Baptism Memories

I was baptized at the age of 8, like most kids in active member families. Though I don’t have a lot of memories from that young age, I am very happy to report I remember my baptism quite well.

I turned 8 on 2 July 1980. I was happy I wouldn’t have to wait long before I could get baptized – the stake baptism for that month was 5 July. For my 8th birthday, from my parents I got my own set of scriptures. For my birthday/baptism, from my ward/Primary I got a Book of Mormon (do you remember those medium blue ones with the gold angel Moroni on the cover? That was the one I got) and a picture of Jesus, which still hangs the wall of my bedroom at my parents’ house.

Instead of an individual baptism, my stake did a monthly baptism for all the kids who turned 8 in the past month. We got to the stake center and picked out our white clothes. I dressed in a thing that was a one piece shorts/dress outfit. It had shorts along with a skirt above my knees. I’ve never seen such a baptism outfit since. My dad baptized me, and he was dressed in one of those normal one-piece white jumpsuits.

After we dressed, we headed to the chapel for the talks. The baptizers and baptizees sat on the front row, with everyone else behind us. My mom, sister, and Aunt Pauline were there. Other than the seating arrangements, I remember none of this part. I imagine the talks were the generic ones on baptism and confirmation themes, but who knows.

I remember the actual baptism well. My father had practiced with me at home so I knew how to hold my hands and what would happen. He had also taught me that I would have to go completely under or it would have to be repeated. We entered the font, and I remember the water was warm. I was really loving the whole experience and decided that doing it once wasn’t enough. I decided to try to leave a limb or digit or something above the water so I could do it again. We stood in the water how we practiced. He said the prayer and I went under the water. Unfortunately, my father was good, and he got me all the way under the first time. I don’t think he even knew I’d tried to defeat his dipping. Oh well.

Afterwards we walked out to the parking lot to leave. My aunt gave me a cute little red purse for my birthday/baptism. She left and I told my mom I felt weird inside. This feeling I remember well. I had been happy and enjoyed he whole experience (hence the desire to, yay, do it again!), but this feeling was different. If someone has asked if it was a good weird or bad weird, I would have definitely gone with good weird, but no one asked, so I never got beyond “weird†in my definition. My mom told me that was the Holy Ghost.

Sometimes I fall back on the memory of that feeling at that time when I have various frustrations with the gospel and can’t seem to feel the Spirit. I remember that feeling that was definitely more than just a warm, fuzzy, happy whatever. It was new and distinct and not my imagination. There are other experiences with the Spirit that I fall back on during those times, but that first experience, though it was so long ago and I was so young, remains strongly in my memory.

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About Tanya Spackman

Tanya was born in Provo, Utah, on a warm July day. After escaping childhood with nothing more than a few scrapes and bruises (except for 5 stitches - oh, and that incident with the staple in the thumb), she graduated from BYU with a degree in molecular biology. Before graduation, she served a mission in Chicago. As graduation neared, she decided lab work really wasn't her thing, and she had no interest in research or teaching (but really, molecular biology is interesting), so she decided to attempt the world of technical writing. Thus, she now works as a technical writer/editor for the Navy in Washington, DC. She loves to read and travel.

12 thoughts on “Baptism Memories

  1. I was thankful for the experience of being a convert and being baptized at 19 as I was able to have a contrast in my life and how blessed I was when I received the Gift of the Holy Ghost. From your experience, I see that you were able to know the difference and can recall that in your mind.

  2. I was baptized in the same service as a couple of other kids as well. I remember having to sit and listen while the other kids were confirmed and I opened my eyes and looked around. I was so disappointed in myself later because I had only managed to stay “perfect” for like 5 minutes before I went and started sinning and undid all that cleanliness.

    But at least then the pressure was off.


  3. Tanya, I was baptized when I was 35. I was happy on baptism day, but I mostly converted because of an encounter with the Holy Ghost 5 months before my baptism. I always wonder what it would have been like to have been baptized at eight years old instead. Now I have some idea — although I’m sure it’s different for each person. I hope my children will have an experience similar to yours.

  4. I really like this post. So often it seems like eight-year old testimonies are discounted. Little kids can have testimonies and feel the spirit too, and more easily. My son is getting baptized in a month, I hope his day is as memorable.

