preventing baptism of minors

by og 35 Replies latest jw friends

  • og

    Here is the situation: My wife is a very faithful True Believer (and a wonderful person, I will add, who really wants to do what's right) I have been DA'd about a year, and we have 2 children. Our oldest is 13, and really buys into the Witness line ( as, of course, I professed to until last summer) and I am fairly sure she is considering baptism. Here is my question: as one half of her parents, is there any legal doctrine that would allow me to prevent her baptism until she is 18? In other words, would a threat to sue - directed at the local Elder body and by extension the borg - have any teeth, or would it be mere bluster?

    Some clarifications: I'm not sure I would do this, I am aking if it's possible. Also, should she want to when she's 18 I would not stand in her way - but I do feel that the WS callously takes advantage of adolescents by letting them step into their trap at an impressionable age. I would prevent that if I could.

    any thoughts?

    "Belief is the death of intelligence." R.A. Wilson

  • LB

    I wouldn't know of any legal manuveur you could take, hopefully there is one. But I would certainly appeal to her common sense on this. A young girl can't decide on which breakfast cereal to have on a given day, let alone dedicate her life to anything. Would she allow her daughter to marry the pefect man right now?

    I've seen way too many good kids get baptised at an early age only to get DFed before their 18th birthday. Let her be a kid, mess up, screw up, get forgiven a couple of times and by then she will know what she really wants.

    Never Squat With Yer Spurs On

  • og

    I agree, and I think Mom might be reasonable about it. otoh, much of their religious is activity is out of my sight anyway, and I worry that her baptism might be presented to me as a fait accompli, in which case I would consider suing for reversal. JWs are a cult, surely there is some legal doctrine that applies?

    "Belief is the death of intelligence." R.A. Wilson

  • Amazing

    Hi Og: See a lawyer experienced in 'family law' right away. You can ask for receommnedations from your State Bar Association. Some lawyers will give initial consultation for free or a very low fee.

    Your wife has rights here, and any attempt by you to stop your 13 year old from baptism could lead to serious marital problems. They may even try to get her baptized secretly. It all depends on how your wife views your feelings, and your relationship with her.

    So a private discussion with a lawyer would help you to get a handle on the law ... but even if you can get the upper hand legally, you may risk serious strains of relationships in your family.

    PS: If you can talk to your daughter in one-on-one sessions and win her over before she is baptized, that will be the best. Use questions and show her material that demonstrates the serious flaws in Watchtower theology. help her make her own decision. This is the best strategy if you can her to do that.

  • noidea

    I can understand how this would be a worry for you..once you're baptized it's as if belonging to the Mafia once your in you can't leave without consequences.

    Legally I don't know if there is anything you can do. I really don't think that would be the route to take.

    If your daughter is buying into this as you say she is. She would most likely think any interference from you would be a form of persecution and may make her feel stronger in her convictions not to mention could damage your relationship.

    I suggest backing her up in whatever decision she makes and then just be there if the dominoes ever start to fall. I know as a parent we want to protect our children from any form of hurt but sometimes the best form of teaching is to let one make not only can build strength but can make a more caring and understanding person of them. Living life is a form of trial & error something that helps us learn along the way

    There is really no way we can make another see the org. for what it is until they are ready to see it for themselves.

    I do suggest asking her thought provoking questions that would make her want to dig in deep and research things a little more. Talk to her about what that dedication means ..not in terms of serving God, but how it will affect her by doing it through man.

    Whatever happens I wish you luck and again stress...Just be there for her.


  • og

    Noi: Good thoughts. But... I kinda wonder, if I just prevent her somehow, until she's older, might she appreciate not being locked in? Even if she hated me in the meantime? Also, I have tried to talk to her, but she is very emotional and quickly tears up if I try to have a rational discussion - and I, unfortunately, am way better at the left brain thing than the right brain thing.

    "Belief is the death of intelligence." R.A. Wilson

  • LB
    I have tried to talk to her, but she is very emotional and quickly tears up

    Then I would leave it alone for now. I think your best bet is the mother. Your poor daughter has already heard how daddy isn't going to be in paradise if he doesn't straighten out his path. She loves her daddy. Paradise is coming any day now you know. It has to weigh heavy on her poor shoulders.

    Try to go at mom instead as I said. Just reason with her that Jehovah isn't going to kill her daughter just because she waited until she's 18. After all aren't minor children protected by their parents deeds?? Or condemmed by them? That's what I recall being told.

    Convince mom that if her daughter screwed up, got put on reproof or Dfed as so many do, that it might destory her spirituality in the long run.

    Never Squat With Yer Spurs On

  • gravedancer

    great post noidea

  • dungbeetle

    The only reason to get baptized at a young age like that is so they can be auxilliary pioneers in the summer like all their friends. I don't see any other difference between baptized and unbaptized kids.

    Also, there might be some kind of thing going on the congregation where the kids can only associate with other 'baptized' kids. That puts a lot of pressure on the unbaptized child.

    Also, JW parents are good at the 'child sacfifice' thing in more ways than just the blood. The parent gets all kinds of praise and attention heaped on them when they bring in another to the 'fold'; this in turn puts pressure on the kids again.

    The advice to put pressure on the other parent is good advice.. (((amazing ))). You can point out too that Bulgaria and Russia and France are questioning the child baptism doctrines, (and now I think so is the US and Canada and the Scandinavian countries) and so it would be best to wait untill closer to 18 for baptism. Witnesses sometimes listen to stuff like that.

    And finally, if all else fails, there is always the fact that after baptism, kids can get into serious trouble with the congregation and get kicked right out.

    Don't forget to point out that 75% or 80% of JW's children don't become Witnesses, or don't stay Witnesses.

  • Nathan Natas
    Nathan Natas

    I would guess that you've tried reasoning with her along the lines of "Jesus was 30 when he got baptized."

    Has she told you WHY she feels an urgency to do it?

    Maybe you could ask her if she feels ready for marriage as well - hopefully she doesn't an will recoil at the thought - then ask her how this decision is different.

    You and I know that baptism is a meaningless gesture. Why do you feel it is important to prevent this?

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