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Sep. 17th, 2012 at 11:05 pm
“I want Eleanor to be baptized in the church, and I know you want that too.”
Uh, no I don’t.
I’m in the no-taking-of-the-sacrament-till-you’re-baptized camp. I, to this day, still believe the only reason we don’t tell investigators they can’t take the sacrament until they have been dunked is because we’re one of the few churches in whom baptisms are not interchangeable between faiths. Go to any other church and all that matters is that you have been saved, doesn’t matter who has done the saving. Of course, investigators don’t know that we’re one of the few churches that believe other churches are being sacrilegious in doing the ritual. So we tell them as long as they’re comfortable, it’s ok.
Jump to the idea of a two year-old taking what is supposedly the most important ordinance we have in the midst of coloring, race cars, a lovely scribble of hot pink or, my favorite, a child taking the bread and stuffing it in her diaper. These children then wait the day when they are 8. Why? Because then they get to be BAPTIZED!
According to all the mommy blogs I read from fellow ward members: “We are so happy Susan chose to get baptized. We are so proud of her!”, “Jack and Jill picked out their own outfits for their baptisms!”, “Guess who decided to get dunked!” Do these children really have a say? Did Susan really choose to get dipped? I say no.
Why? Because I have never seen children say “No I do not want to get baptized.” I have seen parents create these elaborate countdown calendars starting when a child is 6 ending when they are 8 with the final picture showing a dad with his son, and the word “Hooray” at the top. I have also seen missionaries pressure 7 year-olds into preparing for the day.
My husband says “we as parents are responsible to make the right choices for our children until they are able to do it for themselves.” To me, this goes straight against free agency. We claim to believe children, starting at the age of 8, can be held accountable for their actions and by doing so also have the ability to choose right from wrong. But yet, we don’t claim they can decide for themselves if baptism is right for them.
So which is it? Did Susan really choose to get baptized, or did she do it because the amount of social pressure from her family and friends is too strong to go against. Did anyone sit down with Susan and say “Ya know, you don’t have to get baptized right now. It is perfectly ok if you want to wait until you’re older and have a better understanding. Did you know the lady that sits next to you every Sunday isn’t baptized either?” Or is this another case of parents supposedly acting on their children’s free agency for them?
I don’t care if Eleanor gets baptized when she’s older. That’s her decision and her decision only. I can’t make that for her.
What are the pros/cons of getting baptized at 8 years old? Do you even remember being baptized at 8? I don’t. I remember getting a baptism coloring book for the second time because Primary presidencies changed and no one recalled praising me from the previous presidency.