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How Long Does "Investigator" to Baptism Take?


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#1 Jason_J

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Posted 30 January 2010 - 07:07 PM

Let's say that a person investigating the LDS church has read the Book of Mormon and received a testimony before contacting the missionaries. How long would it take, generally speaking, for that person to be baptized?

Does a person have to go through the missionaries to convert to the LDS church? I assume so, since there are a set of "discussions" that are systematized in a way to prepare an investigator to receive baptism.

A Mormon poster on another forum I participate in raised an interesting point: in the Catholic Church and Orthodox Church, the norm is typically for a person to go through a program of study where they learn all of the important doctrines of those churches, for a number of months to a year, until they repent, are baptized, confirmed, and receive first communion, which typically occurs on the Easter Vigil in the Catholic Church. Now, some may go through a shorter "catechesis" process than others, however the norm that I have seen is typically at least 3 months to a year.

In contrast, the LDS church seems to have a much shorter process to baptism, where once a person receives a witness of the Holy Spirit (after agreeing to live a certain way, read the Book of Mormon, etc), they are baptized soon thereafter (at the very least, comparatively speaking). This seems to be the more Biblical pattern, where people did not have to go through extensive teaching for a long period of time before being baptized.

I am not saying there is anything wrong with the Catholic and Orthodox practice. What I am saying is that the LDS church seems to follow a more Biblical pattern in this regard.

#2 havejoy

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Posted 30 January 2010 - 07:17 PM

I don't know what the average is but my DIL got baptized within 2 months of the first lesson. It took me 3 years.

#3 Wingnut

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Posted 30 January 2010 - 07:20 PM

A person is an investigator as long as they want to be.
Now the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed. -- C.S. Lewis

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#4 Palerider

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Posted 30 January 2010 - 07:30 PM

It depends on the investigator and there progression...
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#5 hordak

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Posted 30 January 2010 - 07:35 PM

Let's say that a person investigating the LDS church has read the Book of Mormon and received a testimony before contacting the missionaries. How long would it take, generally speaking, for that person to be baptized?

Does a person have to go through the missionaries to convert to the LDS church? I assume so, since there are a set of "discussions" that are systematized in a way to prepare an investigator to receive baptism.

A Mormon poster on another forum I participate in raised an interesting point: in the Catholic Church and Orthodox Church, the norm is typically for a person to go through a program of study where they learn all of the important doctrines of those churches, for a number of months to a year, until they repent, are baptized, confirmed, and receive first communion, which typically occurs on the Easter Vigil in the Catholic Church. Now, some may go through a shorter "catechesis" process than others, however the norm that I have seen is typically at least 3 months to a year.

In contrast, the LDS church seems to have a much shorter process to baptism, where once a person receives a witness of the Holy Spirit (after agreeing to live a certain way, read the Book of Mormon, etc), they are baptized soon thereafter (at the very least, comparatively speaking). This seems to be the more Biblical pattern, where people did not have to go through extensive teaching for a long period of time before being baptized.

I am not saying there is anything wrong with the Catholic and Orthodox practice. What I am saying is that the LDS church seems to follow a more Biblical pattern in this regard.


I never knew there was a biblical pattern? I actually prefer the Catholic standards (i'm lds). People can take as long as they want but i have seen more then a few missionaries more eager to get a baptism then have the convert understand the gospel and think if there was more time involved less converts would fall away.
"There are not enough general authorities to do all the thinking for the membership of the church." J. Golden Kimball


"I only teach the general rules. Whether an exception applies to you is your responsibility. You must work that out individually between you and the Lord." Elder Oaks

#6 Jason_J

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Posted 30 January 2010 - 07:51 PM

I never knew there was a biblical pattern? I actually prefer the Catholic standards (i'm lds). People can take as long as they want but i have seen more then a few missionaries more eager to get a baptism then have the convert understand the gospel and think if there was more time involved less converts would fall away.


