First, I find it very interesting that we bless our children when they are babies. As Mormons we have this idea that we are very different from other religions. We do not baptize infants, the Book of Mormon calls it a “gross error“, saying that he who believes it is necessary is”in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity; for he hath neither faith, hope, nor charity; wherefore, should he be cut off while in the thought, he must go down to hell.”
That’s pretty harsh. Especially considering what we do with baby blessings, and why. I have talked to quite a few people of other faiths who do believe in infant baptism, and they say that they do it because they want to ensure that their children are protected through life, that they start out their lives in Christ, with his blessings. Is that not why we Mormons bless our children? Aren’t those the same things we hope?
I think we have far more in common with other religions than we believe. We bless our babies, and others baptize their infants. We baptize at 8 and Catholics have Confirmation, which, according to Wikipedia, “is to be conferred on the faithful at about the age of discretion (generally taken to be about 7, but most people are confirmed at ages 13–14)”. The age of discretion, generally taken to be about 7 — that sounds very much like what Mormons believe, calling 8 “the age of accountability”
Are we that different? I don’t think so, I just think we have different names for the same thing. The only difficulty is that we both use the words “baptism” and “confirmation” but mean different things by them.
And as I held my son and gave him a blessing in the name of the Lord, I felt so strongly the love that our Father in Heaven has for each one of us. He wants to bless us, every one, but is also bound by eternal laws of Justice. It was a truly singular experience, to hold your firstborn son in the authority of the Priesthood. I am thankful for this experience, surrounded by friends, blessing my son with word inspired by the holy spirit.
And that is what it all comes down to. We have a love of our children, a hope of our future. These children will grow up and do wonderful things. And I can only hope that they learn, as we obviously have not yet, how to get along with all of the rest of the children of God: their brothers and sisters.