The Commandment to be Baptized
Again, tremendous resources for this lesson can be found in the Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: ... (the old Priesthood/Relief Society manuals). Especially helpful will be the manuals for Joseph Smith, Chapter 7, Brigham Young, chapter 9, Joseph F. Smith, Chapter 7, David O. McKay, Chapter 21, and Harold B. Lee, pp. 31-35 (Chapter 4). Remember, these can all be found on “lds.org” by clicking on “Gospel Library” then “Lessons” then “Melchizedek Priesthood and Relief Society.” All of the manuals are listed at the bottom of this page.
In this section is stated “Baptism is the first ordinance of the gospel (p. 115). Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery experienced this first hand very early in the Church’s restoration. Following the First Vision, receiving the gold plates for translation, next was the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood and baptism. Joseph described that experience this way:
We experienced great and glorious blessings from our Heavenly Father. No sooner had I baptized Oliver Cowdery, than the Holy Ghost fell upon him, and he stood up and prophesied many things which should shortly come to pass. And again, so soon as I had been baptized by him, I also had the spirit of prophecy, when, standing up, I prophesied concerning the rise of this Church, and many other things connected with the Church, and this generation of the children of men. We were filled with the Holy Ghost, and rejoiced in the God of our salvation (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, 89).
This section states, “Baptism is the first ordinance of the gospel” (p. 115). It may be helpful for some to understand that the pattern of ordinances goes back to premortality and through every dispensation since creation. First, for premortality, here are some quotes repeated from this blog, Chapter 2, “Our Heavenly Family”:
1 Peter 1:19-20 and Alma 13:4 discuss ordination “before the foundation of the world.”
Elder Joseph Fielding Smith taught:
…in the pre-mortal state…Ordinances pertaining to that pre-existence were required… (The Way to Perfection, 50-51)Elder Dallin Oaks stated in conference:Many of us also made covenants with the Father concerning what we would do in mortality. In ways that have not been revealed, our actions in the spirit world influence us in mortality. (Ensign, Nov 1993, 72)
Elder Neal A. Maxwell taught: Just as certain men were foreordained from before the foundations of the world, so were certain women appointed to certain tasks. (Ensign, May 1978, 10)President Harold B. Lee in Conference:
…there are many who were foreordained before the world was… (Ensign, Jan 1974, 2
Secondly, on ordinances since the creation, we know that Adam was baptized (see Moses 6:64).
Joseph Smith taught:
The ancients who were actually the fathers of the church in the different ages, when the church flourished on the earth… were initiated into the kingdom by baptism, for it is self evident in the scripture—God changes not.
Now taking it for granted that the scriptures say what they mean, and mean what they say, we have sufficient grounds to go on and prove from the Bible that the gospel has always been the same; the ordinances to fulfil its requirements, the same…Noah… Abel…Enoch…Abraham…Jacob…Moses…
In the former ages of the world, before the Saviour came in the flesh, ‘the saints’ were baptised in the name of Jesus Christ to come, because there never was any other name whereby men could be saved… (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, 92-4).
We do know that John the Baptist was baptizing even before Christ was baptized (see Matthew 3:11-13 and Mark 1:1-9).
In the first paragraph of this section is quoted Matthew 28:19-20, concerning the charge Jesus Christ gave to His apostles to baptize. It may be of interest to note that this same charge is basically given as the last commandment in every book of the Gospels as well as in the last appearance of Jesus in Acts.
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned (Mark 16:15-16).
And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem (Luke 24:47).
So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep (John 21:15-17).
For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence (Acts 1:5).
Even more importantly, we need to realize how this charge for missionary work and baptism has not changed. We are still under the same charge, as Elder David B. Haight explained in conference:
This is our mandate. This is why we go to all nations of the earth proclaiming His gospel (Ensign, May 1994, 75).
