Thursday, August 21, 2008

As An Eight Year Old, Did You Really Have A "Choice" to be Baptized?

As a child, Mormonism was all I knew. I thought everyone believed it and followed it. I didn't even know it was a religion; it was just the way it was. I once had a friend who was not LDS and I just could not comprehend why he would rather go to basketball than to scouts. I didn't understand that not everyone is Mormon.

Now when the age of eight rolls around, you are taught that soon you will be baptized into the lord's kingdom. I don't have a perfect memory of everything that was involved. But I do remember being asked if I wanted to be baptized. I was a little nervous about it, but of course I wanted it. Mormonism was all I knew. Why would I not want it?

I had no reason to doubt what my parents believed and taught me about religion. I had no reason to believe that someone would make it up. Bottom is that I had no reason in the world not to.

So did I really have a choice? Did someone ever tell me that the Book of Mormon was false, therefore giving me a reason to question my baptism? No. Was I ever told any part of the other side of the story, therefore giving me a reason to not desire baptism? No.

So was I really given a choice? No. When a person is on trial, does the jury only listen to the argument of one lawyer before making their verdict? No. Both sides of the argument are presented, the facts are weighed, and the verdict is made. No court room would be fair if only one side of the story was told.

But as a child Mormon, I was given only one side and then asked to make a choice. What child, who loves and trusts their parents, would choose the bad way? So I made the "right" choice and was baptised shortly after my eighth birthday.

My children will be given a real choice. After they have heard both sides of the argument AND when they are old enough to understand what they are choosing, then they may choose. Eight years old is simply not old enough to understand what you are "choosing", let alone understand the HUGE commitment you are making to religion, let alone one as demanding as Mormonism. A decision of this magnitued should not be placed on the shoulders of an eight year old. Eighteen, at least, is more like it.

Unlike myself, who was at least asked if I wanted to be baptized, many children are simply forced into it whether they want it or not. But it's okay, because one day they will thank you for shoving it on them since it saved their soul! In Mormonism, the ends justify the means. It is okay to ignore someone's request that you leave them alone. You are fighting to save their soul and while they may fight you now, they will thank you later. Mormons are indirectly taught that completely ignoring someone's requests to be left alone is okay because you are trying to save them.

As an eight year old, did you really have a choice? I propose that you didn't.


Long Ben Avery said...

I live and was brought up in the UK. When you are baptised into The Church of England, it is done when you are a baby, normally in the 1st year of life. Later in life you are confirmed. Essentially you learn The Catechism, which sets out what you believe in a few simple verses.

I went to a C of E run school. (It is a common practice for the various religions to have a hand in running state schools). I was given about as much choice as yourself in going for confirmation, although a year later. I still resent it as much you do your enforced baptism.
I hasten to add this wasn't a common practice then and now both the RC Church and The C of E do not encourage the taking of confirmation until you are old enough to comprehend what it is you are agreeing to believe.
My church school was run by an absolute psycho as headmaster, and a good percentage of the teachers were as mad. Still makes shivers run down my spine thinking about them.

Mormon411 said...

I'm sure it does. Memories of my Mormon life send shivers down my spine as well.