Subject: I am baptizing my boy this weekend
Date: Jul 31 21:08 2003
Author: rpm
note: He gives a short story of the actual baptism further down in this thread

He turned eight the other day, and this Saturday is ward baptism day. So the family will all be there for him.

In preparation, the bishop invited me into his office last Sunday and asked me if I was worthy to baptize my kid. I told him I surely was. Then we discussed tithing, his concern for my family, and ended with a short discussion on my lack of belief. I told him I no longer believe many things, and he seemed to understand, stating that everyone is on a different level. However, I assured him that I felt a greater spirituality and closeness to God despite my lack of belief in mormon things.

Anyhow, I'll be baptizing and confirming my son Sunday in front of family and friends. I can't see anyone else baptizing him. I want to do it, & my boy wants his dad to baptize him.

But, I'm not sure what to think about it. A part of me thinks that I can play along, go through the motions, and so forth, because it really makes no difference to me whether I believe in it or not. Like wise for my wife and the bishop. No one is trying to stop me from doing it. I'll put on a show. And everything will be fine.

But another part of me wonders if something is wrong with me, playing a hypocrite.

Your thoughts?


Subject: Tough call
Date: Jul 31 21:14
Author: anon
Mail Address:

It depends on where you are at in your journey through this thing. If you aren't ready to bail out completely and your family wouldn't come with you anyway then maybe you should carry on.

However, if you feel like you are being untrue to yourself or your family maybe you should consider discussing your feelings with your wife and kids. My wife wasn't thrilled at first but she came around.

When considering leveling with my children, we decided that we wanted them to be strong, independent, critical thinkers, and individuals that would not be easily persuaded. We felt that telling them the truth about the church was the thing to do.

Good luck with your decision.

Subject: Re: I am baptizing my boy this weekend
Date: Jul 31 21:15
Author: Empowered
Mail Address:

He's YOUR child and wants YOU to baptize him...end of discussion!!! Go forth and ENJOY the experience! Thank God you have a bishop who is understanding. Most aren't so lucky!

Subject: Re: I am baptizing my boy this weekend
Date: Jul 31 21:30
Author: Hopping Through
Mail Address:

I couldn't agree more. You love your son. This is important to both of you. You've been honest about your feelings with your Bishop (who, as Empowered as pointed out, seems to be handling it with compassion and understanding, rather than judgment and compulsion), and your intent is not to pretend to everyone that you are the perfect MORG.

Do it as an act of love, and as a way of telling your son you thing religion is an important part of your life.

Subject: Don't worry about being a hypocrite.
Date: Jul 31 21:25
Author: Lara C
Mail Address:

I say go ahead with no worries. Your son wants you to do it--he's only 8 years old and has plenty of time later to decide if he wants to be a Mormon or not.

It's more of a cultural thing, anyway.

Subject: rpm is wrong for baptizing him; Lara you said he's only 8 and he can decide later...
Date: Aug 01 11:18
Author: thomas m.
Mail Address:

The church will add him to their records and consider him a member; According to their own scriptures he has reached the age of accountability. If he's not mature enough to understand the consequences of his choice then why force him into an archaic ritual.
I think he loves his son, and doesn't want to hurt his feelings...I think he has probably struggled with this decision but look at the example that he is setting to his son.
I'm sorry rpm and Lara but what he is doing is wrong... as wrong as it was to force teen girls to marriage or pushing teen boys out into the world on missions. If they don't have enough maturity, experience and understanding of the "choices" then it's not a choice anymore it's a form of being indentured.

Subject: I say do it without any hesitation
Date: Jul 31 21:30
Author: Kim
Mail Address:

The baptism and confirmation have no more meaning whether a non-believer performs them or whether a believer performs them. The church is a fraud, so it makes no difference whether you are one too. (That is not meant to be reality, having scrutinized the religion as you have, you are much LESS a fraud than the basic ignorant TBM.)

If it is important to your son for you to perform this, then that's enough reason for you to do it, in my opinion. I certainly wouldn't let any do-gooder ward member's critical remarks (of which there are bound to be some) cause you to feel hypocritical in any way. You know what's important, and it's none of their damn business.

My jack-mo dad did not baptize or confirm me or either of my two brothers. I don't recall caring though if he did or didn't. My dad DID however perform the baby blessings though for the three of us, and he was every bit the cigarette-smoking, coffee-drinking jack-mo (especially when my younger brother was born.)

Perhaps performing baptisms and performing baby blessings aren't in the same league. I don't know.

Subject: I went through exactly this situation when....
Date: Jul 31 22:36
Author: dumpster diver
Mail Address:

I baptized my daughter a few years back. Told the bishie I didn't believe any of the crap they taught in church, but he thought that "exercising my priesthood" would help me develop a testimony. It didn't. Duh.

Interestingly, I baptized my daughter about 6 months late because we moved across the country and changed wards. My old bishie wanted me to do it in his ward before we left, [stat-chaser!] but I wanted to do it in the new ward, which would be closer to my family.

Smartass church leader that he was, he told me that he would "pray that she just doesn't die before you get to the new ward and baptize her because the eternal consequences for you [me] would be severe."

Yeah, whatever. What a smug sumbitch this guy was. I never stepped foot back in his ward after that day.

Now, my son't turn is coming up and I don't think I'll do it. If mom wants him to be baptized at all she'll have to get someone else to dunk him. My son hates going to church anyway [except for seeing how many pieces of bread he can snatch out of the sacrament tray, a transgression that I generally overlook] so I don't think he'll put in a specific request for me to do it, but we'll see.

If he does, I might just do it for the hell of it, but I don't even own a pair of magic garmies and I'm not buying any just to wear for 5 minutes, so we'll see what my bishie thinks.

