This post was submitted by a BCC reader who wishes to remain anonymous.
You are an area authority seventy. A stake president calls you seeking direction on behalf of a bishop who has in his ward Barry Bubble Boy. Barry has an autoimmune deficiency that requires that he live inside of a protective bubble specially built inside of his home as his bedroom. He was transfered unto the room from the hospital when he was four, and has never left it. He is now 12.
Barry was born in the church, has a testimony of the Gospel, and desires to be baptised. Given his environment, it is impossible for him to be totally immersed in water. Even if a tank could be constructed in his bubble, his doctors would advise against subjecting him to total immersion in water. You should take as given that he cannot be immersed in water without grave risk of death.
The bishop has identified these possibilities:
- Baptism by sprinkling conducted through the bubble’s arm sleeves.
- Proxy baptism of Barry, while living.
- Deny Barry baptism, with the promise of baptism by proxy when he is dead.
- Allow Barry to risk his life by leaving the bubble for baptism by immersion.
The bishop favors 2. Barry’s order of preference is 1, 2, 4, 3, assuming he has the assurance from the First Presidency that either 1 or 2 would constitute an effective baptism.
You have been instructed by the First Presidency to resolve however you think best and most consistent with our doctrine. You are not limited by the bishops proposals–you can fashion any remedy you think most appropriate.
You make the call!
Bonus hypothetical: Is the result different for a member whose medical condition is psychological, exhibited as a severe fear of immersion in water?