by Robyn

Your Birth and Rebirth by Brittany Cromar

February 23, 2016 in Baptism, Birthdays, Guest Post, Holy Ghost, Jesus Christ, Rebirth, Rites of passage, Robyn, Sacrament, Savior, Symbolism, Uncategorized by Robyn

Brittany was kind enough to share her insightful talk given at her daughter’s recent baptismal service. We have blogged about the connection between baptism and birth before but I love how she connected each element together in her thoughts. I am looking forward to my son’s baptism in a few weeks so this talk was so timely for me. Thank you Brittany! —-Robyn

 

cromar baptism

Eight years ago, you were born. That day was a special day. Today is another special day, because it is the day of your rebirth. In John chapter 3, Jesus taught that everyone must be born again, born of water, which is baptism, and born of the Spirit, which is receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost.

 

On the day of your birth, you started a new life. Today when you are reborn, you will start a new life as a covenant follower of Christ. In Romans 6, we learn that baptism symbolizes the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, when you go under the water the rebellious natural woman in you symbolically dies along with Jesus. Then you come up out of the water symbolizes Christ’s resurrection, which gives us new spiritual life today and someday, our own resurrection.

 

On the day you were born, you became part of our family. Today, you will become part of Christ’s family, which is His Church. In Mosiah 5:7, it says that when you are baptized, you become a Child of Christ because “your heart has been changed through faith on his name.”

 

When you became part of our family, we named you, and we gave you the same last name as us to show that we were family. Because you will now be part of Jesus’ family, you also take upon yourself His name, and will be called a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

 

In Mosiah 18, the people Alma taught were ready to be baptized, and they were a lot like you, he saw they had faith in Jesus Christ, were willing to love their neighbors and willing stand as witnesses of God–they were ready to join Jesus’ Church family. So, like you, they were ready to promise to serve Heavenly Father and keep His commandments. When you are baptized, He promises to give you His Spirit and eternal life. The great part is, that these same promises are also part of the sacrament, so every week, even when you make mistakes, if you keep your heart open to change and following Christ, taking the sacrament is like getting baptized all over again.

I’m so proud of you for your choice to be reborn, to make covenants, and to become part of Christ’s Church family. I say this in the Name of Jesus Christ, amen.

by Lani

Ritual Rebirth in Ancient and Modern Practice

April 8, 2015 in Atonement, Baptism, Heavenly Mother, Jesus Christ, Lani, Old Testament Women, Priesthood, Rebirth, Rites of passage, Savior, Symbolism, Temple by Lani

I enjoyed so many beautiful moments in conference last weekend. Part of me wanted to write about Linda K. Burton’s beautiful talk. While listening to her words, my cheeks ran with tears as I was completely overcome by an overwhelming gratitude for the man who has stood by my side and held me up through so much pain and darkness. I also wanted to write about saints and sinners, enduring to the end, and Mother Teresa’s intense battle with darkness.

But this morning I felt impressed to write about something I’ve been wanting to write about for a long time, and I’m not really sure why it has taken me so long to get around to it. What I want to talk about touches on some statements made by a couple of speakers last weekend:

Nothing relative to our time on earth can be more important than physical birth and spiritual rebirth, the two prerequisites of eternal life. –D. Todd Christofferson

To inherit this glory, we need more than an unlocked gate; we must enter through this gate with a heart’s desire to be changed—a change so dramatic that the scriptures describe it as being “born again; yea, born of God.” –Dieter F. Uchtdorf

During my senior year at BYU (2002, holy cow that was thirteen years ago), I completed an internship as a managing editor for an on-campus student journal Studia Antiqua. The journal was the brain-child of Matthew Grey, who was a student and editor-in-chief, and was supervised by S. Kent Brown, director of Ancient Studies at BYU. As part of my “training,” Matt gave me copies of the journal’s first issue, published before I joined the team. I still have my copy of that issue and treasure it. Truthfully, I only really treasure the last article in the issue, containing information I wished I had known before I attended the Provo temple to receive my endowment the previous year. The article I’m referring to is called “Becoming as a Little Child: Elements of Ritual Rebirth in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity,” by our editor-in-chief, Matthew Grey, now known as Dr. Grey, assistant professor of ancient scripture at BYU.

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As D. Todd Christofferson reiterated in conference, God has commanded us to teach our children what it means to be reborn and all of the symbolism involved in it. Until I became acquainted with Matthew Grey’s Studia Antiqua article about ritual rebirth, I didn’t realize that baptism wasn’t the only rebirth ritual we participate in as members of the Church. In ancient Israel there were specific acts performed each time a child was born. Matthew Grey outlined these in his research. These include: 1) a washing with water, 2) an anointing with oil, 3) clothing in a garment, and 4) receiving a name.

