Thursday, December 03, 2009

Baptism

Marriage is compromise, right? Well it seems like it has to be, you can't always expect to get things your way, and truthfully getting everything your way is probably not for the best. Well a few months ago, my eldest child turned eight years old. Eight in the Mormon culture is a very important age, it is when a child reaches what is called the Age of Accountability, which basically means that at that age you know right from wrong and are therefore accountable for your actions. It is also the time when you have the opportunity to be baptized and become and official member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. And baptism and the confrimation are also important because it is the time you make a covenant with God to always obey his commandments, and a chance for you to be cleansed from your sins. Now ignoring the lack of logic about someone who up until this day was not accountable for their sins, needing to be cleansed and forgiven, does an 8 year old child have the capacity to understand the commitment they are making? When both sides pretty much agree that one week prior she did not have such capacity. I mean I am 37 years old and can't commit to a cell phone provider let alone a God I don't understand, so how can she make such a commitment seeing that she can't tell me if Jesus and God are the same or not or if God even existed
Now traditionally in the Mormon church, when children turn 8 and want to get baptized they are usually baptized by their fathers. Now I am very open with my children about my beliefs and my daughter knows that me baptizing her was not an option. She decided that her grandfather (my wife's husband) would be a great choice, and in her defense, she is totally right, he is a great man. I was torn, part of me wanted to have a great experience with my child and another part of me wanted her not to get baptized at all, not feeling that 8 is old enough to make such huge commitments, I mean it was just 3 months earlier that this same daughter told us that she didn't believe in God. But nevertheless the baptism happened, and she looked beautiful, and it went great contrary to my feelings of the event. After the baptism (and confirmation) there are a few words said by a member of the local bishopric. Well in our case the member of the bishopric thought it was a great idea to ask the parents to come up, impromptu, and say a few words. Now, my relationship with the church is no secret, I don't attend meetings anymore and have discussed my beliefs with my bishop and really to anybody wanting to discuss it, so I was a bit surprised at the request to speak at such an event. My wife stood up and shared her feelings, buying me a few more minutes to think about what I would say, I was hoping that she would speak so long that we would run out of time and that I would be bumped, like the third guest on the Tonight Show. But unfortunately that wasn't the case, and it was my turn. I walked to the front turned and looked at my daughter, with a huge smile on her face and simply said directly to her "I am happy that you are happy", and I went and sat down.

9 Comments:

At 6:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

 
At 7:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

that was hillarious to read--mainly because last year my eldest child turned 8 and i was beset with the same decision. since i'm an in-the-closet, anti-mormon mormon, it was hard for me to decide what to do with a child who insisted i baptize her in spite of my being direcly honest with her regarding my unworthiness/lack of desire to do so (i would easily fail at least 70% of all temple recommend questions asked). in the end, since i was getting heat from my parents (who don't know of my anti-mormonism) to baptize her, i decided to just do it anyway--for her. she'll probably grow up and want to join some other church. nonetheless, it was a painful process to come to any kind of decision on the matter.

 
At 3:07 AM, Blogger Chino Blanco said...

If you've yet to join the conversation re X-Mormon of the Year over at Main Street Plaza, this here is your official invite! ( And all apologies for this spamalicious OT comment ! )

 
At 4:02 PM, Blogger S. said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 4:02 PM, Blogger S. said...

I've been a Mormon my whole life and have recently begun to rethink my beliefs. I've been thinking more and more than I'm agnostic and stumbled across your blog. I'm glad I did because it seems like my spiritual journey is much like yours was. I'm not sure how many people still populate this blog, but I've started one of my own and would love your insight/advice as well as that of any readers.

My Blog

I'm so glad I found your blog. Hopefully we'll hear from you soon.

 
At 11:35 AM, Blogger Bill said...

I started by blog just over two years ago and named it for my town, my state and the world, but later got to thinking that I should have named it, "The Blog of an Agnostic Mormon."

But I had established the title and left it as it was, thinking that I would still find a way to throw that "agnostic Mormon" bit into something, sometime.

Yesterday, Main Street Plaza linked to one of my posts, so I followed their link back to their site and there found the link to your site.

I have enjoyed what I have read, but your last post was 290 days ago!

I don't know why and maybe there is a good reason why you have been silent all this time, but, doggonit, if you are going to use "Agnostic Mormon" as your title, then, please, make an effort to keep this blog going!

http://wasillaalaskaby300.squarespace.com

 
At 11:03 PM, Blogger Nihilist Toast said...

Hey Rob,
Unless I'm mistaken, you're married to my sister. I totally found your blog by accident.
I really appreciate your posts... I have a lot of similar feelings and concerns and it's nice to hear your frank but calm description of your adventures as an agnostic mormon family-man. Makes me a little less worried about the future.
-Dave

 
At 8:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can't believe nobody pointed out the way you're projecting your own ambivalence onto your daughter. There are so many things you could have said that might have helped her grow and feel connected to you, instead of your passive aggressive downer of a statement, which I'm sure she heard crystal clear. For example, "I know this day means a lot to you and I'm proud of you for following your heart. Understanding your beliefs and your own place in the world is a lifelong process and I want you to know I'm always here to listen, to care, and to try to help you live the life you want, a life that you can feel proud of. I love you, and I'm happy to see you so happy today." For the record I grew up Mormon and haven't been a believer or practiced it since I was about 15 (35 years ago). It still bums me out to see parents dumping their own bad feelings onto their children, no matter who believes what. Let her have her own experience.

 
At 9:12 AM, Blogger Facsimilogos said...

I am not sure I agree with the last comment by anonymous. If you give children the impression that you are behind their decision 100%, that is not living with integrity and it might only create confusion in the child and make them think that deception, when pressured in a group setting, is OK.

I baptized my son a year ago and confirmed him. The problem was, I didn't believe in what I was doing and so the blessing stumbled out in such an incoherent manner (I just kept telling my son in several different ways to study things out for himself and make wise decisions). My wife later commented to others that the blessing given was not the one my son should have received. This was so hurtful and only made me feel bad, but I was living with integrity as much as possible and, honestly, I only did it for my son.

These situations are so tough because on the one hand we want to support and love our children in their decisions, but I think, in most cases, children at this age are just doing what they think will please their parents and teachers at church. It is so hard to maintain a life of integrity and not participate in such things when you don't believe in them. It is especially difficult when there is guilt being conveyed, by others who believe, to participate and be a part of their lives.

All I can say is that it really sucks to be in this position.

 

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