Would I (a former JW) need to be baptized?

So it sort of just occurred to me in the last few days…

Let’s just say I decided to go through with the whole…er Catholic thing (wrapping my brain around me physically doing this is a little weird still)…

I was a born and bred JW.
Left a few years back.

Baptized in 1989 as a JW.

Would that be considered a valid baptism?

And is it absolutely essential that I need to do the RCIA classes?
I.e. can’t I just read the Catechism or at least most of it…I have my reasons for asking…

thanks in advance

Since the JWs deny the Trinity and the deity of Jesus, then I would say that you need to take this up with your Catholic pastor.

The Church recognizes any Trinitarian baptism but in this case JW baptism is actually one that denies that Trinity and therefore is probably not a valid baptism.


So what do they do for adult baptisms?

Typically they would have you bend over (so you don’t get your clothes wet) and pour water over your forhead (3 times) saying "I baptise you in the name of the Father (pour) and of the Son (pour) and of the Holy Spirit (pour). Some churches have the capability for full immersion baptisms, but most don’t. There are additional rites and prayers associated with the whole thing, including the anointing with oil, and it can be performed as part of mass or as a separate service

As for your earlier question, I would suspect that the pastor would require what is known as a conditional baptism. Basically the same as above with the caveat added “If you are not already baptized, I baptise you …”

As CM has suggested the Church accepts baptisms from most “Christian” denominations, however it has ruled Mormon baptism as invalid, mostly due to their understanding of the nature of the Godhead/Trinity. In that JW theology on this matter seems to be closer to LDS theology than Catholic theology, it certainly raised the question, however I am unaware that the Church has ruled definatively on the validity of JW baptism.

As for RCIA, that is the normal method, and like many things there are exceptions to rules. These exceptions are at the discretion of your local priest under the guidance of his bishop, so you would need to ask them

Regards Doc

Well…you need to contact the parish and talk to someone about entering RCIA when it starts. You’ll learn the essentials of the Catholic faith and then at the Easter Vigil Mass you’ll be baptized then.

The JW baptism is not accepted by the Catholic Church as valid because it does not use the Trinitarian formula.

The form of adult baptism varies according to the facilities available. We have the person stand in the pool while the priest pours the water over him; he then is sent to change clothes. In any case it continues with the presentation of the white garment [the Baptismal Garment] and a lighted candle which represents the passing on of the Faith. After that the priest will admisitster the sacrament of Confirmation.

This will usually be done in the context of a mass [preferably the Easter Vigil] at which the newly baptized will receive the Eucharist for the first time.


Ok so it’s looking like Baptism would be in my future in some manner…

What the hay do ya go over in RCIA?

And can ya get into in the middle of the season or such, or do you gotta start from the beginning?

(thanks for all these answers!!!)

I hope it’s ok if I ask this on this thread…

for the RCIA would I need a sponser going into it?

No across the board JW baptism is not accepted as valid. You would enter the RCIA as a Catechumen after Inquiry. You would need to follow the full course of RCIA and be Baptized at the next Easter Vigil after a full year after your entry into the Catechumenate. If you have special circumstances you should discuss this with the pastor of the parish. Adult Baptism only takes place at the Easter Vigil, except when there is a serous need to do otherwise as determined by the pastor, who can request the Bishops permission to Baptize outside of the Easter Vigil.

I’m a former Mormon, also not a recognized baptism and was baptized this past September :smiley: and will be confirmed this coming Easter Vigil (which is also my birthday :smiley: :smiley: happy birthday to me!!). I met with the pastor at my parish for several weeks privately in addition to lots of personal research, and he agreed to baptize me without the RCIA classes. Though I’ve been attending them now before my confirmation because the priest asked me to “share my story”. Because of school conflicts I’m not able to continue but will still be confirmed. I think that you should talk to your parish priest and see what he thinks. When I first started meeting with my priest he said no way that I’d have to go through RCIA, but after several weeks of meeting, teaching, talking, he decided I was prepared. So, I think it depends on the priest. :shrug: Probably not much help, sorry!
But good luck!

We believe in one Baptism but if there is a question about the words said during the Baptism or the intention then they should do a conditional Baptism or a just in case Baptism. Someone, even a non-christian, with the correct intention needs to pour water over you and say with the correct intention "I Baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Thanks much for the replies, I have a way better idea of what I’d be doing…

Jea: Yeah, ya know, I have a good friend who is Catholic and I’m thinking I’m going to see if I can talk to her priest.
The problem I’ve had is that a lot of things are up in the air about where we are living. Might have to move, might not :shrug:

So…because of all these very intelligent :slight_smile: responses, I’ll just make an appt to talk with someone and go from there.

I was hoping the baptism would be valid because then it would be one less thing for me to think about…oh well…

Thanks to ALL…:thumbsup:

I strongly suggest you get in contact with a Ex-JW Catholic who posts around here.

Here is his webpage:

Get started wherever you are. They can pass you along to the parish at your next residence. I have sent a few on and have received a few. It works fairly well.

I once saw a note on the best time to prune a tree. When your tools are sharp and at hand. :wink:

It is necessary for you to go through the RCIA program. You need to review what you are getting into, and what one believes as a Catholic.
Also, your Baptism is not valid because it was not performed by a Trinitarian denomination. The JW’s do not believe Jesus is God. They do not believe in the Trinity which is a critical part of Catholicism.

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