Getting a 'clean start'
May 25th, 2010
12:20 PM ET

My adult baptism

What was it like to go on a pilgrimage? How did it feel the first time you spoke in tongues? Where did the experience of a week-long meditation retreat take you?

The CNN Belief Blog will occasionally share the spiritual journeys of others and begins with this one from Jascinth Hall, a 26-year-old wife and mother of three who was baptized - along with 109 others - on Saturday, May 8, at Berean Seventh-day Adventist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. This is her account of the experience, in her own words.

There’s a generation of people in our churches, in all churches, that never left the church but left the church. You're there every week, you hold down a pew, but sometimes you're not even listening to the preacher.

My father’s a Seventh-day Adventist pastor, so I was raised Seventh-day Adventist. When you’re a child, you do as you’re told. But as an adult I wanted to make an independent decision of my own to be re-baptized.

It had been a long time since I'd prayed. It had been a long time since I read the Bible. But it's never too late. It's only too late when you give up on yourself.

Re-baptism is a common thing in the church. As a teenager, even as an adult, I’ve made bad decisions. I’ve sinned. I wanted to just give my life completely over to Christ again and say, “Lord I know I’ve made mistakes. But I know that you forgive me for my sins. I know that you’ll take my life and make it worth something - make it of some value.”

I hadn’t told anyone I was getting re-baptized. I wanted it to be a surprise. I'd been praying about it, and I knew it was something I needed to do just for my own soul.

When I woke that Sabbath morning, I just felt that the Lord was saying, “I can see in your heart that you're good, and this is me giving you a clean start. It may not be the end of all of your mistakes, but I'm here, and I always will be here.”

Having that feeling that you have a God that's always going to be there for you and always going to care for you and just loves you is a good feeling.

We wore nice white robes. Even though before you may have sinned, it signifies that when you come out of that water you're going to be clean. Every sin you've made in the past is gone. So even if you can't forgive yourself, it's as far as the East is from the West with the Lord.

Before you join our church, there are beliefs or foundations that we want you to understand. We [those being baptized] don't recite them, but they go over them and you agree to them in front of the congregation.

You go up to the baptismal pool. It's an indoor baptismal pool – not a big space, but it's enough space for you to get three people in and baptize side by side. It’s located behind the choir loft, and it's lifted up and seen by all.

It's like a little journey in that traveling time going up the steps. I just thought about a lot of things. My children. My husband. The choices that I’ve made. How I'm seen as a person. Who I come off as, and who I want to come off as.

I was waiting to go into the water, standing at that window, just looking out and thinking. I do hear the Lord talk to me. We do have conversations. So at that time, I was having another conversation. There was just a moment when I looked out the window and I was like, “Lord, I don't know what the next step for me is. I don't know what you want me to be in life. I'm not perfect, but if you'll have me, I'm coming back to you.”

Going in the water, it feels very tranquil, like a bath, like a warm bath. When I read the Bible, you hear about Christ baptizing in the Jordan River. You could just imagine how great that water must have felt. We don't have Jesus baptizing us, but it still feels that same way. You’ve got people who support you there at the church standing up, and they're singing, and there's music. The pastor’s got this great smile. It's almost like going into a concert and being the featured guest. It's just a great feeling to go in there, and when you go into the water it’s just like peace when you come up.

It was quick. It's probably all of maybe five or 10 seconds, but it feels like forever when you're waiting.

That experience is one of the best experiences that you can possibly go through. If it’s one time or five times, it's a great experience because every single time you go into that water you feel that pressure, or that burden of guilt, just lift and it's gone.

I felt happy – a real sense of the word happy. It's not a material thing. It’s not something that you can buy. It’s not something that you can render to somebody else. Only the Lord can give you that sense of peace and that's what happiness is, I think.

CNN’s Jessica Ravitz, who interviewed Hall, condensed and edited the transcript for length and clarity. Most of the featured photographs were taken by CNN’s Robert Johnson, who attends Hall’s church. If you want to share your own spiritual journey, tell us about it in the comments section or send us a note at journeys@cnn.com.

- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Journeys • Traditions

soundoff (339 Responses)
  1. ToolMan

    Sally, so if I choose to believe and I am not popular then that's ok. but if I don't believe and I am popular that's not ok

    May 25, 2010 at 3:56 pm |
  2. Jumper53

    Beautiful Black....If we (all man-kind) have been forgiven by the acts of the cross because we are part of them (who know not what they do) and there is a Christ Child sitting at the right hand of the father on our behalf, then why would a loving God, who will have all heads bowed, every knee bent and every tongue confess put anyone in a fiery pit? That concept takes the absolute love out of a God who loves absolutely.

