Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Baptism Blues

My youngest child turned eight this week. I'm not having the Baptism Blues because they grow up so fast, etc, etc. No, my angst stems from the fact that she is the first of my chilies to be baptized in Utah...and have a Stake Baptism! I first attended one of these illustrious events last year when I was asked to direct the music. I really was taken aback by the impersonal nature of the affair. In the mission field, baptisms are very intimate. Family, friends and ward members gather to celebrate this special rite of passage. The day of the baptism can be scheduled on the child's exact birthday, if desired. The eight-year-old often picks the music and the speakers. Mothers make refreshments. Siblings give prayers or lead the music. Talks are given directly to the child. In contrast, the Stake Baptism I attended was huge. The entire chapel was filled to overflowing. Children were called out of the chapel by wards to go into the baptismal font area. It seemed like a cattle call.

I'm really trying to have a good attitude toward this, so my baby girl will have happy memories. But I miss being out in the "mission field," and the precious experiences that all of our baptisms were.


Lucy said...

A sister in my ward waits until her children are 9 to have them baptized so the children can have the 'missionary baptism' experience.
I agree with you, the stake baptisms seem too large in scale to lend to the beauty and spirit of an individual baptism.

jana said...

we do the stake baptism thing here, too, and I agree that it's nothing like the intimacy of a family baptism. we had the good fortune of baptizing our daughter on an off-week because of the travel schedules of extended family members. So we got the personal ceremony and we felt lucky!

Téa said...

We had the cattle call experience with our son's baptism and I'll be damned if I'm going to let my daughter's ordinance end up the miserable mess that his was... He was baptized October '05 and it still bothers me when I think about it--it was wrong, wrong wrong. Attitude can only go so far when the event itself is marred by circumstance(s).

I really hope it's as nice as it can be for your daughter. Good luck.

HiveRadical said...

If done correctly I think the Stake baptisms can be made sufficient.

I do agree that many in Utah could do alot better to put more 'specialness' into the individuality of the rite.

I have to say that one issue that I did see outside of Utah while on my mission (when I discovered what I was missing from having grown up in Utah) was that (at least in my experience) sometimes the excesive emphasis on the person COULD overcome the actual ordinance. I think both areas could be benefited to make the ordinance special and concise and balanced properly between the importance of the individual and the covenant that they are making and who they are making it with.

HiveRadical said...

Another thing I just thought of that could be derived from the circumstances not being ideal could be the emphasis with the child that the ordinance, done by the proper authority, is just as valid and important to their life, even if the superficial niceties are not as refined and personal as they are in other instances.

Just as the ordinances in the Temple, especially the sealing, are not MORE effective ultimately if all of both families are there to support the couple. A couple, two witnesses and a sealer, in the temple, are just as efficacious, and ultimately just as special, as those with the whole family peresnt and fanfare and group quietness and reverence.

Anonymous said...

I guess that is one reason why I don't move to Utah and every time I think about actually doing it, there are so many things about the south that I do not want to give up in order to live amongst "the saints". Come back to the mission field. I am sure that there is a gospel doctrine class just waiting for you to teach.

Carol F. said...

I just did a google search on ["stake baptism" lds cattle] and your post came up. I am very frustrated about the information I have just received about my daughter's 8-yr-old baptism. It sounds just like your experience. We have looked forward to this event for years.

I think this is beyond cattle call and completely off-putting.

Do you think it is possible to travel to the grandparents' ward (we live in Gilbert, AZ and they live in Salt Lake) and have her baptized there with our own lovely program?

Bored in Vernal said...

well, Carol, they do the same thing in SL, but maybe if you travel there in the middle of the month, you can set something up. Or maybe you can do as Jana did and tell the bishop your family can only come out at a certain time for the baptism. Some bishops are more amenable than others. One of our friends just went out to California and were allowed to hold the baptism at the grandparents' home, and have their daughter baptized in their lovely pool. But the grandpa was a former Stake and Mission Pres--perhaps that made a difference! Good luck!