Boring church meetings part II
I’ve talked about this before: the LDS church has this (perhaps not so) unique issue of having…boring…meetings. And these meetings are so dry that people actually look into finding further meaning out of them…Are they a trial? Are they something that allows members to “endure to the end?” Patience is long-suffering, after all…
For adults, I guess we just choose to stick with it. And maybe over time we appreciate these meetings just a little bit more…but as with last time, the question seems always what to do with *the children.* Enter: Nine Moons’ blog writer MCQ. MCQ has a daughter who doesn’t want to attend church. Uh-oh! And MCQ has been asking what he should do with her.
Faithful answers are illuminating. Many commenters urge that MCQ should…”force”…his daughter to church. I guess I shouldn’t have expected anything else. After all, it’s MCQ’s house and he should lay the rules of who his house will serve. Parents’ rule.
Now…when I first read the story…I was concerned that if he were to take this route, he would actually be sowing the seeds of a daughter who resents the church. You can take the horse to water and dunk him down, but he doesn’t have to accept baptism. Typically, however, the faithful believe that making someone do things against their desires will eventually cause them to like such things. I think it’s an interesting point of difference…because at the very least, these two outcomes are reasonable and seen in general life. You can easily imagine someone who eats his vegetables just because his parents force it and hates it, but learns to appreciate and love the veggies.
What made me change positions was finding out the age…the daughter is 12. Now, as 16- or 17- year old may have a number of reasons for disliking church and is prone to teenage rebel on out the door, but someone who’s 12..? I’m not saying 12 year olds should be forced to do everything their parents say…but there are different levels of reasoning here.
Baptism is the gateway. Of course an 8 yr old is not capable of deep understanding of it but such is not required. Conversion is a process that is only begun at age 8. The decision made to become a member is not the final link in the chain, it is just the first one. The reason we baptize at 8 is because children begin to be accountable at that age and need the guidance of the Holy Spirit which is available as a gift only after baptism.
I remember very clearly discussing the issue with my children at age 8. They don’t know everything about the issue, but they are capable of understanding this commitment. They may change their minds a hundred times before adulthood, but I would rather have them navigate those intervening years as members with the gift of the Holy Ghost. I think it helps tremendously.