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Invited to an LDS Baptism


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#1 RocCityMom

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 05:20 AM

My family is Roman Catholic and we have never been to an LDS baptism before. We have become very close to an LDS family through our small co-op. The oldest girl in the family is being baptized this weekend. She is really excited to have her friends be part of her special day, especially since they are moving across the country in a couple of months. So, wise Hive-people, what should I know about the ceremony, etiquette, gifts/no gifts, suggestions for gifts? Thanks in advance!

#2 Veritaserum

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 06:34 AM

There will be a meeting beforehand, which is usually in the chapel. That meeting will entail song (sung by the attendees), prayer, talks/mini-sermons about baptism and becoming full-fledged members of the church, and usually a musical performance. After that you will move to the baptismal font, which is in a classroom in another part of the building. The baptism will be by full immersion. The person baptizing (usually the child's father) will say a specific prayer and then lower the child under the water. The little kids watching usually sit on the floor so that they can see better. Everyone keeps their eyes open to watch even though it's a prayer. After the baptism, you will either stay in that room or be directed to another classroom for the confirmation and gift of the Holy Ghost. The child and the person that baptized will dry off and change and meet everyone else in that room. The child will sit on a chair and be surrounded by her older male relatives (those who have the appropriate priesthood ordination) as well as her bishop. They will place their hands on her head. Her father will usually be the one to pronounce the blessing and confirm her a member of the church. The family may share their testimonies or there may be another musical number. Many families have a lunch or something afterward for the guests. It is appropriate to congratulate the child be shaking her hand and telling her how excited you are for her.

Gifts aren't necessary, but many people give a simple piece of (costume) jewelry or a book. Usually any gifts are religiously-themed. Most LDS people do not wear a cross, however. My third child was baptized in November and among other things she received a gift card to an LDS chain of bookstores.

If there is a musical performance, applause is not customary. Most women wear business attire (slacks) or business casual (nicer skirts). Depending on your geographical location, all of the females may be in skirts or dresses and all the men may be in suits. Most boys will be wearing slacks or khakis and either dress shirts or polos.

#3 TexasRachel

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 06:40 AM

Usually short. There's the baptism, a couple of 3-5 minute talks (it's aimed at 8 year olds after all), some singing and you're done. About 30 minutes? Gifts aren't necessary. We don't do it in my building, but typically, there's some refreshments afterwards. But if she's moving she might appreciate a picture of her and your family.

#4 gardenmom5

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 09:30 AM

for most youth - there is usually a standard time once a month so other children and families would be there. (that's to prevent a host of logistical problems). Sometimes there are 'standalones'. [my 8yo is an aspie, so we had something very short and sweet with very very very few other people there.}

there is an opening prayer, song, talks (as pp said - they are short and simple because they are aimed at 8yos) - usually including one on the meaning of baptism. then the fathers (usually.) will baptize their children by immersion. younger/smaller children can go sit on the floor near the font to be able to see better. there is an "interlude" while dad's and children get dried off and dressed. there might be talks, there might be music during this time. then when everyone is back in the room there is another talk, including one on the Gift of The Holy Ghost. afterwards each father (and invited priesthood holders) will confirm them a member of the LDS Church, and bestow the Gift of the Holy Ghost. It is considered a prayer, and we close eyes/bow head. a closing hymn, closing prayer. LDS do close their eyes and bow heads during most of the prayers. (for the baptismal prayer - we get to watch. =D.)

gifts or not are fine, though not is probably more common. probably something similar to what someone would give for 1st communion is appropriate. e.g. scriptures/scripture-case, a journal, a religious-themed bookmark.

eta:This is a church service, and it is customary to wear "sunday" dress - e.g. skirts/dress with sleeves for women, suit or slacks/dress shirt and tie for me.

#5 Butter

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 09:31 AM

I've never been to a baptism where any of it was in the chapel. Stuff like that really depends on the ward's customs. Generally children's baptisms are super low key. Talk on baptism, actual baptism, talk on Holy Ghost, confirming the child a member and giving them the gift of the Holy Ghost. Prayers and songs stuck in there at opening and closing. That's it. Usually refreshments after. It's all pretty short. As for gifts, the only gifts I've ever seen given were related to the fact that it's usually right around the child's birthday and where I'm from those only come from family members. I would not take a gift for a child that I was just invited to the baptism of.