Subject: There are worse things in life than...
Date: Jul 31 22:51
Author: Heavenly Fodder
Mail Address:

getting baptized into the Mormon Church. I often consider how I would feel if my children ever wanted to be baptized into the Mormon Church. Then I think about my own childhood within the confines of Mormonism and really have very few regrets. It was a good life then, but a better life now. I think it's great that you are willing to sacrifice a little integrity to be there for your boy. I think that will pay big dividends later in your relationship, especially as he understands your real feelings and beliefs. Best wishes.

Subject: I'm facing the same situation next year
Date: Aug 01 00:00
Author: Opie
Mail Address:

My daughter will be turning 8 and is already talking about it. I'm already struggling with the "is this hypocrisy?" issue.

One question though: I thought that you had to be a full tithe paying temple recommend holding (if you are a MP holder) Morg to be able to baptize/confirm. True or not? My brother baptized my sisters son a few years back and the Bishop of that ward wanted to see the temple recommend before he would let him do that. What does the church handbook say about that???


Subject: Re: I'm facing the same situation next year
Date: Aug 01 01:59
Author: G
Mail Address:

I know someone who was denied being able to baptize his own child. He has to start going back to church and pay tithing for a few months and then they'll let him do it.

Subject: God will surely strike you dead for doing this
Date: Aug 01 00:36
Author: Dark Sparks
Mail Address:

since he is a kind and loving God who wants to make sure that this special moment you have with your son is ruined....just kidding.

I say do it. This Priesthood thing is truly powerless puke. You could say any prayer you want. It would make no difference whatever except to the human listeners.


Subject: Hey, you were honest with the Bishop. He's OK with that: Baptize your son in good conscience. n/t

Subject: sorry, I think it is lacking in integrity
Date: Aug 01 01:56
Author: SLDrone

I don't know what your beliefs are, but if you pretend they are different than they are you act by definition without integrity. I understand you are trying to please those you love. Never the less, you do so at the sacrifice of your own honor. From what you written, it seems this act will be a charade.

Having said that, I do not know if it is the right thing for you to do. I would not. Perhaps there are reasons of which we are not aware that justify this personal sacrifice. "All it takes for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing". Or in this case, just go along.

Subject: definition of integrity
Date: Aug 01 10:50
Author: ex-TBM
Mail Address:

By your definition of integrity, most Mormons have integrity and those who are struggling through the fear, anger, and confusion of post-belief don't have integrity because they aren't clear anymore about what they do or don't believe and may do things that seem to contradict where they are now coming from.

“Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.”

Subject: Re: definition of integrity
Date: Aug 01 11:11
Author: SLDrone

A synonym of integrity is honesty. It is certainly possible to be honest and still be wrong. Likewise it is possible to have integrity and be dead wrong. Integrity occurs when the person is "whole" "integral" or "undivided". When a persons actions or words contradict true beliefs the person is acting without integrity. His actions become divided from his beliefs.

Subject: Wanna guess how I feel?
Date: Aug 01 02:35
Author: PRAVDA
Mail Address:

Being the proverbial anti-morg militant that I am I was at first tempted to lambaste you for being a hypocrite.


I grew up in the Catholic Church in Europe and the religious celebrations there were nothing more than a cultural and social ritualization of life events.

It really wasn't a charade because what brought us together was family, not religion. We were there to show love and support for the people going to the life stages: Baptism, Marriage, etc.

If mormonism would allow itself to play that role in people's lives, and provide just a few unobtrusive rituals to punctuate the passing of time and preserve cultural traditions, it would be far better than what it is now.

And if you want to take the initiative and use it in that way, so be it.

Eventually, though I hope you would share the truth about the religion with your children.

Love and chance bless,

Subject: You know it all depends on if you plan on staying LDS or leaving some time in the future.
Date: Aug 01 03:50
Author: Primrose

If you plan on leaving why make your son a Mormon now. He will have to have his name removed from the record himself after he has been baptized. You may end up with a TBM kid for life if you do not inform him of the Truth about the church. You may end up not being able to go to his wedding even.
I guess it comes down to how much you still want to be a part of something that you have questions about. To me it would be hard to put a child of mine in a church when I did not believe it.
You know from reading the posts here that it is hard to get out of the church, the more entrenched you become, if you don't have your name removed from the record they will follow you all your life because that is their duty to do like it or not. Why burden an 8 year old with that ?
Just my opinion.

Subject: RPM - do I know who you are? I have two thoughts . . .
Date: Aug 01 08:57
Author: wrighton
Mail Address:

First, given your status of belief in the LDS church, you may want to consider what Primrose said - honesty about your feelings for the church might help your son give more thought to baptism - althought 8 is quite young to be truly discerning

Second, if you decide to do it because your son genuinely wants to be baptized, then do it without any hesitation. Your state of belief in Mormonism shouldn't enter into it. Was John the Baptist ordained or a member of the Levitical priesthood? I really don't know. But evidently he had some authority for baptism because Jesus insisted John baptize him. IMO, your authority to baptize your son comes from your parenthood and that fact that you love him and he loves and trusts YOU.

Subject: This is indeed an ethical dilema
Date: Aug 01 09:27
Author: Difficult Decision
Mail Address:

I read a book that discussed ethical dilemmas. It described a classic dilemma as "loyalty vs truth".

The example given in the book has to do with a job reference. You are asked by a potential employer of your good friend about the friend's characteristics. You know of some unfavorable characteristics. Do you tell the truth and describe these characteristics to the prospective employer or are you loyal to your friend and only dwell on the positive.

If you choose loyalty to your son and family, you baptise. If you choose truth, you don't. The choice is not always clear. I struggled with this same issue. Do I lie, pay a few bucks (tithing) and attend my child's wedding or do I tell all of my family, including my extended family (all TBMs) of my disbelief, causing much devistation and pain. I chose the former. At that time, it seemed like the right thing to do.

