Some of my friends have asked why we are baptized at age eight. What should I tell them?

Baptism is an essential ordinance for us to return to our Heavenly Father. When Jesus Christ was on the earth, He told His disciples that no one can enter the kingdom of God without being baptized (see John 3:3–5). Many other religions believe in baptism, but the correct manner of baptism is a disputed and controversial topic.

Fortunately, through modern revelation we have been told that baptism must be done by immersion and by someone with priesthood authority. Also, the person being baptized must be above the age of accountability, which means that he or she is old enough to understand right from wrong. The Lord revealed to Joseph Smith that “children shall be baptized for the remission of their sins when eight years old” (D&C 68:27). Explain to your friends that this is one reason why it is so important to have modern revelation—so we can know God’s will concerning baptism.

One purpose of baptism is to make covenants with our Heavenly Father and become a member of the Church. We believe that by the time normally developed children are eight years of age, they are ready to keep the commitment of baptism.

Photo-illustration by Welden C. Andersen

My mom and I used to go to church together all the time. Now she doesn’t want to go anymore. What can I do?

Seeing the people you love fall away from the Church can be very painful. But you don’t have any control over their actions. Continue to show love and be a good example to your mother. You can also continue to tell her about what you learned in church, bear your testimony to her, and encourage her to come to church with you. It’s also very important to be patient and understanding with her.

Talk to your bishop about your predicament. He’ll have some helpful advice. You can also ask for a priesthood blessing and pray for comfort and guidance through this hard time.

What if others make fun of me because of my standards? They say I expect too much from myself. What can I do?

Fortunately, you have been provided a wonderful guide to standards called For the Strength of Youth. It explains many important things, and two of them are:

  1. 1.

    “Standards will help you make correct choices” (p. 40).

  2. 2.

    “A true friend will encourage you to be your best self” (p. 12).

Consider giving your friends a copy of For the Strength of Youth and explaining why standards mean so much to you. It’s important to understand that you are not trying to put yourself above other people; you are simply trying to become more like the Savior. That’s not expecting too much (see Matthew 5:48).

Each of us can turn individually to the Lord in prayer for help in understanding and applying gospel standards. For the Strength of Youth promises that the Lord “will give you the help you need to meet your trials and challenges” (p. 42). By staying close to Him through daily prayer and scripture study, you can come to know if your actions are pleasing to Him. True friends will support you in that.

Remember, standards aren’t meant to tie you down. Rather, they are guidelines to help you become truly free. Living gospel standards means that as a child of God, you are living in a way that is pleasing to Him.

Be careful, however, not to confuse gospel standards with personal goals and preferences. Some of us have a tendency to try to do even more than is needed. (See Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “Our Strengths Can Become Our Downfall,” Ensign, Oct. 1994, 11).


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