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.
If you’ve ever read the New Testament, you’re probably familiar with the story where Jesus visits John the Baptist to be 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” (Matthew 3:13-15).
Even Jesus, who never sinned, was baptized to show obedience to God and be the example for us to follow.
Jesus taught that we need to be baptized to return to live in God’s presence after this life is over.
Baptism is being “born of the water.” It makes it possible for us to be made clean from our sins, which is necessary for us to return to God.
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 Christian values (see Romans 6:3-6).
Latter-day saints believe that baptism must be performed by someone who holds proper priesthood authority. That authority directly from Jesus Christ was returned through the restoration of Christ’s Church.
Although baptism is itself a significant event, it is not fully complete without receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost (or Holy Spirit). Receiving the Holy Ghost is being born of the Spirit (John 3:5). The gift of the Holy Ghost is given to you after your baptism so you can receive God’s help, guidance, and comfort throughout your life.
The Apostle Peter also made it clear that baptism is a commandment for all people: “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” (Acts 2:38).
Before you are baptized, you show your desire to keep God’s commandments by repenting of things you have done wrong. This may require confessing your sins before you are baptized (see Matthew 3:6) or making up for mistakes where you can.
When you are baptized, you have a chance to start a new life—one dedicated to following Jesus Christ. Your sins are forgiven, and you can rededicate yourself to making choices that lead to happiness. After you are baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, He will help, comfort, and guide you in your efforts.
People have a lot of questions about “Mormons,” or more respectfully, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
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.
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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.