Fatherhood: Week Ten - Baptism

If I were still a practicing Mormon, my wife and I would be having a discussion on baptism eight years from now. 

The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints does not believe in original sin, so children are baptized at the age of accountability. It is when children can discern from right and wrong. I was told baptism is a choice we make as children and a covenant we make with our Heavenly Father.

There are two things I remember when I was baptized: being deathly afraid of being immersed underwater (I couldn’t swim so it took many attempts by my patient father to get me completely submerged) and not wanting to disappoint my parents by not getting baptized. 

No child raised in the LDS Church will turn to their parents and say, “I don’t want to get baptized yet. Can I shop around other churches first before I make a decision?” Punishment would be swift. The condescending looks from other families during Sunday service would be torturous enough.

Choosing a religion for someone who only communicates in gurgles and farts doesn’t seem right either. Faith determines so much of who we are growing up. Both my parents were raised Catholic. I could see how much of their behavior and parenting style was formed by guilt and fear. My wife’s family, on the other hand, was a Lutheran household. I know a little about the religion, but I can tell from how her family acts that it is a church filled with love and understanding. 

I’m not comparing parenting styles. I was raised by two people who loved me and did the best they could. And let me make this clear: I am not saying one religion is better than another. My reasons for leaving the Mormon church are personal to me. I am not here to get on a soapbox to trash anyone’s beliefs. Despite some negative experiences, so many people I’ve met through the LDS Church are like family to me. I hope they feel the same way about me. 

I simply want my son to eventually worship God in a way that is comfortable for him. It’s weird being asked about what church my son should be baptized in when I haven’t figured out how to celebrate how Heavenly Father has blessed me. I struggled for so many years acknowledging He existed for a long time. It has taken me a long time to see how God moves through my life. 

At the end of the day, we both want to raise our son in a faith that loves everyone and doesn’t judge anyone for who they love and how they show their love for each other.