Subject: Baptism of an 8-year-old - A Woman's Perspective
Date: Dec 01 01:41 2003
Author: Micro
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I have a problem. My oldest child just turned 8. A few years ago I began to be very bothered by the church's treatment of women. I feel as though I am a second-class member because of my gender. As my daughter approached age 8, I began to dread the prospect of her becoming a member of an institution that will forever treat her as second class to men. However, I continued to take her to primary. Now that she is 8, she is scheduled to be baptized on Saturday. My husband is a TBM and would like his children raised in the church. I do not want her to be baptized, but because of all the lessons in primary she wants to be. My husband said he would support me if I said no, but I let her decide. She, of course, wants to be baptized.

I have read the other posts of people who face baptism of a child. However, most seem to be written by men wondering if they should perform the ordinance. Here is my problem: I wrote a letter to the first presidency asking why women are not allowed to participate in priesthood ordinances like baby blessings and confirmations. I feel as though my proper place should be at my husband's side during these ordinances. After all, I am the child's mother. This letter was sent to my bishop who called me into his office to discuss my "no longer sustaining the general authorities." The bishop was very short-sighted and downright abusive in his treatment of me. He threatened me with church discipline. At this point I cannot stop my daughter from getting baptized, but I would like to let my bishop know that he is not invited to participate in the confirmation. Since I am not allowed to participate, I certainly do not want a man that treated me so poorly to put his hands on my daughter's head. How can I make sure he does not have that opportunity without making a big scene that might hurt my daughter's feelings? Also, I am not quite ready to let my entire TBM family and in-laws know that I am contemplating leaving the church.

Subject: Ouch
Date: Dec 01 02:42
Author: Tyler
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That sounds like a rough situation. It is sickening the spiritual and emotional abuse the leadership doles out in its effort to maintain control and power.

It sounds like you daughter wants to be baptized more out of a social pressure than anything else. She must be getting attention and feel special because of it.

The decision is yours, but since that bishop threatened you with disciplinary action I think you should stand up for yourself and tell him that you have every right to ask questions and find answers for yourself.

I would also make every effort to make sure he is not part of the confirmation. Of course, by doing so it will alienate you from the leadership even more (like that matters, unless you want to keep the peace for your daughter).

You do hold the upper hand because your husband has given you his consent to allow your decision about whether there is a baptism at all, and the church cannot baptize her without your approval.

If possible don't deny your daughter the baptism, put it off to a date when she can make up her own mind about when she turns 18.

Good luck,

Subject: Child Abuse
Date: Dec 01 07:16
Author: Old Scout
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Let them Baptize her but refuse to let them confirm her. If she wants to join as an adult then it is her choice.
If they want to discipline you then do it for your child. I cannot believe at this point that you would refuse to protect her just to avoid the displeasure of a bunch of "fruit cakes".

PROTECT YOUR CHILD - Take the hit for her.

Subject: Re: Baptism of an 8-year-old
Date: Dec 01 10:09
Author: momo-nomo

As my daughter approached age 8 (in 1980), my TBM parents expected she would be baptized. She had been to primary in earlier years but was not attending any church meetings from about age 6 on.

I took my daughter out for a father-daughter walk and we talked about the LDS church. I told her that the church expects women to get married by age 21 and then stay at home and raise a family. She didn't like that idea because she had a concept of getting an education and having a professional career. So she made her own choice to NOT be baptized.

My daughter just turned 31 and she has never had any contact with the Mormon church since age 6. As I see her now as an adult I am 100% sure that the Mormon church would only have caused her misery and grief. Not being involved with the morg has absolutely been the right path for her to follow in life.

Subject: Money was the key for my kids
Date: Dec 01 12:00
Author: birdie2
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My kids didn't like going to Primary most of the time so it was easy for us to discontinue going.

Then when they asked me why I didn't want to go, I was frank with them: told them I'd rather spend 10 per centof my income on them than hand it over to LDS Inc. They were incredulous and when I told them they also were expected to give 10 per cent o f all their earnings, they immediately told me they did not want to be baptized. To them, every little penny earned is invaluable. One of my kids like to spend her earnings, the other is into saving it for her future.

Subject: Re: Baptism of an 8-year-old
Date: Dec 01 10:35
Author: Micro
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Thanks for your comments. It is true she does want to get baptized because everyone else is doing it. I am also getting a lot of pressure from the people who know I don't want her to be baptized. They think I should let her do it anyway. These are people that I hold a lot of respect for, so it is really hard to ignore them.

