The core principles of the gospel are faith, repentance, baptism, and receiving the Holy Spirit.
Faith is the first principle of the gospel. When you have faith, you believe in something that you can’t see but you know is there. Much like you know the sun will come up every morning, you can also know God is real.
Faith is built as we test God’s promises and see the blessings. For example, God has promised that He will answer if we pray. We have to pray first before we see the blessings. The Book of Mormon compares faith to a seed. We have to plant faith in our hearts and it will begin to grow. If we are patient and continue to nourish the seed, our faith will grow strong like a tree (see Alma 32:27–42).
The Bible teaches us that God is loving and He forgives His children as often as they ask. As we repent and change, God forgives us of our mistakes. In turn, we must follow Jesus’s example and forgive others.
Repentance isn’t just saying you’re sorry. It starts with a real desire to change. You need to confess your sins to God and to anyone you’ve wronged, make amends if possible, and try never to repeat the sin. Of course, you won’t always be perfect, but if you are sincere about your efforts, the grace of Jesus Christ will help you become clean again.
Baptism is a covenant—or a promise—that you make with God. When you get baptized, you promise to serve Him and follow His commandments to the best of your abilities. Jesus taught, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). This means that baptism, or being “born of water,” is a requirement to get into heaven.
Baptisms in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are performed by immersion, meaning a person is immersed all the way under water and brought back up. The Bible tells us that “when [Jesus] was baptized, [He] went up straightway out of the water” (Matthew 3:16). Baptism by immersion is beautifully symbolic, not only of the washing away of sins, but of death, burial, and resurrection. Baptism signifies the end of your old way of life and birth to a life committed to following the example of Jesus.
Although baptism is itself a significant event, it is not fully complete without being born of the Spirit (see John 3:5), which means receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. The Holy Ghost is given to you after your baptism so you can receive God’s help, guidance, and comfort throughout your life.
People have a lot of questions about “Mormons,” or more respectfully, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Click here to see the full list.
God has provided a way for everyone to receive all of His blessings—even after death. Baptisms and other essential ordinances can be performed on behalf of those who have died without the opportunity. The Apostle Paul spoke of baptism for the dead in the Bible (see 1 Corinthians 15:29) and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints continue that same practice in temples today.
Here’s how it works: Latter-day Saints study their family history to discover names of people who have died without being baptized. Members are then baptized on behalf of those ancestors in the temple. This service for others is offered in love—and because life continues after death, those who have died are aware of the ordinances and can choose whether or not to accept them.
Yes. Jesus made it clear that being born of the water and of the Spirit is necessary to enter the kingdom of heaven (see John 3:1–13).
Latter-day Saints believe that people should be able to discern right and wrong when they are baptized. This is why members of the Church do not practice infant baptism. Instead, children may be baptized beginning at the age of eight.
If baptism was performed without the proper authority or in a manner not consistent with how the Savior was baptized, it will need to be performed again. Baptism into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a prerequisite for membership.
After a person is baptized, those with proper priesthood authority place their hands on the baptized person’s head to “confirm” them a member of the Church and give the gift of the Holy Ghost.
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