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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Baptism Preparation Handout

I've put together a handout to give to investigators who are preparing for baptism. It covers some of the information they will need to know (what to bring, what to wear, etc). The full-time missionaries will usually explain these things to the investigator as they get close to their baptism date, but not always. I try to personally speak to each person who is scheduled to be baptized to make sure that they know what they need to bring, etc, but we've had a definite shortage of towels / hairbands / brushes / and/or dry underclothing at some recent baptisms, so I figured it couldn't hurt to have another reminder - a handout that they can keep and (hopefully) refer to prior to the big day.


I have also include some other information about the baptism that I thought might be helpful for the investigator to be aware of ahead of time. For example, I included an explanation about when photographs are/aren't appropriate. During a recent baptism in our Ward, a friend of the woman being baptized began taking pictures on her cell phone during the ordinance. Everyone sitting around her was shocked, but nobody seemed to know what to do. Finally, a missionary had to go over to her to ask her to stop. The friend had no way to know that photographs are not appropriate during the baptism - its just something that we are used to and tend to forget that they may not have the same practice in another Church. It was a somewhat awkward situation that could have been avoided with just a little more preparation.


Here is the text from the handout I made - feel free to adapt/use it for any upcoming convert baptisms in your Ward:


PREPARING FOR YOUR BAPTISM DAY

Congratulations on your upcoming baptism! We are so excited to help welcome you as a new member of our Ward family! Here is some important info to help you prepare for your special day:


LOCATION:

Baptism services are held at _____________________________. Feel free to invite family and friends - everyone is welcome.


CLOTHES:

Sunday dress clothing is appropriate for baptism services, however, visitors are always welcome, whether they are wearing "Sunday" clothing or not. Right before your baptism service starts, you will change into a white jumpsuit (these are provided at the church, you don't need to bring white clothing to wear). The jumpsuits aren't see-through, but it is recommended that you wear white or light-colored underwear because dark colors/prints are sometimes slightly visible when the white fabric gets wet.


HAIR:

You will need to be totally under the water for you baptism to be complete, so if you have hair that is long enough to be put in a ponytail, please either have you hair braided or in a ponytail (girls/women who don't have their hair in a braid or ponytail sometimes need to be re-immersed several times because their hair comes up out of the water).


WHAT TO BRING:

You'll want to bring several things for your convenience after your baptism is over:

  • A change of underwear (because your under-clothing will be wet after your baptism)
  • A towel
  • A brush/comb
  • A plastic sack for your wet clothes


PHOTOS:

Since it considered a sacred ordinance, photos are not permitted during the baptism service. Photos are normally taken with the full-time missionaries/family/friends in the hallway shortly before the baptism service starts and/or while refreshments are served after the baptism service is over. If you are inviting friends or family to your baptism, you may want to make them aware that photos during the baptism are not appropriate.

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