So you’ve been invited to a Mormon baptism, and you’re not sure what to wear? We got you covered. Not only will this post show you what to wear, but also some helpful background to help you know what to expect and what your loved-one is choosing.
You will be welcomed warmly no matter what you wear. Feel free to wear whatever makes you comfortable, but women usually wear a modest dress or top and skirt. Men usually wear a white dress shirt and tie. Children usually come as they are, but if they have nicer clothes then they are usually worn.
At a baptism ceremony, you’ll likely see a few men wearing suits, but not many. Most men just wear dress pants and a white dress shirt with a tie. If you don’t have a tie, or if you just wear a nice button-up shirt, you wouldn’t stick out.
Women usually wear a skirt and a nicer top. Some will wear a dress. You could also wear dress pants and a nice top or whatever else you choose. People just try to dress up a bit for baptisms to show respect.
However, you should NOT worry about sticking out if you don’t have that attire when you attend. There is no “dress code” at the church and nobody will silently judge you if you wear something different.
Because baptisms are events where visitors frequently come for the first time, everyone expects that there will be some there who wear something different. If you come in a nice shirt and jeans, you’ll be welcomed warmly and nobody will think twice about it. People who attend the church regularly are always very excited to see new faces–even if it’s just for one baptism.
In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been to a convert baptism where there weren’t several people who come in jeans and a t-shirt. They are always welcome. Everyone is just glad to see them there.
What Is It Like At a Mormon Baptism?
I have been to many Mormon baptisms, and they always seem to follow a predictable pattern. The meeting usually starts with a song (books are provided with the words if you wish to sing, or you can just sit and listen if you’re more comfortable), and then someone will say a short, heart-felt prayer.
After the prayer, someone will usually be invited to say a few words about baptism and why it is important. The speech is usually 5 or 10 minutes long. The entire baptism ceremony is usually only 30 – 45 minutes in length.
Then, the actual baptism will take place. The group in attendance (usually a small meeting of under 40 people) will be seated in a medium-sized room with two doors that open up to show the baptismal font (a tiny 5′ x 5′ pool that is waist deep). The person being baptized will go into the water and also someone who has been authorized to baptize will enter the water together.
The person performing the baptism will give a very short prayer. The prayer is always the same, it is:
“(The person’s name being baptized), having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost, Amen.”
Then, the person being baptized lowers him or herself into the water as the person performing the baptism helps. The person being baptized is completely immersed in the water and then brought out quickly.
The person being baptized will wear plain white clothes to symbolize purity, and after the baptism they will go into a private changing room to put on normal church clothes.
After the baptism, while the person is changing into dry clothes, the group in attendance will sing a few more songs and then the person who was baptized will be welcomed into the ward by a member of the ward. Then a closing prayer will be said. There are often refreshments available afterward so people can talk and congratulate the person who was baptized.
6 Things To Know If You’re Attending a Baptism for the First Time
- You won’t be asked to make donations. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints does not pass a plate around at any meeting. Members donate privately as their own choice.
- You don’t have to participate in the service. You’re welcome to simply come, sit down, and watch.
- When you enter the church, just walk around the hall until you see a group sitting down. Baptisms are usually on Saturdays, so there aren’t other meetings happening at the same time. Just ask anyone where the baptism is and they’ll point you in the right direction, but it won’t be hard to find the right room.
- You won’t feel uncomfortable attending alone. Everyone is very used to the fact that new people attend baptisms, so you won’t stick out at all.
- You’re doing the right thing by supporting your friend or family member by attending the baptism. Go in with an open mind and say a prayer at home and ask Heavenly Father to touch your heart with truth while you are there.
- If you are attending a convert baptism (someone over the age of 8 who is being baptized), then there will be missionaries in attendance (the young men or women with black name tags). Their job is to make anyone new feel welcome, so they are the best people to ask questions to, or to ask for more information about the church if you like. If you simply want to attend without any strings attached, no problem whatsoever.
The Confirmation Ceremony
After someone is baptized, they have received half of the promises that they will receive from God at this time. The baptism is followed by a “Confirmation” ceremony, to which you are invited to attend as well (but are not under any obligation).
Sometimes the confirmation ceremony happens the same day as the baptism (especially if it is an 8 year-old being baptized). For adults who are being baptized, the confirmation usually happens the next day, on Sunday.
A confirmation ceremony is where people who have been authorized to give the gift of the Holy Ghost can give that gift. The Holy Spirit is God’s promise to his followers. It gives the ability to have constant communication and purification given to the individual.
A confirmation ceremony usually happens during the regular Sunday service with many people in attendance. Those in attendance sit and watch as a person authorized to give the Holy Ghost puts their hands lightly on the person’s head and says a short prayer that promises them the Holy Ghost. For more information on how to attend a Mormon sacrament meeting (where your friend will be confirmed), read this.
What Baptism Means to Your Friend or Family Member Being Baptized
Jesus said in the Bible, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven” (John 3:5). That means that someone must be baptized and receive the Holy Ghost in order to enter Heaven.
The baptism is the first step that someone takes who wants to follow Christ. In baptism, the person being baptized promises to do their best to keep God’s commandments, to always remember Christ, and to try to improve themselves. In return, God gives them a clean slate. Any misdeeds or errors the person has made in the past are wiped clean through Jesus Christ.
The baptism does not mean that a person is made perfect. The person will continue to make mistakes and err. We all do. But God will bless them and help them as they strive to improve.
Someone who is baptized will have met with missionaries many times before the baptism so they can be taught about the Bible, Jesus Christ, and baptism. They will have promised to follow God’s commandments and asked to pray to God to know if the church is true.
Baptism is a wonderful thing, and you are fortunate to have been invited. I hope you enjoy the service–and don’t worry about what to wear! Just come and enjoy the simple but beautiful baptismal service.