IMHO, this is a very tough decision

Subject: I had been wondering when this would come up for you, RPM
Date: Aug 01 09:43
Author: Søvnløsener - Insomniac
Mail Address:

Turns out, this was the issue that forced my hand, lay the cards on the table of dis-belief. I would have done it last spring, but my eight year old's mother felt it would be a mockery.

(then there is the stupid word, MOCK. In my house, anything that isn't in 100% alignment with The Truth(tm) is mocking god. Fuck you JS and BY for your stupid, ripped off, Masonic temple song and dance! No fucking wonder it is kept secret, the whole thing is a mockery of humanity! But I digress.........)

My BIL flew all the way from MI to help out, an act of love which I sincerely thankful for. (oh, boy, his arms were tired.....)

My parents attended, and my father was utterly embarassed for me, that I was not the one to do this deed. I'm disappointed that family love is a function of corporate faithfullness.

Back to you, I would give the same advice that CG and others have given, be there for your son! Years later when he is NOT eight years old and able to think for himself, then you can explain the facts and reality to him.

On the other hand, I also agree with SLDrone, I could not willing allow my children be brought into this insidious cult with my blessing.

Life would truly be simpler if all issues were indeed black and white. But it is all shades of gray. Every situation is different.

What ever happens, RPM, I hope all goes well for you and your family.

This board was a great support last May as that very situation unfolded for me and mine.

Subject: Giving your blessing to the cult
Date: Aug 01 10:08
Author: samuel beckett

I'm afraid I agree with SLDrone and Insomniac.

Kids try to please their parents (unless you've pushed them to the point of rebellion--which often happens during teenage years if you don't let them have some space--at which point they try to displease their parents). If getting good grades is important to you, your kids will try to get good grades. If athletics are important to you, your kids will try to be super-stars on their sporting teams.

Likewise, I would imagine that 95% of the reason why 8-year-old kids get baptized is because they're doing it to please their parents. Right now, your kid thinks that being baptized will make mom and dad happy.

Eventually, though, kids internalize all of the things they've done as kids (regardless of the reasons why they did them), and carry those beliefs into adulthood. At some point, you need to tell your kids that you don't believe and give them the reasons why. And you need to tell them that you don't expect them to adhere to the doctrines of Mormonism if they don't believe them. You need to do this while they're relatively young or you will have missed your window of opportunity. Eventually, you lose the super-power-dad image, and if you tell your kids that you've changed your faith after that point, you will be a disappointment in their eyes.

So, in my opinion, you're giving your implied blessing to the cult when you're the one who does the baptizing. You're shouting out "Baptism is good! The Mormon Church is good!" Later, when you try to explain why the Mormon Church isn't all that good, you may not be very credible any more.

The issue of intergrity and hypocracy is not just a set of abstract philosophical concepts: they actively influence how seriously other people are willing to take our opinions. If you injure your integrity, no one will listen to you anymore.

Subject: Yo, samuel beckett, I wish I could have made it to the highway clean up
Date: Aug 01 10:26
Author: Søvnløsener - Insomniac
Mail Address:

to meet you. Your words ring true, to me anyway.

Here is how that conversation went in my house.

Daughter: Mom says you can't baptize me cuz you drink beer.

Insom: I drink beer because I am an adult and it is my choice. I can't baptize you because I don't believe what the mormon church teachs.

I hope it all went well.

We will see. She drew in her journal later that weekend a big picture of the event with a big happy face on both her and her uncle with the caption: I love Uncle 'BIL'.

You are right about the super hero status too. I'm hoping to influence for good while I still have it.

You have kids don't you, samuel beckett?

Subject: Being a Dad
Date: Aug 01 11:15
Author: samuel beckett

Søvnløsener - Insomniac wrote:
> She drew in her journal later that weekend a big picture of the event with a big happy face on both her and her uncle with the caption: I love Uncle 'BIL'.

Oh man, that kills me. I really really feel for you here. How is your relationship with her otherwise? Does she seem to get more distant from you as she learns more about your departure from Mormonism? This picture in her journal seems to indicate that she's harboring some resentment toward you. What are you doing to try to counterbalance the anti-Insomniac tide?

I just can't imagine seeing my daughter draw a picture with a surrogate dad in it. That idea of it just crushes me.

> You have kids don't you, samuel beckett?

Yeah. I've got eight-month-old twins (boy & girl). The kids are still un-blessed, because I refuse to participate in a superstitious fortune-telling ordinance that serves only to strengthen my ties with the cult. My wife says that she's going to have my dad bless one of the kids and her dad bless the other one, but she hasn't taken any steps toward making it happen, so I don't know when she'll do it (though I don't think there's any question of if she will).

My biggest fear in life (right now, anyway) is that my kids will resent me. My wife's dad was never very active in the church when she was a kid. He wasn't a disbeliever. He just didn't really care about the church. So she was baptized by her brother, and she got blessings from home teachers and bishops and such. And she grew up resenting her dad, wishing that he'd taken a more active role in church stuff. Now that she's an adult, and her dad is active in the church again, she STILL resents him and wishes that she had had a better dad growing up.

I'm trying to plan a parenting strategy that prevents me from being cast as the bad-guy exmormon dad. Unfortunately, it seems as though divorce may be the only way that I can salvage my credibility as a good-guy dad, and still have some of my morals actually be taught to my kids. I'm not willing to let them grow up not knowing that they can make their own religious choices.

Subject: everyone's path is different, but I told my son
Date: Aug 01 09:59
Author: danboyle

I wouldn't be doing anymore "priesthood" stuff (he's 16) because I felt the church was not what it claims to be, its a big lie. He understood, and seemed not to really care.

