YB17 Promotes Child Baptism
Aside from the statistics inthe new YB there are also a couple of cases of it promoting child baptism.
In the section about the young remembering their grand creator in Georiga you will find this...
In support of parental training, elders try to involve young ones in congregation activities as early as possible. Nestori, who was baptized when he was 11 years old, states: “The elders gave me various small assignments from a very early age. This has helped me feel that I’m really part of the congregation.”
In the section in JW Broadcasting you will find this...
Kodi, from England, says: “Thanks for all the time and effort you put into making jw.org, JW Broadcasting, and the Caleb and Sophia videos. Thank you for making the Bible easier to understand. I was baptized when I was eight. When I’m a bit older, I’m going to volunteer to help build Kingdom Halls! And I would like to work at Bethel. I’m nine now, so I’ve not got long to go.”
I'm pretty sure that the vast majority of J.W.'s will silently but strenuously disagree with any children of those ages being baptized.
Even for loyal J.W.'s, this is crossing the line and is akin to other Christendom denominations baptizing their infants who are not yet able to reason for themselves. Coal calling the kettle black.
I remember when i was 10 and being told that one of our elders was baptized when he was 9. I was shocked. Then the rest of the book study group chirped in throwing excuses about "it's not common, that doesn't happen very often, he must have known the truth etc etc". They clearly knew it was wrong and were trying to defend it.
There's no way i'd be ok with my child getting baptized at 8, even if i was still a JW.
There seem to be at least 3 reasons behind GB 2's change on this issue:
1. The GB are eager to inflate the flat growth rate in developed lands, and having the already associated youth baptized is an easy temporary solution. You can imagine how bad the newly baptized stat would look without this new policy. In a similar way they had already invented the "doorstop Bible study" to inflate the "Bible study" stat.
2. Several of the GB got baptized as children, and, in their eyes, it worked out well for them. People of limited thinking ability often cannot see outside their own realm of experience. We know how limited the current GB's thinking abilities are.
3. It is much easier to control the born-in youth if they can just DF them when they cause problems within the org. That way the org can marginalize any who act up and threaten any other born-ins with similar treatment. The easiest way for such a policy to work is to get the all the youth baptized early on as officially "in" and subject to the standard discipline, before puberty and its associated complexities hit.
What will be interesting to watch in the coming years is how the downside of this policy will play out. Should we not expect that there will be serious "loyalty" issues with moms and dads who went along with the new policy and had Johnny and Mary baptized at 9 or 10, and then Johnny and Mary went normal at 14? Would not such parents begin to say, "That was too young to get baptized. It shouldn't count!" after their kid is DFed at 14? The recent statements in a WT study article (as reported at this forum—I don't read them) about the permanent validity of baptism may well be indicating that this parental reaction is already hitting the fan...
I've thought about any biblical precedent that they might invoke on this matter. Not that I agree with it at all, but I suppose they might call upon the idea that in ancient Israel the youth were born into a commitment to keep circumcision, Passover, and the Mosaic Law, just by being an Israelite, because their ancestors had committed themselves and their descendants to do such things. Does anyone know if this as been espoused in WT publications on this child baptism matter? Of course, such thinking would fly in the face of the NT view, but I'm wondering if it's already been invoked by the org.