Austin had reached the age of 8 (a special age of 'accountability' in life when most children understand their actions and consequences and can begin to make choices that they, themselves, will be responsible for) and we wanted Austin to be baptized, just like his father Bernd and I, myself, had done in our own lives. (me when I was 8 and Bernd when he was 21)
We had taught Austin the gospel of Jesus Christ and raised him to be a righteous young boy. He was very excited to be baptized and also covenant in this life to be like our Savior Jesus Christ. We needed two (2) Elders to perform this Ordinance, and so we asked Ken Olsen, our good friend, to help Bernd do this for Austin.
Bernd and I had been struggling spiritually (now that we did not go to the LDS Church any more) and so we felt we needed to re-commit our OWN promises and Covenants with God, by being Re-baptized. Joseph Smith had taught about humbling oneself, and being baptized under water, like Jesus had taught, and that in certain times, when life got hard or needed to be renewed ...that repentance and then 're-baptism' was a way to renew our commitment to be like our Savior Jesus Christ, and repent of our mistaken ways and get oneself back on the correct path.
It was only the past Century that the LDS Church did away with re-baptizing (more than once in a life time)... because they teach that the renewing of Covenants should be done when taking the Sacrament every Sunday. Well, we hadn't been going to Church, so we believed it was necessary to continue to make progress in life by being re-baptized when necessary, and we had the opportunity at this time with a friend visiting, and we took advantage of doing it again during this new time in our lives.
Andrew was newly born, we were in a new city, Bernd and I were growing more apart Spiritually and losing forcus on how to keep our family SAFE from the pitfalls of the world... and so this was our way of trying the best we could to make again the promises to 'stay moral, humble, thankful, spiritual, righteous'... in our 'lost and stumbling ways'.
Bernd Holler was a good financial provider, and decent father....however, he was lacking in Spiritual faith and keeping our home pure and untouched from outside philosophies ...due to his interest in 'worldly pleasures' which were increasing each passing year, since we had given up our good and righteous religious anchor or practices of the LDS faith, which is a steadfast reminder of how one should live AND hold fast to Heavenly or Spiritual ways.
(I don't know how else to explain it....other than you have to have lived it to understand)
We, the Holler household, was or were slowly changing or slipping away from the Gospel of Christ and I was doing what I felt in my heart I could do to hang on to the righteousness I had been taught in my youth. Bernd was going a different direction.
Bernd's friend, Ken Olsen, had been running our business in California, whenever Bernd was not down there checking up on things and collecting checks. Ken and his wife (Rhonda) were our good friends and they had visited us in Utah from time to time. Ken was coming to visit us in St. George, because we had asked him to help us in baptizing Austin, and giving our new baby, Andrew, a 'Fathers blessing' and then help us re-baptize ourselves. I was the one behind most of any spiritual growth or stability in our home at that time, but Bernd was willing to make me happy and help us do this in order to keep the family together.
side note: Each and every baby I had, Bernd would give our baby a 'Fathers blessing' (prayer) at around 2 months old .... (as the LDS gospel had taught us it was important in helping the child grow with Godly protection etc.)
During this, or each special prayer, the baby would be 'named' for what he would be called during his life, and then certain promises would be pronounced upon the baby's head of health, prosperity, blessings etc. Most Latter Day Saints do this in Church at about 2 months old. Bernd always preferred to do it at home with 2-3 Elders of the Church helping him do it. (I remember that each baby Bernd did this for, Austin, Jordan and Jacob, they CRIED during his lying hands on their head and giving them a blessing) I found this to be most disturbing.
This time around (during the times these photos below were taken) when it came to having Andrew blessed with a baby blessing at about 3 months old....I asked Bernd if it would be OK that his friend Ken Olsen (who was visiting for Austin and our re-baptism) could be the one to bless Andrew, which Bernd could participate also. I had felt that Ken should be the one to bless our baby....and Bernd agreed this would be fine.
(There are no pictures of this blessing but I will tell you a bit about it now)
The blessing was given to Andrew in our new St. George home during the time these pics below were taken. Ken Olsen laid his hands on Andrews head (along with Bernds hands too) and Ken gave the blessing or prayer outloud, and for the first time, our baby boy did NOT cry during the Fathers blessing. (even though Ken was not the actual father)
Sometimes others can give the Fathers blessing instead of the actual Father, I had been told, so it was OK with both Bernd and I that Ken do this special prayer or announcement of blessings for our son Andrew.
I LOVED how Andrew was so quiet and good during this special prayer, pronouncement of his Earthly name of Andrew Sterling Holler and the special blessings pronounced upon Andrews head!
During this special prayer, Ken talked about Andrew as though he knew him and how Andrew would be during his entire lifetime... and how Andrew was going to be during his life time. He talked about how Andrew would care for his parents when he was older. He talked about how Andrew would prosper financially in his adulthood. I don't remember much more than this, other than the blessing was the BEST one any of my children had received thus far and that it was a beautiful prayer! I was so Spiritually touched!! All of us were.
I am not sure if it was because of KEN having given the blessing, or if it was just good baby Andrew...but it was one of the nicest blessing any of my children had received. It was about 10 minutes. We were all deeply touched in our hearts that day and very thankful and happy... especially for dearest Andrew!
Below, you see baby Andrew sitting next to Bernd on our big green couch. Next to that little Jacob had (being potty trained without pants on) climbed into baby Andrews bouncy chair and was hanging out. It was so funny, I grabbed my camera and took a picture. .....
Then, as you see below, on the front page of 21, Austin sat outside of the pool after his ordinance, on this warm day and watched his mother, Lisa, renew her baptismal covenants, to live a life like Jesus Christ, with under water re-baptism.
I may have asked Ken Olsen to do the re-baptizing of me....I don't remember. I don't know why....I just felt this was appropriate since Bernd had done one for me, when we lived in Manti.
Immediately upon arising out of the water, I heard the words strongly and clearly in my head "Leave Bernd Holler".
It surprised me, as I had actually heard and felt it clearly in my mind and was so strongly impressed upon my soul that moment. I marveled and pondered at its meaning...since this was the LAST thing I (as a young mother and good wife) wanted to do with 4 small boys and no way to support them. This terrified me.
I did NOT tell anyone, that day, of this strong prompting...for obvious reasons! Instead, I pondered on them over the next several days and then finally confided in a girlfriend of mine about it a few days or weeks later.
I was scared of its meaning... and did not understand it in its fullest until much later, say a decade later. (After much damage to my soul and our marriage had taken place)
You see Bernd and I were on a path to Spiritual destruction.... without even knowing it...and my breaking its cycle, (sadly, my struggle to break our relationship and end our wicked ways) would be the only thing that would eventually end our path, or STOP it. (reverse it)
Looking back 20 years ago is 20/20 vision, my friend.
Close ups below...