Whether there will be other children also depends on the local customs (there is no directive from the Church either way. Where we live now and where we lived when my daughter was baptized, baptisms are done one by one whenever the family desires. My niece will be baptized in June on the stake day of baptisms. I think the Stake we will be moving to next month also does all 8 year old baptisms on one day a month as well.

#6 DianeW88

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 12:46 PM

We've never had any part of a baptism service take place in the chapel. For children's baptisms they are either handled on the stake or ward level (depending on whether you're in Utah or not, LOL). All the children who have turned eight years old in the previous month will be baptized in the same service, unless the family makes special arrangements for a separate service.

You usually meet in the same room with the font or in another room in the church (Primary room). The service is simple and generally brief.

Sunday dress is the standard (dresses or skirts for women, shirt, tie and dress pants for men and boys...although younger boys can get away with no tie if they at least have on a dress shirt).

Gifts are not necessary, and rarely given by those outside the family, but something small would be fine. And it does not have to be religious in nature.

There are usually simple refreshments afterwards, served in the same room. We had cupcakes and candy for the kiddos and fruit salad and something else (no idea what now) for the adults.

#7 Veritaserum

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 12:53 PM

All three of my older three children's baptisms were stake baptisms. All stake baptisms in our stake have opening services in the chapel, baptism in the font, and confirmation in either the Primary Room (font) or the Relief Society Room. All talks are in the opening services in the chapel.

I guess this stake is odd, then. My baptism in the 1980s was the same, though...and we live a few states away from where I grew up.

#8 DianeW88

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 01:00 PM

All three of my older three children's baptisms were stake baptisms. All stake baptisms in our stake have opening services in the chapel, baptism in the font, and confirmation in either the Primary Room (font) or the Relief Society Room. All talks are in the opening services in the chapel.

I guess this stake is odd, then. My baptism in the 1980s was the same, though...and we live a few states away from where I grew up.

Wow, they had you running all over the building! LOL I can see that devolving into chaos in our ward...but that's probably just the kids we have. :D

#9 Forget-me-not

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 01:06 PM

Our Stake is too small and spread out for Stake baptisms. They're handled on a ward level. We've always done our services font-side. Sometimes the confirmation is handled at the same time (what we do since we usually have out of town family there); sometimes it's handled the next day in Sacrament meeting. People usually have a light meal afterward.

I agree that there is no real etiquette for gifts. But if you'd like to give one, its certainly ok :). Something like a nice card and a gift certificate would be appropriate.

As it is considered a sacred event, people will dress up. Most LDS people will wear dresses/skirts (women) and shirts/ties/suits (men). You don't need to worry about wearing a dress, but you'd probably feel underdressed in jeans.

#10 TexasRachel

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 01:22 PM

All three of my older three children's baptisms were stake baptisms. All stake baptisms in our stake have opening services in the chapel, baptism in the font, and confirmation in either the Primary Room (font) or the Relief Society Room. All talks are in the opening services in the chapel.

I guess this stake is odd, then. My baptism in the 1980s was the same, though...and we live a few states away from where I grew up.

We don't do stake baptisms because we're too spread out, but we don't do ward ones either. It's a small enough ward that it typically doesn't matter. We do start and close in the chapel though. But that's a recent (maybe this bishop so a year?) change. We are in a stage 1 building though so it's pretty much go from the front of the chapel to the back.

My baptism was a ward one though. Again, too far spread to meet at the stake center.

#11 Xuzi

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 01:50 PM

The other ladies pretty well covered everything, but if you did want to get the girl a gift, a journal would be perfectly appropriate, and you wouldn't have to hunt down an LDS-specific store to buy one. We're heavily encouraged in the church to keep journals, both for our own benefit, and for our posterity, and the girl will likely be particularly encouraged to record her thoughts, feelings, and observations of her baptism experience. :)

#12 RocCityMom

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 08:03 AM

Thank you all for responding! Your responses have been so helpful. We're looking forward to spending a special day with a dear family.


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