sacrament talk on baptism

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Bds4206
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sacrament talk on baptism

Post by Bds4206 » 03 Sep 2013, 10:07

I have to give a talk this Sunday on baptism :(

They gave me the sheet out of the "teach my gospel" manual. Anyone have any good ideas for a talk on baptism? This is my first talk ever...

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Heber13
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Re: sacrament talk on baptism

Post by Heber13 » 03 Sep 2013, 10:26

Tell some stories from your baptism, or from your family. People like hearing stories. It is also a good way to avoid talking about any deeper doctrine which may be questionable to you. If you share your experiences, others can't really disagree with them...they are your experiences.

Baptisms are an outward expression for an individual to join the fold. Even if the person is 8 and not sure too much what it all means, it is still something they know they are joining the church, and will learn more as they grow. I like baptisms.

I was glad to baptize all 4 of my kids. My youngest got baptized with another boy. As we were changing into dry clothes my son said to the other boy, "I feel all funny. I think the spirit is with me." The other boy said, "I feel it too. I wonder how it goes back and forth between you and me." They went on laughing, "I think its with me now" "No, it is with me now." "Well I'm taking it back so it is with me." It was pretty cute watching these little boys talk about it.

I also like how baptisms bring people together to support the individual, and welcome them to the church. It can be a very bonding thing for people.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

Roy
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Re: sacrament talk on baptism

Post by Roy » 03 Sep 2013, 11:40

If I were to talk on baptism I might say that I don't believe that the water or even the ordinance itself washes away my sins. The way I see it, baptism in declaring yourself as a follower of Christ (with the intention to serve Him and strive to be more like Him). As a follower of Christ the individual is made a partaker of the infinite atonement and is credited at the final judgement with Christ's righteousness.

Thusly, one is made clean after baptism and will be clean forevermore as long as Christ has claim upon them.

I much prefer this approach to the one where you are clean until you screw up and then you need to come to SM and partake of the sacrament to get clean again.

(and this avoids needless speculation about whether it would be enviable to die right after baptism or SM)

I similarly like the version of the HG that gives unique gifts of the spirit to help us grow into our ultimate selves rather than the consience version that is only there to yell at you when you mess up.

I'm not sure if my version is proper Mormon Doctrine or not. I know I can support it from the scriptures but I'm not sure any GA has expressed baptism or the Gift of the HG in these terms before.

Mackay, do you have any quotes to support me?
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

Curt Sunshine
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Re: sacrament talk on baptism

Post by Curt Sunshine » 03 Sep 2013, 12:52

I would talk about the symbolism of baptism. It really is lovely.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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On Own Now
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Re: sacrament talk on baptism

Post by On Own Now » 03 Sep 2013, 13:30

Roy wrote:If I were to talk on baptism I might say that I don't believe that the water or even the ordinance itself washes away my sins. The way I see it, baptism in declaring yourself as a follower of Christ (with the intention to serve Him and strive to be more like Him). As a follower of Christ the individual is made a partaker of the infinite atonement and is credited at the final judgement with Christ's righteousness.
That's how I see it as well. Paul said (Romans 6) that baptism is symbolic of being buried, as Jesus was buried in the tomb, and that when we rise out of the water, we walk in newness of life, just as Jesus was raised to glory. To me, baptism is forward looking; not focused on where he have been (sin) but on where we are going (new life). Romans 6:11 (NRSV): "So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus." In this chapter, Paul doesn't think of baptism as cleansing from sin, but freeing from sin ("For sin will have no more dominion over you"). I personally find this much more compelling when you are talking to a group of people that were baptized decades ago, because it's not about what was before, but what continues to be now.

Having said that, I think it is important in a talk or lesson not to focus on what something isn't, but on what it is. You never need to mention "cleansing from sin" in order to show that baptism is about "declaring yourself as a follower of Christ (with the intention to serve Him and strive to be more like Him)" as Roy so elegantly put it or to "walk in newness of life" as Paul said.

church0333
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Re: sacrament talk on baptism

Post by church0333 » 03 Sep 2013, 19:30

I gave a talk on covenants and ordinances and talked mostly on baptism. Here is a copy. If there is anything useful, please feel free to use it or maybe it will give you some ideas. Good luck.