Subject: Your husband's role?
Date: Dec 01 13:08
Author: activejackmormon
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Does your husband understand and share your concern about the Bishop sharing in the confirmation process? If so, perhaps he'd be willing to ask the Bishop. If you discuss this with him, tendering this as a willingness to compromise by allowing the baptism and conversion but still give you something in return like letting this Bishop know in most uncertain terms that his actions are inappropriate and he is not welcome to participate in ordinances pertaining to your child.

Subject: I understand the pressure angle but...
Date: Dec 01 13:41
Author: hr
Mail Address:

only the parents are legally responsible for a child. It is hard to buck the grandparents but that is what I did after I had the agreement with my daughter that she didn't want to be baptized. Even though I had been exmo for 20 years when this was all happening, I still wondered if religion would be a positive thing in my kid's lives. Time has convinced me that the mormon church would only have brought trauma and trouble to my children's lives and I am very happy I stood up to the grandparents and made the decision that I felt was right.

Just because the church has decided that age 8 is the proper time for baptism, why is that etched in stone? What would be wrong with saying "I have some reservations about baptism NOW, so it is my decision to wait." When you are not sure of an action the best thing to do is take NO action. You don't have to declare right now that the child will never be baptized. All you have to say is that you don't think the time is right for it. This is the time to stand up for your own feelings about what is right for the child.

Subject: Dude! You're pushing it.
Date: Dec 01 15:11
Author: MySongAngel

You're lucky (or something) they didn't excommunicate you on the spot. Don't you see how brainwashed these people are? I can't believe you wrote a letter about women getting the priesthood to the GA's, and signed it. You will accomplish NOTHING doing that. The church will not change their mind. And the answer to "Why can't women have the priesthood?" Because God said so. That's it. End of conversation. You're wasting your breath talking to the bishop about it. Of course he was rude. You're insulting his religion. I totally agree with you, but you're beating a dead horse. If I were you, I would keep my mouth shut until I decided to leave for sure. If you go on complaining, THEY'LL kick you out, taking away your choice. Until you decide what to do, you have to keep your mouth shut. You have to just sit through the nauseating Relief Society lessons without asking questions. You will accomplish NOTHING by complaining except to start rumors about yourself. It's like something out of Nazi Germany, but it's true. You're not going to start a revolution or anything. TBMs don't want a revolution.

Subject: Re: Dude! You're pushing it.
Date: Dec 02 00:51
Author: Micro
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Actually, I never said the women wanted the priesthood. My letter asked why we are not allowed to participate in things like witnessing weddings and witnessing baptisms. I can find no revelations barring women from being witnesses. Indeed, I can find no canonized revelations saying that there even need to be witnesses at all. I just thought moms being witnesses at baptisms would be appropriate.

Subject: An additional thing to consider...
Date: Dec 01 15:21
Author: A Non-Mo Parent
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Something I hadn't really thought about until recently -- if your child might go to BYU, but also might possibly decide the church is not for her -- as I understand it, a Mormon who goes to BYU and then leaves Mormonism gets kicked out of school. As a non-member, she might be able to attend the whole time, but without that spiritual blackmail hanging over her head.

My stepkid was baptized before my spouse left the church. Our kids weren't. If we had continued to attend LDS church, there might have been some pressure to baptize them, but as a non-member I would not have allowed it until they were old enough to vote, drive, etc. Eight isn't old enough to get married to another person -- it's also not old enough to be getting married to a church. And that's what it is. Underage marriage. They're supposedly making covenants, which generally they have no clue about, and then those covenants they are too young to make responsibly are held over their heads the rest of their lives as if they were old enough to make such a commitment. And it really is a marriage, and becomes part of your marriage to another person later -- a third party in that marriage that becomes jealous and intrusive and controlling. So there was no way they were talking me into allowing my kids to be baptized/confirmed before they were considered old enough to make other decisions of similar weight and requiring similar personal responsibility that 8-year-olds just don't have.

But we always had the excuse that one of their parents was a non-member. If you are not "out of the closet," that would be trickier.

In any case, we are actively discouraging my stepkid from even thinking about BYU because there's a good chance in this case of this kid's bullhockey detector going off midway through schooling, after getting away from the still-LDS custodial parent.

Good luck, and best wishes!

Subject: Re: An additional thing to consider...
Date: Dec 02 00:48
Author: Micro
Mail Address:

Nope, I would never let my kids go to the Y. We, in my house, are University of Utah Utes all the way.

