Thought I'd drop you a line to give you an update on our family's latest conversion story. Michael has had a non-member friend with whom he has hung out for several years now. His name is Paris Demille. Paris has always been a "good kid" who has done very well in school and who is quite popular with his peers. Ever since James started the practice of sharing a scripture each evening, Michael has carried on the tradition and began to include Paris a year or so ago. Michael, by the beginning of this their senior year, finally persuaded Paris to take seminary during the school day. By September Paris consented to taking the missionary discussions, but we had to get permission from his grandparents, with whom he and his little sister, London, were living at the time. I made a visit to Gail and Nancy Demille and procured their permission, so that the discussions with the full-time Elders could begin. They even granted permission for 11 year-old London to sit in on the lessons.
By mid-October a baptismal date had been set for either the first or second Saturday in November, but by the end of the month concerns had arisen as to whether or not Paris' mother, Camille, would consent to the baptism(s). She had been living out of town, and began to express some reservations. The baptismal date was finally set for November 13th, but when Camille moved back to Monroe on Nov. 4th and met with the missionaries, she decided that she would not allow either Paris or London to be baptized due to her unwillingness to have them affiliate with a church that seemed to discriminate against gays and those who had participated in abortions. Her concerns arose when the missionaries informed her of the questions that Paris and London would be asked during their baptismal interviews. On Sunday the 7th I met with her and we spoke together for some time. I was able to help alleviate her misunderstandings, and she consented to allow Paris' baptism to go forward on the 13th, but London would have to wait until she was a little older and "mature enough to make her own decisions."
Camille's consent to allow Paris' baptism obviously elated us, so the missionaries began to prepare for an early-morning service in a baptismal room that might not contain all the people that were planning to attend. Things had to happen early that day due to the fact that many of the high school students (including Michael) were scheduled to participate in the school play, "My Fair Lady," during the 1 PM matinee.
When we showed up at 9 AM on Sat., the 13th, there was London, all dressed in white alongside Elder Jared Harlan, also dressed in white. When I asked Elder Harlan what happened, he told me that London's mom had thought about it some more and felt good about consenting to London's baptism as well. She literally gave the O.K. the day before!
We only set up one row of chairs in front of the baptismal font for the family. The rest of the room was packed, standing room only, with Paris' high school friends. The feeling I got was hard to describe as I watched my 17 year old son baptize and then hug his friend in front of all that support. The service was spirit-filled as was the sacrament meeting the following day when London and then Paris were confirmed members of the Church. As they say, "It just doesn't get any better than this!"