The Morality of Teenage Baptism

by metatron 14 Replies latest jw friends

  • metatron

    If the Watchtower claims it only does what the Bible says
    and does not "go beyond the things that are written", then by
    what authority does it encourage the baptism of teenagers?

    Is there anyone, even in high station within the leadership
    of the Watchtower Society, who really believes that teenagers
    are adults? That they are generally capable of making wise
    decisions as to choosing a marriage mate? or raising a family?
    or making any kind of serious long term commitment?

    Why would any person, in "the bloom of youth", with the greatest
    sexual drive and hormone blood levels that they will ever possess,
    be capable of sound, consistent judgement?

    Isn't it more likely that Watchtower leaders would
    be among the first, and MOST VOCAL, of all critics who observe
    teenage conduct, to judge them as lacking responsibility?
    If they can observe that much, why do they HYPOCRITICALLY
    encourage their baptism - instead of demanding adult status?

    This topic wouldn't even be necessary if the Watchtower's
    attitude about shunning was reasonable, moderate, - and
    scriptural. The leadership has known for some years that
    their extreme view of this matter is not Biblical - as shown
    by the organization's attempts at reform during the 1980's.
    ('Can you help a disfellowshipped person change a flat tire'?)
    It has also been known that 2 Thess. 3:13-15 actually applies
    to such ones anyway - which means communication with them
    should continue.

    The Watchtower leadership has chosen to reject the "wisdom
    from above" that is "peaceable, reasonable,...full of mercy
    and good fruits" (James 3:17) - and instead criticize Witness
    parents who don't push their children towards baptism during
    their teen years, threatening them with death at Armageddon.

    What kind of statistical greediness forces them to pad their
    shrinking baptismal 'pool of candidates' by putting kids under
    duress? Have temptations from the world grown greater, with
    video games, internet porn and the disappearance of nuclear
    families, such that Watchtower sanctions are now all the more

    Even "fanatical" religions have gathered some wisdom over the years
    in dealing with teenagers. The Amish have a custom called "Rumspringa"
    wherein teenagers are expected to act up and rebel. After this
    has passed and some maturity has been gained, they may officially
    join the church - as ADULTS.

    What can we observe as the bad fruitage of the Watchtower's
    insatiable lust for control in this?

    Well, consider, would you send your child, or any loved one
    to a hospital that ONLY DID AMPUTATIONS? 'Our Lady of Missing
    Limbs Care Center', perhaps?

    Then, why depend on an organization that can do nothing more than
    disfellowship and shun, shun, shun? That has no programs, basketball
    courts, official charity, or infrastructure to take care of its
    membership? Why do HOURS and MAGAZINES placed get counted and
    written down by an officious organization - but real needs
    of congregations members are left 'catch as catch can'?

    Is it right to push Witness children, threaten them endlessly,
    hold them to standards that even Witness adults can't face
    anymore, force them into hidden 'double-lives' - and THEN
    CONDEMN them as traitors, perhaps throwing them out of the house?
    Is it right to remove all their (good) hope of getting a
    college education and really achieving something more than
    being an itinerant magazine salesman?

    Folks, I'm not writing about theory here.
    I (and others) went thru this foolish agony

    and if the cold-hearted, elderly theocrats can't
    see what's wrong here

    maybe you, reading this, lurking, CAN!


  • Jigrigger

    Hi metatron,

    It's a real joke - and a sad one at that. Even Jesus - used repeatedly by the Society as an example for all to follow - didn't get baptized until well after he reached adulthood.

    For any lurkers who don't know much about JWs, this is how it works:

    1. One can't be disfellowshipped (excommunicated) unless he/she is a baptized baptized member.

    2. The threat of disfellowshipping is a very powerful tool the Society uses to keep members from straying. Remember, JWs live in a very closed environment - most don't have any friends outside of the organization - so to be shunned by the only people you know is something to be avoided at all costs.

    3. So if the Society can get members to become baptized at an early age, they pretty much - in most cases - have them for life. And that translates into MONEY for the organization, since the member is going to buy a copy of everything the Society puts to print - books, magazines, every latest edition of the New World Translation (the Society's version of the Bible) etc. Not to mention the amount of money in the way of donations this member will contribute during the course of his/her life.

    It's all about money, money, money....


