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Baptism of children of record in less active families


LDSLily

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Is there any type of guidance on how to handle a child turning 8 when their family isn't regulars at church? Anyone here have experience with dealing with this? I imagine it can't be that uncommon, but am having difficulty finding guidance or discussion regarding it...

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Having missionaries give the whole family the lessons is a good idea even if not required.  (Required for the child once they turn nine iirc)

Does the child have school friends who also attend church or a neighbourhood friend who goes to church?

Oh, biggest questions that should have been first are do the parents want them baptized and does the child want to be baptized?

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I know a lot of cases in that category.   And more that have attended at some point and may be on primary list, but were never a child of record.    This can just be parents who can't manage their lives to attend church.   It can also include members who want their kids to just drop off the church records at age 9 (which is what happens when they aren't baptized by then).  I think that the bishop is likely the only one in the ward who can decide how to handle this issue, but he probably needs to ask anyone in ward council if they have any evidence that this family does not want their child baptized.

Then if inspired to do so, I think a primary president can write each of the parents of will turn 8 during the next year and ask the parents if they need anything from primary in the way of help to prepare for baptism the year they will turn 8.   I think EQP and RSP can contact, by letter and then by phone, the parents at some point before the kiddo will turn 8 (maybe sequenced) advising parents of what to do to arrange the process and if the stake does group baptisms, when that child will be baptized.   The EQP's missive should also offer help to prepare for priesthood that will allow dad to perform the ordinances (though if parents aren't members or aren't together they should be prayerful about addressing those dynamics).  The ministering people can/should also ask.  (that means contact with parents about once ever 2 months through the year).   If they miss their proposed baptism date, then I think it appropriate for each of those persons to write that it will never be too late to be baptized and that they are welcome to attend church whether or not they are baptized.  Someone should also explain that after age 9 the person will need to take the missionary lessons themselves before baptism, because at that age their names will be dropped off the church records because they were not baptized.

You'll probably be tempted to seek out extended family members to inquire about this.  There is only one circumstance that I think that could be appropriate --- if you KNOW grandparents are picking them up from their parents home to bring them to church with parents full knowledge and permission (not if they come when they stay over at grandparents).   Extended family have been known to thwart parental decisions in these ways, thinking that is superior somehow, instead of just overstepping.   Extended family has been known to have PUT chidren's names on record without parent knowledge or permission.   And allowing or involving grandparents in this undermines the parents.   No matter how important it is to be baptized, it is more important to honor and respect the parental roles for those children.

Edited by rpn
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One small correction. Children of record do not drop off at age 9. They stay on the records. Once they reach 18 they should reach out to the person to find if they have any interest in baptism. If they do not the record should be cancelled. Generally it is a bad idea to give a name and a blessing to a child whose parents have no interest in raising them in the church.

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On 12/21/2019 at 2:44 PM, rpn said:

I know a lot of cases in that category.   And more that have attended at some point and may be on primary list, but were never a child of record.    This can just be parents who can't manage their lives to attend church.   It can also include members who want their kids to just drop off the church records at age 9 (which is what happens when they aren't baptized by then).  I think that the bishop is likely the only one in the ward who can decide how to handle this issue, but he probably needs to ask anyone in ward council if they have any evidence that this family does not want their child baptized.

Up until the age of 9, the bishop is the person who decides, because up to that point such children are treated as "children of record" even if they haven't been blessed.  When they hit 9, however, it is no longer within the bishop's purview, and they must be taught by the missionaries, and are considered investigators, not children of record. Hence, starting at age 9 the missionaries decide whether or not they are ready for baptism, and the bishop's sole responsibility is to shepherd the children as new members once they are baptized.

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