A fundamental gospel ordinance is baptism. We believe that those who perform the baptism must have the authority to do so. Many people, when investigating the church, say they have already been baptized and don’t need another baptism. We believe that in order for a baptism to be recognized by God, it must be done under his direction using the priesthood.
In the LDS Church we do not practice infant baptism. Children are baptized when they are eight years old because that’s when they are accountable to the Lord for their actions. (Doctrine and Covenants 68:27).
We believe in baptism by immersion as demonstrated by the Savior himself when he was baptized by John the Baptist. Baptism by immersion is symbolic. It is as if laying down your old life into the grave, and then coming up into a new life, a new birth.
Baptism is so important that the Savior, though he was perfect and did not need baptism, was baptized. “Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. 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; And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:13-17). Heavenly Father was pleased that his son, the Savior of the world, was baptized. Isn’t he then pleased when each of us is baptized?
The Savior set the example because this ordinance is integral to our eternal salvation. We must be baptized. This is why we perform baptisms for the dead. In Corinthians 15:29 it reads, “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead?” Since many people have died before having the opportunity to hear the gospel or be baptized with the proper authority, members of the LDS Church do baptisms vicariously for those who have gone to the other side of the veil. We want all of Heavenly Father’s children to have the blessings of the gospel, even if they have already died.
When a baptism is performed, it is done in an orderly fashion with the same words offered for each baptism. It’s also mandatory that two priesthood holders witness the baptism to make sure that the person, or proxy for someone who has died, is completely immersed.
Baptism is the start of a new life as all the old sins are washed away. I’ve often wished that I could be baptized everyday just to feel that clean, pure feeling and have a fresh start. We are very blessed to now have the authority to perform baptisms and I’m certain that Heavenly Father is pleased each time one of his sons or daughters is baptized.
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