More Special Than I Ever Imagined

“More Special Than I Ever Imagined,” Ensign, Aug. 1994, 58–59

“More Special Than I Ever Imagined”

I broke my arm six weeks before my eighth birthday. Since I would have to wear a cast for eight weeks, I knew I would have to postpone my baptism a whole month. To an eight-year-old, a month can seem like forever, and I had looked forward to being baptized for a long time.

My dad knew of my disappointment, and we prayed together several times, asking that I would be able to wait without being too sad.

As anyone who has broken a limb knows, the adjustment to wearing a cast was difficult. With help I managed to dress myself, do my chores, and learn to eat with my left hand. It was a long six weeks until my birthday, and I grew sadder and sadder knowing I would have to wait to be baptized.

On my eighth birthday, a Friday, I went to see the doctor for a routine checkup on my arm. To my surprise, the doctor took off the cast, saying my arm had healed. I cried with happiness at the news, because for me it was a miracle that meant I could be baptized the next day after all.

Early the next evening, we drove to the stake center for my baptism. But as we pulled into the parking lot, we noticed there were no other cars. Perhaps we were early. We went into the chapel, but no one was there. Entering the baptismal room, we heard the last gurgle of water going down the drain of the font. The priesthood leader in charge of the baptismal service told us that the meeting had been over for an hour.

I sat down in a chair at the back of the room and started to cry quietly, unable to hide the disappointment I felt once again. As I wept, the man’s wife put her arm around me and tried to console me, explaining that there would be another service next month.

Up by the font, the man asked my dad why I was crying, and Dad quietly explained about my broken arm and the events leading up to this special day. He showed the man the recommend from our bishop that authorized my dad to baptize me.

The man could see my disappointment, and to my surprise, he began to fill the font again—just for me! His wife smiled and told me to take off my shoes and walk up to the font, since I was already dressed in the white baptismal clothing my mother had made me.

Soon, my father was dressed in white and leading me down the steps into the warm, clear water of the font. In the quiet of that evening, my family and the man and his wife looked on as Dad repeated the words of the baptismal prayer. I held my nose with my right hand, and Dad lowered me into the water and brought me back up again. After hugs from Dad and Mom, I went in and changed my clothes.

That simple service was unforgettable and made a solemn impression on me. There had been no special music, no talks, and no other children with parents and grandparents filling the room. But it was more special than I ever imagined, because I felt the Lord made it possible for me to be baptized that day. For the first distinct time in my young life, I felt humility and the outpouring of love it brings. I have sought to retain that feeling ever since.

  • Thaya Eggleston Gilmore is a visiting teacher in the Rivergrove Second Ward, Provo Utah Central Stake.