Can one be rebaptized to show a recommitment?

Can one be rebaptized to show a recommitment?

Question

 

Dear Gramps,

Is there a commandment in the church that says you can’t be re-baptized when recommitting yourself? I have a son who has been inactive, but is coming back. He just wants me to re-baptize him to show his recommitment to himself and God I guess. He has not been excommunicated, he does not want laying of hands for membership or Holy Ghost. He just wants me to do it. No recording of it, no witnesses. If there is a law against it where and why. Can you advise please?

Jon

 

Answer

 

Dear Jon,

Rebaptism to show recommitment to the gospel used to be common enough early in the Restoration, but I think it’s been about 150 years since we really practiced that. I don’t think there are any rules against it. It’s more that it isn’t done, because it isn’t necessary.  We have the privilege and opportunity to renew our baptismal covenants weekly when we partake of the Sacrament.

Because the Sacrament is something we can/should do weekly, there may be a tendency to take it for granted.  However there are blessings awaiting those who appreciate this sacred ordinance.  Elder Don R. Clarke gave a beautiful talk about these blessings (I recommend it), and in part he said:

“If we have spent time before sacrament meeting repenting of our sins, we can leave sacrament meeting feeling clean and pure. President Boyd K. Packer said: “The sacrament renews the process of forgiveness. Every Sunday when the sacrament is served, that is a ceremony to renew the process of forgiveness. … Every Sunday you cleanse yourself so that, in due time, when you die your spirit will be clean.” Partaking of the sacrament worthily can help us feel like the people of King Benjamin, who “were filled with joy, having received a remission of their sins, and having peace of conscience.

 

Gramps

When we hear the phrase “baptism by fire,” what is fire referring to?

When we hear the phrase “baptism by fire,” what is fire referring to?

Question

 

Gramps,

What is meant by “baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost?”  What does “fire” refer to?

Claudette

 

Answer

 

Dear Claudette,

 

Pres. Boyd K. Packer once gave a wonderful talk on this topic called, The Gift of the Holy Ghost: What Every Member Should Know.  In this talk he said:

“When parents are teaching their children and when missionaries are teaching investigators, preparing them for baptism by water, they must also think of the gift of the Holy Ghost—baptism by fire. Think of it as one sentence. First comes the baptism of water and then the baptism of fire.” 

 

“Baptism by fire” is symbolic, not literal.  The study guide at LDS.org explains that fire is a symbol for cleansing, purifying, or sanctifying.  Fire can also serve as a symbol of God’s presence.

Baptism by immersion in water takes only a few seconds, but the baptism of fire by the Holy Ghost takes time. By His influence and direction, the Holy Ghost helps us to become cleansed, purified and sanctified.

 

Elder David A. Bednar gave a classic talk on this subject called, “Ye Must Be Born Again,” in which he gave the “Parable of the Pickle.”  He talked about making pickles with his mother as a child, and the many steps involved and compared this to the steps we pass through to become cleansed and purified. He quoted Mosiah 5:7 and then elaborated:

“Because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters” (Mosiah 5:7).

“The spiritual rebirth described in this verse typically does not occur quickly or all at once; it is an ongoing process—not a single event. Line upon line and precept upon precept, gradually and almost imperceptibly, our motives, our thoughts, our words, and our deeds become aligned with the will of God. This phase of the transformation process requires time, persistence, and patience.”

 

 

Gramps

Was the flood a form of baptism for the earth?

Was the flood a form of baptism for the earth?

Question

 

Dear Gramps

I’ve had this question for a long time. Was the flood a form of baptism for the earth?  And if so, is there any scriptural and/or modern day revelation that suggests so?

John

 

Answer

 

Dear John,

 

Yes, you are correct, John, the flood was a baptism for the earth.  The Lord has provided us with both a scripture reference and modern day revelation to testify of this.

First, it is mentioned in 1 Peter 3:20-21:

20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

 

 21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

 

This doctrine was also taught by Elder John A. Widtsoe of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

 

“Latter-day Saints look upon the earth as a living organism, one which is gloriously filling ‘the measure of its creation.’ They look upon the flood as a baptism of the earth, symbolizing a cleansing of the impurities of the past, and the beginning of a new life. This has been repeatedly taught by the leaders of the Church. The deluge was an immersion of the earth in water.” He writes that the removal of earth’s wicked inhabitants in the Flood represents that which occurs in our own baptism for the remission of sins.   Evidences and Reconciliations (1960), 127–28; see also Doctrines of Salvation, 2:320–21.