    May 25, 2010 at 3:52 pm |
    • Chris

      I agree with you Jumper53 why would a loving Heavenly Father who loves all of his children good or bad, just as any father would, allow His children to spend an eternity of damnation in a fiery place saved only for Satan and his angels. of course we will have to pay for our sins , just as we get punished for our errors here, but we wont receive an eternal fiery pit, the better we do here, the better out reward at the resurrection and judgment.

      May 25, 2010 at 3:58 pm |
    • gomezbaby

      God doesn't make the decision. You make the decision yourself. If you want to live without God in the here and now then He will give you what you want in the afterlife as well. If you don't want Jesus now, why would you want to spend an eternity with Him? He doesn't force Himself on us. When we invite, He comes in. He's just honoring your decision to not want Him in your life...again, it's not his decision to send you to a fiery eternity, it's your's in your denial.

      May 25, 2010 at 4:09 pm |
    • Jim

      Chris, so it isn't a matter of grace, it's Jesus' payback for our good deeds?

      May 25, 2010 at 4:12 pm |
  3. Sally

    This is an Appeal to Belief and Appeal to Popularity fallacy. Belief in something is not proof of existence. Popularity in a belief or system does not make that belief or system correct or true. All it means is that many believe and the idea is popular, nothing more.

    May 25, 2010 at 3:49 pm |
    • LouAz

      But very lucrative and you get to tell people how to live because they are powerless to discover that they don't need you.
      Best and longest running racket going. In the evening you get to fiddle their children that they keep offering to you.

      May 25, 2010 at 3:55 pm |
    • Givingpraise

      Seems you are searching Sally? He does exist. Make no mistake about that...

      October 11, 2010 at 8:57 pm |
  4. Baptism

    This is all good, but there is one key element missing. The Authority from Christ himself to baptized someone. Indeed baptism is how we become clean of our sins. but Christ didn't just choose any of the people He met on His way to the Jordan River. He Chose John the Baptist because he held the correct authority to baptize Him. He is our perfect example, we must be born of water and spirit by one holding the authority. However we have a merciful loving Father who loves us no matter what religion, as long as we are striving to do the correct thing. just like this lady in this article.

    May 25, 2010 at 3:49 pm |
  5. Joel3

    Usually, that type of preacher has turned his job into a "business." His remaining followers have put their trust in him or built a personal relationship so they stay until it all comes crashing down. I say "remaining" followers because most times people can pick up on someone who is blinded by greed. I had to change the church I go to because I noticed they would judge people on the way they looked at times. Christ said "Come as you are." He spent His time with sinners and the poor, not with business men or people who were into religion like the pharisees. Just humble yourself and keep it real with Him when you pray.

    May 25, 2010 at 3:47 pm |
  6. ToolMan

    Well, personnally I am not afraid of speed but, everytime you bring up religion money always finds it's way to the top. either your on the giving team or the receiving team....

    May 25, 2010 at 3:47 pm |
  7. the bob

    Thats a easy one they have nothing else to do. Just like fighting to take chrismas away and all crosses from public land. Amazing how people that find happiness can make those who live for nothing so mad.

    May 25, 2010 at 3:42 pm |
  8. ToolMan

    Joel3, you may be right, but why do they get so rich and have so many people following them?

    May 25, 2010 at 3:39 pm |
    • the bob

      Tool again just like he said you are taking a handful of people and using it against a whole religion. Most preachers are not rich most make a lot less then most of the members its all acording on the size of the church and what the senior members decide is a fair pay. Just like most things on TV you not always belive what you see.

      May 25, 2010 at 3:49 pm |
  9. beautiful black

    i will be praying for all you non believers. You really should ask for God's forgivness and for him to deliver u from your ignorance. But God loves all people regardless of how much doubt others have in him and his existence. Get it together cause you wont be allowed into the gates of heaven until you confess that He is God. Wait too late and you'll be burning in the firey pits of hell and thats something you guys really dont want. God bless u all

    May 25, 2010 at 3:39 pm |
  10. Buckwheat

    Just a couple of weekends ago after church me and a friend went to the local chicken joint to get a few juicy legs. The total came to 9 something, he gave her a 10 and got 10 back and change. She mistakenly thought he handed her a 20. He graciously kept the 10 and we went on our way. I was taken a back.

    May 25, 2010 at 3:38 pm |
  11. Jumper53

    Regardless if you have a belief or not, GOD IS. And GOD IS smarter than man. Hanging from that cross that we all seem to profess, a perfect son said "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do". And it was finished. The perfect plan from a perfect GOD was put into effect. It doesn't matter what you think, believe, or do, you are forgiven by a GOD who IS. And that is forever and ever Amen.

