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JON - When did it become policy that you should or is it commanded that you do not hold a baptism outside in a river or lake or such. I remember about 20 years ago being in the bishopric as long as all percipients were Mel. Priesthood holders and we had a member of our bishopric there we allowed a couple of those baptisms. In the FHE one of our girls wanted to have a baptism at the family home in the woods with a creek running by and she met the above requirements, but the Bishop would not allow it and said it was a mandatory policy against in the manual. I could not remember one. Is there and what section?

JOEL - Here's what the Handbook (#2) says in section 20.3.5:
"When a baptismal font is not available, any body of water that is safe may be used for a baptism if it is large enough to immerse the person and to permit the priesthood holder who performs the baptism to stand in the water with the person. Water is not dedicated for baptisms."

I guess it depends on how your Bishop interprets, "When a baptismal font is not available". It sounds like it should be performed in a church font, which has been dedicated for that ordinance, if there is one, but it doesn't expressly forbid performing it elsewhere. Another Bishop might not have a problem with it. There are some things a Bishop might consider, such as safety at the location; trying to accommodate the number of people who want to be there and the distance they have to travel. Also if one person in the ward does it that way, it could start a trend in the ward where more may want to do it also, rather than using the font which is made for that purpose. It's sort of like wanting to perform temple ordinances out in a forest somewhere, rather than in the temple.

One thing to remember in all this is that it is not the location that makes it special; the baptism itself is what is special and sacred and where it is done should not detract from that.

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