Won't let me baptize my son... I might be done

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hawkgrrrl
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Re: Won't let me baptize my son... I might be done

Post by hawkgrrrl » 28 Aug 2017, 11:06

I spoke with a friend who suggested I email my SP asking clarification on his stance in light of my doubts and cc my general area authority. He said most likely the area authority will side with the brethren on not punishing those who have doubts.
I think this is your best course of action. The facts that the AA needs to address:
1 - the BP is deferring to the SP.
2 - the SP has ruled that you can't perform the ordinance because you don't meet his standard for worthiness.
3 - you are completely orthoprax, even if you expressed your doubts. Faith is acting DESPITE doubts. The action is what makes it faith, and countless talks by Q15 will confirm this.
4 - the SP has not given you a path to "repentance" to meet his specific standards, so you have no way forward.
5 - the BP is offering you a calling, so you are not disfellowshipped or deemed unworthy in any other binding way - nor could you be since you are orthoprax.
6 - paying tithing can be done annually or directly to the COB, so that's truly not relevant. They would have no way of knowing whether you intend to pay it in a lump at the end of the year or directly to the COB. I generally pay via stock transfer to the COB. You can't transfer stocks to the ward. Holding this over your head would reveal their ignorance and nothing more.

He needs to either recognize that you have enough faith to proceed (which you do) or give you clear steps you can meet to be able to perform the ordinance. The AA is bound to agree with that.

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DarkJedi
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Re: Won't let me baptize my son... I might be done

Post by DarkJedi » 28 Aug 2017, 11:15

I am very sorry that this is happening to you. I'm with Hawkgrrrl and others on this, particularly including the AA on it. And I also think delaying baptism (or just threatening to) has a big effect on very orthodox leaders because they don't want that to happen (unless you happen to be married to someone of your same gender, then it's perfectly OK).
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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Heber13
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Re: Won't let me baptize my son... I might be done

Post by Heber13 » 28 Aug 2017, 11:46

DoubtingTom wrote:
28 Aug 2017, 09:50
But what kind of a church is this where I can't express my doubts and concerns without fear of being penalized?
That's a very good question. I think you may want to organize some thoughts in writing and prepare for some meetings with the bishop to discuss and press for answers on this. I think you have a right to and to ask this fair question, in the most meek and honestly searching way.

This sounds like one of these opportunities where you might need to help your bishop. He needs to see things more clearly and more compassionately. As you do so, you may not only help your family, but many families behind you that may need to deal with it but may be too enraged with anger to ever have the patience to work through it lovingly with you bishop. This may be an opportunity for you to help make a difference.

How you handle it, and how you talk might be a big factor in it. Because I don't see a lot he has grounds to stand on to deny you this experience, he only has the authority to make a judgment call. But...through inspiration, may come around the more he prays about it.

I think you need to give him things to ponder...and try to keep it cordial so you focus on love...and get him to agree that if he is going to make an error...he should err on the side of love and let God work out the rest.

How much time do you have to work on this issue? When is your son 8?

This may be something that you and your wife talk about that you would like to try to work through it and if that means baptizing him at 8.5 or even 9, it may be worth it as a family.

I would prepare thoughts and include these things to ask your bishop to consider, because from your standpoint, you feel worthy and it is important to your family and the relationship between you and your son:

1. Tell him you believe the Lord is not done with you, but that as we learn in the scriptures...we struggle with our faith and learn line upon line, precept upon precept. How can the Lord help build your faith if the bishop is going to deny you the chance to practice, with faith, how to work through your issues?
Mark 9:23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
You can tell the bishop you want to believe, you are trying, and being honest, you have been open and honest to him because you trusted him. Ask him to keep your conversations in confidence while helping you have good experiences that build your faith. You need these things, you want them and do not want to be shunned for expressing your doubts. That's not right.

Elder L. Whitney Clayton has said:
We simply go and do the things the Lord has commanded, even when we are weary, trusting that He will help us to do exactly as He asks. As we do so, the Lord helps our unbelief, and our faith becomes powerful, vibrant, and unshakable.

2. DT...would you be willing to work with him. Accept a calling and try and obey if he works with you and tries to trust you that you can baptize?


3. Would you be willing to meet with him with your wife together...he may be much more sympathetic as your wife is there supporting you and he has to explain to your wife why you can't baptize your son?


4. I believe bishops are trying to do what is right for the family. But may need clarification on how you are working on things, and where your heart is and if you are sincere or if you are bitter and hard-hearted. If your countenance is honest, meek, sincere, and searching and asking for help...I believe the spirit can guide the bishop to see what is best for you, even if it takes him a little time to wrestle with it himself. He will get there...he will see that love is the best way for you, and you baptizing your son is the best thing.

