“The baptism of repentance, as well as the baptism of the Holy Ghost”

On January 1, I recorded the following resolution in my journal: “In this New Year, I would experience the New Birth: Let me grow in grace, meekness, love, and good deeds. Allow me to gain new heights of spiritual understanding and to stand more consistently on the Christ, Rock.” I feel that spiritual growth is going on and there is fruitage to share.

In early December, I discovered a growth on the sole of one of my feet that caused discomfort. The discomfort was especially pronounced when I first got up during the night or in the morning, making it difficult to walk. I prayed on my own for several days, addressing not only the false belief of the growth, but also the apprehension that my freedom of mobility was under threat. This is one of several passages that I worked with: “The understanding, even in a degree, of the divine All-power destroys fear, and plants the feet in the true path,—the path built without hands ‘eternal in the heavens’” (S&H 454:5–9).

After a few days’ spiritual work, I enlisted the support of a practitioner. Within a couple of days of contacting the practitioner, there was a turning point. As I studied “Pond and Purpose” one evening, I experienced something of the baptism of repentance, as well as the baptism of the Holy Ghost. It’s difficult to articulate, but I felt a deep closeness with my Father-Mother God that was simultaneously chastening—a recognition of the importance of the experience and also of the need to have great deal more of that divine intimacy in my life—and exalting: “… Truth cleansing from all sin; giving mortals new motives, new purposes, new affections, all pointing upward” (Mis. 204:12–15).

I kept the practitioner on the case for a few more days and continued my own spiritual work. It’s a bit difficult to say how long the healing took after this point for two reasons: (1) I wasn’t monitoring the physical “evidence”; (2) the change happened gradually and subtly over quite a few days, if not weeks. What I can say is that around Christmas I was entirely free and deeply grateful.

During the second week of January, one of my daughter’s classmates threw a basketball to her during gym. Instead of catching it in her hands, she ran into it with a finger. She came home with the hurt finger taped to her pinky. There was evidence of swelling and discoloration and she was unable to move her finger without causing considerable discomfort. The whole family prayed, and we also enlisted the help of a practitioner.

Her mother and I wanted to rely entirely on Spirit for this healing, but we faced nagging concerns that if the finger had been broken—a question a school nurse raised at one point—there could be consequences if it didn’t set properly. As we prayed, we listened for guidance. We never felt led to pursue a medical diagnosis, but we did have a Christian Science nurse visit one afternoon. By that time the healing was nearly complete, and the nurse confirmed the progress we had been feeling. The next day our daughter was back participating in gym class. There was no evidence that the problem had ever occurred, which of course it had not.

A couple of weeks later, our daughter was having discomfort from constipation. We went to work spiritually and the argument was met within a day or so. Several other arguments that she faced last year were also met through prayer.

One Sunday morning, as I was preparing to teach Sunday School (the subject of the Lesson that week was Truth), this short, light poem came to me.

Rumor Hasn’t

A rumor is
like a helium-filled balloon:
buoyant, unpredictable, and
capturing everyone’s
attention until
the needle prick of truth
sends it into a last
flutter of chattering
mendacity and leaves it
finally flat
marooned in abject