Matthew Grey shared excerpts from Ezekiel 16, where the Lord spoke to the people of their original “birth” and the elements that were missing: “And as for thy nativity, in the day thou wast born thy navel was not cut, neither wast thou washed in water to supple thee; thou wast not salted at all, nor swaddled at all” (vs. 4). Then the Lord described how they had been “birthed” of Him through their covenants with Him and how He had provided the important birth rituals they originally lacked: “Then washed I thee with water; yea I thoroughly washed away thy blood from thee, and I anointed thee with oil. I clothed thee also with broidered work” (vs. 8-10).

The scriptures outline a similar ritual rebirth process for High Priests before entering the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement each year. At the door of the temple, a priest would be washed with water, anointed with oil, and clothed with sacred attire. This sacred attire included a cap/mitre, also translatable as “turban” (Mitsnepheth in the Hebrew) or “crown” as described by Myers in The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (see footnote 35 in Matthew Grey’s article). Following the washing, anointing, crowning and clothing, the priest was consecrated to the service of God with the the Divine Name inscribed on a plate of gold fitted on his head: “Holiness to the Lord” (Exodus 28:36-38).

Referring specifically to the anointing aspect of these rituals, Matthew Grey explains: “In most cases, the act of ritual anointing serves to empower or enable the person to do what he was made worthy to do through the washing. In its most common application, anointing with oil was used in the coronation of a king or in the consecration of a priest” (p. 68).

These words from an Ensign article (published two months before I was born) seem particularly pertinent: “In the temple men are prepared for their roles as kings and priests, and women are prepared to become queens and priestesses” (Carolyn J. Rasmus, “Mormon Women: A Convert’s Perspective“). President Joseph Fielding Smith stated, “It is within the privilege of the sisters of this Church to receive . . . authority and power as queens and priestesses” (Daughters in my Kingdom).

Nothing is more important than physical birth and spiritual rebirth Elder Christofferson told us. Our mothers have given us the gift of birth and our first naming. Christ gave us the gift of rebirth through baptism and offered us His name. We may experience other rebirths in our journey upward, but none is more sacred than the rebirth our Heavenly Parents offer to us: a rebirth as kings and queens, priests and priestesses, and the sacred naming given only to those who have overcome the world:

To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written , which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it (Revelation 2:17).

by Robyn

What is it like to be born?

December 16, 2014 in Baptism, Birth Stories, Birthday, Dads, Doulas, home birth, hospital birth, Love, Pain, Robyn, Traditions, Uncategorized by Robyn

 

 

RobynBirth-250

photo courtesy of Cali Stoddard Photography

The instructor of my midwife assistant course started off one of our classes with this question, “What is it like to be born?” We discussed the different possibilities:  it could be stressful, scary and even painful, right?  Knowing that the baby can feel our emotion via hormonal responses it makes sense that they might interpret the experience that way.

"You sisters . . . belong to the great sorority of saviorhood . . . You are born with an inherent right, an inherent authority, to be the saviors of human souls." Matthew Cowley thegiftofgivinglife.com

photo courtesy of Cali Stoddard photography

 

One of the other students suggested that without a frame of reference of pain maybe they just experience birth as sensations, in all its fullness without judging the experience as good, bad, or painful.  Maybe before they came to earth they were taught that the experience is a special event and that the mechanics and sensations they would feel are normal?Just as every birth is different and unique, I’m sure there isn’t just one way that it is experienced. (What Babies Want is a documentary that raises questions about what gestation, labor, birth and postpartum period are like for baby.)

 

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photo courtesy of Cali Stoddard photography

 

We don’t really know all the answers.   However, after we had discussed how traumatic it might be for a baby I felt compelled to share what I experienced when I supported my sister at her first birth. After arriving at the hospital with her and her husband we settled into a room and her water broke shortly after.  We knew the baby would be there soon.  The word I would use to describe what was felt was love.  The room was just enveloped in love.  I stood next to her face while her husband stood next to the midwife ready to catch.  She later told me that as she rocked back and forth she repeated to herself the mantra, “this is love ” (often love can be painful) and tried to frame the contractions as “hugs”.  I remember her stopping to tell her husband she loved him as she was washed over with intense birthing waves.  My cheek was next to her cheek as she told me she loved me too.  And then her son came. Daddy’s hands caught him with confidence.  And then he quickly passed their son to her. I still cry when I think about it. I have always had a special bond with my sister but this moment intensified it.  Pure love.  I think her little newborn felt it too. (You can read Eli’s entire birth story in our book, “Catching My Son” by John Ellis.)