I would take him a copy of this article from President Packer...and highlight this quote:
The priesthood does not have the strength that it should have and will not have until the power of the priesthood is firmly fixed in the families as it should be.

President Harold B. Lee stated: “It seems clear to me that the Church has no choice—and never has had—but to do more to assist the family in carrying out its divine mission, not only because that is the order of heaven, but also because that is the most practical contribution we can make to our youth—to help improve the quality of life in the Latter-day Saint homes. As important as our many programs and organizational efforts are, these should not supplant the home; they should support the home.”

President Joseph F. Smith made this statement about the priesthood in the home: “In the home the presiding authority is always vested in the father, and in all home affairs and family matters there is no other authority paramount. To illustrate this principle, a single incident will perhaps suffice. It sometimes happens that the elders are called in to administer to the members of a family. Among these elders there may be presidents of stakes, apostles, or even members of the first presidency of the Church. It is not proper under these circumstances for the father to stand back and expect the elders to direct the administration of this important ordinance. The father is there. It is his right and it is his duty to preside. He should select the one who is to administer the oil, and the one who is to be mouth in prayer, and he should not feel that because there are present presiding authorities in the Church that he is therefore divested of his rights to direct the administration of that blessing of the gospel in his home. (If the father be absent, the mother should request the presiding authority present to take charge.) The father presides at the table, at prayer, and gives general directions relating to his family life whoever may be present.”

During the Vietnam War, we held a series of special meetings for members of the Church called into military service. After such a meeting in Chicago, I was standing next to President Harold B. Lee when a fine young Latter-day Saint told President Lee that he was on leave to visit his home and then had orders to Vietnam. He asked President Lee to give him a blessing.

Much to my surprise, President Lee said, “Your father should give you the blessing.”

Very disappointed, the boy said, “My father wouldn’t know how to give a blessing.”

President Lee answered, “Go home, my boy, and tell your father that you are going away to war and want to receive a father’s blessing from him. If he does not know how, tell him that you will sit on a chair. He can stand behind you and put his hands on your head and say whatever comes.”

This young soldier went away sorrowing.

About two years later I met him again. I do not recall where. He reminded me of that experience and said, “I did as I was told to do. I explained to my father that I would sit on the chair and that he should put his hands on my head. The power of the priesthood filled both of us. That was a strength and protection in those perilous months of battle.”

Another time I was in a distant city. After a conference we were ordaining and setting apart leaders. As we concluded, the stake president asked, “Can we ordain a young man to be an elder who is leaving for the mission field?” The answer, of course, was yes.

As the young man came forward, he motioned for three brethren to follow and stand in for his ordination.

I noticed on the back row a carbon copy of this boy, and I asked, “Is that your father?”

The young man said, “Yes.”

I said, “Your father will ordain you.”

And he protested, “But I’ve already asked another brother to ordain me.”

And I said, “Young man, your father will ordain you, and you’ll live to thank the Lord for this day.”

Then the father came forward.

Thank goodness he was an elder. Had he not been, he soon could have been! In the military they would call that a battlefield commission. Sometimes such things are done in the Church.

The father did not know how to ordain his son. I put my arm around him and coached him through the ordinance. When he was finished, the young man was an elder. Then something wonderful happened. Completely changed, the father and son embraced. It was obvious that had never happened before.

The father, through his tears, said, “I didn’t get to ordain my other boys.”

Think how much more was accomplished than if another had ordained him, even an Apostle.


While the priesthood is presently all over the world, we call on every elder and high priest, every holder of the priesthood to stand, like Gideon’s small but powerful force of 300, in his own place. We now must awaken in every elder and high priest, in every quorum and group, and in the father of every home the power of the priesthood of the Almighty.

The Lord said that “the weak things of the world shall come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones.”
I would not suggest gathering "ammunition" to go in blasting the bishop with "I have a right and you can't stop me" attitude (not that you would), but I would show him that this is so important to your family, you have studied, prayed as a family...you find the church leaders saying these things to help families...and yet...you don't feel they are being told to you...and it hurts your heart. Why would the Lord tell church leaders to say these things but deny you the feelings you want?

5. Elder Holland just told us in conference there is room for us in the church, as we are...you are just being honest with who you are and your unique voice:
Heavenly Father delights to have us sing in our own voice, not someone else’s. Believe in yourself, and believe in Him. Don’t demean your worth or denigrate your contribution. Above all, don’t abandon your role in the chorus. Why? Because you are unique; you are irreplaceable. The loss of even one voice diminishes every other singer in this great mortal choir of ours, including the loss of those who feel they are on the margins of society or the margins of the Church.