 

This brings up the question:  If the earth needed a baptism of water, does it also require a baptism of fire?  The answer to that is also yes.

“The destruction of the disobedient at Noah’s time anticipates the devastation of the wicked at the time of Christ’s coming in glory, when the earth will receive its baptism by fire. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught, “In the days of Noah, God destroyed the world by a flood, and He has promised to destroy it by fire in the last days.”  The prophet Enoch saw in vision Noah’s ark, seeing “that the Lord smiled upon it, and held it in his own hand; but upon the residue of the wicked the floods came and swallowed them up” (Moses 7:43).”  The Flood and the Tower of Babel

 

 

Further, in Doctrines of Salvation, (pages 320-322 emphasis in original), Joseph Fielding Smith taught this principle and shared quotes from other leaders to support it as well:

FLOOD WAS BAPTISM OF EARTH. Now a word as to the reason for the flood. It was the baptism of the earth, and that had to be by immersion. If the water did not cover the entire earth, then it was not baptized, for the baptism of the Lord is not pouring or sprinkling. These forms are strictly man made and not part of the gospel ordinances.

 

BRIGHAM YOUNG’S TEACHINGS ABOUT FLOOD. I will give a few quotations from the teachings of the leading brethren of the Church. President Brigham Young said of the earth: “It has already been baptized. You who have read the Bible must know that that is Bible doctrine. What does it matter if it is not in the same words that I use, it is not the less true that it was baptized for the remission of sins. The Lord said: ‘I will deluge (or immerse) the earth in water for the remission of the sins of the people'; or if you will allow me to express myself in a familiar style, to kill all the vermin that were nitting, and breeding, and polluting its body; it was cleansed of its filthiness; and soaked in the water, as long as some of our people ought to soak. The Lord baptized the earth for the remission of sins, and it has been once cleansed from the filthiness that has gone out of it, which was in the inhabitants who dwelt upon its face.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 1, p. 274)

 

“Brothers and sisters, I wish you to continue in your ways of well doing; I desire that your minds may be opened more and more to see and understand things as they are. This earth, in its present condition and situation is not a fit habitation for the sanctified; but it abides the law of its creation, has been baptized by water, will be baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost, and by and by will be prepared for the faithful to dwell upon.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 8, p. 83)

 

“The earth, the Lord says, abides its creation; it has been baptized with water, and will, in the future, be baptized with fire and the Holy Ghost, to be prepared to go into the celestial presence of God, with all things that dwell upon it which have, like the earth, abided the law of their creation.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 10, p. 252)

 

ORSON PRATT’S TEACHINGS ABOUT FLOOD. Elder Orson Pratt taught: “Another great change happened nearly 2,000 years after the earth was made. It was baptized by water. A great flow of water came, the great deep was broken up, the windows of heaven were opened from on high, and the waters prevailed upon the face of the earth, sweeping away all wickedness and transgression–a similitude of baptism for the remission of sins. God requires the children of men to be baptized. What for? for the remission of sins. So he required our globe to be baptized by a flow of water, and all of its sins were washed away, not one sin remaining.”(Journal of Discourses, vol. 21, p. 323)

 

“The heavens and the earth were thus polluted, that is, the material heavens, and everything connected with our globe all fell when man fell, and became subject to death when man became subject to it. Both man and the earth are redeemed from the original sin without ordinances; but soon we find new sins committed by the fallen sons of Ada, and the earth became corrupted before the Lord by their transgressions. It needs redeeming ordinances for these second transgressions. The Lord ordained baptism or immersion of the earth in water as a justifying ordinance.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 1, p. 291)

 

TEACHINGS OF PRESIDENTS TAYLOR AND PENROSE ABOUT FLOOD. President John Taylor said: “The earth, as a part of the creation of God, has fulfilled and will fulfil the measure of its creation. It has been baptized by water, it will be baptized by fire; it will be purified and become celestial, and be a fit place for celestial bodies to inhabit.” (Times and Seasons, vol. 5, pp. 408-409)

 

 

President Charles W. Penrose has left us this: “Thus the inhabitants of the earth with the few exceptions that are beyond the power of redemption will eventually be saved. And the globe on which they passed their probation, having kept the law of its being, will come into remembrance before its Maker. It will die like its products. But it will be quickened again and resurrected in the celestial glory. It has been born of the water, it will also be born of the Spirit purified by fire from all the corruptions that once defiled it, developed into its perfections as one of the family of worlds fitted for the Creator’s presence, all its latent light awakened into scintillating action, it will move up into its place among the orbs governed by celestial time, and shining ‘like a sea of glass mingled with fire,’ every tint and color of the heavenly bow radiating from its surface, the ransomed of the Lord will dwell upon it.” (Journal of The Contributor, vol. 2, p. 364)

 

Gramps

 

 

Why is our current baptismal prayer different than the one Peter stated in Acts?

