Considering Baptism and becoming a member in the LDS (Mormon) Church?


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ladykaystone, I agree with what others have said: there is a reason you are having these thoughts and dreams about the church. Baptism is a beginning, a commitment to walk in the path of the Savior. It is a willingness to open the door, step inside and engage in learning about, living and loving the truths you find inside. All who are willing to humble themselves and repent and are committed to living the truths of the gospel (abstaining from cigarettes and alcohol, serving in callings, not engaging in homosexual acts or heterosexual acts outside the bonds of marriage, etc.) are welcome. A perfect understanding of the gospel is not necessary to enter the waters of baptism. I've been a member for 29 years and feel like there is still so much I have yet to learn. I am far from perfect, and there are times when my weaknesses of thought and behavior cause me to fall short of everything I want to be. Yet my decision to be baptized remains the single best decision I have ever made. I wouldn't trade my membership in the church for anything, and I will continue to strive for improved understanding of the gospel until the day I die. The church is true. My ability to live the truths it teaches is enhanced as I engage in membership and love others as the Savior loved them. That includes those whose opinions differ from mine. I am compassionate towards members of the LGBT community, and I am also committed to the leaders of the church and the truths they teach. I believe women and men were meant to be equal partners, and while the church is generally seen as being quite conservative when it comes to working mothers the individual choice about whether to work or stay home can be made without consequence by any female member. We honor women in the church and allow them to choose for themselves what kind of life they want to live. My point in saying all of this is that you should know you are welcome here.

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I doubt I can add anything to the responses you have already gotten, but I'll give my two cents, even if it's repetitive.
 

So, I've had a long spiritual journey. And I'm absolutely the last person you'd expect to be trying to become Mormon. In the last year, I was baptized Episcopal and have joined a very liberal and wonderful community. But I can't stop thinking about the LDS Church. For one, I am fascinated with their "plan of Salvation" and other teachings, that I find myself saying , "yeah, okay that makes sense." And I actually believe the gospel.

 
Good for you! You might be very surprised at the variety of people who have embraced the restored gospel. The gospel "tent" certainly does not encompass everyone, but it is much bigger than many outside (and even inside) sometimes realize.
 

I don't know if I believe that the Book of Mormon is literally true, but there is something special and divine about it. And yes, I do realize that the LDS Church isn't the best place for feminist and pro LGBTQ + people to find themselves in, but I am so drawn to it.

 
Book of Mormon: The most profound and amazing book I have ever read -- and yes, I have read the Bible numerous times, along with a great many other books, including Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden BraidPride and Prejudice, and Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynmann. I absolutely believe that the history contained therein is completely and literally true, despite (as the book itself says) any mistakes that might well be found therein.
 
Feminist: I suspect most Latter-day Saints champion the core principles that most feminists hold dear, with the exception of the unrestricted "right" to abortion. It is true that many Latter-day Saints, such as myself, hold the term "feminist" in low esteem. On the other hand, there are significant numbers of Latter-day Saints (some on this very list) who proudly call themselves "feminist". And most of us are happy to welcome as sisters and brothers those who call themselves "feminist", however our own sociopolitical views may color our perception of the term.
 
Pro-LGBTQ: As others have pointed out, this is very much a matter of what you mean by this.
  • If what you mean is that those experiencing sexual trials should be loved and supported, almost all Latter-day Saints will agree with you.
  • If you mean that such people should be legally protected from overt discrimination, many and perhaps most Latter-day Saints (and apparently the Church itself) will agree with you.
  • If you mean that such sexual activity should be actively supported and promoted by society, and should be accepted and looked upon favorably, few Latter-day Saints will agree with you, and you will find that the doctrine of the Church actively teaches against that idea.

The large majority of Saints believe the gospel teaching that all sexual activity outside of marriage between a man and a woman -- including all homosexual activity -- is sinful and tends to destroy our relationship with God. It does not therefore follow that we work against establishing the right to engage in such activities; on the contrary, there are some Latter-day Saints who are active in promoting such causes. But the right to destroy one's soul, as we believe homosexual activity (and fornication in general) tends to do, is not something that the majority of Saints are particularly keen on establishing, even if they are happy to leave other people alone to make their own choices.

 

I met with the missionaries last summer and had all the lessons, and was invited to be baptized. I declined, but I have been having dreams of baptism and converting to the church. [...] I really feel this is where I am called to be.

 
Listen to your gut. I have found that, in my own life, it is right pretty much 100% of the time.
 
 

But for those who read this and are part of the LDS Church, do you feel like there is a place for me and that I should work towards the Baptismal date I have set with the missionaries (which I have just met back up with this past week)?

 
Well, you're asking in a decidedly biased forum...but yes, I think you should definitely move forward. But in doing so, you should know that God is calling you to be a better and a different kind of person. That will require sacrifice on your part, doubtless including the sacrifice of some of your cherished beliefs and practices. Whether this includes the sacrifice of some of your ideas on feminism and/or LGBTQ issues, I can't say. But I can say that faithful gospel practice means that we are constantly changing and refining ourselves. It is an often uncomfortable process, but it leads to much greater happiness and honest self-fulfillment.
 

I know it's a completely different ballpark than what I'm used to, but I feel called to experience this spirit of peace, and to become a baptized member of the Church of Latter Day Saints.

 
We will be among the first to welcome you when that event occurs!
 

Can someone tell me (in depth) what the baptismal service is like? What happens - if the jumpsuit is mandatory (do you wear it over your dress)? And what are your experiences of what it feels like?

 

You wear white when you are baptized as a symbol of purity. Eastern cultures view white as a symbol of death, which is also very appropriate -- baptism signals the death of the old "man of the flesh" and the birth of the new "man of the spirit" (where "man" here obviously means "person", male or female). If you really hate the adult jumpsuit, I know of no requirement that you wear it. You can probably wear a simple white (non-sheer, especially when wet!) dress or something of the sort, if you prefer. You probably need to talk wtih the missionaries about that.

 

The baptismal ceremony is a birth of sorts, and thus is a time of joy and anticipation, spiced perhaps with a bit of wonder and uncertainty about what lies ahead. But go forward in faith, and you'll find beauty and strength beyond what you currently even imagine. You'll also find imperfection and weakness, both in yourself and in your fellow Saints. But that's okay. None of us is perfect, nor are we (yet) expected to be. It's a journey, and in this case the joy is as much in the journey as in the destination.

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