Being baptized in a river

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Ldsvwnut
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Being baptized in a river

Postby Ldsvwnut » Sat Jun 04, 2016 9:34 am

I'm a convert. I was told you could be baptized in a lake or river and have always planned on my children being baptized in the local river. My son is now 8 (yay!) and I am being told we have to use the font? I know there are people being baptized in rivers in other areas (where fonts are available). Why do we not have this option and others do?

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aebrown
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Re: Being baptized in a river

Postby aebrown » Sat Jun 04, 2016 11:26 am

jessiwester wrote:I'm a convert. I was told you could be baptized in a lake or river and have always planned on my children being baptized in the local river. My son is now 8 (yay!) and I am being told we have to use the font? I know there are people being baptized in rivers in other areas (where fonts are available). Why do we not have this option and others do?

If the choice only involved you, it would probably be no problem. But a baptism involves many other people, and in many wards or stakes, the baptismal services are standardized to ease the burden on other participants, particularly when there are multiple baptismal services on a single day. The bottom line is that the priesthood leaders (bishop and stake president) make these decisions. They may in some cases choose to accommodate a particular family's request, and in other cases they may choose to place a higher priority on simplicity. You could certainly ask to meet with your bishop and discuss his reasons for the decision.

russellhltn
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Re: Being baptized in a river

Postby russellhltn » Sat Jun 04, 2016 12:17 pm

Guidelines for baptismal services can be found In Handbook 2: 20.3.4. This will be the guidelines that the Bishop will refer to. But ultimately, the interpretation and decision rests with the local priesthood leaders.
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sbradshaw
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Re: Being baptized in a river

Postby sbradshaw » Mon Jun 06, 2016 12:37 pm

While nothing's wrong with being baptized in a river (our Savior was, people in centuries before were, and people today are where a font isn't available), it can blur the line between tradition and doctrine and also lead to others thinking that their baptism wasn't as special, or wasn't entirely correct, because it was done in a boring church building. It reminds me of a story President Monson shared in in 2010:
https://www.lds.org/broadcasts/article/ ... s?lang=eng

President Monson gives an experience where a high councilor was in the habit of turning the chairs of members being ordained to the priesthood to face the temple. President Monson was the bishop at the time, and he "could see the potential for it to become more widespread in practice," so he put a stop to it. There are some other examples in the talk, too.

When a practice sounds like a good idea, it's easily perpetuated and can become a tradition. Having extra traditions that aren't based on doctrine can foster a "Mormon culture" that excludes others and can even distract from the simple doctrine – for example, the simple doctrine of baptism. A baptism should be special in and of itself, not because of the trappings that accompany it.

That said, I can see why you would want your children to be baptized in a river – I think it would be cool! But I thought it would be helpful to mention some other things that your bishop might be thinking about that aren't apparent right off the bat.
Last edited by sbradshaw on Mon Jun 06, 2016 1:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Samuel Bradshaw • Interested in church apps and sites, creative recordkeeping, clerk support, YSA wards and stakes, LDS music, Vineyard at BYU, and online service.

russellhltn
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Re: Being baptized in a river

Postby russellhltn » Mon Jun 06, 2016 1:00 pm

In this case, I suspect the issues are more pragmatic. By having a baptism in the open, it's more likely that some hecklers will come along. Secondly, it much easier to insure everyone's safety in a font than in a river or lake.

In fact, a quick Google showed a pastor and convert in another church drowned in January 2014 in Eastern Uganda during a baptism.

This would certainly explain why fonts are preferred if they are available.
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gregwanderson
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Re: Being baptized in a river

Postby gregwanderson » Thu Jun 09, 2016 7:15 am

I know of two folks within my stake who were each baptised in ponds on their families' properties. One was about 5 years ago and other about 20 years ago. In each case, the pond was much colder than anyone expected. In one case, the child didn't go under all the way and they had to do the baptism again, but with a miserable, shivering kid standing there during the second attempt. So, I suppose anyone who's witnessed such an event (or heard about it) would advise against those (or similar) conditions.

I've seen places (like Utah County) where there are so many children getting baptised each month that the stake seems to micro-manage the conditions. They might create certain "dos and don'ts" that seem to take care of logistical concerns but also make certain parents feel too constrained, as if the whole thing is just an assembly line with nothing "special" for their child to remember. I don't know. But consider how structured it is to, say, go to the temple for one's own endowment. They don't allow a lot of individual variations to "make it more special" for the participant, do they? But I don't feel like people are complaining about that.

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BBailey711
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Re: Being baptized in a river

Postby BBailey711 » Fri Jun 24, 2016 8:39 pm

Just a Story to share: My family was one of the first converts in Mason City, Iowa, in 1965. My Mother, Father and 3 of us boys (which became 7) were going to be Baptised in the Shellrock River. But when we checked it out it was high water and a very fast river in many places. We were excited, but then we had to go to the YWCA swimming pool. We had a small wooden building with 6 hardwood pews. Dad became the first Branch President. I really miss those older simpler days!

BBailey


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