The Biologist and Her Baptism

The Biologist and Her Baptism January 21, 2011

The Friday before classes start this semester, my wife Lyndee and I attended a dinner at the college president’s house for first year faculty.

We always enjoy low-cost dates. That night, as things were widing down, I got up to get a drink and one of the other first year faculty, a biologist named Kelsey, sat next to my wife on the couch and started chatting. I had chatted with Kelsey during our earlier meetings. After all, I am Facebook friends with Steve Peck…I know biology.

When I returned, Kelsey asked, “So, what ward are you in?” Huh? This is not something we get asked often by non-members. But Kelsey is in the same department as Brother Brown, who happens to be on the stake high council. He was also heavily involved in the redrawing of the ward boundaries within the stake. Maybe she had heard of this and had picked up some Mormon lingo.

“Evert outed you as a Mormon,” she said. I sometimes sit with them in college-wide meetings and I had done so earlier in the week. Maybe Brother Brown had explained how we knew each other.

“I am getting baptized tomorrow.” I was floored. She had started taking the discussions around Christmas and this was the night before her baptism. I had no idea. But I was thrilled that somebody like her was joining our religious community.

Evert, Kelsey, and I had chatted evolution before. They are both die-hard evolutionary theorist. We have even poked fun at anti-evolution forces. Good times.

Kelsey told my wife and I that one of the things that caught her eye about Mormonism was that it is open and friendly towards evolution and science in general. I am not sure if she would have taken a closer look had it not.

My wife warned her, in a nice tone, that amongst Mormons you will find a range of people when it comes to such issues. I told her that one of the nicest people I have ever met is an evolutionary biologist at BYU.

That Saturday, Lyndee and I took the kids to watch Kelsey be baptized. Evert performed the baptism. Bishop Jacobs of Kelsey’s new ward presided over the meeting. He is a math professor at our college. I also turns out that Ben from the English department is in her ward. This was a pleasant surprise. Ben is friendly…and he also looks like a skater dude with long curly hair. I never peg the guy with the long hair as a Mormon.

After the baptism, our family went to Pizza Hut. It was a good place for finishing up our cheesy Mormon day (I had also done hospital visits earlier in the day). I told Lyndee that at that moment, I was the happiest as a Mormon that I had been in a long time. I am glad that Kelsey told us about her baptism.

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