Conditioned To Believe

I had a conversation with my father-in-law about why I’m not having my daughter baptized when she turns 8. I explained how I didn’t think she’s old enough to make such a major decision and she should wait until she is older and fully understands what she’s doing – which he naturally disagreed with. He felt confident she, like other 8 year olds in the church, understand the choice and what it means…

So I asked him that simple question… If she chose to get baptized into a different religion would he still think she’s old enough to make that choice? And more importantly, would he be supportive and respect her “choice”? — ireallyshouldbeworking (via reddit)

What a powerful question.  LDS Children are encouraged and expected to commit and devote their lives to The Church when they turn eight-years-old.  The “age of accountability.”  The common assertion is that children of this age are old enough to understand right and wrong and to follow The LORD’s commandments.

If your eight-year-old child came to you and wanted to study Islam, or Judaism, or Catholicism, or any other religion unlike your own, would you let them?  If they wanted to join that religion permanently, do you believe they have the maturity to make such a decision?

For me and my child, we do study other religions and cultures and myths.  She knows about Pharoah, and Noah, and Odysseus, and Achilles.  We’ve read about Egyptian and Chinese mythology too.  If she asked to go to a church, I would likely allow it, as long as I went along with her to answer her questions and propose some of my own.

I have to say, however, if she wanted to permanently join any group, especially one that demands lifelong commitment, I would withhold consent until she was much, much older.

At the time of my baptism, I don’t believe I had ever set foot in anything but an LDS Church.  I don’t know if I honestly knew there were other ways of thinking and believing.  I knew that some people didn’t believe the same way I did, but I was never taught what those differences were and why.  How can you reliably dedicate the rest of your life to only one way of believing when you haven’t even considered any others?

Seems like choosing at eight to leave your radio station on just one frequency forever.

“One believes things because one has been conditioned to believe them.” -Aldous Huxley

One thought on “Conditioned To Believe”

  1. Amen. I wasn’t old enough at age 8 to make such a life long decision to be baptized. I did what my parents, and friends encouraged me to do, and what I thought was a good thing. I’d never been to any other religious service, or read any other religious texts.

    So many people grow up in the faith they were born into. It takes real strength to be able to truly test it. Maybe it has been true all along, maybe it hasn’t. But all people, from all backgrounds should test what they believe.

    What I also found strange, was when people would talk about how children that were “born in the covenant” (born to sealed LDS parents), had been chosen in a preexistence to be LDS because of their great strength in the preexistence. I wasn’t born in the covenant, so I always felt less important, but for those who were, they ate it up. It stoked their beliefs and ego.

    “How can you reliably dedicate the rest of your life to only one way of believing when you haven’t even considered any others?”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *