Sunday, March 27, 2011

Baptizing the Bubble Boy: A Thought Experiment

As an infamous lover of possible thought experiments, I just can't not highlight this. It's a scenario provided by an anonymous poster at By Comment Consent in a post titled "You Make the Call: Bubble Boy edition". Here's the scenario. Imagine yourself as an Area Authority Seventy who, in this matter, has been given license by the First Presidency to resolve the quandary in whatever way you see as most consistent with proper LDS doctrine and practice. You've been contacted by a stake president on behalf of a bishop whose ward contains a twelve-year-old boy named Barry. Barry was born in the church, has a testimony, and wishes to be baptized. The problem is, Barry has a very nasty autoimmune deficiency requiring that he live inside a protective bubble built inside his home. Doctors have advised that any attempt to build a tank inside his bubble for a full immersion - which seems difficult anyway - could be quite hazardous to his health, possibly endangering his live. Barry wishes very much to have a baptism of some sort that the Church would recognize as valid and effectual.

So, as the Area Authority Seventy charged with finding a resolution for Barry and his bishop, what call do you make? (To see a few options, please check the original post over at BCC.)

Not being LDS, I see the best option as being a limited sort of baptism by sprinkling, which is one of the options suggested in the original post. It's not optimal, but is a legitimate option that's been recognized as valid in dire straits since early in the second century. If I were LDS, on the other hand, I think my instincts would lean towards a baptism by proxy while Barry yet lives. I'm not sure of that, however, because I lack the sort of firm grasp of the minute intricacies of LDS baptismal theology and current official practice that would be required to give a confident resolution from that standpoint.

What would you say?

No comments:

Post a Comment