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The scriptures compare baptism to birth.  As I think back on my baptism day I remember love too. And even though I know that giving birth to me was an intense experience, my mother describes my birth-day with love too.  And because of the season I have cause to wonder what the baby Jesus felt on his birth-day.  It is likely he felt a variety of things, one of which had to be love.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” John 3:16 

 

 

Impromptu Baptism/Birth Lesson in Relief Society

August 12, 2014 in Baptism, Sheridan by enjoybirth

I love being in the Relief Society Presidency of our ward.

The best part?  Not being the President!!  😉

I am responsible for the Sunday meetings.

I make sure the teachers have the help and support they need.  On rare occasions it means I get to do a sudden impromptu lesson when a teacher is not being able to make it at the last minute.

The other Sunday after Sacrament Meeting I got a text from the teacher.  She had the flu!!brothers baptismSo I had 30 minutes to prepare a lesson.

Baptism Lesson

I do love to teach.  I also love to prepare, in some ways that is my favorite part of teaching. I learn so much when I am preparing and I feel the spirit.

The lesson was on baptism.  I started reading it and got excited.  The very first section referred to the symbolism between our birth in this life and our rebirth in baptism.  Well you know I love birth.

I looked up some blog posts on The Gift of Giving Life blog, and got the ideas and inspiration I needed to feel good going into the lesson.

However I still felt some hesitation.  Again, I usually practice my lessons at least 2 times before teaching.  No time for that!  So I prayed for help and got the impression that this was the chance to see the power of The Lord’s hand, that He would give me what I need to speak, when I need to speak it.

My Notes

Birth Baptism
1 – Preparation Do you think we prepared in the pre-mortal existence for our earthly birth?  Robyn said, “birth is the crowning event of pre-motal life” Do we do things to prepare for our baptism?  Yes, we prepare or help our kids prepare.
2 – Blessings Body, Light of Christ, New Life, Family Body is cleansed, Holy Ghost, New Life and New Church family
3 – Water, Blood, Spirit Amniotic Fluid, Blood, Our Spirit joining with our body.  Moses 6:59 Allowing them to bust forth from pre-motal state, bathed in pure water, life giving blood and the Spirit. Water – BaptismBlood – Atoning Blood of ChristFire – Gift of the Holy Ghost
4 – Who with? Mother (typically) Father
5 – Choice We chose to come to earth.  Imagine we made covenants before we came to earth in this “ordinance” of birth We choose to get baptized.  Make a covenant in the ordinance.
6 – Sacrifice Requires Sacrifice of Mother to birth her baby. Requires Sacrifice of Savior

Baptism and Birth can be Spiritual

I then talked about how when we set our intentions, we can see the spirituality in everything.  I also shared the experience I had at T3’s baptism.

I think that it went pretty well.  I was glad to have all the participation from the Sisters and of course having been about birth, made it easy!

Beautiful First Breath

January 8, 2014 in Baptism, Sheridan by enjoybirth

My “baby” was baptized on Saturday by his 16 year old big brother.

brothers baptism

On Friday I remembered about a post my friend wrote for the blog about the baptism of her daughter and how it was as special as the day she was born.  I had not experienced that with my oldest sons baptisms, but I wanted to for this one.

I prayed and asked God to help me have a meaningful experience of my own.  I made sure I got up early Saturday to meditate and pray and study scriptures.  I stayed calm and relaxed before and during the services and really focused on staying present.  (At my other boys baptisms I remember feeling a bit frazzled and overwhelmed.)

I waited and watched with my spiritual eyes.

The talk about baptism was lovely.

My middle son and 8 year old sang When I Was Baptized.  It was lovely.

The talk on the Holy Ghost was great!

Our family went last for the baptism.  We went into the font area.

Then I saw.

I wish I was an artist and could draw the image I had.  I can still see it so clearly in my mind.

It was when B. came up out of the water and was all wet and then he took his first breath.

Suddenly I was back at his birth, when he emerged and his head was all wet and he took his first breath and gave a bellowing cry.

It was so similar, I almost expected to hear crying.

But suddenly he was my 8 year old boy again smiling and laughing as his big brother tried to get the plug undone from the bottom of the font.

The rest of the day was lovely.

