Interesting how the WTS discourages teen marriages for the reason that the person's development is still in progress, as well as short courtships / engagements, all with the caution of getting to know the other person better.
*** yy chap. 19 pp. 147-148 Dating and Courtship ***
There comes a time, however, when normally the young person wants to get married. When is the best time for this?when you still are in your teens? Generally not, for the hard facts show that most teen-age marriages simply do not have the same success as marriages where one or both persons have attained a more mature age.
*** yy chap. 19 pp. 154-155 Dating and Courtship *** 29 Giving in to frequent and increasingly passionate expressions can lead to a premature marriage. The book Adolescence and Youth says: "The early stages of courtship are often impossibly romantic. Marriage at that time might lead a person to expect more of the marriage than any marriage could realize. Lengthened courtship usually brings about a more reasonable understanding of the other person so that an understanding marriage may result." For such longer courtship, restraint must be exercised?otherwise the power of sexual drive may build up so early as to become a real danger.
*** yp chap. 29 p. 231 Am I Ready to Date? ***
Am I Ready?
God tells young people: "Rejoice, young man [or woman], in your youth, and let your heart do you good in the days of your young manhood, and walk in the ways of your heart and in the things seen by your eyes." Young people do tend to "walk in the ways of [their] heart." Yet so often those "ways," which seem to be such fun, end up bringing vexation and calamity. The Bible thus urges in the following verse: "Remove vexation from your heart, and ward off calamity from your flesh; for youth and the prime of life are vanity." (Ecclesiastes 11:9, 10) "Vexation" refers to being deeply troubled or sorely distressed. "Calamity" denotes a personal disaster. Both can make life miserable.
Isn't it interesting that the last paragraph doesn't even mention "dating"... and how easily it could apply to baptism??
The girl is not old enough to buy cigarettes or alcohol. She is not quite old enough to get medical care and have her records withheld from her parents. She cannot sign a contract. She cannot vote. She cannot join the military. She cannot drive a vehicle. She cannot get married. She cannot consent to sex. She cannot get a job. She has not passed "the bloom of youth". Has she even started puberty??
The JWs used to pride themselves on baptism being a rite that was reserved for adults making adult decisions. At this rate, with all these 6 and 9 and 12 year olds getting baptized, they are hardly better than the Catholic church which they denounce for infant baptism.
A baptism at the age of 12 should be on the same level as the Catholic confirmation or the Jewish bar mitzvah/bat mitzvah. Or the Spanish custom of having a huge party when a girl turns 15.
It wouldn't be so bad if the JWs didn't consider this decision as a legally binding one for the rest of the child's life. But it is, and if 2 or 3 years down the road, she decides she likes a boy at school more than she likes going door-to-door, she'll find herself disfellowshipped and shunned if things go too far.
I remember wanting to get baptized at the age of 13. My parents insisted that I wait until I was an adult. They said Jesus was a full-grown man when he got baptized, so they wanted me to at least be of an age where I would be able to understand the seriousness of that decision. As it was, I had a rebellious period later and wanted to quit the JWs. I wasn't baptized at the time, but I can just imagine how much worse the pressure to conform would have been if I were. As it was, my parents (my mom especially) started giving me the cold shoulder to give me a taste of what being DFd would be like. It was horrible and it finally got to the point where I couldn't stand the torture of being treated that way by my own family, so I "smartened up" and started studying and going in service again... becoming a model JW just so my parents would Love? me again. After such a close call at losing me to The World?, I think they were relieved when I asked to get baptized at 17... they agreed without giving it a second thought.
I really hope you can talk some sense into your friend and get her to convince her daughter to wait. She does have the parental authority to stop her daughter, and I hope she is responsible enough to do so.