My Baptism—God Leads in Mysterious Ways
My Certificate of Baptism shows that I was baptized in the Holy Family Catholic Church in Lisbon Falls, Maine on July 20, 1941. That made me 3 ½ months old as I was born April 8th of that year. My God Parents were my Uncle Joseph Frederick Witham, my mother’s oldest brother, and his daughter Rosemond Elizabeth who was barely 11 years old. Mom had told me she was 12—maybe the priest would have protested if he knew she was only 11, but she was tall for her age. I don’t remember Uncle Fred ever making a fuss over me, but Rosemond did. She remembered my birthdays when I was young—usually frilly girl things—nothing religious. In fact, when our trailer home burned down in December 1948, I was frantic to know if the Christmas gift she had sent was saved. It was one of the few things that weren’t damaged because it was well hidden. I was allowed to open it as Mom knew it was fancy panties and it would make one bright spot to our day—beside the fact that I’d need a second pair.
In the Catholic Church babies are “sprinkled” on their heads while being held over the baptismal font with prayers uttered by the Priest. That fact is important as to why I’m relating the following story. When Dad was stationed the second time at Keesler A.F.B. in Biloxi, Mississippi 1954 to 1956, we loved to go to the Tchoutacabouffee River across the “Back Bay”. It was a fun and popular place. We would bring a picnic lunch and stay all day. Some weekends a local country church would come out at dusk to do baptisms by immersion about the time we would normally leave. We would stay and respectfully watch until they were done. (Dad managed to snap a photo from a distance.) This was foreign to my Catholic upbringing but knowing that Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River this event deeply touched me. Something inside me said this was the correct way of baptism. I promised myself that someday I would be baptized that way.
The desire stayed with me and later in my teens I research to see if Catholics ever used baptism by immersion. I was told that the early followers of Christ were, but as the centuries past it was changed. I was told that it was rarely done in the present day and there was no need for me to be re-baptized. That disappointed me. “Someday I will be baptized correctly,” I told myself. And I was when I joined the Mormon Church—The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.