Another song by the boys.  (They sang this in the room we did the confirmation.)

Lunch with family and friends.

Park with family.  It was so great having all the grandparents, aunts, uncle and cousins.

Being together!!

Then I saw more

I was exhausted by the time I made it to bed.  It was almost midnight but I knew I had to write down what I had seen.  It was a gift I was given and I needed to honor it by writing it.

As I wrote about seeing B’s first breath, I saw more.

It was so neat to see him baptized by his older brother.  I remembered that moment of him coming out of the water all wet and breathing that first breath and I saw D. there too.  That D was looking down at B love.  It hit me in my heart.  His older brother baptized him!  There was cool symbolism in that.

It was the sacrifice of his Elder Brother Jesus Christ that we are all able to be baptized and cleansed of our sins.

Seek after these things

When we seek for things we will find them.  Once women realize that births can be spiritual, they start seeking to see those spiritual things and then they are able to see them.  I don’t know if I would have had that moment if I hadn’t asked to see it.  I want to continuously seek to see the spiritual things going around me always.  I pray you do to!

mom and baptism boy

 

by Robyn

The Covenants of Mortal Birth

October 25, 2013 in Baptism, Free Agency, Holy Ghost, Prenatal influences, Preparation, Robyn, Savior, Symbolism, Uncategorized by Robyn

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I recently attended two baptisms on the same day for two of my nephews.   As I watched these two boys stand next to their fathers surrounded by water I thought of their first baptism when their place was next to their mother once again surrounded by water.  A friend of mine pointed out that we likely left our Heavenly Mother’s care to enter earth life and be brought toward our Heavenly Father’s care just as symbolized through birth and baptism and other ordinances.

“inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the aspirit, which I have made, and so became of bdust a living soul, even so ye must be cborn again into the kingdom of heaven, of dwater, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and eenjoy the fwords of geternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal hglory” (Moses 6:59).

When my oldest daughter was baptized we spent quite a few family home evenings talking about it.  We even planned a “Baptism Week” in which each night for a week before the baptism we had special baptism lessons.  We are now in the process of preparing another daughter for baptism.  As we make plans for her baptism I have started to ponder our preparations for mortal birth. We prepare for baptism so it makes sense that we must have prepared for birth into this world.   In that birth was the crowning event and purpose of preparation in premortal life I am assuming that much of what we were preparing toward was to hearken to our Mother just as in this life we hearken to ordinances that bring us toward the Father.

“Even before they were born, they, with many others, received their first alessons in the world of spirits and were bprepared to come forth in the due ctime of the Lord to labor in his dvineyard for the salvation of the souls of men” (D&C 138:56).

In order to be found worthy of baptism we make covenants.  We promise to take upon us the the name of Jesus Christ, keep the commandments and serve the Lord (True to the Faith, 23-24).  So it begs the question, what covenants did we make before mortal birth?  It makes sense that they were likely similar in nature.  “Those who followed Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ were permitted to come to the earth to experience mortality and progress toward eternal life” (True to the Faith, 116)  So we had to actively choose God’s Plan and covenant to accept Christ as our Savior (Moses 4: 2; Abraham 3:27). Before my oldest daughter was baptized we asked her to pray to know if this Church is true and about her decision to be baptized.  It was important to us that she consciously choose baptism for herself.

We receive blessings from being baptized.  We are promised the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, a remission of our sins, and to be born again (True to the Faith, 24-25).  So what blessings did we receive upon our first baptism, or birth? We received a body, the light of Christ, and a new life.  Quite similar to baptism.  And in the temple when we really ponder the covenants there, it all comes down once again to further consecrating ourselves to Christ.

Before the saints left Nauvoo they spent day and night in the temple making covenants.  Covenants that they knew would sustain them on their difficult journey.  My thought is that we made covenants before birth to sustain on our difficult journey through life.  “Covenants sustain us in good times or in difficult times” (Barbara Thompson, Ensign, Nov. 2011).  They are intended to give us purpose and see us through our journey preparing us for further light and knowledge.  Felice also wrote about “sacred contracts” or in other words the more specific missions we were given in life.  We are given some information about them in our patriarchal blessings but often there are parts of our mission that we learn as we go. We likely covenanted to take on our specific missions and life circumstances.  I believe I covenanted to bring my children here.  (The post, “Here Am I” is a beautiful explanation of that.)

If you would like to read more about the symbolism of birth and baptism you can read Heather’s essay, “The Two Veils” in our book or these additional posts “Born Again,” “Giving Light,” and “If Birth Were a Temple.”

