Friday, March 16, 2012

Noah's Big Weekend, Part 3: Noah's Blessed in Church

Sunday February 12th was the last day of the Noah Extravaganza. :)  He was given a name and a blessing in church.

Since I gave a Mormon lesson in the last post, I might as well give another one now.  I hope no one minds.  I feel a little vulnerable doing this because my religious beliefs are very close to my heart and are easily distorted and often mocked; but I know a lot of people are genuinely curious about Mormon beliefs, especially in recent years due to all of the media attention we’ve been getting.  Please know that I am not preaching—just explaining.

In the Mormon faith, we do not baptize babies because we don’t believe that they have the ability to sin, nor do we believe that they are born sinful due to Adam’s transgression.  We believe that until children are eight years old, they are still learning right from wrong and cannot be held spiritually accountable for their actions.  Children may choose to be baptized when they are eight years old, after they have learned about Jesus, repentance, and God’s commandments.

Though we do not have a baptismal service in church for babies, we do have an ordinance where fathers are able to bless their babies, formally declare their name, and give them counsel for their lives.  If a baby does not have a father in his life, he can be blessed by his grandfather or by a trusted family friend. Most of the time, babies are blessed in the first few months of their lives, but Noah's adoption had to be finalized before we could bless him.  

We believe that men who diligently live God’s commandments qualify for His priesthood or the ability to act, serve, and bless in His name.  This isn’t reserved for priests or pastors, but any righteous man can be ordained to use the priesthood in his own home and to bless the lives of others.  Some people criticize the Mormon Church because it is only men who hold the priesthood.  Though this might seem “sexist,” I truly don’t feel it is…and I consider myself to be somewhat of a feminist.  I think it is okay that men and women have different roles in life and in religion.  Women are leaders in our church too, and they are still able to bless others’ lives through God’s power.  Gordon B. Hinckley, who was the president of our church from 1995 to 2008, said, “The men hold the priesthood, yes--but my wife is my companion, and in this Church the man neither walks ahead of his wife nor behind his wife but at her side. They are co-equals in this life in a great enterprise.” My parents modeled this kind of partnership in my home growing up, and it is the kind of partnership that Ryan and I strive to develop every day.

Ryan did a beautiful job blessing Noah.  He told him that the miraculous circumstances surrounding his birth had strengthened the faith of many people and that he will always be able to think of the selfless sacrifice of his birth parents as an example of Christ’s Atonement.  He blessed him with health, happiness, and understanding.  He told him that we love his energy and enthusiasm.  He encouraged him to learn from his mother how to serve others (yeah, this was basically the sweetest thing ever--made me feel so good).  He blessed him to feel his Heavenly Father's love and to remain close to Him throughout his life.  

Noah was an angel throughout the entire blessing.  I was afraid he would be fussy, but he was silent and content.  He was surrounded by all of the men in his life who love him so much—his uncles, his grandpas, his birth grandpa, and his great grandpa.  It’s a symbolic aspect of the blessing that the baby be encircled by those men who will support him, protect him, and mentor him throughout his life.  Such a beautiful sight.

After church, we all went to my dad’s house for a family lunch.  We ate all of my dad’s specialties--tortilla soup, cornbread, and Christmas salad.  Yummmm.

A quick word about my dad.  He is amazing.  As I watched him bustling around the kitchen in his apron (yes, he has an apron—though, in his defense, it is a manly one), I couldn’t help but think about how remarkable he is.  He has been a widower for nine years, and he has never let that stop him from hosting family events.  He did so much to make sure that Noah’s weekend was perfect for all of the visiting company.  He grocery shopped and cooked and cleaned for everyone...and it was a big crowd. He really is Super Dad, and I am so grateful for him.

