Few events in the life of a church can match the warmth and hopefulness of a ceremony to welcome a new baby into the community.
Earlier this year, I stood before my Protestant congregation and held my 5-month-old son as two pastors (who both happened to be women) laid their hands on him and prayed for him. We asked that the congregation share in the responsibility of his Christian upbringing and prayed for the day that my son would come to know the Lord as his own. As his mother, my primary role in his Christian nurture was acknowledged by my presence and participation in the ceremony, and tears slipped from my eyes as we finished. To say it was a special moment for me as a mother would be an understatement.
I have to wonder why the LDS Church is so determined to ensure that its own women can never write what I just wrote, that its new mothers only experience such ceremonies as bystanders rather than as participants. Furthermore, my LDS friends tell me that when a father comes under church discipline, he will be barred from participation in ceremonies such as the blessing and naming of his children as part of his punishment. This outsider finds it curious that the church punishes unrighteous fathers by treating them like faithful mothers.