    May 25, 2010 at 3:37 pm |
    • LouAz

      How's that peace on earth stuff workin' out for ya ?

      May 25, 2010 at 3:40 pm |
  12. Joel3

    @ ToolMan – Huh?? I don't understand. WE GIVE TO THE POOR AND FORGOTTEN. Who do you help except yourself? Don't let a few bad preachers stain your perception of your Creator. It will ultimately destroy you. Being a believer is based on prayer and faith. Not the pope or any religious ceremony.

    May 25, 2010 at 3:35 pm |
  13. DMX

    "Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burned, tortured, fined, and imprisoned, yet we have not advanced one inch toward uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half of the world fools and the other half hypocrites." Notes on Virginia

    May 25, 2010 at 3:34 pm |
    • kyle

      ...and these things didn't happen before Christianity?

      Many people have done unjust things in the name of a just cause.

      But this is not what Christianity teaches. Check it out for yourself. Can you call it a Christian cause if it goes against the very tenets of Christianity? Jesus taught his disciples that if they couldn't persuade people in a town that they should "shake the dust off their feet and move on to the next town. Christ died willingly without a fight. Peter was martyred...never killed anyone that wouldn't believe in Christ. Paul was martyred...never killed anyone that didn't believe in Christ. Christians in the colliseum died willingly without a fight. Many Christians were burned at the stake as heretics during the Inquisition. There is a long history of Christians who have been killed for simply being a Christian, and these people did nothing remotely violent toward their executioners.
      Do we want to talk about the millions that have died at the hands of non-Christians? Try the iron curtain...or China...or Islam...or the Roman Empire...

      May 30, 2010 at 6:04 pm |
  14. ToolMan

    There is proof, why do you think the people who can't afford to give, give to those who don't need it to tell them they need something more than they have and spend you hard earned money on fancy vehicles,clothes, and homes laughing all the way to the bank. see you at the golden coral on Sunday!!!!!

    May 25, 2010 at 3:32 pm |
  15. beautiful black

    @ Jay Bors can u prove to me there isnt a God How do you manage to wake up every morning? Trust me, the power is not in self

    May 25, 2010 at 3:31 pm |
  16. DMX

    "To talk of immaterial existences is to talk of nothings. To say that the human soul, angels, God, are immaterial, is to say they are nothings, or that there is no God, no angels, no soul. I cannot reason otherwise: but I believe I am supported in my creed of materialism by Locke, Tracy, and Stewart. At what age of the Christian church this heresy of immaterialism, this masked atheism, crept in, I do not know. But a heresy it certainly is. Jesus told us indeed that 'God is a spirit,' but he has not defined what a spirit is, nor said that it is not matter. And the ancient fathers generally, if not universally, held it to be matter: light and thin indeed, an etherial gas; but still matter." letter to John Adams, August 15, 1820

    May 25, 2010 at 3:31 pm |
    • MuDdLe

      Alright den. I guess that settles it.

      Quote a passage that touts a crude version of materialism that few if any physicalists today would likely find plausible.

      It's all so simple for schoolyard atheists.

      May 30, 2010 at 5:14 pm |
  17. Jim

    You're my hero, one of the few people posting here who has any sense! Thanks!

    May 25, 2010 at 3:30 pm |
  18. Sharon

    Talon7 – you reap what you sow...be very careful

    May 25, 2010 at 3:27 pm |
  19. Parrot-lover

    Re-baptism is evil. Celebrating the Lord's Day on the Sabbath Saturday is unscriptural, unhistorical, and stupid.

    May 25, 2010 at 3:25 pm |
    • AGuest9

      "unscriptural"??? The vast majority of the Bible is actually about Jews! The Sabbath always WAS on Saturday!

      May 30, 2010 at 3:48 pm |
  20. Joel3

    @ Talon7 – Gee that's strange, because I didn't accept anything until He poured His spirit on me. Yea, I know, it sounds sooo impossible, right? But you atheist agnostics have it all figured out lol.

    May 25, 2010 at 3:23 pm |
    • SueK

      Actually, we DON'T have it all figured out, which is why we actually think about what's possible. We don't take an old book and tie a blindfold on and ask it to lead us.

      May 25, 2010 at 3:26 pm |
    • the bob

      i won't even start to judge you like so many on here have. I do feel sorry for you and the many others on here who have nohting to live for and will pray that you find a way to stop living blindly.

      May 25, 2010 at 3:39 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.