Why is authority to perform a baptism important?
Throughout time, God has given His servants, the prophets, the authority to act in His name. This authority is called the priesthood. Jesus Christ gave the priesthood to His original Twelve Apostles by ordination (see John 15:16), and they directed the work of His Church after Jesus ascended to heaven. But after the Apostles were killed, the priesthood gradually disappeared from the earth.
In 1829 Joseph Smith received the priesthood authority to organize Christ’s Church from Heavenly Messengers who had held this authority anciently including the prophet John the Baptist and apostles Peter, James, and John. In 1830 the same Church of Jesus Christ that existed centuries ago was organized and restored to the earth.
The priesthood has two divisions. The lesser priesthood is called the Aaronic Priesthood, named after Aaron in the Old Testament. It includes the authority to preach the gospel of repentance and to baptize. The greater priesthood is called the Melchizedek Priesthood, named after Melchizedek in the Old Testament. It includes the authority to preside over the Church and to perform all ordinances, including giving the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Baptism is a sacred ordinance that must be completed in order to live with our Heavenly Father once more because, as it is said in the scriptures, no unclean thing can enter into Gods presence. John the baptist was given the authority to baptize and thats how Christ was baptized. Jesus Christ also gave his Apostles the authority to do these sacred ordinances. Christ did not just have some random person baptize him, it needs to be done correctly. If you are driving and a cop turns on his lights behind you, you will pull over instantly. Now lets say an ice cream truck tries pulling you over. I know for sure I wouldnt pull over! The ice cream man has no authority! The cop does though. Same thing with baptism, we must be baptized by someone with the authority of God just like John the baptist had. Show more
Any contract we enter into must be administered by someone authorized to represent the parties signing that contract. Chaos would result if companies or individuals could commit someone else to a contractual agreement without being authorized to do so. Our covenants with God are very much the same. In order to enter into a covenant with God it must be administered by someone authorized to represent Him. That authority is called the priesthood, and is not something we can just assume we have. The Apostle Paul taught the Hebrews that "no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron." Aaron was called by God through His servant, Moses. Paul continues by saying that even Jesus Christ "glorified not himself to be made a high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. He saith also...Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec" (Hebrews 5: 4–6). How binding can a covenant with God be if it is administered by someone who is not His authorized representative? Just as in our earthly contracts, God would be under no obligation to honor that covenant. Since baptism initiates a covenant relationship with God, it must be performed by someone having proper authority to represent Him, or He is not obligated to honor it. Show more
Uday Botcha answered...
From all time God has always given His servants, the prophets the power and authority to act in His name. This authority is called priesthood . We cannot do anything related to our salvation without his priesthood. So he always kept us in reach of that priesthood by calling prophets and giving them that authority. All the prophets you can see in the Bible and Book of Mormon have this priesthood, using which they performed ordinances such as Baptism and giving the Holy Ghost. Jesus Christ when He came to the earth he organized His church and ordained twelve apostles and gave them the power and authority to perform baptisms and also to preach the Gospel. So in 1829 Joseph Smith received the same priesthood authority to perform things on this earth. The original Apostles Peter,James and John came down from heaven and restored that authority to Joseph Smith by laying on of hands. And from then on the authority has been passes on to the worthy males in His church for the salvation of His children. If we want to do the things pertaining to our salvation we need the priesthood authority.So,priesthood is very important. Show more
I like to think of it like this: if a random car on the street flashed sirens at you and pulled you over, and this person was not a police officer, would it be legal? Absolutely not.This is the same reason that God requires those who perform His ordinances to be performed by those who hold His power. Show more
If baptism is the gateway to Heaven, then the baptizer is a border agent. Would you want any old person who claims to know how it's done to just start letting whoever wants to into your country? Why do you insist they carry a badge and wear a uniform, and have an ID which proves they are legitimate representatives of the government? It's the same way with God's rituals. All over the scriptures, whenever there's a ritual performed it was performed by a duly authorized representative. Doesn't it just make sense that if something essential for our salvation would be required, that it should need to be done God's way, by God's authorized representatives? Acts 19:1-6 even shows a time when the authority of the baptizer was in doubt, and Paul re-did the baptisms for good measure. With all the confusion that comes from competing people claiming to speak for God, or claiming to know His will in this matter or that, I'm glad Mormons teach about authority. There's so much more clarity about who we should listen to, and who might be perfectly well-intentioned, but who really shouldn't be listened to because they're not authorized. Show more
We must be baptized by someone who has the Authority. Men receive that authority through someone who already has that specific authority. We do not claim Authority from simply reading and preaching from the Bible or the Book of Mormon. We claim authority because Peter, James, and John (The resurrected apostles) appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith. Laid their hands upon the irregular size Joseph Smith Head and gave him the Priesthood. Through this sacred event, all of the Priesthood within in the Church of Jesus Christ can be traced. With out it there can not be Saving ordinances Properly performed. Show more
Authority to perform a saving ordinance, such as baptism, is important. When I try to explain this I use the phrase "God's stamp of approval" in reference to that authority, or the priesthood. There are several different analogies that also come to my mind, so I'll try to sift through them to give a concise answer. Consider driving a car. Many people know how to do it. It becomes second nature after a while. So while everybody CAN drive a car, only some people MAY drive a car. Only those authorized by the government may drive a car. Such authorization is given in the form of a driver's license. The government only recognizes those with valid driver's licenses, not fake or non-existent ones. Priesthood authority works the same way. While many people know how to perform a baptism, in the eyes of our Heavenly Father, it is of no eternal importance unless it is by His authority, unless the baptism was performed by someone who holds the priesthood. Jesus Christ gave this authority to his Twelve Apostles, then came the Great Apostasy and loss of that authority. That authority was restored to Joseph Smith by three of Christ's original apostles, and it exists in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints today. God will recognize and uphold a baptism performed in the way He has prescribed, and by His authority (His "stamp of approval" and not man's). This is why authoritative baptism is important and necessary to return and live with our Heavenly Father again. Show more
Moses Gungunyane GG for short answered...
As a missionary serving in the South most of the people I have met have been baptised more than once or they do not want to be baptised again. Authority to baptise its so important because it is recognised here on earth as it is in heaven as how the Saviour promised Peter the priesthood or the authority to act in his name when he ascended to heaven (Matt16:19) Later on we learn that the Saviour authorises people to act in his name like in Acts the apostles always said we baptise in the name of Jesus Christ like Acts19:3-6. Authority brings validity to the ordinance performed like the Saviour walked four days to be baptised of John the Baptist because of authority and in Matthew 3:13-17 and our Heavenly Father was pleased of his Son because he baptised by someone who has authority. We will get a confirmation to know if authority is important and I have received myself to know if my baptism was valid in this church and I know it is because God gave me a witness. Authority makes things valid like a policeman can arrest or give a ticket to someone whose speeding because he is authorised to do so because it was given to him.In 1829 Joseph Smith received the priesthood authority to organize Christ’s Church from Heavenly Messengers who had held this authority anciently including the prophet John the Baptist and apostles Peter, James, and John. In 1830 the same Church of Jesus Christ that existed centuries ago was organized and restored to the earth. Show more