Baptism by immersion is the first ordinance in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is through baptism by proper priesthood authority that one becomes a member of the Mormon Church.
By being baptized into the Mormon Church one shows his willingness to follow the Savior's example. The Apostle Peter taught, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins."1 Christ was baptized to show His obedience to the Father, to set the example for each one of us, and in order to enter into exaltation. Without baptism, there would be no exaltation! If we seek to truly follow the Savior, then baptism by immersion and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost is the first step on the path to exaltation.
In April of 1830, the Prophet Joseph Smith received a revelation in regard to the correct way one should be baptized. "The person who is called of God and has authority from Jesus Christ to baptize, shall go down into the water with the person who has presented himself or herself for baptism, and shall say, calling him or her by name: Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. Then shall he immerse him or her in the water, and come forth again out of the water."2 This is the way the Lord has set forth for baptism.
The Book of Mormon Prophet Alma asked the people, "…And now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people…what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?"3
The Prophet Alma taught that when we are baptized we make covenants with the Lord and in return He makes promises to us. At baptism we promise to come into the fold of God, and this means that we must yearn to be called His people. We promise to bear one another's burdens – to help and comfort those who need comforting. We promise to always stand as a witness of God at all times and in all things and in all places and promise to keep His commandments and serve Him.
In return, when we are baptized and we keep the covenants we make at baptism, the Lord promises to forgive our sins, give us guidance and help through the Holy Ghost, and pour out His Spirit more abundantly upon us.
Baptism into the Mormon Church starts one on the path to eternal life. However, baptism does not guarantee eternal life. Continuous obedience to the commandments is expected as well as daily repentance for the sins committed. The prophet Nephi counseled that, "After ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him; relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save. Wherefore, ye must press forward with steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father, Ye shall have eternal life."4
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