Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Fragile X and Baptism

So, I don't think I've kept it much of a secret that I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon).

I try to be very open about it because my religion plays such an integral part of who I am.

I try to be diplomatic when it comes to posting about religion here on my blog because I want people of all faiths and beliefs to receive help and inspiration through Our Life and all our experiences, good and bad.

But, this time, I'm going to lay it out there.

This time, I'm not going to try to make anyone feel comfortable about my beliefs because I want to tell the world about Sister's baptism and why it meant so much to us, and to her.

Let me start off by telling you that we, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that we were all gathered in heaven as brothers and sisters before our life here on earth. We knew each other. We loved each other. We chose to come here to earth to make choices—good or bad, face consequences for sin and revel in the light of Christ when we do what is right,  all in hopes that we will one day live with our Heavenly Father again.

There are some people, I believe, who are here only to receive a body and to inspire and bless the lives of those around them. They, I believe, have what I like to think of as a one-way ticket to heaven.

Basically... Angels.

In the LDS church we believe that age 8 is the age of accountability, when a person can start to understand the choices they are making and face consequences good or bad for those choices. Of course, though, these decisions of a youthful 8 year old are greatly dependent on good upbringing, discipline and love.

I believe that our 3 children—Brother, Sister and Baby—are angels. They are perfect in spirit. Only their bodies are limited here on earth. They already have their one-way ticket to heaven without our help. They are here to teach us and fit us for heaven.

Did you read that correctly? Children of mental disabilities are not here to earn their way to heaven, they are here to help us work our way there by learning patience, love, understanding, acceptance, compassion, faith, strength and forgiveness. All Christ-like attributes.

Knowing this leaves a bit of a decision to be made when you have children who are mentally impaired. Should the be baptized if they don't fully understand the covenant and blessings associated with baptism.

When Brother was baptized he wanted to be baptized because his friends had been baptized or were about to be. He wanted to be like his friends. He wanted to follow their examples as they were following Jesus Christ's example. So, although Brother was scared to death, he was baptized because he wanted to be. It was a tough thing for us because we just didn't know if we should put him through something that may be traumatizing. He had been taught about baptism and the covenants he would be making. Did he understand them? Probably not. Did it really matter? Probably not. He just wanted to be an example.

Soon after Sister turned 7 she was already talking about being baptized. She always had her 8th birthday synonymous with her baptism. She had been learning about it for a while now and wanted to do what her friends were choosing to do.

Although, I knew that being baptized would be one of the most anxiety provoking things she would do in her life, I also saw her strong desire to become an official member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

After one of the longest waits a child has ever had, aside from waiting for Christmas, Sister's baptism day was here!

At times she was ecstatic with the idea of being baptized a member of the church and then there were complete moments of fear and denial that she ever wanted to baptized. Marc and I had accepted that either way, we felt she could make her own choice.

I don't remember exactly when she first said it, but I do remember her falling apart and being scared to be baptized. I calmed her and told her she didn't have to be baptized. It was her choice. She calmed down and said, "I want to be baptized like Jesus!"

As we waded through the months until her baptism day Sister would have her doubts and fears, excitements and rejoicings, but, without fail, she would always say, "I want to be baptized like Jesus!"

The day of her baptism came.

She was so anxiously excited she could hardly wait for 10am to come around. She was a bundle of nerves and happiness.

Sister would change from tears to grins as she and I waited to receive her baptismal clothing and then to go change into it.

Finally we were ready to wait for our turn and for our friends and family to show up. So I took a couple pictures of her in her little baptism jump suit.

Do you think that she might be excited?

I was finally able to get her to settle down enough for a picture.
 Just after taking a few pictures some of our family arrived to view the fantastic occasion and she went into complete panic mode. She and I talked and decided to wait outside the meeting room so she wouldn't get overwhelmed by all the people coming in. I tried to distract her by taking another picture... you'll notice the nervous grin isn't quite the same as before.

When she started to get back to "happy" again I was able to get some shots with her and her Daddy who would be baptizing her.

I love how she has her little ankles crossed!

After pictures were done they were ready for us to come into the room to get the meeting started.

Our Bishop was so sweet in the words he spoke as he conducted and Sister was so excited. She even stood up on a chair when Bishop asked her to and she didn't even have a meltdown while looking out at all those that were there.

Marc's mom gave a talk on baptism. She started to cry because of the good spirit that was there in the room as we all anticipated Sister's big step. Sister started to cry too. I tried to help her understand that Grandma was crying because she felt the Spirit. Sister whispered back, "I don't know if I wanna feel the Peerit..." I love her words!

My dad gave a talk on the Holy Ghost and he kept Sister's attention for a good part of his 2 minute talk.

Then my mom and I sang the Baptism Song that my mom wrote. Sister had requested that one because she loves it. I wish I had a way for you to hear it... It's so sweet. One of my favorite lines, I felt was just perfect for Sister's thoughts on her baptism, "Jesus he was perfect and he was baptized too, teaching me the way and helping me to know what's true."

Then it was time for us to go to the font to baptize Sister.

Sister's baptism went off without a hitch. It was wonderful. There was such a strong feeling of happiness in the room.

After coming out of the font I help Sister get dressed into dry clothes and brush her hair and she kept exclaiming, "I did it! I did it, Mom! I was baptized!!"

It was such a beautiful day.

A real reminder of the blessing of being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am so thankful for the knowledge I have of eternity and our Heavenly Father's love for us and desire for all of us to return home to him when it is time. I know the truthfulness of this gospel with all my heart and soul.

I hope you were able to get a little bit of an insight as to why I feel so strongly about this.

I love it!

I live it!

I speak it!

This was also a special day because Li'l B was baptized on the same day as her cousin! It was a busy and special day!

7 remarks:

CandiceJohn Simpson said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE....Congrats precious lil one! What a great day for becoming a daughter of your heavenly father!!!!

Karen Mortensen said...

Beautifully said. I agree as to why the special kids are sent here. I know that is why my son came to me.

Julie said...

How beautiful, Rachael! I am so glad Sister had such a wonderful day! I remember when Brother was baptized! I don't think there was a dry eye in the room because we all saw how nervous he was and how patient Marc was. When he finally decided to do it, I loved how he expressed his joy at accomplishing something so wonderful even when he was so nervous! What a blessing to see such a glimpse of a precious moment in their lives! Thank you for posting your feelings and about Sister's experience.

Rosanne Orgill said...

wow! I loved it, thanks so much for sharing and well said and the pictures were perfect!

Kelli said...

I'm so glad you shared this! I have two girls, age 12 and 6, with Fragile X and I'm Mormon too! My friend led me to this post. I was heartbroken when I learned my first wouldn't be baptized at 8. I finally got a "yes" answer when she was 9. I remember searching the Internet for people in similar situations and found very little even on church websites. So, thank you!
p.s. My oldest is Rachael :)

Marc and Rachael said...

Kelli, are you on the National Fragile X Facebook page! It's a great place to be! I am so glad you found this post :)

And everyone else, thank you for your kind words.

Heather said...

Great post! Thank you for sharing! My name is Heather and I was wondering if you could answer my question about your blog! My email is Lifesabanquet1(at)gmail(dot)com