legal action to Baptism of minor annulled?

by cyberjesus 32 Replies latest watchtower child-abuse

  • Mephis
    When you are 10 years old, contrary to what the WT teaches, you are not old enough to make life-long commitments, you cant decide to join a religion, a political party you cant legally in many places sign a contract. You need your parents or legal guardians to do it for you or on your behalf.
    Well your example in the OP implied parental consent? But it isn't a lifelong commitment. You can leave. They can't hold you to any promise made when you do leave. If this was a mobile phone contract, you'd be right. But it's not seen in that way in the law. It's a private members' club or a sports club. You join. You leave. Morally, absolutely you're right because the consequences of leaving some religions are so grim. But that's not the same thing as how the law sees it because ignoring people isn't illegal, and you're not forced to remain inside if you choose to leave. Just saying how it is really, fully empathise with the point you're making.
  • jwfacts
    Fisherman, they don't "sometimes" qualify. They are encouraged to get baptized in their early teens by the GB, on the threat of dying at Armageddon if not baptized. Anyone not baptized before the age of 18 is considered rebellious. I don't know the average age, but it must be 16 or less.
  • Mephis
    Not being able to talk to your parents is a form of mental abuse, there are legal issues there
    In terms of consent, it's not only the minor expressing consent but also the parental consent too.
    Parents consent is not necessary for baptism.

    There's an argument perhaps there for damages in some jurisdictions, but from memory I believe the US precedent is that First Amendment goes over any claim for damages for being shunned. But that's not getting a baptism annulled?

    Parental consent is implied. A counterexample would be where a non-believing parent petitions a court to prevent baptism whilst a minor. However, that will sometimes result in the judge making a call on whether the minor is mature enough to make the decision. eg a 10 year old was judged mature enough to decide to convert from Judaism to Christianity, whilst there's been one case here in Britain where a JW parent was allowed to continue to bring up the minor as a JW and get them baptised providing that in a medical emergency a blood transfusion was accepted.

  • cyberjesus

    When you are a minor you dont have a choice. You are coerced into joining as a minor. The relationship parent/children is a legal one. By joining you are now obligated to keep that commitment that you did without parental supervision otherwise you lose your parental relationship.

    Its my opinion that its child abuse. Equally to sex with a minor. The court in the USA can place a restraining order to prevent mental abuse. Can they place an order to prevent the abuse of minors who join the cult?

  • cyberjesus
  • Fisherman
    Children and minors do not need parental consent to be shot in the head or in the stomach by the police.
  • Simon

    As already pointed out, there is nothing legally binding based on being baptized so what can be annulled? You say you don't want it to apply anymore and don't believe ... job done. You can't go back and time and undo that fact that back then you agreed something different.

    And most baptisms are with parental consent. It's no different to joining the scouts.

  • Vidiot

    Waste of time if the goal was to avoid being shunned.

    You'd simply be (unofficially) shunned for having had it anulled.

  • freddo

    Just a thought ...

    WT1964 p126 para 1 "Did You Make an Acceptable Dedication to God?"

    I remember about ten/twelve years ago a CO covering a point about this with our body of elders.

    The point made was that if someone had been "seriously" or "grossly" sinning at a disfellowshipping offence level (and obviously kept it hidden) all the way through their dedication and baptism then their baptism could be considered invalid. He said that occasionally, especially if the person was a minor when they were baptised and if they had not become a pioneer or MS or Elder when they were an adult (which might indicate forgiveness and blessing by God - what a joke - ) then their baptism might be annulled and each case would be on a case by case basis.

    He said it was extremely rare but that it had happened. This in the UK.


    So if you could hold it together long enough to get your story straight and you wrote to bethel to say you had been continually e.g. smoking or committing porneia or stealing either side of your baptism you just might get an annulment. Might you just say "I definitely didn't dedicate my life to God, I just did it to please my parents and because of peer pressure."?

    However it usually only happened when it suited the branch for example if there is bad publicity like when a jw child abuser can be said to have never been a witness and that would suit the jw hierarchy to put it out that he/she was never really a witness anyway.

  • sowhatnow

    Im my opinion no one younger than Jesus was at the time of his baptism, should be baptized. the WT always criticized child baptism, in the past, so when i heard of several very young grade school children getting baptized, I was sickened.

    questions from the reader with a reference to a 1964 watchtower for further reading.

    Under what circumstances might rebaptism be considered?

    Under certain circumstances, a baptized person may want to give thought to the validity of his baptism and may consider rebaptism. At the time of baptism, for instance, an individual may secretly have been living in a situation or engaging in a practice that could have resulted in his being disfellowshipped if he had already been validly baptized. Could he make a dedication to God in such circumstances? Such an individual would have been in a position to make a valid dedication to Jehovah only if the unscriptural conduct had been discontinued. Therefore, a person baptized while such a serious impediment existed may appropriately consider the necessity of rebaptism.

    What about an individual who was not practicing sin at the time of his baptism but whose subsequent wrongdoing required the formation of a judicial committee? Suppose he then claimed that he did not fully understand what he was doing at the time of his baptism and said that his baptism was not truly a valid one. When meeting with a wrongdoer, the elders should not raise questions about his baptism and ask whether he feels that his dedication and baptism were valid. After all, he heard a Scriptural discourse about the significance of baptism. He answered affirmatively questions regarding dedication and baptism. Then he changed his clothing and was physically immersed in water. It is, therefore, reasonable to believe that he fully understood the seriousness of what he was doing. The elders would thus treat him as a baptized person.

    If the individual raises the issue of the validity of his baptism, the elders may direct his attention to The Watchtower of March 1, 1960, pages 159 and 160, and February 15, 1964, pages 123 to 126, where the matter of rebaptism is discussed in detail. Eventual rebaptism under certain circumstances (such as a lack of sufficient Bible understanding when one was baptized) is a personal matter.

Share this