I love my son. He is an intelligent little guy with a lot of energy. So when he wanted me to baptize him of course I said I would. Since I think 8 years old is young to make such an important decision I made sure he understood that he didn’t have to be baptized if he didn’t want to. I also challenged him to read the Book of Mormon once before being baptized so he knew better what he was about to do. (He’s about a third way through Alma right now.)
I know that his desire to be baptized is probably brought on by the emphasis the LDS Church puts on being baptized by 8. He’s been taught in primary that when he’s eight he will “get” to be baptized almost like it is some kind of party. I’m not anti-baptism, but I do remember a little about my baptism and I know I was not ready to know what I was doing. Call me a late bloomer but I don’t think I really could have made that decision until I was a teenager. I think it would have meant much more to me then. As it is now I don’t remember much about what went on except for a vague memory of an interview with the Bishop. Anyway enough about me, I want this to be memorable for my son. I want him to feel a real change in his life a real commitment to God, not just something you do when your eight to get presents and cake. If I can make that happen then it will be a success.
I have wondered if I should baptize my son. If I’m “worthy” to do so or if my “weakened” testimony disqualifies me to perform the task. I don’t think it does but I know that some people may think so and one of those people may be my Bishop. I’m not sure if he will talk to me before the big day comes. I informed him of my struggling in a general way about a year ago and he hasn’t talk to me about it since. So chances are he will just assume everything is O.K., see that I have a temple recommend and give the baptism his blessing. That’s the scenario I’m hoping for. If he was to interview me before the baptism I am not sure what the outcome would be. I’m not anti-Mormon but I wouldn’t exactly call me a great believer in the Church either. In fact, many “standard” beliefs held by the majority of Mormons I no longer hold to or at least am in deep doubt about.
I know I am not unique in this dilemma. I have talked with several people facing the same issue (i.e. doubting with an eight year old child expecting baptism). It puts you in a difficult situation because you want to see your child mature a bit more before deciding to be baptized but realize that the Church does not allow that option (if you believe that your child’s sins will be on your head, something that contradicts scripture). In the end my son will be baptized. I am more than willing to do it for him even though it is not the exciting event I had always pictured it being in the past. It will be for him and that’s what matters. I just hope it actually helps him spiritually.