I do remember as a young kid, all the "losers" who had to be baptized by someone other than their real dad. Amazing how judgmental we were at such a young age. Wonder where we learned that?

At such a young age, the children don't care about truth. They just want to fit in with their friends. Plenty of time to make a stand. My stand came when my son turned 16, better late than never I guess. It's about you and your relationship with your children, nothing else..I mean nobody else.

Anyway, just my thoughts, worth exactly what you paid for them.

Subject: Have you considered the future?
Date: Aug 01 10:28
Author: nonametoday
Mail Address:

In about six years you may have to explain to your son that you baptized him into the morg when you knew it to be a sham. How will he feel about your integrity then?

Subject: Take it easy on RPM, there's no easy answer to this horrible ethical dilemma.
Date: Aug 01 10:53
Author: Joe
Mail Address:

Curse the cult that forces families to make these decisions.

Subject: My son is being baptized next month by his uncle
Date: Aug 01 10:59
Author: Joe
Mail Address:

I considered baptizing him myself and playing along. Who cares? It's just a silly ritual and it will make my son happy to have his dad baptize him. In the end I decided I just couldn't do it. I don't blame you for doing it. You don't really believe it has any meaning. Both my wife and I agreed that I would be making a mockery of something she finds sacred, and I felt like I would be a hypocrite. The difficult part was deciding what to tell our son. My wife didn't want me to say anything, just try to convince him that one of his cool uncles should do it. In the end I could'nt lie to him, I told him I wasn't baptizing him because I didn't believe the church was true and if he really wants to get baptized, he deserved to have someone who believed the church was true baptize him. My wife about spit her orange juice across the room when she found out what I told him, but I couldn't lie to my own son. Now that the dust has settled, everyone's happy with the baptism plans. There's no easy answer and I'm sure you're doing the best thing for your situation.

Subject: of course you should do it....
Date: Aug 01 11:26
Author: dhhansen
Mail Address:

he is your son. I hold no intrinsic value in the ritual, but as his parent, you should be doing the baptism.

I will be facing a similar situation in 2 years. I don't know what I will do.

Subject: Yes, it is hypocrisy...
Date: Aug 01 11:27
Author: Richard Garrard
Mail Address:

...and I suspect that you knew this and that's why you posted. You don't feel good about it.

We've all been hypocrites. We've all lied. But we owe it to ourselves and to our families and friends to try to do better.

Someday you may have to tell your son that you baptized him into something you didn't believe in. You turned him over to an organization that is the biggest cult in America.

I wish you had asked for comments before you committed to do this. I think it's wrong.

Just my $.02.

Subject: Actually, he did ask for our comments....
Date: Aug 01 11:50
Author: samuel beckett
Mail Address:

If I remember correctly, it was about two months ago that rpm first posted with a request for advice about performing his son's baptism.

The spectrum of advice given then was pretty similar to the advice given in this thread. Lots of people said "go for it!!!" and lots of people said "don't do it!!!"

I think rpm has considered the consequences of either course of action and made his decision. The decision may really be in the best interest of his family. Or it may be a big mistake motivated by social pressure and fear. I don't really know, without knowing more details about rpm's exact situation.

But I do know that he's already asked for our advice. I said essentially the same thing then as I said today: "taking the easy road now (performing the baptism) may lead to difficult times later (lifelong indoctrination of his kid)."

We've said our peace. Twice. What more can we do?

Subject: I really do feel for him...
Date: Aug 01 12:43
Author: Richard Garrard
Mail Address:

...I think it's tragic when religion becomes so entangled in the parent-child relationship.


RPM now talks about the Baptism

Subject: I baptized my boy yesterday (longish)
Date: Aug 03 12:05
Author: rpm
Mail Address:

My sincere thanks to all those who responded to my first post on this topic the other day "I'm baptizing my boy this weekend." 

I sensed that all of you were authentic, open and honest in your advice, something I fear would have been the last thing to surface had I sought similar advice among my mo friends and the mo leaders here. I sincerely appreciate the concern and diversity of thought expressed in that thread.

Digression: I forgot to mention earlier that in the interview the bishop had with my boy last Sunday (the interview I invited myself to on the spur of the moment), the bishop soberly instructed and focused my little eight-year-old's attention on his need to pay his tithing as a new member of the church. No mention of loving your fellowman, or helping the widow, the fatherless, or the needy. OH MY GOD. It is any wonder to me how these tilted mo priorities never dawned on me as a TBM. What in God's name was I thinking? (Sorry, the other thread I just read on "psychological aspects of tithing" got me thinking about this issue again. It's now painfully obvious to me: All the mos care about you is that you pay your 10 percent to THEM. & Now I clearly see how they begin this indoctrination as early as possible. How utterly pitiful. God help them all for their callousness and hypocrisy!)

Anyhow, baptizing my son yesterday has brought mixed emotions. The best part of all was actually dunking him. My son and I both believe that baptism is primarily for the remission of sins. And since I know he has/had none, then the ritual was more or less pointless, in that respect. My boy believes that his sins (he told me these were the little lies he has said to some of his peers on occasion. God only knows what these lies amounted to) are washed away in the waters of baptism. Which is great. My boy is perfect with or without baptism, but if it helps him feel better about himself then more power to him. He's so young and innocent, I hate for him to begin to think that he will slowly begin to mount a pile of sins to suffer under. I hope to teach him that he will always be pure and whole, in my eyes and in God's, despite what he may learn from others, in and out of the lds church.

The most difficult part for me yesterday was when I laid my hands on his head and confirmed him a member of the church of Jesus Christ of latter-day saints. Consciously, those words didn't want to come out, as I drew a complete blank at the beginning of the ritual, but I think my mind split for a few seconds & went on morgmatic pilot, enabling me to get quickly through to the blessing part.

