I’ve lived in several places in the United States, and one conclusion I have is that Stake baptisms in Utah are awful. In the “mission field”, family members of the prospective 8 year old members give a couple of talks on baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. Family members often pick hymns. Often the baptisms are held in the ward building because the buildings are often located so far apart. If there happen to be 2 children being baptized, usually one talk is given by one family, and another talk given by the other family. It is a wonderful, intimate, personal affair for the young child and their families.
However, in places with a high concentration of young children (such as Utah County), there is a Stake Baptism coordinator. The entire stake’s worth of children (sometimes as high as several dozen) sit in the chapel. In some of the worst cases, a stranger from the stake gives a talk on baptism. Then people from one ward will get up, walk to the font, while the rest of the stake waits in the chapel with literally nothing to do. Then another ward takes their turn, then a third ward. (My stake currently has 12 wards full of young people and they have a morning session and an afternoon session.) It is not personalized in any way. Of course, families of 8 year olds often have other small children. Do you know how hard it is to keep children quiet in the chapel when literally nothing is going on? It’s awful. I have no idea who thinks this is a good idea. (I suppose it does save water though.) Many Utah County buildings do not have a font. The font is only located in the Stake Center.
It makes me want to move. I know not every stake is like this–I’ve attended some baptisms in southern Utah County (for relatives) that were much more intimate and personal, but my stake sucks (and I know it isn’t just my stake.) Does anybody have any idea why they have herd baptisms in Utah?