyday experience, she realized that no matter how different we may feel, we all belong in Jesus’ flock.