I gave my boy a blessing quite unlike the other kid (one of my boy's buddies) who was confirmed & blessed just moments before. He was blessed by his grandpa (his dad, sitting on the front row neither baptized nor stood in the circle during the confirmation) to always attend church, listen to his teachers in sunday school, get the priesthood soon, attend seminary, serve a mission, get married in the temple, yada yada yada...

I blessed my boy to know/feel he is loved by his family, friends and God, to know he is very special, to find happiness and joy in life, to be physically fit and find joy in his "fitness" (moved by the spirit, I had to refrain from actually saying "body" here, as this would have undoubtedly caused many in the room to shudder at the very thought), to feel God's working in him through the Holy Ghost in the form of his own good ideas, inspirations, and desires, to love his family and friends and serve them, returning their love, & to give kindness, love and peace to others thoughout his life.

I don't know what others thought about the blessing, but I felt good giving it, and now in recollection.

What surprises me is that I felt, and feel, having performed these rituals on him myself, that I am ultimately responsible and accountable for doing so. By contrast, I never felt this powerful sense of ownership before, having done these same performances on three previous occasions for my other kids. Back then, although I was going through the motions, I felt The Least involved in the process. It was as if THE CHURCH were performing/administering the rituals. I was merely a pawn in that much larger, ominous process.

Which is Not what I had expected yesterday. Re-reading my post of the other day, it appears I felt then, approaching Saturday, that I was to be somewhat of a showman, going through the motions, putting on a good show for everyone, despite my lack of belief. This was actually not the case. ON the contrary, I may have been more the Showman during the previous baptisms of my other kids.

As my eight-year-old's father, I keenly felt/feel the magnitude of fulfilling my paternal rights and responsibilities. He is my boy, and if Anyone should be initiating him into any religion or belief system, it should be me. I feel wholly accountable, and cannot find anyone else to shoulder this responsibility or place blame on, with the sole exception of my wife.

Many of you expressed criticism for my intentions to perform the rituals on my boy while simultaneously disbelieving the lds church's claims. It appears to lack integrity and smock of hypocrisy, some of you said. However, given that he was to be baptized anyhow (as his mother also has large say in this), despite my silent reservations & objections to my boy's joining the lds church, doing so myself seemed the best option.


Subject: Congratulations . . . a thought in integrity
Date: Aug 03 12:26
Author: Hopping Through
Mail Address:

This is a great story. I'm glad you shared it with us. I was one who replied and recommended you proceed.

Why did this one feel better than the others? I think that, because you were honest about your feelings, you acted out of love, your words were your own words and not just PR for those listening, your intents were love and not "putting on a show". . . I think these are elements that made you feel ownership of what this baptism and confirmation was like.

I also respect that you had a sensitivity to those who were there. Being independent doesn't mean being insensitive to others' needs.

Hyopocrisy is a bit complex. Some would argue that performing this act when you disbelieve the MORG anymore is hypocritical. I think that because you acted in love, it was not hypocritical. Hypocrisy is not JUST in what a person does, it involves the intent.

I think you handled this perfectly.

Subject: All thoughts expressed here...
Date: Aug 03 13:14
Author: Empowered
Mail Address:

...were exactly what was going through my head as I read your post, rpm! And all were worded so well, that rather than detract from them, I will add my "AMEN" and say, "Good for you for listening to your heart." Doesn't it feel GREAT???

Subject: reply to rpm
Date: Aug 03 23:45
Author: lynn
Mail Address:

I was very touched as I read your post. I support you and respect your intentions. Author Gary Zukov writes that it is our intentions that are most important in everything we do. I'm sure the Lord listening was pleased with what you said.

How did your wife respond to the blessing?

Subject: Good for you and your son !
Date: Aug 03 12:29
Author: Heathen
Mail Address:

He got a blessing/confirmation that came from the heart, not some proMo brainwashing.

Subject: Glad all went well.
Date: Aug 03 12:34
Author: Lara C
Mail Address:

It sounds like it turned out to be a good experience for your son, which I believe was your ultimate goal.

IMHO, you were totally justified in performing the ordinance, and I am glad that you were able to give your son the blessing you chose. Whether the church deems a father "worthy" or not, I believe it is a sad usurpation of a father's love and care for his child when he is not allowed to do an ordinance, if he has the desire to.

My husband actually gave blessings similar to yours when he blessed and baptized our children, since we had "issues" with the church at that time but were not "out." No one batted an eye, and it was a good experience. Out of 3 children, only one has elected to stay active in the church, however. No, we have not resigned membership, just gone sort-of semi-active, and the kids are grown up. Maybe it was the blessings that did it. ;-)

Anyway, I love the expression "morgbotic pilot." LOL!! I think that happens to people in church nearly every week!! :-D

Subject: Good for you rpm.
Date: Aug 03 14:40
Author: AussieJohn
Mail Address:

No criticism from here. Ritual, in whatever form, plays an important role within the human family. We only have to look at Christmas as an example.
My dearest TBM friend asked me some time ago if she could do my deceased mother's temple work; endowment, sealing to my dad and her parents. I checked with my sisters and we're all quite comfortable with this. It doesn't mean anything to us anymore but my friend loved my mum and it makes her feel better. When it happens, my sister who lives close by and I are going to go and wait outside.
We do what we do and if it doesn't harm anyone it's really no one else's business.
You gave your son somethng to remember.

Subject: Sounds like a beautiful blessing, rpm. . .
Date: Aug 03 15:33
Author: catholicgirl
Mail Address:

I'm glad things went so well.

Your son is lucky to have you as a father.