First - - We Must Be Baptized for the Remission of Our Sins
In the first paragraph of this section is a most important sentence, “When we place our faith in Jesus Christ, repent, and are baptized, our sins are forgiven through the Atonement of Jesus Christ (p. 115).” This is a terrific summary statement of the last three lessons. It also ties in a crucial doctrine, that the Atonement can only be accessed thru baptism. President Lee declared:
Only those who repent and are baptized for the remission of their sins will lay full claim to the redeeming blood of his atonement (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee, 31).
I like the way Elder Theodore M. Burton said this:
Mankind cannot be saved solely by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel. Only those ordinances coupled with the atonement of Jesus Christ and conditioned upon obedience to gospel truths can bring us back into the presence of God the Eternal Father. Thus, through the atonement of Jesus Christ, together with the proper ordinances performed in the proper manner by proper authority and coupled with obedience to the laws and commandments of God, we can be saved from spiritual death and can be exalted to live in the presence of God the Eternal Father. That is why all three of these concepts—atonement, ordinances, and obedience—are mentioned in the third article of faith, which we accept as truth (Ensign, Sep 1985, 66).
Most likely due to the chaos of Nauvoo, the martyrdom of his father, Hyrum, and the trek west, young Joseph F. Smith was not baptized until he was 13 ½ years old. However, a year and a half later he was ordained and elder and sent to a foreign language mission in Hawaii. Joseph had a wonderful experience concerning the “remission of sins” at his baptism:
I felt in my soul that if I had sinned—and surely I was not without sin—that it had been forgiven me; that I was indeed cleansed from sin; my heart was touched, and I felt that I would not injure the smallest insect beneath my feet. I felt as if I wanted to do good everywhere to everybody and to everything. I felt a newness of life, a newness of desire to do that which was right. There was not one particle of desire for evil left in my soul. I was but a little boy, it is true, when I was baptized; but this was the influence that came upon me, and I know that it was from God, and was and ever has been a living witness to me of my acceptance of the Lord (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, p. 59).
For those who do not fully appreciate their own sinfulness and need to be baptized, Brigham Young taught:
If you can say you have no sins to repent of, forsake your false theories, and love and serve God with an undivided heart (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, 62).
Second - - We Must Be Baptized to Become Members of the Church of Jesus Christ
Joseph Smith could not contain his feelings of joy when his father was baptized a member of the Church. His mother, Lucy, recalled that experience:
Joseph stood on the shore when his father came out of the water, and as he took him by the hand he cried out, ‘… I have lived to see my father baptized into the true church of Jesus Christ,’ and he covered his face in his father’s bosom and wept aloud for joy as did Joseph of old when he beheld his father coming up into the land of Egypt (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, p. 90).
Membership in the Church carries a sacred obligation, as illustrated by Brigham Young:
All Latter-day Saints enter the new and everlasting covenant when they enter this Church. They covenant to cease sustaining, upholding and cherishing the kingdom of the Devil and the kingdoms of this world. They enter the new and everlasting covenant to sustain the Kingdom of God and no other kingdom. They take a vow of the most solemn kind, before the heavens and earth, and that, too, upon the validity of their own salvation, that they will sustain truth and righteousness instead of wickedness and falsehood, and build up the Kingdom of God, instead of the kingdoms of this world (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, 62-3).
President McKay stated how we should feel about membership in the Church:
When an applicant for baptism stood at the water’s edge, before being buried with Christ in baptism, he possessed an implicit faith that the Church of Jesus Christ is established upon the earth, and that this organization is the best in the world today for the fostering of spiritual life, for the attaining of true religious development, for the salvation of the soul (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay, 200).
Third - - We Must Be Baptized before We Can Receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost
Baptism and the Gift of the Holy Ghost must be inseparably intertwined for access to the Atonement. Elder Theodore M. Burton talked about this concept as a sign of the true Church in a wonderful talk:
As to the importance of confirmation following baptism by water, Paul recorded that he found some of the Ephesians had been baptized in the same manner of immersion that John the Baptist had used. When Paul then asked if they had received the Holy Ghost, he was astonished to find that they had not even heard about it. He then explained: “John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
“When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus [not in the name of either John or Paul].