  • kelsey007

    Intersting to say the least. I remember thinking about this when I was being pushed to get baptized as a teen. I kept argueing that Jesus did not get baptized until he was in his 30's.

    Of course the catholics take it to another level all together. Infant baptisms. And then there are the mormons who baptize the dead. Jw's are far from being alone in strange and if you will unbiblical pratices-

  • DanTheMan

    Excellent post.

    How many families do you see in the WT, who have the one son, the wild-child who never had any inclination whatsoever towards being baptized, and this son gets to have an unrestricted, unshunned relationship with his family. Son number 2 is generally a nicer and more responsible person than son #1, and gets baptized at age 12. Later at age 19 he gets disfed for the big F and decides that JWism isn't really for him and doesn't do the sit-in-the-back-of-the-hall-for-six-months repentance dance. Now, (especially since the August crackdown) his family is expected, to the greatest extent possible, shun him for life.


    "Beware those in whom the urge to punish is strong" - Nietzsch

  • deddaisy

    I remember the Witnesses bragging about how, unlike false religion, they didn't believe in the practice of baptising children, that a person should be old enough to make that decision on her or his own, without the parents making the decision for them. If they practice what they preach, why are JW parents urged to "nab" their UNBAPTIZED infants and children from hospitals before they have a blood transfusion, even when it means death for the child? If they believe that a baby is not old enough to have made the decision to be baptised as a JW than why is a baby expected to risk his or her life for WTS doctrine ?

    Baptising minors, in my opinion, will one day come back full force at the WTS.

  • crownboy

    The comment about when Jesus got baptized should be stressed among JW's .

    It is totally unfair that the JW org. holds people like myself "hostage" by getting us baptized at an absurdly early age (in my case, 12). My views on just about everything have changed in that 8 year span (hell, I've developed opinions on things I didn't even know about back then), and I've simply matured to a greater degree overall than I was back then. Sure, I thought I wasn't being coerced, but looking back, some reasons I did it besides "love for god" were:

    a) It was expected of me. I was the child of a ministerial servant, I gave good comments at meeting, had great "bible knowlegde" for my age (i.e.: I didn't get confused by 607BC type JW stuff ), and it was the way to "reach out for more responsibility".

    b) If I didn't get baptized I would die.... at Armageddon.... because I knew enough about the truth to "make it my own". That kind of disturbing message to a young person can work wonders on the mind.

    Of course, the main thing I have now that I didn't have then was knowledge about what the Society is truly about.

    If I hadn't been baptized, I would have fully stopped attending meetings by last year and simply go on with my life. My family would not have been able to shun me, and all would be good. Instead, I've got to go through a convoluted "slow fade" routine, because my baptism makes it possible for the damn Org. to adversely affect the relationship I have with my family. All because of a decision I made before I even entered high school! What the Society does with JW children is an outrage, and should be stopped.

  • NeonMadman

    Excellent post, metatron, and excellent responses by the others, too.

    It's all about control with the WT. More evidence is to be seen in the "dumbing down" of their primary study books (Knowledge and Worship the True God), in which subjects like blood, disfellowshipping, chronology - teachings that might give a thinking person pause about joining - are glossed over with a paragraph or less. The philosophy is, get them in, get them baptized - then they're under our thumb, and they'd better not complain!

    Pushing teens and even pre-teens to get baptized is just another facet of the same concept. Get them in and committed before they know what they're doing, and then we are in control!

    What a wicked, wicked organization!

  • Big Tex
    Big Tex

    A circuit overseer once sat in my living room and very pompously said, "There is no organization like ours in the world!" I think, for once, he was right.

  • A Paduan
    A Paduan

    I'd have my new born babe baptised. And for those who definitely wouldn't - all I can say is - who the hell do you think they're being presented to? God, or a beast?

    Are they going to see a good Father or a nasty judge? Are you better of NOT being His adopted son if you're a bit unruly. Who do you think He is?

    I don't even know what to make of jw baptism - when I think more into it, I get general feelings of "get away from me with that stuff".


  • freedom96

    To encourage kids to get baptized if they are under 18 just is not right. My child, who lives with my ex, just got baptized because his friends did, and the notion that everyone will be happy with his decision. He absolutely has no clue whatsoever what he has gotten himself into. Now he is in danger of if he disagrees, he can get df'd.

    Life is hard enough for teenagers. Imagine df'ing one?

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