I would like to start my talk this morning with a story about a man named Sam that I meant in Iraq. First off I am not sure if the man’s name was actually Sam. It’s funny how it works over there with all us lazy and self centered Americans. We had an Iraqi interpreter and he had been working for the Americans for about three and a half years, he had some typical Iraqi name but none of the American could remember it or pronounce it so he just went by the name of Adam. Sam was from Uganda so he might of had a Ugandan name but we called him Sam. The reason Sam was in Iraq and on base was because to save man power, the United States government contracted out with a private security firm from Uganda, the guarding of all mess halls and base exchanges. This was a very tedious and mundane job. While on base every soldier, sailor and Marine carried a weapon and ammunition, but the only one that could have their ammunition loaded in their weapons were the Uganda guards. I believe that there was an attack on American troops while they were all congregated in a chow hall at one time so that is why they had the guards there in the first place. We did have to show our IDs when we entered the line for the chow hall and we also had to make sure our weapons were clear before we could enter the dining facility. The Ugandan guards checked our IDs and watched us clear our weapons. I meant Sam at an LDS service we had one of the first weeks I was in Iraq. I was surprised to see this very dark face dressed in a different uniform. The other dozen or so of us were all white US serviceman. It made me extremely happy to see him there and I wanted to learn his story.

One thing that I would like you to understand about being deployed to Iraq is that there was, at least for me, very little free time. I got up at about 5 o’clock Monday through Saturday and got to bed always after 11 o’clock. On Sundays I didn’t have to be to work until noon, but that was the day we had to clean our rooms, take our laundry down to be cleaned and attend church services if we wanted to. That was also the day I got to call home and talk to my family. There were very few options, if any, in who I could spend much time with because we were given task to complete and the people to complete the task. These two items were some of the hardest ones I had to adjust to while I was there. For Sam it was worse. He had to work any shift that they gave him and he was even more restricted in the areas he was aloud to visit on base. I had to do it for six months but his contract was for two years with only a two weeks break half way through. If he didn’t complete his contract they would withhold a large portion of his wages and to tell you the truth, his wages were not that high to begin with. Sam didn’t make it to church every week because his schedule just would not let him. The meeting would last an hour and many of us would stick around for a few minutes just to chat and get to know each other a little better. Sam would leave just as soon as the meeting was over and it took me about two months to grab him after one of the meetings so I could at least introduce my self properly. When I did, he said that he didn’t really have time to talk but if I could meet him at the base exchange later that day when he was on guard duty he would really like to talk to me. I wanted to get to know him and hear his story so that Sunday durning lunch I went to the base exchange and had a good conversation with him. He told me that he got baptized there on base and that it had happened about 6 months before I meant him. He was doing guard duty in a different location and was working with an American on a regular basis and that this American who had been the group leader among the little group of LDS servicemen had told him about the church and what we believe. Sam had to get special permission to be baptized because proselyting in Iraq was strictly forbidden and the church was very good about things like that. Sam had a wife and child back home and he had communicated to his wife that he was going to get baptized and she was okay with that but didn’t quite understand why he had to be baptized again because he was already a Christian. Sam did not have a very good understanding of the Mormon doctrine, I am not sure if he was given the priesthood, and the possibility of him being sealed to his family at that point was very remote. So why did Sam want to be baptized? That is what I wanted to know when I talked to Sam that Sunday afternoon. I would like to discuss some of those reason with you this morning.

My assigned topic this morning is “Ordinances and Covenants”. As most of you know, the ordinances we talk most about at church are baptism, receiving the priesthood, marriage, and those ordinances and covenants associated with the temple. A Covenant, as many of you know, is a two way promise we have with the Lord. We promise to do one thing and in turn the Lord promises us something in return. Each time we are involved in one of the previous listed ordinances we make covenants with our Heavenly Father. There is a lot of material I could talk about today but I would really like to limit my remarks to those that relate to baptism.

