I've been thinking a lot about baptism lately. My wife and I would like to have children but we obviously disagree about when baptism is appropriate. Although she doesn't necessarily want to raise the kids Eastern Orthodox, I am pretty sure she would want to baptize them in some denomination right away.
The Church's doctrine on infant baptism has always made a lot of sense to me and I don't like the idea of my kids being baptized into another faith. But if other churches' baptism doesn't have any real significance, should I care if the kids are baptized as infants? I know that Moroni has some strong words about it, but I would only be doing it to preserve family harmony (I'm thinking mother-in-law here).
Unfortunately, I can't tell my wife that the Mormon way is much better. Sure, the kids have a better idea of what is going on but that's about it. Why do we even pretend that this is a choice that an eight-year-old can make? Has any eight-year-old in the history of the church ever refused baptism? It seems to me that we should really bump the baptismal age up to eighteen or so. That is when kids can start legally to make their own decisions. Shouldn't baptism be one of these decisions?
During my mission, our first spiel was to ask people if they were baptized like Jesus was: of age, by immersion, and by someone in authority. The implication was that if you didn't do it like Jesus, it wasn't valid. Well, Jesus didn't get baptized until he was thirty. He didn't have his parents pushing him down one path or another.
I don't even remember my baptism and that really bothers me. How can we pretend that we have such a superior system when it is just slightly delayed infant baptism? I think that if I had been baptized as an adult, it would have meant a lot more to me.
I would like to let my (at this point theoretical) children decide for themselves which religion they want to follow. Unfortunately, this may not be practical as every church will want to baptize them first, before they really figure out what's going on.
Am I just engaging in wishful thinking, pretending that parents can let their kids decide on their own?