Today, the Church announced three changes to the Youth participation in temple baptisms as well as a change for 11 year old boys and girls. You can find articles at Deseret News and The Salt Lake Tribune, but I’ll summarize the changes below.
- Under the direction of the Temple Presidency, the young women, ages 12-18, with their limited-use recommends will be able to assist with assignments now performed by sister temple workers or volunteers
- Under the direction of the Temple Presidency, Priests, ages 16-18, with recommends will be able to server as a baptizer or a witness, tasks now performed by endowed Melchizedek Priesthood holders.
What Does This Mean For the Young Sisters
The sister temple workers or volunteers essentially perform four functions during the baptism session:
- Hand out towels for youth coming out of the fount.
- Assist the Young Women to change in and out of their clothing, monitoring the dressing room.
- Gathering the names from the baptism recorder and delivering them to the confirmation room or the front desk.
- Taking the laundry to and from the Temple laundry
I’m sorry to say, but it looks like the Young Men win the prize.
Some Questions I have
- Can adult Aaronic Priesthood holders (as converts or returning members), be a baptizer or a witness, while now they can only be baptized? Provided they qualify for a limited-use recommend.
- What about non-endowed Melchizedek Priesthood holders?
- What does “Under the direction of the Temple Presidency” actually mean? Could a Temple President decide not to implement this? Probably not, it just mean they are responsible that everything done in the Temple is done right, including handing out of the towels.
It seems to me this is a positive move to give the youth more responsibility for conducting the Baptism session. It also seems like less adults will be necessary, especially the men. Men and women would probably come anyway. I know that most sessions for our Ward, we always have more than we need. It will be up to the Bishopric and Youth Leaders to stress the importance of the Youth assuming the added responsibilities. Particularly, training the Young Women in handing out the towels.
In Other News
In a move that may be just as important or, even more so, the Primary Priesthood Preview, which was the meeting that introduced the 11 year old boys to the Aaronic Priesthood has been changed to the Temple and Priesthood Preparation. The meeting will include both 11 year old boys and girls and will stress the blessings of temple service, priesthood service and making and keeping sacred covenants.
This is certainly a step in the right direction and long overdue. I am hopeful these are changes in a series of changes that equally recognizes the value and worth of both females and males in the Church.