My baptism date had been set for next week & I had been looking forward to it very much. I have been seeing the missionaries regularly, attending services & starting to make friends there. However, it turns out that I had been assigned to the wrong ward (through no one’s fault within the ward). It feels like I’ve been ‘kicked out’ of one church only to have to start all over again with new people & new missionairies in another. I don’t feel that I can go through with baptism as planned as I strongly believe that you don’t just sign up to a set of principles, you are joining a group of people, and I’m back to square one on that front. It might be difficult for people that have always been in the church to appreciate, but starting from scratch in a new environmnent is a monumentally big thing (something which many people won’t contemplate) & it’s also disruptive to my kids who I’d started to get involved in the church. I’m wondering if I should take it as a sign from God that I shouldn’t join? I had asked that if it wasn’t his plan for me, to make it really clear to me. I have a lot more praying & discerning to do, but any thoughts or wise advice would be very gratefully appreciated. Many thanks.

Js from Northumberland, UK,



6 Responses to “My baptism date had been set for next week & I had been look…”


El Santo Gringo
February 27, 2012

Hi Js. I’m sorry to hear that you ran into this road block. Members of the church usually go to the ward or branch to which their neighborhood is assigned so the local leadership can better care for their spiritual needs. The truth is that there are friendly people in just about any Mormon congregation that can help you make the important spiritual transition to your new life as a member of Christ’s restored church.

However, if you feel strongly about staying in your current ward, I encourage you to speak candidly with the bishop. If this issue is going to jeopardize your spiritual growth as a new member of the church, I think it’s likely an exception could be made in your case.

Though God often communications with us through the subtle and metaphorical “still, small voice,” His message to us is usually not ambiguous. If God didn’t want you to join the church, He’d communicate with you directly through your heart and/or your mind. He wouldn’t communicate with you through some obtuse “sign” that is difficult to interpret, especially when that “sign” clearly amounts to nothing more than a simple clerical error.

If you haven’t yet done so, I encourage you to seek that direct communication with God. Study the gospel by reading about it, discussing it with others, and learning about it in Church; once you’ve studied, ask God through prayer if you should join the Church. Pay attention to your thoughts and feelings. It’s through these that God will send His message. If the answer doesn’t come immediately, keep studying and praying. In time, God will answer your prayer. This is the sure way to know God’s will. It’s much better than trying to interpret a supposed sign.

I hope this answer helps. It’s wonderful that you’re thinking about joining the Church. I’ll pray for you.

Anonymous
February 26, 2012

Js, I joined the Church right before my 19th birthday. I was single and was introduced to the Church through a friend of a friend who was also investigating the Church at the time. I lived on the Illinois side of St. Louis, Missouri and began going to Church with my new friend on the Missouri side of St. Louis. When I started taking the discussions from the missionaries, I was attending a Missouri ward. However, when I got baptized, I was baptized into a Single Adult ward on the Illinois side of St. Louis. To make matters even more interesting, two months after I was baptized, I went back to college up in Wisconsin, where I began to attend the Ward there as well. Ultimately, through the different wards that I attended up until my baptism and even after my baptism, I began making many different friends. But I asked myself, why was it so easy to make so many friends so quickly? It was because we all believed the same thing, and I had acquired a whole new set of principles by which I was living, and those new friends were living the same principles. Now that I am married and have children, I am in the military. We have moved several different times and have been a part of several different wards. Even though it is difficult each time we have to move to leave our friends behind, we get excited to meet the new people that we will have in the wards we move into. We are excited because we know no matter where we move, we will find the same Church with people who are striving to live the same principles and teachings in their lives. No matter where you go, although the people are different, the Church is run the same and teaches exactly the same thing as where you were before. It is truly awesome. No more are you basing the church off of who is preaching a sermon. You are going because you know that the Church is the true Church of Jesus Christ, the one Christ established and set up in these latter days.

Sometimes the Lord gives us a path that at first may appear to be a challenge, but in reality is a blessing. Perhaps, the Lord is teaching you the lesson that you need to be baptized because you know that the Gospel is true, rather than you are going to Church to have a certain set of friends. Besides, no one says that you cannot hang out with the new friends that you made in the ward which you were previously attending. I continue to keep in contact with all of the many friends I have made in all the wards I have attended. When you are baptized into the Church, you will be considered part of a huge family. And you will find that you will have an LDS family with open arms no matter where you go. I know this is the true Church of Jesus Christ. I know that God the Father and Jesus Christ spoke to Joseph Smith and that Christ restored this Church to the earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith. I know that the Book of Mormon is another Testament of Jesus Christ and that it is the word of God. I know these things, because the Holy Ghost has told me in my heart and my mind that they are true. Trust in the Lord, and He will lead you where you are supposed to be.

