LDS Etiquette for Blessing Non-Mormon Babies
29 SEP 2017
Baby blessings are a ritual used in Mormon religion, where the baby's name is announced and the father of the child gives her a blessing for the course of her life. Since babies aren't baptized into the Mormon church, this ritual isn't restricted to members alone. In fact, if you'd like your baby to receive a blessing through the Mormon church, it's completely kosher. Know what to expect and the meaning behind the ritual before you decide whether or not it's something you want for your little one.
Before you have your baby blessed, it's proper etiquette to receive permission from the governing priesthood authority in your area. That authority is likely the bishop of your nearest "ward" or congregation. A bishop is akin to a pastor or minister and can give the go-ahead for non-Mormon families to have their babies blessed by the proper authorities. While you could still ask a Mormon priesthood holder to bless a baby without permission, it would not be recorded nor recognized by the church.
A Mormon baby blessing must be performed by a man holding the Melchezidek -- the highest -- form of priesthood. Other male members holding the Melchezidek priesthood are also invited to participate, while only one person will actually give the blessing. It's proper etiquette to choose close family members and friends to join in the blessing as a symbolic gesture of those who care most for the baby.
Mormon baby blessings are usually performed during a Sunday service in a Mormon meetinghouse. However, since the baby blessing isn't technically known as a saving ordinance, it doesn't have to be performed in a specific location. Instead, if a non-member is more comfortable, it can be performed in a home or other public location to accommodate different beliefs and comfort levels. However, it's still proper etiquette to wear modest, Sunday-appropriate dress, no matter where the blessing is taking place. Those participating in the blessing will be dressed in shirts and ties.
During a baby blessing, the format follows the same pattern whether for a member or a non-member family. First, the priesthood holder giving the blessing announces the child's name, and then proceeds to bless the baby with health, happiness and other gifts. During the blessing, those observing should fold their arms, bow their heads and stay quiet. Some parents ask certain friends or family members to record the blessing with pen and paper to keep for baby books or later referral. Afterward, a celebration with food and family is common, so hold off the chatter until the blessing has been completed.