Subject: Your wishes for him sound great....
Date: Aug 03 18:05
Author: Aphrodite
Mail Address:

Instead of wishing he'd be further indoctrinated into a cult, you let him know that you hoped that he'd find happiness and individuality. Some of us are able to tell our kids this outside of Mormonism (if our spouses disbelieve or believe but allow us to still communicate it), but some of us are in a situation to try to work from within to do the best we can for our kids.

I think you did the right thing for you and your son and am happy that you felt good about it.

Subject: Also, it took a lot of courage for you to give a unique blessing...
Date: Aug 03 18:07
Author: Aphrodite
Mail Address:

despite going on Morgomatic, lol.

Subject: Baptism is not Necessary for Salvation
Date: Aug 03 18:15
Author: Texas_Exxed
Mail Address:

> My son and I both believe that baptism is primarily for the remission of sins.

If you still believe that baptism "washes away sin" or is necessary to go to Heaven, then you are still brainwashed by the cult.

Baptism is an outward expression of an inner conviction.

Baptism is only a symbol of your commitment to Jesus Christ and is symbolic of "starting over."

There is no magical cleansing of sin by some magical priesthood power despite what the LDS Church or any other works-based religion tells you.

Subject: Maybe it's a good idea to read rpm's pre-baptism post
Date: Aug 03 19:09
Author: Nightingale
Mail Address:

Texas_Exxed wrote:
> > My son and I both believe that baptism is primarily for the remission of sins.

This remark jumped out at me as well - in one of those knee-jerk reflexes due to my non-mo church's teachings on this, which are contrary to Mormon beliefs. But if you look at the previous thread, before the baptism, you'll see what the conflict was for rpm and many other Mormons and exmos in similar circumstances. The beliefs about the baptism weren't the main thrust of rpm's conundrum.

> If you still believe that baptism "washes away sin" or is necessary to go to Heaven, then you are still brainwashed by the cult.

This is a harsh statement, IMO, especially for the reasons I stated above.

> Baptism is an outward expression of an inner conviction.

> Baptism is only a symbol of your commitment to Jesus Christ and is symbolic of "starting over."

> There is no magical cleansing of sin by some magical priesthood power despite what the LDS Church or any other works-based religion tells you.

Yeah, according to what YOU believe. This doesn't make you right and others wrong. It's just what non-mo Christians believe. But again, the various beliefs of the different religions isn't what rpm was asking about on this occasion.

From reading this and many similar Mormonism-inducing conflicts on this board, I've been thinking lately how much heartache could be avoided if Mormonism would change a little (as if, I know!) Imagine if a church leader, likely bishop I guess, performed all the ordinances, as in other churches. That completely removes any onus on the male parent to be "worthy", by jumping Mo hurdles, or to believe as they say he must, and avoids the longstanding devastation that can result if he is not able to or doesn't wish to be involved in all the observances demanded by Mormonism. It must be especially taxing to go through it with each and every child.

I guess it doesn't fit in with Mormon doctrine or something. But in my church, the pastor baptizes everyone. Significant others take part in the service, singing a family favourite, reading a scripture, giving a talk, but the pastor performs the baptism. All family members are welcome to attend, no matter their religion, or lack of it. It's an observance, a celebration, a happy occasion, with the emphasis being on the rite itself and the person who has willingly decided to demonstrate their beliefs. Somebody's "worthiness" to accept or perform the ritual doesn't enter into it (not in the way it does in Mo'ism, thereby causing family problems and heartache).

I'm not so certain of the doctrinal significance of Mormon fathers doing the baptisms and confirmations. But on the surface, it seems like a lot of hassle could be avoided if a bishop did it, or even missionaries - it would give them something positive to do, after all.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that hassling over doctrinal differences doesn't seem right on this particular thread.

Subject: Thanks NG
Date: Aug 03 20:45
Author: rpm
Mail Address:

for your defense of this thread here. I like your observations about only one authority figure performing baptisms in other religions. That does seem like it would simplify matters more for mormons, esp. for those who are deemed, unfortunately and unjustly, unworthy to perform their own childrens' baptisms and whatnot.

What a crock.


Subject: My knee jerk reaction is to say to you,
Date: Aug 03 20:41
Author: rpm
Mail Address:

based on my observation of your displayed level of conviction of your own faith posted above, that you too are brainwashed by a cult, just not the same one as I. Which is fine. I strongly believe, however, that as struggling followers of Christ, we ought to strive to be tolerant of others in their divergent beliefs and respect them for who they are, where they are. No single religion or belief system holds a monopoly on truth, after all. Not even yours.

My statement you quoted: "My son and I both believe that baptism is primarily for the remission of sins" was made as an honest expression, but perhaps with an economy of words, and more meant to express my son's meager and simple understanding of the matter, than my more complex and convoluted one.

I believe, as you also do, that baptism is a concrete symbol of an inner, spiritual or psychological experience. I have shared my beliefs on this very subject in this forum many times, which you perhaps have missed. I believe all ordinances, sacraments, or religious rituals, lds included, fall under this symbolic system of thought. From baptism up to and including the endowment, sealings, second anointings (as practiced by the faithful lds), etc., they are all "outward expressions of inner convictions" (to use your own words), or, are what I like to think of as outward symbols of inner "realities."

These realities are spiritual or psychological in nature. Nearly all religions attempt to place names/forms on them. Christians choose baptism as the form/name for this particular stage of life progression. Most mormons, I believe, err in this basic understanding of ordinances, placing a literal interpretation on religious rituals rather than a symbolic one. This fundamental error causes all sorts of problems for them, as we all know too well.

