Kiddie-dipping

The following is a quote from the biography of Lowell Bennion:

Even Joseph Field Smith had agreed with Lowell on the dubious practiced of “kiddie-dipping” during the Moyle Baseball missionary years of the late 1950s and early 1960s.  A returned sister missionary had remorsefully confessed that she and her companions had been under such extreme pressure to meet baptismal quotas that “we bought candy bars and gave them to little children to bribe them” on months when baptisms were low.

I went on a Mormon mission to the Franco-Belgian Mission in the 1960s.  The Church in France and Belgium was in serious trouble (less that a 10 percent activity rate).  I had always assumed that the major problem had been the “Church of the New-Born” scandal that had predated my mission by a couple of years.  But I’m sure the bigger problem was “kidding dipping” and other silly baptisms that followed the scandal.

I have a Navajo friend who was baptized as a young man so he could attend high school in LA, as part of the Mormon Church placement program.  Today, as an adult, he has little interest in the Church.  But he does have a friendly relationship with his “placement” parents.

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