Mormon children can be confirmed members of the church at the age of eight. Converts older than eight are confirmed soon after their baptisms.
The confirmation is a very simple procedure. The person being confirmed sits in a chair, with arms folded for the prayer that is about to begin. Men who hold the proper level of Mormon priesthood and who have been invited by the person being confirmed, gather around the seated person. They each place one hand on the child’s head, and one on the shoulder of the man next to them. The child will have previously decided who will confirm her. Since all worthy male members of the church of the proper age can hold the priesthood, this is usually the child’s father. If the father doesn’t hold the priesthood or isn’t living, any other priesthood holder can be selected.The confirmation is done formally, with the priesthood holder simply confirming the child a member of the church in selected language, and then telling the child to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. The child does not publicly respond to this, but does so in her own heart. Then a special blessing is bestowed on the child. There is not a prescribed method for this. The priesthood holder offers the blessing in whatever words are given to him by God. Often these include words of advice from God or a bit of information about God’s plan for that person. The confirmation concludes in the name of Jesus Christ. Then the child (or anyone being confirmed) stands and shakes hands with the men who participated, and usually hugs the family members.
After everyone has returned to their seats, a church leader invites the new member to stand and he or she is presented to the congregation as the newest member of that congregation. Members are invited to raise their right hand to demonstrate their welcome and their commitment to supporting the new member in her church membership.
Confirmation is most often done in church the Sunday following the baptism, but is occasionally done right after the baptism.
A convert (anyone who joins the church after his ninth birthday) prepares for this moment by meeting with missionaries to learn about the church. They are expected to make an informed decision. While they won’t know everything at baptism, they need to know how to pray to learn God’s will concerning this choice, and they need to have a basic understanding of the church’s teachings. They are taught about God, Jesus Christ, the scriptures, and a few basic principles of the religion. They must also attend church several times to find out what it is like.
A child who joins will have been preparing for this moment from birth, or since his parents became members of the church. They learn gradually more complex gospel principles in formal church instruction on Sundays beginning at the age of eighteen months. They are also taught at home. Families are encouraged to hold a family home evening each Monday, in which family members teach each other their religion. They also have family prayer and daily scripture study together. By the time the child is ready to be baptized, he has a firm foundation in his religion and knows how to pray.
Even at the age of eight, children are expected to pray and to ask God if they should join the church. They, like adult converts, must demonstrate a basic understanding of their religion and to have a testimony of their own.