But even as I encourage all of you to have faith regarding songs that may be difficult to sing, I readily acknowledge that for different reasons I struggle with other kinds of songs that should be—but are not yet—sung.

...

I plead with each one of us to stay permanently and faithfully in the choir, where we will be able to savor forever that most precious anthem of all—“the song of redeeming love.”11 Fortunately, the seats for this particular number are limitless. There is room for those who speak different languages, celebrate diverse cultures, and live in a host of locations. There is room for the single, for the married, for large families, and for the childless. There is room for those who once had questions regarding their faith and room for those who still do. There is room for those with differing sexual attractions. In short, there is a place for everyone who loves God and honors His commandments as the inviolable measuring rod for personal behavior, for if love of God is the melody of our shared song, surely our common quest to obey Him is the indispensable harmony in it. With divine imperatives of love and faith, repentance and compassion, honesty and forgiveness, there is room in this choir for all who wish to be there. “Come as you are,” a loving Father says to each of us, but He adds, “Don’t plan to stay as you are.” We smile and remember that God is determined to make of us more than we thought we could be.
I would prepare these thoughts and talk with the bishop telling him that you want to do what is right. Ask him to help you so that you can make this a great experience for your son and your family.

You do not have to do everything he asks if you don't feel comfortable doing things...but you can do the most of what you can do...and stretch yourself to have faith it is worth it to sacrifice that you might be able to have this and your son not penalized for it.

With such a heart-felt approach and honest pleading...I think any good bishop would see the wisdom of him not standing it the way of this.

I think it is worth it for you to try and fight this...with love and with scripture and with conference quotes from leaders...to fight for your family and your authority in your home.

Should you give it your best, and they shun you...well...you may never want to be part of it anymore. And that is on them. After all you have done to be fair and to try...if they treat you that way...you are done.

But...if you just are done without having the multiple talks, tears, pleadings, efforts to do all you can...well...you may never know if you could have done more.

I think it is a church of love, not a church of fear. I think they want to help families...they just also have to follow their guidelines. Be patient with your bishop as he learns what he needs to do. Remind him you respect the SP, but you also know it is his call and plead with him to pray about your family and find a way to best help your family.

I just can't see him messing that up for you when you plead honestly with him. Keep your end goals in mind, and be willing to learn through this process what might be important to give on in order to help your family most in the long run.

That is my advice. I hope it can work out well for your son. I really do. I believe it can. It may not at first, and it may take time...so if you can get your wife and son to agree that it is worth putting it off to do it right rather than just do it because he is 8, then help them see you want that and will try your best to fight for that.

What do you think of all that...is it worth that? Can you do that? Would you be willing to try to work with the bishop?
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

DoubtingTom
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Re: Won't let me baptize my son... I might be done

Post by DoubtingTom » 28 Aug 2017, 12:07

Thanks Heber and others for the advice. I need time to ponder these things. I will wait a few days and see if the SP contacts me as BP said he might. I wish I could have you guys as "little birds" to whisper in my ear during a meeting. I always plan great things to say, but fumble it badly during the presentation.

I am torn between submitting humbly to something I feel is so wrong and playing by their rules just to get to keep playing - and letting them "win." I feel that would only reinforce them. See? - look how humble DT is being and how hard he is trying work on his faith. We were clearly inspired to deny him baptizing his son.

But right now I am angry and bitter and tired of jumping through their arbitrary self-righteous hoops. I need time to process and calm down. I don't want to be the dog returning to the master that beats him. I am this close to calling it quits but I will be patient for now and not make any rash decisions.

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Heber13
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Re: Won't let me baptize my son... I might be done

Post by Heber13 » 28 Aug 2017, 12:22

you're a good soul, Tom.

There is no right or wrong answer. Just a choice to pass through and learn from it.

However, in most cases, if you are torn between bitterness and humility, the latter may prove wiser in the long run, even if more painful in the short run.

Whatever you decide...your son needs an example of a father standing up for what he truly believes in his heart. He may be young now, but some explanations and discussions can be had so he knows regardless of what happens...you love him and he is more important to you than anything.

The rest is just church.

I have had these discussions go badly with church leaders. Even if I understand what the leaders are doing...I vehemently disagree and have to make a choice on what feels right to me.

Regardless...my kids have always known I am their father. I am there for them. I don't take lightly my responsibility as father in the home. I will protect them and stand up for them, even if that means sitting in the bishop's office during interviews with them if I have to, or even if that means pulling them out of church to go on hikes with me to talk about life. I will do what I think is best for them.

