Twice. Once very young and a few years later I figured that wasn't my idea and may not have counted.
Can you imagine! What if I didn't give a second try a thought and lived my life as a southern baptist. Then I died.
GOD: "You do not qualify for heaven"
ME: "What! I was saved and dunked in the water for all to see!" "Then I stayed with the church, prayed, etc"
GOD: "You were young and the whole thing was not your idea, therefore you didn't really accept, NEXT"
LOL. The theist mind has to worry about these things you know. I am grateful I out grew religion!
The first time was as an infant in a Lutheran church. I don't remember anything about that.
The second time was in a church somewhere in Powder Springs, nameless in my mind because we were just there to use its baptismal font. I was seventeen, nerdy, somewhat of an emotional recluse, wanting to be delivered from a loveless, groundless life. Religion offered that possibility. It didn't even take an evangelist to prod me toward the altar, just a night in with a Book of Mormon and the realization that I wanted a life to have some importance bigger than just staying in, studying and playing video games to numb the feeling of powerlessness over my own life.
The Methodists hated the LDS, my parents hated the LDS, and all the hatred I saw over the months following my conversion to some sort of Christianity made me greatly suspicious of anyone's motives concerning religion. I wanted God to tell me what was true because I wouldn't believe anyone else, even concerning the Bible. So I attempted to submit my life to Him as best I could, and baptism became a key part of making myself acceptable to Him.
It didn't help, of course. Heaven's silence loomed, and those who claimed to talk for God still seemed weak, power-hungry, or driven by fear and guilt. A few rounds with charismatic churches across the Southeast, a stint in Bible college, and an undergraduate and graduate program focused on Jewish history and religious psychology appear to have shaken that hope from me.
I begged my parents to allow me to be baptized after sitting through so many Thursday masses at Catholic School. Between grammar and arithmetic, I learned the shame of original sin. I was furious that my parents hadn't taken care of this baptism thing already and that they were still dragging their feet. And why didn't we go to church regularly as well, like the other kids? We had to get good with God. What could be more important!?
So, at age six, I was the oldest kid in my class to get baptized. I believe they used some type of oil. I was very pleased! I went on to take the other sacraments of Communion and Confirmation, as a young adult, even though I was already plagued by questions that couldn't be satisfied by doctrine, scripture, or prayer.
I have never been baptised, woo!
However, I would have been if things had not been so crazy with my family at the age of baptism.
The Amish religion(s) think the same way, that baptism should be special and it should also be a conscious choice on the participant's part.
To me, baptism at birth is basically just an assebmly line way of gaining greater numbers for your religion, like some tallying competition.
(I live in NC now but am from PA)
Where in The Old North State do you live? I'm from Leaksville, now "Eden" NC but, unfortunately and for the foreseeable future live in North Central Texas about 35-miles NNE of Fort Worth amongst far too many neocons and theocons hereabouts.
There's an interesting story about how the area of Leaksville, Spray and Draper became Eden in 1967 and it may be found @ www.leaksville.com. There you'll also find a short story I contributed to the site called "Raftin' the Dan" about an August float trip down the Dan River.
I don't know how old you are but think about this. When the three small town finally managed to merge the ballot also had a name selection vote. The second place name that almost made it was a combination, LeaksvilleSprayDraper, which would have been abbreviated to "LSD". It was 1967 and had there been a place named LSD, NC all the acid heads in the world, including Timothy Leary would have moved there and the town's entire destiny would have been altered, mostly for the good I feel. ;-)
I never was, but I was circumcised. Does that count?
Hopefully you weren't of the Jewish sect that requires the Rabi to use his mouth to remove the foreskin after the act and suck it into his mouth and spit it out. Read Hitchens' "God is not Great" in which he identifies the bunch of perverted shitheads. The procedure is allowed in New York as part of a "protected" religious practice. And we thought Catholic priests were perverted; go figure.
I was wondering just how many "Serial Dippers" there are out there when, to the best of my understanding, one is supposed to ensure one for life, er, death, or life after death or what ever. Also, is it standard practice for the subject to be dipped into the water backwards requiring a tight grip on one's nose. I suppose it would be poor form for the newly dipped to resurface out of being reborn with nasal mucous, (OK, snot) streaming down one's face and coughing, sputtering, trying to breathe again.
I also wonder if anyone has ever had a heart attack during the process. Wouldn't that be a hoot! The right rev. dipping a living person into the water and having a corpse in his, or lest I offend by omission, her arms.
That reminds me of another disturbing incident. One Sunday during the year I allowed my missus and kids to drag me along with them (they insisted it had to be a "family" thing) to the Martinsville (VA) Christian Fellowship, or as I came to call it, "The Thrill on the Hill in Martinsville" the young preacher got into his spiel. He was talking about how so many "saved" persons, and especially the young, "backslide" after their acceptance of jesse's crap. Continuing in that mode he said it would be better to "take a machine gun and mow them down so they can go right into heaven while they're saved." In hindsight, which is always 20/20, I should, and wish that I had yelled BULL SHIT and walked out; another missed opportunity to shock some true-believers back to reality. It probably wouldn't have worked and I would have caught hell for noting.
I grew up in the church....musta been at least twice, maybe a third, the procedure just wouldnt stick...