Why is our current baptismal prayer different than the one Peter stated in Acts?

Question

 

Gramps,

In Acts 2:38, Peter says, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”  When a person is baptised by one holding the priesthood, the following words are used: “Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” Why is the baptismal prayer different than what Peter said in Acts?

Wayne

 

Answer

 

Wayne,

Peter’s exhortation in the second chapter of Acts that his audience be “baptized” would not have been a new concept to his Jewish audience, who would already have been accustomed to the notion of Jewish ritual baths ormikvot (not to mention the ministry of John the Baptist, who had been executed fewer than five years previously).  The thrust of Peter’s sermon is that Israel needs to understand that the great Lawgiver who originated the old Mosaic rituals and traditions–including what we now call baptism–was, in fact, none other than the recently slain Jesus of Nazareth.  Peter’s teaching does not prohibit mentions of the Father or the Holy Spirit in the baptismal prayer; it simply reminds us of Jesus’ central role in the baptismal covenant.

It is interesting to note that the precise verbiage of the baptismal prayer seems to have changed somewhat over time.  Our modern baptismal prayer comes from Doctrine and Covenants 20:73:

Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

This verbiage is close to, but slightly different from, the form given to the Nephites by the Lord Himself in 3 Nephi 11:25:

Having authority given me of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

And in Mosiah 18:13, Alma baptizes Helam using a very different prayer:

Helam, I baptize thee, having authority from the Almighty God, as a testimony that ye have entered into a covenant to serve him until you are dead as to the mortal body; and may the Spirit of the Lord be poured out upon you; and may he grant unto you eternal life, through the redemption of Christ, whom he has prepared from the foundation of the world.

Thus, while it is certainly important that priesthood holders conform to the ritual prayer established by the Church; it would seem that the Lord has authorized the Church to follow relatively minor variations in that prayer over the years.  The common factors in all of these variants seem to be the invocation of proper priesthood authority and references to all three members of the Godhead.

 

Gramps

 

 

Does baptism provide automatic forgiveness?

Does baptism provide automatic forgiveness?

Question

 

Dear Gramps,

When a person is baptized, is God forced to forgive them of sins they have not repented of?  Or does everyone come out of the font with just a few sins unforgiven?  Is baptism truly a one-time blanket “get out of jail free” card?  Or how exactly, does this work?

Robert

 

Answer

 

Dear Robert,

Like sacrament and the ordinances of the temple, baptism is a ritual drama where we play a role to learn our part in life. It is, at its heart, a play depicting death and rebirth (something to think about in this season when “the year is dying in the night; ring out, wild bells, and let him die”, only to welcome in baby new year with all his hope). Paul tells us that when we step onto the immersed stage, “so many of us were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death[.] … For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall also be also in the likeness of his resurrection” (Romans 6:3,5). We enter the water playing a Christ character. No other character makes it out of the first act. Before Christ, death was the “amen” of life. Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaiah, and others, as righteous as they were, entered the tomb and there remained. Our play would depict this by whelming the actor in the water and leaving him there. No one would take on such a role! So we play the part of Christ instead. His character is laid in the water-tomb and is lifted up again triumphantly! Being an ordinance, this little drama shows us the blessing portion of the covenant: that as Christ was lifted out of the tomb with a celestial body, so also will we rise up in the morning of the first resurrection in glory!

Returning to Paul, we discover that another play was taking place under our eyes while the first was unfolding. In this one we play the role of an old slave. “Ye … were the servants [slaves] of sin” (Rom. 6:20) he says, “ye have yielded your members servants [slaves] to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity” (Rom. 6:19). In this play the tomb is not the focus but death certainly is. The old slave gets crucified. We may here feel to complain about the production quality: water is a poor substitute for an earthen grave, and an even poorer substitute for a cross. And yet Paul sees it in the scene perfectly well and describes it for the audience. The “old man is crucified with [Christ], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin” and happily, “he that is dead is freed from sin” (Rom. 6:6-7). Indeed the first act ends with master sin dutifully paying his slave, “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). The second act opens and we are introduced to a new off-stage master (sin is not heard from again in this version of the story). The character we play is now the slave of God and His household of righteousness. “Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness” and the conditions are so much better. As “servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life” (Rom. 6:18,22). Once again, as part of an ordinance, this drama shows us the obligations we take on as part of the covenant. As stated so clearly in the sacrament prayer, we “are willing to take upon [us] the name of [Christ]” accepting Him as our Master, with the stipulation that we “keep his commandments which he has given” (Doctrine and Covenants 20:77).

