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The Gospel of Jesus Christ, Part 3: Baptism

By Mormon.org
Jesus Christ being baptized

All of us, as human beings, have probably done things we’re not proud of—things that cause guilt and pain for ourselves and other people. Have you ever wished you could just start over, that all the guilt and weight of things you’ve done wrong could be wiped away?

The good news is that there is a way to start over and make things right. That way is called baptism.

Why Do We Need to Be Baptized?

Mormons believe that once an individual has reached the age of accountability, age 8, he or she can make the decision to follow Jesus Christ by being baptized. Many churches believe in the ordinance of baptism but perform baptisms in different ways. Mormons believe in being baptized by immersion by someone holding the authority of God, as Jesus Christ was baptized. We are baptized to follow His example, to be cleansed from sin, and to start on the path back to God.

To Follow the Example of Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ came to earth to be our Savior and perfect example. It is because of His sacrifice that our sins can be forgiven as we exercise faith in Him, repent, and enter the waters of baptism. Christ was perfect and sinless, but to be obedient to God’s commandments and show all of us the way back to God, He sought out John the Baptist and was baptized, as represented in the video found here.

Just as Christ showed His love for God and for all of us by being baptized, we show our love and desire to follow Him by being baptized like He was—by immersion by someone with the proper authority.

To Be Cleansed from Sin

Baptism, which includes going all the way under the water and coming back up, symbolizes the “death” of our old, sinful selves and our “rebirth” as followers of Christ. When someone repents and baptism is performed by someone with Jesus Christ’s authority given through His Church, all our sins are washed away and we become clean and pure. We start over with a clean slate.

To Start on the Path Back to God

After we have exercised faith in Christ and repented of our sins, at baptism we make a covenant with God to keep repenting and progressing so we can come back into His presence. A covenant is a two-way promise where God sets the terms; we promise to keep God’s commandments and always remember Christ, and God promises to forgive us of our sins and send the Holy Ghost to be with us and guide us back to Him.

Not only does repentance and baptism wash our sins away, but with it we become members of Jesus Christ’s Church, His kingdom on the earth. Having promised to follow Him all our lives, we receive opportunities to serve and grow in the Church wherever we live. These opportunities help us become more like the Savior.

The ordinance of baptism is sacred and significant, but it is just the beginning. Once we have “entered in by the gate” of baptism, we must continue on the path back to God by receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. Read more on the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end in parts 4 and 5 of this series to come.

Learn more about the gospel of Jesus Christ in part 1 and part 2 of this series.