Sam told me that when he got baptized that he really didn’t have a very good concept of what that would mean. I can really relate to this. I was baptized when I was 14 years old. I didn’t know that I was going to get the priesthood. The missionaries showed me pictures of the temples but I didn’t have any idea what took place there. All I really knew was that I liked what I read in the Book of Mormon and that when I prayed about it I felt something special. I liked the people at church and I thought it was pretty cool that other kids cared about spiritual things. I believed in God and hoped that there was more to this life than what I had seen so far. I wanted to belong to something. I think Sam was about in the same boat. I think that most people are in about the same boat. At least those that get baptized as children and some converts. As we grow in the Gospel and our faith becomes stronger the meaning of baptism changes or at least our understanding of what our covenants are. I think most people who get baptized realize that they are coming into the fold of God or are becoming a member of the Church of Jesus Christ. I was reading some thing the other day that really struck me. When we become members of the church we do not have to give up who we are. We can say with confidence “I am Mormon to the core - but the primary focus is on "I am" not "Mormon". I think a distinction can be made between changing who we are and bettering who we are. We should all want to better ourselves. But if we spend all our energy trying to change to someone we're not, then we're moving sideways, not forward. I think bettering yourself, ie. 'repentance', ultimately leads to feeling better, whereas trying to be something your not only leads to frustration. Some people say that when a person is baptized that it is a beginning. I can see why they would think that but I see things a little different. When a person gets baptized they already have been taught many good things and people that belonged to a different church already know many truths. It has been stressed many times by our leaders that we are not trying to take away any truths people hold as dear but we try to add to the knowledge that they already posses. So it really is not a beginning at all and I also want to point out that it is not the last step either. We can’t just think that because we have been baptized that the work is done. I think that it is very important to remember that when we have people that join our church that it is the start of their journey in the church. They might not believe every thing that they are taught but feel good about most of it. To be quite honest I don’t know many members that believe every thing that they hear at church. In fact, we have been instructed to not just accept every thing that we hear and that we need to gain a testimony of these things for ourselves. In the last general conference Elder Holland made the following statement “Let me be clear on this point, he says: I am not asking you to pretend to faith you do not have. I am asking you to be true to the faith you do have.” I think that is it is very important for us to keep this is mind whether we are dealing with new members or other people that have been members all their lives. The reason that I bring this up is because I have seen many new converts as well as members who have been in the church for many years stop coming because they have issues with some of the teachings or practices of the church. Often when they ask questions that challenges these teachings or practices they are looked down upon or the members jump to the conclusion that they are weak, that they want to sin, or that they have not been reading their scriptures and saying their prayers. Some times we make them feel unwelcome because they don’t meet the standards we think that we need to set for them. Maybe we do this without thinking about it, but I am asking you to please think about these things and do what you can to make all level of believers feel like they have a place at church.

When we are baptized we covenant to be called His son or daughter or in other words to take upon ourselves the name of Christ. Sam was already a Christian when he joined the church and I don’t want to discount that at all. I also believed in Christ before I joined the LDS church and so did many in my family but for those who believe in other traditions this concept of taking on the name of Christ has a new meaning.

When we are baptized we covenant to bear others burden, that they may be light: mourn with those that mourn; and comfort those in need of comfort. I would like us all to note that it doesn’t say any where that we are to judge others, think that we are better than others, point our fingers, turn our backs on non members or think that we are now perfect. In fact, we should be less judgmental, more willing to forgive and be more understanding. We need to be kinder to all people whether they are members of the church or not. Brothers and sisters, I have become painfully aware that there are too many empty seats in our congregations because some of those empty seats should be filled with my children, my grandchildren, other family members and also many of my friends. People leave the church or at least stop coming for many reasons. I truly understand that it might not be a good fit for everyone but I hope and pray that there aren’t empty seats because I wasn’t willing to lighten some one burden, or mourn with them, or give what comfort I could when needed. My kids have told me that part of the reason that they don’t attend is because they feel so judged. I realize that many of these feelings are self inflicted but I also have to say that I can see why they feel that way because I have heard the negative comments and seen the pointing fingers and I know that it would be hard for me to endure much of that.

