Would He Understand?
January 2020

“Would He Understand?” Ensign, January 2020

Latter-day Saint Voices

Would He Understand?

mother and son walking away from the temple

Illustration by Allen Garns

In 2005, I gave birth to premature triplets: Milena, Mateo, and Nelson. Milena was born healthy, but my two little boys suffered complications. Mateo died of those complications three months after he was born.

A month after we lost Mateo, Nelson was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and deafness. We were devastated. Doctors told us he would never walk. At that moment, we were grateful for our knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It helped us understand why we experience adversity in this life.

Through faith and hard work, Nelson learned to walk and to communicate through sign language. He has done much better than his doctors ever predicted. He has grown up happy in our family and in the gospel.

Despite his limitations, we have had several goals for Nelson: that he understand the meaning of baptism before he was baptized, that he receive the Aaronic Priesthood at age 12, and that he go to the temple to do baptisms for the dead.

In 2017, Nelson turned 12. We helped him prepare to do baptisms for the dead. It was a challenge for him to understand that those who have died without baptism need our help. Soon after Nelson’s birthday, he, Milena, his older siblings Franco and Brenda, and other youth from our ward went to the Córdoba Argentina Temple. The temple president greeted them and spoke to them about the importance of vicarious baptism. I sat with Nelson and signed for him. Before long, it was his turn. When he stepped into the baptismal font, we wondered, would he truly understand?

As he entered the water, Nelson became emotional. At that moment, the Holy Ghost manifested to us that he did in fact understand that he was doing something for his deceased ancestors that they could not do for themselves. We knew he understood that family members on the other side of the veil were happy he was helping them. The Spirit also manifested to us that Mateo was there to accompany his brother and sister. When Nelson came out of the water, he was very happy.

Since then, Nelson has been baptized and confirmed for many family members, including my father, who passed away in 2016. We love the temple. Serving there has become one of our family traditions. Each time we go, we remember that special day.