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I have a big fear of going underwater. I found my baptism really difficult. I have been a member for nearly 4 years and I still have not done a baptism in the temple because of my fear. My patriarchal blessing talks about me doing family history. I do family history and confirmations in the temple as a way to make up for not doing baptisms. If I never manage to do a baptism for a dead person, what will the consequences be? Will I be less likely to get into the celestial kingdom because of this?





Dear Renata,

Be at peace.  Perhaps you will be able to master your fear of going underwater, perhaps not.  Either way, you can do your family history work, and perform other ordinances in the temple.  The youth in your area can serve you by doing the baptisms – something which will bless both you and them.

I have no doubt the Lord understands your heart and that you desire to do this work.  Trust that he will both accept the best you have to offer, and, if you have faith and it’s his will, he will help you to overcome your fear.

Ether 12:27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.  Ether 12:27

Sometimes, the way in which the Lord makes weak things strong is not the way we imagine.  Paul, for example, had some weakness which he referred to as a “thorn in the flesh”, which was not taken away.  Rather, the Lord helped him to endure this trial:

7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.


8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.


9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.


10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.  2 Corinthians 12:7-10

I cannot predict whether the Lord will help you to overcome your fear, or whether he will help you to endure its continued existence.  Either way, I’m confident that if you turn to the Lord, seek his guidance, and do your best to follow him, all will be well in the end.

As for the consequence of not doing the baptisms yourself, I believe it will be as simple as missing whatever you might have experienced by doing them.  That is, you won’t fail to attain the celestial kingdom when the only thing stopping you was a fear over which you had no control.  You won’t be punished for not doing the baptisms yourself.  But you also won’t experience whatever blessings might have come from doing them yourself.  Therefore, keep working at your family history.  Keep doing the ordinances you can.  Serve the Lord and obey his commandments.  If you can, work to overcome your fear – seek help, if needed, both from professionals and through priesthood blessings.  It’s OK if it takes years, just keep doing as much as you can.  Imagine how grateful an ancestor will be knowing that you overcame your fear just to bring her this blessing!  And if you can’t master this fear, you will be stronger for trying, and the Lord will know you did everything you could.  And your ancestors will still thank you for doing the family history work and enlisting the help of others to perform their baptisms.  I’m confident this will be sufficient.






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