The LDS Baptism has to be one of the best arguments for Joseph Smith being a true prophet of God, but it seems the Church has overlooked this ever so ingenious of rituals.
Allow me to explain:
One of the biggest claims by apologists for the validity of the Book of Mormon is that one Joseph Smith could not possibly have written such a complicated and descriptive narrative, full of details and intricate language, at the young age of 25 without divine assistance.
But Mormon history (the real history… not the stuff the Church pieced together over the years) clearly shows that it was not only possible, but a person of Smith’s character was actually required to pull off such an immoral stunt.
However, when ol’ Joe claimed he received a revelation that all children “shall be baptized for the remission of their sins when eight years old,” he hit one out of the ball park, in my opinion.
According to Smith’s revelation, we are all born innocent and children younger than 8 years of age cannot be held accountable for their sins since they do not possess the ability to discern right from wrong.
Children turning 8 are then, allegedly, given the choice to be baptized into the LDS Church and continue their spiritual journey as an official member.
At this age, children are also beginning to develop an understanding of their own self, analyzing relationships in terms of acceptance and seeking to gain confidence in all areas of their lives.
Peer pressure and parental expectations play a large role in this child’s search for their place in society and their own importance.
In most cases, the LDS baptism is viewed by these youngsters (both boys and girls) in the same light little girls dream of one day getting married.
The child is primed from a young age to look forward to the day they will officially be accepted into the fold, albeit under the deception of it being a choice they must make.
The appearance of free will, in this case, could not be further from the truth: for most LDS children, their baptism day comes as a highly expected and anticipated event in their lives; it is a bragging right, so to speak. A rite of passage which comes wrapped in gifts and flattery. It will be viewed by their younger peer as an achievement for which one cannot wait their own, and by their elders as a responsible and mature decision.
On the other hand, a child who is not much older than 8 may begin to see past the glimmering lights of childhood fantasy and instead be compelled to rebel against the establishment (a.k.a. the teens).
So 8 is indeed the perfect age. Whether Smith realized this or not, he created the perfect precedence for LDS baptisms. If he really gave the matter this much thought and research, he’s not all bad in my book, but chances are he stuck his head inside his… hat… and pulled out the first number that came to his mind.
Either way, LDS baptisms are unique in their significance and the lack of recognition of other Christian faith’s baptisms. Mormons don’t believe in original sin, so LDS baptisms play a big role in giving the person a new identity in the Church… a fresh start.
Now, I’ll leave you all with a question (especially those of you who have children):
If you love your children… truly love your children… and you fully believe in the Gospel and doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, then you must believe that your young, non-baptized, children are pure and innocent and free from sin.
As a loving parent myself, I know I would sacrifice anything for the sake of my own children, even my own life.
So I ask: why not kill your children before they reach the age of accountability?
Of course you would be doomed for eternity to never see them again (apparently), but would you not guarantee them their eternal glory, yea, even their exaltation?
(the above question is meant as a rhetorical question and is in no way a suggestion on how to save your children’s souls. I do not believe in souls or the afterlife, so the above has really no affect whatsoever in any eternal afterlife experience fantasy)