*This post is my own thoughts and opinions and do not necessarily represent those of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

 

 

by Robyn

If Birth Were a Temple

August 24, 2012 in Baptism, Holy Ghost, Menstruation, Motherhood, Robyn, Savior, Temple, Uncategorized by Robyn

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

1 Corinthians 6:19

I have been pondering for some time now the symbolism of the temple and birth.  In fact, I had been trying to write an essay for the book on this topic last year but I struggled with the depth of the symbolism and how to present it.   In the book, the essays “The Two Veils” and “Birth in Remembrance of Him” have thoughts related to this topic. Part of the reason I abandoned the essay was that there was a lot of crossover with those two essays.  However, I thought I would still share a portion of my thoughts on this topic as I studied to write it.

My mother gave me the book The Hidden Christ by James L. Ferrell.  In his book, on pages 97 through 109, he presents some beautiful insights about the way ancient temples were constructed and the significance and symbolism of the the details by which this was done. I put together a table comparing the symbols and their significance to us.

 

Elements of Ancient Temples/Tabernacles Parallel Elements of Spiritual Deliverance/Priesthood (Ferrell 103-104) Parallel Elements of Physical Birth/Motherhood/Womanhood
Outer Courtyard The world Leaving behind maidenhood
The altar Sacrifice of a broken heart and contrite spirit Sacrifices made to give life.  (See this blog post for thoughts on that.)
The brazen sea Baptism Born of water. Coming forth of the amniotic fluid also called the bag of waters
The Holy Place The straight and narrow path (2 Ne. 31:17-18) The straight and narrow birth canal
The candlestick/lamp stand The Gift of the Holy Ghost The gift of the light of Christ at birth. (See this blog post for more thoughts on this.)
The table of showbread with bread and jars for drink offerings The Sacrament of the Lord’s body and blood Shedding of blood in order to give life (menstruation).  Giving of body to form life and the shedding blood in giving birth. Blood and water combined to form breastmilk to nourish babies.
The altar if incense, which lifted incense heavenward Sacred ordinances culminating in the holy order of prayer Sacred sacraments of intercourse, conception, and pregnancy, culminating in birth (all of which take place within the woman).
The veil, with embroidered cherubim The veil separating us from the Lord’s presence, through which only the sanctified can pass. The first veil through which we pass at birth leaving the Lord’s presence.
The Holy of Holies Eternal life in the celestial kingdom Mortal life necessary to achieve eternal life in celestial kingdom
The mercy seat and ark of the covenant, with stone tablets containing the Ten Commandments The throne of God in the middle of kings and queens, priests and priestesses The giving of mortal life is a crowning event in becoming queens and priestesses. (Where giving physical life is not an option, there are many ways to participate in giving life.) Giving mortal life is a preparation for eternal life and exaltation.

 

Notice that in the second column, most of the elements depend  mostly upon the priesthood while in the third column the elements depend mostly upon women exercising the power of God.  It is also obvious that the two are interdependent. One without the other cannot be enlarged upon.  I welcome some help here too.  I know that my thoughts are incomplete and maybe you have something you could add.

I leave you with this poem “If Birth Were a Temple” that Talk Birth shared a few months ago:

 

If birth were a temple

my body is religion, and this small form

twisting out of me,

is

prayer

my cries

reach birth’s vaulted

ceilings,

arching like my back over holy

waters,

crystal clear salt of amniotic

my womb–a blessing bowl

releases

her treasure.

–Nane Ariadne Jordan

This beautiful poem came from an anthology of prayers and readings called Talking to Goddess, edited by D’vorah Grenn.

 

 

That Wonderful “Birth” Feeling All Over Again!

February 13, 2012 in Baptism, Birth Stories, Sheridan by enjoybirth

This is a guest post by my friend Heather B., a mother of four beautiful, talented, and wonderful children.  🙂

I have wanted to be a Mother for as long as I can remember.  My first word was “baby,” and I was constantly pretending to be a “Mother” as I grew up.

The births of my four children I can say have been the most amazing experiences that I have ever been a part of!!  My favorite part of birth is the moment that I feel the urge to push.  I immediately start crying in excitement that my body will be pushed to the limit, only to bring the most beautiful and amazing little one into the world.  As the doctor hands me my baby, the whole world stops.  Everything around me is blurry and if people are talking it just sounds like white noise around me.  That first look into my newborn babies eyes is one that cannot be explained, but it is definitely an outer body experience that words cannot explain.  Each of my births are like this, not one greater than another, but each special and precious in it’s own special way.

