Voices from the Exponent Backlist: Planning a Child’s Baptism

pinterest baptism programLast year about this time, I began planning my almost-eight-year-old’s baptism. I’m a huge fan of religious rituals that welcome children into the community–I love a Jewish bar or bat mitzvah, a Roman Catholic infant baptism, a Mormon baby blessing, etc. I think these rituals build our children and build our communities.

But, I didn’t want my son to feel like his choice to be baptized made him better than anyone else. We have family and friends who have chosen to not be affiliated with the Church, and he had questions about that. Why was his choice to be baptized a good one? Why were other peoples’ choices not to be Mormon just as valid? Difficult conversations, those were (and will continue to be). However, they helped me frame how I wanted his baptism…as a gift from his community to show their love and the love of our Heavenly Parents’ love. After all, the covenants we make at baptism are simple and beautiful: we become members of our community, we take on the name of Christ, and we promise to keep the commandments, including helping each other and serving God.

On our backlist, one of our permabloggers has a friend whose child is getting baptized. She asked for help finding a reading that would be meaningful to her, as someone with beliefs that differ from her mainstream Mormon family, that would also be comfortable for those in attendance. Here are some suggestions from our backlist:

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Valentine’s Day: Love and Blood and Water

A version of this essay first appeared at Segullah.org

“But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure, then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor, into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.” 

From The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran.

I picked up a box of “Hello Kitty” valentines in the grocery store because I was drawn to the images. The figures on the cards were simple line drawings. Simple.

In second grade we covered shoeboxes with doilies and red construction paper, cutting a slit in the top just big enough for a valentine envelope (and maybe a candy heart) to fit through. Back then our biggest concern in life was which valentine card to give to which classmate. Simple.

Then I thought about a man I had loved several years ago. He loved me too and we talked of marriage. We were friends who played and worked together and supported each other. But, in the end I could not marry him. The reasons aren’t important anymore, but they weren’t simple.

This interlude in the Valentine’s Day aisle got me thinking about what love is. And what it is not.

Love is simple. 

Love is not simple.

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Relief Society Lesson 4: Strengthening and Preserving the Family

human family

By Amy Cartwright

Amy is a blogger for Young Mormon Feminists

My childhood was spent watching far too much television. While I would never admit this to my schoolmates, one of my favorite shows was none other than Barney and Friends. That’s right, I’m going to quote a purple dinosaur in this lesson. In one episode, the children are talking about different kinds of families—one child had a “traditional” family with a mom, dad, brothers and sisters, pets and the like, another had parents who were divorced, and one was raised by her grandmother. As the children sang about different kinds of families, they taught:

“A family is people and family is love,
that’s a family.
They come in all different sizes and different kinds,
but mine’s just right for me.”

The eternal nature of the family is one of the most beautiful doctrines in all of Mormonism. This understanding that we are sealed, not only to our spouses and children in nuclear families, but in one great big human family, should move us to compassion, love, and service of all of God’s children, regardless of their faith or non-faith, nationality, race, orientation, etc.

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Birth/Rebirth: My Work/My Glory, Or The Work Of A Midwife

My name is Kayte. I live in Salt Lake City, Utah, and I am a student midwife at the Midwives College of Utah. I began my path to midwifery first under the inspiration of my great-great-great-grandmother, Sarah Indiaetta Young, and her stories of being a midwife on the Arizona Frontier. Second, because my mother taught me to love birth and all that it encompasses. I felt pulled towards the art and practice of midwifery because I feel like it is my calling. I have attended over 50 births in my training, and I am currently taking a (semi) break from attending births to focus on my scholastic endeavors. I hope to be finished with my studies and training by 2015. The following is an excerpt from my journal from December, 2013:

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I went to a birth with Renee* last night. She asked me last minute if I could come because her other assistant was sick with bronchitis, so I agreed. This is Alex and Wendell’s first baby. Labor came early for Alex, she was barely 38 weeks and was not expecting this baby to arrive for another two or more weeks.

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Birth/Rebirth: From God, Who Is Our Home

“And by the vision splendid is on [her] way attended; at length the [wo]man perceives it die away, and fade into the light of common day.”  William Wordsworth 1770-1850

Five years after the birth of my second child, I was at home preparing for an ultrasound appointment. The local hospital was only a few miles away, so I was in no rush. My children were at school and the day was quite ordinary. Except I remember feeling a kind of sacredness in the simple tasks of showering, doing my hair, applying make up and putting on comfortable clothing – almost like I was getting ready to attend the temple. Perhaps I was in a meditative state of mind. After all, I was nine months pregnant and on this day I would see images of my unborn child for the first time. 

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