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The Age Of 12....just Curious...


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A thought that has occured to me before, of which i was reminded this morning as I read new member Johnny Gay's introduction....

 

For how many of you was the age of 12 a signficant mile post on your developing religious/spiritual journey? Johnny mentions it as when he first decided to read the bible through. And it certainly was for me a signficant age, as it was the age of my first baptism, an experience frought with much contradiction, confusion, and even dissapointment in that I didn't experience the dramatic magical "change in me" I had been told and convinced it should.

 

And of course, it was at the age of 12 the NT gospels tell us that Jesus was accidentally left behind by his parents, who returned to find him amazing the teachers in the Temple with his wisdom and knowledge of scriptures.

 

Jenell

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It was at the age of 12 that I 'gave my life to Christ' and was also baptised. I recognise now that I was making this committment moreso because it made me proud to be a 'grown-up' as part of our church community and that it was something that my parents would be proud of. I spoke of Jesus, but in hindsight, at the age of 12 this didn't have any real meaning to me and I had no appreciation how it related to the rest of the 'real' world that I would later be exposed to as I grew up.

 

Recently my sister's 12 year old twins have also been baptised. Perhaps there's something subliminal there about 'age of accountability' or perhaps it's some adolescent chemical reaction that instigates these decisions?

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I think I was 11 when I was baptized. I think you're correct that around that age a person usually begins to open up to the larger meanings of life. However, it wasn't until I was around 14 or 15 that I really began to question things. I think 15 is more or less the typical age when a person starts to inquire critically about her or his worldview, beliefs, etc.

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I was 12 when I accepted Jesus as my savior at Vacation Bible School and was baptized shortly thereafter. Although in hindsight I can look back on those experiences as, perhaps, childhood religious naivete, there was also something real in those experiences of the love of God that has persisted all these years. So it was a significant time for me. But I sense God deeper now than I did back then. I guess I could describe that time as the honeymoon and now as the marriage. Good question, Jenell.

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I was baptized by the Catholic church when i was an infant and have no recollection of the event except what i was told and a paper proving it. I left at around age 14 or before. Was baptized in the river Jordan when i was around the age of 33 of which i have a recollection of but nothing but a superficial experience. But then i was baptized without water present that same year and it had an experience that lasts even til this moment. So in answer to the question, 12 to me has no significance i can recall. Perhaps i am a late bloomer. :)

Joseph

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We went to church and Sunday school every week through my entire childhood but I never felt connected..... It was something my parents made me do. We learned all the stories, creeds and what it meant to be a "good Christian". I knew I wasn't a good Christian and frankly didn't care I didn't have guilt or fear just wasn't important.

 

During confirmation class I can remember someone asking (might have been me) if the people of africa would go to heaven the pastor said "No" the only way to heaven was through giving ones life to Jesus. Then I asked why would Jesus do that to someone. I don't remember the response. This man later left his MS suffering wife with his highschool aged children for the organist and moved to Fl. I had no sense of belonging no sense of believing no guilt or angst. Just sort of a bore.

 

I have always had a sense of God tho and actually have a sense of God active in my life. Just not "Church" connected.

 

My wife was a church goer so when we got married I started to go too. I is a liberal Congregational Church that I could survive with some heavy editing. The folks allowed open questions. Kinda softened me up a bit.

 

About 3 years ago the minister started a discussion group that used the "Living The Questions" DVD and holy crap people who thought like me!! As my understanding of Jesus's message improved so did my faith. (Faith as in trust not faith as in belief).

 

So I have never had a singular point of faith but rather it has been a progression brought on by finding ideas that fit me.

 

steve

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Other's responses re their experiences as well as mine causes me to slightly revise how I'm thinking about this age of 12 as significant. While my and some others would have possibly a natural connection to religious experience as it relates to this or any other "stage"of life development, that would be very dependent upon our having been within a religious environment, at least exposed to religious environment. But not everyone has/had that as a part of their lives as children. So perhaps those not raised in a religious environment provided a religious context for any such significant stage of development on their life's journey may still have experienced something notable around that age, but would place it into a different, non-religious associated context?

 

It only now occurs to me that in many of the classic "coming of age" novels and movies once more popular than I think we see now ...I'm thinking many written/produced in the first half of the 20th century, particularly....were set in the lives of children around the age of 12. I'm thinking examples, Marjorie Rawling's "The Yearling", John Steinbech's "The Red Pony." but then it may just be, as others have noted, this is the natural age at which there is an expansion of conscious awareness of reality.