It was such a fun afternoon with the family before everyone headed home:

Love this picture.  It's no wonder Noah is so cute...look at his darling birthparents!
Drew's family
Katie's Grandma (who is also Sally's aunt)
Katie and her mom
Uncle Derek and Aunt Alli
I love the way Noah is looking at his Uncle D in this picture.
Uncle Tanner
These two are buddies.
Uncle Cole and Aunt Sara
Aunt Ashley and Uncle Nate...
and Callum snuck in there too!
I tried to get a picture of Noah with everyone, but he was so tired by this point in the weekend that it didn't happen.  Poor baby was done with photos, and who can blame him?...

Wuv that wittle pout
Fortunately, we got him out of his stiff clothes and Grandpa cheered him right up!

What a weekend!  We are so grateful for all of the people who came to support Noah.  He is such a blessing in our lives.  

And now, I am going to go kiss him in his sweet sweet boy.  


  1. This post makes me happy. :) I am happy you can be together as a family, and I am happy and proud that you could share about baptism in your religon.

    I saw an LDS baptism for the first time the first weekend in February and it was very interesting and exciting. It also made me very sad for a client, whose husband passed away when she was 5 months pregnant with her daughter. They have three little boys as well and I could not stop thinking about how he would not be there to baptize his boys in just a couple of years here. I just sat there and cried. (Obviously my client is LDS)

    I think you explained the process well, with one exception: members use the term "ordinances" a lot and while I get the dictionary definition, I don't really get it within the context of the relgion. It means like, something you do as a ritual or tradition, or something. But I wouldn't know how to explain it to someone other than that. The word ordinance is used a lot but no one really talks about what it means. I wish someone would!

    I have spent a TON of time in the church over the past almost 15 years, I've been through open houses in temples, lots of church services, I love RS and fast sunday (or the testimony part of it anyway, or should I say the story time part? lol) I love it like I love USC football. It's my favorite! I'm still Lutheran, but I'm a big fan, cheerleader and major defender of anyone stating incorrect information, or trashing the church. That just won't fly with me. I wish I could shoot a temple wedding every weekend, and if I could go to relief society and attend the temple, and still go to my own church, I would convert in two seconds, lol. But it doesn't work like that.

  2. I also had to say, your dad.. makes me... I don't know how to describe this, but proud? Maybe. I am proud of his struggle, or what he has overcome or accomplished. the role he has filled or taken over without your mom. I know you said you missed your mom more this last year and I can understand that- a lot. I bet you have, and I am proud of you both for surviving this and going on. No matter what you believe waits for you on the other side, it is still hard living this life without your loved ones in the flesh, holding your hand. You are all doing great, and that is something to be proud of.

    You dad is amazing, and you are great to recognize how much he has accomplished on his own. I bet your mom would be beaming too.

  3. just so beautiful.

    love to you all!

  4. Love this post! You guys really are amazing! I love seeing all of you guys come together to celebrate Noah. Your Dad is awesome! I love the pic of Noah sitting by the door all dressed up, crying... so sweet!

  5. Rach, little Noah doesn't look so little anymore! That boy is GROWING! Still a little snug. Thanks for the posts and the updates of the weekend. I've been waiting for them!

  6. I love all these pictures!

    I would just add that a baby blessing is similar to christenings in other churches.

    Also, Emily in Wonderland, I don't know if this helps, but what we call ordinances in our church, the Catholic church calls sacraments. So, to them baptism is a sacrament and marriage in the church is a sacrament. We call them ordinances. An ordinance is a ritual, but they are rituals that include us making covenants with Heavenly Father. All except for a baby blessing! That's the only ordinance where the person (who's a baby) doesn't make covenants. And it's the only ordinance that isn't necessary for salvation. We don't give baby blessings to adults who join the church!

  7. What a beautiful day. Thank you for sharing your experience. Noah is so handsome and sweet!

  8. Love this, love you, love Noah!!!! It sounds like a really special weekend. How awesome to have everyone there for the important events! I loved hearing about the blessing, too ... very neat. Makes me so happy!!!

  9. Love this kid! He's my Fat Face.


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