“And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.” (Acts 19:4-6)
In other words, their original baptism was invalid, apparently because it had been performed by someone without proper authority, as evidenced by their lack of knowledge of the complete ordinance (Ensign, Sep 1985, 66).
This quote will also help answer the question at the end of the section on “correct mode of baptism” which asks, “Why is authority to perform a baptism important?” (See p. 117.)
Fourth - - We Must Be Baptized to Show Obedience
President Joseph F. Smith taught:
Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, by one having authority, is a true principle, because Christ taught it; Christ obeyed it, and would not fail, for anything, to fulfil it—not that He was sinful and needed to be baptized for the remission of sins, but He only needed to do it to fulfill all righteousness, that is, to fulfil the law (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, p. 63).
Fifth - - We Must Be Baptized to Enter the Celestial Kingdom
This section quotes 3 Nephi 11:34 which states, “And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned “ (p. 116). Concerning this doctrine, Joseph Smith explained:
Baptism is a sign to God, to angels, and to heaven that we do the will of God, and there is no other way beneath the heavens whereby God hath ordained for man to come to Him to be saved, and enter into the kingdom of God, except faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, and baptism for the remission of sins, and any other course is in vain…
It is a sign and a commandment which God has set for man to enter into His kingdom. Those who seek to enter in any other way will seek in vain; for God will not receive them, neither will the angels acknowledge their works as accepted, for they have not obeyed the ordinances, nor attended to the signs which God ordained for the salvation of man, to prepare him for, and give him a title to, a celestial glory; and God has decreed that all who will not obey His voice shall not escape the damnation of hell. What is the damnation of hell? To go with that society who have not obeyed His commands (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, p. 91).
Brigham also declared:
Hundreds and thousands of people have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ and repented of their sins, and have had the Holy Spirit to witness unto them that God is love, that they loved him and that he loved them, and yet they are not in his Kingdom. They have not complied with the necessary requirements, they have not entered in at the door (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, 63).
Joseph Smith declared this doctrine Biblical, as well as made a case for the next section on “correct mode of baptism”:
Upon looking over the sacred pages of the Bible, searching into the prophets and sayings of the apostles, we find no subject so nearly connected with salvation, as that of baptism. … Let us understand that the word baptise is derived from the Greek verb baptiso, and means to immerse (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, p. 91).
Elder William R. Bradford of the Seventies, after quoting the scripture in this section, 3 Nephi 11:33-34, stated:
There are many who mock and scoff at this vital ordinance. It has been changed to fit the convenience of men or, in some instances, has been cast aside entirely as a thing of no significance. Much of the world embraces the false and wicked teachings of Satan, who says God is dead, and therefore, his church is dead, and its ordinances are not of any value. And thus, only a comparatively few have taken upon themselves the name of Christ and entered into his kingdom through the waters of baptism (Ensign, May 1976, 97).
This quote was sound by utilizing “scriptures.byu.edu,” which matches up scriptures with conference talks.
Another great scripture to complement those listed in this section is:
And no unclean thing can enter into his kingdom; therefore nothing entereth into his rest save it be those who have washed their garments in my blood, because of their faith, and the repentance of all their sins, and their faithfulness unto the end (3 Nephi 27:19).
The Correct Mode of Baptism
It may be interesting to discuss 3 Nephi 11:21-30 and note how many times the Savior stressed that there be no “disputations” or “contentions” (as well as where contention comes from - - verse 29) concerning baptism by the correct authority (verses 21 and 220 and immersion (verse 26).
Concerning the “correct mode of baptism,” Brigham Young affirmed:
We, the Latter-day Saints, believe in being baptized by immersion for the remission of sins, according to the testimony of the disciples of Jesus and the revelations of the Lord given in these last days (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, 62).
Note President Young’s statement has to do both with the Bible (“the testimony of the disciples of Jesus”) as well as latter-day scripture. The Bible does declare the correct doctrine of baptism multiple times.
Also, President Joseph F. Smith avowed:
It [baptism] is the door of the Church of Christ, we cannot get in there in any other way, for Christ hath said it, “sprinkling,” or “pouring,” is not baptism. Baptism means immersion in water… (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, 62-3).
