This is the first study article from the April 15, 2010 Watchtower, titled "Young People - Strengthen Your Desire to Serve Jehovah." I hit paragraph four and I just had to pause to comment. I am pretty darn sure this is a softening of the Jehovah's Witness stance regarding the appropriate age for baptism. Haven't past articles emphasized that the child must be of the "age of reason", say about twelve years old, (using the example of the Bar Mitzvah and Jesus' vist to the temple)? After all, the society would not want to imitate the example of the Catholics, who practice infant baptism. Here is what this paragraph says in part,
"How old do young ones need to be...? No age is specified in the Scriptures. Therefore, do not hold back, thinking that you are too young to listen to Jehovah and to serve him. No matter how old you are, you are encouraged to respond without delay."
I am struck with my observation at the last circuit assembly, where there were no candidates for baptism. In the years I've attended, the dozen or so candidates were mostly made up of the children of Witnesses. This year, none. If this is a national trend, it is encouraging. I wonder also if the advice of this board for many years to the young witnesses who wander on here, to delay baptism as long as possible (to avoid the spectre of disfellowshipping from their own family) may have played a part?
I'd appreciate confirmation from some of you veterans if this advice is a softening of the Witness stance for the appropriate age for baptism.