Day 5 - Sunday, July 15th
We attended the Kirtland Ward sacrament meeting in the morning. It was fun to see Darin's (my sister-in-law) parents, the Brians, who are also serving in Kirtland. (Her dad is the director of the Visitors' Center.) The ward had been divided the week before, and the bishop was getting new counselors. Because he had been without counselors all week, he had been pretty stressed out.
After church we went with my sister's family over to the Community of Christ (formerly the "Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" -- they officially changed their name in 2000) visitors' center so that we could take a tour of the Kirtland Temple -- since they "own" it. It was very.... different.
I mean different than what I'm used to, meaning LDS visitors' centers and tours. First of all, they ask you to pay a fee. [It's only $2 a person, but it's the principle that bothers me. They say it's for the preservation of the Temple. It doesn't seem like they have done a very good job of it, but they do have a brand new visitors' center. Hm. Oh well.] After watching a film in the visitors' center, the guide takes you through the temple. It is a beautiful building, and it is wonderful to see. I just wish that instead the tours could be given my LDS missionaries, who would bear testimony and invite the spirit.
Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and professional, but you didn't get the sense that the Kirtland Temple was special or important to him... it was just a job. When he briefly mentioned the appearance of heavenly beings, he did so without any feeling. It left me feeling sort of let down.
On the other hand, you can visit a place like the Whitney store and feel a powerful outpouring of the spirit. But still, the Kirtland Temple is a special place where very important things occurred, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to visit it.That afternoon was the highlight of our trip. Collin had been waiting for this for months. He was finally baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by his dad in Kirtland, Ohio at the stake center, along with his cousin (and best friend) Brett. It was a very nice program. [A few days before we found out that there would be a couple of extra children baptized that day. The sister missionaries had been teaching the 11-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter of a recent convert from Germany. They had planned to be baptized on Saturday, the day before. But when the ward was divided and the bishop was suddenly without counselors and overwhelmed with reorganizing his ward, he asked if they could combine with our program on Sunday to simplify things for him. So, it was going to be a very small affair with just our two families and my parents, but we ended up with a full house, with several families there from the Kirtland Ward to support the new members.]
My mom spoke first about baptism, and did a wonderful job speaking to the children, as she always does. She had them completely captivated. Then Collin and Brett sang a duet, "If The Savior Stood Beside Me." It was so beautiful, and I was so proud of them.
After the baptisms, my dad spoke about the Holy Ghost, and really got the kids involved thinking about the ways they feel the spirit. [My parents are amazing. I am so grateful to have been raised by such wonderful people.]
Then the confirmations took place [Jay gave a wonderful blessing. I was so proud of him, and grateful that he is the father of my children], and Bishop Packer made some brief remarks. It was a wonderful experience. It would have been great no matter where it took place, but it was extra special to be in Kirtland, and I'm so glad my parents could be there.
After dinner and birthday cake for my nephew, Jacob, who was celebrating his 15th birthday, we went for a drive through lovely Kirtland and the gorgeous neighboring village of Waite Hill. Wow.
We ended up at Squire's Castle, where we spent a little time looking around, walking in the woods, and the kids had a blast pretending to be in a real medieval castle.