Ask Mormon Girl: I’m about to be baptized. And boy do I have some questions.

This week, readers, I’m definitely going to need your help answering this question from Brent in far away New Zealand:

I’m not a member of the Church but I have decided to be baptized.   As my baptism date approaches I’m starting to think I’m not “worthy” for lack of a better word.  Not that I regret the life I’ve lived. But I haven’t lived by Church standards. At the same time, I’m also worried there might be things I’d miss after baptism.  In married life, for example . . . What is married life like for LDS people?  It’s a hard topic to bring up face to face.  Double thanks if you can answer it.

Brent, first and foremost—heartfelt congratulations on your upcoming baptism.

Second, I have to say, I’ve sat with your question for a few weeks trying to come up with the right response.   There you are on the other side of the planet, taking missionary lessons face-to-face with some very eager elders, and going to church every Sunday with Mormons who are thrilled that you’ll be converting and still . . . you’re sending an email to a total stranger thousands of miles away asking some serious questions about “worthiness” and some other very personal issues.

The internet.  Seriously.  Wow.

There are some fairly easy by-the-book answers to your questions.  And the best place to go online for by-the-book answers on Church doctrine and policy is the Church’s own website, lds.org, where you can use the search engine and research both baptism and marriage to your heart’s content.

What stands out about your question to me is the fact that you don’t feel you have anyone local and Mormon you can talk with about more tricky and intimate issues like personal worthiness and what married life is for LDS people (and if I can read between the lines, I don’t think you’re talking about doing housework and raising kids. . . ahem).  As you say, it can be really hard to bring these things up “face to face.”  Especially with Mormons.  Many of us like to keep the tricky side of being human totally under wraps.

But especially if you have questions that impinge on your baptism, you must try to talk to somebody.  Any religion you’re willing to join owes you a spiritual community, doesn’t it?  If you don’t feel you can talk with those eager 19-year old farmboy missionaries teaching you the discussions (which is understandable), how about your bishop?  Really—if you have any questions about being ready for baptism—you should speak to your bishop.  No matter how straitlaced he seems, he’s probably heard it all.  Very little you have on your mind can shock him.  Even those seemingly difficult questions about “married life.”  Those should be a walk in the park for your bishop to answer.

If I could summon your Mormon celestial fairy godmother, Brent, I’d ask her to send you a friend:  Mormon, male, canny, older, but still young; someone in your ward or stake who is on your wavelength; someone who can mentor you a bit as you get to know your new religion.

I’m no fairy godmother, but I can offer you the advice of the community of readers on this site and at mormonmatters.org.  I’ll post your query, and you can follow the responses, and see if we can’t get you a bit better educated before your baptism date.

Welcome, Brent.  Now, readers—do you have a bit of guidance to extend? Please?

Send your query to askmormongirl.com, or follow askmormongirl on Twitter.

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5 Comments

Filed under conversion

5 responses to “Ask Mormon Girl: I’m about to be baptized. And boy do I have some questions.

  1. jared

    I don’t know that I can offer much in the way of counsel or answering questions, but having served as a missionary in the Auckland New Zealand mission my experience with the Kiwi folk in general but more specifically members of the Church is that they are some of the most loving and open minded people I know.(i don’t doubt that you already know that)In contrast with many I know here in Utah, I would choose to talk to a kiwi bishop with reletive ease. Especially if I could talk to the ones that I worked with(and talked quite frankly with) Just be extremely honest and forthright about what you think and feel. My experience with Priesthood leaders is that when members of the flock do so, its an evidence not only of their sincerity, but also of the degree of seriousness with which they take the commitment they will be making. Good luck!! :)

    • glenn

      If you are honest and forthcoming in the baptismal interview, you are worthy. If you weren’t, then it would be a very good thing to make an appointment to clarify.

      The sexual part of a mormon marriage varies based on the people. The only preclusions are that no one should feel degraded and sexual activity is confined to one’s spouse. The deeper marriage commitments of Mormonism, can bring a deeper connected spirituality to all aspects of married life.

    • Sarah

      Brent, I was right where you are 5 years ago. I felt unworthy and also confused about some of the doctrine. I quite honestly didn’t want to convert but I had a profound spiritual experience that really anchored me. Despite this, I was apprehensive about the lifestyle changes. But My Bishop was able to offer me some advice, but most of all he gave the confidence I needed to take the plunge. The last 5 years have been great. I don’t fit the perfect Mormon mold, I don’t always agree with what is being taught from the pulpit, but I’m very happy as a Mormon and I have found a great Mormon guy to help me out along the way. So regarding married life, I don’t think it’s all that different, as long as you alright with monogamy. I think just like in life, it all depends on who you marry. I wasn’t a virgin when we got married (far from it) and he was, but that has never a problem. Sex is no different. Well…I would even argue is better because my relationship with my husband is that much more meaningful. I’m starting to sounds super cheesy. Sorry to be so blunt, I hope this helps you a little bit.

      Best of luck to you.

  2. reb

    One quick comment: The point of baptism is to wash away any “unworthiness” you may have to this point in your life. It matters not what you have done with your life until now. It sounds like you are ready to enter a new life and change and leave those things behind – that makes you “worthy” of baptism. I hope that eases your mind.

  3. Leeza

    This reply is directed to Joanna. Tread very carefully my dear. YOU are not a qualified spokesperson for the Church. You have made a career out of your basic understanding of Gospel truth. While you pretend to inspire wayward individuals or curious media looking for a salacious headline you misrepresent the Church on many topics. I suggest you search your own heart and your motivation. Very often your opinion is not always Gospel truth.

    Another Mormon girl and daughter of a General Authority.
    No need to respond to these comments.

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