The LDS Church's fourth Article of Faith states that baptism by immersion is one of the first principles of the Gospel. What is this baptism for and what does it accomplish?
"My understanding goes as follows:
Hello, I'd like to respond to the baptism question. I was rather surprised to see it, for to my knowledge other Christian churches baptize as well. I was baptized when I was eight, and to my understanding it is much more then just "getting wet!"
We read in the gospels that Jesus and his disciples went about baptizing, and that Jesus himself was baptised, after which the Holy Ghost decended upon him in the form of a dove. This he did to "fulfill all rightiousnes." (Matt. 3:15)
If Christ, who was perfect, and had no sins to repent of need be baptised, how much more so have we!
The LDS people follow Christ and so are baptised by Priesthood Authority, and afterwards are confirmed and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Baptism is a symbol of rebirth or being "born again." This is in accordance with Jesus' admonition "Except a man be born of water and of the spirit, he can not enter into the kingdom of God." (John 3:5)
In the Book of Abraham, God states: " For by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified " (Moses 6:60 see also 59 & 61) I can not do the subject justice so I will stop here. -J.C. (LDS)
Greetings in Jesus' name..the One Who died for all my sin..
Just wanted to thank you for such a wonderful site and to share a little re:the above topic.
I think that baptism in the LDS church has more than one purpose, and it is somewhat different for children. It always seemed strange to me that the church demands baptism at such a young age. I do not think that most 8 yr. olds are capable of understanding the commitment that is actually being required. It seems plain to me that the Bible teaches that baptism is the response of a believer in Jesus to show their desire to follow Jesus..in order to do this the believer must know and understand what it is that Jesus asks of us. Jesus said that we should "count the cost" how can an 8 yr. old really do this?
I joined the LDS church when I was 21, so that is a little different But my 4 children joined "at the age of accountability" Since I left the LDS church over 3 yrs. ago, my children have shared how they "joined" the LDS church because it was expected of them. Two of them have even said that they were quite against it but submitted anyway. We never knew until recently. So for children I think baptism has the effect of binding the child psychologically to a church system. It causes them to conform and begins(or continues ) a process of adopting teachings with which they may even feel uncomfortable. It also adds their names to the church records..they may stay there indefinitely. When I left the church my youngest daughter left also. My husband stayed.One by one the other 3 have come tounderstand better. Although none of them attend now, their names are still on the books! When I was an "active" LDS I became aware of just how many people are on the records that do not come to church! In our branch less than 100 came every Sunday but the records said 300!
But I digress. The Bible says in 1Peter3:21 that baptism is "the answer of a good conscience toward God, by the ressurection of Jesus Christ". Baptism is an outward sign of an inward change..how I praise God for His grace! Jesus' blood has cleansed me and made me whole and I rejoice in His goodness to me.
God bless you and thank you for letting me share. -Anonymous (ex-LDS)
Jesus Christ taught that we must be baptized by immersion. He set the example Himself by being baptized to "fulfill all righteousness" (Matthew 3:15).
We are baptized for the remission of sins. (Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16). We are also baptized to become members of the Church of Jesus Christ, and to enter the kingdom of God (John 3:5).
Through the ordinance of baptism, we make a promise, called a covenant, with God. We promise to accept Christ, to become His followers, and to keep His commandments to the end of our lives. In return, our Heavenly Father promises to forgive our sins and let us return to live with Him, provided we keep our covenants. -CB (LDS)
I would like to believe that we are not to far off from one another concerning baptism, however each religion has certain differences in how the ordinance is performed and interpreted. Over all I think that we can agree that baptism is for the remission of sin and an outward sign of following Christ's plan of salvation.
Baptism falls into a few separate and distinct categories. Baptism being Essential, Baptism by total Immersion, and Qualifications of Baptism. Yet one often overlooked item is the authority of the priesthood performing the ordinance of Baptism. I will touch on all four of these items but attempt to expound concerning authority as well as detail what baptism accomplishes.
Baptism is essential for salvation as a commandment (John 3:5) "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." We know that baptism is required for everyone in (Matt 28:18-19)"18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Some of the other scriptures that support baptism being essential are Matt 3:5, Mark 16:16, Acts 22:16, Acts 2:38 and 3 Nephi 11:13. One would conclude from the many verses that baptism is essential.
