At the Washington D.C. visitor's center, they have all kinds of interactive displays that tell you about the history of the church, the temples, and everything you could ever want to know! There is one thing that sticks out in my mind about the display with Emma Smith, and it's her testimony of Joseph Smith as a translator of the Book of Mormon. She said that he could barely write a letter, let alone dictate a manuscript without some kind of divine intervention. She testified that he would dictate for hours upon hours, then no matter how long or numerous the distractions, pick up right where he left off without looking at the written, translated manuscript that was already taken down. Emma herself was the scribe at times, and she said that she believed that his work is genuine, and that even an educated person (which Joseph was not) could not have created what Joseph received from Heavenly Father.
While watching the Joseph Smith movie, I had such a profound respect impressed upon me for Emma this second time of seeing it. I would really love to get to know more about her. I question whether or not I could have possessed her patience, her understanding, her faith in the work of her husband (even if I knew it to be true) despite the adversity of doing so. I would like to believe that I have the faith to be as strong and courageous as she was, and she truly is a role model for all the sisters of this church.
The temple was beautiful inside and out, but I must admit, I was nervous to perform the baptisms. I'm not sure why, but I was stricken with terrible anxiousness, and was not able to relax until after the baptisms and the confirmations were performed. Once it was over, and we went up to the vend-eteria, we (tried) to get something to eat from the vending machines. But, alas, it was not that simple. It kept eating our money. The Pay Day got us twice. The M&Ms, however, eventually dropped two down so we got what we paid for. It got to the point where I had to ask, "Isn't this gambling? This putting money in a machine with no certainty that we'll actually get anything in return? We're gambling in the temple!" The brethren standing there in all white, I'm sure, got a kick out of that, because he was laughing.
We went to the LDS bookstore, and I got Ben a book by John Bytheway: What I Wish I'd Known Before My Mission. He'll love it because it's John Bytheway, AND it's about missions. He takes his mission very seriously (as he should), and I know he'll appreciate this.
I also bought a Hymn book, and a French Book of Mormon. They were both relatively cheap, so I look at it as a birthday present to me, from me. The Hymn book will give me something (of worth) to practice on my guitar now that my guitar class is over. The French Book of Mormon will help me increase my French vocabulary, and I really want to work on being fluent in a second language. Because I've taken French classes, I figured a French Book of Mormon would be good for that. So really, I got two books that will help me achieve two goals that I already had. I'm just proactive about achieving what I set out to do, I suppose.
Since I've been home, I called my mom as she said to do in her note. She wasn't very pleased when I talked to her. She said that, because I told her we were leaving early so as not to be gone all day, meant that I would be back around 4 at the latest. That's what I thought was going to happen. Little did I know, baptisms for the dead require an entire day, starting early and ending late in the evening. I didn't mean to do that, and she isn't very happy with me right now.
And then, of course, my father had to call me to make me feel that much better about myself. I promptly hung up on him, as I always do. Just because my patriarchal blessing says to pray for him, which I've done, does NOT mean I have to speak to him or see him. I am firm in this resolve. What I'm doing with him at this point isn't out of anger; rather, self-defense. He cannot be trusted. That is a fact. And now he must live with the consequences. He doesn't seem to understand that. But I don't really care what happens to him at this point. He is the Lord's problem now, not mine.
I think I'll go and play some hymns now. I want to start working on #98 right away. It's my favorite.