Friday, April 11, 2014

Second Chances

Earlier this year my friend, Liz, came to me frustrated with some of the things the preacher at her church had been saying. Among the items of confusion and frustration for her was the preacher's inability to explain what happens to people who never have an opportunity to accept Christ and be baptized. She couldn't fathom a God who would condemn a soul because they were born in Africa and never heard about Jesus during their life, or a baby who dies before they have an opportunity to be baptized. This didn't seem like the kind and just God that she believed in.

Prior to this conversation I had already invited her and her family to go to the Gilbert Temple open house with us and we had tickets to attend in the upcoming weeks. I was so excited that I could tell her that when we toured the temple together that one of the things she would see was a beautiful font supported on the backs of 12 oxen and that this font was used specifically to perform baptisms on behalf of those who had died without the opportunity to learn of Jesus and be baptized during their time on Earth. She was ecstatic about this concept and gushed for days afterwards to me about happy this idea of a second chance made her.

A few short weeks later our family had the opportunity to take Liz, her husband, and their 3 children to the Gilbert Temple open house. During the tour we didn't have much opportunity to talk and I was having trouble deciphering her reaction to the temple. She appeared quiet and reflective, seeming to just be soaking it all in.

As soon as we exited the temple and took off our little plastic booties she grabbed me and excitedly said, "I LOVED the second chance font!!!!!" I must have been looking at her with a look of confusion because she said, "You know, the font on the back of the oxen where people get a second chance to accept Christ! The second chance font!! It was so beautiful and it just makes me so excited that EVERYBODY gets a chance to be baptized."

For weeks after our tour Liz continued to tell me about all the people SHE was telling about the second chance font in the temple. She talked to people at work, she called her mom in Texas and told anybody who would listen to her.

My husband, Michael, commented that the opportunity of taking Liz and her family to experience the temple for the first time, seeing her awe and reverence and respect of the beauty and symbolism of the temple as well as her excitement over some of the ordinances performed within was helping him to see all these things again through new eyes. Things that had become ordinary and taken for granted became new and beautiful again. He felt like he was being given a second chance to fall in love with the temple anew.

-Nicole Miller

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