When we are baptized we agree to stand as a witness of God at all times and in all things and in all places. When Sam was baptized, his fellow Ugandans gave him a very bad time about it. It is not easy to be a follower of Christ in this world. In many places in the world Christian people truly do fear for the lives. We can testify of Christ by the words that we say but more often people notice more the deeds that we do. It is not enough just to say that we believe, we need to live like we believe and that is not always easy.

When we are baptized we covenant to serve God and keep his commandments. This is an area where being a member makes it easier to have opportunities to give service. I really enjoy doing service. Being an active member will give everyone a chance to serve, it maybe as a teacher or if one is musical than there are plenty of ways to serve using that talent. We can serve the youth and the youth also get to serve other. Member should encourage each other to live the commandments, we should watch out for each other. We should also remember that none of us are perfect and that we all make mistakes. As as said, we need to encourage and support each other and not judge each other. I have heard is said many times that if all of our sins smelled like smoke or alcohol, then we could hardly stand to be all in the same room. Service and encouragement can come in many forms and some times the simplest way we can show our support is with a smile and an expression of appreciation for a lesson taught, a comment made in class, or even seeing some one at church. We covenant to keep the commandments, but like I said, we will not be perfect. We will mess up and when we do we need to remember that we are loved in spite of our sins. We also need to remember that we can repent from all of our sins. I think that sometimes people have a false idea about repentance, in that once we repent from a sin that we will never commit that sin again. In theory, it should work that way but I have found that in real life, at least in my life and in the lives of countless others I know, it doesn’t work that way. But I do take comfort in believing that because of God’s love for us and the atonement, that all of my sins can be forgiven. I also take great comfort in the idea that as we forgive others, we in turn will be forgiven. One of the traits I appreciate most in others is their willingness to forgive. That’s why I think people like dogs so much, because you can yell at them one minute and the next minute they are wagging their tails and brushing up against your leg.

Now, I’m not sure that Sam had a full understanding of all this when he was baptized. I hope that he is still attending church. He did say that his wife was aware of other Mormons in the Ugandan town where she lived. I hope that Sam learned that each time he takes the sacrament that he is renewing his baptismal covenants.

Part of the deal when we renew our baptismal covenant by taking the sacrament is that our sins will be forgiven if we repent. Luckily we don’t have to get rebaptized every time we sin. If that was the case I’m afraid my fingers and toes would always look like prunes. I truly believe that our Heavenly Father wants to forgive us, but he also wants us to forgive ourselves. Some times we have a hard time doing that and because we don’t forgives ourselves we end up stalling in our progression in this life. I had a daughter that really had a hard time forgiving herself and the end result was something no family wants to face. So I am asking and even pleading with you to forgives yourselves.

When we are baptized we are given the the companionship of the Holy Ghost. We have the right and blessing to have his influence in our lives as we strive to do what is right. Again we don’t have to be perfect. As we partake of the sacrament we are told that we can have the Spirit of Christ with us. That is one of the most important reasons we come to church and we should all want to be part of that.

Lastly, the Lord covenants to redeem us so that we might be numbered with those of the first resurrection and have eternal life. Isn’t that really what we are all working toward. I think ultimately that is why Sam got baptized, and that is why we all do that very important step, to return back to our Heavenly Parents.