I didn't really know (well, perhaps I knew, I just did not think about it) about the "biblical pattern" either until a LDS poster on another forum brought it to our attention. Here is what he said:


The only thing that one needs to join the true church of God is at the first conviction that it is true. If you don’t know that a church is true, you would be foolish to join it; if you know that it is true, you would be unwise not to. The deeper knowledge of theology comes afterwards.

The only instruction a convert needs to have before joining a church is knowing what it is expected of him as a member of that church, and make a commitment to comply with it. Now I don’t know what is required of a convert to Catholicism; but I can tell you what is in Mormonism: he is required to attend Church regularly, pray, keep God’s commandments and conduct his life in harmony with it, obey the word of wisdom, and pay an honest tithe. That is the only instruction he needs (and commitment to abide by them) before he is baptized—once he has gained a witness of its truth. That is how it was in the primitive church; and that is how it is in God’s true Church today.

...

I never said that no teaching at all is required. I am not even saying that extended teaching in some cases may not be required. Last week a woman in Church told us that she was taught by the missionaries for more than a year before she was baptized. Others have taken even longer. What I am saying is that in those days (as in the LDS Church today) the person was baptized as soon as a level of conviction was reached. How soon that lever was reached varied from individual to individual. With some people it was almost immediate, like Cornelius who is another good example:

Acts 10:

44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.
45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.
46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,
47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?
48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.

I did not say that no instructions were required. I said that once a certain level of faith or conviction was reached the person was baptized. If it was immediate, then baptism also followed immediately. No further instruction was required prior to baptism. Do you think Cornelius was an expert in Christian theology when he was baptized? I don’t think so. He had a lot to learn afterwards. That is what we do in the LDS Church. Once a person reaches a level of conviction that he or she expresses the desire to be baptized, they are baptized. They don’t have to learn everything about the Church to be baptized. The only prerequisite you needed to join God’s true Church at any time in history has been (1) the conviction that it is true, and (2) the commitment to live by its precepts. Nothing else has ever been required to joining God’s true Church. If the conviction was gained immediately, baptism also followed immediately.


#7 anatess

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Posted 30 January 2010 - 09:21 PM

Let's say that a person investigating the LDS church has read the Book of Mormon and received a testimony before contacting the missionaries. How long would it take, generally speaking, for that person to be baptized?

Does a person have to go through the missionaries to convert to the LDS church? I assume so, since there are a set of "discussions" that are systematized in a way to prepare an investigator to receive baptism.

A Mormon poster on another forum I participate in raised an interesting point: in the Catholic Church and Orthodox Church, the norm is typically for a person to go through a program of study where they learn all of the important doctrines of those churches, for a number of months to a year, until they repent, are baptized, confirmed, and receive first communion, which typically occurs on the Easter Vigil in the Catholic Church. Now, some may go through a shorter "catechesis" process than others, however the norm that I have seen is typically at least 3 months to a year.

In contrast, the LDS church seems to have a much shorter process to baptism, where once a person receives a witness of the Holy Spirit (after agreeing to live a certain way, read the Book of Mormon, etc), they are baptized soon thereafter (at the very least, comparatively speaking). This seems to be the more Biblical pattern, where people did not have to go through extensive teaching for a long period of time before being baptized.

I am not saying there is anything wrong with the Catholic and Orthodox practice. What I am saying is that the LDS church seems to follow a more Biblical pattern in this regard.


You can walk into an LDS church and asked to be baptized that same day. You are only required to believe that Jesus is the Christ, that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and that you repent from your sins and promise not to them again - yes, drinking alcohol is a sin, watching porn is a sin, having sexual relations with somebody who is not your legal spouse is a sin, etc., so unless you have sins you don't want to let go of, you are free to be dunked in the water...

You don't even have to have read the book of mormon.

Personally, I like this much better than having to go through CCD classes before I can get a sprinkling. But, that's just me.

#8 AintNoCityBoy

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 12:24 AM

I laughed and said I'd take 2 weeks.



After 2 Months, mutliple read throughs of the Gospel Prinicples, Pearl of Great Price, and selected BOM quotes, I nervously found myself in ankle deep water. (The "font" I guess it's called, was leaking. lol!)

