Statistics have shown that the chances of a new member staying active in the Church is greatly increased if they participate in baptism for the dead in the first year of membership - especially within 3 months of their baptism.
My husband has been asked to plan several temple trips especially for our newer members to do baptisms for the dead. Many of our new members have questions about going to the temple, and we try to answer them as we make our new member lesson visits, but I've also included some information about the trip (and how to prepare to attend) in this month's "new member newsletter":
SPECIAL NEW-MEMBER TEMPLE TRIP!
WHAT IS IT?
This is a special trip to the __________ Temple to participate in baptisms on behalf of people who have died without the opportunity to be baptized by the proper priesthood authority (called "baptisms for the dead"). Temples are holy buildings that are specially built for sacred ordinances like baptisms for the dead. Doing baptisms for the dead is just like when you were baptized yourself, except that these baptisms take place inside a special area in the Temple.
WHEN IS IT?
(Date and time here)
You can expect to be at the Temple for around 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
WHO CAN GO?
Recently baptized members are invited to attend with us and participate in baptisms for the dead. This trip is specifically for adults who are new members of the Church, especially those who haven't been able to participate in temple baptisms yet. This is a great chance for you to experience the Temple as a new member. Ward leaders and Ward-Missionaries will also be attending, and will be there to help you & answer questions.
WHERE IS IT?
(Temple location here)
We will be arranging carpool for those who are interested.
WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO PREPARE?
The Lord's Temples are the holiest places on Earth. The Temple is a sacred place- in order to keep it pure and holy, the Lord has set certain requirements to enter. One of the first requirements is that you need to have been baptized. Each person who plans to enter the temple will also need a "temple-recommend" card from the Bishop. To get this "temple-recommend", you will have a private meeting with the Bishop. He will help you make the necessary preparations to prepare to attend the temple, either now or in the future. This will include an interview similar to the one you had before you were baptized. You will be asked questions about whether you have kept your baptismal covenants (including keeping the commandments) since your baptism. You don't have to be perfect to attend the temple (otherwise none of us would ever be able to go!), so please don't let past mistakes keep you from preparing to attend the temple. If you have concerns, the Bishop is able to counsel and help you. Call (Name & phone number of Ward Executive Secretary here) to schedule an appointment with the Bishop.
WHY SHOULD I GO?
It is a special opportunity to do service for others. We are promised blessings for attending the Temple and for the service that we provide there. There is a special feeling of peace when you are at the Temple. Going to the Temple to do baptisms for the dead is a good way to help you experience and appreciate the sacredness of the Temple as you prepare for your endowment and sealing ordinances in the Temple (after you have been a member for at least one year).
A FEW MORE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE TEMPLE TRIP...
CLOTHING: There is a higher standard of dress for going to the Temple than when we attend Church on Sunday. When going to the Temple, appropriate clothing is always a suit & tie for men and a dress (or skirt) for women. Casual clothing (such as athletic clothing, jeans, etc) or clothing that is revealing (such as skirts above the knee or low-cut shirts) are never appropriate for the Temple. Dressing modestly and "dressing up" shows that we are setting aside the casual things of the outside world and shows our respect for the Lord when we enter His holy Temple. We don't need to wear expensive clothing, but we are asked to wear the best we have and to arrive neatly dressed/groomed. If you have any questions about what clothing is appropriate for entering the Temple, or if you need help with having appropriate clothes to wear to the Temple, please let a Ward-Missionary or the Relief Society President know. White baptism clothing and towels are provided for baptisms at the Temple, you don't need to bring them with you.
CHILDREN: There is no childcare available at the Temple and children (including babies) will not be able to come inside with you. This means that you will need to make your own arrangements for childcare if you plan to attend.