My son was baptized yesterday as a symbol, one, of his commitment to follow Christ, in a cosmic sense, and two, to follow his family and community of friends in a more localized sense. He probably barely understands this. He is, after all, only eight years old. He is barely just getting started, not "starting over." If I had it my way, he would not have been baptized at all, at least not until he is ready and understands the concept of "spiritual rebirth." I hope to teach him correctly as he ages, so that he will not also err, as many of his peers are more than likely destined to.

I baptized him myself yesterday primarily as an outward indication of my own inner longing/commitment to love and guide him no matter what, despite whatever personal (and secondary) misgivings I may have about the particular religion he just so happens to have been born into.


Subject: Texas==This is not the thread for your
Date: Aug 04 00:11
Author: on the edge
Mail Address:

criticism of rpm's beliefs. This isn't about you!

Rpm....congrats on giving your own's one that could have been said in any church.

Subject: Re: I baptized my boy yesterday (longish)
Date: Aug 03 20:58
Author: Garcon
Mail Address:

Rpm—I personally support your decision to be involved in your boy’s baptism. I too, read the posts the other day, and was not shocked to see that some were calling you a hypocrite. If only life were so damned black and white that we could all, without error, live a life of total integrity (the kind that is approved of by others). But it isn’t that way.

Most of life happens in a grey area, and we do the best we can based on our own circumstances. I feel the important thing is that you were given permission to do so, and that you did it the way you felt would be best for you and your son. If anyone has a problem with that, they simply don’t operate in the same grey area you do.

A couple of years ago, after not having attended a meeting for almost a year, my son turned twelve. He wanted to be ordained a deacon. I wasn’t going to let anyone else do it, so I talked to the bishop. He told me that if I went to church for a month, he would allow me to perform the ordinance. So I did. I would have preferred to not go, but it was a conscious decision to be the one that ordained my son. Jump forward two years, and he turned 14. We had a great conversation, and he decided not to be ordained a teacher. I just love that kid.

Welcome to the grey area rpm, where you get to make your own decisions, regardless of what anyone here says!

Subject: My reaction, FWIW
Date: Aug 04 01:24
Author: Nick
Mail Address:

rpm, I can certainly understand your preferring to be a part of this, and have some voice in a ritual which is clearly important to your son. Well, let me amend that: I think I understand it. I have no children of my own, and when I was TBM I was not of an age (or in a relationship) where I would have considered having children (and raising them as TBM), so I'm not sure I understand completely; nonetheless, I "get it". While you might have taken this opportunity to insist that your son not be baptized, such a move would have resulted in a battle in which your son would be an uncomprehending participant.

The blessing you gave your son was quite lovely, and certainly far removed from the cookie-cutter blessings normally given (on any occasion) in an LDS context.

The part that makes me sad is the statement: "My son and I both believe that baptism is primarily for the remission of sins." I'm not a Christian, by any stretch, so my problem is not the same as that voiced by Texas_Exxed. Rather, I remember all too clearly the fervent wish that I often had as a kid, when no matter how hard I tried, I ended up sinning yet again: I kept wishing that I could be baptized again, because that was the only way I was ever going to be clean of sin, ever again.

Now, I view Mormon baptism as an act (in itself, and in the aftermath) which reinforces for young - and very impressionable - children the idea that their "sins" are terrible things, that make Heavenly Father and Jesus sad (or mad), and will keep the child out of heaven. The almost inevitable result is that children feel regret and shame for the very experiences and choices by which they learn the most. The Mormon belief that even those sins we have repented of will count against us, if we ever commit them again, just makes things all the worse.

I see the results in my own family: my youngest sister, my younger step-brother, and my next older brother all went through several "wild" years, before returning to their TBM roots. Now they look back on those years, and the experiences they lived through, and instead of seeing them in a constructive light (i.e. they were moments and choices that have contributed to make them the people they are today, and from which they have learned), they see them as decisions to regret, as actions that keep them from being "good enough", in God's eyes.

The lessons Mormon children are taught in preparation for baptism, the act itself, and the LDS doctrines surrounding sin and repentance, are just steps in the habitrail leading to the Mormon hamster wheel. It makes me sad to see anyone's children headed down that path.

Subject: About baptism and sin
Date: Aug 07 14:59
Author: Nightingale
Mail Address:

Nick, your response is heartfelt and beautiful. I share your sadness about the hamster wheel of Mormonism and wouldn't want to inflict that on anyone, especially children.

Regarding your youthful desire to be baptized again, and again, and again, I can definitely relate to that. I have felt it often myself. As a convert in the church, active in helping the missionaries, I tagged along during months of discussions with a teenage girl who had been a drug addict and prostitute and who weekly visited her boyfriend in prison for a serious violent crime. She greatly looked forward to getting baptized and did eventually do so. In the change room afterwards she was ecstatic and wonderingly said to me, over and over, "I feel so clean".

A lot of people do, leading to the understandable desire to repeat the experience. If every "mistake" we make is seen as "sin", it seems impossible to "redeem" ourselves and we yearn to somehow wipe the slate clean. This can lead to an overwhelming desire to seize "another chance", go back under the cleansing waters, if that is how you see them.

The bishop in the ward I attended put special emphasis on the concept that the weekly sacrament was a symbolic "re-baptism", a time to remember one's baptism, its significance and one's commitment. This is the same idea taught in non-Mormon churches I have attended. Within the bounds of religious belief, if one chooses to remain active in a faith community, seeing the sacrament service in this light can help to lessen the weight of imperfection that is easy to feel in any church that emphasizes personal "worthiness", a burden indeed. Every time I participated in the service, I regarded it as a renewing of everything that baptism was about for me, truly a symbolic re-baptism. That helps to recapture that "clean" feeling and goes some way towards relieving the heavy load that regarding oneself as "sinful" and "unworthy" can produce, even in children.

