What does Mormonism teach regarding baptism?

Official Answer

“We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel” (Articles of Faith 1:3). Baptism in water is an ordinance essential to our salvation. By being baptized, we show God that we are willing to be obedient to His commandments. Jesus set the example for us by being baptized, even though He was without sin (see Mosiah 18:8-10). The Savior revealed the proper method of baptism to the Prophet Joseph Smith, making clear that the ordinance must be performed by one having priesthood authority and that it be done by immersion (see Doctrine and Covenants 20:72-74).

Immersion is symbolic of the death of a person’s sinful life and the rebirth into a spiritual life, dedicated to the service of God and His children. It is also symbolic of death and resurrection. (See Romans 6:3-6) Little children are redeemed through the mercy of Jesus Christ. They are “alive in Christ” and cannot sin. They do not need baptism until they understand the difference between right and wrong. The Lord has revealed that children should be baptized at eight years of age. (See Book of Mormon, Moroni 8:8-24; Doctrine and Covenants 29:46-47, 68:27)

  • Baptism is the way that Christ did and showed us to follow. That is what we teach about baptism. Show more

  • Baptism is the first and an essential Ordinance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The first principles and ordinances of the gospel are 1. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, 2. Repentance, 3. Baptism by Immersion for the remission of sins & 4. Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost (which comes only after Baptism). Baptism is performed by one having the restored Priesthood authority and is done in the pattern that was set by Jesus when he was baptized by John the Baptist. Matthew 3:16 says "And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water." He could not come 'out of the water' if he was not first in the water. This scripture shows a baptism in water. Being immersed (fully under the water) is symbolic of a death and burial of your old ways and old self, when put under the water, and then a rebirth of your new self as a disciple of the Savior Jesus Christ, when you are brought up out of the water. When you are baptized, you make a covenant, or promise with the Lord that you take upon you His name, will always remember Him, strive to keep His commandments, and help carry the burden of your fellow man. If you do those things, He makes a promise to you as well, that your sins will be washed clean and that you will have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. Baptism is the gate to the strait and narrow path that to be taken in the Gospel. It is only your first steps in the Gospel. Show more

  • We view baptism as the first essential saving ordinance (a symbolic outward portrayal of an inward covenant), as taught by Jesus Christ in the New Testament. Baptism is performed by those who hold the priesthood (the authorization to act in behalf of God) and is performed by immersion. God has set the age of baptism at 8 years old, when children begin to become more aware and accountable for their actions. Perhaps the most rewarding part of baptism is immediately following: the bestowal of the Holy Ghost, where members are blessed with the constant companionship of the Spirit (who guides, comforts, and allows us to receive revelation from God), which is contingent upon living up the the standards of the gospel. Since countless have dies without any knowledge of Jesus Christ or baptism, we perform baptism by proxy (in behalf of) for those who have died, in Mormon temples, knowing that the spirits of the deceased have a choice to either accept or reject the ordinance of baptism. In short, baptism is "the gateway" to the other saving ordinances of the gospel. It's interesting to note that, despite his sinless life, Jesus Himself was baptized to provide an example for us all, demonstrating its importance. Show more

  • When we are baptized we enter into a covenant with our Heavenly Father. We promise that we are willing to take upon us the name of Christ, to always remember Him and to keep His commandments. As baptism is completed with confirmation, or the laying on of hands to receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost, we are promised that as we remain worthy we will always have His spirit to be with us. Baptism is a commandment from our loving Heavenly Father and thus is essential to enter into His Kingdom. Jesus Christ set the example for how we should be baptized during His earthly ministry. He was baptized by John the Baptist, who had the proper authority to perform the ordinance. He was also baptized by immersion, this means that he was buried completely in the water and then brought back up. This action symbolizes death and rebirth. When we are baptized we can be forgiven of our sins and start a new life as disciples or followers of Jesus Christ. Show more

  • Baptism is not an unheard of practice. How Mormons preform a baptism however may be unusual. We believe that children are not held accountable until the age of 8 because that is the time when they truly understand what is right and wrong. We believe that baptism is a saving ordinance that is the first step to entering into God's kingdom. Show more

