Following the general announcement to Church members that priests in the Aaronic Priesthood with a limited-use recommend can, ‘officiate in baptisms for the dead, including serving as the baptiser and as a witness’ (First Presidency letter, 14th December 2017), Joseph Ford of the Loughborough Ward, Leicester England Stake, became the first priest in the UK to perform baptisms for the dead in the London England Temple.
Joseph was ordained a priest in October 2017, and when he heard about the change in policy he knew immediately he wanted to take the opportunity: “Like most priests, I knew I had the priesthood authority to baptise, but I didn't expect to actually baptise anyone until I went on my mission. When I heard the First Presidency changed the rules for baptisms in the temple, I knew I wanted to do it as soon as I could.”
On 3rd January 2018, Joseph went to the London Temple with his sister Anna (13), brother Tom (12) and cousins Georgia (17) and Joe (14). “I'd been baptised in the Temple before, but when we arrived I felt so excited and nervous. After they welcomed us into the Temple, we sang a hymn and said a prayer. I really felt the Spirit. As I walked into the font I didn't even know where to stand or what to do, but my Dad showed me - and I baptised my brother and cousin ten times each. It was amazing. After I'd finished baptising, I then sat as a witness as my Dad baptised my sister.”
“I'd invite all priests to find a way to do baptisms in the Temple as soon as you can. I definitely feel one step closer to being a missionary.”Joseph reflecting back on the experience