 

Jenell

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I found the following 'information' interesting (I Googled 'the significance of turning 12'):

 

Meaning and Significance of Number 12

Number 12 is the largest even number that can be expressed as the sum of two prime numbers. Being a summation of two prime numbers, number 12 is believed to be the number of strength, conviction, absoluteness and finality. This gives importance to the meaning of number 12.

 

Significance of Number 12

Of all the numbers, 12 is attached with beliefs of mystery and authority. Giving more substance to the belief of the number being authoritative, jury is usually made of 12 judges. Even the human heart chakras are 12 in number. While 12 noon is the descent of the Sun, 12 midnight is the ascent marking the turn of events as well. 2012 is attached with a transformation of the world as per the Mayan Calendar.

 

Number 12 in Religions

Christianity: The significance of the number 12 in the Bible is reflected by 12 Apostles. Apsrt from that, there are 12 Fruits of the Spirit, 12 gates and foundation stones of the Holy City and 12 days of Christmas.

Judaism: There are 12 letters of the Hebrew Alphabet. A girl, in Judaism, becomes mature at the age of 12. There were Twelve tribes of Israel and 12 oxen of Solomon’s temple.

Islam: Prophet Muhammad was succeeded by 12 Imams.

 

Even the star signs are divided in 12 sun signs and as per Semitic beliefs there are 12 days of duel between Chaos and Cosmos.

 

 

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The issue of 12 or 11 or 13 is that there are many changes going on in the child at that time physically, intellectually and emotionally. I remember watching in utter amazement my daughter one day switch back and forth between being a teen to an adolescent sometimes several times a minute. One second she was splashing in the wadding pool with her younger brothers the next second she was worried about how she looked to the neighbor boy the next second it was back to being a child. The more mature girl was trying to get out but she wasn't quite ready to give up the carefree child. Sadly/happily my little girl grew up and became the woman she is today. That is the time where they become themselves not just extensions of their parents.

 

I think the religious experience changes because of view.

 

As a child things are exactly as they appear. God exists because mom and dad say so. There is no reason to question it. I am not sure they would have the ability to question it. At some point (around the age of 12) the child develops the ability to notice inconsistencies between what they have always held as "true " and how things appear. I truly think this is at the crux of why Christianity is in decline. When you become cognizant of these inconsistencies he/she either buries his/her head in the sand and becomes a fundamentalist, lives with the stress, quits, or with much work and angst finds something that makes sense.

 

steve

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That is true. There are 22 in total so, it does contain 12 (and 1, 2, 3 . . . 22).

 

George

 

Thanks George. Not unexpected, hence why I put apostrophies around the word 'information'. Never trust the internet!

 

Thanks

Paul

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  • 4 weeks later...

I was about 10 or 11 when I performed my first "miracle". My cousins wanted to play ghosts, but there was too much light. I sat them down in the lounge and took out my Book of Common Prayer, read the collects and lessons etc to them then prayed for lightening and thunder, but no rain. A few minutes later: guess what! My aunt, my mother, my cousins and sister still talk about it to this day.

 

At 12 I stopped going to church. I had become bored with the formal structure of the Anglican liturgy (although I now find it beautiful) which I could read for myself and began to view my relationship wit God and Jesus as a personal matter.

 

—Jim

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  • 1 month later...

12 is a scary time - I wouldn't go back there again for anything! I volunteer now with girls 12-14, and I see how they suffer. The drama, the body changes, the desire to be an adult but the (general) inability to handle it all...what a nightmare.

 

I think, traditionally speaking, using puberty as a general dividing point between kids and grown-ups is common still in a sense. We don't expect kids to get married once they've hit puberty, but I think there is an expectation that they will be able to take on responsibilities, help out, process deeper thoughts, and so on. I'm not saying I agree with it 100%, but I think there's something to the idea.

 

12 for me, religiously, had no meaning. I'm from the United Church, so I was baptised as an infant and did my confirmation when I was 13-14. When I was 12, I was in Sunday School most weeks and helping out in the nursery here and there. Nothing too serious going on.

 

As an aside, after nearly 17 years of working/volunteering with kids, I think 12 today is a lot younger than 12 used to be, mentally and emotionally. Kids mature faster (physically) and hit puberty earlier, but there is a youngness to them that I don't think we've seen before in this degree.

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