Nephi introduces us to yet another play. In this one, we reprise the role of Christ, but with a new interpretation of the character. Where before we played the role of triumphant Christ at the end of His ministry and as Master over death, we now play a humble Jesus who is obedient to His Father’s will. It’s even better than that, it’s a play within a play, so you portray yourself playing Jesus. Our Jesus “showeth unto the children of men that, according to the flesh he humbleth himself before the Father, and witnesseth unto the Father that he would be obedient unto him in keeping his commandments” (2 Nephi 31:7). Playing on the same theme, you (as a character in this play) act out your role of following Christ by being baptized as well. “Follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do” said Jesus to Nephi, to which Nephi emphasizes “can we follow Jesus save we shall be willing to keep the commandments of the Father?” including baptism (2 Ne. 31:10,12). We are, in essence playing a disciple of Christ. As part of the covenant of the ordinance, we promise to “remember him” and follow him.

John takes an artistic approach and makes it part of a trilogy. It is a simple, one act birth drama where we play a grown infant (I told you it was artsy). The character must “be born again”, so he enters the watery womb as part of being “born of water and of the Spirit”. The curtains close as the character “see[s] the kingdom of God” (John 3:3-5). The Spirit comes as part of the sequel. The Lord explained for us the three parts to this story (we only act out one here). We “were born into the world by water, and blood, and spirit, … and so … became a living soul[. W]e must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of Mine Only Begotten” (Moses 6:59-60). As an ordinance, this drama shows us that God covenants to give us His Spirit, and we covenant that we will apply the atoning blood of Jesus Christ.

God has commanded that all of His accountable children take the stage and act out this drama, but we are to be sensible enough to recognize that this is a play, or perhaps more properly, this is play. It is a scrimmage that, while useful to prepare for the real thing, isn’t the real thing. If we enter God’s hospital and inform Him “I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV”, the best we can hope for is to be admitted as a patient; it would be ludicrous to assume we merit an administrative position. So we must internalize the morals of these stories. We have to stop serving sin. We must serve God and righteousness. We must follow Christ. We must obey the Father. We absolutely must be cleansed by the blood of Christ. Nephi explains this best. We “have not come thus far [to the gate of baptism] save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save. Wherefore, [w]e must press forward [after baptism] with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men” (2 Nephi 31:19-20). We prepared for the role we played in our baptisms, and now we need to continue as we commenced to become what we pretended to be.

Baptism is not any sort of “get out of jail free” card. It is meaningless without the necessary prerequisites: they must “humble themselves before God, and desire to be baptized, and come forth with broken hearts and contrite spirits, and witness before the church that they have truly repented of all their sins, and are willing to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have received of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins” (D&C 20:37). At the time of baptism, and after, the principles of justification and sanctification are at work for any sins that have been fully repented of (internalizing the dramas of obedience and the new master) and for any sins that are currently being overcome (internalizing the drama of rebirth (seeing the kingdom)). As you’ve noted, baptism only occurs once for us, so the Lord has mercifully given us yet another ordinance drama to act in on a weekly basis where we reprise our role of disciple at the Lord’s table. In this ordinance, we renew our covenants (see The Sacrament — a Renewal for the Soul, Cheryl A. Esplin, October 2014 General Conference) and introspect on the characters we ought to be, “who is it? Lord, is it I?”

 

Gramps

 

 

Is desire enough for baptism?

Is desire enough for baptism?

Question

Gramps,

I am unable to say, for sure, that I believe that the LDS Church is the true church of God or that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. But, I do believe that Jesus is the Christ, and I do want to be baptized. Is the desire to be baptized enough for it to happen?

Samuel

 

Answer

Dear Samuel,

I commend you on your desire to be baptized.  In the Book of Mormon, Alma tells us: “But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.” Alma 32:27

You should discuss this with the missionaries or your Bishop, but yes, I believe as long as you are willing to keep the commandments, the desire to believe is enough.

