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What You Should Know about Mormon Baptism

By Mormon.org

If you’ve ever read the New Testament, you’re probably familiar with the story in Matthew where Jesus visits John the Baptist in order 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).

Mormons or Latter-day Saints view baptism as an important step for the same reason that Jesus expressed to John the Baptist—you need to be baptized in order to “fulfil all righteousness.” In other words, to follow and obey one of God’s commandments.

What Is Baptism?

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. In return, God gives you the gift of the Holy Ghost, or baptism of fire, to help you make the right choices in your life, and He gives you the opportunity to repent of your sins.

Baptism is also a commandment. It’s impossible to gain the guiding gift of the Holy Ghost in your life without it. Additionally, it’s known as a “saving ordinance.”

“And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God” (3 Nephi 11:33).

Without baptism, you can’t be saved and return to live in God’s presence after this life is over. Baptism makes it possible for you to be made clean from your sins, which is necessary for you to return to God.   

Is Mormon Baptism Different from Baptism in Other Christian Religions?

Mormon baptism differs somewhat from the practice of baptism in some other Christian religions, most notably in the fact that:

  • Mormons believe in baptism by immersion (going completely under and coming up out of the water), which is how John the Baptist baptized Christ. Some other Christian religions also practice baptism by immersion.
  • Mormons believe that people should be able to discern right and wrong when they are baptized. This is why Mormons do not practice infant baptism. Instead, children may be baptized beginning at the age of eight.
  • Mormons believe that baptism must be performed by someone who holds proper priesthood authority. Mormons believe that priesthood authority was lost during the Great Apostasy. Because of this, authority had to be returned through the restoration of Christ’s Church

What Is Mormon Confirmation?

Another unique Mormon belief is that baptism of water needs to be followed by a baptism of the Holy Ghost. This is required in order to have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. This gift of the Holy Spirit is received by an ordinance called confirmation.  

After a person is baptized, one or more men 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. The Holy Ghost’s companionship is one of the biggest blessings God has given His children. The Holy Ghost can provide comfort and protection throughout a person’s life. The Holy Ghost will teach and testify of truth just as Jesus taught:

“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26).

Receiving the Holy Ghost fulfills the promises Christ made in those verses, where He told His disciples that He wouldn’t leave them without comfort. They could only have that Comforter, though, by being baptized.

Mormon baptism is a bit different from that of other Christian religions, but its basic tenets remain the same: it’s an outward expression of your commitment and covenants to help you grow closer to God and live a life more in line with His commandments.