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Went To Do Baptisms For The Dead

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My family just went to the temple today to do baptisms for the dead.  While we were waiting our turn, the family before us had no males, so they asked a temple worker to do the baptizing of the family.  And I was asked to be one of the witnesses.

I soon noticed that the worker had Down's Syndrome.  It was an interesting thing to watch.  To be honest it was both inspiring & distracting.  I was wondering about this brother (he appeared to be about middle age).  He was at a first grade reading level.  He slowly read each word at a time.  He couldn't remember the sister's name and had to be reminded each time.  He had help with each name that was being baptized. 

But the one thing he remembered was "Jesus Christ."  Each time through, he forgot each and every single word and had to re-read the entire prayer.  But he remembered the name of Jesus.

Sometimes people wonder if someone with such a handicap can actually have a testimony or even comprehend what the gospel is about.  After watching this man perform this ordinance, witnessing the validity of the ordinance he was performing, I felt something of his spirit.  He was so happy with each and every baptism.  That innocent smile of pure joy.  If my impressions are to be regarded at all on this matter, I'd say that he did indeed have a testimony. 

He may not understand all that we (supposedly "normal" people) understand.  But I believe he understood enough, and that he understood something on some level more than we do.  He knew the name of Jesus.  And he knew who He was.  I believe that his testimony was true and pure.

After the baptisms, he was my partner in confirming all the same people who were just baptized.  He had a very happy smile and disposition.  I really like being around someone so pure.  I just feel relaxed around them.  I still have some tender feelings as I think back on him.

I have thought about him many times today.  I considered how much difficulty he had with reading, speaking, understanding procedures, etc.  But somehow he understood how important it was that we do ordinances in the temple.  I'm having difficulty getting my business growing.  But he has difficulty reading.  I often feel ashamed for being so shallow that I don't give thanks for the things I take for granted so often.

We might study the letter of the law.  We might even ponder the great meaning of deep doctrines.  But here was this gentle brother -- simply participating in pure religion undefiled before God and feeling the great Spirit that came with it.

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