After having these four wonderful birthing experiences in my life, I never thought that there would be a moment that would top these.

My children have started to become older and have had wonderful milestones like being blessed in our church (The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Mormon), going to Kindergarten, losing their first tooth, etc.  Still, the births of my children have been by far the most wonderful event in my life.  Not to say that the other experiences were not amazing, but just different.  I often wondered if anything would top the births of my children.

Well, last year my daughter turned 8 and this is a very special year in our household and in our church.  You see, she was baptized a member in our church.  In the Latter-Day Saint church we are baptized by immersion.  We go completely under the water.

This special day came and as I entered the chapel doors there I saw my daughter.  She was all dressed in white, the biggest smile I have ever seen on her face, and she was skipping down the hall.  I looked at her and she looked at me.  This look was familiar and amazing!!  We embraced and it was such a happy moment.  It was then time for her to be baptized by Scott (my husband).  As he said the baptism prayer I felt overwhelmed.  I know I should have been closing my eyes during this time, but instead I was watching her every move.  As my husband said, “Amen,” he then proceeded to put her under the water to baptize her.

Then it happened, that feeling that I had 8 years ago but stonger!   The “birth” feeling!!  Everything stood still, it was as if she and I were the only ones in the room.  You see,  it was birth all over again, but different.  This was a rebirth for her and in a way for me!!  I felt that feeling again, but stronger!!  For me, to watch my child be baptized at that moment, was the best thing I had ever experienced.  The feeling cannot be explained fully but it was amazing and precious all in one!!!

by Lani

Born again

November 4, 2011 in Baptism, Holy Ghost, Lani, Savior by Lani

By Lani Axman

Lately I’ve been pondering a lot on all of the things I need to teach my children before they grow up and leave the house (how to cook, how to sew, etc.). So, as I approached my scripture reading yesterday, I had the teaching of children in the forefront of my mind. Then my scriptures opened up to 1 Nephi, chapter 1. In that verse we know so well, I was reminded of how Nephi’s goodly parents taught him “in all the learning of [his] father.” A footnote then sent me to Enos 1:1 where I was reminded that Enos’s father also taught him, and Enos, grateful for those teachings, said, “blessed be the name of my God for it.” I sighed and thought  with hope about how my children will praise God for my efforts some day. (A girl can dream, right?)

Eventually, the footnotes led me to Moses. And that’s where I had an epiphany. Moses 6:58 says: “Therefore I give unto you a commandment, to teach these things freely unto your children, saying: . . .”  And that really got my attention because this is God commanding Adam and Eve (and all of us) to teach something specific to His precious children. OK, I thought, I’m listening! And then I read the following verse:

That by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory.

As soon as I started reading those words, the Holy Spirit flooded my mind and a handful of puzzle pieces fell into place beautifully. In that moment I understood, with delight, that God wasn’t just telling us to teach our children about the importance of the Atonement and baptism. God was also commanding us to teach our children that they were born in an incredibly symbolic way. God wants them and us to know that childbirth isn’t just an uncomfortable physical necessity standing between pregnancy and parenthood (as the world might have us believe). When we give birth to our children, we are allowing them to burst forth from their premortal state, bathed in pure water, life-giving blood, and the Spirit. These words and symbols are part of both childbirth and baptism for a reason. God wants us to teach our children those reasons!

When our babies emerge from our bodies, many might describe them as “messy.” But the reality is that in those moments immediately after birth most babies are as pure and clean and fresh as they will ever be in this life. Amniotic fluid and vernix actually have antimicrobial properties (see here). The water our babies are immersed in as they come forth into life is a cleansing, purifying protection for their bodies and their mothers whose hands and breasts and body become purified through their first embrace. The vernix’s antimicrobial properties linger, particularly if rubbed into baby’s skin rather than being wiped or washed away. What a beautiful testament to our Creator’s divine design and loving interest in the details.

Just a couple of weeks ago, I had the great gift of witnessing the baptism of my firstborn. After she emerged from those purifying waters, I had the privilege of being the first to ask her, “How do you feel?” She was positively radiant, smiling with all of her face, eyes, and soul. She said, “Really, really good!” I will never forget the feeling we shared in that moment. I don’t even have words for it.

How fitting it was that I, her mother, wrapped her in a towel and put my arms around her, rubbing her warm, my own hands and body becoming wet from the pure water dripping from her hair and body. Here was my first baby, born again, in my arms, fresh and new and clean.