Saturday, April 8, 2000, was a wonderful and exciting day for three young children. It was the day they were baptized and entered into a covenant with the Lord to remember him, take upon them his name, and keep his commandments. In turn, they became children of Christ, spiritually begotten and heirs to heavenly blessings.
At 9:30 am, early on a Saturday morning, the chapel in Lindon, Utah, was full, as several families were there to participate with their children. My attention was fixated upon a beautiful young girl named Ashli Hart, who was one of seven being baptized that morning. This sweet little strawberry blond girl is my niece, and the proud uncle buttons were just a popping. Her father had the privilege of performing the ordinance of baptism. It was an honor to stand in the circle during her confirmation as her father was mouth for the ordinance of confirmation of the Holy Ghost. It was a beautiful service of music, spoken word, and spirit.
At 2:30 pm, Saturday afternoon, I had the honor of taking part in another baptism service. Twins, Colby and Corey Bird, my next door neighbors, were also baptized and confirmed members of the Church. Much to my surprise and delight, I was asked to speak at their baptism. I carefully prepared my words, and headed off to the Stake Center to witness the baptism of these two fine boys. I was excited to be invited to take part in this wonderful occasion.
For my part of the program, I shared with them the story of a loving father and mother whose children had grown and matured to the point that they needed to leave home to attend college. A family council was called where the parents presented a plan of education to their children. Many were excited but some were scared to leave home and venture out in a new experience. The father explained that they wouldn’t be that far away, and they could always communicate by phone or letter. He then asked the oldest if he would help make sure that they would succeed in college and help them with the work and growing pains being away from home would bring. This father also promised tutors, books, and other types of help. Most of the children were excited about the new adventure and knew it was the only way to keep learning so that they could grow up to be like their father. In fact, we shouted for joy!
Earth life is a learning and growing college experience away from home, where we have experiences that will help us become successful heavenly adults. Like college students, we can be dedicated, but also a little rebellious, as we spread our wings and learn who we really are. Our Father’s plan of education includes an older brother who has shown us the way and will help us return home. Tutors--prophets and teachers--have been provided to help us know what we must learn. Textbooks--scriptures--provide the answers to our many questions. Prayerful conversation is always available. As young college students, we will question, we will push the boundaries, we will fail a class or two. But we will always have an advocate with Father to insure we successfully experience what we need to learn and return home.
One of the greatest tutors was King Benjamin, whose words are recorded in the greatest text book ever written, for a person can learn more and be brought closer to the reveler of light and truth by reading the Book of Mormon, than any other book. His words brought his people to their knees in humility, and the Spirit to their hearts. “The Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually. And we, ourselves, also, through the infinite goodness of God, and the manifestations of his Spirit, have great views of that which is to come” (Mosiah 5:2-3). A great education had taken place, their minds had been expanded to a greater view of who they were and the need of a Savior in their lives. They knew they were burdened with the weaknesses of the natural man, and knew that they would ever be in bondage to him unless they listened “to the enticings of the Holy Spirit” (Mosiah 3:19) and turned to the Lord, the Savior and Redeemer of all men.
As we read the inspired words of this great man during this Easter season, the Spirit bears witness to us personally that they are true, and we join with Benjamin’s people in rejoicing in this great knowledge of the Lord. (Mosiah 5:4) “And we are willing to enter into a covenant with our God to do his will, and to be obedient to his commandments in all things that he shall command us, all the remainder of our days” (Mosiah 5:5). Benjamin responds to each of us who make this covenant today through the waters of baptism, “because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you . . . ye are born of him . . . and under this head ye are made free, and there is no other head whereby ye can be made free. There is no other name given whereby salvation cometh; therefore, I would that ye should take upon you the name of Christ, all you that have entered into the covenant with God . . . whosoever doeth this shall be found at the right hand of God, for he shall know the name by which he is called; for he shall be called by the name of Christ. . . . I would that ye should be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in good works, that Christ, the Lord God Omnipotent, may seal you his, that you may be brought to heaven, that ye may have everlasting life” (Mosiah 5:7-9, 15).
All of King Benjamin’s people entered into this covenant “except it were little children” (Mosiah 6:2). And today, this covenant is entered into by all who join the Church, including Ashli, Colby, and Cory. May we keep our covenant with the Lord, receiving a refreshment of mind and spirit as we renew our covenant through the sacrament, “ that Christ, the Lord God Omnipotent, may seal you his, that you may be brought to heaven, that ye may have everlasting life” (Mosiah 5:15).