#9 Gwen

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 06:10 AM

i didn't read anything here but the original question. we just had a sister here get baptized one week after talking to the missionaries. she knew she was ready to be baptized before calling them, the week was the formalities to get everything in order. part of that week was due to the fact that the missionaries were an hour away.

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#10 Guest_mysticmorini_*

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 06:33 AM

I could be wrong, but i thought the missionaries were supposed to make sure they understood basic doctrine and the covenant of baptism before they asked them to be baptized, guess it could be different if the investigator asks instead of being asked.

#11 Gramajane

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 06:43 AM

The investigator is to have an interiview with (I think it is at least the Zone leader?) to help make sure they understand the covenants they are making and the barest basics of the gospel.

I didn't read all the above, but I remember a scripture where an Ethopian (?) was in a chariat and had questions and the member was alongside and answered his questions and then the "investigator" said something that translated into "here is water (near a river?) why not baptize me now -- so they did!

#12 Justice

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 06:57 AM

The Bishop or Branch President is also supposed to interview them, or the District or Zone Leader where the Church is less organized.

But, the time is minimal. Those who said it is more up to the investigator have the right idea.

#13 Gramajane

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 07:12 AM

I also like that we can (would be best to be) always "investigating" more truth -- as the article of faith says. I tell others that while I totally believe The Church of JESUS CHRIST of latter-day Saints is the true church with authority from God in the priesthood and lead by God through his living prophet today--

I am open to hearing what others believe they have found that they think is better.

If this were not so-- how could I expect or hope them to be open to our message?

There is so much wonderful knowledge that can bless our lives, that we need to keep on learning all our lives and beyond. Gramajane

#14 Dravin

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 09:17 AM

In my mission (and it varies), there was a requirement that an investigator attend church 3 (IIRC, I think it was 2, then the Mission President required 3) Sundays in a row (baring reasons such as work and the like). Other than that it was a matter of making and keeping the commitments (of which attending Church is one of them) extended.
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#15 AmyKate88

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 10:01 AM

As many others have said, I don't think there is a hard and fast rule about how much time has to pass for a person to be baptized. The requirements are that you understand the fundamental doctrines of the church, commit to obey the commandments, have a testimony, and pass the interview by a missionary (or other authority I assume).

For me, three weeks was the time from my first Sunday in church to baptism. For my brother, it took him a year and a half. Everyone is different, but you do have to at least go through some preliminary "training" (discussions) before you can be baptized.

#16 bytebear

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 12:45 PM

Here are the scriptural requirements of baptims

Doctrine and Covenants 20

All those who humble themselves before God, and desire to be baptized, and come forth with broken hearts and contrite spirits, and witness before the church that they have truly repented of all their sins, and are willing to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have received of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins, shall be received by baptism into his church.


The missionary discussions are simply a formal way to "witness before the church that they have truly repented of all their sins and are willing to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ". But the bishop can just as easily make that determination on the same day.

#17 Elgama

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 12:54 PM

I was 3 weeks but my branch has had people who have investigated for 30 years - like others have said its when you are ready to get baptised. I was ready 10 years before I met the missionaries others take longer and have different questions

#18 mlbrowninwa

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 01:24 PM

I investigated on and off for nearly five years. I took the discussions twice during that time frame, but the second time it was done very quickly. I had gained my testimony of the church before I started the discussions the second time from my own research and prayer. I set my baptism date the day of the first lesson, but felt that i wanted to go through all of the discussions prior to baptism.

#19 ozzy

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 09:13 PM

I have heard of individuals taking 20 years before. That said, I have also heard of individuals who found the missionaries on Monday, had all the lessons during the week, and were baptized pretty much that weekend. I don't think there is much of a time constraint, though the mission president can introduce conditions to prevent missionaries from trying to start 'baseball baptisms'
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#20 DHK

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 09:33 PM

Standard reading within every mission:

The Challenging and Testifying Missionary

When you read this, you'll find out why we can move forward towards baptism faster than other churches.

"We have learned the catchword of "teaching by the spirit" but we do not do it. We teach by our knowledge and this is often confusing to the people."




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