In this section is described the wonderful symbolism of baptism as depicted by Paul in Romans 6:3-5. As found using the “scriptures.byu.edu” website mentioned earlier, President David O. McKay explained about baptism:
First, it is an entrance into the kingdom of God. It is the doorway, and it is significant that that doorway is by immersion. Sprinkling will not give it. It spoils the symbol. Pouring will not give it. Only by immersion can that birth mentioned by Jesus be properly carried out. There are three elements in which we are buried—the air, which is our natural element; the earth, in which we can be buried, which takes the physical and ends it; we can be buried in water and come out, and the typical comparison of birth is complete because it means when you get a glimpse of the spiritual you want to leave off the animal life, with its appetites, indulgences, and to develop the spiritual instead of the physical side of your nature.
So we are buried in that element, burying the old man with his appetites, passions, enticements, and coming forth anew. We are born again, buried with Christ in baptism, said the Apostle, for like as Christ was buried, and came forth in a newness of life, so we also all come forth in a newness of life (Rom. 6:4) with all our bad habits, our enmities, our hatreds, buried in the water.
(Conference Report, April 1959, p. 48).
This quote was also found looking in the website “scriptures.byu.edu” under Romans 5:4.
Also concerning the symbolism mentioned in this section, President Joseph F. Smith declared:
It [baptism] is a symbol of the burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and must be done in the likeness thereof… (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, 63).
President McKay also discussed this concept:
He [an applicant for baptism] was about to go through the ordinance of baptism, typical of the burial of his old life, and with it all the imperfections, the frailties, the evils, the sins that accompanied that old living. He was to be buried by baptism, that as Christ was raised from the dead by the power and the glory of the Father, so he might come forth in newness of life, a member of the Church of God, a child of the Father, a citizen in the kingdom of Christ. By baptism he was born again, and became a fit recipient of the Holy Spirit. His body came forth anew, and the Holy Ghost was bestowed upon him; he was confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ. That is where we all stood at one time. Those were our feelings, our faith, our hope (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay, 200).
President McKay also exclaimed:
Though men may scoff at it, ridicule it, and doubt its efficacy, baptism remains ever, even in its simplicity, not only one of the most beautiful symbols known, but also one of the most effective laws operating for the salvation of man (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay, 201).
We sometimes hear that baptism “washes away our sins.” A good question might be, “Is this idea technically true?”
Brigham Young stated:
Has water, in itself, any virtue to wash away sin? Certainly not; but the Lord says, “If the sinner will repent of his sins, and go down into the waters of baptism, and there be buried in the likeness of being put into the earth and buried, and again be delivered from the water, in the likeness of being born—if in the sincerity of his heart he will do this, his sins shall be washed away.” [See D&C 128:12-13.] Will the water of itself wash them away? No; but keeping the commandments of God will cleanse away the stain of sin (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, 64).
This section also discusses the need for “proper authority” (p. 117). Here is what President Brigham Young had to say about this:
You have not the power to baptize yourselves, neither have you power to resurrect yourselves; and you could not legally baptize a second person for the remission of sins until some person first baptized you and ordained you to this authority (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, 63-4).
Baptism at the Age of Accountability
This section teaches in a terrific way that little children have no need for baptism. However, the Lord strongly admonished the need for parents to teach their children:
And again, inasmuch as parents have children in Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized, that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents (D&C 68:25)..
Relating to this wonderful revelation, President Joseph F. Smith declared:
It is the duty of Latter-day Saints to teach their children the truth, to bring them up in the way they should go, to teach them the first principles of the gospel, the necessity of baptism for the remission of sins, and for membership in the Church of Christ (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, p. 63).
Joseph Smith made an interesting distinction for those younger than eight and those older than eight:
Children are all made alive in Christ, and those of riper years through faith and repentance (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, p. 94).
Joseph also emphatically declared concerning little children, as well as “correct mode of baptism” from the previous section:
The doctrine of baptizing children, or sprinkling them, or they must welter in hell, is a doctrine not true, not supported in Holy Writ, and is not consistent with the character of God (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, p. 94-5).