They are more important than anything. Church is there to help the family, not families to be there for the church. You have to choose how to show your son what is most important in life.

I'm sorry this is hard for you. I hope you can find your peace you are looking for, regardless of how it turns out.
DoubtingTom wrote:
28 Aug 2017, 12:07
I am this close to calling it quits but I will be patient for now and not make any rash decisions.
You're wise to not make rash decisions. Keep us posted.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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mom3
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Re: Won't let me baptize my son... I might be done

Post by mom3 » 28 Aug 2017, 12:55

Remember what tools the church has given you -

You can take the essays in and explain some of your struggle through those.

You have handbook instructions you can use.

https://www.lds.org/handbook/handbook-2 ... +ordinance
A bishop may allow a father who holds the Melchizedek Priesthood to name and bless his children even if the father is not fully temple worthy. Likewise, a bishop may allow a father who is a priest or Melchizedek Priesthood holder to baptize his children or to ordain his sons to offices in the Aaronic Priesthood. A Melchizedek Priesthood holder in similar circumstances may be allowed to stand in the circle for the confirmation of his children, for the conferral of the Melchizedek Priesthood on his sons, or for the setting apart of his wife or children. However, he may not act as voice.
Add Elder Holland's recent talk or Uchtdorf or both.

Be calm. Really calm and loving.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

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hawkgrrrl
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Re: Won't let me baptize my son... I might be done

Post by hawkgrrrl » 28 Aug 2017, 13:34

Unfortunately, the person with the most awareness bears the most responsibility for how the interaction goes. It's unfortunate when that is NOT the person in power.

Roy
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Re: Won't let me baptize my son... I might be done

Post by Roy » 28 Aug 2017, 14:53

mom3 wrote:
28 Aug 2017, 12:55
A bishop may allow a father who holds the Melchizedek Priesthood to name and bless his children even if the father is not fully temple worthy. Likewise, a bishop may allow a father who is a priest or Melchizedek Priesthood holder to baptize his children
I used to think that the bishop was bound to let you as the father perform the baptism. However, the church allows heavily for local insight/inspiration. I honestly have a hard time imagining an AA overruling a decision of an SP on this matter.

My own plan is to: 1) remain as vague as possible about doubts. 2) present myself as someone that is broken, struggling, work in progress, hopeful, moving forward in faith, supporting my family. This for me is the hardest. I am a professional at work that supervises a large team but in the bishop's office I am that unfaithful servant petitioning for mercy. I am not accustomed to feeling like a kid in the principal's office. However I believe it is important to not challenge the assumed power relationship. 3) stay under the radar.

Given what has already transpired. I would support requesting a meeting with the SP for you and your wife. Talk with your wife ahead of time to let her know the game plan. Essentially, she is there to act as a character witness for you and perhaps testify to how this issue is affecting your family. Explain that your son's baptism is coming up and that everyone's heart is set on having you perform the ordinance. Your faith may be weak but it still exists. Further you have hope for things that are so beautiful and inspiring that you have determined to live as though they were true - even without certain knowledge. I would say that you understand that fathers may be permitted to baptize their children even if not strictly temple worthy. I would ask for a repentance plan or perhaps more specifically a plan that might help you demonstrate your sincere faith. I might say that you recognize that the confirmation might require a higher standard of worthiness and that you are prepared to have a grandfather perform this role. If the SP still does not seem willing to budge maybe ask him to pray about it and promise that you and your wife will do the same.

If he asks you pointed questions about your belief, I would be ready to deflect with something like, "I don't know, but I feel that God loves his children." or "I find that so inspiring. I hope that it is true." or "the evidence is so confusing, but I try to move forward with faith."

Baptizing my children and ordaining my son (thus continuing the priesthood line of authority) are important to me. I try to manage my relationships with church leadership with an eye geared to keeping these options open.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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hawkgrrrl
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Re: Won't let me baptize my son... I might be done

Post by hawkgrrrl » 28 Aug 2017, 15:36

I think if I were you, I'd say "Despite my doubts, I am always willing to act on the faith that it's true."

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Re: Won't let me baptize my son... I might be done

Post by Beefster » 28 Aug 2017, 17:31

If you want to get technical, the Bishop has full authority over the keys of baptism, not the SP unless you're officially disfellowshipped (which I think might also be under the BP's umbrella). The SP can disallow you from the confirmation, but I think that's about it. Unfortunately I'm not sure that's a battle worth lawyering.

Leadership roulette really sucks. I wish the best to you.
Boys are governed by rules. Men are governed by principles.

Sometimes our journeys take us to unexpected places. That is a truly beautiful thing.

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