​A friend of mine told me that when she converted to the Church she was 12, and had not had the missionary discussions.  So in her baptismal interview when the Bishop asked her, “Do you believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet?”

She thought, Joseph who?  Oh well, if this Church believes in him, I believe in him.  Then she smiled at the Bishop and said, “Yes.”

Then the Bishop asked, “Do you believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God?”

Again she was confused but thought again if this Church believes it, I believe it.  And again responded affirmatively.

This was many years ago, and she has since learned about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.  She has also served a mission, married in the temple and has a son on a mission.  It all started with her desire to believe.

The Lord loves you Samuel, and I’m sure he is pleased with your desire to believe.

 

Gramps

Is baptism a requirement to receive a resurrected body?

Is baptism a requirement to receive a resurrected body?

Question

Gramps,

Will everyone who lived in mortality need the ordinance of baptism to be eligible to receive  a resurrected body?

Justin

 

Answer

Justin,

Thanks for your question.  The Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the Doctrine and Covenants provide a great deal of detail about the resurrection of the dead.  They teach that the resurrection is a gift that comes to all who came into mortality, our second estate, because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The Lord Jesus taught:

Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,  And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation (John 5:28-29, emphasis added).

There are multiple resurrections, at least one for the righteous and one for the wicked.  Nevertheless, the resurrection is a universal blessing.  Paul wrote:

For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive (1 Corinthians 15:21-22, emphasis added).

Likewise, the Book of Mormon prophet Alma referred to the resurrection as a “restoration.”

44 Now, this restoration shall come to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, both the wicked and the righteous… (Alma 11:44, emphasis added).

Although all people will be resurrected, there are differences in the glory of the bodies they will receive in this restoration.  Paul wrote to the Corinthians:

There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.  There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead… (1 Corinthians 15:40-42)

These scriptures establish that the resurrection is an unconditional gift.  Even the wicked get resurrected.  The difference in glory is a function of one’s faith, as shown by obedience to God’s commandments, and receiving gospel ordinances.  An attentive reader of Doctrine and Covenants Section 76 will discover that the only mention of baptism is for those who inherit the celestial glory.

They are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name, and this according to the commandment which he has given—That by keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins, and receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the hands of him who is ordained and sealed unto this power… (D&C 76:51-52, emphasis added).

If you continue reading Section 76, you’ll find that there is no mention of baptism as a qualification for the terrestrial or telestial kingdoms.  Baptism is not required to be resurrected and to live in the lower two kingdoms of glory.  Baptism is the gateway to the celestial kingdom.  When we perform proxy baptisms in the temples for the deceased, it is to provide the opportunity to receive celestial glory contingent upon their receiving the gospel message, repenting of their sins, and accepting the ordinances of the gospel performed in their behalf.  It offers them the opportunity to be resurrected with the blessings of the celestial glory.  If they reject the gospel, the atonement, and the ordinances of salvation, they will still be resurrected, but with a lesser degree of glory in a lesser kingdom.

 

Gramps

Did Adam and Eve get baptized?

Did Adam and Eve get baptized?

Question

 

Gramps,

I have what I think is a simple question.  Were Adam and Eve baptized?  If not, why?

Kalola

 

Answer

 

Kalola,

We read about Adam’s baptism in Moses 6:64-66

64 And it came to pass, when the Lord had spoken with Adam, our father, that Adam cried unto the Lord, and he was caught away by the Spirit of the Lord, and was carried down into the water, and was laid under the water, and was brought forth out of the water.

 65 And thus he was baptized, and the Spirit of God descended upon him, and thus he was born of the Spirit, and became quickened in the inner man.

 66 And he heard a voice out of heaven, saying: Thou art baptized with fire, and with the Holy Ghost. This is therecord of the Father, and the Son, from henceforth and forever;

We do not have an account for Eve.  However we know that Adam and Eve were taught the Gospel by angels. We also know that Adam and Eve taught the Gospel to their children.  Therefore it makes a whole lot of sense that once Adam was authorized to perform baptisms, Eve would have been one of the first he did, if not the very first one.

Gramps

 

 

What exact words are used to baptize someone?

What exact words are used to baptize someone?

Question

What exact words are used to baptize someone?

Cox

 

Answer

Dear Cox,

What a great question! The answer comes from the governing documents of the Church (the Doctrine and Covenants) – specifically, in section 20 (known as the Articles and Covenants).