I agree it's far healthier to see every experience, positive or negative, as a chance to learn and grow and develop rather than as a series of failures. Within Mormonism and other repressive ideologies, maybe the symbolic re-baptism idea could lessen the load a bit?

Subject: The lighter side of my son's baptism (a short story)
Date: Aug 04 22:20
Author: rpm
Mail Address:

Last Saturday I baptized my boy. Many of you encouraged me and shared your thoughts on this subject already, for which I am grateful.

Now I want to tell you a few things that happened during the service that I found somewhat peculiar.

After I dunked my boy, and left the font, another boy was dunked by his grandpa. I watched keenly from the side of the font, from the steps. During this baptism, I noticed the little boy's big toe slightly come up out of the water as he was dunked. I looked at the two witnesses above the font in front, wondering what they were going to do about it, but apparently they didn't notice because they were giving the thumbs up to grandpa.

Later, changing clothes in the bathroom, someone came in and mentioned to grandpa that his grandson's foot came up out of the water during the ordinance. Whereupon grandpa's demeanor immediately changed. Sensing his apprehension over this latest unfortunate revelation, I chimed in, saying I noticed it too, but I firmly re-assured him that it was OK. I briefly explained that his grandson's foot had already been completely immersed in water, as he was already standing in the water before and during the dunking process, so that it didn't really matter that his foot came up out of the water at all. The rest of his body came up as well, just slightly after his toe did. No big deal. He nodded as I explained this, and so I left the bathroom to give him more room to change.

While we were waiting for them to finish dressing, the bishop quickly interviewed me in the hall, testing my knowledge of the confirmation blessing I was about to administer to my boy. He then asked who would be joining me in the circle. Having informed him, he questioned whether my brother from out of town, who was to join us in the circle, had a current temple recommend. I assured him that he had (I knew this only because I had previously questioned/warned my brother to be prepared with his temple recommend or other such proof of authority should the bishop dun him for it), and I even volunteered to fetch it for him if he wished. The bishop said that would not be necessary, as he trusted I was telling the truth.

Learning that there were to be only 4 men in the circle, the bishop then instructed me that Each man in the circle was to place Both hands on my son's head. He explained that he had it fresh from Pres. Boyd K. Packer (apparently he had recently attended a Bishop's training meeting somewhere) that if any More than 4 men officiated standing in a circle performing a Priesthood blessing, that each man, Including the one acting as mouth for the Lord, was to place only One hand, The Right Hand, and not both, on the head of the recipient. I drew a puzzled look. He elaborated, explaining to me that the traditional practice of everyone in the circle placing only one hand on the head while the mouthpiece of the Lord placed Both hands on the head was not in line with Proper Priesthood Procedures.

I struggled to refrain from laying my own hands squarely on his bishop head.

Casting aside these evil thoughts, I thought about asking him then and there if all the previous blessings and ordinances I had given in my life were invalid because they were not performed according to the Proper Priesthood Procedure of Laying on of Hands. But suddenly I felt a rush of reality, and turned my back to him.

Anyhow, the wait prolonged for grandpa and his son to emerge from the bathroom. The folks in the chapel were getting fidgety.

So I went back to check on grandpa and grandson, entered the bathroom, only to hear someone else informing grandpa that his grandson's foot had come up out of the water during the baptism. I could tell grandpa was once again nervous and apprehensive about this news. I again reassured him that all was well: I Knew that his grandson was Completely immersed in the waters of baptism. I saw the whole thing. It didn't matter that his foot came up briefly out of the water because it had already been soaked in the same water as the rest of his little body, for several minutes even. He could lay the matter to rest.

While watching grandpa and grandson walk slowly back to the chapel, the old man's weathered and wrinkled arm tenderly wrapping the youngster's shoulder, I offered a silent prayer.


Subject: Thanks - that was a great report...
Date: Aug 05 01:39
Author: Ron G.
Mail Address:

...(though I can't honestly say that I miss that world in the least).

Good job!



Subject: The Morg really is all about the letter of the law, isn't it?
Date: Aug 05 01:45
Author: NEM
Mail Address:

Thanks for the stories. They are quite a reminder.

Subject: What a reminder is right ! I remember seeing poor kids and some adults
Date: Aug 05 03:42
Author: Primrose
Mail Address:

as well, dunked over and over because they had something sticking out of the water and wondering WHY that was necessary. good grief the stuff we had to endure to be pleasing to God. If there is a God I doubt if all that rigamarole is necessary to get to any kingdom ofter death. Makes me sooooooooooooooo glad to be out. Thanks for the reminder.

Subject: Re: multiple dunkings...
Date: Aug 05 04:05
Author: missinglink
Mail Address:

Last January, I baptized my youngest (daughter). The boy that was baptized immediately after was one who is scared of having his head underwater. The father messed-up one word in the prayer (I've forgotten which one) and so he was forced to do it again. The dunking had been complete in that case. In the next two cases, the terrified son was judged as not having been fully dunked. Finally, on the fourth try, it was deemed a success. The boy was crying after the second attempt. Wonderful spirit - not!

Subject: Nearly drowning in the temple baptisms
Date: Aug 09 03:51
Author: nmf
Mail Address:

They repeated the prayers so fast I had to gasp for air between each dunking. It was rushed, horrible, and not spiritual at all.

Subject: Re: Nearly drowning in the temple baptisms
Date: Aug 09 08:56
Author: Jeff
Mail Address:

That how it was when I did that too. Guy kept dunking me over and over. The water was freezing. I had so much chlorine in my eyes after they burned and everything was surrounded by a hazzy blur. About the only high point was watching the girls getting dunked and their jumpsuit gets almost transparent when wet. Felt for them though because they were getting dunked like that too.

Recovery from Mormonism - The Mormon Church -   

Listing of additional short Topics  |  Main Page