Ever wonder “why are Mormon children baptized at 8 years old?” It might seem too young to make such an important decision. If they aren’t taught well, it is!
This weekend my middle son was baptized. Most LDS families have their Mormon children baptized at 8. Some are baptized simply because they are old enough; but for others, this is a day that has been 8 years in the making. It was a wonderful day. My son was positively beaming all day.
Why 8 years old?
It can be a challenge to know when the right time is to baptize a person. To help one understand the answer, it helps to understand why we are baptized. Mormon.org outlines three reasons we are baptized.
“We are baptized to follow His example, to be cleansed from sin, and to start on the path back to God.”
When we think of very young children, they may be desirous to follow the example of Jesus, but are they really capable of sin? A Book of Mormon prophet named Moroni sought answers to this same question. He wrote to his father who was also a prophet. His father responded, “the whole need no physician, but they that are sick; wherefore, little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin.” (Moroni 8:8) Through modern day revelation, we have learned that the age when children are truly accountable for their choices is 8 years old. (Doctrine & Covenants 68:27)
Even though 8 years old is considered the age of accountability, that does not mean that is when they begin to learn the Gospel. That would be like giving an attorney his license to practice law, then sending him to law school. An attorney should know and understand the laws before he ever tries his first case. Our children need to know and understand the laws of God before we make them accountable to the trials of life.
When a child is prepared, they are ready to start on the path back to God.
How has our son been prepared?
I taught a lesson on Personal Revelation last week. In the lesson, I shared how my wonderful wife is helping our children learn the Gospel by always praying for lost things. If something is lost, she also counsels them to pray to find it. I have observed that this teaches the children three things. God hears your prayers, He loves you, He has the power to answer you.
Last December we were getting ready to test Greyson’s blood sugar. (He’s diabetic) His kit could not be located and we were pretty sure he left it at church. I took him back and we looked everywhere! I asked him to say a prayer in the foyer and it was honest and heartfelt. I was praying too because of the danger this posed as well as the desire to help build his faith.
We looked up and I felt like his kit was in the library. (The one room I didn’t have keys to) Then a gentleman walked into the foyer, “can I help you with something?” This was far after meetings had ended. He said he saw some people here and he was the building facilities person and wanted to check it out. I explained our need and he promptly opened the library door and the kit was sitting right on the counter.
We thanked him and when we got to the car I asked if he wanted to say a prayer of thanks. “I already did Dad.” Here is a young boy who has a faith stronger than many men. Of course, he is ready to be baptized. Mormon children baptized with faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and a love of God are truly ready to start on that path towards Him.
Where do I start preparing my child?
If you have a child that you are preparing for baptism, there is a lof of other things we do in our home to prepare our children. Like it says above, baptism is only the start of the path. My wife, Kristie, recently shared 7 things you can start doing now to help your children better understand the Gospel.