Have your parents told you that you may not be baptized until you’re eighteen (or another age they consider old enough to decide?) This is frustrating and upsetting to a teen with a testimony, but your time of waiting can be rewarding and fulfilling.
Arguing with your parents about their decision won’t help. It will only make them more certain you aren’t mature enough to make such a critical decision. Instead, spend your time being more grown-up and responsible. Not only will this help them see you might be ready to make this decision, but when you are baptized as an adult, they will know the church helped you to become a better person. It may not make them happy, but at least they won’t be afraid of how it will affect you. The doctrines you believe will worry them less right now than how the church causes you to live. Be a missionary by showing them how a good Latter-day Saint lives.
There are a few things you won’t be able to do during your waiting time. while your friends do their work. This will allow you to enjoy the presence of the temple even if you can’t go in. Read about the temple so you’re prepared after your baptism to go inside.
You also can’t usually have a formal calling, but that doesn’t mean you can’t serve. There is always a lot of work to be done and you don’t need to have a calling to do it. Volunteer to help plan activities and participate in the service projects. Make yourself useful at ward activities. Not all teen members have callings, so you won’t be left out.
In most other areas, you can live just as you will when you are baptized. You can read your scriptures, pray, keep the commandments, study the gospel, and prepare for a mission. Most of the time, you may find it hard to remember you aren’t officially a member, since you will live the same life as any other teenager whose parents aren’t LDS.
Work to set a good example for your parents and help them learn more about the choice you’ve made. If possible, help them meet other church members. If they have LDS friends, it will make your transition easier. This can be done by having them meet your leaders or attend special church activities with you.
God won’t hold you accountable for not being able to join if your parents won’t give permission, and there aren’t prizes for how long you’ve been a member. If you’re living the gospel and doing the best you can, God will accept that just as if you were LDS.
Terrie Lynn Bittner
The late Terrie Lynn Bittner—beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend—was the author of two homeschooling books and numerous articles, including several that appeared in Latter-day Saint magazines. She became a member of the Church at the age of 17 and began sharing her faith online in 1992.