Mormons believe that baptism is the first saving ordinance of the gospel. Through baptism and confirmation by priesthood authority, you can become a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.1It is believed that baptism serves four purposes. One, it is for the remission of sins; two, it admits the repentant person to membership in the Church and kingdom of God on earth; three, it is the gate to the celestial kingdom of heaven, that is, it starts a person out on the straight and narrow path which leads to eternal life; and four, it is the means whereby the door to personal sanctification is opened.2Jesus Christ set the example for all to follow by being baptized. He did not need to be baptized because of He was perfect, but He did so in order to set the example. All who desire eternal life need follow that example and set themselves on the path of righteousness.
The Mormon faith professes that when one is baptized, he or she enters into a covenant with God (covenant meaning a two part agreement. In this case, an agreement between God and the person being baptized). The person being baptized promises three things; to take upon himself the name of Jesus Christ, to keep His commandments, and to serve Him to the end.
Taking upon oneself the name of Jesus Christ means to put Him first and to put His work first in our own life. It means seeking only what the Savior wants you to do, not what you or the world would want you to do.
Keeping the commandments is a daily requirement and a daily work. Our efforts to stand as a witness of God include everything we do and say. Our thoughts, our language, and our actions are pure. We don’t do, watch, or say anything that is contrary to the Savior’s teachings.
Serving the Lord on a daily basis would be separating oneself from the things of the world. Serving the Lord means serving our fellow men. In other words, being kind and respectful to all and following the example of Christ in the way we treat others.
This is not a one time promise with God. A renewal of the baptismal covenants is performed each week at a Mormon Church in Sacrament Meeting. The sacrament of bread and water is passed in hopes that each will each take that time to renew, ponder, and think about the covenants made at baptism and to remember what Jesus Christ did for each of us.
In turn Jesus Christ makes a covenant with us, if we keep our covenants with Him. The Lord blesses us for our faithfulness, and we receive the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, the remission of our sins, and the privilege of being spiritually reborn.
The constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, is referred to as the confirmation after baptism. It is the gift of the Holy Ghost and is conferred upon a baptized member by one or more having authority, which means the Melchizedek Priesthood. Hands are laid on the person’s head and the gift of the Holy Ghost is given. This gift gives a person the right to the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost as long as he is worthy. This is one of the greatest blessings a person can have in mortality. The Spirit guides and directs us to paths of righteousness and peace.
Being spiritually reborn means being born again into a new life. The Apostle Paul, in Romans 6:4, taught that when we have been baptized, we “should walk in newness of life.”
Remission of our sins requires exercising our faith in Jesus Christ, being repentant, and striving to keep the commandments of God.
2 “Mormon Doctrine” by Bruce R. McConkie, 1966, pg 70