Joseph Smith affirmed from vision shown him by God:
The heavens were opened upon us, and I beheld the celestial kingdom of God, and the glory thereof. … I also beheld that all children who die before they arrive at the years of accountability are saved in the celestial kingdom of heaven (D&C 137:1, 10).
Brigham Young also taught:
Infants are pure, they have neither sorrow of heart, nor sins to repent of and forsake, and consequently are incapable of being baptized for the remission of sin. If we have sinned, we must know good from evil; an infant does not know this, it cannot know it; it has not grown into the idea of contemplation of good and evil; it has not the capacity to listen to the parent or teacher or to the priest when they tell what is right or wrong or what is injurious; and until these things are understood a person cannot be held accountable and consequently cannot be baptized for the remission of sin [see Moroni 8] (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, 62).
We Make Covenants When We Are Baptized
This section discusses the basics of a covenant. In conference, Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin said:
We covenant that we will show our love for our Heavenly Father… (Ensign, May 1997, 15).
That God loves us is implicit in His wanting to make covenants with us. Thanks to my wife for sharing a terrific statement from a talk at the recent General Relief Society Meeting by Sister Silva H. Allred, first counselor in Relief Society Presidency:
The first time I remember feeling with all certainty that Heavenly Father knew and love and cared for me was when I entered that waters of baptism at the age of fifteen. Before then I knew that God existed and that Jesus Christ was the Savior of the world. I believed in them. I loved them but I never felt their love and care for me individually until that day. As I enjoyed that opportunity to make Baptismal Covenants, I realized what a great miracle it had been that I was taught by the missionaries especially with only a handful of missionaries amongst a million people and I learned though them that Heavenly Father knew me and loved me in a special way that He guided the missionaries to my home. I know now that God is a God of love.
It may me valuable to point out that in the list on p. 118 there are four promises we make to God and five that He promises us. God will always give us more than we can ever give Him (Mosiah 2:20-21).
Promise # 4 in the list of what God promises us is “come forth in the First Resurrection” (p. 118). For those who may not be aware, this means eternity in the Celestial Kingdom, as stated in D&C 76:62-64:
These shall dwell in the presence of God and his Christ forever and ever.
These are they whom he shall bring with him, when he shall come in the clouds of heaven to reign on the earth over his people.
These are they who shall have part in the first resurrection.
So this would also include being present for the entire Millennium.
For those who have been to the temple, remind them to listen more closely next time they do and endowment or initiatory for this promise. For those who have not been to the temple, encourage them to prepare and go to the temple.
Baptism Gives Us a New Beginning
President Joseph F. Smith taught:
Then, we say to you who have repented of your sins, who have been buried with Christ in baptism, who have been raised from the liquid grave to newness of life, born of the water and of the Spirit, and who have been made the children of the Father, heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ—we say to you, if you will observe the laws of God, and cease to do evil, … and have faith in God, believe in the truth and receive it, and be honest before God and man, that you will be set up on high, and God will put you at the head, just as sure as you observe these commandments. Whoso will keep the commandments of God, no matter whether it be you or any other people, they will rise and not fall, they will lead and not follow, they will go upward and not downward. God will exalt them and magnify them before the nations of the earth, and he will set the seal of his approval upon them, will name them as his own. This is my testimony to you (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, 64-5).
For the process of “rebirth” discussed in this section, Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught something very significant:
Few doctrines are better known by members of the true church than the doctrine of preexistence. We are well aware that all men are the children of God, the offspring of the Father, his sons and daughters…
What is not so well known is that nearly all the passages of scripture, both ancient and modern, which speak of God as our Father and of men on earth being the sons of God, have no reference to our birth in preexistence as the children of Elohim, but teach rather that Jehovah is our Father and we are his children…
Whose sons and whose daughters do we become when we are born again? Who is our Father? The answer is, Christ is our Father; we become his children by adoption; he makes us members of his family (The Promised Messiah: The First Coming of Christ, 351).