Baptism by total immersion is where some religions differ even from what is considered main stream religions. Some religions just sprinkle water on the head and call it a baptism. Baptism must be done by total immersion. Why? Baptism symbolizes the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. When one is Baptized they are put beneath the water level symbolizing death and the burial of the temporal body. When one is resurrected they would take the form of a perfected body. One free from sin and clean. Someone could go as far to say that this is part of eternal progression. That we progress from one state to another into a more perfect state but that is a whole different topic.
Mathew 3:16 states "16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:". Mark 1:10 states it even clearer: "10 And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him:". When Jesus was baptized he came "up" out of the water. One can only come "up" out of the water if someone were "in" the water. In Romans 6:4 it further clarifies baptism by total immersion: "4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." We can conclude that baptism is the outward sign of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and in the resurrection promised to us and that the ordinance must be performed by total immersion.
Can anyone be baptized? The answer is of course yes, but there are qualifications required that must be met in order to be baptized. One of the first qualifications is you must believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God as stated in Mark 16:16 "16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." You must confess of your sins as stated in Mark 1:5 "5 And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins." Last but not least Repentance as stated in Acts 2:38 "38 Then Peter said unto them, 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." So for a recap of Qualifications of Baptism, One must have Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ being the Son of God, Confess their sins, and repent of those sins. After taking on the name of Christ then one must follow the word of Christ and do their best to sin no more. Of course Faith, Confession and Repentance can be topics all to their own so I should stop here concerning qualifications for Baptism.
Last part of this topic I wish to address is priesthood authority to perform baptism. Can anyone perform a baptism? If so who is qualified to perform the ordinance? Does a degree in religion from your favorite University qualify you to perform baptism? I would have to say no. Priesthood authority is one difference between The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and all other religions. When Jesus was baptized why did he go to John the Baptist? John the Baptist was called of God to set the way for Jesus Christ's ministry and therefore had the necessary credentials to perform the ordinance of Baptism. Malachi 3:1 States: "1 BEHOLD, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts."
So how do you determine priesthood authority? Hebrews 5:4 states: "4 And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron." From Hebrews 5:4 it can be determined that one must be called of God to do have priesthood authority as was Aaron. However how was Aaron called to hold the priesthood authority? He was called by Moses, the prophet, and his brother in Exodus 28:1. "1 AND take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron's sons." Priesthood authority is passed by the laying on of hands by someone in authority to do so. How do we know if baptism must be performed by someone with priesthood authority? Just as John was to set the way for Jesus Christ to be baptized having proper priesthood authority. It necessary for baptism to be performed with the authority of Jesus Christ given to priesthood holders by the laying on of hands. Any other baptism is null and void not having been performed with the proper authority. Ask yourself, is it alright for anyone to baptize you? If so if Lucifer were to want to baptize you would it be ok? No of course not! Why? It is because he does not hold the authority to do so.
So, what does baptism accomplish. Baptism is a covenant before the Lord. A covenant denotes an agreement between parties. In the case of covenants with God, he fixes the terms of the agreement in which man is to follow. This places the recipient under strong obligation and responsibility to honor the commitment.
Baptism in water has several purposes. It is for the remission of sins, for membership in the Church, and for entrance into the celestial kingdom; it is also the doorway to personal sanctification when followed by the reception of the Holy Ghost. -ER (LDS)
it has been said baptism is required for salvation. many verses are used to say it is a requirement. i suggest reading these verses that speak in a most powerful way to the contrary: john 3:36: "he that believeth on the son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the son shall not see life." there is no mention of baptism. john 4:1-2: "when therefore the lord knew how the pharisees had heard that jesus made and baptized more disciples than john, (though jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples)" this was taken from the king james version. i also checked a copy of the 1970 version of the joseph smith "new translation" of the bible, and these verses are exactly the same in it. i wonder why, if baptism is so important, jesus did not do it. in 1 corinthians 1:14-17 paul says he is thankful that he baptized only a few people, and claimed "christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel". why would he say these things if baptism was required for salvation? in acts 8:26-40 philip baptized a eunuch. nowhere in the bible does it tell us of the priesthood being conferred on philip by jesus or the apostles. if it is so important why was it not mentioned? from these scriptures i don't believe baptism is necessary for salvation.i do believe we need to do it in obidence to what christ taught us. if anyone would like to talk me about this you can email me at [email protected] -RB (non-LDS)