Unless you live in Utah you may not realize how anti-BYU the real fan of the U of U are.

Subject: I'm sorry, but that little girl had no real choice.
Date: Dec 01 16:24
Author: Cheryl
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Children that age are not capable of making such a decision under the circumstances you described. She had to go for it because of the pressures from friends, community, and probably dad. He may not have said anything, but his unspoken wishes must have been clear.

You were probably pure and fair and didn't try to force the issure, so she bent to all of the other pressures in her world. It's all she knows. Choosing against baptism would be like taking a blind leap into the great unknown.

I'd suggest you gradually start being more and more open with your daughter about how silly mormon dunking and other customs and rituals are. If you can, form boundaries. Work out how often you'll allow her to attend mormon brainwashing sessions. Talk to her about whatever they do to her there. Pick it apart and let her see the truth of it by asking her open-ended questions.

I see no reason for mormon women to fight for equal rights in a fraudulant organization. But that's just me.

Good luck. And remember, once she's an adult, she might choose to be Mormon, and that's her right. We have to be there for our kids, mormon or not. (And I'm hoping for "NOT" for your sake.)

Subject: Re: Baptism of an 8-year-old
Date: Dec 01 21:16
Author: EloHer
Mail Address:

It's always been interesting to me that in the Morg doctrine, a woman's only purpose is procreation, yet women are denied any participation in any of the church procedures - when a baby is blessed, men in the congregation who are total strangers can come join in the circle, but the mother isn't even allowed to sit in the middle of the group and hold the child. Of course, baptism and confirmation require external genetalia as well.

I really don't know where you got the idea that women are second-class citizens; we're not citizens at all!

Subject: Re: Baptism of an 8-year-old
Date: Dec 02 00:55
Author: Micro
Mail Address:

It was through this letter writing process that I learned that the church does not care one tiny bit about me. It was the beginning of the end of my belief in the church. Until then I had been naive enough to think that maybe some of them cared about the members. But now I am convinced otherwise.

Subject: Have your hubby tell the Bishop.....
Date: Dec 01 21:28
Author: Lara C
Mail Address:

...he's not invited.

Hopefully the Bishop's treatment bothers him, too.

Subject: Re: confirmation
Date: Dec 02 04:01
Author: missinglink
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The standard practice for the baptism/confirmation of 8-year-old children is to do them the same day. Back in the old days (my youth in the 60's, anyway), the baptism was done on Saturday and the confirmation on Sunday in sacrament meeting. Older converts are once again generally confirmed in sacrament meeting, some weeks after their baptism and after having been suitably "indoctrinated" (yeah, right). But the kids are typically confirmed on Saturday right after the baptism.

In our stake, we held one or two services a month with the 2nd counselors (my position) of the various wards rotating through on the duty to organize and conduct the service. It varies by stake, of course. Anyway, it would be a lot easier to keep your arrogant bishop out of the confirmation circle in that situation than in a sacrament meeting. Heck, when we baptized/confirmed my oldest (7 years ago), there wasn't a single PH holder from our ward even there and I grabbed another father to help me do the deed!

BTW, your original post did state that you asked the FP why women couldn't participate in PH ordinances like baby blessings and confirmations. Later you told MySongAngel you only wanted to be one of the witnesses for the baptism and that you knew of no doctrinal statement why that would have to be a PH holder.

While nothing comes to mind on this latter issue, it is clearly (as BKP loves to say) "the unwritten order of the church" that only men are witnesses. You're just "cruising for a bruising" by even questioning it. Lavina Fielding Anderson and other feminists have been ex'd for such failure to "know your place" or to bring up the fact that women in the early church held and exercised PH authority - they just held no formal office therein.

Really, when you think about the temple (particularly the initiatory and new name ordinances), women even today exercise PH authority. Though little done today, the second annointing (AKA fullness of the PH ordinance) turns women into full-fledged "queens and priestesses" and such women perform the washing PH ordinance upon their husband (w/n the confines of their home) to complete this. Sure, I don't believe in it one bit but that is the doctrine...

Anyway, I faced a somewhat similar problem in Jan '03 w/ my youngest. The other two had been dunked and all of her church friends during the year had been dunked, so she wanted it too. I didn't believe in it anymore but it seemed a small concession to make and not the battle I wanted to pick. I believe there is yet plenty of time to help all of my children see the light. At the very least, they will make a fully-informed choice if they desire to remain affiliated with the Morg as adults.