Monday, October 11, 2010

When Baptisms Collide

In the spring of 1905, two Elders of the Mormon Church working near the town of Bybee, Tennessee were approached by potential converts asking for baptism. Baptisms were rare in Tennessee, so as you might expect, they were happy to oblige. The baptism was scheduled for a few days later at a spot commonly used for baptisms by all the local churches.

As luck would having it, a local Baptist congregation also decided to hold a baptismal service at the same place and at the very same hour. Elder Sorenson, who was President of the East Tennesse Conference, reported to the mission office details of the event. About 300 people arrived for the Baptist meeeting. A smaller but unspecified number arrived for the Mormon meeting. Although both meetings were scheduled for the same time, the Baptists went first.

When the Baptist services were over, the minister "gave way" for the Elders to hold their meeting. The Elders spoke for an hour to the combined crowd, which showed "great interest" in what they had to say. After the hour was up they performed the two baptisms as planned.

After this there was so much interest in hearing the missionaries that, according to Elder Sorenson, the "surrounding neighborhoods have christened it 'Utah'."

No comments: