I got baptized at 17. The pressure to do so was almost tangible. My younger sibling had already gotten baptized and I was being scrutinized by those I loved, both family and friends. I grew up in that hall, and was dearly loved by so many, and I loved them. I was the only boy, in my age group, the oldest boy there, I almost felt like the golden child. I was expected to do great things in service to Jehovah, i.e. get baptized, become a servant, pioneer, go to Bethel. I hated to be a disappointment. I also felt like a disappointment to my parents. It seemed I was getting into trouble constantly, for all sorts of petty things, and my punishments felt pretty extreme. (Not abusive punishments, but any minor infraction resulted in overkill consequences) my parents didn't trust me. Lastly, I wanted to date. I was very interested in girls, but I couldnt pursue any sort of relationship with an acceptable girl, unless I was looked at as spiritually strong. Having a good job was secondary to being spiritually ready to marry, and I wasn't pursuing an education, so by getting the first step outa the way, I was setting my self up to be "available".
I decided that getting baptized was the answer to all of these problems. I truly loved Jehovah, my parents, and the friends at the hall, so what could go wrong? I was prone to fitting in at school, sneaking around a bit, but I wasn't drinking, doing drugs, having sex (though I would do everything but). Ultimately I just wanted trust and respect of my parents. It all came crashing down just over a year later. Should've never gotten baptized. I have always wondered, as witnesses profess to follow christs example, and he, as a perfect man, didnt get baptized until he was in his 30's. How can they accept, endorse, or even require their children to make that sort of commitment, before they're even considered an adult by "worldly" standards? Certainly not fully developed mentally, by scientific and medical standards. Who in their right mind trusts an 18 year old? Most adults wouldn't get in a car with them driving, let alone let an 18-21 yo make a life altering decision for them. Why would you allow a minor to make a life altering, permanently cemented decision, for themselves? As an adult now, I see it as absolutely unacceptable.