  5. The only thing I really remember about my baptism day is what I was wearing and how my hair was done.

    Of course, it was because of my pretty white dress and looooooooong loose hair that I got to be baptized three times, so.

    On the other hand, I remember really clearly that by the time I actually was baptized (it seemed like an eternity, but it was only about three weeks after my birthday), I really wanted to. My dad wouldn’t sign the permission form for the longest time, so it became one of the first real struggles I ever dealt with. My younger sisters were, respectively, the first one baptized in a new building, and forced to move the baptism to a pool with dead rats in it, so they’ve got strong memories, too. ^_^

  6. I was baptized a few months after the 1978 announcement, and the other boy baptized with me was African-American. I’m wracking my brains to remember if his father baptized him or someone else — but I’m pretty sure that it was his father. I’m pretty sure I was a witness to history without realizing it.

  7. Tanya, I was baptized the same year. My father was not (and is not) a member of the church so I was baptized by a missionary (I must have chosen him, as we were in a ward with many priesthood holders I knew that would have been a more traditional choice). One of the things I remember most was how BEAUTIFUL my new red tennis shoes looked peeking out from my long dress! We must have been in a hurry to get out the door because I always owned a pair of black patent leather mary janes as a child. It turns out the dress was made by the mother of one of my CTR classmates and donated; it was a nightgown-type with lace on it and heart shaped buttons on the placket.

  8. I was baptized at age 8 in Sioux Falls, SD. I remember two things about it.

    First, the baptismal program had the words to the songs written on it. I was crestfallen to realize, for the first time, that the title of the song is “Give Said the Little Stream,” not “Give Seth the Little Stream.”

    Secondly, I refused to enter the baptismal font until someone removed a small spider that had fallen into the water (I’ve always had an irrational anxiety about spiders). A nearby High Priest scooped it out (which I suppose strengthened my confidence in “The Priesthood”).

  9. I was baptized…rather recently at 27. It was a great experience. After the actual baptism I don’t remember having time to worry about how I was feeling until later in the day. I knew I was happy, but the decision to be baptized left a more distinct feeling than the actual event for me. I do remember trying to plug my nose prior to the prayer and I remember slipping when trying to come out of the water. I also recall when getting into the water (which was very warm) trying to make sure my dress was thoroughly soaked at the bottom so that it didn’t rise up. 😀

    However I recall the day after recieving the gift of the Holy Ghost. Now that left a huge impression on me. The ward was lucky I didn’t start bawling like a baby when it was happening. I have never felt such a welcome alien presence descending on me. It wasn’t a warm and fuzzy feeling from within myself, but rather a definite external feeling coming for outside to within. Hard to explain. Same when when I prayed on being baptized. The still small voice I heard was not my own self internally telling me something, but definitely an external voice coming within to talk to me. Does that make sense?

    Now I am preparing to have my daughter baptized (she is 8). I am happy she is getting baptized, but I also wish she was older so I knew it would mean more to her. (Notice I said I would know–rather selfish of me.) But maybe I am down grading this awesome experience she is going to have. I do know for certain, the night after she is baptized we are going to journal about it to help her remember the feelings later.

  10. Everyone, thank you for sharing your pre-baptism, baptism, and confirmation memories. It is wonderful to read them!

  11. Sometimes I fall back on the memory of that feeling at that time when I have various frustrations with the gospel and can’t seem to feel the Spirit. I remember that feeling that was definitely more than just a warm, fuzzy, happy whatever. It was new and distinct and not my imagination. There are other experiences with the Spirit that I fall back on during those times, but that first experience, though it was so long ago and I was so young, remains strongly in my memory.

    This is so true for me. When I experience frustrations with the gospel, I have two undeniably spititual experiences that I draw on for stability.

  12. I was baptized at age 19. I remember that I was the only female there, the rest were missionaries and my then boyfriend (now husband of 42 years) who baptized me. What I remember most is the feelings afterward, thank you #9 for expressing what I have never been able to express for myself, the fact that the feeling did not come from within, it came in from outside of me. I remember literally shaking or shivering but I wasn’t cold. I told the Elders that I couldn’t stop shaking and they told me it was the Holy Ghost manifesting to me. I have had other manifestations of the Spirit both before and after baptism but that is the only time I shook. It’s been 44 years since that wonderful day but I remember it like it was yesterday. I don’t know if my children ever had that kind of experience. Maybe I’ll ask them. Thanks for this post.

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