  • God loves us. We are His children and He wants us to return to Him and be happy. However we must first be clean in order to return to live in His presense. Jesus Christ has shown us the way to become clean by being baptized by immersion by someone holding the proper authoritry, the Priesthood. Baptism by immersion is an ordinace which symbolizes the death of a person’s sinful life and the rebirth into a spiritual life. We make a covenant, or a two-way promise, with God that we'll be obedient to His commandments and be dedicated to living God and Jesus Christ's teachings. Also we teach that little children are redeemed through the mercy of Jesus Christ. They are “alive in Christ” and cannot sin. (see Moroni 8:8-24) They do not need baptism until they understand the difference between right and wrong, which the Lord has revealed is at the age of eight. Show more

  • For us, baptism is a two way promise or covenant with our father in Heaven. We promise to obey his commandments, take upon ourselves the name of Christ, and to always remember him ((D&C 20:77-78) and he promises to give us a remission, or forgiveness for our sins and his spirit to guide us (3 Nephi 27:19-20). However, we must keep our promise to maintain the blessings offered by our Heavenly Father. Baptism is preceeded by faith in Jesus Christ and then repentance. Once we repent of our sins and change our lives, we enter into the waters of baptism. We believe in being baptized by immersion, by someone holding the authority of God (3 Nephi 11:19-27), and at an age of responsibility, when we can recognize the difference between right and wrong (the age of eight is set as when we can do this) (D&C 68:27). There is symbolism in baptism by immersion in the death and resurrection of Christ and also the death of our past lives and a rebirth where we are cleansed from sin (Romans 6:3-6). Baptism must also be followed by receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands (Acts 19:1-6).The Gift of the Holy Ghost is a second baptism by fire and completes the baptism by water (Matthew 3:11 and John 3:5). Show more

  • Mormons believe that baptism is one of the essential ordinances of salvation (John 3:5, Mark 16:16). Jesus Christ was baptized by John the Baptist, who had the proper authority to do so. We believe that same authority exists in our church today. Mormons baptize by complete immersion (symbolic of the death of a person's sinful life an the rebirth into a spiritual life). The ordinance is usually performed in a baptismal font located in a church building. Show more

  • Baptism represents life, death, and the resurrection. It shows our willingness to follow Christ and live the way that He did. It represents leaving a life of sin and being "born again" into a more spiritual person. However, there is even more to baptism than recognizing our devotion. When He was baptized, Christ walked a long way to meet John the Baptist. John was of the tribe of Levi, which at that time held the authority to perform the ordinance of baptism. Christ understood that when baptism is performed by priesthood authority, it is a sacred saving ordinance. Through this "one baptism" (Ephesians 4:5) He made a covenant to keep the commandments, through which He received strength from His Father to carry out His will. We also make this covenant when we are baptized. When we promise in this way to act as He would, we will receive the blessings of the Atonement more fully. Show more

  • Mormons adopt both the mode and meaning of the ordinance of baptism from the Savior's example and teachings, e.g. Matthew 3:13-17. When applied in the context of a religious ordinance, the original Greek word "baptizo" means to immerse in water, which is why John the Baptist baptized in a river (Jordan) instead of pouring a bit of water from a cup. When John questioned Jesus' need for baptism at all, the Savior answered that even He had to be baptized to demonstrate His obedience to His Father and to give all people an example to follow. The ordinance of baptism is rich with symbolism. Our immersion in water may represent the "burial" of a past life of sin; our emergence from the water may represent the beginning of a new life washed clean of sin and focused on a new relationship with God. Mormons believe that baptism brings us forgiveness of past sins, and obliges us to revere Jesus Christ as our Savior, to always remember Him and keep His commandments, and to serve one another with true charity. Mormons believe that infants and small children have no need of baptism unless and until they develop a sufficient sense of right and wrong and the ability to act contrary to what they know is right. Church policy precludes anyone younger than eight years of age from receiving baptism. Church doctrine teaches that any child who passes away before reaching the age of accountability has no need of baptism, and receives all of God's merciful blessings in the heavens. Show more

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