This is apparently what Jesus Christ was meant in addressing Joseph Smith:
Who so loved the world that he gave his own life, that as many as would believe might become the sons of God. Wherefore you are my son;
And blessed are you because you have believed; (D&C 34:3 - 4)
Similarly, King Benjamin taught:
And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters.
And under this head ye are made free, and there is no other head whereby ye can be made free. There is no other name given whereby salvation cometh; therefore, I would that ye should take upon you the name of Christ, all you that have entered into the covenant with God that ye should be obedient unto the end of your lives.
And it shall come to pass that whosoever doeth this shall be found at the right hand of God, for he shall know the name by which he is called; for he shall be called by the name of Christ (Mosiah 5:7-9).
In the wonderful talk previously mentioned, Elder Theodore M. Burton explained:
Now, if we are born again, we must be born into a family. Into whose family are we born? Why, into the family of Jesus Christ! The scriptures refer to the Savior as the Bridegroom and to the church as the bride. Through baptism, then, we become children in that royal family, with Jesus Christ as our Father. Through the baptismal ordinance we take upon ourselves a new family name—the name of Jesus Christ. Paul states that we are thereby adopted as the sons and daughters of Jesus Christ (next quotes Romans 8:14-17)…
By the ordinance of baptism and confirmation, a person is both physically and spiritually adopted as a child of Jesus Christ…
When we are baptized, we actually make a new covenant with God the Eternal Father to take upon us the name of his Only Begotten Son. Jesus Christ thus becomes by adoption our covenant Father. Thus, though he was, and is, our Elder Brother, he is also now our covenant Father, and we have become his covenant sons and daughters. We desire to be respectful and show our gratitude to him for the opportunity we have to become members of his royal family…
Through baptism we have become adopted members of the royal family of Jesus Christ, and that is the basic reason we now call each other “brother” or “sister.” We have indeed become members of the Church, or family, of Jesus Christ.
If we can keep that concept clearly in mind, that we are covenant children of Jesus Christ, as well as children of our Heavenly Father, it will change our lives (Ensign, Sep 1985, 66).
In conference, Elder Russell M. Nelson also explained:
When we embrace the gospel and are baptized, we are born again and take upon ourselves the sacred name of Jesus Christ. [See D&C 20:37.] We are adopted as his sons and daughters and are known as brothers and sisters. He is the Father of our new life. We become joint heirs to promises given by the Lord to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their posterity [See Gal. 3:29; D&C 86:8-11.] (Ensign, May 1995, 32).
This concept of Christ as our Father will also be important later in Chapter 23, “The Sacrament.”
Again, from “scriptures.byu.edu” is found the following quote from President James E. Faust concerning the importance of “baptism gives us a new beginning”:
Covenants are not simply outward rituals; they are real and effective means of change. “Being born again, comes by the Spirit of God through ordinances” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 162) (Ensign, May 1998, 17).
Helping all of us remember that this doctrine of “taking upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ is a process, Elder Dallin H. Oaks instructed us in conference:
It is significant that when we partake of the sacrament we do not witness that we take upon us the name of Jesus Christ. We witness that we are willing to do so. (See D&C 20:77.) The fact that we only witness to our willingness suggests that something else must happen before we actually take that sacred name upon us in the most important sense.
What future event or events could this covenant contemplate? The scriptures suggest two sacred possibilities, one concerning the authority of God, especially as exercised in the temples, and the other—closely related—concerning exaltation in the celestial kingdom...
Our willingness to take upon us the name of Jesus Christ affirms our commitment to do all that we can to be counted among those whom he will choose to stand at his right hand and be called by his name at the last day. In this sacred sense, our witness that we are willing to take upon us the name of Jesus Christ constitutes our declaration of candidacy for exaltation in the celestial kingdom. Exaltation is eternal life, ‘the greatest of all the gifts of God’ (D&C 14:7)” (Ensign, May 1985, 80).
All of this should be of great help in discussing the wonderful question at the end of the lesson, “How was your baptism a new beginning? (p. 118)”