I have twin daughters. They are a delight, and I am constantly astonished at how different their personalities are despite their identical genetic starting point. I have learned many things from my children, and recently I had reason to stop to consider a wonderful life lesson taught to me by one of my twin daughters.
It relates to their recent baptism, but for those who read this and may not be LDS, there are three things that are important to know about baptism in our Church.
Firstly, children do not get baptised before the age of 8, which we believe is when children begin to become accountable for their actions. We believe that prior to this age, Christ’s atonement covers all mistakes no matter how sorry or otherwise a child may be.
Secondly, baptism in our Church is by immersion – the whole body under the water at the same time, symbolising the death of the old self, and cleansing resurrection to a new life as a disciple of Christ. If your hair floats on the top of the water it has to be done again – 100% simultaneous immersion is essential.
Thirdly, all males in good standing in the Church are able to hold the Priesthood, meaning that they are able to directly perform ordinances like baptism for their families. A real highlight in my life has been being able to baptise each of my children.
With the above points in mind, and as the time drew closer to my twin daughters’ 8th birthday, we began to prepare for their baptism. They were both very excited as the months and then weeks drew closer. We had some practice sessions at home, “bend your knees like this”, “now close your eyes and hold your nose”, “try and keep your feet on the ground so a toe doesn’t pop out of the water”, etc. They invited school friends to come and see their baptism, told their teachers, and generally just couldn’t wait.
But, as the day drew nearer we recognised a potential problem – neither of my girls were able to put their heads under water. We’ve often gone swimming as a family, and they attend swimming lessons at school. But they never put their heads under water – they don’t even like water on their faces. That’s fine for a family swimming trip; not quite so fine when they want to get baptised, and the baptism must be by immersion. Continue reading