Are teenagers old enought to get baptised?

by sleepy 32 Replies latest jw friends

  • sleepy

    I, like many on this board got baptised when still a teenager (17).
    At the time I thought I knew what I was doing and could take full responsibility for my actions.
    10 years later I realise I knew very little back then compared to what I know now.
    Was I old enought to make my mind up?
    Or could we always at any age ,be looking back at things we did wrong thinking if only I knew what I know now?

    Actually how much responsibility can we hold over what we did as teenagers .Weren't we pushed by the congregation and parents, we had little knowledge of anything else being force fed the "truth" since babies.
    At such a young age aren't we much more vulnerable to brainwashing ?

    So are teenagers really old enought to make such life changing choices?

  • musicnonstop

    In general, teenagers are barely mature enough to decide which subjects they want to take at school or what kind of job/career they want to pursue, so I don't really think they're really best placed to make such fundamentally life-altering decisions in respect of issues such as belief, spirituality and any kind of religious life... of course, it's worth bearing in mind that the JW culture is one that, through its strictures on sexuality, fosters a high incidence of teenage marriages - an equally life-changing decision which those involved are often disastrously ill-prepared to make, or deal with the later consequences of...

  • Matty

    Very true, I know a lot of ones that got married in their teens, some are still happily married, and some aren't - its really pot-luck at that age. You can be lucky and pick someone compatible with you, but that is more by accident than design. Anyway, I got baptised at 17 too, and on that very day I remember thinking "This is the dumbest thing to do, why am I doing this?" And of course it was to keep my family happy.

    I wonder how many teenagers brought up "in the truth" are thinking the same thing when they get baptised?

    Because there is no biblical precedent for any particular age to get baptised when you have been brought up a witness, there seems to be "fashions" of when the kids take the plunge. In the 80's kids were regularly getting baptised at 12/13 - nowadays it seems to be about 18/19. It generally happens when other kids your own age start to take the plunge - they all seem to do it within a short period of time.

  • Xander

    I was brought up 'in the truth', and baptised at 17. At the time I was upset that the convention that year had been moved back to Dec 30-ish for us, since that meant I wouldn't be baptised at 16 (born on the 29th). The assemblies usually fell earlier in the season, so I would normally have been baptised at 16.

    Yes, at the time, that really bothered me. And it didn't seem unreasonable at all that I should be dedicated my life to a religion when everyone everywhere said I shouldn't be thinking about women because I was too young to make decisions that serious. [8>]

    Xander F
    (Unseen Apostate Directorate of North America - Ohio order)

    A fanatic is one who, upon losing sight of his goals, redoubles his efforts.
    --George Santayana

  • Matty

    I remember feeling a bit jealous of the children in the congregation that got baptized early! It was always the really po-faced self-righteous kids in the congregation that got baptized young I generally found – ones that thought they were more “mature” than other kids in the congregation!

  • NameWithheld

    Most kids baptise to please parents, gain respect in the congo, get to do things like pioneer, etc. There's NO WAY they realize the kind of commitment that they are making. Not that my baptism (at age 11) means ANYTHING at all to me - I mean it has as much impact on my life as would having deicated my life to serving Santa Claus at age 11 would have on me now.

    For the bible thumpers, Jesus was 30 when he 'took the plunge' so that would be a good rule of thumb ...

  • Gopher

    <<---- baptized at age 16 in Moorehead, Minnesota, USA

    It's been pointed out elsewhere on this forum that the wording of the 2nd baptism question (out of the 2 read at the end of each JW baptism talk at their assemblies / conventions) changed in the 1980's, from being focused on Jesus, to 'do you recognize that your baptism makes you a Jehovah's Witness in association with the worldwide organization' or something to that effect.

    In a sense, they are asking new members (including children) to enter into a sort of contract with the WT Society.

    No child or teenager is old enough to understand the ramifications of entering a contract with a large publishing corporation!!


    This post was not evaluated by any mental health professionals.
    Any opinions expressed are those of a fuzzy, cuddly rodent.

  • AlanF

    If the JW baptism rite were strictly an agreement of sorts between the one baptized and God, there would be no problem. But the Society adds a great deal of legal baggage to the rite and makes it into a legally enforceable vow to obey the Society no matter what it instructs.

    Until 1985 this enforcement came strictly through the practice of disfellowshipping, where a person who was baptized at any age and no matter how long ago could `legally' be DF'd via the Society's "judicial process". An example of this was when author and professor of religion Edmund Gruss was DF'd around 1971 for publishing a book critical of JWs. Gruss was baptized at about age 16 in the late 1940s and quit the JWs at age 18, and eventually became a member of some Evangelical style religion.

    In 1985 the Society inserted some quasi-legal language into the baptismal vows, where the person explicitly agrees to obey Society representatives who are "in connection with Jehovah's spirit-directed organization". Now, in most countries a person under 18 cannot be held legally responsible for entering into a "legal" agreement. Thus, until the person is 18 that baptism is technically unenforceable if someone wanted to push the issue in the courts. However, if the person continues as a JW much past his or her 18th birthday, then he or she becomes a de facto JW by reason of publicly declaring, by their conduct, that they have as an adult validated their baptismal vow. Of course, the Society never informs anyone about these things, and JW parents rarely if ever tell their JW kids about them, and so it would take an unusually mature teenager to realize that the threat of DF'ing is probably legally unenforceable while they're under 18. And of course, how many teenagers that age have the balls or the resources to fight Dad, Mom, family, friends and the Society?

    For these reasons I think that the Watchtower Society is morally repugnant for creating a social/religious atmosphere in which minors are forced or strongly influenced to make and continue obeying what ought to be adult agreements to obey the Society.


  • Reborn2002

    <-- baptized at age 11.

    So much for the WTS not encouraging the baptism of children. They proclaim from the rooftops that only people responsible for their own salvation get baptized.. yet they encourage and pressure young ones to take the plunge.

    Examples of this would be study articles found on the CD-rom entitled:
    What Prevents you from being Baptized?

    Hypocrites. Nuff said.

    It is not religious persecution for an informed person to expose publicly a certain religion as being false, thus allowing persons to see the difference between false religion and true religion.
    WT 11/15/1963 page 688 paragraph 3

  • Matty

    It seems that something completely stupid (infant baptism) has been replaced by something equally stupid (teenage baptism fed by coercion & emotional blackmail). But can you blame witness parents? Its a well worn argument here, but if you genuinely believe something is going to give you eternal life, surely its logical that you would do anything to save your children's life too?

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