I haven’t had the opportunity to write about this since it happened, but I owe it to Addie to do so. So, here goes.
I grew up in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, also referred to as the Mormon Church. There weren’t many kids in my elementary school who weren’t Mormon. And all of us knew which kids weren’t Mormon and it was difficult for us at such a young age to understand why those kids didn’t belong to our religion.
For those of you who don’t know, Mormons usually get baptized at 8-years of age. I was baptized into the Mormon Church a week after my 8th birthday by my father. All of my sisters were baptized shortly after their 8th birthday by my father as well. We all have the proverbial picture standing against the white wall in the church, dressed in our white jumpsuits, with my dad in his white jumpsuit too.
It all seems so routine now. Turn 8-years old and then get baptized; not much else to it.
Casey knew a lot of kids growing up who became disenfranchised with the Mormon Church and their parents partially because of the routineness of Mormon culture. These friends believed they were essentially forced into Mormon culture and didn’t have a realistic option to choose a different path.
With that in mind, when it came time for Addie to get baptized, those memories came flooding back to Casey and it caused her to question whether Addie should get baptized at all.
I can understand the sentiment, but for all those kids who felt like they were pressed into the lifestyle, I was given an option on what I wanted to do and so were my sisters and none of us are disenfranchised with religion.
We were all taught about the Mormon Church as we grew up. Months before we turned 8-years old, we each sat down with my parents on a few occasions to discuss what baptism was about and why it was important. They quizzed us on our understanding and whether or not we really knew why we should get baptized.
We all made the choice to get baptized and we all understood our choice. Here we are decades later and we’re all happy that we made that decision.
This isn’t a pro-Mormon post. I know that there are many people of other religions who are reading this and there are many others without religion and I respect those decisions. As Santo always said, “To each his own.”
This is a post about Addie’s mature decision about baptism.
Three months after Addie turned 8-years old, we finally had the baptism talk with her on a Sunday. We had talked to her about baptism before and what it is, but we had never talked about when she wanted it to happen.
Addie chose to get baptized that next Saturday. When we asked her who she wanted to be there, or what songs she wanted played, or what speakers she wanted to speak, she said that she simply wanted her family and the missionaries there. She didn’t want anybody else to attend her baptism. The kid wasn’t doing it to fit in with all of her friends who had already been baptized, or those who had baptisms in front of the whole congregation.
Addie understood why it was important and she understood that all the pomp and ceremony behind it wasn’t important either.
This kid of mine is a special one. She has so many qualities that amazes me. I never would have believed that I could help raise a child who turned out so special, but Addie is proof that it’s possible.
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