Brothers and sisters, maybe you have figured out by now that I care deeply about those that are struggling with church and activity. I care because my own children fall into the category and I to have my own issues and doubts. I see a lot of good in the church and greatness in the members and I see the benefit of being an active participant but my kids don’t at this time and I would be willing to bet that you know others in your family and branch that feel the same way. It is may hope and prayer that we as members may set the example, live the kind of lives, and show the love and support and not the judgement that can keep those of us here today coming next week and next year. Maybe if we truly live Christ like lives and just show love, patience, and understanding we can even get those others who we love and miss to return. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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On Own Now
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Re: sacrament talk on baptism

Post by On Own Now » 04 Sep 2013, 10:00

To church033's point about baptism not really being a "beginning"... this is where I think the "cleansed from sin" thing breaks down. If you only get baptized once and that is your one opportunity to be "cleansed from sin" then you are setting yourself up for failure. It's not a "reset" or "wiping the slate clean" or "starting over". Rather, it is an opportunity to set out on a new path; one in which we dedicate ourselves to God-centered living. The New Life that Paul was talking about, or the "Except a man be born again" teaching from John 3, point toward starting something new, with new purpose and new desires. Paul said:
Thanks be to God that you, having once been slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart [to the gospel]... and that you, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. --Romans 6:17-18 (NRSV)
In my view, Paul thought of the world as a bunch of people milling around aimlessly, living a self-centered life, putting weight on natural desires, and experiencing natural frailties of the human soul. In fact, I sincerely believe that Paul didn't think of "sin" has a list of NO-NOs, but simply as being "ungodly" (or without God)... Conversely, he thought of Christianity as a game-changer. That people who were baptized would put away all the trappings of the "natural man", and step up into a meaningful, god-centered life.

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mackay11
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sacrament talk on baptism

Post by mackay11 » 04 Sep 2013, 11:59

How about Mosiah 18 on baptism? Comfort those who stand in need of comfort etc and then relate to the Goats and Sheep parable in Matt 25 where he gathers 'all nations' and calls the righteous those that visited the sick etc.

Roy
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Re: sacrament talk on baptism

Post by Roy » 04 Sep 2013, 14:38

Really great talk Church. I can see why people were always asking you for copies. Two parts especially touched me:
church0333 wrote:I think most people who get baptized realize that they are coming into the fold of God or are becoming a member of the Church of Jesus Christ. I was reading some thing the other day that really struck me. When we become members of the church we do not have to give up who we are. We can say with confidence “I am Mormon to the core - but the primary focus is on "I am" not "Mormon". I think a distinction can be made between changing who we are and bettering who we are. We should all want to better ourselves. But if we spend all our energy trying to change to someone we're not, then we're moving sideways, not forward. I think bettering yourself, ie. 'repentance', ultimately leads to feeling better, whereas trying to be something your not only leads to frustration.
church0333 wrote:When we are baptized we covenant to be called His son or daughter or in other words to take upon ourselves the name of Christ.
Thank you so much for sharing this.
On Own Now wrote:To church033's point about baptism not really being a "beginning"... this is where I think the "cleansed from sin" thing breaks down. If you only get baptized once and that is your one opportunity to be "cleansed from sin" then you are setting yourself up for failure. It's not a "reset" or "wiping the slate clean" or "starting over".
I know that I had understood it as wiping the slate clean. I felt like such a failure when I sinned after that day and found that I was still the same kid. It was even worse after the endowment. I thought that garments would protect me and that surely with the stakes and consequences so high I would fly straight. How could I put myself under satan's "power"? I lasted a few days before I succumbed to masterbation and I felt that I had thrown it all away. Part of the responsibility for my understanding rested upon me, but another part rests on how it is taught.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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Re: sacrament talk on baptism

Post by Orson » 04 Sep 2013, 15:11

I also see baptism as highly symbolic. When Jesus was asked "must I enter again into the womb?" he mentioned being born of 1) water and by 2) spirit. I take the first as mortal birth and the second as "conversion" or spiritual birth - of which baptism symbolizes. I would love to hear a talk mention the personal spiritual birth that happens within (or conversion to Christ's teachings) is the most important event that happens. The ordinance of baptism is basically worthless or empty without it.
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