The person who is called of God and has authority from Jesus Christ to baptize, shall go down into the water with the person who has presented himself or herself for baptism, and shall say, calling him or her by name:

Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

“Then shall he immerse him or her in the water, and come forth again out of the water” (D&C 20:73-74).

What’s so interesting about this is that you can see the guidance Joseph Smith received from the Spirit and from translating The Book of Mormon. Just take a look at the qualifications for baptism (D&C 20:37) and compare that with the standards Moroni recorded (Moroni 6:2-3). They both go down the following checklist:

  • Broken heart and contrite spirit
  • Witness of true repentance
  • Taking the name of Christ
  • Determination to serve Christ to the end

And it’s not just here either. The same prayer is recorded for our sacrament (D&C 20:76-79) and theirs (Moroni 4 & 5). So it’s natural that we find a very similar baptismal prayer in the Book of Mormon as well.

[O]n this wise shall ye baptize them—Behold, ye shall go down and stand in the water, and in my name shall ye baptize them. And now behold, these are the words which ye shall say, calling them by name, saying:

Having authority given me of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

“And then shall ye immerse them in the water, and come forth again out of the water” (3 Nephi 11:23-26).

And now, just to muddy the waters a bit, The Book of Mormon records different words from the baptismal prayer than the ones we’re so familiar with. These were uttered by Alma the elder as he baptized in the waters of Mormon.

Helam, I baptize thee, having authority from the Almighty God, as a testimony that ye have entered into a covenant to serve him until you are dead as to the mortal body; and may the Spirit of the Lord be poured out upon you; and may he grant unto you eternal life, through the redemption of Christ, whom he has prepared from the foundation of the world” (Mosiah 18:13).

I don’t know why this prayer is different. Perhaps this was the way to administer it in Old Testament times, or perhaps Alma was not baptizing Helam in the way we think of it (for instance, if Helam was already baptized, then this could have been an ordinance of renewal). What is worth noting is the essentials are still there:

  • The proper order of immersion is kept
  • The authority is stated
  • The ordinance is tied to death as a type
  • The ordinance witnesses a willingness to follow Christ

To learn more about the proper procedures for this and other ordinances, consult the Church Handbook of Instructions, vol. 2, chapter 20.

Gramps

Why isn’t baptism required for all?

Why isn’t baptism required for all?

Question

Gramps,

If baptism is required for entrance into the kingdom of God, why is it not required of little children or people with mental disabilities?  I understand that because they are without sin, is the reason but so was Christ without sin.  Should it not be required of them in the same as a required ordinance of Christ who was perfect?

Pat

 

Answer

Pat,

The problem here is a universal application of the idea that all must be baptized. Through modern-day revelation we can understand this as a qualified statement with the implied words “who are accountable” added to it. All who are accountable must be baptized to enter into the kingdom of heaven. Those who are not accountable (little children) do not need baptism. For “it is solemn mockery before God, that ye should baptize little children.” (Moroni 8:9)

If we understand John 3:5 (Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God) as a face-value, end-all statement, then this could be confusing. But latter-day revelation and the Book of Mormon have clarified these things for us.

For example, Moroni 8:10:

“Behold I say unto you that this thing shall ye teach—repentance and baptism unto those who are accountable and capable of committing sin; yea, teach parents that they must repent and be baptized, and humble themselves as their little children, and they shall all be saved with their little children.” (emphasis mine.)

And from D&C:46-47

46 But behold, I say unto you, that little children are redeemed from the foundation of the world through mine Only Begotten;

47 Wherefore, they cannot sin, for power is not given unto Satan to tempt little children, until they begin to become accountable before me;” (emphasis mine.)

 I suggest you read this article by Bruce R. McConkie that explains latter-day revelation and clarifies our understanding of child baptism, including thoughts such as:

“Jesus loves and blesses children. They are the companions of angels. They shall be saved. Of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

I would also give Moroni Chapter 8 a thorough read-through.

Therefore, your question is being asked on a false premise — “If baptism is required for entrance into the kingdom of God….” The reality is that it is not required for all, only those who are accountable, and that is the simple and plain explanation.

Gramps

Page 1 of 812345...Last »
Copyright © 2015 Ask Gramps - Q and A about Mormon Doctrine. All Rights Reserved.
This website is not owned by or affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes called the Mormon or LDS Church). The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the position of the Church. The views expressed by individual users are the responsibility of those users and do not necessarily represent the position of the Church. For the official Church websites, please visit LDS.org or Mormon.org.

Pin It on Pinterest