Peter
February 26, 2012

Dear Js. I am happy that you have made new friends in the ward your were introduce the gospel. My wife had a similar experience when she joined the church. It took a lot of courage for her to go to an unfamiliar ward. Someone told her that “you don’t join the Church because of the people. You join because you know it’s true.” She has held to that ever since. It has been a strength to her. Not long after getting used to her new ward she accepted a job in northern Manitoba. Far from her family and friends she soon found that the Church is the same there. The people were as friendly and welcoming.

She also learned that some people say things without thinking. One person hurt her deeply and she thought about never going back. She remembered her friend’s council and forgave the offense.

She has been a strength to me and our children. We have all been offended and offenders. Repentance is a wonderful principal.

The Lord will bless you.

Anonymous
February 26, 2012

I have been a member all my life, well since I was baptized at the age of 8. I have now been put into three different wards in the last year, so I think I can appreciate where you are comming from.

At first, I was in a ward where I was not in the geographical area for. There was a stake being formed and I was put into the ward for which I lived. I knew that this happened for a reason, and so I went to my new congregation.

Less than a year later, my ward and one next to it were being reformed. One ward had too many members in it for the members to serve each other, and the one I am in now didn’t have enough members to serve in the places that were needed. I had made many friends in both of my previous wards, and I didn’t want to go to a new one where I didn’t know anyone.

I just know that this is where Heavenly Father wants me to be. I know it’s hard, but I can tell you, from personal experience, that my life is better than it was before because of this happening.

In my first ward, I had people that I only saw at church. Then I found friends, in my new one, and other people that cared for me. Now I am going on faith that I am now where I am supposed to be, and that I will be blessed because of it.

I urge you to pray and have faith in what is happening. You will be blessed because of it. Jamie

Anonymous
February 25, 2012
Jesus Christ was Himself baptized in the Jordan river to provide an example for each of us. (Reflections of Christ)

Hi Js! It’s great you are looking at the LDS church, I have been too. My baptism is coming up & I’ve also had to switch wards & missionaries, so I think I see your dilemma. Can you ask the bishops if you can stay in your old one?

When out of town for the weekend I’ve attended many different branches & wards, & while I haven’t had immediate lasting friends from those brief visits, I got the sense this Church is the same Church no matter where you go in the world. Thats really cool!

No one can stand in for your personal revelation, if you are resoundingly sure this is God saying “Never!” then there is little anyone can tell you. When I was in your shoes (my baptism has been delayed many times & I’ve had to think this one through before) I studied it out & found, for me, it was important mine was not a “social conversion,” where someone joins just because their friends are in it, a girl likes a guy, etc.

It is important to Heavenly Father we not only make the right choices, but for the right reasons. The Church is a lot more than doctrines, but we should never lose sight of the fundamental: follow Christ (which means following His doctrines).

The exact day of your baptism doesn’t really matter, what is important is that it happens. Mention your concerns to your bishop (new or old). I am sure you will make good friends, even if it takes a bit. What I would do is go ahead with baptism this week, continue making friends, & don’t forget your friends in your old ward either. Best!

El Santo Gringo: One investigator helping another. So cool. Thanks for your great answer, Anonymous!

Matt
February 25, 2012

I’m sorry to hear about this difficult change. It’s never easy to be separated from people you’ve grown to love and have no doubt been an inspiration to you as you became acquainted with the Gospel. Perhaps, though, the Lord is sending you a sign that He has something special in mind for you, that maybe there is someone in this new ward that needs a friend or help from you–even like those who reached out to you and your family in your current ward.

I think your idea is perfect to pray and discern the feelings from the Spirit – I’ve found in my life that prayerfully pondering opens the door for the Lord to show us His will for us. I think reading from the Book of Mormon will also help you as you strive to be in tune with the Spirit. One of my favorite passages about baptism in the Book of Mormon is Mosiah chapter 18, verses 8 through 13.

I sincerely wish you the best as you seek divine guidance! My wife and I will keep you and your family in our prayers.

Matt

P. S. One thing I’ve noticed about the Church is that though it is hard to leave one ward for another, we are always welcomed and meet wonderful people. My wife and I just moved a few weeks ago actually. One of my favorite things about the Church is that you have family wherever you go. :)

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