Baptism on Moorea

By Vivian Paulsen

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    And he commandeth all men that they must repent, and be baptized in his name, having perfect faith in the Holy One of Israel (2 Ne. 9:23).

    The South Pacific sun shone brightly as children and their families gathered at the beautiful Haumi chapel on Moorea Island. They had been there earlier for their regular Sunday meetings. A special reason had brought them back. It was late October, and the bright flowers that grow everywhere on this island wonderland seemed even more lovely than usual.

    This day Jonathan Mau was to be baptized, an important day in a young man’s life. Almost the entire branch membership, including his family and friends, were coming to welcome him as a new member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He will do the same for those who follow him. It is a tradition of love on this French Polynesian island.

    Jonathan had been taught about Jesus by his family and his Primary teachers. He knew the Savior’s atoning sacrifice made it possible for him to repent and be baptized. He had learned about and quietly considered the importance of the gift he was to receive at the hands of the priesthood after his baptism. His branch president, Taina Mau, had interviewed him and found him prepared and worthy to become a member of the Church and receive the Holy Ghost as his teacher, guide, and comforter.

    Jonathan was ready.

    Photos by Janet Thomas and Vivian Paulsen

    1. Jonathan is the oldest child in his family and the first to be baptized.

    2. Te Matai Mau, Jonathan’s grandfather, was asked by the family to perform the baptism.

    3. The ordinance was performed in the baptismal font located in the chapel courtyard. Young friends gathered around.

    4. After his baptism, Jonathan was confirmed a member of the Church and was given the gift of the Holy Ghost by those holding the Melchizedek Priesthood.

    5. The tiare Tahiti, a beautiful white flower found all over his island, reminds Jonathan of the need to keep his life clean and good by obeying the commandments of the Lord.

    6. Though his island is one of the most beautiful in the world, the gospel is even more beautiful to this new young member in the South Pacific.